Ok. Before you panic, take a deep breath and relax. There’s no need to get all crazy, please give me a few minutes to explain Why I Quit My Gluten-Free Diet after 7 Years. This is one of the scariest posts I’ve ever published. I’m hoping that I can rely on all of you to be understanding and supportive. And most importantly that you read through this entire post and not jump to conclusions.
I’ve been Gluten-Free for over 7 years, most of which completely grain-free. I’ve even written a best selling cookbook; Without Grain – touting the health benefits of eating grain-free and how it helped me improve my auto-immune vitiligo.
Let me be abundantly clear up front, my opinion of “gluten” the way we know it today has not changed. The bread, crackers and pasta that flood our grocery store shelves, isn’t ever going to be healthy to consume, in my opinion.
And I’m not advocating that anyone else, who is gluten-free, to abandon their GF diet. But this is a new season of MY life.
I’m excited to share that after much thought, and years of a living a health building lifestyle, I’ve decided to introduce wheat back into my diet.
But here’s where it gets tricky… Not just any wheat – Heritage, Old-Fashioned, Ancient Grain, Einkorn Wheat.
Wheat, Gluten, History & Statitstics
Gluten has been consumed for thousands of years by healthy cultures with no downside. The alpine living Swiss, for example, consumed a significant percentage of dietary calories as dense sourdough bread made from gluten containing rye. This culture suffered from virtually no degenerative disease including the absence of dental caries as documented in words and pictures by Dr. Weston A. Price early in the last century. The young men from these Swiss villages were so pleasing in character, strength and physique that the Vatican favored them for appointment to the Swiss Guard.
Dr. Price also discovered that the alpine living Swiss he examined whom did suffer from cavities were invariably the same young people who had left the nurturing foods of home at around age 18 to live elsewhere only to find themselves with one or more rotting teeth within a year or two (or worse tuberculosis). Interestingly, Dr. Price discovered upon examination of these young people who had returned home that their dental caries had healed and were no longer causing any distress. Similarly, not a single case of tuberculosis was reported in the Swiss alpine villages consuming a native diet loaded with gluten despite the disease being rampant elsewhere in Switzerland and Europe at that time.
Wheat and Gluten Today are Very Different
It’s no surprise to learn that the wheat on the market today and the gluten it contains, are quite different than the wheat eaten long ago by traditional societies.
Modern wheat has been hybridized over the years (and in obscene fashion using irradiation in the last few decades) to be very high in gluten, so much so that many people have developed an intractable intolerance to it. No doubt the dependence of modern society on antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals that seriously compromise the integrity and flora of the gut environment plays a role as well.
What is Einkorn?
Einkorn is known as the oldest variety of wheat. Einkorn was first cultivated by ‘man’ roughly 10,000 years ago. It is classified as a “diploid” because it only has two sets of chromosomes whereas modern, hybridized-wheat varieties are classified as “hexaploid,” having six sets of chromosomes.
Since einkorn is the only known variety of wheat with only 2 sets of chromosomes still known to exist today, there has been considerable interest surround it and the issue of gluten toxicity.
Is wheat/gluten itself the problem? Or is it the ratio of gladden to gluten? Einkorn has a much more favorable ratio of gladden to gluten than modern wheat varieties, 2:1 compared to 0.8:1. While this lower gluten ratio may hold some promise for those with gluten intolerance disorders, it should be cautioned that einkorn DOES contain gluten.
In the United States, about one in every 133 people have celiac disease, which means approximately 2.4 million people have the condition. Where as other parts of the world it’s prevalence is less than 1%.
Why are so many Americans allergic to gluten now? Is something going on with our wheat supply? Is the problem even gluten, or is it the wheat itself? Could it be the varieties grown here, or the way it’s processed? Surely it’s not normal for so many people to develop this problem over such a short period of time here in American but not abroad?
Should you give up your Gluten-Free Diet too?
No, Monkey DON’T
Don’t be that guy. I’m not in any way, shape or form saying that gluten is good or einkorn is ok for everyone. This is a very personal decision and one that may not be a long term change. I suggest doing lots of research before deciding to test Einkorn.
I take great pride in being authentic and honest with you all. And I can’t in good faith not share this minor change publicly.
Learn more about Einkorn:
To learn more about Einkorn Wheat/Sourdough, incorporating it into your Gluten-Free Diet and how to use Einkorn, here’s 4 books I recommend reading:
What does this mean for HSITK’s Recipes?
Nothing is really going to change…. While I’m going to share a few einkorn recipes that I successfully create, this is not a gluten-loving site and never will be. I do not feel that wheat/gluten is necessary for health and if it’s consumed at all it should be treated similar to sugar, in strict moderation.
Anticipate a sprinkling of Einkorn recipes but the focus of HSITK will remain gluten-free recipes. All Einkorn recipes will be clearly titled and this post will be linked to.
Just like I also share low-carb, paleo and vegetarian recipes but don’t strictly follow any of those diets, but I do eat these types of foods also.
And I will ONLY be using THIS Einkorn Flour in my recipes. I’ve done siginifigant research before adding Einkorn into my diet and I’ve found it to be a superior brand. They also offer several pre-made products that can help to simplify the testing process if you aren’t ready to DIY everything like me.
Am I tolerating Einkorn Wheat?
I’ve been conservatively incorporating Einkorn into my diet since November 2016 with no digestive upset or other physical/mental symptoms. After 6 months or a year of consuming Einkorn with no ill-effects, I will have follow up testing so see if there is any markers of damage or intolerance (I have not had any in the past though testing while eating gluten free) to see internally what’s happening.
When I say CONSERVATIVELY, I mean that it’s not a regular part of my diet. It’s a special treat, just like sugar/sweeteners. On average I’m having Einkorn 3-4 times a month. I’m not eating grain-heavy diet. My regular way of eating is still low in carbs and high in fats.
I’m sure some of you are baffled by this decision but I’m a person who thrives on ANSWERS. I want to know is gluten the problem or is modern-gluten containing wheat the problem for my body?
And – I’m super excited to bake bread again. Like the real-deal. I’m a cooking fanatic, I can’t lie.
Have you researched Einkorn? Have you tried it? How did Einkorn work for you?