Gluten-Free and the Word of Wisdom
There is a fair amount of talk these days about the “benefits” of going gluten-free. Celebrities talk about how good they feel without gluten. Also, celiacs and others with gluten sensitivities say that because they reacted badly to gluten, everybody should avoid gluten.
The thing is, gluten is in wheat. And God revealed to his prophet Joseph Smith that “wheat [is] for man” (D&C 89:17). Heavenly Father wouldn’t instruct His people to eat something that was harmful to the average man.
The gluten-free diet, by itself, really isn’t as healthy as everyone seems to think it is. Gluten-free baking consists of using a lot of white flours, such as tapioca flour and potato starch. It also consists of more fat and sugar than gluten-full foods in order to provide a better texture. Without them, gluten-free foods are quite gritty.
When you combine that with the fact that gluten is extremely hard to avoid, due to it being everywhere in our culture, I really wonder why anyone would choose to follow this diet if they didn’t have a noticeable reaction to gluten.
I know all this, because my son has had noticeable reactions to gluten ever since he was two months old. Cheating on this diet is a luxury he does not have.
Joseph’s allergies made me wonder about the Word of Wisdom. Why would a loving Heavenly Father make my son allergic to the very thing he instructed us was the best thing for us to eat? So, I read section 89 again.
All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth; … All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground— (D&C 89:14, 16 emphasis mine)
The fact that Heavenly Father repeats “all grain” twice and says “wheat” once during this section was telling for me. While wheat is best, our loving Creator provided alternatives for those unable to tolerate wheat so they could still get the nutrition they needed. He has provided rice, corn, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, and more.
So while I still worry about Joseph getting enough nutrition, I am grateful to know that he has options, and that he has a Father in Heaven watching out for him, and others like him.