I don't believe in scaremongering about food sensitivities but Coeliac Disease is often taken lightly by the general population. I am fortunate in that I have been exposed on two different occasions to the reality of Coeliac Disease. The first time I heard about it was possibly 15 years ago when I met a man who thanked me for bringing plain cooked asparagus drizzled with a knob of butter, a few drops of lemon juice and seasoning, to a pot luck lunch. I'm sure we are all astounded by the amount of sweet and starchy food that is placed on a pot luck table.
My favourite way of eating fresh asparagus is to wash it and break off the tough ends of the stalk before placing in a microwaveable dish. I microwave the asparagus for 4-6 minutes according to how much I have put in the dish. I have to admit this is a trial and error procedure but I do try to keep the asparagus al dente rather than soft. You can pick my asparagus up in your fingers and eat just like that. Unless you have eaten plain, freshly harvested asparagus simply cooked until it still has a hint of crispness you have not lived.
Getting back to my friend. He told me he had been hospitalized a couple of years previously with a diagnosis of Coeliac Disease after collapsing. My friend was a fit, slim eighty year old. I was surprised that one could have this disease and not have serious symptoms for most of your life. Now I understand there is a cumulative effect of the damage gluten does in the intestines which goes on almost silently in some people until a crisis point is reached.
My second exposure was through a nursing colleague of my daughter. Jane was talking about going to a local Café for lunch and how the owners were always sensitive to Becky's needs. Becky is a 30-40 year old who is slim and at first glance looked healthy. When I met her I suggested she would have lost weight after eliminating gluten grains from her diet. She replied that was not so. The gluten had kept her gut in such a state that she was always unwell and never far from a bathroom. Her digestive system was a mess. By removing gluten she now could enjoy her food and had gained a little weight.
After reading Wheat Belly by Dr William Davis, I now understand some of the mechanics of how gluten damages the intestines. I also know from personal experience one does not need to be diagnosed Coeliac Disease to be sensitive to gluten. The current tests do not always catch the disease and there are levels of gluten sensitivity which may not be Coeliac Disease but definitely cause inflammation in the gut. Age onset of gluten sensitivity is very common in my experience, as I talk with friends. The trouble with waiting until you are old enough to have recognisable symptoms is that damage has been done. I can only hope that the gut repairs itself so long as I never eat gluten grains again. I was impressed by Dr. O'Bryan's statement that once a month exposure to the tiniest bit of gluten, ie that left in a salad after removing the croutons, causes damage.
It's not my place to say no-one should eat modern wheat or we should all steer clear of products containing gluten but I do think we should all be aware that for some people gluten is a serious poison. Everytime I think of gluten sensitivity and Coeliac Disease I remember reading about Shauna Ahern's experience as described in her Blog, Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. This recent post mentions how her little daughter knows to kiss her on the cheek, not the lips. A year or two back I remember reading how a kiss from her Chef husband, when he returned from work, caused quite a marked reaction.
It's sad that such a basic food has become a modern-day source of illness. As a Christian I often battle with the knowledge that Jesus described himself as the Bread Of Life, yet bread makes many of us sick. The only explanation must be that modern wheat is not true wheat and is light years away from the wheat used in Biblical days. Dr Davis does explain the difference in his book.
Personally, if I was setting up home and starting a family today with the knowledge I now have, I would treat wheat as a food to be avoided and you would not find any gluten grains in my pantry. There are so many alternative ways to replace wheat that it's not as difficult as it sounds at first. The hardest part is making the mental adjustment because wheat seems to be in everything you buy except meat, most dairy and veggies. There is hardly a processed product on the grocery shelf that does not contain wheat. We are fortunate to have the internet where we can connect with all the people who eschew wheat in their diet. There is a great volume of knowledge from creative people who share their experience freely. I have always enjoyed cooking and baking.
It is fun to create a new way of eating for John and myself although at the moment I do very little baking. I'm finding that my weight loss comes to a grinding halt all too easily these days and I'm only a little past half way to goal. I will always eat the occasional treat but I am becoming more discerning with every piece of knowledge I gain. Jesus said that without knowledge my people perish. Certainly he was referring to the need to spread the Gospel Story and to learn how to live in the Kingdom of God, but the statement applies in other aspects of life too.
I hope you watch the video and maybe even go and have a read at Dr. O'Bryan's website. I certainly will be heading in that direction when I have time later today.
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