Gluten. A word you probably hear all of the time. A word you had probably never heard until a few years ago. The first time I heard that word was in August 2000 when my three year old daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease (an autoimmune disorder that manifests as an allergy to gluten). She had been incredibly ill for nine months, and no doctor could seem to figure it out. After having her prayed over by a man of God, we were led to a specialist who diagnosed her right away. When the nurse called to tell me that the answer to the mystery was an allergy to gluten, she told me that my daughter will be fine as long as she doesn’t eat gluten any more. I said, “Gluten? What is that and what has gluten in it?” She said, “I’ll fax you a list.”
When I received the list, I cried. Pizza, bread, pasta, cookies, cake, cereal, soup, sauces, etc. You mean she can’t eat anything good? She can’t eat any of the things I’ve been feeding her everyday? She can’t eat any of my own favorite foods? What will she eat?
The worst part was that labels never said the word “gluten”. I had to carry around a list of about 200 ingredients that were known to contain gluten and compare ingredient labels to my list to make sure it was safe for her to eat. Ingredients like flour, maltodextrin, modified food starch, natural flavorings, etc. Anything with these words was a no-no. It was hard, but we learned how to do it. After a while it just became a routine and part of natural life. Within six months she appeared to be physically healed and normal.
The specialist said, “Celiac Disease is hereditary. She got this from somewhere. You need to be tested.” Nah, I’m not having any symptoms. I don’t want to be told that I can’t eat all of these foods. I’ll get tested if I ever feel symptoms.
Well, twelve years later gluten crashed my party! In a two week period, I went from no symptoms to an army of symptoms and became hospitalized. I got tested for Celiac Disease. Guess what? Positive!
What’s Up With Gluten All of a Sudden?
So, what is gluten? It’s a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and possibly oats. Why is it that fourteen years ago I’d never heard this word before, and now it has invaded our society like an enemy soldier? Why is it that I never knew anyone who was allergic to gluten when I was a kid, and now I meet people all of the time who are? Does anyone else find this suspicious?
There’s research which indicates that the way they manufactured wheat products 100 years ago is different than the way they do it today. Studies have been done in which they produced wheat in the traditional way, fed it to Celiac patients, and experienced NO reaction. Surprising? Not really. I wonder why they changed the process? Knowing our world, it was probably so that they could produce more of it in a faster and cheaper method. Who cares what effect the changes have on people’s bodies as long as they fill the wallets really full!
There are many things wrong with this picture, but the scariest is the negligence on the part of many doctor’s in terms of discovering the problem.
How Do You Know If You Have a Problem with Gluten?
You may be like me…I ate gluten every single day, large doses of it in fact. I didn’t feel bad at all after I ate it. However, I was gaining weight for no reason and no amount of exercise changed that fact. I had horrible insomnia. I would randomly have bouts of IBS that may go away for months at a time. I would feel tired every afternoon and use caffeine to pick myself back up. I would have bad PMS symptoms. Oh, but, everyone feels like that, right? That’s what I thought. That may be true, but that doesn’t mean you have to feel that way. Do I feel that way now? Absolutely not! I never knew that our bodies were supposed to feel different.
Or, you may be like some of my friends who have gotten diagnosed with autoimmune conditions only to discover that gluten was the culprit. Did any of their doctors suggest gluten as the problem? Nope! In fact, many doctors scoffed me and my friends when we mentioned it. Yet, it turned out to be the root cause time and time again. Why are they scoffing?
You see, I understand the science behind Celiac Disease. I get that there’s a genetic component that gets triggered. But, I also understand that people have messed with our food and turned it into something it was never supposed to be so that they can get rich.
Be wise! This is the only life you get. You can’t blindly trust that someone else has your best interests in mind. I promise that the big chain food manufacturers do not. You also can’t blindly trust that your doctor knows what he/she is talking about, unfortunately. If I had blindly trusted the “specialists”, I would be in a wheelchair today and for the rest of my life.
I highly recommend “The Gluten Effect” by Vikki Peterson. It’s a good place to start if you’re interested in the potential effect that gluten may be having on your health.
I hope you will think about 2 things today:
1) Why is gluten such a prevalent enemy in recent years when it never was before?
2) What physicals ailments are you struggling with that could be linked to gluten?
If you are anything like I was, you’ll think about it for a few minutes and then head on over to Cracker Barrel for some biscuits and gravy. Well, I hope you are smarter than I was. But, if not, eat some for me 🙂 and enjoy!