Lorette C. Luzajic

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Life After Bread

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By Lorette C. Luzajic

If you fear that there is no life after bread, you’re wrong.

It’s a horrible thing that some who suffer from wheat, gluten, grain or starch allergies don’t bother to try life without them, thinking it will be bland.

For millions of years, we did not have bread, but the health and vitality of those people was unparalleled.

Even crazier, is that millions suffer from ‘hypochondriac’ diseases, or seemingly unrelated symptoms from joint pain to headaches to rashes to malaise, and doctors don’t suggest a gluten allergy.

Now I know that any mystery ailment must be examined on a sugar-free and grain-free diet to see if that ailment clears up, before diagnosing it as a ‘mystery’ or ‘untreatable.’ From dental problems to lupus to cancer, there are hundreds of conditions that are caused by the ‘bread of life.’ Bread of death is more like it.

Yes, I sympathize. Who doesn’t love a gorgeous French stick or chewy pumpernickel? But what if all your suffering could magically be cured, from Multiple Sclerosis to schizophrenia, and everything in between?

It’s not magic. We love bread, but it’s foreign to our bodies. Many, many people retain the inability to use grains and don’t know it. We still have the same DNA and the same systems we had for millions of years, and we’ve only been eating grains for 10,000 years or less.

I myself am furious that no one ever suggested I might have had a celiac disease. I’ve been in and out of shrinks and doctors since the age of four. I was born screaming and didn’t stop until I talked and read. Given words for the distress, I shared it. A long list of diagnoses range from hypothyroid to interstitial cystitis to chronic fatigue to depression to hives to inexplicable skin and bone pain to migraines to insomnia to fibroids to estrogen dominance to untreatable menstrual cramps so severe I was sometimes suicidal to chronic bronchitis to sugar and worse addictions to obesity to low blood pressure and related friends like twin joys varicose veins and hemorrhoids, to ‘irrational’ fear of cancer, to diarrhea and bloating and indigestion to malabsorption of nutrients to bone thinning to cervical dysplasia,  plus a whole host of unexplained, undiagnosed ailments that came and went. I’m 36 years old and half of my teeth have had to be reconstructed, costing tens of thousands of dollars I don’t have. All this despite the fact that my hygiene is reasonable and my sugar intake is next to nil. I missed more than half of elementary and secondary school to illness.

There IS life after bread, folks. On March 11th of 2008 a friend asked if I recognized my symptoms in a book’s chapter on grain-related disorders. The last thing I needed was a new bandwagon, as I’d had so much hope before, and the best results from giving up soy foods and sugar. But anything else I’d tried did little to give hope, and I was sick of false hopes.

But halfway through the chapter, I committed to giving it up for a six-month trial and within days began to notice improvements in every single area I mentioned. It has been seven months and I am getting healthier and healthier. There is life after bread. You owe it to yourself to give it a trial if you have ANY disease.

While it seems unlikely that something so wholesome and innocent as grain can be guilty, think about the irrefutable damage done by refined sugars and flours and chemical foods. Why? Because these un-foods are brand new, nutritionally empty, and foreign to the way nature programmed us. Humans have only been eating rancid processed vegetable oils (‘trans’ or hydrogenated oils) and white sugar/flour and plastic foods for blink in our history. So it is not that farfetched that the most recent addition to our diet before this is also culpable. While it seems we have used grains from the beginning of time, we have actually farmed for ten thousand years, that's actually less than half a percent of our estimated time on earth. Archeology is proving rapidly that the introduction of grains to civilizations is where we began to see cavities, bone and joint disorders, insulin problems, and other diseases.

Also, consider that modern grain is even more foreign to the body than ancient grains, which were always soaked and fermented to reduce natural toxins.

Did you know any of this? Neither did I. But now I’m rapidly getting well and you may be able to also.

If you are healthy, turn the page. But if you have been suffering from any ailment, you might do a bit of research on gluten. Sadly, the first sign that some people get that they are celiac or gluten or grain intolerant is cancer. Cancer feeds on sugar- all those ‘ose’ words like sucrose, glucose, and so on. It does not feed on fat, though unnatural, processed unrecognizable fats to our body like margarine and soy can contribute to them.

You have nothing to lose from six months of gluten-free or grain-free (people with arthritis, obesity, lupus, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and more may not have any tolerance for grain or starch, even the oldest and best kinds.) If it doesn’t help, you have lost nothing.

I have nothing against the bakers and chefs of sumptuous breads or pastries. But plain and simple, not everyone can enjoy those things, and so instead of crying about it, I seek the gourmet worlds I can enjoy and still be well. Not everyone can indulge in wine or eat shrimp. Some don’t do well with spicy foods- not me, thank God!

Tragically, I was in the middle of writing a cookbook called The Girl Can Eat and had no idea that I’d be revamping my enthusiasm for wheat germ, pumpernickel and the goodness of whole grains. So that’s what they mean by rewrite!

I’m so grateful to finally feeling awesome at least some of the time. And I’m fierce and creative in the kitchen, but yes, it has been an emotional hurdle to acknowledge there will never be another piece of pizza or a simple pleasure like a hamburger in my life. So I’ve begun finding alternatives or new ways and met them with relish and gusto. I invite you to join me if you are gluten-free, low-grain, or just exploring for now to see if your health improves. You can join me dining out in Toronto and cooking at home, join me in reading and in detective work for uncovering hidden sources of the culprit.

There are only two occasions, very early in, where I’ve ‘cheated’ because the results have been so dramatic. I don’t feel deprived if friends order a pizza and I eat none of it. Honestly, I feel like some secret poison is out of me and I don’t want it in me. It’s not like ‘cutting down on sugar’ but sometimes having an ice cream at my nephew’s birthday or a chocolate festival when I’m depressed. Even eating the communion wafer at church when I don’t sit it out means itchiness or tooth pain. Giving up beer was the hardest part. Who wants to drink hard liquor all the time? But suddenly I saw why sometimes I had a hangover after one drink. Beer!

Now on a few occasions, I did cheat but by accident. I had no idea the effects would be so stark. One day I woke up with chronic fatigue syndrome all over again. I FELL ASLEEP at my keyboard for THREE HOURS and then had diarrhea for the next three. Nice. This was a clear illustration of what had been happening in my body the whole time.

Your changes may or may not be so dramatic. Relief from fatigue seems to be one of the most common improvements and quite possibly my favourite. I can live life if I’m not falling over exhausted for no bloody reason.

In my Gremolata blog, I’ll be making entries about dishes I’ve tried or invented. I’ll be taking notes on my restaurant trips. I still read all my favourite cookbooks and recipe and lifestyle mags- I can easily omit gluten and you’ll get some help if you follow me. Is there life after bread? It’s a no-grainer- life has just begun.

Visit writer Lorette C. Luzajic at www.thegirlcanwrite.net.


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