Sunday, June 15, 2014

Dietary Alchemy and Gluten Intolerance

Dietary alchemy is my name for healthy eating that is based on research about the Mediterranean Diet and participation in my own Italian cultural traditions. I use the term, alchemy to reference an earlier time where most diets focused on traditional food and balance;  a time before processed foods came into the world and seduced people away from whole food diets with the promise of convenience and more free time. 

Today, many people claim to have gluten intolerance. You see gluten-fee on labels every where these days, even on beer. Now, let's clarify something right away, I am in no way doubting the validity of Celiac's disease, but this has gotten to a point where everyone is saying they have a gluten allergy. A blurb From a new age blog, entitled, 10 Signs You Are Gluten Intolerant, estimates "that as much as 15% of the US population is gluten intolerant." Always ready to jump on the next fad regardless of epidemiological reality, adds the fear factor, " Could you be one of them?" 

Even though many of the issues in diet-related diseases are really complex, the gluten intolerance issues seems to simply amount to the consequence of a country without a connection to whole foods that is overly dependent on corporate foods and more importably a loss of how to prepare food.

In 2012, the USDA reported that American diets are out of balance. Americans are overeating meat and grains and under eating fruits and veggies. In Dietary Alchemy that "diet" is the way to make a brick in your stomach. Seriously, try this experiment in your kitchen, add some chopped meat, some refined white flour, or a little sliced bread, then a smaller portion of water, and maybe a little portion of broccoli. Your outcome will be a solid brick. Of course, your stomach can't digest that. That "thing" is not for eating, it is for making a shelter. That also explains why Americans are addicted to soda drinks, like Coke, they need a strong bubbly acid to break up the glue they just created in their gut. 

Conversely, take those very same ingredients but change the proportions by adding a lot more veggies, some fruit and a small portion of meat and grains and many will see that their body can digest gluten.  

A word of caution, I am not talking to people who have been diagnosed with a serious problem. The people I am addressing this article to are those who "think" they have a gluten intolerance after they thought they were allergic to meat and became a vegan, then realized all along they were a paleolithic hunter. Admittedly, I have been there, too! 

Now, this is where Diet Alchemy really comes into play. Once you understand your body and how not to make bricks from food you can take charge of your food processing and even start to add in fermented foods. 

Fermented foods are foods that have Lactobacillus , our microbial partners that have aided our digestion through the ages. Modern food tried to kill them off with processing and preservatives but researchers are now finding that we need them. People can purchase them in a pill form but it is way more enjoyable, cheaper and fun culture your own. 

The greatest thing about Dietary Alchemy is that you take charge of the process of feeding yourself and exploring the amazing world of your body, your digestive tract and food.  

I have made sauerkraut, kimchee, preserved lemons and I try to eat something fermented everyday. 


Here are some links to recipes: