An Honest Loaf, Pt 2 – Gluten Free? Not Just a Fad.


Our last Food For Thought article has generated a lot of emails and comments from around the country, so I thought it would be fun to do a follow-up after receiving an email from Dr. Veronica Collings with her article titled Gluten Free? Not Just a Fad.

You see, I was one of those kindergartners that got to watch my teacher mix up that Big Bowl of White Flour and water so we could glue up our art projects. Of course, being five-year-olds, we just had to eat a little bit.

Later, we thought we were really deprived because the kids two years behind us got the really good-tasting premixed variety in a 2 ½ gallon container – with sugar and flavorings added. Could this have been the start of gluten sensitivity issues?

Now, what Dr. Lee was trying to tell us 70 years ago is the more you process grains, the more we will pay with our health. I have always been an advocate of eating non-processed foods for staying healthy, but today we have Monsanto mucking up natural foods under the guise of progress. After Monsanto re-worked wheat, corporate agriculture added chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

So is it any wonder that US grains can be so toxic, compared to the original seed stock?

Dr. Lee’s point back then was that grinding grain with metallic grinding wheels (instead of stone grinding wheels at slow speeds) was a degrading process. High speed grinding generates high temperature of heat that the processors want to ignore.

Once that temperature goes over 110° it turns oils rancid and starts destroying the enzymes needed to properly break down the grains so they can be properly digested. Even if you get organic grains with pure seed stock, you destroy it in the process and start triggering a negative response in the body.

In 1999, we at IFNH had Standard Process products checked by a laboratory for gluten and they were negative. IFNH was criticized by a speaker who said he was gluten sensitive, stating the test was flawed and he can’t use anything with wheat in it, not even wheat germ oil – but he hadn’t even tried it! Unfortunately, the sensationalist (like Dr. Oz) uses the same brush to paint all pictures with the same color.

I personally remember two women patients in their early 50s who spent three months a year in the South of France, drinking French wines, and eating brie and French bread with no side effects. Yet, one was diagnosed Celiac and allergic to dairy. This makes one wonder if our quest to feed the masses might be at the base of what is killing us.

So, I thought I would share Dr. Veronica’s patient handout, with her permission, with all of you.

Gluten Free? Not Just a Fad.

Gluten is the protein portion of primarily four grains: wheat, rye, barley and, on a lesser scale, oats. Gluten sensitivity has been tied to digestive distress and even disease conditions like Alzheimer’s, as well as being implicated in a whole range of signs and symptoms.

Why is that and why is it so prevalent today? This is the $64,000 question for most patients suffering from its effects. After all, who ever heard of gluten sensitivity, 30 years ago?

The “why” is an individual’s genetic weak link, which also determines how it shows itself and its severity. Gluten can cause inflammation and interfere with short-term memory depending on the degree the individuals are predisposed. The degree to which it affects an individual depends on their overall exposure, which determines the severity of the symptom.

The “why is it so prevalent now” question requires a little historical perspective. It’s believed that Homo erectus, the first upright man, appeared about two million years ago. For the subsequent 1,990,000 of those years, man ate what he hunted and gathered.

Then roughly 10,000 years ago in Egyptian Nile Valley man started to domesticate grasses, which have led to the ever present pasta and bread as part of the American diet.

A new study of ancient Greek texts reveals that diet considerations had been conceived by early doctors as a form of medicinal treatment. The study, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology on January 6 of this year was done by Professor John Wilkins of Exeter University, an expert on the history of food and medicine in Greco-Roman culture.

Professor Wilkins describes practices by Galen of Pergamon, a noted Greek physician and philosopher that recommended a nutritional diet, closely mirrored to today’s modern Mediterranean diet.

Born in 129 A.D., Galen relied heavily on preventative medicine as a method of treatment using foods. As the personal physician to several emperors, he saw nutrition as equal to pharmacology in the maintenance of good health over an individual’s lifespan.

Rather than attributing illness to a supernatural force or deity, Hippocratic Greek doctors like Galen emphasized a need for simple, naturally flavorful food for their patients. This was derived from the notion that the exterior properties of a food underscored their effect on the human body.

Given that our current genetic makeup is thought to be about 30,000 years old, the introduction of grains is a relatively new phenomenon to our genome. But the problem with gluten sensitivity is a very new phenomenon, much like the sudden growth of degenerative disease over the last hundred years that’s impacted the industrialized world today.

You would think the experts would take into consideration the processing of grains and the quantity of the pasta and the bread consumed today. But, no consideration is given to how the destruction of the organic seed stock and our diet impacts basic digestion, sugar handling and liver, gallbladder function.

Dr. Francis Pottenger’s research, conducted between 1932 and 1942 with cats and nutrition, showed the accelerated effect of the breakdown of the body’s systems from highly processed foods (digestion, sugar handling and liver, gallbladder function).

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