Gluten Free For Good


 

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Wheat may be the “staff of life” for some, but it’s the “kiss of death” for those of us with celiac disease. And once you start trying to avoid it, you realize it’s everywhere. EVERYWHERE!

According to Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, “In 1997, global per capita wheat consumption was 101 kg, with the highest per capita consumption (623 kg) found in Denmark.” Can that be right? Per capita (everyone on the planet) consumes an average of 222 pounds of wheat per year? How can that be? I suppose if you eat a bowl of Wheaties every morning, then have a couple of donuts during your morning break, follow it up with a sandwich at lunch, a handful of cookies in the afternoon, and a plate of pasta for dinner, you could rack up those kilograms fairly quickly. But my gosh, 222 pounds per person per year! And what’s with the Danes?

In 2005 (again, according to Wikipedia), annual wheat production was 626 million metric tons. MILLION! Since I haven’t eaten wheat for years and spend a good deal of my time trying to avoid it, I’m having some trouble processing these numbers. And if global consumption is per capita, who’s eating my 222 pounds? The same thing probably applies to most of you reading this blog since it is called glutenfreeforgood. Who’s eating your portion?

Now, let’s consider how much gluten is too much if you have celiac disease. Sometimes it’s either impossible to avoid, or you decide you just plain can’t live without that piece of birthday cake. Research indicates that ingesting 100 milligrams of gluten a day will continue to cause intestinal damage in people with celiac disease. Studies from Finland suggest the “safe” amount that may be consumed per day to be around 30 milligrams. How much is 30 milligrams you ask? Less than ONE teaspoon of that birthday cake you’ve been coveting! To put this in perspective, one sandwich contains about 3000 to 4000 milligrams of gluten. (Peter HR Green; Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic; HarperCollins 2006).

Wow, I wonder how many milligrams of gluten are in that 222 pounds of wheat eaten per capita each year?

Having said all that, aren’t we lucky to have this wonderful abundance of “alternative” grains to experiment with? I made quinoa tostadas topped with chicken and veggie salad last night for dinner. It was wonderful, much better than any wheat or corn tostada I’ve ever had. Plus, quinoa is incredibly healthy, much higher in nutritional value than wheat.

No wheat? No worries. Sort of anyway.

In good health,
Melissa

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Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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