My recommendation is to change the gluten-language that we have been using. The term “gluten-free” has been used for decades. However, the meaning of words ‘gluten-free’ have been diluted. It almost has the connotation of ‘not-much-gluten’. It has the suggestion that ‘a-little-gluten-does-not-matter’ or ‘you-are-free-to-give-up-gluten-if-you-want-to’. I see so many parents who say that their children are 90-95% gluten -free. But for excellent health, that is not good enough. I know that these parents are striving to do the best that they can. However, they often do not understand the necessity to cut out gluten entirely.
If you get sloppy about your diet, then you will be constantly ingesting small amounts of gluten, that will cause you on-going harm.
Gluten-ZERO-Diet: change our language
A much stronger expression is needed. I have now exchanged the term ‘gluten-free diet’ to ‘gluten-zero-diet’. Or more simply, Gluten-ZERO. By using this phrase, I have already seen a change people’s attitude about how they think about eliminating gluten.
I am a pediatrician – so I see a lot of sick children, and a lot of them are gluten-affected. But happily, they get better a lot more quickly off gluten than do gluten-affected adults. However, I am a strong believer in putting these children on a gluten-zero diet well before they end up with substantial gluten-related harm, and to spare them from years, or even decades, of gluten-related symptoms. This means making an early diagnosis. That also means putting them on a gluten-zero-diet before they get the severe gut damage of celiac disease.
The big question for the children, their parents, and me is, “How gluten-free does he need to be?” and, “How long does he have to be gluten free?” If you read my early books, I talked about eating gluten to tolerance. But I have completely changed my mind about this. My stance now is firmly zero-gluten – yes ZERO! So, I say to my patients, “You are going on a Gluten ZERO diet. That means ZERO gluten.” Now there is no confusion.
The other language change concerns the concept of “celiac disease” – it is the “disease” part of this phrase that I do not like. Sure, when someone is ill, and suffering from chronic symptoms, then they are diseased. But when they are gluten-zero, and have fully revived, they are now healthy – they are no longer diseased. So why should they say that they have “celiac disease?” I much prefer to say that these people are “celiacs”, or have the “celiac condition” – but they are no longer diseased. Having a “disease” label is not a healthy thing, mentally.
I want to see healthy celiac on a gluten-zero diet.
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By Rodney Ford +