White flour made from refined wheat is one of the most common food allergens today. Almost everybody who lives in the United States has some sensitivity to white flour and / or wheat.
Wheat used to be considered the staff of life, but now, thanks to processing, it is a dead and detrimental food. When you compare white flour to the wheat berry, processing removes 66 percent of the B vitamins, 70 percent of the minerals, 79 percent of the fiber, and 19 percent of the protein.
What is left is a “food” that forces the body to rob itself of essential minerals in order to be digested. Once these mineral stores are depleted, the “food” will ferment into the perfect environment for yeast, bacteria and parasites to grow, leading to indigestion, gas and bloating.
One of the biggest reasons to not eat white flour and products made from white flour is that it tends to cause inflammation in the intestinal tract which leads to a condition known as leaky gut. Leaky gut is the precursor to many of the autoimmune disorders that are becoming more common. These include chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia – both of which have been shown to improve when wheat is excluded from the diet.
Arthritis and acid indigestion are some other conditions that can improve greatly when wheat is removed from the diet. Allergies from airborne substances such as pollen, dust and pet dander also benefit from restricting wheat as do conditions such as eczema and diverticulitis.
If you suffer from any of these conditions, remove wheat from your diet for one month and see how you feel. Also, add some omega 3 oils to your diet. Your body needs these oils to metabolize wheat and if you have never supplemented these oils, chances are that you are deficient in them.
The problem with removing wheat from the diet is simple. What else is there to eat? Believe it or not, there are many good alternatives. Spelt is my favorite. Spelt is an ancient grain that substitutes well in recipes calling for wheat flour. For bread, the sprouted grain breads such as the Ezekial or Essene bread are good choices. For cereal or grain dishes, there is oatmeal, rice and many grains that are becoming popular such as amaranth, millet and quinoa.
If you really have trouble either cutting back or removing wheat from your diet, you might want to look at some of the popular diet books for ideas of what to eat. Diets such as the Maker’s Diet, Sugar Busters, South Beach and the latest version of Atkins all allow “healthy carbohydrates” from unrefined sources.
Margaret Durst is a naturopathic doctor who owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas.