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Gluten, is a protein found in many grains and especially in wheat, has been proven to contain at least fifteen different opioid compounds.
When we eat foods that contain opioids, this creates a temporary “high” that can cause an actual physical addiction to these foods. It is not surprising that many foods regarded as “binge foods” that are often eaten in excess, such as pizza and cheesecake, involve a combination of wheat and dairy products.
How Gluten Affects the Brain and Nervous System
Scientists regard these opioid compounds as toxic to our nervous systems and possessing psychoactive properties. Gluten has also been implicated to play a role in mental illnesses, including depression and schizophrenia.
In addition to the addictive and mood-destabilizing effects, gluten can trigger an autoimmune response in sensitive individuals, whereby certain cells in the thyroid gland and the Purkinje cells in our brain are actually destroyed.
Even if you don’t appear to have an obvious problem with gluten intolerance, I urge you to consider this possibility, especially if you display an autoimmune condition, thyroid imbalance, or any chronic long-term illness. The incidence of gluten intolerance is thought to be very common in our society, and in the majority of cases, it can be present for years without ever being identified. Most of the tests available to check for gluten intolerance tend to be unreliable, often yielding false-positive or false-negative results.
Gluten Can Have A Delayed Effect on Your Health
When you are consuming gluten regularly, you will probably not be aware of its negative effects on your health because they do not generally correlate directly with the food’s ingestion. Responses can be delayed, and the irritability or digestive distress you experience tomorrow may actually be related to what you eat today.
It can take at least a month of complete avoidance of a food in order to recalibrate your body’s response to a substance to which it is intolerant. Just one deviation within this time means you need to start right from the beginning again.
In the case of gluten, there is research to indicate that the negative effect of just a single exposure to gluten, in those sensitive to it, can have an impact on the immune system that persists for up to six months!
Do You Need to Avoid Gluten Forever?
After one month of total elimination of gluten from your diet, you can experiment with eating a gluten-containing food if desired, such as wheat, spelt, or rye bread, to test your tolerance.
You may find that you have a strong reaction that can include symptoms such as irritability, digestive distress, or a rapid heart rate that you overlooked when you were eating these foods daily. This is often the only way to get a true picture of whether you are sensitive to gluten and how it may affect you in ways you do not realize.
Grains Are Not an Ideal Food – Even When They Are Gluten-Free
Whether you have a gluten sensitivity, I don’t recommend that you include wheat or any other grain in your diet regularly.
Grains are one of the most acid-forming foods. If consumed in high quantities, they can cause a loss of alkaline minerals from your body, including calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Besides, grains are low in nutrients compared to their calorie content and are also lacking in many vitamins and minerals that are absolutely vital for wellbeing.
If you feel the need for some complex carbs in your diet, it is much better to get them in the form of a vegetable like baked sweet potato or winter squash. These foods are beneficial as you are transitioning to a diet high in raw foods. They provide the comfort that most of us experience when we eat complex carbohydrate foods without most of the negative effects of consuming grains.