The Gluten Effect


Over the past couple of days, I have felt that my digestion is off. I am bloated, and my sinuses are driving me bonkers. Hmmmmm why could this be? Generally, at this time of year, I would think it is probably just a little cold as the weather changes. But then I think, and look back on the last few days and say… um it is the GLUTEN!


Now you might think, why would this come to mind for her? Well, for Thanksgiving, my little family asked me to bring my mom’s homemade buns (made of entirely white flour) to our family meal. So, of course, to me, there was no more significant way to make her a part of the meal we were going to have. (My mom passed away 13 years ago). As part of my diet, I generally steer away from gluten, but of course, I indulged in one on this occasion. Then this past weekend, we had vegan burgers, and the only buns we had were a few leftover from Thanksgiving. I thought…awe one won’t hurt.

So this week, my sinuses are inflamed, my eczema on my hands is flaring up and itchy, and I feel like I have a watermelon in my belly. You are thinking all this from consuming a couple of buns. Well yes! Most of the population has a mild gluten intolerance. You don’t need to be celiac to be impacted by gluten.


Gluten is a protein naturally found predominantly in wheat, rye, and barley but in other grains. Years ago, grains production changed from when our ancestors grew up, resulting in people being more sensitive.


So what happens that creates an issue in our body? Zonulin is a protein in the intestinal tract that manages the opening of the tight gaps that enable nutrients to enter the bloodstream. When we consume gluten, zonulin production is triggered, causing these gaps to become larger, letting more undigested food, toxins, and bacteria enter the bloodstream[i]. This eventually depletes the immune system. It has been overly active, removing all the foreign substances and damaging tissues, leading to chronic inflammation.[ii] Some people may experience digestive issues, headaches, anxiety and mood disorders.[iii]


Not only is gluten found in baking and breads, but it can also be in meats, candy, and condiments, for example. Read the labels if you want to eliminate gluten from your diet.


There are many different options for gluten-free flours. My favourite gluten-free flours are:

· Oat (ensuring it is gluten-free)

· Sorghum

· Buckwheat

· Brown Rice

· Coconut

· Almond


These are staples in my kitchen. There are others too like:

· Amaranth

· Arrowroot

· Millet

· Chickpea

· Quinoa

· Tapioca

· Teff


The key is to find the ones that suit your taste, texture and cooking style. It takes a bit of tweaking to get a conventional recipe changed to gluten-free, but it is fun to test things out.


I hope you found this helpful. I encourage you to try going gluten-free for a week or two and see how you feel; especially if you suffer from any of the above things discussed in this article. You may be surprised by how you feel!


Light and Love,

Charity





References [i] Osborne, Peter. “Is Gluten Causing Leaky Gut Syndrome? Understanding Its Effects.” 1MD, 1MD, 5 Feb. 2015, 1md.org/article/gluten-causing-leaky-gut-syndrome. [ii] Schoenwalder, Michael. “Leaky Gut Affects the Whole Body.” Schoenwalder Health & Wellness, The Brain Mill, 20 June 2019, www.drmichaelschoenwalder.com/leaky-gut-affects-the-whole-body/. [iii] Gitalis, Josh. “What's Wrong with Gluten - and Should We All Go Gluten-Free?” Josh Gitalis, 20 Sept. 2021, https://www.joshgitalis.com/whats-wrong-with-gluten-and-should-we-all-go-gluten-free/.

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