Gluten Sensitivity – Still Very Misunderstood

Wheat7A while back I read an article in MacLean’s magazine (Sept 2013, written by Cathy Gulli) that displeased me and I’m finally getting around to writing about it.  It seems this gluten-free movement that’s been happening in North America has some authorities quite upset.  What exactly is that movement?  Well it seems that 27% of North Americans are adopting a gluten-free lifestyle for better “digestive and overall health”.  Some go gluten-free because they think it will help them lose weight, some feel they will be better off nutritionally, and others feel that it will help their cognitive abilities or concentration.  Apparently even the author of the popular book Wheat Belly, William Davis, is quite surprised and frustrated at the direction it has taken.  You may notice that there are more and more gluten-free foods available in the grocery stores these days, particularly in the baking, pastry and bakery sections of your local grocery store.  Many of those who shop for these foods have taken themselves off gluten containing foods and it’s really irking some health professionals from the B.C. medical association.  They state that there is no need for such a drastic change.  The commercial gluten-free bread making industry has taken this mission so seriously that many are participating in the Canadian Celiac Association’s Gluten-Free Certification program.  This is a third party program that ensures quality and purity in gluten free baked goods.

What really bugs me is the ignorance of  Cathy Gulli, who states the only reason to legitimately stay away from gluten containing foods is because of celiac disease.  She mentions a recent medical phenomenon call non-celiac disease gluten- intolerance, or gluten sensitivity.  Apparently recent studies have raised awareness in the medical community, and  it is estimated that this disorder could be affecting as many as two million Canadians.  Then Gulli states that there is no test to diagnose or assess this gluten sensitivity. Really, where has she been?  The natural health community which includes Naturopaths, Nutritionists and Holistic MDs have been testing for gluten sensitivity for many years.  I have had this test done, so has my daughter.  It’s called the cytotoxic or food sensitivity test, and there are a few labs in Canada that do this. With this test, a patient’s finger is pricked to extract a small amount of blood on some sterile tissue.  The blood is then sent to a lab where the patient’s blood cells are extracted and tested against many different foods, food additives, chemicals, etc.  Based on how many foods are tested, the test can run from about $300 to approx $1000.  In my humble opinion, the testing is well worth the money.

I found this very helpful videos on youtube which explains the difference between a food allergy and sensitivity. Please go here for these two  videos.

Coming from someone whose child is gluten sensitive and whose brother was seriously sick all his life and passed away  because of undiagnosed celiac disease, I feel we can’t be too vigilant about food intolerances, sensitivities or allergies.

What about you? How do you feel about food sensitivities? Have you had any and how have you dealt with them?  I’d love to hear from you!

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