This Article is Gluten-Free! - theHumm October 2019
This Article is Gluten-Free! - theHumm October 2019
By Sebastian Weetabix
Weetabix has long felt that Descartes got off to a bad start. We have had more than one encounter with people who clearly do not think and yet exist. Better he should have stated: “I eat; therefore I am,” since if one ceases to eat, pretty soon one is not. But wait, dear reader — what if what you eat is killing you? Welcome to the sometimes paradoxical and confused territory of food sensitivities, allergies and food-related diseases.
The Roman poet Lucretius is sometimes credited with “one man’s meat is another man’s poison,” but except for rare circumstances, vegetables are more likely to cause troubles. The Arrogant Worms should be pleased that carrots are constantly being avenged, and that is just the beginning! Our diets are the result of a long and complex interaction between opportunities, necessities and cultural practices. In North America, the prevalent dietary styles are heavy on processed foods and generally provide a surplus of calories as well as adequate amounts of protein. What could be bad about that? Well, quite a lot actually. Weetabix has convinced the Worthy Editor that a series of articles might entertain and enlighten his readers on some specific topics in this space. Being ever the optimist, the series will attempt to offer some solutions, but Weetabix is not a miracle worker and reminds his readers that while “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it… (rhymes with think).”
And writing of horses brings us, quite naturally, to oats, and thus to wheat and gluten and maybe to the end of the patience of the Editor. The Northern European and thus North American diets are substantially built on wheat and wheat products. Wheat is, in fact, the most geographically diverse crop and one of the first to be domesticated. It owes its prevalence and dominance to a number of factors that make it both nutritionally and economically successful. Wheat yields a high return on both cultivation labour and land base; it has low harvest losses, stores well when dried, and is easy to transport and package. It provides a good mix of calories and protein so it can form the nutritional base for a population. It also is fairly reliable in terms of pest and disease resistance; it is tolerant of adverse weather and adaptable to a wide range of climates.
Wheat as a food ingredient has unique features that benefit farmers, shippers, processors and consumers. Let’s hear it for wheat! Wheat is neat! And it is even possible to make beer from wheat. But for all the good that comes of it, there is a less-than-silver lining to those fluffy-cloud pastry confections and it is called gluten. Who amongst you has not heard of gluten — as in “gluten-free”? Weetabix is of the opinion that it is impossible to visit a modern grocery store without encountering the word — usually in conjunction with “free”. Gluten-free seems to be almost an implied guarantee of health-promoting properties and a passport to better nutrition. The removal of something to give a benefit is, paradoxically, a great value proposition — less IS more.
Glutens are structural proteins that occur in all wheats, wheat hybrids and related plants. They do not occur in rice, corn, potatoes, cassava or other major starch crops, and starch as a source of calories is what keeps most of humanity going. But wait, dear reader, when is the last time you ate pure starch? Food and eating are not reducible to simple chemistry, and gluten (more specifically wheat gluten) is not just any protein. It has a unique molecular structure which give it its almost magical transformative powers. Yes, gluten is a molecular superhero worthy of an episode of The Incredibles! It is capable of almost as much extension as Elastigirl! Breads, noodles and a host of other food products are designed around the properties contributed by gluten. Imagine cuisine without most breads, pastries and pastas and you have the beginnings of an idea of how prevalent gluten is. And yet, there is a serious problem in a culinary paradise of fluffy baguettes, al dente pastas and phyllo-based baklavas, which is that gluten, that enabling superhero, has a side darker than Darth Vader.
Most food substances are complex mixtures that must meet a number of criteria in order to be of benefit. Gross nutritional composition (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, etc.) is only a part of the story. Lack of toxicity (non-poisonous) is another. In between are a host of benefits and trade-offs that can be assessed and classified in at least as much detail as any religion. Much of what passes for doctrine in food circles has little basis in the realm of facts, but arguments are constructed to support pre-determined positions. Weetabix is getting off on a rant here and self-corrects to the point: wheat gluten is not benign in its effects on some people.
