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You are what you wheat!

From: A Balanced View,

30
January
2009
You are what you wheat!

News about wheat being bad for you is everywhere. These days all the big supermarkets stock wheat free this and gluten that, but the truth is that most of us mere mortals aren’t sure why it’s so bad or what to eat instead.

So here are a few facts; I often hear “people didn’t have these problems years ago” that’s true, here’s why - Prior to the 1970’s wheat was grown in relatively small amounts, local to the place you bought it from. When you ate it, it was nice and fresh and had a much smaller level of gluten in it. Once intensive farming became the norm, wheat was genetically modified to fit the combine harvesters more easily, it became a uniform height and shape to make it easier to process. This increased the gluten content of it dramatically!

In the last 20 years it has become quite normal for a person’s daily diet to consist of toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner. These days we are literally overdosing on wheat because it’s so convenient. Gluten literally glues itself to the inside of your body, many conditions such as skin problems, arthritis, weight problems, headaches, lethargy and IBS can be caused by eating wheat regularly and gluten building up in your diet.

So how do I know if wheat is bad for me?

Well the most simple and effective way is to get tested for food sensitivity by a specialist such as a Kinesiologist. It is highly unlikely that a blood test will show up a sensitivity as it can be sub-clinical. Only people with a full wheat allergy (coeliacs) will have pathological changes in their blood but don’t let this fool you, even a small intolerance can cause some extreme symptoms. As a rough guideline here are some classic “wheat related symptoms” but please people be sensible give it a few weeks and if your symptoms are still there go see a health professional!

  • Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Groggy in the mornings
  • Aches and pains
  • Skin problems
  • Mood swings
  • Stomach pains / IBS
  • Sneezing / itching
  • Runny nose/eyes
  • Headaches

But what’s the alternative?

I’m not going to say it’s a piece of cake (wheat free of course…) to eliminate wheat from your diet. It seems to creep in everywhere, tinned soups, crisps, cereals, condiments (the list is endless) but it is definitely possible. Its much easier now than it was a few years ago. Opt for things made from Spelt. Spelt is “ancient” wheat , its got a much lower gluten content as it hasn’t been modified. You can buy all sorts of things from pasta, biscuits to pitta breads and it tastes delicious! We have handmade our own wheat and dairy free gingerbread and mince pies for the last 3 Christmas's using spelt, so far no one has noticed! Check out the “free from” section in your supermarket. They will stock lots of products but be warned many of the “bakery goods” need toasting, don’t be lazy you will regret it! Even better is to go to your local health food shop. They will specialize in this stuff and will probably have artisan breads, fresh spelt cakes and biscuits that are amazing and probably also don’t contain refined sugar.

Go back to basics. Rethink your diet, If you were highly wheat reliant have a shake up of your “recipe portfolio” and get creative. Even when you are trying to avoid it, it can be hard. The only advice I can give is to read the packets and get as much info as you can. (unlike my husband who proudly presented me with a packet of bran flakes and insisted they were wheat free because they were made of bran…..) Seriously though, being aware of what you are eating is really empowering and you will feel the benefit, give it a go. If you would like recipe ideas or for more information check out Balanced Wellness

Good luck Claire xx

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