Removing Gluten from my Diet was my first step back to health!
For years I suffered with migraine headaches that just seemed to get worse. I wanted to prevent them and I wanted to get off my prescription medication.
I became very concerned about the medication I was using when I found out from an insurance underwriter that it was flagged as increasing my risk for stroke.
Getting off gluten was not easy for me and I tried at least half a dozen times before I was able to successfully “wean” myself off. I guess you could say I found that I was addicted to gluten!
When you tell people you don’t eat gluten many think this GF diet is a “fad”. Nothing could be further from the truth.
For those skeptics who think there’s no good reason to remove gluten (or for those convinced they could not live without these grains) please let me illuminate some facts.
Why is gluten getting such a bad rap?
Gluten is very inflammatory and inflammation is the driver of all chronic disease. Gluten is now being linked to a host of other serious disease states. You don’t have to test positive for the antibodies to be gluten sensitive or intolerant either. So there are “degrees” of reactivity so to speak. Celiac Disease is the most severe form and is an autoimmune disease. For Celiac’s eating gluten is life threatening. Again, you don’t have to test positive for Celiac’s disease to be gluten sensitive. I think this causes a great deal of confusion for people. You can (and many people do) react to gluten without having the antibodies (tTG; TGA;AMG; AMA; EMA; ARA) show up on a blood test. This test is useful but it’s not the only gauge of gluten reactivity. Food intolerance’s (or sensitivity) are what’s known as delayed immune system reactions. This means it can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days for symptoms to present.
Why are there so many people affected now?
By one estimate at least one in every 100 people are gluten sensitive!
That’s a huge number of people.
- One theory for the rise in gluten sensitivity is that gluten is a relatively new food for humans. If you think back to Paleolithic times grains were not eaten. People ate what they hunted or gathered and grains were not one of those foods.Some think our digestive systems are just not able to digest gluten completely.
- Grains are a farmed crop and as such are commercially grown for use in thousands of products. We are consuming huge amount of “hidden gluten” in thousands of products, many times without even realizing it. These days most people eat gluten grains at every meal and even graze and snack on grains all day long. Before commercially available grain products grains were consumed in much smaller quantities.
- Commercially grown wheat is now cut and harvested using modern farming equipment (a combine) that cuts and bails wheat so it can be taken for milling immediately. Once cut down, traditional family farming methods allowed wheat to sit for a period of days (dependent upon location and climate) and this allowed enzymes to develop that actually improved our ability to digest it.
- New evidence is mounting that the Genetically Modified Wheat grown in the US is actually damaging our GUTs and changes the etiology of our GUTS. This is one reason many in the holistic health field believe we are seeing a dramatic increase in food intolerance’s, auto-immune conditions, autism, digestive problems like leaky GUT and even cancer.
These grains contain gluten:
- Wheat – including wheat germ and wheat bran
- Barley including barley malt
Remember, wheat (and corn and soy) are also fed to livestock as feed to fatten them up. Of course these grains that are being fed to animals go into our bodies when we eat them and do contribute to the increase in inflammation we experience.
One way to reduce your inflammatory load is to move to pasture raised and wild caught animal products since these animals are fed a naturally anti-inflammatory diet from Omega 3 rich plant sources.
Are starting to see how massively profitable this grain thing is?
You’re probably also beginning to see why eliminating gluten can be a challenge for those who eat many packaged and processed foods or who dine out frequently. And this is why sourcing and cooking your own food is very important to recovering your health.
Safe to eat gluten-free grains:
- Rice – white, brown, red, black and risotto
- Wild rice
- Oats – provided they are labeled Gluten Free are now considered safe for most people…Celiac ‘s must be sure that any product is processed in a dedicated gluten-free facility to avoid cross contamination.
Common Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance:
The best way to gauge gluten reactivity is by symptoms you notice when you have eaten gluten containing foods.
- Skin eruptions – acne; rosacea, psoriasis
- Digestive issues – constipation; diarrhea, gas, nausea, IBS
- Pain/inflammation – joint paint, muscle pain, head aches (migraines especially!)
- Neurological and emotional problems – ADHD, depression, poor concentration, poor memory
- Other symptoms: weight loss/gain, exhaustion, itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing
If you have any of these symptoms you should try eliminating gluten from your diet!
Do a trial of removing gluten and gluten containing products for a few weeks and see if you notice improvement and fewer symptoms. If you do you’ll know your better off without gluten in your life. It does not support you. You may also find you have less pain and inflammation removing not only gluten but dairy, and corn too. Soy is also very unhealthy.
When I removed gluten I stopped having migraines.
This was a very big life changer for me as my migraines had become very severe and debilitating. After a few months I noticed my knee pain disappeared too. My rosacea also went away once I stopped eating gluten 🙂 !!!
Auto Immune and other diseases are now being linked to Gluten!
The list of disease states now linked or suspected to be connected in some way to gluten intolerance keeps growing. If you search the PubMed database you will find this is an area of expanding research. Here are conditions that have been shown to be aggravated if not brought on (more research is required for absolute confirmation) although I have seen enough to convince me to stay off gluten for the rest of my life.
- RA & OA
- IBS & IBD
- ADD & ADHD
And since gluten feeds yeast these are common aliments associated with gluten:
- Candida/Yeast overgrowth
- Toe fungus
Bottom line is your better off without gluten in your diet!
Looking for what to make that’s gluten free? Check out my recipe book: Season it Well! the Outrageously Delicious Gluten Free Recipe Collection for the Discerning Palate is a great easy way to begin to shift to a gluten-free way of life.
Links and references: