Gluten Free

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Why is gluten intolerance so hard for people to accept?

Photo: Francesco Carta fotografo for Getty

More than 3 million Americans lead a gluten-free lifestyle, but there’s still plenty of misinformation floating around about wheat and other grains. If you’re reading this and going, “Huh? What is gluten?”, I’ll give you a quick rundown.

Gluten refers to the proteins found in many popular grains, including wheat, barley, rye, oat, and spelt. These proteins are safe for some people, but they trigger unpleasant — and sometimes even fatal — reactions in others.

Here are some common issues associated with gluten intolerance/sensitivity:

• Gastrointestinal distress
• Brain fog
• Joint pain
• Neurological issues
• Fatigue

Gluten doesn’t…

A food writer, wracked with illness, gives up gluten. She feels better. It is terrible

Photo by Janine Lamontagne via Getty Images.

I was a heavy gluten user. I ate a sandwich every day for my entire life. Sometimes twice. I ate pasta for dinner every other night. I ate pizza weekly. Fried chicken, eggplant parm, crackers. I ate crackers constantly. Beer was my go-to adult beverage. Soy sauce my salt. Pound cake, banana bread, waffles, doughnuts, bagels, English muffins, scones, shredded wheat, granola bars, pretzels, pita chips, falafel, dumplings, ramen, marble rye, semolina heroes, ciabatta, baguettes, croissants, holy cow the list was endless. My regular consumption.

So when my doctor prescribed a gluten-free detox, my instinctual reaction was an expletive.


The industrial food system is breaking our bodies — and our land

Westend61 for Getty Images

By Bob Quinn and Liz Carlisle

When I looked out over my family’s farm, I realized that the primary crop we grew — wheat — was trying to tell us something. As an increasing number of my friends and neighbors came down with symptoms of “gluten sensitivity,” I read everything I could get my hands on to try to understand what might be wrong with our wheat. At first, there wasn’t much to read: Early on, these wheat-sensitive people were waved off as hypochondriacs.

But in the past 10 years, there has been a flood of diet books, cookbooks, and…

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

Photo: Sina Ettmer / EyeEm

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…


Food from every angle: From Medium x Mark Bittman

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