Indians consume gluten products on a daily basis in the form of fresh breads called chapatti(s), roti(s), nan etc. These are varied in the type of flour used to make each bread, for instance roti(s) are made from wheat flour which is a cultivated crop offering a specific type of protein from vegetable sources that are called “Gluten”.
First off gluten in our foods now is not the same as gluten in our food even 10 years ago. It is preserved with formaldehyde a known carcinogen. Gluten has been genetically modified and the most common carrier to move DNA from one organism to another is e. coli bacteria. Gluten has been added to many food items and now it is nearly impossible to eat the standard diet without getting a significant amount of gluten. So were getting more gluten in our diets than ever before and it is treated with formaldehyde and it’s been modified using e. coli to move DNA around.
It is know in the field of epi-genetics that if you introduce a certain type of toxin to a rat, you will cause the rat to become obese. In this way scientists can study obesity. If these obese rats reproduce they will reproduce rats that are obese. Even the offspring from these rats will be obese and on down the line, the DNA will be expressed in such a way that the rats are all obese.
Well toxins such as genetically modified, formaldehyde laced gluten has been added to our diets over the years. These toxins could be starting to show a long term effect on us and could be at least part of the reason everyone is showing up in our clinic as intolerant to gluten.
Also, gluten is inflammatory and inflammation has been linked to most chronic illnesses and pain syndromes. If you look at the gluten molecule from a biochemistry standpoint what you see is that the gluten molecule is very similar to the cartilage in joints. So, if someone has an allergic type reaction to gluten or if they have an auto-immune problem they could be making it worse by eating gluten. The body is attacking the gluten but then attacking itself too. The biochemistry pathways for anti-inflammation are used when the diet is high in alkaline producing foods such as fruits, vegetables and omega 3′s (fish oils) and the pathways for inflammation are used by the body when the diet is high in processed foods and grains, especially gluten. Inflammation has been linked to most chronic illness including heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, macular degeneration, systemic lupus, arthritis and many others.
Clinically it is seen is that if we get a patient off gluten 100%, they heal at a predictable rate; they stay well and they can get on with their lives in a pain-free way. Clinically what we see is that the clients who take in gluten don’t heal very well; they have significant ups and downs; they don’t have good outcomes.
What can be a gluten-free diet?
There are several soups and stews that are good gluten-free choices. Tomato shorba is a water-based tomato soup that may contain coconut milk and ghee (butter). Dal is a popular lentil-based stew that contains a variety of fried spices and vegetables. Tadka, a combination of regional spices, such as cumin, cayenne pepper, cilantro and mustard seeds, is fried in oil and poured over dal prior to serving. Another hearty, legume dish is called chana masala. The base of this spicy stew is chickpeas, spinach and a wide variety of Indian spices.
Aloo jeera is a dish composed of cumin- seasoned diced potatoes; aloo mutter is a hearty potato and green pea dish, and aloo gobhi is a potato/cauliflower dish cooked in a spicy sauce. Vindaloo is a vegetable stew made with garlic, ginger, dates, a variety of spices and vegetables as well as beans and green peas. It may be served over rice. Madras-style green beans are green beans cooked with ghee or butter, red onions and a variety of spices. Okra with onions, and Indian cauliflower curry with yogurt are popular vegetable side dishes. All of these options are suitable for those on a gluten-free diet.
Rice is gluten-free and forms the base of many Indian dishes. Pulao is a rice pilaf where the rice has been fried and sautéed with other ingredients. Variations on this dish include jeera pulao, which is made with cumin seed and paneer pulao which is made with homemade Indian paneer cheese. Vegetable handi biryani is a heavily spiced rice dish often served with a thick chutney called salan and raita, a cucumber-yogurt sauce. Curd rice is a southern Indian rice dish that is made with dairy products, such as yogurt.
Seafood and Dairy Items
Though Indian food is primarily vegetarian there are some fish dishes, such as achari fish tikka, which is a boneless white fish marinated in yogurt and pickle spices. This and tandoori goaldachingri, large tiger prawns cooked and marinated in kebab spices, are both generally gluten-free.
Paneer tikka is marinated, spiced homemade Indian paneer cheese that has been coated in yogurt and cooked in a tandoor oven. Rarely, it is coated in flour. If that is the case, it is not a gluten-free dish; otherwise, it is acceptable on a gluten-free diet. Paneer makhani is a recipe for paneer cheese simmered in a buttery sauce that may contain a tomato component.
While naan bread is off limits, pappadum is a gluten-free crispy wafer-like flatbread made from lentil or chickpea flour. Dosas, a southern Indian favorite, are wheat-free crepes made from rice and lentil flours that are often stuffed with savory fillings. Idli, also native to southern India, is a spongy “cake” also made from rice and lentil flour; ideal for mopping up sauces and chutneys. Vadai, another gluten-free starch, is a small, savory “donut” made from lentil, rice or potato flour.