Just a decade ago not too many people heard about gluten free diet, nevertheless of gluten itself. Why suddenly it seems like a popular trend especially amongst those wanting to lose weight? Because when you do get off gluten, a hard to digest protein found in wheat, rye and barley (gluten is present in all grains, the three mentioned above cause the biggest damage in susceptible individuals), you are bound to lose weight.
It’s easy to shed several pounds when you stop eating simple carbs, which are all the flour based traditional foods, like breads, pastries and pasta. Simple and complex carbohydrates like flour or whole grain, turn into sugar. The more complex form, like the whole grain is distributed slowly and stored as energy, while simple form, like the pita bread or cake gets stored as fat. Take it away, and weight loss is inevitable.
That is the fad side of the gluten free dieting leaving one to eat more fruits, vegetables and meat and fish. The more wholesome diet one consumes, the healthier the body becomes. I must mention though that in order to be truly slim and healthy and maintain it, which is the trickiest part, one must also know his/her bodies’ individual needs, engage in positive thinking, live a passion driven life, forgive, love, and that includes love oneself as God’s perfect Creation and finally move, get out of the sedentary lifestyle.
When I work with people, I help them change the way they eat, think, move and supplement in order to achieve successful results. And their body needs require food/mood/poop journaling and/or testing for food sensitivities.
While certain dietary trends do have a merit, there is no one diet that fits all, and that without addressing the emotional, physical, spiritual, social aspect of one’s life, the results will most likely be temporary.
This is called a balanced life. Whenever there is an emotional imbalance it manifests itself within two years or less in a physical form. People need to understand this connection, they need to get reminded that they do come with owner’s manual that is specific to the body they are wearing.
Going back to the second part of gluten free diet, the “necessity” part. This one is not a fad nor a diet. It is a lifelong lifestyle for many and the only way that we know of at this point to allow certain individuals to live. It is part of autoimmune disorders and has so many manifestations away from the small intestine where it occurs, it makes really hard to pinpoint. The current ratio of clinically diagnosed to undetected cases is approximately 1 to 8. It’s huge! People go from doctor to doctor with symptoms in their head, their skin, with bloating and gassiness, diarrhea or constipation, with seizures, pain, neuropathy, autism, infertility, bipolar disorder, thyroid disease, depression, joint pain, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, without addressing the root cause. And this can go on for a decade!
What is the root cause? In susceptible individuals, and by susceptible I mean those with history of autoimmune disorders in the family, those with genetic predisposition and presence of DQ2 or DQ8 genes that can be activated at the moment of stress, whether internal, like food, or external, from let’s say divorce, the root cause is the inability to digest gluten, therefore causing the so called Leaky Gut Syndrome, literal leaks of undigested foods and toxins into the bloodstream. Which create breeding ground for bacterial and parasitic overgrowth and malnutrition.
The main concern for people who walk around with undiagnosed gluten sensitivity is maltnutrition. Sensitivity causes damage to the intestinal villi responsible for absorption of nutrients obtained from food. When this fundamental process is disturbed, people become deficient in vitamins, minerals, the lining of the intestines gets inflamed, the digestive fire goes down, meaning you produce less stomach acid, less pancreatic enzymes, less bile. The entire digestion gets compromised until the individual gets off gluten. Now, depending on the damage and how long this has been going on, gluten free lifestyle might not be enough and gut repairing protocols must take place.
“Gluten Sensitivity is a systemic autoimmune disease with diverse manifestations. Celiac Disease, or gluten sensitive enteropathy, (Gluten Sensitivity) is only one aspect of a range of possible manifestations of gluten sensitivity. And yet, this enteropathy, ‘one of the most common lifelong disorders in both the U.S. and Europe, receives the lion-share of focus to the point of ignoring other manifestations. Auto-immune disease, the 3rd leading cause of Morbidity and Mortality in the industrialized world, is ten times more common in a gluten sensitive enteropathy than in the general population.”
– Dr. Thomas O’Bryan, the leading gluten sensitivity expert
Being part of autoimmune disorder and as mentioned above the 3rd leading cause of morbidity and mortality, it’s anything but a fad. For 1 out of 8 people going gluten free is lifesaving. People die from it, but it’s not registered as death from gluten sensitivity. It is registered as heart attack, liver cirrhosis, Multiple Screrosis, cancer, etc. Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in celiac disease, followed by malignancy.
It’s not that this is a modern day issue. It’s been around for a long time, but with the global trend of eating more processed foods than whole foods, indulging in pasta, pizza, braded this breaded that, pastries, cakes, grain treatment with pesticides or GMO’s and the amount of stress people endure the sensitivity rates go up alarmingly.
Who should go gluten free? Check my list. If any of the below is a long term condition for you, don’t settle for it, do something about it! Simplest way is to run an elimination diet, which is a removal of all hard to digest or GMO foods (gluten, dairy, soy and corn) for anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months. Many times reintroduction will cause a severe reaction. If so, you know you need to continue on a gluten free lifestyle.
Difficult Weight Management
Low sex drive
Failure to Thrive
Depression & Anxiety
Auto-immune Diseases (thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes, etc.)
Bone loss (including osteopenia and osteoporosis)
Unexplained bouts of dizziness or ear ringing
Skin rashes (including dermatitis herpetiformis, eczema and psoriasis)
Gluten free fad or real? As you can see, for some a marvelous fad, for some lifesaving long term lifestyle.
Joanna Puciata is a founder of heal ‘N Glow, holistic health practice with beauty in mind, an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Certified Gluten Practitioner and a Beauty Expert. She is an author of Vague Memories, a story of family legacy, Poland and every day moments. She is also a founder of Heal ‘N Glow Beauty, empowering women to look and feel beautiful without self-sabotage. For more health and beauty tips, digestive and beauty coaching sign-up for her newsletter and visit www.healandglow.com