Rethinking Gluten-Free

Modern wheat has been shown to cause inflammation; ancient wheat actually reduces it

Heated Editors
Heated
Published in
4 min readMay 16, 2019

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By Bob Quinn and Liz Carlisle

As a farmer and agricultural researcher from Montana, we grew up with a deep respect for wheat, the staple grain that provided the foundation of our state’s farm economy. We also learned to revere it as the staff of life that had nourished humankind for some 10,000 years.

But recently, many of our friends and neighbors have been telling us they can no longer eat wheat without having digestive problems. So what has broken the staff of life, and how can we fix it?

Gluten-free diets simply sidestep deeper problems in our food system, problems that wheat points out to us. As one of the most intensively industrialized crops in the world, wheat is giving us a glimpse of where we’re headed as we continue on this path with other foods. If we ignore these warnings, we’ll soon add other foods to our list of dietary sensitivities. But if we heed them, we have a golden opportunity to address many other pressing problems linked to our food system, including its climate footprint and its devastating impact on rural communities. So instead of ditching wheat, let’s fix the way it’s bred, the way it’s grown, and the way it’s processed.

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