Celiac disease is a severe manifestation of gluten toxicity. It is the consequence of an immune reaction to gluten that damages the small intestine, which is where many essential nutrients are absorbed. Intestinal damage can lead to growth problems in children and a whole host of unpleasant symptoms, as well as discomfort and malaise in adults. No joke and no cure. For most celiacs, following a strict (there are tests for trace amounts of gluten) zero-tolerance, gluten-free diet can manage symptoms and allow the gut to heal. Other wheat and gluten-related dietary maladies are real and some are psychosomatic, but the documented incidence of celiac disease is around 1% of the population. Before you shrug that off, consider the following: based on research done at Columbia University in 2013, odds are that you already know more than five people who suffer from celiac disease. Next month Weetabix plans an article on a local entrepreneur who has an important contribution to solving this problem. Also, November 22 is the Feast Day of St. Cecelia, patron saint of musicians.
By Sally Hansen
Art… and Soul
It was time to check out the artistic chops of another member of the amazing Almonte art scene. A relative newcomer to the community, Jean Morrow has opened her solo art gallery as part of her stunning Thoburn Mill condo overlooking the Mississippi River. Her art also brightens the walls and nicely complements Deborah Arnold’s supremely appropriate stone sculptures in the main corridor of this remarkable building. After several iterations of renovation since the historical......
Jim Cuddy, one of Canada’s most beloved singer-songwriters as both a solo artist and as part of Blue Rodeo, will headline an intimate evening of music at the Almonte Old Town Hall on Sunday, October 20 to benefit the Almonte General Hospital Fairview Manor Foundation. Presented by KE Electrical Ltd., the evening will feature the Jim Cuddy Family Band, including Jim’s sons Devin Cuddy and Sam Polley, as well as the Prescott Brown Family Band, including Tracey Brown, Randall Prescott and their da......
Lighting the Way 9 Short Plays that Stubbornly Celebrate a Sustainable Future - theHumm October 2019
By — Emily Pearlman
The science is clear. All our major political parties have acknowledged it: we are in the midst of a Climate Crisis. But after people have cast their votes, what are you and I going to do about it? How can we act in a meaningful way to ensure a different future than the one that is being projected? How can we champion those who are working for change on a global level, a national level, and in our own backyards?
On October 17 and 18, a group of thirty people from our communi......
Pumpkinfest Returns! - theHumm October 2019
Since Pumpkinfest 2018 was a such a smashing success, Downtown Carleton Place, the Carleton Place Sister City Committee and the Carleton Place Tourism Committee are ready to bring this wonderful celebration of Fall back again this year.
This year, Pumpkinfest will be held on October 19 at the brand-new Carleton Junction. “We are thrilled to have such a top-notch venue for our event,” says Downtown Carleton Place BIA Coordinator Kate Murray. “This space is loaded with......
While traveling through the beautiful countryside just west of Perth during September and early August, if you hear a low hum, don’t be concerned! It’s just the artisans of the Perth Autumn Studio Tour feverishly endeavouring to finish new works to be presented during the tour and readying their workspaces to accommodate the many talented guest artists that will be hosted at each studio.
Now in its 27th year, the Perth Autumn Studio Tour has become known for the high quality and diversity o......
Every autumn, the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust (MMLT) hosts its premier fundraising event. On October 19, the 2019 Go Wild Gala will be held at the historic Grand Hotel in Carleton Place, and will feature naturalist and author Michael Runtz as the guest speaker, sharing his experiences from nearly fifty years of exploring Algonquin Park.
Steeped in history, the Grand Hotel is the perfect venue to visit with friends and enjoy the venue’s fine and full buffet dinner. Doors open ......
By Susie Osler
This morning I woke early as the day broke, and with coffee and chair in hand, went to watch the sun rise from the forest to the east. I made my way across the grass to sit next to a patch of Mugwort planted last year that grows beside a tangle of nettle, motherwort, goldenrod, comfrey and rugosa rose that hedge along a rail fence at the northeast corner of the barn.
What a luminous morning it was! The remains of the waning moon, a sliver beckoning to the rising sun. And surrounding me, infinite......
