My inspiration for this article was a quote I read some time ago by E.A. Bucchianeri :
“… food is not simply organic fuel to keep body and soul together, it is a perishable
art that must be savoured at the peak of perfection.”
It seems to me that food plays an integral role when it comes to optimal health. We all should consider gluten-free…
Celiac disease (Nontropical sprue, Celiac sprue, Gluten-sensitive enteropathy) is
characterized by diarrhea and an abnormal small intestine structure caused by the
immune system’s response to a protein known as gluten. Gluten (its smaller
derivative, alpha-gliadin) are found in barley, wheat, oats and rye grains.
Only the gliadin portion has been demonstrated to activate celiac disease. Corn and
rice do not appear to activate celiac disease and are farther removed from wheat.
Symptoms appear during the first three years of life, after cereals are introduced into
the diet. The infant may have a poor appetite (weight loss), offensive smelling bowel
movement (large pale or light yellow stool that floats), anaemia, irritability, nausea,
abdominal swelling and gas. A child is likely to have an anaemic, undernourished
appearance. They may exhibit dermatitis herpetiformis, and even stunted growth.
Ulcers in the mouth may develop. The early introduction of cow’s milk is also
believed to be a major causative factor. Celiac disease often leads to a lactose
deficiency, causing lactose intolerance, and the increased intestinal permeability
usually results in multiple food allergies. Breast-feeding and delayed administration
of cow’s milk and cereal grains are the primary preventive.
A second peak occurs during the third decade of life. Autoimmune disorders that can
be associated with Celiac Disease may include Sarcoidosis, Insulin-dependent
Diabetes Mellitus, Thyroid disease, SLE and RA to name but a few. Celiac Disease is
often misdiagnosed as Spastic Colon or IBS. Factors that may trigger the onset are
emotional stress, viral infections, surgery, pregnancy and physical trauma.
Interesting to note that gluten is a pathogenic factor in the development of
schizophrenia. It is substantiated by, clinical, epidemiological and experimental
There is an increased frequency of celiac disease in people with some specific genetic
markers known as HLA-B8 and DRw3 that appear on the surface of cells similar to
the genetic markers of blood type.
An abnormality in the immune response rather than some “toxic” property of gliadin
causes the damage to the intestinal tract in celiac disease: The damage is the result of
the immune system trying to neutralize gliadin and in the process, destroying
surrounding intestinal tissue.
The treatment of celiac disease is clear:
-Eliminate all sources of gliadin;
 -Eliminate dairy products initially;
-Identify and eliminate all food allergens (Celiac Disease impairs digestion);
-Maintenance of a strict gluten-free diet is difficult: read labels carefully in
order to avoid hidden sources of gliadin (soy sauce, modified food starch, ice
cream, soup, beer, wine, vodka, whisky, malt and other foods);
-Celiac disease will often not clear up if there in an underlying nutrient (e.g.
zinc) deficiency;
-Correct underlying nutritional deficiencies by taking a high-potency multiple-
vitamin and mineral formula;
-Pancreatic enzymes such as 5,000 IU of lipase, 2,900 IU of amylase and 330
IU of protease can be beneficial in the treatment of celiac disease. In the first
two months after diagnosis, pancreatic enzymes at dosages described, should
be used to speed up the healing process. If you do not respond within two
months, consult with your doctor again to reconsider the diagnosis.
-Alfalfa supplies Vit K, which is often deficient in Celiac Disease. Do not take
large doses of synthetic Vit K (toxic in the newborn and causes sweating and
-Consume foods such as leafy greens, tomatoes, strawberries, whole grains,
yoghurt, raisins, figs, nuts, legumes, sunflower seeds and blackstrap molasses;
-Malabsorption of Vit B12 results from Celiac Disease. Supplement as directed
on label;
-N-acetylglucosamine forms the basis of complex molecular structures of the
mucous membranes of the intestinal lining. Supplement as directed on label.
-A good probiotic goes a long way. Acidophilus can help to restore the
intestinal flora;
-Gluten free products are available at good health shops.
-Consult resources and information on gluten-free recipes.
Spring is in the air !!!– some 30 days awaiting us.
Here is one of my favourite smoothies: Gluten-free, dairy free and “Oh, so yummy!”
Ingredients: 1 fresh banana, ½ cup blueberries, ¼ cup walnuts or 2 tablespoons of
protein powder (hemp or rice). Add pineapple juice, orange juice and some coconut
milk (or coconut water). Blend and Voila… jam-packed bullet in a glass. Avocado
can be added for a creamy texture and remember: ice transforms a smoothie into soft-
serve-style frozen dessert that can be enjoyed with a spoon.
Let’s look after our bodies and one day our bodies will look after us. Some food for
Till next time
Dr Vantonder