Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Gluten CRAZE...

Gluten Free! What's the Deal??

Fresh baked bread, warm from the oven, coated with butter and melt in your mouth good! Who doesn't like delicious bread?! Grains and bread have been considered staple foods for years and years. Our great grand parents ate bread, and our grand parents, and our parents... So why now, all of a sudden do you hear it's BAD for you? How could that be? Is it just another fad diet? You constantly hear about people going GLUTEN FREE but maybe you don't even know what gluten is. Well, let me put it in a nut shell for you:


A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye). Oats are often excluded too, because they are contaminated.
That doesn't seem too bad until you consider that gluten, and or wheat, are added ingredients to the vast majority of foods in the average persons pantry. And certainly in foods you eat out. So we know what it is, and that it is in almost everything, but why is gluten free becoming such a big deal? Short answer, because it is not the same grains your great grandparents ate. Many people simply have problems with it because the wheat has been altered so much from the way God designed it, and people eat it ALL the time (unknowingly). The text below talks about the increase in the number of people with celiac disease from over 60 years ago, compared to now. People with celiac disease cannot eat gluten at all with out harming their body:
In a novel study, researchers at the Mayo Clinic tested blood samples taken from 9,133 young Air Force recruits in the 1950s and found that about 1 in 700 had undiagnosed celiac disease at that time. Tests on subjects exactly the same age now found that the rate was nearly five times as high today.
"Human genes haven't changed that much, so there has to be something pervasive in the environment that is making this disease more common," says Joseph Murray, a Mayo gastroenterologist who led the study, published in the journal Gastroenterology last year. It may be that people are more susceptible because we are eating much more wheat today—or that wheat is being processed or cultivated differently.
This information taken from
"Modern wheat not only differs from older strains genetically, it is also processed and eaten in dramatically different ways.  Due to the emphasis of the commercial grain industry on surplus production, much of cereal grain is stored for up to a year onsite before it is milled and likely stored again for lengthy periods in flour form.  Furthermore, grain silos are prone to pest infestation and mold.  For this reason they are routinely treated with antifungal agents and industrial pesticides."
The genetic change "strong woman" is talking about is the chromosomes. Wheat used to have 24 chromosomes, and now has 42. It was originally tall and is now shorter and more stout. Very interesting!
Now you know the difference. What we haven't talked about yet is how going gluten free is quite literally changing some people's lives. In particular, people with autoimmune disease. Autoimmune means your body is attacking itself and tends to OVER respond to things. The immune system is hyper sensitive. That is why often times a disease will "flare up" during times of stress or illness. Gluten is known to cause inflammation. Autoimmune thrives on inflammation, therefore it makes sense that cutting it out of ones diet would help "calm" the body. It sort of goes back to "you are what you eat". If you eat fatty foods all the time you are likely to get clogged arteries, if you eat "inflammatory foods" you are likely become inflamed. If you are not too sure, just google "gluten and autoimmune" and you will be enlightened :).

Here is a list of some of the problems a "gluten sensitive" person may have (however, you could have no noticeable symptom like Emma Kate, which does not mean it is not damaging your body):

  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Nutritional deficiencies due to malabsorption e.g. low iron levels
  • Gastro-intestinal problems (bloating, pain, gas, constipation, diarrhea)
  • Fat in the stools (due to poor digestion)
  • Aching joints
  • Depression
  • Eczema
  • Head aches
  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability and behavioural changes
  • Infertility, irregular menstrual cycle and miscarriage
  • Cramps, tingling and numbness
  • Slow infant and child growth
  • Decline in dental health
  • "Undiagnosed for long periods of time, food intolerances have been found to contribute to diabetes, bowel cancer, anemia and osteoporosis." 

    A Turning Point For Us-

    As I mentioned in my last post, we had more testing done on both of my children. We tested for delayed allergies to gluten, dairy, soy, and eggs. Both of my children had a reaction to ALL the food groups   :(. That part was disappointing but honestly not shocking. What was shocking though, was the numbers. Emma Kate was tested while ON steroids and off of dairy for almost a year. Steroids suppress the immune system. They told us that her results would most likely not show as strong as they truly are, but hopefully they would show some. The test works on a number scale. Any number under 10 is considered a normal reaction. Reading the test results is one of those things where I remember exactly where I was sitting and what I was doing...because I was FLOORED by the results. Emma Kate's gluten was 364, ON STEROIDS! Unreal. So of course I had to look back and make sure I was reading it correctly. Sure enough, I saw the number right. The test goes up to 500 I believe, and I think that's probably what her number would have been off meds. Her dairy was 60 while being off it for almost a year, so who knows how high it would have been had she been eating it. My son's gluten reaction was 130, also high. The genetic testing showed my son carries two gluten intolerant genes, and my daughter carries one. That means both my husband and I have at least one gluten intolerant gene.

     I have to say, even my daughter's pediatrician was stunned by her test results. She encouraged us to pursue testing for celiac, however it was too late since we had already changed her diet. The celiac diagnosis would only give Emma Kate more reason to stick with her diet as she gets older. The cure for celiac is to eat gluten free, so we didn't bother.
    Going into this testing I had a simple prayer. That God would make it evident to us if we should take Emma Kate off gluten completely, or not. We had done GF before, but I was not convinced it bothered her, so we let her eat it again. No one would ever wish that diet on a child, especially one who already can't eat dairy and has to watch her sodium. I got a CLEAR answer, but I am so thankful I did.
    So where are we now? In a MUCH better place. I am SO happy and THANKFUL to be able to say Emma Kate has made it through 2 colds and 1 fever with NO PROTEIN SPILL!!! (Since being 100% gluten and dairy free). I give all the glory to God for that. Last year, that did not happen. And honestly, a couple times she would start spilling protein a day or two before we even noticed she was even fighting something. For us gluten free is a way of life. I praise God that my daughter is able to eat a special diet that has helped her stay well. So that's the BIG deal. There are SO many people with stories about going into full or partial remission of a disease by going gluten and dairy free. For us cutting back on gluten did nothing, cutting OUT gluten did everything. If you are suffering from some type of chronic condition or autoimmune disease, just TRY it. It couldn't hurt. Obviously everyone will not have miraculous results going gluten free, however, you don't know until you try.

    What difference did it make for me? ENERGY!!!!!!! Wow, I thought being tired and easily worn out was just a mom thing. Seriously. Chasing around a 20 month old and 4 year old wears you out, right?! Well, to my GREAT SURPRISE (shock actually) I realized one day that I had energy like NEVER before when eating gluten free. I used to take my kids on about 2 errands and then be done. The grocery store, target, unloading at home....wore me out. When I have been entirely gluten free for two weeks I can do 12 errands and still come home and cook dinner. Amazing?? Yes. I had no idea how little energy I had until I went gf. And I would never say something like that just to get people to like gluten free. In fact, I had read about people "getting more energy" from gf and I sort of thought they were making it up. Turns out it's real. And I am so happy to have realized it!
    In conclusion, the reason you are hearing so much about gluten free and noticing companies and stores making efforts to change there products, is because they are realizing it is not just a fad. Of course you always have people who will try it "just because", but it really is making people feel better, healing some, and giving them more energy. Just to clarify, there is a great percentage of the population that is not bothered by gluten at all. And there are others who( like us ) think it is not a problem, when it really is. Companies have recognized the need for gluten free options and labels and are working hard to accommodate. As for Emma Kate, she is doing wonderfully and embraces her gf, df diet with open arms. God bless my sweet girl!

     "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

    John 16:33