Do you need to eliminate gluten completely?

Written by Sheridan

June 9, 2016

At Changing Habits we’ve talked a lot about wheat and how it’s not what it used to be.

Out of all the manmade ‘foods’ in the world, it seems most individuals’ immune systems respond dramatically to wheat and gluten the most. There are well over 50 autoimmune diseases linked to gluten, why is this? Why is something that is so widely available SO toxic?

You can find out more in our documentary ‘What’s With Wheat?”.

In the 1970’s wheat was chemically hybridised, it went from a four foot tall crop to a resilient 18 inch tall crop which had the ability to yield a lot more than the natural form. This resulted in the wheat being mass produced creating an extremely financially viable product.

Due to the change in wheat production, some people react more than others when they consume it. This depends on the integrity of their gut lining, gut flora, enzyme production and so on. Someone who has a mild reaction to wheat and continues to consume it, may over time become more intolerant to other foods as well as wheat.

This is why, when the tiniest amount of wheat or gluten enters the digestive tract, gliadin (a protein found in wheat) leads to the upregulation of zonulin, which opens up the ‘tight junctions’ in our gut lining, leading to increased gut permeability. This happens to 100% of people, despite whether they have a diagnosed gluten intolerance or coeliac disease.

In basic terms, the consumption of wheat leads to a ‘leaky gut’. When these tight junctions open, undigested food floats out into our system and immune reactions occur, leading to an array of symptoms including weight gain, headaches, migraines, joint pain, sinus, skin problems, which can then progress further to autoimmune diseases. These immune reactions can last up to three months, depending on the form of your reaction, your gut flora, if you have an autoimmune disease, and so on. You can read more about this here.

If you’re looking for ways to make going gluten and wheat free easier you can read more here.

When I consult with clients, I commonly see individuals react within 48 to 72 hours after consuming wheat, not always immediately. So, if this is you, I advise that you need to eliminate ‘modern day’ wheat and gluten completely. Inflammation will never quite leave your body if you continue having it once a day, once a week, or even once a month.

If you don’t want to eliminate it completely from your diet, the only wheat I would ever recommend is Emmer or Einkorn Wheat. These are the traditional wheat grains that have not been chemically hybridised and actually have stunning nutritional properties and therefore can be consumed without resulting in the detrimental effects like the modern wheat grain. Emmer wheat still contains gliadin and gluten though in much smaller quantities and as it is not hybridised, its structure allows us to digest the proteins efficiently.  

This means that individuals that are usually gluten intolerant or gluten sensitive can usually tolerate Emmer wheat. For some easy Emmer Wheat recipes click here

However, if you have a coeliac disease, it is likely that you will not tolerate Emmer wheat.

If you have been gluten free for some time but want to begin using emmer wheat, I suggest making it into a sourdough and consuming it this way for the first time. It will then be pre-digested via the beneficial bacteria, and will result in an even easier to digest form of emmer wheat.

Happy REAL FOOD baking!

Sheridan Williamson
Changing Habits Nutritionist

June 2016

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  1. Lynette Gilligan

    I found that Emmer wheat had a similar effect on me to “normal” wheat but the einkorn was much less likely to react on me. I have been using the “Wheat Belly” books to make “bread” which seems to work okay. I only use almond meal, rice bran, oat bran, buckwheat etc. to make my “bread”.

  2. Paul Lebeau

    I think you should check your facts on your statements here. From what I have read, there is no basis in fact to the following:

    “In the 1970’s wheat was hybridised, it went from a short stumpy crop to a huge tall crop which had the ability to yield a lot more than the natural form. This resulted in the wheat being mass produced creating an extremely financially viable product.”

    Wheat seed strains underwent selection aimed at making stalks shorter, not taller. (This was because the taller stalks tended to fall over under the weight of their heads…) What is true is that wheat has been selected to provide for a puffier grain with more gluten, one that is more suitable to roller milling. Your site would have more credibility, in my eyes, if these basic facts were properly represented here.

    • Jordan-Changing Habits Nutritionist

      Hi Paul, thank you so much for your comment, we really appreciate you taking the time to do this. We have realised it was recorded incorrect (the wrong way around) and have reworded the description immediately as we know very well what has occurred to our wheat, so thank you very much for bringing this to our attention.
      Kind regards, Sheridan – Changing Habits Nutritionist

  3. Golden Eagle

    Just went back to the “Whats with wheat” Doc and the advert underneath for the 6 week programme. Unfortunately I am unable to afford this at this time but I will make an effort to use less products with wheat in them. I have already only been using sourdough bread for the last 2 years, but I’m not even sure its made correctly! I shall have to make a greater effort to eat more raw greens –

    • Jordan-Changing Habits Nutritionist

      Hi there, we love your commitment towards bettering your health. You can just gradually reduce the amount of wheat and gluten products you eat and focus on eating more fresh, real, local foods from your farmers market and you will be well on your way to better health. If you are interested in more free information there are lots of free blogs on the website that you can read through at your own pace.
      Kind regards.

  4. Melissa


    Thanks for the info! Just wondering is spelt ok? I thought it’s an ancient grain also.

    • Jordan Pie

      Hi Melissa,
      Spelt still contains gluten. So if you’re looking to start a gluten-free diet, then it would also have to be eliminated.


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