The Dangers of Gluten Free Products
As we have already discussed, it is a proven fact that many people feel better - and not only just for their digestion – without gluten (no wheat, rye, barley, oat, not even spelt or kamut).
Consequently, these individuals select “gluten free” products, but this choice can give rise to unsuspected complications… arising from the exceptional characteristics – one must admit – of the conglomerate of cereal proteins that we refer to as gluten.
Firstly, it is the gluten that allows children to make these little balls of dough that they then willingly stick under a table, for example! The characteristic of strong cohesion that typifies gluten-containing products helps explain why gluten free breads are so hard to chew but also extremely crumbly. If one wanted to address this issue what would we use to improve the adhesion of gluten free breads? Egg white, of course, is one of the most utilized binding agents in the kitchen.
You may say that's fine, but there are many people who suffer from one form or another of allergy to eggs. In fact, eggs are probably the most allergenic foods after gluten and dairy products. We will soon review some “tricks” to lessen this problem. Furthermore, if there is one thing in the food industry nowadays that is detrimental to the public's health, it is this cursed habit of “putting anything in everything”. This leads us to consume the same proteins at every meal, including the most problematic: dairy, gluten, and eggs… egg proteins for example are hiding under numerous names on food labels: see the “LIST EGG” available to download (PDF) from my website: www.gmouton.com/lists.html.
The lack of rotation of foods constitutes one major handicap of our modern diet and a factor contributing to this situation is the unhelpful habit of including a long list of the same ingredients in all prepared meals. Another is that there is little respect for the seasons or the geographical origin of food products. We will further develop these fundamental themes later.
The second characteristic from which gluten benefits, which is difficult to ignore, is its taste: bread or pasta without gluten just do not give the expected sense of flavor, which means that consumers protest! The solution to improve the flavor of gluten free products is not a mystery: lots of sugar is added, and with that the sale of these products, profoundly altered from their original form, increases dramatically! Some industrial gluten free breads contain up to 3 grams of sugar per slice: here we go again with hidden fructose…
In addition, especially as far as cereal crackers are concerned, ingredients are compressed and heated to a high temperature, inflicting irreparable damage to the unsaturated vegetable oils utilized in their manufacture, resulting in a high level of trans fatty acids. Another consequence: their glycemic index can be astronomical, provoking a glycemic peak and ensuing blood sugar oscillations…
No, you really shouldn’t aspire to eat "gluten free" foods; a 'real' dietary change is preferable which aims to replace gluten with something else other than heavily altered cereal products. It should be remembered that cereals were not part of the Paleolithic diet, nor were dairy products. According to the pace of genetic evolution, cereals – even without gluten – and animal milks will remain a major stumbling block for our digestive system for another one hundred thousand years to come.
Tubers, roots, legumes, so-called cereals (quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat)…we have multiple choices to replace the gluten cereals! We need to be creative: personally, I just love Jerusalem artichokes. They are also called earth pears, the latter name alluding to their shape and by analogy also to the potato. They are locally grown, seasonal, and a virtually forgotten vegetable, but best of all, their flavor is delicious. The icing on the cake (oh no, not the right expression here!) is that it is a very hardy plant and easy to grow, so do not hesitate!
The Tricks for Egg Tolerance
We should not have to revisit, I hope, the importance of proteins at every meal, especially at breakfast – particularly for those who find it difficult to stabilize their blood sugar levels. This includes all those individuals who complain of sudden fatigue ("feeling low") who compensate by eating sugary foods, and, of course, all of those with abdominal fat.
There are five major families of protein-rich foods: meats, fish, shellfish, dairy products and eggs. One can see how appealing the last two can be, especially for breakfast where consumption of dairy and egg products represents a conventional way to start the day. These proteins, termed complete, are ideally suited to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates consumed concomitantly at meals.
There are also proteins, which we term incomplete, that are less suitable and should not therefore be consumed with starch (or restricting to a minimum). We are talking here about legumes and the oleaginous plants (nuts) that we recommend you eat on their own, without carbohydrates: a lentil soup or a handful of hazelnuts being examples of very suitable snacks.
But let’s return to the topic of eggs as it is our main subject of the day. Unfortunately, one can observe many egg allergies that sit on the third step of the nasty allergy podium, after dairy products and cereals containing gluten: the bronze medal of the allergies, which eggs did not need given their reputation…
For patients highly allergic to eggs (we are talking here specifically about IgG allergies), there is nothing to propose apart from total abstinence. However, for patients with mild allergy, an interesting solution is to vary the origin of the eggs: let’s forget the chickens for now and consider duck and quail eggs as alternatives. In the UK it is even relatively easy to find goose eggs (and even sea gull eggs in Scotland)!