On Saturday, November 9 at 7:30pm at St. Paul’s United Church in Perth, music lovers can savour the extraordinary voice of singer Theresa Thomason and the virtuosity of Grammy Award-winning pianist Paul Sullivan. Thomason and Sullivan headline the second concert in the series supported by Group Encore!, a circle of people in Lanark County making events of this calibre possible.
The Thomason-Sullivan concert follows the inaugural, superlative concert held at St. Paul’s on May ......
A lovely recent tradition in Carleton Place involves November being ushered in with the Itty Bitty Art Show — an exhibition filled with gorgeous and diverse works of art that reflect just how talented our little town is. The fifth annual Itty Bitty Art Show will take place on Saturday, November 2 and Sunday, November 3 at the Carleton Place Canoe Club, from 10am to 4:30pm each day.
In celebrating Carleton Place’s 200th year we honour all the beautiful pieces that make up our to......
How do you bring history to life? Easy! Create an original live theatre musical show!
The Mississippi Mudds have put together a brandnew, original musical show that shines a light on the history of the town of Carleton Place. Will it be dry and boring? NO WAY! The fascinating facts of history will be brought to life through a strong storyline, amazing costumes and rousing music!
Here’s What Happens…
A young boy, fleeing bullies, takes refuge in the Carlet......
The “little charity that could” is celebrating the construction of their 111th classroom in Nicaragua, after a year of instability in the country. SchoolBOX has recovered due to their strong network of supporters, donors, and team on the ground. This year was a bounce-back one for the Almonte-based charity, as they are on schedule to build twelve classrooms, deliver over 18,000 educational supplies and equip countless communities around Nicaragua with books.
SchoolBOX has its roots in A......
Christmas in the Valley Show - theHumm October 2019
Are you looking for gifts with originality, quality and attention to detail? Then forgo the gift cards, big box stores and stressful malls, and make your first holiday shopping destination the popular Christmas in the Valley Artisan Show! There you’ll find a juried selection of over thirty carefully selected artisans, crafters and bakers presenting their original creations in a relaxed, friendly and festive atmosphere. This year’s show takes place on November 2 and 3 from 10am to 4pm a......
My heart too small? Nah, this whole place gives me gas and I knew it was time to get outta town. But since my head isn’t screwed on right, and my shoes are too tight, I got stranded with my goat ......
By — Charlee Ostrom and Bruce Bailey
You may remember us from a previous article in theHumm or from meeting us. For those who don’t, we are Charlee Ostrom and Bruce Bailey. Charlee is an artist, a wonderful tapestry weaver, former p......
Signals from the Station October is a Hopping - and Haunted - Month in Smiths Falls! - theHumm October 2019
It’s a little cooler now, eh? Bit of a chill in the air. Sweater weather is how I like to think of October. Time to throw on your favourite old sweater and slip into your most comfortable pair of j......
FABulous Recognition! - theHumm October 2019
By — David J. Stephenson is a retired federal policy guy who now divides his time between life on the Mississippi in Almonte and roughing it in the bush on two acres near Pakenham
Last month we featured an article about Five Almonte Buildings (FAB) having been shortlisted for a National Trust for Canada’s Ecclesiastical Insurance award for Resilient Places. And… drum roll ......
By — Paul Joyce
For theatre goers, one-act plays are rare, tantalizing theatrical delicacies. In a cluster of two or more, one-acts provide an enticing assortment of dramatic experiences in a single evening.
A Message from Stephen Kotze - theHumm October 2019
By — Stephen Kotze is the Federal Green Party candidate for LanarkFrontenacKingston
We’re almost into the third week of the campaign as of press time; I’m getting out every day, knocking on doors and talking with people all across this huge riding.
Mar 31 - May 7 Exhibition: Sarah Anderson
- Kaajuk Kablalik — Art is My Medium for Preserving My Inuit Culture
- Spring Fine Art Showin Carleton Place
- Festival of the Maples We’re Back – Just Virtually!
- The Aquanaut Among Us —An Interview with Jill Heinerth
- Dickie’s Cause 4 Paws Online Auction
- Ready for Hiking Season?
- Artists Welcome Spring with New Online Show
- It’s Show Time!
- Natural Solutions = Climate Solutions
- Make Your Business Cycle-Friendly!