There has been a lot of buzz lately about gluten-free living. Although I have not yet adopted such a lifestyle, I have been curious about it, and have had a lot of questions. What are the reasons for wanting to cut out wheat? What exactly is gluten sensitivity? Is that the same as celiac disease? What’s so bad about wheat anyway? I was recently given the opportunity to review the book, Weeding Out Wheat: A Simple, Scientific, Faith-Based Guide by Luke and Trisha Gilkerson, (of Intoxicated on Life) which answered this and many more questions concerning the reasons behind living a gluten-free lifestyle.
For an overview about the book from the authors, check out the video Weeding Out Wheat: A Simple, Scientific, Faith-Based Guide from Intoxicated on Life on Vimeo.
First of all, I would like to note that Weeding Out Wheat is indeed a simple-to-understand guide. This book is based on the authors’ own research and experience on the subject, and its conversational style is geared toward lay persons, not experts. It is not full of difficult medical jargon that you will find in many books on the subject. Furthermore, Weeding Out Wheat is only 99 pages long, comprising 13 chapters, so getting through the book is not a huge undertaking that you might never be able to complete.
Even though this is a relatively short book, Weeding Out Wheat is packed full of scientific research to support the need for living a wheat-free lifestyle. The second chapter, for instance, discusses the differences between wheat only a few generations ago versus the wheat of today. Wheat today is the result of modern hybridization, which has not only created a crop that is dependent upon pest control and nitrate fertilization just to survive, but has also created wheat with greater numbers and new types of gluten proteins. These new proteins are the culprit in gluten sensitivities and intolerances.
“When compared with wheat strains that are centuries old, modern wheat has many more gluten proteins, which are associated with today’s gluten sensitivities, such as celiac disease.” -p.9
Confused about terminology? I was too! Thankfully, the authors have taken the time to explain the differences between such terms as wheat allergies (immune system responses), gluten intolerance (inability of body tissues to tolerate gluten), gluten sensitivity, and celiac disease (which is not the same as, but can be caused by gluten sensitivities.) With all those terms, and lack of agreement in the scientific community as to proper definitions, it is no wonder that the subject can sound so confusing!
One thing that surprised me most is the sheer number of disorders that can be caused by gluten sensitivities and intolerance. While the authors are careful to point out that eliminating gluten will not be a “cure-all” for these issues, research has nonetheless shown that gluten can be the culprit for a number of disorders including anxiety, arthritis, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, epilepsy, migraines, infertility, multiple sclerosis, almost all autoimmune diseases, and even more. The incidents of these disorders is also much higher than only a few generations ago, before wheat hybridization.
Honestly, the Biblical implications of going wheat-free had not occurred to me before reading this book. But it does make sense to consider the subject. After all, the Bible talks a LOT about wheat and bread. Festivals centered around the wheat harvest, and a good crop was considered a sign of God’s provision. Jesus fed thousands with only a few loaves of bread. He even called Himself the “bread of life!” Does this mean we are wrong for not eating bread? Of course not.
“Obligation does not follow from provision.” -p. 59
In other words, though wheat is a blessing from God, that does not mean we have to partake in it. Furthermore, the New Testament never mentions specifically to which specific diet we must adhere. Therefore, we must assume that we, as Christians, should be able to eat the diet that is best for our individual lifestyles and personal well-being.
This was a very interesting and thought-provoking book for me. I have not yet made a final decision as to whether or not I will go gluten-free, but this has certainly answered a lot of my questions, and has given me clear information concerning wheat-free living. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking for the basics on going wheat-free. I feel that it can help anyone considering going gluten-free to make a more informed decision, and would serve well as the springboard to further research on the subject.
Where to Buy
Starting today, December 30th, through January 1st, Weeding Out Wheat will be on sale on Amazon for $1.99 (for Kindle). If you prefer / need a softcover version of the book, from now until January 1 it will be on sale on Create Space for $9.95 instead of the regular $14.95.
Resources & Support
Please check out the Weeding Out Wheat page on Intoxicated on Life for further reading, as well as some gluten-free recipes to try out. If you do decide to go wheat-free, there is a Facebook group that you might find helpful for support and encouragement from others living the lifestyle as well.
Please also stop by Bow of Bronze to see what other reviewers are saying!