Have you ever considered giving up gluten? Does the thought of eliminating gluten from your diet seem like asking you to give up breathing? Are you on the fence about the reasons why following a gluten free diet may be beneficial? If you want to know the facts about how gluten may be harming your physiological health, I strongly recommend you read Dangerous Grains by James Braly, M.D. and Ron Hoggan, M.A.
Dangerous Grains provides an account of early human development and the diet that humans consumed for the vast majority of our evolution – namely, fruits, vegetables, fish and meats. Grains did not become a part of the human diet until 12,000 years ago, which accounts for only 1% of our evolutionary history. In some cultures, grains such as wheat, rye and barley, have been part of the diet for an even shorter period of time.
In recent years, we have been led to believe that whole grains are healthful, nutritious and valuable components in our diet. Given the abundance of gluten in so many of the foods we eat on a daily basis – pancakes, bagels, toast, cereal for breakfast; burger buns, sandwich bread, flour tortillas, pasta and pizza for lunch or dinner; cookies, cakes, pastries, pretzels and crackers for snacks – it is easy to see why gluten can become so dangerous and why the thought of eliminating it from your diet may seem so formidable.
Gluten sensitivity is often unrecognized early in life, but over time, symptoms progress. In many cases, gluten grains not only cause intestinal discomfort such as bloating, constipation and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, they are also involved in the progression of more serious illnesses including, life threatening intestinal cancers, osteoporosis and hyperparathyroidism, and several autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease, thyroid and liver autoimmune diseases, type-2 diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis.
One of the most harmful properties of gluten is its addictive nature. The authors of Dangerous Grains describe the “morphine-like-properties” that gluten cereals contain. When you think of comfort foods, bread, pasta, pizza, cookies and cakes, are often the very foods we are addicted to. If this describes you, you are likely to have a greater risk of developing or actually having gluten sensitivity and/or celiac disease.
But remember, knowledge is power. Reading Dangerous Grains is empowering. It provides the reader with a description of the symptoms associated with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, presents a quiz for determining whether or not gluten grains may be a dietary issue, reinforces the reasons for following a gluten free diet, and reassures why strict adherence to a gluten free diet can reverse and even eliminate specific disease processes. In fact, for anyone who is currently following a gluten free diet, reading Dangerous Grains will serve as a reminder as to why you are making changes to your diet and reinforce the need to adhere with your discipline.
In the appendixes of Dangerous Grains, the authors provide several valuable summaries, which list:
• Common Signs and Symptoms of Celiac Disease
• Hidden Sources of Gluten
• Autoimmune Diseases Frequently Found in Celiac Disease
• Gluten-Associated Medical Conditions
• Heroic Thinkers and Dietary Biases