When I’m speaking with people who follow other culinary lifestyle choices such as gluten free or Paleo, I’m thankful for being lowcarb. The simple reason is that when followed properly, a low carb way of eating automatically mens you are going to be virtually 100% gluten free as we don’t generally have anything with grains in it. And even pseudo grains such as amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa or other root based alternatives like tapioca, sweet potato are not on the low carb menu because of having a high carb content.
That’s one of the factors for why I think that lowcarb has the edge over other very similar dietary choices.
The reason that more people turn to say, a gluten free diet is to help them overcome health problems rather than say for a weight loss. The same can be said for paleo. Simply getting
rid of the grain content from the food we chose to eat can have a drastic positive effect on our health – as you have probably discovered.
The secondary effect of losing fat and getting fit is the bonus that comes with the package.
Yet there is a third effect that some have observed and experienced yet not understood.
That is the effect of an increased sensitivity to food that you once could stand even though it was not doing you any good.
Gluten free followers call it being or getting ‘glutened’. The typical scenario is when they go to a restaurant and have something that should not normally contain gluten – yet for some reason it does – maybe as a thickener in the sauce, or a bulking agent in the flavourings and spices. The effect of eating that even small amount of gluten can be drastic in some cases knocking them sick for a day or so.
The question many ask is why do we become more sensitive as we eat a cleaner diet. And do the reactions ever stop being so drastic?
Well let’s look at the why.
Most of our dietary choices start from infanthood when we ate what our parents gave us to eat. Being young, the body could cope with virtually anything that was thrown at it and cope it did.
While it is certain that we did experience problems, the coping mechanism of the body coupled with our perception of what was ‘normal’ masked the effect that this food was having.
If you like the discomfort caused to our bodies by the food it did not like disappeared into the background noise of simply being a child experiencing growing up.
But as time progressed and the natural reserves of our bodies became depleted, these coping mechanisms started to run out of resources. on a typical standard American, British, European diet things like vital vitamins and minerals started to become depleted and the body no longer had the resources to say, make the enzymes it needed to work properly or make up for the lack in good nutrition.
At some point – typically when we’re anything from 3 to 30 or more years of age – the body is going stop coping. It’s at that point that the problem shows itself through one or more of literally many hundreds of health problems.
Eventually the source of that problem is found to be say gluten intolerance and gluten is removed, and the diet is cleaned up and the health problems subside.
And for the first time in a long, long time a once sick person gets to know what it’s like to feel fine, not to have a bloated stomach, a nagging headache, no energy or just the feeling like crap.
Their sense of what is normal has not just moved up a few notches, it gone to a whole new level of health.
So when they do eat something that affects them, even though the effect of it may be no different than before they got cleaned up – it just feels like that because the contrast of falling from such a high level of health to what used to be normal for them has been so markedly huge. It feels worse than before.
The other reason why is again lost in the mists of time…
Before science, before we gained an understanding of what is in food both good and bad we all had an inbuilt sense of what was good or bad for us.
Our ancestors were more sensitive to effect of what that food is doing to our bodies right from the first taste.
Many times this ability saved lives because it alerted our ancestors to food that was going off or had been polluted with say fly eggs (you can taste them) or any other reason why food is no longer good to eat. This worked because our sense of taste and smell was not masked by chemicals and non-food ingredients that appear in so much of the food we eat today.
As an example. In our interview with Gluten free chef Oonagh Williams, she remarks that one of the things that tell her she has eaten something with gluten in it is that her arthritis flares up. Arthritis is an inflammatory reaction and these are quite typical of adverse food reactions.
But I’ll bet there are many, many people who don’t connect them with the food they eat.
Do these sensitivities ever go away?
They can do but it may take time depending on why you became sensitive in the first place. If it is because your diet was generally poor and you lacked the necessary micronutrients that are needed for building say the enzymes needed for digestion or using certain foods. then once those are built up again, you just might be able to handle them once more.
Although you must ask yourself “do you need them and are they actually contributing something to your wellbeing?”
I’d say probably not!
And anyway when you thinks about it… Becoming less tolerant to foods that are bad for you is not really a bad thing in itself.
It is something that can be honed and mastered to become your very useful early warning system. So that at the first sniff, bite or swallow you can say…
Hmm, this isn’t something I should eat and then make a better choice. It might even save your life.
All the best,