Whoever thought that you would be dealing with this competitor in your family life. Gluten has a lot to answer for, and it’s all to do with demanding too much of your energy when that energy is needed elsewhere.
Energy supply? How does that work?
Did you know that your body has a lifelong energy supply? Yes. This energy supply is usually consumed 100% in looking after yourself. That is, until parenthood begins and you start looking after children. Your energy is now being consumed in two very important ways. But where is that extra energy coming from?
Your energy is capped, actually.
So many health problems can be fixed if you know about your energy-cap, as I call it. It’s regarded by scientists as a branch of Life History Theory, and in simple terms it means your body is capable of producing and using a limited energy supply and different needs define where the energy is used at any given time. When one need increases its demand of energy, another need lucks-out. (Search and read about Life History Theory for more about this limited energy supply. It affects so much in life – especially the way your body looks and functions during the reprductive stages of your life. (Did you know a man’s testicles are smaller and his interest in sexual activity is less when he puts more energy into changing nappies and being a hands-on dad?)
If you became a mum recently and you know your energy is being re-directed, where is it being re-directed from? What’s going to give?
For many women, it’s that extra presence that has been around for most of our lives, but is now making itself known to many of us by mainstream media and GP appointments (and that many of us choose to ignore): gluten.
Take pregnancy, breastfeeding or just good-old parenting, for example. Energy is naturally directed towards growing and caring for your child. Putting other energy-sappers onto the back burner – such as food that require greater levels of energy to break-down in your body, or excessive exercise, or stressful work – can help prevent health problems like morning sickness, food intolerances, allergies, post-natal anxiety or depression … any number of conditions where your body simply can’t keep up and is shouting out for a bit of rest.
Your energy cap means you can have a condition or food intolerance for a short while while your energy is working hard elsewhere – and then you’ll be fine again later.
Think of it like this: Giving your body too many hard processes results in a power-surge, or energy overload.
Gluten-intolerance is a great example of an energy overload.
It might not be gluten that’s your problem. It could be sugar or other foods that don’t create a healthy, happy body that causes your body to falter in regular functionality. But feedback by health practitioners suggests that most humans shouldn’t consume excessive gluten – it’s just not a necessary or natural food and is proven to cause a range of health problems (even asymptomatic ones that may not become evident for a number of years).
And that’s news for all humans – not just those who say they are allergic or have an intolerance to gluten. Doctors are weary to say as much because it is downright difficult to avoid gluten if you shop at the supermarkets, or you buy fast-food, or you eat popular Australian meals. Doctors are said to be worried that patients will cut-back on eating ‘healthy’ foods that gluten is commonly found in, such as a salad sandwich.
What about you? Do you eat much gluten?
Unless you actively seek gluten-free alternatives, or have a diet completely made up of fruit, vegetables, legumes, or meat and dairy, you will find gluten is in a lot of what you eat.
It’s in everything at the bakery; it’s in everything at fast-food restaurants that is served deep-fried or in a burger; it’s in your pasta dishes, your lasagne, in your home-made pastry-encased casseroles, in your pizza bases; it’s in your lamingtons, biscuits and morning-tea buns; it’s in the sandwiches and wraps you eat for lunch; it’s in your chicken nuggets and crumbed veal, and in your fish and chips, in your porridge, wheat bix and toast; and it’s in your birthday cakes. You probably eat it at least a few times every day.
Gluten is apart of Australian culture.
We’ve thought of almost every possible way of blending wheat (and gluten) into ready-to-eat family meals, cakes and fast-food meals.
Gluten works well at selling itself because gluten triggers a hormone in your brain that tells your stomach it’s hungry – so you will never feel full after one bowl of spaghetti or one hamburger … And sugar in most foods with gluten helps to make sure you love (actually, become addicted) to these foods, too.
But gluten is not in everything.
Most natural healthy foods don’t contain gluten. Unfortunately though, many Australian families continue to eat habitual gluten-laden foods – some even more readily than healthy gluten-free alternatives (think raw salads, vegetable omelettes, fried or curried rice, braised meat and vegetable casseroles, fruit salad, nuts and seeds, cream and fruit without the pie, just to name a few).
The down-side of eating gluten while pregnant or parenting?
This is what I believe. It’s the timing of when gluten allergy or intolerance rears it’s painful, bloated, swollen head that is important. Such times are when you start trying to conceive, when you fall pregnant, during breastfeeding, or throughout your general parenting life.
If none of the above apply for you, ask yourself, “what else is going on in your life that is consuming high levels of energy, leaving less for your body to process and heal from excessive gluten?”
Then it’s looking up.
Once your energy supply is not being stretched in every direction, your body can handle stresses like breaking down unhealthy foods and digesting excessive gluten.
You can see the benefit in choosing healthy food permanently, hey? I mean, less energy used in digesting, fighting free radicals, and repairing damaged cells, equals more energy for living a fulfilling life.
It makes sense, doesn’t it?
Day by day we aim to repair our bodies and have trust, faith and optimism for the future. You can join me as I walk to wellness in the private facebook group Joanna Haley Homestead (Journey to Wellness)
Joanna Haley, Author