What is Gluten anyways?

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Excuse the length. :)

I have a lot of people question me about whether or not gluten-free is the way to be and sometimes it is hard to respond. The idea of gluten itself is not inherently bad for you. It is the process our big named companies put the grain through that is bad. Just look at this funny video: ABOVE

Gluten is not Wheat!

What is gluten: Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye).

Before I continue on into great article written by Sally Fallon and Mary G Enig, let me tell you why I try to stay away from gluten.

While I do not have a full Gluten intolerance, from my personal experience my body does not run at it’s best when I eat items that contain gluten. I know this simply from times that I have removed gluten from my diet for 2 weeks or more.

Symptoms I feel:

  • bloating
  • bowel irregularity
  • craving sugar or more bread when I’m already full
  • weight gain

While these are not life-threatening issues, they still don’t make me feel great. I limit my intake of gluten-containing products because over processed wheat tends to upset my system. I do however love properly prepared whole grains like Sourdough Bread. Eaten with a high quality butter, bone broth, or any other good fats, it is magical in my system.

At this point I would like to provide you snippets of  a article written by Sally Fallon and Mary G Enig entitled, “Be Kind to Your Grains…And Your Grains Will Be Kind To You”

Here is the highlights:

  • White Flour is an empty food, supplying calories for energy but none of the bodybuilding materials that abound in the germ and the bran of whole grains…Unfortunately…now whole grain and bran products are being promoted as health foods without adequate appreciation for their dangers. These show up not only as digestive problems, Crohn’s disease and colitis, but also as the mental disorders associated with celiac disease.
  • Many healthy societies consume products made from grains….Problems occur when we are cruel to our grains-when we fractionate them into bran, germ and named starch; when we mill them at high temperatures; when we extrude them to make crunch breakfast cereals; and when we consume them without careful preparation.
  • Grains require careful preparation because they contain a number of anti nutrients that can cause serious health problems. Phytic acid, for example, is an organic acid in which phosphorus is bound. it is mostly found in the bran or outer hull of seeds. Untreated physic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in improperly prepared whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss.
  • Most of these antinutrients are part of the seed’s system of preservation—they prevent sprouting until the conditions are right. Plants need moisture, warmth, time and slight acidity in order to sprout. Proper preparation of grains is a kind and gentle process that imitates the process that occurs in nature. It involves soaking for a period in warm, acidulated water in the preparation of porridge, or long, slow sour dough fermentation in the making of bread. Such processes neutralize phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. Vitamin content increases, particularly B vitamins. Tannins, complex sugars, gluten and other difficult-to-digest substances are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.
  • Animals that nourish themselves on primarily on grain and other plant matter have as many as four stomachs. Their intestines are longer, as is the entire digestion transit time. Man, on the other hand, has but one stomach and a much shorter intestine compared to herbivorous animals. These features of his anatomy allow him to pass animal products before they putrefy in the gut but make him less well adapted to a diet high in grains—unless, of course, he prepares them properly.
  • while our ancestors ate whole grains, they did not consume them as presented in our modern cookbooks in the form of quick-rise breads, granolas, bran preparations and other hastily prepared casseroles and concoctions. Our ancestors, and virtually all pre-industrialized peoples, soaked or fermented their grains before making them into porridge, breads, cakes and casseroles.
  • A quick review of grain recipes from around the world will prove our point: In India, rice and lentils are fermented for at least two days before they are prepared as idli and dosas; in Africa the natives soak coarsely ground corn overnight before adding it to soups and stews and they ferment corn or millet for several days to produce a sour porridge called ogi; a similar dish made from oats was traditional among the Welsh; in some Oriental and Latin American countries rice receives a long fermentation before it is prepared; Ethiopians make their distinctive injera bread by fermenting a grain called teff for several days; Mexican corn cakes, called pozol, are fermented for several days and for as long as two weeks in banana leaves; before the introduction of commercial brewers yeast, Europeans made slow-rise breads from fermented starters; in America the pioneers were famous for their sourdough breads, pancakes and biscuits; and throughout Europe grains were soaked overnight, and for as long as several days, in water or soured milk before they were cooked and served as porridge or gruel. (Many of our senior citizens may remember that in earlier times the instructions on the oatmeal box called for an overnight soaking.)
  • Grains are laced with pesticides during the growing season and in storage; they are milled at high temperatures so that their fatty acids turn rancid. Rancidity increases when milled flours are stored for long periods of time, particularly in open bins. The bran and germ are often removed and sold separately, when Mother Nature intended that they be eaten together with the carbohydrate portion; they’re baked as quick rise breads so that antinutrients remain; synthetic vitamins and an unabsorbable form of iron added to white flour can cause numerous imbalances; dough conditioners, stabilizers, preservatives and other additives add insult to injury.

The final indignity to grains is that we treat them as loners, largely ignorant of other dietary factors needed for the nutrients they provide. Fat-soluble vitamins A and D found in animal fats like butter, lard and cream help us absorb calcium, phosphorus, iron, B vitamins and the many other vitamins that grains provide. Porridge eaten with cream will do us a thousand times more good than cold breakfast cereal consumed with skim milk; sourdough whole grain bread with butter or whole cheese is a combination that contributes to optimal health.

Be kind to your grains. . . and your grains will deliver their promise as the staff of life. Buy only organic whole grains and soak them overnight to make porridge or casseroles; or grind them into flour with a home grinder and make your own sour dough bread and baked goods. For those who lack the time for breadmaking, kindly-made whole grain breads are now available. Look for organic, stone ground, sprouted or sour dough whole grain breads and enjoy them with butter or cheese.

For more information like this check out Weston A. Price.org


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