By: Joy Schrock - President Why do I have a wheat allergy? Isn't spelt wheat? If I have a wheat allergy why can I eat spelt? I constantly hear these same questions over and over and over again. I guess the fact that I own a bakery that produces products in the wheat alternative niche appears by some standards to make me a bit of an expert.
Unfortunately, I am not an expert when it comes to this dreaded condition. As far as I'm concerned, no one has really conquered the issue. I've never read an article or a research document that I thought "gee, they finally figured it out...problem solved!" Instead I am left feeling quite the opposite.
Every article I read just leads to more and more questions. It is so frustrating. I am sure you can all relate. No one that knows me would argue the fact that I am a total research and information junkie. I have this never ending need to understand things and how they work together in the big picture.
The thing that really bothers me about wheat related illnesses is that everyone is focusing on diagnosing and treatment. No doubt that's hugely important. But I want to know more than how to diagnose it and treat it. I want to know what is causing it.
As far as testing for it goes, why is it so difficult? The last several months I've been hearing stories from people that are being tested positively for wheat allergies that have never even suffered any symptoms. What is that about? I believe it is being referred to as a false positive.
Once you are finally properly diagnosed you have one option for treatment. Quit eating any foods that contain wheat. Oh, OK, that sounds easy enough...until you start reading ingredient labels. Now you realize that this is a much bigger problem then what you originally thought. For adults it's tough enough, but for children it is downright heart breaking.
It's very interesting to me that the diagnosis is always referred to in some way as "wheat" itself being the culprit. Even the new allergen labeling laws that were put into place to protect those with celiac disease from products that contain gluten, instead chose to have the words "contains wheat" on the label. Very interesting indeed. Over the years the only real conclusion that I've been able to come up with and why this issue is so difficult...is because there are many contributing factors that must be taken into consideration. No doubt, avoiding any and all "wheat" products solves all of them. It's much easier to tell people to avoid wheat for life, then it is to try to educate them regarding the various growing, processing, storing, milling and baking techniques that could aggravate the condition...and perhaps even be the cause of it.
Over the next several weeks , I will be writing a series of articles that contain information that most companies don't want you to know. Why? Because when you become educated you just might hold them to a higher standard. These articles will be focusing on what I believe are the top contributing factors of the rapidly increasing food/wheat related illnesses and allergies America is facing.
What will make this series a bit unique is that they will be written from a manufacturers viewpoint. Initially the information was gathered while we were evaluating every step of production...from seed to sandwich. That was how it started...but it sure didn't end there. Research and ongoing education are just a way of life for us now. Not just because we are manufacturers, but also because we are consumers...just like you.
Listed below are the articles that will be posted over the next several weeks.
1) Two slices of bread please: hold the bran and hold the germ. How we became a nation of white bread eaters.
2) What happens during the milling process of grains and how improper storage of grain and flour can negatively affect your health.
3) Genetically modified foods...what we don't know, what we do know and why you need to care and get involved NOW.
4) Beware of additives, preservatives, chemicals, fads, trends and most importantly savvy marketing.
To ensure that you don't miss any of these articles be sure to get blog updates by putting your e-mail address in the box in the top right corner of this blog and pushing the "Get Blog Updates" button. You will be sent each article as it is published from here on out after you confirm your subscription.
Also one more thing to share with you that will also help you... In an effort to create a support group we have also set up a new page on Facebook called "Wheat Allergy Awareness". We will post articles that are related to helping to improve the quality of peoples lives that suffer from wheat related issues.
We hope you become a fan and share your stories with the others in the group. The articles we post won't just be our own and I'm sure some will be very controversial. We want all view points to be discussed freely. We believe that we can learn so much from you and hope you'll take the time to join.
Wishing you all the best of health,
Berlin Natural Bakery