Grains and Gluten Intolerance

If wheat, rye and barley are the main grains with gluten, how about other grains?  Can you still eat Grains with Gluten Intolerance?

First off, grains and processed foods made with grains is not quite the same thing.  According to one of my favorite experts on the Gluten Free issues, Dr. Vikki Petersen:

Should Celiacs (or Gluten Intolerants) Eat dr_vikki1-227x300Grain?

A whole, organic grain is a beautiful complex carbohydrate that the body burns cleanly for good energy. The refined version (like those in processed foods) spikes blood sugar, creating an insulin response, inflammation, weight gain and, over time, degenerative disease. So as you can see they are vastly different!

If you are keeping track of the GMO issues, you know that corn and soy are mostly GMO now (unless marked organic or non-GMO).  Personally, I don’t eat soy and I watch for homegrown or organic corn.  Also, I don’t eat corn as a vegetable — I eat it as a grain in cereal, baked goods, etc. — but mostly as my favorite snack:  Popcorn!!

And even though oats are not considered a gluten grain, they are often processed in the same facilities as wheat; thus are often contaminated.  Oats processed in a gluten free environment will be marked as such and are safe for folks avoiding gluten.

Dr. Petersen goes on to explain:
Another facet of grains to be aware of is how they may fall into the category of cross-reactive foods as it relates to gluten intolerance. These particular foods, chiefly dairy products and grains,  have a similar protein structure to gluten and can create stress for certain patients whose immune system is unable to differentiate between these foods and gluten. Yes, the foods are, themselves, gluten-free. But in susceptible individuals the protein structure is similar enough to gluten to confuse the immune system into thinking it actually IS gluten. ….

When I was first tested for food allergies, my profile for dairy products showed a high susceptibility for an allergic reaction.  So along with wheat and gluten, I eliminated dairy (and eggs — which also was listed high) from my diet.  Now, after nearly four years, I have been slowing adding some occasional dairy into my diet.  I felt that my body needed LOTS of time to recover from the gluten damage.  But since I have seen a great improvement in my health during the last several months, I have been a bit more lenient with dairy and eggs.

Dr. Petersen concludes her article  ….

Where that leaves us is that there is no ‘pat’ answer to the question of grains being acceptable or not. But I do disagree with a viewpoint that eschews all grains for everyone. I find that not only unnecessary, but many gluten-free grains in their organic, whole form are very nutritious. These include rice, tef, quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, tapioca, arrowroot – the last few are not actual ‘grains’ but they are treated as such in many grain-rich gluten free foods.

Which grains do you eat?

My favorites are quinoa and rice (not including my organic popcorn!) although I do occasionally eat teff, millet, amaranth and buckwheat.

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