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What is Wheat and is it Bad for Me?

Wheat that is grown in the United States falls into two main groups: spring and winter wheat. Winter wheat is planted in the late autumn months and harvested in the summer and spring wheat is planted in after the danger of the frost is over and harvested in the summer.  The appearance of wheat harvested is deep golden brown much like the pictures and artwork most Americans have seen.

Once the wheat plant is harvested, the farmers separate the stalk from the wheat kernels. The stalk is then used for construction uses, animal bedding and mulch. The kernels are then ground into flour. The kernels have three parts, the small germ, the large endosperm, and the outer casing.  The outer casing of the wheat kernel is known as bran.

Flour made with the endosperm becomes white flour. Wheat flour is made from grinding the whole wheat kernel. Pasta is made from the hard wheat.  Wheat flour, white flour, germ flour and bran are four separate flours made from the wheat plant.

Wheat is a probably the most important plant American’s produce. Much of our diet is centered on wheat in one way or another.  It is a nutritious source of vitamins, minerals and fats. Wheat is easily grown in the United States.  It’s easy to see why wheat is the American staple grain.

In certain groups, especially weight loss and fitness groups, wheat is considered one of the worst things to eat after sugar. Many people are surprised to know that wheat is a problem in the American diet. We all know sugar is a big problem our diets, but wheat is bad for you too?

Wheat is has more gluten in it than any other food we consume.  Consuming to much gluten in your diet can lead to celiac disease. Much of the population is believed to be sensitive to gluten. Gluten and wheat is not the same thing. Wheat contains gluten.  In healthy people, eating too much wheat can cause gas, bloating, lethargy and damage to your intestinal lining.

Wheat is a food that is high on the glycemic index. Its rating is higher than sugar, ice cream or cake.  When you consume wheat, your blood sugar rises quickly, bring your insulin levels up quickly. Then your blood sugar will drop low causing you to be hungry again. This is known as blood sugar roller coaster.

There is some speculation that wheat is an appetite stimulant and could be addictive. Have you ever had a craving for pizza and not even are not truly hungry? Studies suggest the reason why wheat is addictive.  The studies say that gluten when broken down forms peptides that are able to stimulate our opioid receptors much like morphine does.

Wheat consumption also has increased cholesterol in a recent study.  In a study, they compared two groups one eating whole oat cereal another eating wheat cereal. The results were the group in the study that consumed wheat cereal’s cholesterol (LDL) increased by sixty percent.

After learning all of this, I cannot possible think wheat is good for you. Maybe it is better for you than other substances, but not healthy. It is like comparing an alcohol with a soda. Neither is good for you, one is just slighter better than the other. Wheat can cause celiac disease, bloating, tiredness, and may be addictive.  It also affected the cholesterol of the participants in the study.  As an item that is considered to be one of the most important staples of American diet, it has the potential to being the worst thing we consume.

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Why go wheat free?

When wanting a definite diagnosis of a wheat sensitivity, your doctor will first do an in depth physical examination. There are five other tests they many perform to get an accurate diagnosis for you. These tests are blood test, skin allergy testing, food journals, and food testing in the hospital and the elimination diet.

A blood test would tell the doctor if you produce any antibodies that indicate an allergy to gluten. Doctors often use this test when they cannot do a skin test because of a skin infection or other skin disorder present. It is not the preferred test for a diagnosis.

When doctors perform a skin test on a patient they put tiny allergen extracts including the wheat extract on the top and pricked in your skin.   The usual location of the skin test is the forearm but it can be done on your upper back. The doctor and nurse watch your skin for fifteen minutes. If you are allergic to wheat, your skin will get red and raised. The most common side effect of this test is rash and itchiness.

A food diary is when the doctor instructs you to write everything you eat for a period of time. In this diary, you would also note how you felt after eating and any reactions you experienced.

An elimination diet is when you omit wheat from your diet. This is a common way to test for the allergy. If you remove the offending item (wheat), it is likely you will improve.  Then under your physician’s direction, you would add these items back into your diet, and making note of any discomfort.

The food challenge test is when they give you in a hospital setting usually capsules of the food item you suspect you are allergic to.  You continue to eat food in small qualities of the food suspected you are sensitive to, while making note of any reactions. This is for extreme allergies usually.

In today’s high medical technology field, it’s amazing to me that we can pinpoint our allergies to blood tests and skin testing. It is so useful as knowing your allergies for your comfort and your health.  If you are suffering or feel you may be allergic to gluten or wheat, it would be wise to contact your doctor for testing.

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Reasons to Avoid Wheat

There are so many reasons to avoid eating wheat. Wheat is a grass like plant that produces kernels we grind to make flour and cereal. Wheat can cause such illness as celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. It can cause us to feel tired, bloated and damage our intestinal lining. If that is not bad enough, there are other reasons to avoid eating wheat.

