Gluton Free? Why?


No one can deny that the smell of freshly baked bread is tempting to the taste buds and the appetite and yet despite its being a world staple food, bread can have very negative effects on the human organism. Why? This is mainly because wheat contains a substance called gluten. Gluten is a protein that is largly responsible for the rising factor in bread making. In other words the very concept behind bread, that fluffy doughy or air filled texture that we slice and wrap around food to make sandwiches or chunk to dip in soup or curries etc is because of the reaction the gluten has with yeast.

Unfortunately, in recent years gluten has become more aggressive and invasive to the human body largley because of a commercial motive. The wheats developed in recent times enable the manufacturers to make bigger loaves. You may have noticed that bread is not sold by weight! But by the bigger the loaf the higher the price. This has led to two more factors: one bread makers can now produce bigger bread units using the same flour they used to use to produce smaller units and two they can sometimes sell it cheaper. In the latter factor bread has become more available and because it is flling people often eat more of it!.

So what are the consequences? Well for a long time we have had Celiac Disease which is a gluten intolerant disease where the gluten attacks the lining of the intestines. Its causes are unknown but it seems to affect caucasians of European descent. With celiac disease the body reacts to gluten as if it were an antigen and hence launches an immune system attack causing the lining of the intestines to swell with resulting damage and a consequent inability to absorb vital nutrients. Celiacsare equally affected by other gluten products such as rye, oats and barley.

Gluten intolerance has also been linked to several inflammatory skin diseases including dermatitis and even if you can associate these with skin contact issues gluten can still aggravate the problem. 

There are also a number of other health concerns now associated with gluten intolerance such as unexplained indigestion, headaches, heart palpitations, anxiety symptoms, depression...there is also a possible increase risk of lupus, arthritis, diabetes, thyroid problems and other inflammatory related illnesses such as cardio-vascular disease and cancer. As we get older we run the risk of increased inflammation in the body that can lead to such degenerative illness and confirmation of this has come out of the work of two scientists whose work on inflammation and cancer has recently earned them a Nobel Prize. 

All good reasons for moving towards a gluten free diet. As we can see from the link to this article there are substitues that can produce gluten free pastries and breads and if made with a little loving kindness can still produce that just baked fresh smell and be just as tasty!

Best Wishes and Healthy Eating

Barry Todd