More News on Wheat and Inflammation- by Julie Freeman, MA, RD, LD, RYT

Wheat, gluten, celiac, sensitivity – all terms that have been a very hot topic in the world of gastroenterology and immunology for a while.  There is newer research honing in on specific proteins that may be triggering responses that often people are experiencing, but there have not been tests to identify the “why”.

Research in Italy and Germany has recently shown that a family of proteins found in wheat called amylase-trypsin inhibitors (ATIs), may be responsible for inflammatory conditions that affect not only the gut, but other target tissues and organs, creating pain, inflammation and destruction.

ATIs make up only about 4% of wheat proteins, but they can exert powerful reactions in the body.  Until now, focus has been on gluten and gliadinin and while some do show a positive reaction to these proteins, others feel much better off gluten, but do not test positive for the markers.

How does one begin to investigate, manage etc, when test markers are limited?  It is both an exciting and confusing time in healthcare in general, and this topic has proponents and opponents on both sides.  In my practice of over 35 years, I have been acquiring various tools in my “toolbox” to help people sort through challenging conditions and there is no one cookie cutter approach for any individual.

Looking at root causes can seem like a daunting process because our current medical system is focused on treatment, usually once an active disease has been determined.  But what about those who have markers leading in a direction, but no test currently available can rule in or out?  This is where history, both personal and family, toxic exposures and that includes having been exposed to a lot of medication, and emotional history/present situation can provide some clues.  Stress has been shown to have a major impact on the immune system.

I mention immune system because these proteins act as enzymes to support facilitation of reactions in the body and when they are lacking or in excess, symptoms leading to illness can occur.  Turning on and off these proteins is part of epi-genetics, the ability to modify reactions despite a genetic or enzyme abnormality.

With regard to investigation, whether a gastrointestinal issue, auto-immune like or actual condition or just achy joints, foggy memory, headaches, food addiction – just plain old not feeling well – I will often offer a trial of gluten and dairy free because these two food groups have been so heavily processed and are often no easy to digest.  After about a month I will begin the re-introduction process and there can be some proof.

Elimination and re-introduction is a great way to personally tap into bodily sensations.  And while doing this, I will look at these other areas of life, including macronutrient balance, sleep, stress and happiness/purpose in life.

While I find it exciting to have this new research as a backing to the potential “whys”, it is a combination of science and internal wisdom that has the most powerful impact on our well-being.

Enjoy this recipe from my cookbook, Feel Great Look Great – Sweets and Treats, available on Amazon.

Cheddar Apple Bread 

1 ¼ cups GF flour                                                                                                          ½ cup Benefiber                                                                                                            2 tsp baking powder                                                                                                    ½ tsp salt                                                                                                                         1 tsp xanthan gum                                                                                                       1 tsp cinnamon                                                                                                             2 Tbl sugar                                                                                                                     2 Tbl oil                                                                                                                          3 Tbl Applesauce                                                                                                           2 eggs                                                                                                                              ½ cup milk or coconut milk                                                                                        2 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded (I use almond cheese)                                   2 apples, chopped, skin on                                                                                        ¼ cup walnuts

Combine dry ingredients                                                                                         Beat sugar, oil and applesauce together, adding eggs one at a time           Blend in milk.                                                                                                   Combine all ingredients together, mixing until combined, but do not overbeat                                                                                                                 Grease 1 9x5x3 loaf or 2 7x4x2 and bake 350 60 minutes or 40-45 minutes, respectively                                                                                                             Serve with 1 Tbl almond butter for added protein