Even before farmers plant the wheat seed the seeding companies they purchase the seeds from give the seeds an application of insecticide and fungicide. The fungicide is applied to help control the diseases from the seedling. The insecticide is used to control the pest while the seed is maturing. The insecticide contains hormones, derives of estrogen. It can cause a hormone imbalance to those who consume it. This hormone imbalance is suggested to be the reason girls and boys are entering into puberty much sooner today than they did fifty years ago. They also have linked this hormone imbalance to breast cancer and endometriosis.

After the grain is harvested, they are treated again with an insecticide. First they spray the storage bins inside and out. Then they transfer the new harvested wheat in the storage bin and are sprayed on the top again to 4 inches in the container. The reason they do this is while the container sit and wait to be packaged and sent to stores, they are in danger to be feasted on by pest.

The alternative to wheat bread is sprouted bread. It is flourless bread. Another alternative is to make your own with whole wheat berries. This is the best way to consume bread. The wheat available to us is not the wheat that Hippocrates suggested we consume in the ancient times. It is full of pesticides, insecticides, hormones and GMO’s. A GMO is a genetically modified organism. Wheat is one of the most popular GMO out there next to corn. GMO are said to be a contributing greatly to the obesity epidemic.

I know after learning all of this, I will be not eating wheat. I will figure out what alternatives are suitable for my family. I think the hormone problem alone is grounds for us to be careful with consuming wheat. Wheat, which was so good for us at one point, has turned into something that is bad for us yet marketed still as being a sound nutrition.

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Foods to Avoid on a Gluten Free Diet

When adapting to a wheat free diet, it is understandable for you not to know what foods to eat. It is confusing to making the change from something that is marketed as a healthy white flour alternative to wheat is causing me harm. It will get easier with time. It will be helpful to know which foods to avoid. The general rule of thumb should be if you are in doubt about a food, it is best to avoid it until you clear that food with your doctor.

Generally, it is best to avoid bread and cereals. This is when you have to really examine the food label. Any ingredients on the food label that are farina, barley, malted milk, bran, durum, spelt or any ingredient with the name wheat should be avoided. Wheat is always to be avoided.

Baked goods should as a general rule is avoided. Unless the item is labeled wheat freeor gluten free,  it likely has wheat in it. This includes cookies, crackers, chips and pie crust. Baked goods are probably the hardest food item to avoid. Everyone loves to eat cookies, cupcakes and pies, but in order to get gluten out of your system you must not consuming any baked goods.  It is also important for you to abstain from eating them so your wheat allergy symptoms do not return.

Other foods that according to the experts it is best to avoid are fried foods, gravies and salad dressing. If the item says gluten free than it is safe to eat otherwise it is best to refrain from eating it. Fried foods are often fried with a flour batter, which is  full of gluten.  Chocolate and other candies often have wheat in them so it is best to be avoid if at all possible.

I know the list seems overwhelming. Eating gluten free  will get easier in time. In time, it will be like second nature in knowing what to eat. And you will feel so much better for making the change.  Taking charge of your health is like having a superpower. Become the health person you were meant to be.

Beginners guide to eating clean

Eating clean is a term that is used to describe eating little to no processed foods. A big part of America’s obesity epidemic is directly related to the fact that we eat so much processed foods. A general rule to follow is if you cook your meals from whole food items, you are eating clean.  If your diet is filled with fast foods, microwave dinners or candy then your diet is full of processed foods.

The first step to eating clean is to not consume chemicals, sugar, artificial flavor and preservatives. To quote the celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels ‘If it did not come from the ground or have a mother, don’t eat it’. If we eat mostly clean whole foods, the calories we consume are good calories generally, and do not have to worry about counting so many calories.

The next step of eating clean is to figure out how much food you need to consume daily. It may not be necessary to count calories when eating whole foods, but be mindful of calories. For example, an avocado grown in Florida has 470 calories if you eat the whole avocado. For an average sized person that needs approximately 2000 calories a day, nearly 500 calorie is quite a bit.  If you keep in mind each meal should be about 500 calories and snacks about 250(2 of them), you will do great.

Lastly, the kinds of calories you eat do matter. It is important to make sure you get enough carbohydrates, protein and fat throughout the day. Cheese, nuts and beans are not considered to be high quality protein sources. High quality protein sources are meat, chicken, turkey, egg and protein shakes to name a few.

These steps will help you get on the way to a healthier you. Eating a clean whole fresh diet is vital to being a healthy, fit and mentally alert person.  Eating whole natural foods are the building blocks of a fit healthy person.