Gluten Free products are popping up everywhere; friends, media and movie stars are all touting the “gluten free” eating craze. That got us wondering…?
What is gluten?
Is it really that bad?
Should we all be avoiding it?
Before we researched we went out and asked some of our “healthier” friends and were first surprised by how many were trying to eat gluten free. Secondly, by the fact that none could really explain ewhat exactly gluten was. More surprisingly was that they all shared different reasons for why they needed to get it out of their diets.
What Exactly is Gluten?
Here’s what we learned:
- Gluten is the protein. It is found in grains, cereals and mostly wheat that has a sticky or elastic texture that makes breads and baked goods keep their shape, have longer shelf life and taste soft and chewy.
- Wheat now has more gluten. The gluten content in wheat has been increased over the past years to make our breads lighter and tastier.
- Gluten is sticky and gooey. The sticky consistency of gluten makes it a good additive to products like glues, makeup, vitamins and pills and many other products to help them retain their shape and/or their smooth, creamy texture.
- Gluten has an evil partner called lectin. Lectins are natural toxins which grains use to protect themselves from consumption. These lectins irritate our digestive tract and prevent it from repairing itself from the wear and tear caused by digesting our foods.
- Gluten is found in wheat and grains. Gluten is the protein in wheat and related grains such as barley and rye. Some of the most common products it can be found in include pastas, breads, baked goods, crackers, cereal, granola, and breading mixes.
- Gluten is also found in many products you buy in the grocery store. Some products you wouldn’t think had gluten… but do! …are sauces, marinades, dressings, health bars, soup, beer and even vitamins.
What does all this mean for us? For you?
Not surprisingly, putting something into our bodies that is sticky, and irritating will likely mean that our digestive systems will not be happily satisfied for long. Soon this sticky, glutenous substance will be reacted to – and not in a good way.
As our researching delved deeper into this issue, we were shocked that recent studies showed that gluten caused various body reactions for (surprisingly) most people.
Effects of Eating Gluten:
- Weakened immune system
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Inflammation / Leaky Gut
- Insulin resistance and obesity
Diseases Associated with Eating Gluten:
Studies discussed in a review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be caused by eating gluten. These include:
- Osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, and rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases.
- Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric and neurological diseases, including anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, dementia, migraines, epilepsy, and neuropathy (nerve damage).
- It has also been linked to autism.
The risk for these diseases and the increase in cases each year, makes eating gluten no longer something we do.
Gluten is not going to leave our food system. Our only strategy is to make it leave our diets.
We will discuss and share all our findings in separate articles for each issue to help you determine what effects gluten may have on your system.
No worries, we are on a constant mission to recreate all the products we love in a gluten free, healthy…but incredibly delicious way.
Not as easy as we thought but we are constantly baking and sampling and posting the recipes that meet the strict criteria of our taste-testers.
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Cauliflower Moment …”gluten free eaters” are not health nuts following a temporary diet fad.