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When I tell people I don’t eat wheat I usually get an unfavorable response. Some people roll their eyes – boy do I love those people. Others simply nod and check out. They’ve heard it before and they don’t want to hear it again. Occasionally, someone will be interested in the why. Why go wheat free?
What is Wheat?
The first question to answer when talking about living wheat free is: what is wheat and why is it a problem? Wheat is a seed. Like most seeds and nuts, it has several proteins that are unique to wheat and other grains.
Gluten is a composite protein, a combination of proteins found in many grains and it’s particularly high in wheat. There are other proteins in wheat that a person can be allergic to. In fact there are several thousand proteins found in wheat – it has a unique DNA structure that makes this possible.
So while millions of people are diagnosed as “Gluten sensitive” or with Celiac Disease, it may be entirely possible that you are allergic to one of those wheat proteins. An allergy to a protein isn’t uncommon. There are allergies to peanuts, eggs, diary, fish, and berries. These are all protein allergies. When the protein enters your body, you have an immune response as your body attacks the invader.
When it comes to going wheat free, you may not care so much what particular protein you’re sensitive to. The end result is the same. Eliminate wheat and your health will improve. Before we talk about how wheat affects your body, let’s first talk about the fact that the wheat you and I eat today isn’t the wheat that people ate 50 years ago.
It’s Not Your Grandma’s Wheat
You might wonder why it seems that within the past generation or two we’ve become a nation of sick people. Why is everyone eliminating wheat and gluten and why are lives changing because of it?
The truth is that the wheat that you eat today isn’t the same wheat that people ate just a few decades ago. We’ve genetically modified our wheat plants to produce more gluten. Why? Because the gluten is what makes bread so chewy and wonderful. Gluten gives baked goods their structure, texture and elasticity.
When you or the bakery adds water to wheat flour and starts the kneading process, glutenin and another protein called gliadin bind to each other and create long, stretchy loops of what we call gluten. The more gluten in the flour, the more the dough will stretch and the airier it will be once baked.
Let’s also say that we eat tons more wheat today than we did fifty to a hundred years ago. In fact, the average person in the U.S. eats around 132 pounds of wheat a year. This is almost a full ounce of gluten each day.
The bottom line…
It all adds up. A combination of a wheat being high in gluten, combined with high wheat diets, and the potential to be allergic to other proteins found in wheat, means that more and more people are experiencing health issues caused by wheat. Quitting wheat has changed millions of lives and it could change yours too. Next time we’ll take a look at the wide variety of health problems wheat can cause and why you might want to go wheat free.
Considering a wheat-free diet?
As awareness of how wheat affects the body and diagnosis of Celiac disease are both on the rise, more people are turning to a wheat-free diet. Despite media coverage and the growth of gluten-free products on the market, there’s still confusion about this topic, and how to take part in this growing trend. I’ve brought in guest blogger Susan Callahan to take you through all the important aspects of living a wheat-free lifestyle.
I’ll let Susan tell you a little more about it…
Hi, I’m Susan Callahan. I’ve been wheat and gluten free for almost three years. For me, it was a necessary lifestyle change. I was experiencing symptoms that I just couldn’t live with any longer.
We’re talking about migraines, debilitating fatigue and gastrointestinal problems that no one should deal with. Tired of going to the doctor and getting nowhere, I started researching. And while it seems that the gluten free craze has taken over America, just a few years ago it was difficult to find good information. I became committed to helping others learn and navigate a gluten free lifestyle.
You might wonder why so many people are getting on the “gluten free” train. It seems like a fad and there’s probably some truth to that. Whenever something changes lives so dramatically, everyone wants to experience the benefits. So how do you know if wheat free is right for you?
Let’s start with a few statistics.
An estimated 1 in 133 Americans, or about 1% of the population, has celiac disease and the vast majority of them don’t know they have it. They’re either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
18 million Americans may have non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS). This causes the same symptoms as celiac disease without the autoimmune component. You don’t have to have celiac disease to feel awful from gluten.
Untreated, NCGS and Celiac can lead to a number of other disorders including infertility, reduced bone density, neurological disorders, some cancers, and autoimmune diseases.
What we’ll be talking about in this series:
- The benefits of going wheat free
- How to go wheat free, including posts on dining out and gluten free treats
- The drawbacks of wheat and gluten free living – nothing is perfect
- Common questions about gluten free and wheat free living
- And how to take the first step to giving up wheat.
If you’re dealing with unwanted symptoms and think that wheat or gluten might be the culprit, you won’t want to miss this series. We’re going to cover a lot of ground. It’s my goal to give you the information you need to navigate a path to better health.
It just might include a wheat-free diet!
Searching for a paleo breakfast recipe with no eggs?
Here’s one! Spicy Kale and Sausage
All items available at Trader Joe’s.
To serve one:
Melt 1 T coconut oil in an 8″ saute pan.
Cut a few onion slices and add to pan.
Wash and slice about 5 mushrooms. Stir the onions, then add mushrooms to pan.
Top with a few handfuls of pre-washed, pre-cut kale, and put lid on pan.
Slice one Jalepeño Chicken Sausage into 1/4″ disks. Stir around the veggies, then arrange sausage slices on top. Replace lid.
Cut 1/2 small avocado into chunks. Stir what’s in the pan and add avocado on top. Replace lid and heat another minute or two so everything’s warmed through.
Top with green salsa, and enjoy your paleo breakfast!
Watch Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead free! I hope you enjoy and learn a lot from it. Be forewarned, there are commercial breaks, so grab your smart phone or something to entertain yourself during the breaks 🙂 Continue reading
Are nuts healthy? If so, which are the healthiest nuts?
Maybe you’re wondering if nuts are good for you. Do they make you fat, due to their high fat content?
This belief is common, but incorrect. A new review has shown that people who include nuts in their diets actually lost a small amount of weight and 1/2″ waist size. Continue reading
Do carbs make you fat?
According to this infographic, they sure do.
Have you noticed? The more low fat diets are promoted – and followed – the fatter our population gets! It can’t be explained solely by inactivity, as many dieters are working out to exhaustion. Continue reading
Paleo blogger Steve Cooksey received a long, disturbing letter from the North Carolina Board of Dietetics/Nutrition. Because he blogs on the nutrition principles of the Paleo Diet, he was accused providing nutrition advice or nutrition counseling without a license.
The Board ordered Cooksey to take down the nutritional advice or face prosecution. They even prohibited him from offering free dietary advice to friends over the phone!
Why does this concern me – and you? Continue reading
Is wheat the staff of life? Once you learn how wheat makes you fat, you’ll see why wheat loss = weight loss!
Gluten-free diets are trendy, but the problem isn’t just gluten. There are three hidden reasons that wheat is a major factor in obesity – as well as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, dementia, depression, and other modern ills.
Will diet soda make you gain weight? Two new studies answer “Yes!” What you thought was a harmless “sweet fix” may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts, and harming your health in other ways too. Watch this short video (4:12) from ABC News. [photo by vjeran2001 via sxc.hu – altered by LouiseM] Continue reading
Is saturated fat healthy? For half a century, the common wisdom has been that saturated fat makes you fat and is harmful to heart health. Amazingly, for this same half-century, Americans have gotten fatter and fatter, while suffering skyrocketing rates of chronic disease! Could the theory that saturated fat is bad for you, and a low fat diet good, be wrong? Dr. Mercola explains where the saturated fat “research” went wrong. Continue reading