Most of you know that I promote the avoidance of ALL processed grains for optimal health. My philosophy stems from a very primitive belief that modern disease and illness is partly associated with the modern agricultural trend. A movement that has steered us away from healthy meats,fats and produce towards a cheap, easily grown modified filler....ceral grains! I recently stumbled upon a great book during my own writing research and I wanted to share a review with you. Dangerous Grains is about the numerous health hazards of gluten grains. It's co-written by James Braly, an M.D. who specializes in food allergies, and Ron Hoggan, a celiac sufferer who has researched and written widely on the subject.
Celiac disease is a degeneration of the intestinal lining caused by exposure to gluten. Gluten sensitivity is a broader term that encompasses any of the numerous symptoms that can occur throughout the body when susceptible people eat gluten. The term gluten sensitivity includes celiac disease. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, its close relatives (kamut, spelt, triticale), barley and rye. Wheat is the most concentrated source.
Dangerous Grains is a good overview of the mountain of data on celiac disease and gluten sensitivity that few people outside the field are familiar with. For example, did you know:
An estimated one percent of the U.S. population suffers from celiac disease.
Approximately 12 percent of the US population suffers from gluten sensitivity.
Gluten can damage nearly any part of the body, including the brain, the digestive tract, the skin and the pancreas. Sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms are absent.
Both celiac and other forms of gluten sensitivity increase the risk of a large number of diseases, such as type 1 diabetes and cancer, often dramatically.
The majority of people with gluten sensitivity are not diagnosed.
Most doctors don't realize how common gluten sensitivity is, so they rarely test for it.
Celiac disease and other symptoms of gluten sensitivity are easily reversed by avoiding gluten.
Twelve percent of Americans have gluten sensitivity! That's an enormous disease burden coming from a single type of food. I suspect the true incidence may actually be higher. There are preliminary data suggesting that most people may mount an immune response to gluten that does not require antibodies (through the innate immune system). This type of gluten sensitivity would be overlooked by the typical antibody tests, but could still result in damage.
Dangerous Grains also discusses the opioid-like peptides released from gluten during digestion. Opioids are powerful drugs, such as heroin and morphine, that were originally derived from the poppy seed pod. They are strong suppressors of the immune system and quite addictive. There are no data that conclusively prove the opioid-like peptides in gluten cause immune suppression or addiction to wheat, but there are some interesting coincidences and anecdotes. Celiac patients are at an increased risk of cancer, particularly digestive tract cancer, which suggests that the immune system is compromised. Heroin addicts are also at increased risk of cancer. Furthermore, celiac patients often suffer from abnormal food cravings. From my reading, I believe that wheat causes excessive eating, perhaps through a drug-like mechanism, and many people report withdrawal-like symptoms and cravings after eliminating wheat.
I have many clients who have benefited greatly from removing gluten (if not all grains) from their diets. ANYONE who has digestive problems, from gas to acid reflux, or any other mysterious health problem,such as joint pain, arthritis, brain fog and generalized fatigue, owes it to themselves to try a gluten-free diet for a month. Gluten consumption has increased quite a bit in the U.S. in the last 30 years, mostly due to an increase in the consumption of processed wheat snacks. I believe it's partly to blame for our declining health. Wheat has more gluten than any other grain. Avoiding wheat and all other processed grains is the foundation of my health philosophy.
Another notable change that Sally Fallon (Weston Price Foundation and Author, Nourishing Traditions)and others have pointed out is that today's bread isn't made the same way our grandparents made it. Quick-rise yeast allows bread to be fermented for as little as 3 hours, whereas it was formerly fermented for 8 hours or more. This allowed the gluten to be partially broken down by the microorganisms in the dough. Some gluten-sensitive people report that they can eat well-fermented sourdough wheat bread without symptoms. I think these ideas are plausible, but they remain suspect to me at this point. Until research shows that gluten-sensitive people can do well eating sourdough wheat bread in the long term, I'll be avoiding it along with EVERY other processed grain.
I'm not aware of any truly healthy traditional culture that eats wheat as a staple. As a matter of fact, white wheat flour has left a trail of destruction around the globe wherever it has gone. Hundreds, if not thousands of cultures throughout the world have lost their robust good health upon abandoning their traditional and primitive foods in favor of white flour and sugar. The medical and anthropological literature are heavily weighted with these statistics.
So, I suggest that you add this your library of well written books....but save a space on your shelf for Primitive Diva.....coming Spring/summer 2011!
- Queen Bee Wellness
- Three Goats Farm of Montgomery, Texas
- Melissa is a former beauty queen, personal trainer and certified holistic health coach. Melissa founded Queen Bee Wellness to specialize her coaching practice towards Women's Wellness and Beauty. She helps women focus on finding their own natural beauty from a integrative approach of balancing Mind, Body and Soul. Melissa believes that what we put in our mind is just as important as the nourishing food we put in our bodies and products on our skin. She strives to coach women to balance a healthier body image, approach to wellness and authentic living. With her passion for a clean lifestyle, Queen Bee Wellness therapeutic skin care products were born- to help women enhance their natural glow, without causing harm to their health from chemical laden toxic products. Melissa's philosophy to real beauty is summarized in "Wellness is Beauty". Melissa resides on a 10 acre farm in Montgomery, Texas with her husband and teen aged children. In her spare time she is chief goat wrangler and milker of her "Queen Bee" herd of dairy goats at Three Goats Farm.