Apart from those people I know with Celiac or a medically-diagnosed gluten intolerance, I have historically been suspicious of when people go “gluten free.”
A couple of weeks ago I was listening to Lewis Howes’ School of Greatness podcast, as I usually do on my commute. He was interviewing Dr. Peter Osborne, author of No Grain, No Pain. Dr. Osborne writes that many autoimmune diseases and chronic pain are caused (or the symptoms are amplified) by a gluten-heavy diet. In the podcast he states that it’s not even just your typical gluten sources – wheat, oats, barley, rye – but ALL gluten that is responsible. This was new to me. I have not done the research, but he said that ANY seed that comes from a grass-family plant contains gluten, including rice. He also said that the FDA only lists ONE of the THOUSAND types of gluten as “gluten” in their definition, so even if a product still has one of the other 999 types in it, it can still put “gluten free” on its label. These seemed like pretty extreme statements and I can’t find a gluten definition that supports them, but I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist so I am staying open-minded.
Here’s the gluten definition from celiac.org:
Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat (durum, emmer, spelt, farina, farro, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected (see Sources of Gluten).
Wheat is commonly found in:
- baked goods
- salad dressings
Barley is commonly found in:
- food colouring
- malt vinegar
Rye is commonly found in:
- rye bread, such as pumpernickel
- rye beer
Whether or not I can find research to support it, the podcast was really interesting. And it got me thinking. None of our family have chronic pain, but the little man does get fairly regular headaches, and I have read that too much gluten can amplify ADHD and ASD behaviours. The little lady has also developed a weird rash-like “texture” on her chest, back and legs. So I figured…what the heck.
We’ve decided to test it out. Not the FULL list as prescribed by Dr. Osborne, but eliminating the primary sources as listed above. (And Mr Awesome is standing by his assertion that there is no gluten in beer, as he claims it is removed in the distilling process. We’ll go with that.) We initially decided to test it for two weeks, but given that we’re now six days in and only just getting a handle on it, I think we may extend to 30 days. We started this woefully unprepared, without enough planning and pre-thought. A bag of rice pasta, some gluten-free snack bars and soups don’t exactly equate to a full transition.
The kids’ school lunches have proved the most challenging. They’re such creatures of habit that to switch it out to something not at least resembling their usual staples would be equal to a felony in their minds.
So, we’re in this. We’re giving it a go. We’re still somewhat skeptical, but open to observing any changes that might happen. And I am now on the hunt for GOOD family-friendly gluten-free recipes or products. Any recommendations will be GREATLY appreciated!