Indeed, the major issue with eggs arises from their origin, which is exclusively and solely from chickens! We are losing the fundamental principle of rotation that comes more spontaneously from the wide variety of fish and shellfish available and to a lesser extent meats. As far as meats are concerned it is useful to introduce a range of game (during the various seasons) – game with feathers and game with hair – without forgetting horse, rabbit, turkey, ostrich, buffalo etc. The same principle of systematic rotations also applies, as far as possible, to animal milks, although there are obviously fewer alternatives available.
Another potential trick to reduce the allergic potential of eggs is to always cook the white and preserve the yolk raw, as we do when we eat a soft boiled egg or a poached egg. Having said that, a person who is highly allergic can be tested separately for egg white or egg yolk, to discover more precisely to which component they react to. In fact egg white is often more allergenic. But it is not always the case, so it is best to test both and work out a personalised strategy…
To close this subject let’s look at what represents the most fundamental failure: hens, just like other birds generally speaking, do not lay eggs all year round! Yes, nature – if it is respected – provides us with a spontaneous period of rest from eggs (thanks to the long winter nights), and any tendency to develop an allergy to eggs may disappear with the periodic discontinuation of their consumption.
It is the lack of respect for the nature fundamentals that generates the immense majority of food allergies and their accompanying suffering. We will talk about this later on. Please take a look also at “LIST EGG” which can be downloaded from my website www.gmouton.com/lists.html.
The Good Intestinal Strategies
As many people can attest, solving chronic intestinal issues can be a very complicated process. Identifying food allergies (IgE and IgG) and food intolerances (lactose or fructose) can help some, but it is often a long, difficult, expensive and sometimes inefficient process.
In any case, manipulation of food choices does not constitute the only strategy, underlining also the usefulness of probiotics (good bacteria), prebiotics (their food of predilection), digestive enzymes and diverse digestive aids such as hydrochloric acid, ox bile, fiber, and also several plants that aid digestion.
lectures.html More information on these intestinal treatments is on my website www.gmouton.com in the lecture ad hoc (Intestinal Ecosystem /5 G.I. Ecology 4) and in my book “Ecosystème Intestinal & Santé Optimale” (Intestinal Ecosystem & Optimal Health) (particularly look at the last three chapters).
The last chapter is specifically focused on inflammation of the intestinal mucosa, which increases permeability with disastrous consequences on the immune system (allergies, auto-immunity, inflammation) and the capacity to absorb nutrients (deficiencies). Always take into account the inextricable partnership between the microflora and the mucosa when considering the intestinal ecosystem.
In fact, a third partner exists in the ecosystem. It is its immune component. Indeed, did you realize that the great majority of our immune system cells line the intestine? They are in the underlying tissues of the mucosa and of course, everything interacts: the microflora, the mucosa, and the immune cells all act in combination.
If you feel you have worked hard to improve your microflora and the intestinal mucosa but have not seen results, it is probably because the immune system doesn’t protect the intestines against the overgrowth of micro-organisms or invasive pathogens. In this case we also have to treat the immune system!
In such instances, additional therapeutic avenues are open: you may correct deficiencies in nutrients crucial for the immune system (Vitamin D, vitamin K, Vitamin A, zinc, iron) and identify any potential thyroid or adrenal weakness: as these glands play a critical role in the maintenance of efficient intestines. We shall review in future blogs how to identify both an underactive thyroid and adrenal insufficiency through their respective symptoms.
Here we find a double challenge: the diverse presentation of symptoms from one patient to another, due to the fact that these glands impact numerous organs and functions. And nobody has the "perfect picture", i.e. no one suffers all thyroid or adrenal symptoms simultaneously, which is a good thing! One must then show some investigative flair and accumulate patient information plus especially obtain laboratory confirmation. Multiple symptoms can appear with different pathologies (we then can say that they are not pathognomonic). It is not that simple, but the examination of a disturbed immune system can very often explain the most stubborn cases, hence the critical importance of evaluating thyroid and adrenal function in the most sensitive patients.
The Benefits of the Paleolithic Diet
Human societies started to cultivate wheat in the middle of the 8th millennium BC, so about 10,000 years ago, in the ‘Fertile Crescent’ region, then known as Mesopotamia, which now consists mainly of Iraq and Syria. Maize (corn) cultivation started about 9,000 years ago in the southwest of Mexico; whilst for rice it was some 7,000 years ago in northern India.
Nowadays wheat, corn and rice constitute the three major cereals, whose combined annual consumption exceeds two billion tons worldwide. However, the most common IgG food allergies are wheat for Europe, corn for America, and rice for Asia. In contrast, the consumption of these cereals by our ancestors in the Paleolithic era was comparatively minor. It should also be noted that these plants were much more primitive and contained fewer chromosomes than they do today.
The ancestor of wheat is called einkorn, a cereal still present in the Middle-East which contains 14 chromosomes (diploid) against 42 (haploid) of modern wheat. The ancestor of maize (corn) is called teosinte and its cob measured 3cm, compared with one that could reach 45cms today. One can easily see that not only is there a difference of consumption on a quantitative level but also huge qualitative disparities.
