Gluten Free: Poison for the Soul

By Cindy Koch

Once upon a time, I ate pizza and enjoyed every bite of it. My favorite part, of course, is the crust. Hot, buttery, perfectly tender, melt in your mouth pizza crust. The layers of cheese and sauce and amazingly endless toppings were a world of flavor on a soft bed of delicious gluten.

But now I have ascended in knowledge, and I have learned that these beautiful bites have done my body more harm than good. More than just the occasional pound or two, I have actually experienced what it feels like to remove gluten from my daily diet. It feels good. My head is clearer, my stomach handles other simple foods with ease, I’ve helped my leaky gut to heal, and the scale is not as wrong as it used to be.

So now I eat spinach pizza, almond flour pizza, cauliflower pizza, even meat-za (minus the crust all together!) and live as the happy gluten-free creature God created me to be.

And then I wonder, is this how God really created me to be? Not able to enjoy my literal daily bread?

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I know what you will say. Well, the wheat we grow today has been modified from its natural state. It’s changed from the harmless organic grain of yesteryear. There are more chemicals that we use to preserve our wheat products which are harmful to humans which we never ingested in the past. Our society is largely based on fast and easy foods, which is the bread and butter of our Wonder Bread world. These convenient gluten-filled products have taken over home-cooked dinners and home-made treats. We, and our food, are getting worse by the year.

As far as I can tell, our food has launched a major attack against its consumers. Quiet and stealth, it has allowed itself to be genetically mutated to harm those who try to eat it. It attracts an unsuspecting 3-year-old, munching on Cheerios, and follows to assault with an addiction to pasta and pizza. We are just now receiving word of this with the rise of Paleo and Gluten-Free foods. We have realized the ever-present terror of the modern doughnut staring us right in the face.

This is not how God created me. Prized above all other creatures, man was given the gift of dominion over the plants and animals of the earth. This means we are created to care for and rule over even the stalks of wheat. I guess you could make the argument that it’s all our fault; we didn’t do a very good job, mutating the plants, and all. You could also make the argument that the creation itself is broken and disfigured by sin, and our world is groaning and dying right alongside us. But the fact remains, we are in a strange battle, and our plants are killing us.

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Today the chosen few answer boldly, “but I am Gluten Free!” And we have lost. We have seen the whites of the enemies’ eyes and run away screaming. The plants have us right where they want us. Fear, obsession, reconfiguring our everyday lives rather than living in their painful chains. But Gluten Free living isn’t fixing this problem. We are not launching any counter-attack against our out-of-control society or uncontainable enemy. We actually just hide from the evil foe, protect our own, and we cower in secret waiting for a great tasting pizza.

Our created bodies are no longer on the top of the food chain, as they were designed to be. Something terrible has happened and now these wheat plants have dominion over our gut health. We are less than our Creator intended. We are defeated by roots and soil and seed. Our proud cries of “gluten free” should only remind us about the dysfunctional relationship we now have with our food. Yet somehow we pitch this as an elite lifestyle choice.

To ignore our disgrace, to hide away from our failures, to mask our shame in victory – is poison. We might never long for real bread again.

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8 thoughts on “Gluten Free: Poison for the Soul

  1. “Gluten-free” is not a foolish approach, as there is a lot of evidence that wheat and other grains do damage the body. Potatoes and white rice seem pretty harmless. Since becoming diabetic, I’ve had to restructure my relationship to food, taking a very low carb approach to diet. Steaks and bacon, cheese, cream, and calorie restriction. It could be worse.

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    1. I remember just a few years back reading news articles about how terrible potatoes are for our health. Maybe I’m just confused, but I don’t put a lot of stock into the things people say about this food or that food being terrible for us. It’s always something new and it always changes. In the ’90s, vegetarianism was all the rage and we were convinced that consuming meat was terrible. Now we’re all going paleo and ingesting large quantities of beef. I had an overweight coworker eating bacon and eggs with cheese, while simultaneously criticizing me for eating carrot sticks and an apple because they had too many carbs. Rather ironic, I think.

      I think a little common sense, trying to eat more fruits and vegetables, and avoiding too much of the things that we all know are bad is good enough.

      Of course, diabetics, people with celiacs disease, etc. are special cases. There are genetic predispositions and the like that mean some people have to be more careful than others.

      However, for the bulk of the population, we just need to quit worrying, quit following fads, exercise regularly, use some self-control and move on with our lives.

