Thursday, July 27, 2017

Gluten-Intolerance; Can It Be Healed?

Pain in the Body
In the Mind

Penny Crowther image

Had a very curious interaction, a déjà vu of long journey ago. 

...Seven years, I left the valley.
Now I'm going back... to see... 
Oh Shenandoah, a folk tune

In the first Wayfaring Traveler book, Whale Rider of the Tide, I had found myself suddenly homeless, on an unexpected "road trip", tenting, and listening to strangers and their astonishing stories.

The Maine island which had been my sea-girt home, grew mythic and far way. I had reached the American Southwest and the Rockies. 

Among the true anecdotes in that book, I wrote about an impoverished and emaciated old woman, and my personal embarrassment at avoiding her desperate person in the campground. 

She lived, and still lives, year-round in her ancient decrepit Volkswagen Bug, on a meager social security check and at the time, mostly canned beans and wheat chapatti. 

Note the wheat; there's more.

I was appalled that an elder should be so lost; it tore at my heart. I at least was making camping kombucha and managed one decent meal a day.

All too observant of the manner in which she devoured people out of loneliness, frantic energy and despair, I was ashamed of myself as I side-stepped interaction. Nearly everyone avoided her.

Yesterday, I saw her at the big health food store, having already spotted the wretched VW Bug as I came in. Imagine: duct tape and bailing twine, putty in dents and cracks.
She used to startle and scream if approached from her blind side. So I came gently and spoke her name. She turned... and beamed at me. Though still frail, she stood there grinning, bright-eyed and grounded. She actually glowed.

She announced, "Oh it's YOU!" I nodded. "After you advised me that my anxiety and tummy pain were likely from gluten intolerance, I went gluten-free!"

I stood there gobsmacked for a minute, said WOWZA, and explained that now GMO's are causing even more gluten-intolerance, plus an obesity and auto-immune epidemic. Besides, uh, tumors.

Hard of hearing, she pushed back her head scarf. "What? Would you say that again?" 

So I spoke next to her ear and the proximity did not cause her to cringe back, as it would have done those years ago.

"Listen to this," she said "I talk to people in the campgrounds now who describe how discouraged and rotten they feel. 

"I tell them: Seven years ago, camping in a wild place by a river, a nutritionist was my tenting neighbor. She explained about gluten-intolerance, that it's wide-spread, almost never diagnosed, and the lab tests, if you can afford them, may not be reliable.

"Here's the deal: If you stop eating gluten, there's a change; if you eat it again, the old stuff comes back. I tell everyone who will listen!"

Her cart was full of interesting high-nutrient food, including gluten-free bread, aha, and blue corn tortillas. She was camping rent-free on private land off in the high country, and was, thus, richer, not having to pay campground fees. 

She saw me admiring her wonderful shopping cart and enthused: "I buy only organic and non-GMO and eat no sugar! Will I get over the leaky gut?"

"Yes, you will. Candida lives as a macabre partner in a gut chewed up by gluten grains and antibiotics. Carry on. It just takes longer after many decades, a lifetime of not knowing what to do. I so wish you good journey, dear heart. You've given me such a gift today."

Hard to know when a smile or a kind word does any good at all.

Blind Milton, dictating Paradise Lost to his daughter, offered this: "They also serve, who only stand and wait."



  1. A friend has asked how to tell if one is gluten-intolerant:

    The "elimination diet" usually gives a clue. Read the 3-part gluten series here at feastandfamine.blogspot for guidelines.

    Don't eat any gluten for a week (helpful if a nutritionist is on hand.) Eating a small amount at week's end may trigger a reaction, e.g., heart palpitations, nausea, headache, confusion, diarrhea or its opposite, insomnia, temper, depression, etc.

    Based on any reaction, not everyone will make the bold move to change one's diet. All kinds of hot buttons there.

    Often a health crisis is necessary before gluten comes into focus.

    We learn by doing.

  2. ...and the pesticides! A recent article suggested that gluten may be less the issue than:

    "Common wheat harvest protocol in the United States is to drench the wheat fields with Roundup several days before the combine harvesters work through the fields as the practice allows for an earlier, easier and bigger harvest."


  3. Yes indeedy, but the alarum about AgBiz poisons, served up with the staff of life, actually went out decades earlier. A German gastroenterologist had warned of grains rendered toxic at the dawn of chemical fertilizer use.

  4. But wait, there's more...

    Un-diagnosed grain reactions are hugely lucrative, which may imply disincentive to delve for core causation.

    Auto-immune cascades R us. It can mean serious body pain: fybromyalgia, rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis, diabetes, heart issues, liver/GB miseries, oncology, and addictions.

    In our current medical paradigm, we seldom try, simple. We treat symptoms.

  5. Re poisoned wheat in the field & allergenic end products... As ever, follow the money & sociopath agenda.

    Also we've had intensive hybridization, not for increased nutrient content, but desirable features, like shorter harvest height, etc.

    The more ancient wheat cultivars, spelt, Dinkel, kamut, may be less easy to harvest but tend to be more nutritious. They, alas, are also rendered allergenic when sensitivity to gluten is activated.

    Consider Nazi-occupied Holland. All grains were confiscated and sent to the Vaterland. The Dutch lived on potatoes, cabbage and when truly desperate, tulip bulbs.

    Gastro-enterologists noticed a sudden reduction in celiac disease (the radical gluten intolerance which can result in surgical large bowel removal and a lifelong external plastic arrangement to collect feces.)

    After the war, the Dutch were able to eat their own crops again: celiac disease and gluten reactivity resumed. An often cited medical phenom.

    Aboriginal peoples are especially prone to gluten miseries of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, malabsorption, addictions and domestic behavioral griefs. (Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, Australian Aborigines, the Maori, etc.)

    Also a remarkable genetic susceptibility among alcoholic family lines, the Ashkenazim, Scots-Irish.


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