First of All, What is Gluten?
To answer this question we must first know what gluten is. Often without knowing what gluten is we get deceived into buying something thinking it’s a healthier choice simply because it’s “gluten free.” Gluten1 is the main storage protein of wheat grains. It is made up of a complex mixture of related by unique proteins, mainly gliadin and glutenin. Gluten makes is what makes wheat gluey and enables it to hold starch together. It is the reason air produced by yeast gets trapped in holes that makes bread rise.
Is Gluten Inherently Bad for You?
Don’t buy the idea that gluten is bad for everyone. As we just learned, gluten is simply a protein. But because it’s a protein our bodies can develop antibodies to it, and that can lead to symptoms. This is very much the same way that milk proteins can lead to symptoms for those allergic to milk. Gluten in wheat dough gives it, its flexible structure. This allows it to be used to make a huge variety of food products. Gluten is now added to a massive amount of processed foods that are rich in vegetable oils and low in nutrients and antioxidants. This means that the body often encounters gluten proteins (gliadin and glutenin) accompanied by oxidative stress and inflammation. The impact inflammation has on the gut and overall immune function is immense. High amounts of inflammation send messages to the body that it is under attack and triggers production of protective, bacteria-fighting proteins known as antibodies. The antibodies patrolling our gut see more antigens in a day than immune cells patrolling our bloodstream see during out entire lifespan. The health of your body largely depends on the ability of these antibodies to ignore most of these antigens and destroy the few harmful ones.2
Address the Underlying Problem, Not the Symptoms
The problem is when it comes to inflammation our body responds with the attitude “make antibodies first, ask questions later.” Essentially the body is going to make antibodies for as many proteins that it encounters. If gluten proteins happen to be the primary protein around, then gluten antibodies are likely to get manufactured. If the body doesn’t realize that it’s made a mistake and delete the antibody against gluten then the antibody sticks around. This procedure is known as developing immune tolerance. So now, that the body has developed an immune tolerance. The next time our body encounters gluten, the antibody reaction will trigger the immune-patrol system take offensive action – even though there’s nothing harmful about a little ol’ gluten. This doesn’t just have to occur in response gluten proteins either. Similar processes can lead to any food allergy: peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, shellfish, milk proteins, soy, you get the picture. And although food allergies may be dramatically increasing in the U.S. population particularly among kids, none of these proteins are inherently bad for us.3 The real underlying problem is an immune system dysfunction.4
No Sweat Recipe Of the Week
- 3 cups Fresh Tomatoes (chopped)
- ¼ cup Chilies, Jalapenos and Serranos work well (seeds removed, and chopped small)
- 1 TBSP Dried Oregano
- ¼ TBSP Cumin
- 2 Garlic Cloves (minced)
- ½ Onion (diced)
- 1 TBSP Sea Salt
- Wear gloves to handle the chilies and combine the chopped tomatoes, chilies, oregano, cumin, garlic and onions together.
- Place the tomato mixture little by little in your fermentation jar, pounding it vigorously and sprinkling some of the sea salt as you go.
- Make sure the mixture fills the jar up to no more than 1 inch below the top (because of the expansion), adding more if needed, and that the extracted water covers the vegetables entirely.
- Press the mixture and keep it under the brine by placing a plate or a lid on top weighted down by a rock or a jug of water. Cover with a clean towel if needed to keep out fruit flies
- Place the fermentation jar in a warm spot in your kitchen and allow the salsa to ferment for 3 to 5 days.
- Check on it from time to time to be sure that the brine covers the mixture and to remove any mold that may form on the surface.
- A good way to know when it’s ready is to taste it during the fermentation process and move it to the refrigerator when you’re satisfied with the taste.