Preet Marwaha on why gluten is such a problem
If you can’t stand the idea of not having bread, pasta or other comfort foods that contain wheat, kamut or spelt for three or four days then you’re addicted to gluten, said food visionary Preet Marwaha at a presentation.
I didn’t think that one slice of organic sprouted toast a day counted as an addiction but perhaps I needed a reality check. Do you? You’re not alone, see.
Most of us know that gluten needs to be avoided but what is it and why is it dangerous for our health? Once again, the CEO of OrganicLives impressed me with his knowledge that I share here.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, kamut, spelt, barley and rye. It has a sticky, binding texture that is good for breads, pastas and baked treats and makes up that delicious and comforting (addictive) experience.
Why is gluten such a problem?
Remember that gluten is sticky. It does not digest easily.
When we consume too much gluten, it sticks to our intestinal lining, ferments and interferes with the the digestive process, which leads to symptoms like bloating, gas, stomach pain, intolerance and so on.
Continued intake eventually wears down the intestinal lining and can cause more serious health issues like celiac and colitis.
Why is wheat more problematic than other glutinous grains?
Gluten in wheat is particularly problematic in North America because the traditional whole wheat grain has been lost thanks to corporate hybridization (imitation) over the years to rake in profits.
What we’re left with are non-nutritious mock grains that are foreign to the body and higher in gluten than the original version.
I know you’re thinking that you can stay away from wheat-based breads, pastas and baked treats but gluten is also hidden in most processed foods like soups, sauces, beer, dressings and potato chips. There isn’t an easy solution for this except to do your research and avoid processed foods as much as possible.
What about gluten free foods?
Many store bought gluten free foods can be just as bad as those with gluten because they are filled with processed ingredients (tapioca starch, potato starch, xanthan gum), chemicals and sugars. Look at the labels and research the companies before making your choices.
The best gluten free grains in moderation include organic quinoa, black rice and purple rice. The rices are from Thailand and will be available at Galloways later this year.
Good gluten free flours include organic chickpea, amaranth and coconut.
In the fall, OrganicLives in partnership with Galloways will be hosting workshops on how to make things like dhals, breads and treats from only the purest and healthiest ingredients. I’ll be there. Will you?
Feature image: Copyright 2012 barbara cameron pix