A few weeks ago I had a discussion with a friend whose son suffers from Crohn’s disease. He’s in his early 20’s now, but has had quite a battle with this horrible inflammatory disease since his early teens. He’s not alone and within this small circle of friends, I have another friend whose son has battled Crohn’s since early childhood. I also know many others who have lived with this horrible IBD for a good portion of their lives and all of whom are young people. Knowing this makes my heart heavy. It’s tough seeing beautiful people suffer. This made me wonder what these families and individual sufferers have in common. Why are so many young people developing Crohn’s? One thing that I continue to see among people who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases are major red flags in their diets. What they can’t see through no fault of their own, is that many of their healthy” food choices are instrumental in making them sick and keeping them in constant flare. Whenever I cross paths with anyone who has a chronic inflammatory disease, I always initiate a discussion about healthy eating, because I believe that there is a strong correlation between what we eat and how we feel. I also believe that with the growing number of chronic inflammatory diseases on the rise in not just young people, but people across the spectrum, that there is a direct link between chronic illness and our food source and it is this continued exposure to “harmful healthy foods” that is responsible for making us sick and keeping a great majority of our population dependent upon pharmaceutical drugs.
In addition to GMO’s and dairy, my concern’s have always pointed toward wheat gluten and I’m not alone in my thinking. Preventative cardiologist William Davis, MD wrote a New York times best seller called “Wheat Belly” it is through his observation of over 2000 patients that he began noticing a connection between wheat and obesity, chronic inflammatory diseases such as Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD), gluten allergies like Celiac and gluten intolerance such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other chronic conditions and diseases such as asthma, eczema and ulcerative colitis.
So, what’s the big deal about wheat? It’s an ancient cereal grain often ground into flour and used to make breads, pastas and pastries. Correct? It’s also packed full of vitamins such as Calcium, Iron, Vitamin B-6 and Magnesium. The most important part of this description is “ancient.” Yes, grandma’s wheat was healthy, nutritious and a great addition to a healthy diet. However, it is only the wheat of the early 20th century that we can refer to as healthy, because what we’re eating in our modern world is hybridized and *bioengineered wheat, thanks to big agricultural on its quest for a higher yielding crop. We can’t even call what we eat today “wheat” perhaps it should be referred to as “beat” short for bio-wheat, “wheatio” “hybro-wheat, or perhaps more appropriately “inflammo-grain.” For those of us who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases such as Ankylosing Spondylitis, IBDs such as Crohn’s & Ulcerative Colitis and IBS, this is another compelling reason to skip wheat based products and specifically wheat gluten protein, which has been altered through intense crossbreeding. The healthy amino acids and gliadin protein found in wheat has changed drastically over the years and it is this change that is potentially responsible for the 400-percent increase in Celiac disease that we’ve seen over the past 40 years. It is also modern-day gliadin protein that works as a powerful appetite stimulant and according to Dr. Davis this may also account for the explosion in inflammatory diseases that were are seeing on the rise. Inflammo-wheat with its new biochemical code also causes hormone disruption that is linked to diabetes and obesity.
*Bioengineered wheat doesn’t just make you hungrier and heavier, it can also makes you nutrient deficient. The combination of digestion-impairing components in the seeds of grasses exposes you to a collection of poorly digested toxic, allergic and disruptive agents. Since modern-day wheat is a cross between wheat and non-wheat grasses, (that’s right grasses) through irradiation of wheat seeds and embryos with chemicals, gamma rays, and high does x-rays to induce the desired mutations. Our body’s poor reaction to this process is no surprise, since we as humans are not suited to consuming anything from the grass family. Graminivores such as cattle, sheep, horses and rabbits can obtain all of their nutrition from grass seeds, but humans can not and fortification does not change this one bit. All grass contains high levels of phytates and ironically many grain breeders also select high phytate strains of grains because of their improved pest resistance. The modern-day whole wheat , corn and millet contain 800 milligrams (mg) of phytates per 100 grams, that’s approximately 3 1/2 ounces of flour. It only takes 50 mg of phytates to slash iron absorption by 80 to 90 percent. Phylates also reduce absorption of Zinc and Magnesium. An over exposure to wheat increases our intake of wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) which is responsible for blocking the intrinsic factor protein produced by the stomach, which is essential for B12 absorption.
Wheat ingredients are found in most processed foods including candy, Bloody Mary mixes, lunch meats, soy sauce and wine coolers. It’s also in what people consider healthier foods such as pizza, pastas, whole wheat breads and cereals. There are also grains which share similar properties of wheat because they contain gluten-like proteins, such as Rye, barley and oats. If you must include grain in your diet opt for quinoa, buckwheat, millet and wild rice, but only in moderation. A 1/2 cup is an acceptable amount to avoid triggering high blood sugar.
What should we eat in order to avoid chronic inflammation of the intestines, stomach and joints? My simple recommendation is always fresh organic fruit and vegetables, along with organic lean protein. Avoid wheat grain and all processed foods which might have wheat gluten ingredients and stock your kitchen with many wonderful grain-free substitutes such as: almond meal, almond flour coconut flour, chia seeds, flax seeds, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut water, coconut oil, olive oil, shirataki noodles, kelp noodles, dried fruit, seeds, nuts and seed & nut butters to mention a few. Having these items on hand not only provide great pantry substitutes, but they can also help to correct the above mentioned vitamin and mineral deficiencies caused by high grain consumption. There are also many gluten-free resources available these days with the high number of Celiac cases, along with the fact that more and more people are discovering that they have gluten-intolerance. Your body is always the best guide for what ails you, observe, listen and eat well.
*The term Bioengineered should not be confused with GMO. These terms are not interchangeable. Wheat has not been “Genetically Modified,” but it has in fact been “Bioengineered.”