It’s Coeliac UK Awareness this week and the story of how Emily Rantzen’s chance detox diet uncovered her gluten allergy, cured eczema and boosted her energy is in the news again.
In an article in Waitrose’s Weekend, TV presenter, Esther Rantzen, relates the story of how her daughter Emily, who had suffered from ME, (Chronic Fatigue) for 14 years, decided to go on a New Year Detox and discovered she was intolerant to gluten.
Emily had apparently had suffered with eczema when she was a baby. She was tested for allergies but gluten intolerance was not discovered nor thought of at the time.
It was only when Emily decided to go on the New Year Detox Diet which excluded ” almost every carbohydrate, including porridge” that the rash she had on her hand disappeared. Emily now sticks to a strict gluten free Stone Age Diet of fish, meat, vegetables and fruit and “is thriving and has far more energy”says Esther.
Food Intolerance and Eczema
Well that does not surprise me but it did Esther Rantzen. She did not know that an intolerance to gluten or wheat could cause a skin problem although it is well known that eczema can be related to food intolerance.
In their book Nutritional Medicine Dr Stephen Davies and Dr Alan Stewart say that in their practice they have seen rheumatoid arthritis, PMS, thought disorders, joint and muscle pain, fatigue, severe mental disturbance and a whole host of other problems clear up when wheat is excluded from the diet.
Wheat intolerance is not the same as celiac disease
Wheat intolerance is not the same thing as celiac disease (coeliac in the UK) though. Celiac Disease is an intolerance to gluten, a protein in wheat, oats, rye, barley, spelt and kamut. The gluten fraction in oats, known as avenin is very different to the gluten in wheat, actually gliadin, and many coeliacs can tolerate oats.
Eating gluten causes destruction of the lining of the bowel resulting in bowel symptoms and poor absorption of nutrients.
You can be intolerant to wheat without being a true celiac. Irritable bowel can be caused by an intolerance to wheat.
It’s not unusual for people to discover they are intolerant to certain foods when they introduce them after following a detox diet. It is not unusual for people to find that their skins become clear too.
Most, but not all, detox diet plans exclude wheat and often other gluten grains. Wheat is a difficult substance to digest and almost all people fail to absorb a large amount of starch from wheat. These starches get fermented by the bacteria in the digestive system which produces
acids that can damage the lining of the bowel.
Wheat is relatively new to man
Wheat is a relatively new food to man and we now eat such a lot of it. People often eat it three times a day as cereal for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and pasta or a pizza for dinner.
Genetic testing has discovered that people have simply not adapted to the introduction of wheat into the diet. Researchers have detected gliadin, the principle type of wheat gluten, in the blood of 15% of people they tested.
Wheat & your thyroid gland
When the gliadin gets into the bloodstream the immune system makes antibodies to it and as gluten resembles the thyroid gland the body can attack the thyroid tissue by mistake.
Why exclude potential allergy foods on a detox diet?
The majority of good detox diet plans will exclude food that many people are commonly allergic or intolerant to such as dairy, wheat, soy, shellfish, eggs, peanuts, oranges and strawberries. A reaction to foods that you are intolerant to whether you know it or not stresses your body and can contribute to leaky gut.
Dr. Alejandro Junger author of “Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself.”recommends also avoiding macadamia nuts, tomatoes, eggplants and bell peppers.
When you reintroduce foods these foods after you have finished the detox you should introduce them one at a time and watch for any reactions over a couple of days.
Emily accidentally drank a smoothie which had gluten in it and the rash returned. She said I’ve been putting up with painfully sore skin on my hands because I thought it was an allergy to some soap or detergent I couldn’t pin down and eliminate.
Gluten free for ME?
Now Esther is asking herself if Emily could have been spared those 14 years of ME if she had taken gluten out of diet. No doubt many people wrote and told her that it was worth trying but Rantzen was not a believer of what she would call alternative mumbo jumbo.
The thing that struck me is that above the article there is a picture of some gluten free chocolate brownies which Emily can enjoy. That, of course is the problem with many gluten free foods. They contain sugar and I don’t know where sugar comes in on the Stone Age Diet!
So, when you follow a detox diet plan you may uncover an undiagnosed food intolerance that could have been causing one of many possible symptoms such as a skin rash, eczema or low energy.