If you have eczema, anemia, IBS, Celiac, aching joints, acne, or any other annoying daily symptoms like the ones listed below, you are probably intolerant to wheat.
The effects of wheat intolerance stem from the difficult to digest proteins contained in wheat. You don’t have to be coeliac to be intolerant to wheat. Coeliac disease is a more specific disease that is caused by just one type of wheat-protein, gluten.
All the proteins in wheat, not just gluten, are difficult to digest, and all have long-term negative effects on the GI system. Grain proteins cause an immune system reaction, leading to inflammation in the small intestine, and can also cause chronic inflammation throughout your body.
Villi, the small structures in the intestine necessary for the absorption of nutrients, are destroyed during this inflammatory process. This leads to other digestive issues like IBS and problems absorbing nutrients.
For lots of people, symptoms of wheat intolerance can be subtle, and initially may not even seem related.
- Fluctuating body weight
- Acid reflux, heartburn, indigestion
- Aching joints
- Intestinal problems
- Low iron levels, anemia
- Fatigue and weakness
- Deficiency in certain vitamins
- Bloating and abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Easy bruising
- Low calcium levels
- Mouth ulcers
- Muscle spasms
- Weight loss
- Weak immune system
- Frequent illness
Another contributing factor to wheat intolerance is phytic acid, or phytates. Most grains (and beans!) contain phytic acid as an evolved defense mechanism. It is an anti-nutrient that binds to most minerals and vitamins in your GI tract, making them un-absorbable. This causes problems for people who rely on grains as a staple.
There is a lot of misinformation regarding the “health benefits” of eating grains and whole grains, and consuming grains for their various nutrients is a misnomer, as they are not able to be digested, and will bind to nutrients in other food in the GI tract as well. This can lead to anemia, low levels of calcium, and other nutrient deficiency problems.
Chances are, if you have one or more of the above symptoms, you will likely benefit by removing grains from your diet.
Worried about fiber?
The insoluble fiber in grains and beans is what causes GI distress, bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and other digestive and bowel issues. Fiber is one of those things were more is not always better, and it’s easy to over do it, especially with the large amounts of grains that is commonly recommended by “conventional wisdom”. Literally, the insoluble fiber scrapes against the inside of the GI tract, rupturing the membrane of the intestines, releasing a mucous. That is what is really helping to “move things along”. Over time this can be very damaging to your nervous system.
The fiber in fruits and vegetables is much more healthy. The soluble fiber has been shown to have many health benefits. The insoluble fiber is in less quantity, and is therefore less invasive. This is actually something the grain promoters have “hijacked” for their own benefit, saying that since grains also have soluble fiber, they must be good for you too.
The problem with this thought, is that in the context of the entire plant, grains overall have much greater costs than benefits. The small amount of soluble fiber in grains does not have a large enough health benefit to outweigh the long-term damaging effects of gluten, excess insoluble fiber, and phytic acid.
Removing grains will have an overall positive effect on your health
If you have any of the symptoms above, try removing grains and beans for 30 days and see if there is improvement. While you’re at it, remove sugar and artificial sweeteners too. The most immediate improvements will be in energy and GI tract symptoms. Within 48 hours bowel movements should become more regular and solid. Mid-afternoon slumps should lessen or disappear, and abdominal pains or indigestion should clear right up.
Skin problems like acne or eczema might take a bit longer, but you should start to feel healthier and see improved complexion within a couple of weeks.
In my personal experience, my acne and eczema cleared up after 3 weeks. My energy levels immediately shot way up, and I stopped getting sick. I have not had one cold or illness in more than one full year. My acid reflux also disappeared immediately!