RK Tip of the Week|500 Days of Gluten Free Living…What I’ve learned.

Posted on September 22, 2010


500 days of living gluten free living. I had no idea that mini-milestone was fast approaching, but from Day 1 to today, #500, gluten free eating has gone from “oh, poor you….what’s gluten?” to the “HOT diet trend of athletes everywhere!” Thankfully, gluten free eating is NOT a diet trend like low-carb, sugar-free, etc. It is a real, scientifically sound way of eating – but just like most things that pick up like wildfire, they are met with a degree of skepticism. No worries you skeptics, it is my mission to show you exactly why, gluten intolerant or not, you will benefit by reducing or eliminating your gluten intake – and why you CAN do this for the rest of your life, & why you can & should do this with your kids!

We, humans, do not digest very well the protein in gluten, called gliadin. Some of us process it the same way we’d process opiates (that’s right, if you or your kids are intolerant, the brain will register the same as if it were a highly illicit drug). When we try to break down gluten, inflammation in our bodies goes up – inflammation = disease & breakdown in the form of heart disease, cancer, infertility, acid reflux, skin irritations & much more.

And I’m going to call out Elizabeth Ward, the RD who wrote on WebMD that “eating gluten does not usually cause damage – unless you have celiac disease.” She is utterly WRONG in this statement as referenced here, here, and in this amazing interview with a doctor. And this is why people become so confused – people who are unintelligent on the topic speak as if they are wise & confuse everyone. Which is part of why I write to you all, to take away the confusion, & lay it out straight for you so you can go be optimal YOU with all the right info!

*these are just my lessons, as always, consult a physician, or MUCH better yet – a natural health practitioner to get yourself taken care of

So, here we go, my summary of a few of the lessons learned in 500 Days of living Gluten Free:

– When you’re gluten free, your body fat should reduce with the diet change, but it won’t if you stick with pre-packaged cookies, pastas & items that are simply junk-food with a gluten free spin. Save gluten free sweets for special occasions, plan to do them up homemade-style & you’ll enjoy them far more than if you eat them because it’s Thursday.

It’s not normal to be congested all the time – excess stuff in your nose, throat & ears could be a sign you’re over-doing it on the gluten or that your body simply is not processing the gluten well. To help the process along, get a neti pot – I named mine Herman, he does amazing work.

Imitation crab meat has gluten in it. So does Taco Bell’s meat & the grilled chicken sandwich. Same goes for most seasoning packets & many chocolates – damn you chocolate makers!! Just make a piece of lovely chocolate without gluten as a filler! Thank you Ghiradelli for rising above that nonsense!

– If you commit to memory the locations of restaurants near you that “do” gluten free, your life will be much easier. Restaurants that do not carry a gluten-free menu may be able to do gluten free, but never ever count on it, unless you’d like to go hungry should they not be able to accommodate you. Trust me, I’ve had to go hungry several times because of counting on something I should never have counted on.

– When eating out (at a restaurant or someone’s home) ALWAYS ASK BEFORE INGESTING! Some diners add pancake batter to their eggs – eat them while doing gluten free & you’re in trouble – don’t even get me started on why they’d go & ruin eggs that way.

– Gluten free beer is delish, but for when you want a mixed drink – you may have problems with most vodkas if you’re sensitive to gluten since they are distilled from wheat. Ciroc, Chopin & Belvedere are NOT from wheat & thus fine to drink if gluten intolerant. (Wine is still the best!)

– If you have gluten intolerance, you may want to check on any casein intolerances too (found in dairy). I had keratitis (small white-ish bumps) on the back of my arms since I was a child & no one could tell me why I had it. Got the casein mostly out of my diet (I dot it on rotation diet now) & shocker! bumps are almost totally gone! A little more time & they will be entirely healed.

– Testing for gluten intolerance is best done through a saliva or blood test. Scratch tests tend not to show a consistently positive result because skin reactions set off a different immune response than those in the blood & saliva.

Modified food starch is usually made with wheat. If it’s on the ingredient list of your purchase choice, put it back & walk away. You see, it takes only a microgram to set off a reaction in someone highly sensitive to gluten. Once that reaction happens, your immune system & gut (which are so closely connected!) have to go through the response steps, raise inflammation, & work through the healing response.

– A lot of gluten reactions present as bowel issues, but there are so many more that you would never think are related. For me, in the beginning when I’m make a rookie mistake & ingest a bit of gluten, the following 4 days would be torture mentally, emotionally, & energetically. Tired, cranky, sad & hardly the desire or energy level needed to workout hard. Pay attention to your body, it will tell you if you’re giving it something it does not want.

So let’s raise our wine glasses (filled with a gorgeous ruby pino) & toast another 500+! days of gluten free eating, gluten free discovering & gluten free optimal living!!