Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Benefits of Going Gluten-Free

Image by cbertel
It is no secret that I am on a gluten-free diet that is strictly wheat-free. While I (thankfully) do not have Celiac Disease, wheat produces incapacitating migraines that every part of me hates. While reading the May 2011 issue of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review, I came an article by Sussanna Czeranko, ND, BBE about the consumption of wheat and its ill effects.

Early Concerns
In her article, Czeranko states that early naturopathic doctors believed "...the introduction of white flour and white bread as an abominable travesty to health." While milled wheat was once naturally laced with wholesome bran, manufacturers began to eliminate the additional fiber source because they thought it reduced the quality of their products. Consequently, farmers began to change the way they grew their wheat crops. In 1910, concerned naturopathic doctor N.F.W. Hazeldine stated, "...(white flour) is nothing but ground wheat which has been robbed of all its nutritive and digestive values, and as such is most destructive to the health." 

ND B. Lust voiced this concern: “White flour. That concentrated essence of death has so little food value that we have to stuff ourselves with four or five times the amount needed in order to get sufficient nutrition to survive hence the bowels, overworked, give out, and chronic constipation is the result.”

Vitamin-Enriched White Powder
While wheat in and of itself is not evil, there is evidence that shows that white flour does not adequately provide the nutrients and minerals your body needs. To help address this issue, the food industry has added supplements to some of their white flour products to help increase their value as a food product. If the wheat was not stripped of its natural nutrients to begin with, food makers would not need to spend the money to add supplements.

Gluten-Free Benefits
Nevertheless, when you can't eat wheat, the only solution that remains is to find alternatives. Many people in this situation report that making the transition to a gluten-free diet is tough, especially when walking by a bakery. However, the transition came with positive consequences, including:
  • Healthier eating habits
  • Improved blood sugar regulation
  • Increased energy
  • Weightloss
  • Less digestive problems
  • Decreased consumption of empty calories
  • Creativity in the kitchen
  • The joy of trying new foods
For many, the decision to live a gluten-free is more than a lifestyle choice; it's a health need. For those looking to improve their diets, the choice to eliminate wheat or other gluten products can be highly beneficial.

Hazeldine, N. F. W. (1910). The wrapping of nothingness; or what is pure bread? The Naturopath and the Herald of Health, 15(8), 479-480.

Lust, B. (1922b). Whole wheat bread. Herald of Health and the Naturopath, 27(5), 227-229.

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