Gluten-Intolerance: Food allergy, “All in the mind,” or Physiological Poison?

Via on Apr 1, 2011

The Donut Hole & the Glutinous Heart of the Wheat Monster.

Warning: the War Against Wheat has reached a new level. Wheat is now out to harm humans. Beware of the Wheat Monster!

Okay, but really…Is it food allergies, “all in the mind,” or literally a physiological poison to the masses?

Well, the latest research says (drum-roll please)…

According to these two published articles, wheat consumption may not be beneficial to health. Despite popular opinion, they make a strong argument against perceiving wheat intolerance as simply a matter of allergy/genetic intolerance in a minority subset of the human population, but rather as a species-specific intolerance, applicable to all.

Part 1: The Dark Side of Wheat: New Perspectives on Celiac Disease & Wheat Intolerance

Part 2: Opening Pandora’s Bread Box: The Critical Role of Wheat Lectin in Human Disease.

My stance:

Even though there are dozens of flours to make virtually anything with, more wheat flour is produced than any other flour. Why? Well…it’s cheap and easy. Just like anything else, too much of any nutrient complex can become toxic. We certainly eat too much wheat, and our bodies have become imbalanced.

Gluten-Intolerance is a result of the Industrial Food and Drug Market, lowering our standards, quality, and diversity, while increasing consumption. But, and here’s the important part, it’s not the Industrial Food System’s fault that we consume such high-volume and low-quality products (though I’m not saying those in charge shouldn’t make better decisions….). But what is this system? The system is simply made up of conversations and choices of millions of people that participate.

I’m gluten-free myself, and I have to admit: the gluten-free donut has not yet been perfected. There definitely seems to be a hole there for a reason, though. Maybe we should start looking through it, rather than jumping blindly into it, or consuming the thing as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Wheat is not out to kill us. Neither is some imaginary system that we’re out to beat. We’re our own wheat monsters!

Just sayin’.

About Madison Moross

Madison Moross is a dancer, writer, yogini and amateur activist. She is part of The Big P (picture) Project and the co-founder of Radiance Movement, both projects aimed at revitalizing our individual and collective consciousness through sustainability and embodiment practices. She believes sustainability encompasses more than just the preserving the planet, but simultaneously our communities, bank-accounts, relationships, bodies, minds, and spirits; that despite popular perception, our people, planet, and our pocket-books work hand-in-hand quite harmoniously. Her favorite things include people, plants, dirt, dance and food.

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9 Responses to “Gluten-Intolerance: Food allergy, “All in the mind,” or Physiological Poison?”

  1. Hayley says:

    Nice!

  2. chiotsrun says:

    I agree, the quality of commercial mass produced GMO products are probably what's behind most allergies/intolerances. I am lactose intolerant when it comes to commercial milk, but I can drink raw milk from my local farm with no issues whatsoever.

  3. Carol Horton Carol Horton says:

    I developed a sensitivity to gluten in the past year that I never had before – it's creepy. So I appreciate this info.

    That said, I have to object to your dismissal of the idea that there is an industrial food "system" – that everything is simply the result of millions of equal individual choices tallying themselves up. Unfortunately, this is the dominant neo-liberal cultural ideology that been dominating the US more and more since the Reagan era. But it is most certainly NOT the truth.

    There is so much good and accessible info out there now that gives a user-friendly (if horrifying) intro to the interlocking roles of government, big business, and fast food chains in our contemporary food system. "Fast Food Nation" and "the Omnivore's Dilemma" are must-reads. Great movies include King Corn, Food Inc., and Super Size Me. I'm sure there's a lot more out there too because food is (rightly) such a hot topic now. But I think that it's very important to recognize that there is a politics behind our current situation, and that every individual does not have an equal vote in determining what sort of food choices make it to whose tables.

    • Madison Moross Madison says:

      Carol, I by no means am dismissing the idea of an industrial food "system," a VERY destructive one at that. The politics and psychology behind it, certainly cannot be disconnected…. and I agree, we do not have equal voices now.

      Michael Pollan and Morgan Spurlock are two of my idols…. and I'm known for my "exciting to me but depressive to everybody else" factoids about the destructive nature of industrialization, specifically related to food.

      I guess what I'm getting at is that we have voices bigger than we usually utilize. Our choices of lifestyle, purchases, relationships to others and ourselves, our ability to look and think past the subconscious pressure of the media, government regulations, and the big-business incentives that dominate them both. The information is out there, and it's there for a reason … but we have to do something with it. And though we might not have equal votes, now, in determining what sort of food choices make it to whose tables, we do over what makes it to our own tables. .. and that may be the best thing we can do to eventually re-equalize those votes.

  4. Madison Moross Madison says:

    … and that the incentive to so must come intrinsically, or we'll continue to be our own wheat monsters :)

  5. NotSoSure says:

    Obviously, some people have a biological intolerance to gluten. Often people with self diagnosed gluten intolerance have gotten the diagnosis completely wrong. From articles published by medical professionals I have read medically based gluten intolerance is no where close to being as prevalent as some people think it is.

    Our industrial food complex is putting out mostly crap. The flours and breads in stores today bear only a pale resemblance to flours/bread made before the advent of the factory farm. Probably what is happening is that more and more people are developing intolerance to really crappy food.

    Here are a few crap food tests. If its natural color has been changed the food is crap. If it has ingredients you cannot pronounce the food is crap. If it comes from the center isles in the grocery store the food is (most likely) crap.

  6. BuddhaBatman says:

    I just don't like it. How's that sound.

  7. Susan Heller Fisher says:

    My daughter, who turned 30 this year, developed an allergy to gluten. The lining of her stomach was practically non-existent so I think we all need to be careful about intimating in any way that a reaction to gluten is in the mind. Our family has many auto-immune diseases (allergies, asthma) and so, unfortunately, it stands to reason that this painful and debilitating disease would appear in my family. My uncle has the genetic marker for Celiac Disease and my first cousin's daughters both evidenced celiac as infants. I think being well-informed, having excellent medical care and taking this disease very seriously is critical to maintain an excellent quality of life. I agree about not finding any great gluten-free donuts nor have we found any palatable bagels.

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