I am fortunate not to be gluten intolerant or celiac, at least not yet, but my mother is gluten intolerant. After she eats wheat or gluten-containing products, she becomes bloated and exhausted. She has to stay in bed for a couple of days, knocked out by a particle of mass-produced grain. The first time this happened (that I was aware of), it had set off a node in her heart, which made her heart beat  incredibly fast. It was six hours before she gave up and called an ambulance.

She has had micro-surgery, and they burned off that node, but she still has the allergy. The last time she had a reaction, it was fairly mild – caused by a bowl of corn flakes that apparently contained malt extract. She bloated up, and the tiredness wasn’t gone until evening the next day.

I don’t want other people to have to experience what she had to, or what I had to as a daughter watching her mother not be able to function properly.

That is why I am writing this post – there is someone among a group of 33 people who doesn’t understand why they are always tired and bloated, why they have been diagnosed with how many other things, and why pills aren’t working. There is someone out there who knows full well that they are gluten intolerant, but doesn’t understand why a natural protein is wrecking havoc in their body. I am here to explain why.

Gluten is a natural protein, found in many grains. Only two forms of this protein are found in wheat, and these two are the problem.

Gluten has an elastic quality to it, which helps breads rise and hold their shape, and get crumbly and fluffy.

Wheat has been genetically modified and bred to produce mass amounts of gluten – the result being that the food industries can use less wheat (expensive stuff), more filler (cheap stuff), call the filler ‘enriched whole grains’ (marketing catch), and price the bread as they would if they were using all wheat (more money).

In gluten-intolerant people, gluten attacks the lining of their small intestines, making it difficult to absorb critical nutrients and move the food through to the large intestine. As a result, the food must sit in the small intestine for a few hours, rather than the  30 minutes (approx.) that it usually does, and the victim becomes bloated. The body recognizes gluten as a toxin because of that, and immediately starts combating it. Because gluten is very elastic and strong, it takes a long time to cleanse it from the system – explaining the two or three days that it takes to painfully move one bite of wheat through the intestines and out.

I think that gluten would not be harmful if wheat was in its natural, original form. I also think that the longer we eat abnormally large amounts of gluten from genetically modified wheat, the more cases of celiac and gluten intolerance will rise. We may be looking at an epidemic, but then, this is just me.

This is the WonderBread ‘enriched white bread’ nutrition label. As you can see, it contains 130 mg of sodium. It’s interesting that in a food made out of grain, there is no dietary fiber, although the label says there are carbohydrates.


More on Gluten

And a little bit more…

Celiac Disease Statistics

Gluten Intolerance – “nearly 1 in 33 people are gluten intolerant. Other more conservative estimates say around 1 in 100.”