My life changed dramatically when I removed gluten! My daily pain, bloating, lack of focus, and many other issues dramatically improved. While, I don’t believe everyone on the planet is gluten intolerant, I do believe that the modern wheat has been corrupted and isn’t what our bodies were designed to absorb. So let’s chat a little bit about gluten, just what is it and why has become such a massive issue in the modern world?
THIS IS NOT A FAD
Gluten is the protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, semolina, Kamut, Farina, faro, and couscous. People have been eating gluten for thousands of years, so why is it suddenly an issue?
It used to be that people throughout the world consumed species of grains native to their region, and at that time there were many varieties of wheat all over the planet.
In the last 100 years humans began altering the food supply through farming practices that led to the use of mono-cropping (planting the same crop in an area over and over) and an intentional increase of the gluten content of wheat through hybridization. These practices now affect the majority of wheat available since it is a massively subsidized crop. Partly due to wheat subsidies, gluten is now used is used as a filler, flavoring, and emulsifier in most processed foods.
So even if someone does not eat very much bread, they may still be eating gluten in their soy sauce, packaged soup mixes, salad dressings, yogurt, lunch meats, meat substitutes, and sausages.
This is a problem because the body can’t recognize the protein sequences in such altered food, resulting in the live and immune system reacting each time gluten is eaten. This is made worse by the excess gluten in much of the food people eat daily. This situation causes both the liver and the immune system to become overtaxed leading to allergies, inflammation, and autoimmune disorders.
DIFFICULT TO DIGEST
Most people do not quickly accept that they have a problem with gluten. One reason is that it works on the opioid receptors, which is the same part of the brain that heroin effects. So gluten can have a drug-like effect on the brain leading to people craving and overeating it. It is a very socially acceptable addiction that most do not recognize as an addiction.
Some people actually go through withdrawal symptoms when eliminating gluten. The proof is in the elimination. To learn if you have a problem with gluten, I recommend that it be completely eliminated for one-two months. Then reintroduce it. I have found that most people’s health improves before their elimination is over, and they don’t even want to go back to eating gluten.
COULD THIS REALLY BE ME?
Here are some clues as to whether you might benefit from a gluten-free diet. First, if you consume bread, pasta, cereal, and other processed food on a daily basis, you may crave them when you don’t get them. If you suffer from anxiety, brain fog, mood swings, joint pain, rashes, skin conditions, seasonal allergies, insomnia, and digestive troubles, then a gluten elimination may be very helpful.
HOW ON EARTH WILL I SURVIVE?
The most common concern people have with trying a gluten-free diet is that they may starve or won’t be able to go out to dinners with friends. This simply is not the case. In fact in the years since I kicked gluten, my diet has been widely expanded. There is a bounty of gluten-free whole grains (quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, amaranth, and millet) and starchy vegetables that can satisfy the need for carbohydrates while nourishing the body.
It is also possible to simply replace your normal gluten-containing foods with gluten-free alternatives, but labels must be read.
Not all gluten-free products are created equal, some are simply starches and not much better for you than any other processed foods.
WILL I EVER BE ABLE TO GO OUT AGAIN ?
As for dining out, it’s not so hard, even Italian restaurants offer gluten-free options. Try the fish or roasted chicken and veggies for example.
These days, restaurants are typically aware of food allergies and are willing to adapt their menu to accommodate customers with special diets.
TRY MY DELICIOUS PIZZA
To show that it’s not so hard, every recipe that I have posted (or will post) has been 100% gluten-free and simple. If you are curious, try a few of them, I’d love to hear your feedback. In the meantime, please enjoy this recipe for a very popular and normally a gluten-containing treat, PIZZA! You will be amazed at how delicious and simple cooking without gluten can be.
Simple Pesto Polenta Veggie Pizza
3 cups filtered water
1.5 cups ORGANIC cornmeal, coarsely ground
1 tsp salt
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup cold pressed olive oil
1-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
salt and pepper, to taste
Directions: For cornmeal crust: Bring water to a boil in a saucepan. Once it’s boiling slowly add the cornmeal and mix constantly until combined, then lower heat to a simmer and whisk to remove lumps. Add the teaspoon of salt and mix for 2 minutes, or until thick. Pour mixture into a well-greased baking pan and set aside to allow the polenta to firm up.
For pesto: Combine basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Add a tbsp of water or olive oil as needed to make a smooth but thick sauce.Spread pesto evenly over polenta crust and top with your favorite seasonal veggies (You can sauté or roast the veggies first). Bake for approximately 15 minutes at 350°F.