Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity, & Gluten Allergy
Gluten is a protein found in many grains and seeds, principally wheat, rye, barley, spelt, kamut, and triticale. It is the composite of the storage proteins gliadin and a glutenin conjoined with starch in the endosperm of various grass-related grains. (Wikipedia, 5/29/2015) Although gluten-containing foods are an important part of the modern diet, many humans have difficulty digesting gluten. The effects of this trouble can be immediately apparent in some people while in others, deleterious reactions to gluten make themselves known only over time. As many as 20 million Americans may be sensitive to gluten. Another 3 million have celiac disease and 400,000 – 600,000 are allergic to wheat. (Woodward, 2011) That’s a lot of people!
A BRIEF HISTORY OF GLUTEN IN THE HUMAN DIET (Guthrie, 2010) The consumption of grains is relatively new to our diet, dating from when we stopped being nomadic hunter-gatherers, settled down and started growing crops and domesticating animals, 15,000 years ago at the earliest. Before that time, our ancestors mostly ate the meat of animals they hunted, along with wild fruits, plants, tubers, nuts, and seeds they foraged. The planting of dietary grains as crops originated in Mesopotamia. Some of us have adapted well to our largely grain-filled diets. Many of us have not. For example, about 30% of norther