I have been in a haze for the last few days and I just finally woke up. The body is so interesting. And I like using it for various experiments, to figure things out for myself, one on one. What do I thrive on, what does my body not feel fine with. I read many nutritional books, articles and studies weekly, but I think it is important to not only rely on the information you find and collect, but to also gain a sense of personal experience on topics of interest. That's how I like to roll in all areas of life. Which is why I am my own best guinea pig when it comes to food.
I normally eat very little wheat gluten, as it is one of the most common allergy triggers of foods. Our bodies have a harder time digesting that specific grass/grain compared to other grains, and it easily creates inflammation in our sensitive guts that can lead to a whole range of physical and mental issues.
If you're making most of your food at home, it should be no problem to avoid it to the extent you feel is needed. You just learn to cook and bake with other ingredients. If you eat out all the time and often grab lunch on the go, this is harder, as so many things hide wheat in them. It is almost as widespread as is sugar. Another ingredient that is lurking in most of the foods you find everywhere.
These last ten days though, we have had a bread experimentation period here at home where we have made one loaf of bread each day and one baked cake or something sweet, approximately every second day. Most of these with either rye flour or regular flour. Sometimes you're just in the mood for something and you go overboard with it, you know? I also really like the idea of finding something you enjoy, and truly take adequate time to perfect it.
The bread that has been cultivated over these days has been amazing... we (by we I mean my bf with my feedback) have discovered a real super bread with seeds that is just so easy to make and tastes like h e a v e n with butter and a slice of good mature cheese. I've also made several cakes, banana cakes, lemon cakes and what not.
The problem caused by this is, I've been eating so much bread and cakes (mostly bread, maybe half a loaf a day since we initiated this experiment), that I have gotten into a gluten haze, or more commonly called, brain fog.
It's a pretty serious and super common problem which is characterised by mental confusion or a lack of mental clarity. There are people who spend their whole lives in a mental fog, unable to focus and think clearly, unable to make quick connections, process information correctly or keep up in school or the workplace - all without knowing that they could easily snap out of it by limiting or removing their daily intake of gluten.
Human beings have existed for more than 2.5 million years. Our cultivation of wheat began only some 10.000 years ago. That new farming practice quickly sped up the process of homo sapiens leaving our hunter gatherer style of living, to a more domesticated life fixed in one spot with all what that meant for our development. In the past 50 years, the wheat we eat has been modified to contain up to 50 times more gluten than it did when our ancestors baked the first loaf of bread. We are biologically unprepared to handle this big a change in such a short period of time. At least if we are not conscious of how much of it our individual bodies can take.
We make the matter even worse if we often eat foods containing non-organic flour, as the wheat then has been treated with pesticides to grow and yield better. Additionally it has been treated to an unhealthy bleaching process that is really harmful to our sensitive gut linings. The area of our bodies where most of our immune system lives.
Every body is different. Every person should investigate their own physical strengths and limitations to figure out which foods that are good and less good for their unique composition. I, for example, am good with eating pasta once or twice a week and maybe a pastry here and there. But as soon as I start over consuming any of it, I get the sense of feeling drained and tired. And in the last couple weeks of bread devouring, I really got into the most severe gluten haze that I've ever experienced before. I got tired, felt lack of enthusiasm, got moody and irritated, super hard to focus on the things I wanted to do. This wasn't constant over the whole days, but it was a lingering annoying feeling within me that is so untypical of how I normally feel within myself when my diet is more balanced.
Needless to say, I had to break the spell and quit the bread gluttony. By the next day, I was all back to normal and have felt strong and mentally focused.
Not all of us have the severe form of gluten intolerance, Celiac disease, but to a varied degree, many more of us have somewhat problems with digesting gluten. Or are negatively affected by the spike in blood sugar that it creates.
I'm telling you all this to pay attention to and investigate in what your body can cope with. Become your own food detective. Try for example to take a week off from gluten to see how you feel. The longer without it the clearer the results. There are regular everyday symptoms that could be eased and removed, if only we gave ourselves some time to look into their initial cause. Good luck and let me know if I can help with any of your investigation!
Here's a great book on the subject, called Grain Brain by David Perlmutter.
(It doesn't feel apt to share the recipes of these (delicious) gluten bombs after this post, but will do another day if you like.)