Tag Archives: gluten

Gluten Free Experiment

My mom is gluten sensitive so I knew I had at least a 50% chance of having the genes that can predispose one to gluten issues. I had experimented with going gluten free before and hadn’t found gluten to be a problem for me. Since these issues can manifest as we get older, I still was paying attention in case I developed a sensitivity later. Recently, I did notice digestive discomfort and bloating after I ate meals with lots of wheat in them.

So now I am going to be gluten free for 2 weeks. At the end of the two weeks, I am going to do a gluten challenge where I will eat a normal serving of wheat with all three meals on one day. This is a step that a lot of people skip. It helps us know how big of a deal it is for us to eat wheat or gluten. Without this step, I see people often slowing adding gluten back to their diets and not knowing whether to associate it with the symptoms they are having.

I don’t believe that everyone needs to go on a gluten free diet, but foods high in gluten are over consumed in America. This is partially due to the convenience of burger buns and wheat tortillas for making inexpensive foods for on the go. But overconsumption of wheat and other high gluten foods might be contributing to health issues in all people. Dr. Perlmutter claims that all grains in high amounts are bad for our brains. Another research found that gluten may cause some degree of leaky gut in all people. Again this doesn’t mean that everyone needs to be gluten free. I would like to see follow up research done on this new idea, and even if this theory is correct, we can rely less on wheat in our diets, but don’t have to eliminate it entirely necessarily unless it is a real problem for us.

Leaky-Gut-SI2

Gluten is a protein in wheat made up of smaller molecules called gliadin. Gluten is primarily useful for making bread since its stretchy nature allows bread to rise. When it comes to quick breads like pancakes, muffins, cornbread, and cookies, other flours can be easily substituted like the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour. Your pancakes might not hold together quite as well, but they will often be lighter and fluffier. There are of course some tricks to learn about gluten free cooking such as coconut flour cannot be substituted in a one-to-one fashion for wheat flour. You use ¼ cup coconut flour for every cup of flour and add extra eggs to the recipe. I find the best success from using a mixture of gluten free flours. For instance, if I make pancakes with the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free flour, I also add cornmeal and flaxmeal to give it a more whole grain texture.

Overall, I am not eating very many of these substitute foods. Mostly I am eating foods that have always been gluten free such as vegetables, meat, quinoa, beans, nuts, etc. But here are a few of my favorite substitute products for when I want something that would normally have wheat in it:

Udi’s Gluten Free Bagels

Rudi’s Gluten Free Multigrain Bread (But my mom disagrees. She like Canyon Bakehouse 7-Grain Bread)

PaloWraps

Against The Grain Pizza (and everything else they make)

Applegate Gluten Free Chicken Tenders (a coworker who isn’t gluten free likes these better than the regular version)

Amy’s Gluten Free Indian Aloo Mattar Wrap

Blake’s Gluten Free Chicken Pot Pie

Blue Diamond Nut Thins

WOW Baking Company Chocolate Brownies

Jennie’s Gluten Free Macaroons

And last but not least the Gluten Free Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes from A La Carte

If get accidentally glutened or want to cheat on rare occasion, try the GlutenEase enzyme from Enzymedica.

Food Sensitivities and Gut Healing

Food reactions come in different forms and depending on the type of reaction, can contribute to other health issues. Everyone knows about food allergies such as the well-publicized reactions some people have to peanuts. These reactions are similar to seasonal allergies but can be more extreme. There are also food intolerances where the person lacks the necessary enzymes to digest a food. The most common of these is lactose intolerance. Alternately, a person could be sensitive to the protein in milk known as casein. These reactions, called food sensitivities, are caused by antibodies being produced against a food and can lead to delayed reactions occurring hours to days after that food is eaten. The resulting inflammation in the gut can contribute to further reactions to additional foods. For instance, lactose intolerance frequently develops with celiac disease, a specific antibody reaction to wheat that causes the body to attack itself. Often with food sensitivities, there is additional damage to the gut such as inflammation and increased intestinal permeability, better known as leaky gut. In turn, leaky gut has been associated with numerous conditions such as asthma, eczema, and even depression.

After the offending food has been removed from the diet, it is often important to support a healthy intestinal barrier with nourishing supplements like probiotics, glutamine, and N-acetyl glucosamine. Probiotics have numerous gastrointestinal benefits, but in the case of food sensitivities, we use probiotics for their help in reducing inflammation and malabsorption. It has also been shown that children with food allergies tend to have different gut flora than those without the allergies. Glutamine is an amino acid that is the preferred food source of the cells that line the digestive tract. Thus glutamine helps gastrointestinal cells have the necessary energy for repair and healthy replication. N-acetyl glucosamine is a variation of the common joint support supplement glucosamine. N-acetyl glucosamine is a building block to help support the body’s creation of a healthy mucosal layer in the gut to protect the cells from enzymes, acids, and bacterial toxins while allowing the selective absorption of nutrients. Using a combination of supplements such as these can be an important step in restoring a healthy gut, which in turns supports overall wellbeing.