Saturday, August 18

Are you Allergic to Wheat?

I hear more and more of people discovering they are allergic to wheat. I find this ironic since wheat is like the first grain humans discovered to cultivate that kept them from starving and is probably why our species was able to thrive. How could we now, so far down the line of evolution, be allergic to something so basic? It isn’t genetically modified from what I’ve learned. Could it be because it’s been hybridized? Maybe the way it’s being processed. Or maybe we’re just getting too much of it.

Practicing this diet all summer (even though worlds have collided and I have not been pure), I have probably eaten more cleanly than ever before. I haven’t had a drop of dairy ice cream in months and months and very little bread or cooked wheat. Yesterday I picked up some wheat hot dog buns for tofu dogs. We were going to the county fair so I thought we’d eat some junk food at home to avoid the truly poisonous junk food at the fair.

I noticed after dinner my nose was markedly stuffy. Could this be a wheat allergy?? I suspect so. I bet many of us have a mild allergy to wheat and we’ve just learned to live with it. We think our stuffy nose or irritated throat or tendency to get colds is normal. Having been off wheat, as well as other cooked foods, I have noticed my usual slightly runny nose disappeared. It was all too telling when I reintroduced wheat yesterday and immediately had a runny nose all evening.

With that said Roxanne does use wheat in some of her recipes, for example the chocolate chip cookies. In fact rejuvelac, hailed to be so healthy by the raw foodists because it’s loaded with good-for-your-gut microbes, is made from sprouted wheat. But maybe it’s in the cooking?? Because I’ve not had an allergic reaction to the rejuvelac or the cheeses I’ve made from it. Or the tart shell I made the other day from the sprouted wheat flour.

So this is a curious thing. It is surprising how many food items (mostly processed) you’ll find that wheat has been snuck into, to cheaply thicken it or like in so many vegetarian items, to give it that more chewy “meaty” consistency. It’s like the pervasive GMO corn syrup found in countless processed foods.

So I invite you to question. If you’ve been feeling slightly under the weather, or downright sick, you may want to cast a suspicious eye toward that fluffy, innocent looking loaf of bread on your counter.


Anonymous said...

Just for the record, it's not an allergy. It is wheat intolerance. More often than not, gluten intolerance.
Wheat's nasty stuff, really, but it has its worst effects from being breathed in, leaving bakers with white lung. A few have a skin reaction - ulcerations - but that is again not an allergy.

More seriously there is a form of gluten intolerance called Celiac's disease. It is more frequent among pastry chefs and bakers than the general population, which indicates that it rests on cumulative exposure. This is extremely dangerous to deadly, eventually causing organs to shut down. If you think you react adversely to wheat, you should probably see a doctor to be sure that this is not the case.

Remember, dearie, it's hayfever season in California, where it lasts from January to December. Also, carbs are reall sugar disguised as bread (it all ends up pretty much the same as far as the liver is concerned) and the insulin spikes a high wheat/carb/sugar/bread/pasta can cause can make you feel crappy. (Know this as a hard core carb lemon drops and brioche and the danish I ate fro breakfast and shouldn't have).

The next food rave is, in fact, going to be about the effects of carbs, good carbs, bad carbs, yada yada.

Best thing to do is not to worry about it and eat stuff you like. LIfe's too short to ruin the good parts worrying about the health side of what ought to be fun. It's sort of like dealing with your inner child by saying "you'll put your eye out" every time it wants a little fun. --JLL

Anonymous said...

Actually, there is both wheat allergies and gluten intolerance. People with wheat allergies are fine with gluten, and people with gluten intolerance cannot digest wheat and other grains containing gluten.