Are you wondering why so many people are becoming sensitive to wheat? Isn’t it supposed to be healthy, especially if you are eating whole grain wheat?
The unfortunate truth is, wheat is not what it once was years ago. It’s now so genetically altered, the human body does not even recognize it. It has been altered in order to feed the masses (people, cows, chicken, farm raised fish, etc.), to grow faster and to be resistant to insects and drought. But this causes the body to react defensively, which results in the form of inflammation. I’m sorry to say, most individuals would benefit if they completely avoided wheat — even if they don’t have Celiac’s disease.
It is estimated that 90 percent of the North American population are in some way, sensitive to wheat. Gluten is a binding agent giving dough its stretch and acting as a thickening agent for soups, salad dressings and other commercially prepared foods.
If we lived in Italy, we may not be as affected by it, since they have banned altering of genetic modification (GMOs) in their food. If we did the same, many of us would be far less sick. In fact, as far back as the 1970’s, researchers noticed that when wheat (gluten) was removed from the diet, psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia would improve markedly.
By 1985, most of the wheat in our grocery stores came from a semi-dwarf strain that does not resemble the three-foot, amber waves of grain you may be thinking of from the past. Shortly after this altered wheat dominated our food, many of us became overweight. Also, type II diabetes and heart disease numbers soared (and still are) as this form of wheat acts as an appetite stimulant.
Did you know two slices of whole wheat bread raise your blood sugar higher than 6 teaspoons of table sugar? People who eat bread, crackers or other wheat products for breakfast, lunch and dinner are doomed to an almost certain issue with abdominal and visceral fat, as well as the likely diagnosis of Type II Diabetes. If you have already been told you are insulin resistant or suffer from metabolic syndrome, you are likely headed toward diabetes unless you eliminate wheat and curb that sweet tooth.
Since wheat is now an effective appetite stimulant, if someone wants to lose weight, this would be one of the most important ingredients to eliminate. Unfortunately, the obvious places like bread, pizza and pasta are not the only places it is found. Twizzlers candy, taco seasoning, frozen dinners and granola bars are just a few more hiding places. If you were a food manufacturer, wouldn’t you want people craving more of what you’ve got?
In practice, I have seen the elimination of wheat result in the resolution of gastritis or even Barrett’s esophagitis, and have seen thyroid conditions resolve, hair grow back, depression lift and even successful pregnancies after years of infertility. Other benefits include a reduction of appetite, joint pain, inflammation, blood pressure and triglycerides. Often, energy soars and sleep improves.
Unfortunately, many of my patients fail to see results when they dramatically reduce the amount of wheat consumed. It must be an all-or-nothing approach to be effective. Your body cannot differentiate a crumb from a bagel. A crumb will inflame you just as much. Glutenfreegluten.com is an excellent and informative Website that will help you succeed at becoming wheat- and gluten-free.
I encourage people to experiment and try an exclusive month of eating wheat/gluten-free and email me with your results. Eat real, single ingredient foods, like Nuts, healthy fats, grass-fed beef, wild fish, organic chicken and turkey, and know your vegetable and fruit options are unlimited.
Catherine (Cathi) Stack is owner, facilitator and Doctor of Naturopathy at Journey II Health LLC, established in 2007 in Niagara Falls, N.Y. Along with her naturopathic practice at Journey II Health, Stack continues to work at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital as a Certified Nurse Midwife. She loves sharing her knowledge with her patients, co-workers, friends and readers. She currently writes for a variety of publications, which include her Sunday column in the Niagara Gazette. She can be reached via her Web site, www.journeyiihealth.com.