Gluten Update

Seeing that I had two comments about the Gluten Free diet, I thought that I would address them now in their own post because there’s alot more to the iceberg than just the diet.

The First comment is from ekpeach, who is the dad of dpeach (David) of the excellent blog My Thought Spot and the very cool podcast Missionary Talks.

I am not sure just what gluten is, but I donít want some of that. How do you eat at a fast food place and not eat what is bad for you? I need to loose weight without walking and I want to know…

Gluten is a protein that is found in rye, barley and wheat. The gluten of these grains gives dough their elasticity, leavening and chewibility of bread and bread products. And if you read this blog entry about the cookies that I made with Gluten Free cookies, it makes since now on why it didn’t rise like I thought it should. This just means another attempt at Chocolate Peanut Butter cookies!

Quite a bit of the protein in people’s diets is from gluten. However, some people are gluten intolerant, which means that they can’t digest it and have some very very bad bowel problems even if they have a few particles of the stuff. Which leads me into the second part of ekpeach’s comment.

Luckily, our family is not Gluten Intolerant, we can and have eaten gluten. So, when it comes to fast food, we can eat anywhere, we just have to pick out the menu items accordingly. For example: Breaded Chicken is Grilled Chicken; A Burger is a Burger without the bun; or a Salad; or Meat and Vegetable skewers from Olive Garden in leiu of pasta; A Chocolate Milkshake instead of an Oreo Milkshakes. And some places are easier to eat at because of the Menu than others. Buddy’s BBQ is easier because we can get a 1lb of pull pork, but going to a traditional fast food place such as Burger King and McDonalds… is not as easy. Breakfast foods are probably the hardest because of pancakes, french toast and bagels. I am not a huge egg fan, but that and bacon are a few choices. The grocery stores and not just the “heathly grocery” stores are having more and more gluten free foods available. Some foods aren’t even labeled as gluten free because either they aren’t certified to be GF or they don’t know that they could be Gluten Free. Cris, our Au Pair, said that in Brazil, alot of regular foods are Gluten Free whereas here, the marketeers know they can tack on 10-30% on the price with the words “Blankity-Blank FREE.”

It’s almost like being on an Adkins diet, except that you eat whatever you want and you are not monitoring the carbohydrate content. You can eat fruit for example, such as the Fruit Smoothies that I have almost every morning.

So now Marianna asks a good question:

…I had read somewhere ~ and for the life of me, I canít remember where (or even if my facts are right) ~ that gluten contributes to autism. Is that right? Did I confuse this with something else?

Gluten doesn’t contribute to autism. However, there is some information out there that a Gluten and Casein (no dairy) Free Diet can help moderate the effects of Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders. So while Gluten doesn’t cause Autism a special diet may be useful to help control it.

On a slightly milder and sliding scale, there is the Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The key word here is spectrum. Just as white light is broken into many different wavelengths of colors (you know our friend ROY G BIV who lives on Angstrom avenue). There are many different “wavelengths” if you will, in ASD. The further away you get from classic autism, more “functioning” a person becomes. So, let’s take Asperger’s, which some call High Functioning Autism (HFA). Classic Asperger’s have normal to high intelligence, can have great jobs, be influential people in society, and seem like normal but sometimes notably quirky. People with Asperger’s have what is called “super powers”, they typically have a special interest where they can go into great detail about that subject, e.g. The Weather, Train Tables, (this was an example in a book) Door Knobs, Presidents, etc. What their “kyrptonite” is that they have no (or little) clue that for people that aren’t interested in their special interest are incredibly bored and although they are being polite and listening, the asperger’s person can’t catch the (non verbal) clues that that person is bored or uninterested. Also, the asperger’s person has a harder time recognizing when someone is showing interest in you. Where as a person without Asperger’s (usually called NueroTypical or NT) would easily read the body language, etc and make adjustments. So there is a great void in social and emotional communication ability of the Asperger person.

That’s a brief and general overview and a lead in to why the Gluten Free diet. The Elder was having some occupational therapy for some sensory issues and the OT mentioned Aspergers. Reader’s Digest Summary: late June, we did in fact have a professional diagnosis of Aspergers. So although there is no “cure” for Aspergers there are therapies which one can use to help the Asperger person to acclimate and function normally and the sooner the better. Just as it’s easier for children to learn speaking languages at an early age, it is easier for them to learn how to communicate as well.

Now, one last tie in. Asperger’s typically runs in families and primarily on the male side. So, when the elder received his diagnosis, I received one by Proxy. We are looking to get an actual formal diagnosis for me, just so that I can get some of the proper help and have a game plan of how to restructure my life as to not bore the bejesus out of people when I communicate with them. After all, I may be a middle aged dog, but I can still learn a few tricks.

My Lovely and Talented Wife, says that she can see a difference in The Elder when he has and has not had gluten. I know that when I have gluten, at least heavy gluten products such as bread and pizza, that without accompanying vigorous exercise, I get really tired. I took naps on both Sunday and Monday, 2 hours each, which is something that I normally don’t do. I can use that 2 hours for something alot more creative that sleeping, but I could not keep my eyes open. Once I awoke, I felt good.

I’m still going to post some of the Gluten Free products that we like. I can’t say that it’s any healthier, because, like I said… you can still have chocolate shakes, just not Oreo Milkshakes. Neither one of which is “healthy” for you.

About planet3rry

I'm a husband, father and runner in the Knoxville area. I love the way that running makes me feel and how it has changed my thinking. I am always looking for the new PR whether in the 5k or the marathon