Is gluten-free eating a fad or good sense? For many people, it is nothing more than one more way for restaurants and food companies to make more money. But for Eliza Klearman, a naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist, it is her conviction. With evidence from experience and current researchers, she will argue why gluten-free eating can transform a disease-laden life to a healthy, active one at The Bookworm of Edwards today. Highlighting the book “Grain Brain” by Dr. David Perlmutter and Kristin Loberg and “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis, Klearman will discuss modern research on how skipping gluten will help to aid weight loss and other common health concerns.
Perlmutter and Loberg state that while necessity is the mother of invention, necessity dictates that wheat overproduction should be reduced so that wheat returns to the ancient, healthy wheat. Modern wheat increases production of zonulin, reducing intestinal permeability, and allowing the blood to absorb waste materials. Toxic proteins gliadin and agglutinin are also present in wheat. Gliadin derivatives can not only poison blood, but can increase appetite, causing overeating and obesity. Gluten can also increase blood sugar, which can lead to inflammation, heart disease, neurological disorders and diabetes.
Davis’ term “wheat bellies” describes those unattractive layers of fat that aren’t due to overeating, lack of gym time or hormones, but are caused by the large amount of unhealthy and “healthy” grains people eat daily, causing poor quality of life through the introduction of diseases. He suggests that “elimination of wheat is key to dramatic weight loss and optimal health,” and he provides plans to eradicate the ingredient from grocery lists.
Klearman is on a mission to spread the word about gluten. She has not only seen people’s lives transformed by this lifestyle choice, but she has lived the radical changes gluten-free eating can create. She notes that she has “several cases where simply eliminating gluten has resulted in pregnancy, resolution of daily debilitating migraines, weight loss and the disappearance of severe abdominal pain, to name a few. I have heard about some other pretty amazing things that haven’t occurred in my personal practice, like the healing of people with MS and Parkinson-like disorders.”
However, the mounting evidence did not convince her to switch her diet until she suffered from incurable insomnia. Three years ago, Klearman decided to try gluten-free eating to alleviate her disorder, and she now gets a full night sleep.
But following this lifestyle is not as simple as substituting gluten-free foods for wheat-filled ones. Klearman suggests that process “is essentially exchanging junk for junk. A lot of the foods that contain gluten don’t have much nutritional value and are laden with sugar and unhealthy fats. Simply exchanging those foods with the same products made with non-gluten grains will not improve health in anyone — even those with a gluten sensitivity.”
Learning to read food labels is one of the most important steps in making the gluten-free switch. Many foods have hidden gluten sources, such as canned soups and condiments, so learning to find those foods is a challenge. A common way to start eating gluten-free is to research gluten-free foods extensively and to start eating fruits, vegetables and fresh fish and meats. There are also gluten-free apps for smartphones such as “Is That Gluten Free?” for Apple users and “Find Me Gluten-Free” for both iPhones and Androids. These resources can be an asset when dining out.
The best place to start researching this lifestyle is at The Bookworm of Edwards with Klearman. She will speak for 30 minutes about the research and conclusions in “Grain Brain” and “Wheat Belly,” then hold a question-and-answer session for those with specific questions.
Klearman’s passion for her field leads her to want to help everyone find the best way to overcome diseases without medicine. She is convinced that the “gluten-free fad is not a fad at all, but a very important health issue for everyone of us — not just those that suffer from digestive disorders or test positive for gluten intolerance or sensitivities. I think that when looking at the evidence, it is clear to see that gluten is toxic for all people, and that it would be beneficial to remove it from the diet.”
Leigh Horton is the journalism intern at The Bookworm of Edwards and a senior at the Colorado School of Mines. Email comments about this story to firstname.lastname@example.org.