Gluten-free is the new buzzword in the health food stores.
It seems that flour products have suddenly become a hazard for our health.
Somehow we find it strange that a staple food of civilization has suddenly become the villain of modern health.
Simply put, the wheat we consume today is very different to the wheat varieties of old. And we are no longer eating whole wheat products.
However, in any case gluten can truly have some ill-effects on your health. Here’s why and what you can do about it.
Gluten is no longer the Gluten we knew
We already explained how the wheat of today is completely different to the wheat varieties of old in Gluten Is Not as Unhealthy as You Might Think.
In essence, the most of use consume way more gluten than people of old did and the gluten is chemically different:
- most breads have added gluten to them;
- modern wheat is much higher in gluten than wheats of old;
- modern wheat’s gluten is quite different chemically than the gluten of ancient wheat;
- white flour packs much more gluten per pound than whole grains.
The leaky gut connection
Leaky gut, in essence, means that undigested proteins and other particles pass through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream.
And since they are foreign to us, our immune system gets overactive and our overall health is compromised.
We might develop leaky gut due to unnatural foods for humans.
Dairy, meat or antibiotics… Even gluten…
However, probably not whole wheat bread that is made by 100% einkorn grain that have notoriously low amount of gluten.
Probably the super-concentrated frankengluten white flour breads, pizzas and croissants that we stuff ourselves and our children.
Imagine to how much more gluten we are exposed through these artificial, unnatural foods.
The vast amounts of frankengluten we eat are not tolerated well by our gut. Add to the mix all the other unnatural foods we consume such as dairy, sugars and artificial chemicals.
It is logical that the gut lining starts to get damaged by them and we develop “leaky gut”.
How is gluten actually harmful to us, anyway?
Undigested gluten can lead to autoimmune disease
No matter how we develop leaky gut, if we do, then gluten will enter our bloodstream.
Because undigested gluten is not supposed to be in our blood, our immune system starts making antibodies to destroy it.
Gluten’s molecules, however, are remarkably similar to the molecules of the thyroid gland, for example.
In the crossfire between our immune system and gluten, those anti-gluten antibodies make mistakes and start attacking the thyroid gland itself which results in autoimmune hypothyroidism. Or some other diseases, such as celiac…
Should I stop eating gluten then?
The simple answer is no. And yes?
You can do two things:
1. Eat higher quality pastries
The cheaper the bread, the worse for your health it might be.
That is because it most likely has added gluten and is made from white flour.
Going wholegrain is the first step
Wholegrain wheat has far less gluten and is better for the gut than white flour.
Read the label, though. You want 100% wholegrain, not 20 or 30%!
Many bread manufacturers will put “whole grain” on the label but their pastries are 70 white flour.
Real wholegrain products may be more expensive but there is a lot more nutrition in that smaller loaf you get.
Choose ancient wheat
Our ancestors ate the grain nature provided and not the artificially hybridized varieties of today. Probably for that reason they hardly had adverse reactions to gluten.
Einkorn and kamut are among the best wheats. Spelt is OK.
These wheats are much lower in gluten and the gluten itself is much more easily digestible.
2. Heal your gut
Leaky gut is probably the main way gluten harms you, however, gluten is not the greatest threat.
Animal foods, such as meat and dairy protein harm the intestinal walls quite a lot so removing them from your diet is a must.
Eat Whole Natural Plant Foods!
Grains and beans are among the best foods for your gut. But plant foods, as well as they are consumed whole, will keep your gut safe.
The high water and fibre content helps to feed good bacteria. The abundance of micronutrients further improves gut health.
Get some quality probiotics to restore your gut flora.
We all probably need probiotics in this day and age simply because we live in an environment that is at a disconnect from our natural habitat. Chlorinated water, pesticides and artificial foods are just a few of the reasons the bacteria in our guts is being consistently killed off.
A probiotic from time to time seems like a must if we want to be healthy. Just make sure its plant-based.
3. Bake you own bread
In our experience, there is no pure einkorn, spelt or kamut bread on supermarket shelves today.
So, you might want to bake your own bread or invest in a bread maker to do that for you.
If you decide to buy a bread maker, just make sure it is powerful enough to make whole grain bread like this simple T-Fal ActiBread.
Whatever you choose, though, eating a wholegrain einkorn bread is way healthier than the frankengrain white pastries in supermarkets.
In any case, seek health consciously, always!