Tuesday, 16 August 2016

I have just followed up

a link I was alerted to about "gluten free" diets and supposed gluten intolerance. I am interested because I know a number of people who have gone "gluten free". None of them have done this on the advice of a doctor or dietician. They have done it alone. They "know it was the right thing to do". All of the claim to feel much better.
I know people with serious health issues. I know a woman who has celiac disease. She has it in an extreme form and has been rushed to hospital on a number of occasions. She has to wear a medic-alert bracelet and is unable to accept invitations to eat in the homes of other people unless she takes her own food. Restaurants are an absolute no-no-no. I wouldn't wish her lifestyle on anyone else. Her friends are very understanding. People going "gluten free" of their own volition drive her quietly mad. She doesn't say anything to them but she has expressed her frustration when talking to me. 
"I'd love nothing more than to be able to sit down and eat a normal meal with everyone else."
People are genuinely and life threateningly allergic to things like peanuts and garlic. I know someone severely allergic to even the presence of eggs. She came into our kitchen once and, without knowing an egg had just been broken open and put in the pan. Within seconds her eyes were watering and she was short of breath. We hastened her out of the kitchen and, after a short while, she was fine - and full of apologies.  Such allergies need to be absolutely and utterly respected - and we should all know how to deal with them.
I am allergic to alcohol and vinegar. Imbibing those things won't kill me but they do make me feel ill and they produce the most unpleasant sensation. I itch all over. I have been given sound medical advice to avoid them. As I don't like the taste either this is no hardship. I don't make an issue of it.  I just say "no thank you" to alcohol and avoid certain condiments. 
But the self-diagnosed "gluten-free" people I know don't need to consult a doctor. They just "know". From the latest respectable research there would seem to be no medical basis for this - although there might be a psychological one. It's interesting.
I am an overweight cat but I don't intend to go gluten-free or on any other fad diet. I just need to eat less and exercise more....SIGH!


jeanfromcornwall said...

There are an awful lot of people who read an article in the Daily Grunt and diagnose themselves with a life threatening disease. I heard of one who hadn't seen a doctor, but couldn't have Chinese food because of the "glutamate" - she would not have believed that the cure for most of her woes would have been to stop spending the afternoons at work with a big bag of sweets at her side!
Half a brain seizes on half a story, and the annoying thing is that it belittles the people who really do have a problem.

Philip C James said...

We've been eating wheat with apparently few problems for 10,000 years yet suddenly many folks apparently develop wheat intolerance.

We were advised by stress management lecturer who taught us at a corporate-sponsored training course to eat organic wheat. The reason he gave was that organic wheat grains are not treated with the organo-phosphate pesticides used to protect commercial-standard wheat grain. He claimed that wheat grain absorbs such OP-pesticides at a higher rate than does rye or barley, with consequentially heightened impact on those who eat bread made from commercial as opposed to organic-sourced wheat.

His reasoning was that OP-pesticides are basically the parts of the sarin molecule that don't kill you instantly (Sarin is a nerve agent developed during the Second World War that is extremely toxic). A modified version may not kill humans but OP-pesticides are pretty effective at killing rats and mice (else it wouldn't be used in grain stores) and we know from the effects on farmers who used to come in contact with OP sheep dips that it doesn't exactly promote human health either.

I haven't checked the chemistry or research literature on this, but I do try to buy organic bread or reduce exposure through rye and barley breads, just in case.

Philip C James said...

See section on Organophosphate pesticides: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organophosphate

I wonder if some people are blaming the wrong agent for their unwellness when they choose gluten-free diets, if inadvertently they are, in so doing, eliminating OP-pesticide residues from their diet.

kayT said...

I avoid wheat because of a food allergy (gives me hives; doctor-diagnosed). I am actually grateful to those who are eating gluten-free for whatever reason because the result is that there are gluten-free products in the store for me to buy and gluten-free foods in restaurants for me to eat.