Wait, Gluten Is Not The Devil?

What I thought was going to be more beneficial for You Know Who than me, turned out to be quite the opposite. Somewhere before Christmas, I saw an ad for home food sensitivity kits. They weren’t cheap, but I thought You Know Who needed one. I thought for sure it would be eye-opening for her. I didn’t necessarily think I needed one. I felt I had a good sense of what foods I reacted to but why not have the test if not to at least confirm what I already knew. I ordered two kits. 

The two kits arrived, and we immediately sent them back with our blood samples. You Know Who couldn’t wait for the results so I that I could see that she was not “allergic” to gluten. I couldn’t wait for them to come back so that she could see that she was. Long story short, she is as reactive to gluten as I am, Mildly

This food sensitivity test checks your blood sample against ninety-six foods looking for an Immunoglobulin G antibody response. An antibody is your body’s defense system against pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Essentially, what this test is looking for are the foods that your body thinks it needs to attack. When foods create this reaction, we have a problem. That problem is called inflammation. 

Seven of the top ten causes of death in the United States: Heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and kidney disease can all be directly linked chronic inflammation. (FYI Accidents, Influenza, and Suicide are the other three. Also, diabetes itself leads to at least three other diseases on this list.) What causes chronic inflammation? For one, constant exposure to a mild irritant such as foods that cause an Immunoglobulin G response. 

The results from this test come back in four levels of reactivity: High, Moderate, Mild, and Low. For both You Know Who and I, gluten came back under Mild Reactivity. This is where it gets interesting. I expected it to be high—for both of us. I thought it would be high for everyone. I thought wheat was the devil. I have been avoiding it like the plague since 2011, and when I have eaten it, I have felt like a pregnant woman with a pack a day habit. 

I felt guilty and low. I felt ashamed of myself. I was a pain in the butt when it came to eating out or with friends. I had to get the gluten-free pizza or asked that bread not be brought to the table. I drank cider or tequila or even gluten-free beer. I preached against wheat like I was preaching for Christ. Now, don’t get me wrong. My body still reacts poorly to it, but not the way I thought it did. 

It’s still bad for me, and I should avoid it but what gets me is that are the two foods my body that have an even worse reaction. Two foods that put me at ease when I at them instead of wheat. Two foods that I encouraged others to eat instead of wheat. Two foods that didn’t make me feel guilty when I ate them. Two foods that I thought were healthy alternatives. Two foods that I ate by the handful. Almonds and Cashews. 

Cashews fell under the High Reactivity category, and almonds fell under Moderate. Gluten under Mild. WHAT?! The foods I ate as an alternative to wheat are worse for me? Foods that I thought were helping me avoid chronic inflammation were causing it. For the past several years I have had a giant bag of cashews and almonds under the seat of my van where I could easily access them whenever I wanted. I even made stops at the store to get cashews before the movie so I could sneak them in as a healthy alternative to popcorn. Wrong! 

Just this past holiday season, I avoided all of You Know Who’s Christmas cookies because she used wheat flour. And when I couldn’t avoid the temptation, I felt guilty as hell. She took pity on me and did some experimenting with almond flour though. I happily ate the subpar cookies like a fat kid because I thought they were better for me. Wrong!

For years I posted pictures of treats made with almond flour, drank almond milk, ate almond milk ice cream, used almond flour as breading, and ate almond butter by the spoonful. I even made my own almond milk, almond butter, and almond flour once. And I never felt one hundred percent. In the beginning of my grain free life I did, but after a few months, I came down off that high. I still felt better than ever but I never really felt on top of the world again. Was it because I ate so many almonds and cashews?

One of my pieces of advice that I put in many of my books and articles is to “listen to your body” - advice I adhered to but only when I wanted. I’ve had an upset stomach at times when I ate cashews and almonds, especially treats made with almond flour, and I ignore it because it wasn’t wheat. As long as I didn’t eat gluten, I was safe. I was so wrong, and I have to thank this food sensitivity test for it.

If you are interested in taking the same test You Know Who and I took, follow this link to get 20% off. Then write me back and let me know what you found out. 

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