I first heard about celiac disease about four years ago and now it seems as though I cannot go a day without hearing or reading something about celiac or gluten intolerance. I know the basics that gluten is a protein found in wheat and some other grains. It is widely used in food processing and is therefore found in a million foods that you would never associate with wheat. I also know that if an individual has any sort of sensitivity to gluten then it can destroy the villi on the inside of your intestines which are responsible for absorbing the nutrients from your food. While destroying your intestines you become malnourished and the symptoms can range from mental fog to severe joint and muscle pain to weight loss and diarrhea. I am absolutely sure that there are more symptoms that most doctors would never associate with gluten but that they would happily write a prescription for.
I removed gluten from my diet in June after experiencing sever jaw, back and neck pain that I attributed to a car accident 8 months prior. Within a week of removing gluten, the symptoms had almost disappeared with the exception of jaw stiffness. I have slipped up a few times and within hours I feel debilitated. The pain is indescribable. Occasionally I encounter small amounts of gluten unknowingly and it is apparent when my neck and back pain appear and I cannot sleep.
I am reading a book that I am officially recommending to all of you called Primal Body Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas, a local neurofeedback specialist and holistic nutritionist that pairs brain work with nutrition. She explains the gluten issue in-depth from a physiological standpoint as well as an evolutionary standpoint. My take is that we are really not cut out for many grains as they are relatively new to our diets. To make matters worse, we eat an excessive amount of gluten. Removal of gluten from many people’s diets has resulted in resolution of symptoms of ADD, Asberger’s, Fibromyalgia (which I personally believe is nothing but food sensitivity), depression, etc.
In my mind, there is no reason for gluten. It is unnecessary and provides nothing of benefit in our diets. Yes, it is easy to slap a bowl of cereal in front of your kid for breakfast and a sandwich makes a simple lunch but it is not worth it. Some studies estimate that at least 1 in 3 have a gluten sensitivity. While symptoms may not arise for years in your body or your kids. I don’t think it is worth taking the chance. Thankfully, we have many alternatives for the convenience foods that we are used to, and I am talking about whole food alternatives.
As an adult, you have been in your body for a long time. If you slow down you will be able to tell how foods affect you. You will be able to tell if something makes you tired, stiff, a little nauseous, etc. However, your kids are probably not in touch with their bodies yet and their bodies are young and not nearly as beat up as all of ours. So, assume that whatever does not work optimally for you does not work for them either and watch your kids for bags under their eyes, skin rashes, constipation, runny noses, coughing etc. On a side note, corn is also a common offender and I have even noticed on this cleanse that brown rice makes me immediately drowsy, like taking an ambien for goodness sake. So, pay attention and pick up Nora’s book…it is an easy and extremely informative read! Ladies (because I know your husbands and boyfriends are not reading this blog everyday), a round of applause for taking on the grand responsibility of keeping yourself and your family healthy. Happy Sunday cleansers…be proud, you are almost through week 2!