Recently there has been a lot of backlash against the Gluten Free 'Fad'. Some journalists and researchers say that the gluten protein is needed in our diet for nutrition and that removing it is harmful to our health.
One of many doctors who disagree is Dr Rodney Ford, a physician specialising in children's health. He recently expressed this truth about gluten:
I have been asked - "Is my daughter being deprived from essential nutrients and vitamins being on a GF diet?" This girl has had severe eczema that has gone away on a gluten-free diet. It is a good question.
Standard gluten bread is fortified with vitamins including thiamine and folate. These are added to bread because it is a universal food and a useful carrier for vitamins that are otherwise in low levels in the standard diet.
You probably know that the protein called "gluten" cannot be digested by the human gastrointestinal tract and therefore is a waste of time eating. The main nutritional value of standard bread is the carbohydrate (sugar).
Gluten is not needed by anybody. Indeed, it is an inflammatory protein and harms a great many of us.
Everyone needs to pay attention to what they eat. It is important to get adequate amounts of all micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) as well as appropriate fats, proteins and carbohydrates. In my experience, families who are eating gluten-free eat much better than those without any dietary constraints. I think that this is because when you begin to examine closely what you are eating, you will up your game. Most people just eat without much thought. With thought we can eat so much better. RF
So could it be that the backlash from 'experts' claiming that we need gluten are in fact the ones who may not be willing or even care to take full responsibility for how they are fuelling their body? Maybe they are not willing to up their game? The truth exposed here by Dr Ford also exposes laziness in our Western eating habits.
I eat out a few times a week and I have recently felt the need to justify why I am choosing to ask about what's in my meal. The media presence 'reporting' that gluten sensitivity is a fad has cast a shadow over people wanting to discern and monitor what they are eating. I was at breakfast recently and the waiter/owner was so accepting of my questions and responded - "why would anyone want to eat pasta or pizza anyway?" - he too was careful and thoughtful about what he ate.
At dinner with friends a few days ago, I felt I had to tell them that my body's inability to cope with gluten and dairy was evident from about 12 months old. I simply refused any gluten or dairy products! As a child I was never sick and seemed to be immune to the colds and flu that would sweep through school. Could it be that the allergens in both dairy and gluten didn't have a hold on me so I didn't need to clear the mucous and my body wasn't inflamed and vulnerable to disease?
Whenever I read an article slamming people who are choosing to be gluten zero, I feel how I felt as a young adult in the 1980's and 90's when people would look at me like I was from another planet when I asked if I could have the salad without croutons and cheese, or if they could cook the fish without crumbs. I am inspired by the changing world and that we are being given more choices with what we eat. And my most recent experiences with dining have been a joy, with the staff extremely willing to accommodate my requests.
It takes a deep level of commitment and dedication to be gluten free in the world. As Dr Ford says, you need to 'up your game' to be responsible. It's an interesting fact that people often commit deeply to work, family, play and exercise, but the fuel we put in our body is secondary. Food has become just something they have to feed to get them to and from work, family, play and exercise. But what is the quality we bring to those activities and commitments if we are not truly careful about the fuel we are using? Why would we put diesel into an unleaded fuel tank?