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What’s the Truth behind Gluten?

July 9, 2012 By Billy

Gluten seems to be a topic that has everyone abuzz, and yet, no one seems to know what the issue really is.  Is gluten bad for us?  What does it do?  And seriously, what the heck is gluten anyway?!

To put it simply,  gluten is the protein component in grains such as wheat, barley, spelt, oats and a few others.  It gives elasticity to dough, helping it to rise and to keep its shape when baked, and it gives the final product a chewy texture.  What’s so bad about that?  The problem with gluten is, that it’s in almost everything we eat, the main culprit being wheat.  Think about the popular foods most Americans eat throughout the day: cereal (cold or hot), toast, pastries, tortillas, pizza, crackers, cookies, energy bars, breaded meats, sandwiches, pastas, soy sauce, salad dressing, thick sauces, soups and soup bases, beer, desserts…and more bread – holy wheat, Batman!… that’s light years from moderation!

Bottom line – there’s nothing wrong with having some wheat, some sugar, some dairy, and some animal protein for most of us, right?  Unless you have sensitivity to any of these foods, there should be no reason why you can’t enjoy them from time to time, in moderation.  Grains have been part of our diet for thousands of years.  It’s only in today’s culture that we are seeing developments of sensitivities and allergies.  The body can handle a sprinkling of just about anything you throw its way, until it becomes a constant – that’s where we start seeing some pushback.  For many of us, wheat creates a bit of havoc on one of the major building blocks of our health- the digestive system.  The hard-to-digest elements of gluten make it extremely difficult to metabolize, are acid-forming, and also makes us feel tired.  Shoot, who wants that?

Everyone has their own individual biological makeup, and the body’s rebellion rears its head in varying forms.   Common retaliation to overdoing wheat ranges from poor digestion, to sensitivity/allergies, to Celiac Disease (inability of the small intestine to absorb nutrients).  We are not meant to subsist off of a diet of any one thing, and, as it stands, wheat is a heavy hitter in the American Diet.  Wheat flour products, like sugar, and similar ‘junk food’ are better to be more of an occasional thing.  What’s ‘occasional’ is up to you….at the very least, make it so it’s not all day every day.

The Solutions ~

1.   As always, be aware of what you’re eating –  we have SO much going on in this faster paced world, but your diet shouldn’t be in autopilot just eating whatever comes your way!!  Read the list of ingredients in products before stocking them in your pantry!   Some alternatives to wheat are listed below.

 2.   Listen to your body- if you are finding that you have some reactions to wheat products, try switching to foods that are gluten-free, or that are at least lower gluten.  Instead of having buns n’ rolls with dinner, just steam up a bit of quinoa or brown rice – easy!  And, these satisfy the body’s craving for carbs far better than bread because they have some valuable nutrition!

3.    Strengthen your digestive system- you two should be working together, not against each other! Drink your greens! A few ingredients in my formula that are specifically for boosting your digestive system :  probiotics (good bacteria that aids digestion), enzymes (metabolism), aloe (aids digestion/elimination), sprouted flax seeds (fiber), ginger (spleen activation) and B12 vitamins (metabolism).

4.   Better Alternatives – Now that we have a good idea of just how much wheat (gluten) has infiltrated our diet and how it affects our health and digestion, let’s change tracks and focus on the good stuff!  For those looking to make a change and cut back on wheat or go gluten-free, you have options!!

Instead of Wheat, Try…

gluten free grains:                                 High gluten grains to cut back on:

Amaranth                                                      Wheat

Buckwheat                                                    Bulgur

Millet                                                               Barley

Quinoa                                                           Kamut

Rice                                                                 Semolina

Arrowroot                                                       Spelt


…. rye and oats are a couple options that aren’t gluten free but are lower in gluten and more digestible.

It’s a Wrap

So now when you hear someone bring up “gluten”, you know- it’s not your mortal enemy…. it’s just something to be more aware of when you are planning your meals.  If you have wheat products in your diet, just enjoy more sparingly and reap the benefits of a much happier, healthier digestive system!

By CPT Laura Bordeaux and Billy Merritt

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  1. Rob Rusert on   

    Thank you BIlly! This was a dynamic breakdown Glutens implications. Dr. Mark Hyman Emphisizes that gluten is a heavy digestive sensitive for most people as well as a neuro-excitotoxin…sketchy and I really appreciate how you touch on the gravity of becoeming conscious of glutens potential implications.

    Good Work My Friend


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