Most detox diets exclude wheat and dairy products. Yet we are always being told that wheat fiber is good for the bowels and that we need dairy products to supply the calcium for strong bones. So why do we need to exclude them when on a detox diet?
Wheat is probably one of the most consumed foods. Many people eat wheat three times a day. Wheat cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, pasta or pizza for dinner with snacks of muffins, cakes and cookies in between. With so much wheat in our diets it can become a toxin and the detox diet aims to reduce toxins.
How wheat becomes a toxin.
Wheat is a relatively new food for the human race. Ancient man, the hunter-gatherers, lived on meat from the animals they hunted, fish and wild vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds that they gathered. It was not until the agricultural period that began about 12,000 years ago that wheat and other grains were introduced.
Wheat contains gluten, a family of proteins, that as many as one in three people may be sensitive to. Gluten is also found in rye, barley and oats. The gluten in oats, however, is very different and can be tolerated by many people who react to the other gluten grains.
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.
Your digestive system provides a barrier between the foods you eat and your blood stream but if this barrier breaks down gliadin gets into the blood stream. The immune system reacts to it and it becomes a toxin. Your detox system has to deal with this so all gluten grains including spelt, an ancient wheat, kamut and triticale all contain gluten and are best avoided on a detox diet.
How does the barrier become leaky?
Many things can cause the intestinal barrier to" leak". Drugs, alcohol, food allergies or sensitivities, constipation, gastric infections, aging, nutritional deficiencies are some of the things that can cause damage to the sensitive and delicate lining.
Wheat because of its complex structure is also hard to digest and almost all normal 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 damage the lining.
People with many intestinal conditions like Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn's, diverticulitis, Celiac improve when they avoid gluten. Many people are surprised to find that they do react to wheat when they start eating it again after being on a detox diet.
What's wrong with dairy?
Although we are always being told that a daily glass of milk is good for you half the world manages quite well without it. According to genetic researchers human adults were not designed to digest milk. Many southern Europeans, most Asians and many Africans cannot digest milk products. It is only as a result of genetic mutation that some humans tolerate lactose at all.
As many as 75% of people naturally lose the ability to digest the lactose, a milk sugar, once they are weaned. Lactose intolerance can cause gastric upset which causes irritation and a leaky intestinal barrier that places a heavy load on the liver detox system.
One of the most common allergies or intolerance is to cow's milk. Again dairy products appear in many food items as milk protein, whey or casein.
Non organic milk can contain traces of environmental chemicals and hormones which all place an extra burden on the detox system. It makes sense to exclude it when on a detox diet.
What to eat instead.
As so many people have wheat and dairy allergies it has become much easier to find products that do not contain them. Manufacturers have produced cereals, pasta and bread made with non-gluten grains.
Other grains or grain like seeds that can be eaten include brown rice, quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, gram flour (garbanzo or chickpea flour) and maize.
Dairy alternatives include rice, soy, almond, oat and coconut milks, soy yogurt, pumpkin seed or nut butters and cashew cream. Calcium can be obtained from nuts seeds, leafy vegetables, grains, peas and beans.
So although excluding dairy and wheat when on a detox diet may take some planning you will still be able to eat tasty meals. It will be well worth it when you find that many niggling symptoms disappear and you feel and look so much better.