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  2. I agree with you. But the problem goes even further than trying to stick with gluten free products. I see around me daily as I walk about the towns and malls nearby that the American diet is downright dangerous and it is literally killing us. Forty percent of cancers are closely linked to dietary factors. Although we have genetic predispositions to certain conditions, it is evident in a casual walk through your local WalMart or supermarket that young and old in our land are plagued by obesity, diabetes, and issues like high blood pressure. More customers are found in the chips and snacks aisle, grabbing up large bags of salty and sucrose laden products than heading to the fresh produce section. Bottles of sweet beverages and cans of high sodium soups fly off the shelves. People get their commercially processed cold cut meats containing elevated doses of nitrates, nitrites and sodium erithorbates which mix with stomach enzymes and become cancerogenic. In my view, each of us need to re-evaluate the types of foods we consume in a sensible and rational way, with health and weight as prime factors. We do not need to be lunatics about it, but my goodness, why tempt an early mortality by eating poorly and living in an unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle. Diet and exercise go together, but even if it is difficult to find time to exercise…diet is crucial alone. Recognizing the problem of our national and collective diet is tge first step, even though we Americans love the freedom to be fat, unhealthy, and sick….and some won’t give up the poor diet choices to which our brains are addicted. Moderation is a key as well. It wouldn’t hurt to seek the Lord’s guidance.

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  3. Thank you for your post. I have come to rea2,at my age,that there are lots of things in this vale of tears that I will never be able to change. We must not lose hope. God has redeemed all the universe. We will just have to suffer,in the mean time.

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  4. It seems like there are really three strands in the gluten-free movement: those who have a legitimate problem with gluten, those who hate the food industry simply because they hate the corporations that run the food industry, and those who think it is the latest health fad. I’m sympathetic with those who have real issues, but I’m rather annoyed at the other two groups.

    People who come over for dinner and say, “I’m sorry, I can only eat gluten free for my stomach and digestive system. I hope you’re not offended,” are totally cool in my book.

    People who say, “Well, gluten is bad because the food industry is evil and we’re all destroying our health with this terrible junk, and the food industry is just after money, we shouldn’t stand for this…” are crack pots. Maybe this sounds like a conspiracy theory, but I think many of them are hiding their left-wing, anti-corporation agenda behind the mask of “gluten free.” After all, the mortality rates in the countries that are served by evil food corporations are at an all time low. How bad can the food industry be?

    …and then there are the blonde, Hollywood “actresses” who don’t eat gluten because “gluten free” is the new lifestyle choice of the rich, fabulous and oh so progressive. Barf! I’m channeling my punk rock teenage years right now!

    Most of us have absolutely no problem eating gluten (myself included). I’ll eat gluten ’til my eyes bolge and still have more energy and fewer digestive issues than 99% of the people around me (Yes, I’m one of those morning people that likes to run and do calisthenics).

    For the small percentage of people who have a genuine intolerance for gluten, I’m definitely sympathetic and I think it’s great that there are other options out there for them now.

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    1. Ken, I was a Food Inspector for over 30 years with a government agency. I inspected every type of establishment from Mom and Pop grocery stores, fish markets, wholesalers, bakeries large and small, and huge multi-national food manufacturers. I have followed the flow of products from the farm to the finished commodity, submitted samples for analysis for everything from pesticide residues to bacterial contamination, as well as for “claims” that some items are “low sodium” or “butter flavored.” I have investigated food borne illnesses, interviewed victims on their meal histories, seized off condition foods and foods contaminated by rodents and other vermin. I am a political independent with no left leaning anti-business or anti-corporate ideology. In some cases, both government bureaucracy and corporate greed can be conceivably irresponsible. In any case, while many corporations in the food industry are quality conscious, some are not at all interested in anything but profits over the health of consumers. The list of ingredients used in some products includes preservatives and chemical additives in processed items. These ingredients with scientific names often difficult to pronounce will be added to increase shelf life, which is a good thing but not always healthy for you and me. As I said earlier, we must eat moderately, reduce our intake of junk food, frozen dinners with high salt content, and be much smarter about what we shovel into our hungry mouths. We must begin to relate and link some of our health issues with our American diet. We can laugh it off, get fat, and go on our merry ways…or we can make an effort to preserve these “temples” and be good stewards, as God would have us do.

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  5. I heard a stat recently: 85% of food for sale in the g. store had not been invented 100 year ago.

    As a person who is thoroughly convinced of the depravity of humanity, it is not a stretch to discover that corporations have modified foods drastically in order to make a profit. If I follow this idea of depravity a little further, it is evident that millions of people personally choose convenience or taste over health when eating. My (our) utter selfishness leads to a host of terrible results. Some of these results are related to health, food, and diet.

    Finally, I recently read about the diet of the people living in Okinawa. In essence, they eat a lot of fish, rice, and vegetables. They have little or no processed foods. They live healthy, active lives well into their nineties. It seems simple, natural, and healthy.

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