All of our food is free of sugar for obvious reasons, but it is also without gluten or dairy. The reasons for this are numerous, to cater for the growing number of children with allergies and sensitivities to these foods, as well as trying to demonstrate that real, wholefoods are delicious without them and to give their systems a break from what is increasingly a staple in their diets.
“The two most difficult proteins for humans to digest are the protein in cow’s milk (casein) and the protein in wheat (gluten). This difficulty is compounded by a child’s immature digestive system.”
Jude Blereau, author Wholefood for Children
The increase in celiac disease (gluten) has many reasons, one of which being the over exposure we now have to both. There is far more wheat in our diet than ever before. The other reason being that it is now a different product, distantly related to the wheat we used to eat. Because of the high demand it has been farmed and modified intensively and is now a much more difficult grain to digest, as our systems can find it hard to recognise. Some people have no issue, but increasingly there are sensitivities arising, some undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
It can cause children problems ranging from bloating to allergic reactions and many issues in between that may never be related back to gluten.
Dairy in many ways has a similar story. Cow’s grazing on nutrient rich grass produce a complete food, high in fat, vitamins and minerals to nourish the body. The allergies arising are more a reflection on the methods used to obtain the quantities needed now. It is the casein, or the milk sugar known as lactose, in milk that can be hard to digest for some with a genetic predispostion. There used to be a different type (A2) predominantly in milk but now most cows produce the harder to digest A1.
The pasteurisation of milk is also problematic as it is heated to such a temperature to destroy any ‘bad bacteria’ that it also kills off all the beneficial enzymes and the protein structure is irrevocably altered. The body has trouble recognising this protein, and can mount an immune response as a result. This is even harder product for young children to digest with immature digestive systems.
Whole Raw milk, when sourced well from a certified organic farm using good practises is an incredibly nourishing and healing food that has many benefits, but it is extremely difficult to find, even illegal in some countries for the fear of salmonella and e-coli.
I strongly believe that food should be utterly delicious for everyone, and that children must get the best that we can give them, whether they have allergies, sensitivities or not.
And in the current climate of wheat overload and poorer quality dairy, we feel that it is a great boost to any child’s system to leave them free of these proteins when they eat our food.
Me and gluten
After getting pregnant with my first baby, 7 years ago, I took stock of the importance of what everything going into my mouth was doing to the unborn baby, reading and gathering information on nutrition and diet as fast as I could. This focus shifted to weaning and beyond as he grew and then there were 2 others, and I saw the power food had to keep children healthy. Apart from an ear infection each, they have been incredibly well and on average visit the Doctor less than once a year. I can’t be more grateful for this.
But a few months after my 3rd baby was born, I was bed-ridden and feeling terrible so I went to the Doctor where I was diagnosed with mumps, due to the massive swelling on my face and neck. This was found to be an auto-immune disease attacking my thyroid, making it virtually unable to function. I was given replacement thyroid pills but continued to feel entirely below par, like walking through treacle every day. So I decided to research the possible causes, and discovered the connection between gluten and thyroid auto immune disease (they are similar looking protein). I found an amazing Doctor who told me of his strong beliefs about this, and in January 2014 I stopped eating any gluten at all. Within 3 months I felt completely different and by 6 months had returned to my normal self. At the last blood test my thyroid antibodies count is now ‘normal’.