Seattle Acupuncture- The Challenges With Gluten

Pick up any health magazine and you are likely to find an article about someone who has improved their health by eliminating gluten from their diet. Gluten has been in the human diet for a very long time so why the sudden problem? Most people don’t realize that our digestive tracks are over exposed to gluten in a way like never before. We are being over exposed for two reasons: first, our culture eats a lot of processed foods which contains an over abundance of gluten and second, wheat (and its cousins) “have been bred to grow faster, produce bigger yields, harvest more efficiently, and bake better bread. The downside to today’s hybridized cereal grains is that they contain more gluten.” (1) With our incredible advances in food technology, even products that we never think of like salad dressings or soy sauce can contain “hidden” gluten. At some point our body cannot handle this over exposure and starts sending us the signals to stop eating it.

So what is gluten anyways? “Gluten is a protein composite, meaning it is a substance made up of several different proteins, in wheat and related grains. Gluten comes from the endosperm within the seeds of these cereal grains”(2) and is stored in the plant as a protein source. In other words the plant feeds off of the gluten as its growing.


So which foods contain gluten? Gluten can be found in certain grains including wheat, barley, rye and their derivatives like spelt and kamut. This means gluten is found in common products like bread, tortillas, crackers, beer, fried food, bakery products, spaghetti, pizza and anything made with flour (like pancakes). Below is a list of “hidden” gluten foods which include:

Brown rice syrup
Breading & coating mixes
Energy Bars
Flour or cereal products
Imitation bacon
Imitation seafood
Panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
Processed luncheon meats
Sauces, gravies
Self-basting poultry
Soy sauce or soy sauce solids
Soup bases
Stuffings, dressing
Thickeners (Roux)
Communion wafers
Herbal supplements
Drugs & over-the-counter medications
Nutritional supplements
Vitamins & mineral supplements
Play-dough: a potential problem if hands are put on or in the mouth while playing with play-dough.
Hands should be washed immediately after use (3)

So what are the symptoms of a gluten sensitivities and how do we find out if we should avoid it? Symptoms of a gluten sensitivities include loose stools, constipation, stomach pain, acid reflux, headaches, skin rashes, depression, mood swings, joint pain and neurological issues. Celiac Disease is the most extreme example of a complete gluten intolerance where diet modification is extremely important. The best way to find out if you have a gluten sensitivity is to get off of all gluten foods for 6-8 weeks (this includes processed foods) and see how you feel. You can then re-introduce gluten back into your diet and see if any symptoms show up. Grains/Flours that can still be eaten while on a gluten diet include rice, corn (maize), soy, potato, tapioca, beans, garfava, sorghum, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, arrowroot, amaranth, teff, Montina®, flax, and nut flours (3).

Please click the links below to investigate in more detail about gluten sensitivities. Good Luck!

(1) Gluten Then and Now
(2) Gluten Intolerance School

(3) http://www.celiac.org/

(4) The Gluten Intolerance Group

"I had become quite frustrated over the years with western medicine and I was looking for an alternative. I heard good things about Seattle Acupuncture and Coaching from a friend and figured I would give it a try.

It was the first time in many years where I felt truly taken care of by a healthcare practitioner. I love seeing Ben for Acupuncture and now I started doing Coaching with him as well and it is changing my life.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!"

~DR, Everett, Wa

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Ben Dorfman, E.A.M.P.

3417 Evanston Ave N. #224
Seattle, Washington - 98103
Email: Info@Seattle

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