Well, there are a variety of reasons to explain this (historically) sudden food sensitivity. Let’s explore a few.
New and Improved is not always, well, improved!
First, we are not typically consuming the same grains as we were, say, 100 years ago. Our modern grains are hybridized, sterilized, and modernized in ways that grain has never been before. The amino acid profile of a modern grain of wheat, for example, is very different from its predecessors such as spelt, emmer, and other ancient grains. Then there are the new-fangled GMO’s, with all their inherent dangers. But this alone does not explain the problem.
Several reasons for our gluten woes are simply our modern methods of harvesting, storing, and preparing our grains. In times-gone-by grains were “weathered” in the field before harvesting, exposing the ripened kernels to the morning dew and the warmth of the sun. This, coupled with old-time methods of fermenting flour into various types of breads or other grain-based dishes, had a unique effect: it neutralized several “anti-nutrients” such as phytic acid (which is very irritating to the lining of the gut, and blocks mineral absorption) and enzyme inhibitors (which neutralize some of the digestive enzymes needed to break down the foods we eat). Additionally, these grains had formerly been stored in clay or wooden vessels, but are now stored in huge concrete or steel silos- the perfect environment for fungus and mold to proliferate!
Gluten Sensitivity Indicates Gut Damage
But there are still more reasons why gluten, and grains in general, have become problematic: we have severely damaged our guts, usually without even realizing it! We deprive the digestive tract of much needed beneficial organisms because we have replaced old-fashioned food preservation and preparation methods with faster, easier, more “modern” ways. The most modern methods are not always the best, are they? Gone are the enzyme and beneficial organism-rich foods of the past such as naturally fermented sauerkraut and pickles, whole yogurt, kefir, and more. These have been replaced with sugar and vinegar-laden, pasteurized versions of their former selves. Adding to that we take a wide variety of pharmaceuticals, from vaccinations to antibiotics and more, which all have a deleterious effect upon the gut. How can the limited amount of good gut flora which we are starting with survive such an onslaught?
A Child's First Foods
But it gets worse. Even from infancy we are harming our wee ones’ digestive health. Babes are born all over the world today via Caesarean Section, which robs the infant of the (usually) healthy flora of the birth canal meant for the emerging infant to ingest during the birth process. Many mothers have a very unbalanced, unhealthy vaginal flora to begin with, and pass this on to their newborns!
Next we replace God’s perfect food, breast milk, with manufactured infant formula. Formula made from pasteurized, denatured, oxidized, and synthetic ingredients that a baby's tender digestive system can't really digest properly-what a shame!
And then we introduce solid foods in the form of “baby cereal”, to an infant who does not yet possess the enzymes to digest this type of carbohydrate! The particular enzyme, amylase, is amongst the last enzymes the pancreas manufactures and excretes, somewhere between about 18-24 months. Thus, feeding your infant any form of cereal in the early months creates a problem for the digestive system, which must react to substances which it is not yet ready to handle.
It is interesting to note that in some of the primitive cultures which Dr. Weston A Price observed, mothers would chew foods, including meats, and expel it from their mouth in partially-digested form for their infants to eat. I practiced this with several of my babies, much to the chagrin of their elder siblings!
Celiacs/Gluten Intolerance Not a Life Sentence!
So perhaps now you can understand why we have so many problems with gluten all of which affect every aspect of our health, both mentally and physically. A damaged gut is a very serious problem!*
But all is not lost; the gut can be healed! A healing regime would include plenty of nourishing bone broth, healthy fats, fermented foods, and a few supplemental nutrients such as fermented cod liver oil. You can find out more by exploring the GAPS website, and learn how to prepare nutritious and delicious allergen-free foods by watching my own 2 DVD set, a Beyond-the-Basics Traditional Food Preparation video which may be ordered directly from me; contact me via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
*It bears noting that not all gluten issues show up on a laboratory test; the best way to know for sure if you are gluten sensitve is simply to go off all gluten-containing foods for 30 days. Do not replace gluten-containing grains, however, with "Gluten-Free" baking mixes. Instead, just eliminate grains and foods that are normally made with them. See how you feel, what changes with your health. Then add it back in for a few days and observe what happens.