It is generally agreed that the transition between the Paleolithic era and the Neolithic era happened around 9,000 years BC, precisely at the time of the first crops of wheat in the Tigris and the Euphrates valleys. Agriculture and livestock were progressively replacing hunting, fishing and gathering. The nomad hunter-gatherers began to multiply and settle down: the first city in the world was apparently developed very close to these fertile regions, in Jericho in the West Bank about 11,000 years ago.
This transition period is of interest to us for more than one reason, because it also coincides with the emergence of several new illnesses, firstly infectious then degenerative… But let’s go back to our Paleolithic diet: no cereals but of course also no animal milks nor any of their derivatives. One has a hard time picturing these hunter-gatherers trying to catch wild animals to milk them, or even worse the females that are breastfeeding their newborn mammals… However as we have already pointed out, dairy products constitute a major source of allergies and intolerance.
Ask around and you will be surprised by the number of people who feel better when they have temporarily removed cereals and dairy products from their diet. Why not try it yourself and evaluate whether it makes a difference?
If you are thinking Paleolithic, make sure you realize that the hunter-gatherers didn’t always steal the eggs in the nest of the same species of birds. We must respect the rotations of food, especially species, which is essential. When they didn’t find eggs in winter, (obviously, as the birds do not lay during that season) this allowed the hunter gatherers to “reset the meter to zero” by inserting an interval of a few months without eating eggs. Please follow the food seasons, and strive to eat local produce whenever possible.
In order to start this rotation of foods according to the seasons, you will find a section on my website www.gmouton.com, which is called “Seasonal” which lists all the wonderful seasonal produce of the month – vegetables, fruits, nuts, meats, game, fish and seafood. But… you should not forget to limit the consumption of fructose, preferring less sweet fruits by reducing portions of the most sugary fruits (see the Fructose list) and by generally emphasizing mostly vegetables, naturally less rich in fructose (even if their content is not always negligible).
The Danger of Trans Fatty Acids (1 of 2)
We as Europeans have a bad deal: our legislation, unlike that passed in the United States in recent years, does nothing to protect us from trans fatty acids (most commonly referred to as trans fats). With the exception of Denmark since 2004, the trans fat content does not have to be listed on food labels of products sold in Europe. In addition, unlike for many countries, the trans fat content of food served in restaurants (traditional and fast-food), and by street vendors, is not controlled by the health services.
Canada however introduced such legislation in 2003 and the United States followed in 2006: what are we in Europe waiting for? Trans fats are essentially altered versions of natural polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega 3 and omega 6) or monounsaturated fatty acids (omega 9) whose spatial configuration is always of the “cis” type, rather than the “trans” type.
Derived from Latin, this means that in the natural version, the missing hydrogen atoms (the principle of desaturation) are found on the same side of the chain of carbon atoms (‘cis’), whereas in the altered version, they are positioned on both sides of the carbon chain (‘trans’). However, the question is: how and why does this transformation take place?
It comes from the industrial treatment of products containing unsaturated vegetable oils, and here we are talking about virtually all types of oils, with the exception of coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil. Specifically it is a consequence of their oxidation at high temperatures, hence the labeling of some oils as being “cold-pressed”, although even here we are suffering from a lack of sufficient legislation. For example, there is no European regulation as to what temperature cannot be exceeded for the label to read “cold-pressed” hence there exists the most abominable abuses by some manufacturers.
On this topic, one should never buy refined oil, and should be more attentive to potentially misleading labels. For example, a so-called "pure" olive oil is a blend of virgin olive oil and refined oil rich in trans fats. Even when you have acquired your extra virgin olive oil, it is imperative that it doesn’t become a refined olive oil in your oven or in your frying pan: respect the maximum cooking temperature of 180C!
In terms of practicalities, this means that every time you cook with olive oil it should remain almost silent (from a distance of one to two meters) and in any case, it should never splash… If you are using an oven, do not exceed 160C to allow for a safety margin. It may take a little more time, but all will be perfectly cooked and will remain healthy.
If you wish to use higher cooking temperatures, although this is not really recommended, you are left with the option of macadamia oil (upper limit is 250C) or saturated fats, either vegetable (coconut oil, palm or palm kernel) or animal (butter, ghee, duck fat, ox fat, lard). These saturated fats should not be abused (in fact, some people lack them because they have totally excluded them from their diet) but it is important to realize that it is much more toxic to generate trans fats in your own kitchen!
We are talking about your health and even your survival. I will discuss this further, but you can already get an idea of the danger of consuming these trans fatty acids by visiting my website www.gmouton.com. See the article “Danger of Trans Fatty Acids” and the conference “Danger of Trans Fatty Acids” (in the section entitled “Unsaturated Fatty Acids”).