Gluten-free is a phrase that has become more commonly used as more and more people are recognizing the problem of gluten intolerance and Celiac disease. Some traditional grocery stores are even including gluten-free products now with accompanying shelf-talkers. Perhaps you’re wondering what this is all about.
Gluten is a sticky grayish substance found in wheat and other grains; it is glue-like, holding everything together. When you ingest gluten, it swells and becomes tacky inside of your intestinal tract, a glued-together constipating clump in your gut. The undigested gluten then triggers your immune system to attack the lining of your small intestine which can cause great intestinal discomfort: bloating, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pain and nausea. For some people it is simply a sensitivity or intolerance that develops at some point in their life while for others it is the response from celiac disease.
Unknown to most people is the seriousness of consuming gluten if you have gluten intolerance or Celiac disease. Celiac is an autoimmune disorder that is hereditary, and gluten intolerance develops during a lifetime; both can affect virtually any part of the body. Here are just some of the disorders linked to gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease: alopecia areata — hair loss; narcolepsy; ADHD; Autism; headaches — especially migraines; sinus issues; dry eyes; halitosis; inflammation anywhere in the body; intestinal disturbances — gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, IBS, ovarian pain; adrenal fatigue; obesity; diabetes; rheumatoid arthritis; dermatitis. If left untreated, it can contribute to cancer and cardiovascular disease, both of which are leading causes of death today.
In more recent years celiac disease has become more prevalent. In fact, it is one of the most often undiagnosed intestinal disorders in our country. When a person has this disorder they cannot digest wheat and other gluten grains. Some are allergic to the gluten, while others are sensitive or allergic to the grain itself. Eating it in spite of can cause malnourishment since it interferes with ingested nutrients and digestion and causes malabsorption, often bulging out the stomach. Individuals with this disorder can become very sick if they consume gluten, often causing them to be irritable and both allergy and disease prone; it can be life-threatening. Celiac disease is genetic so is passed from generation to generation.
Why is this disorder on the rise? We have seen a breakdown of health over the last few decades due to many factors, many of them related to diet and stress. In addition, the chemical age we live in has added many toxic ingredients that disrupt the digestion, assimilation and elimination processes. Here are a few things that are prominent imbalances in dietary choices that add to or create gluten intolerance: high sugar; trans fat; over-processing; addition of chemicals/preservatives; not enough nutrient-rich food (fresh vegetables and fruit); high stress levels; fast food; too many prescription drugs usage; improper chewing so that food is gulped down fast. In addition, modern wheat is quite different from what our grandparents ate. Wheat now is often genetically modified and so over-processed it doesn’t even resemble the hearty, nutritious wheat once used.
We are also inundated with high stress which can break down many systems and is a main contributor to many disorders like adrenal fatigue. When the adrenals are burned out, digestion issues are always part of the equation, and very often gluten intolerance is present. If the individual continues to eat food with gluten, then it further depletes the adrenals and a vicious cycle is established in which the individual cannot regain his/her health. Health will continue to decline with a snowball effect.
Cutting out gluten products can be a daunting task since so many foods contain gluten. To further add to this dilemma, many products contain hidden gluten. The person with either gluten intolerance or Celiac disease must learn to check the label of every product that doesn’t visibly say gluten-free on the product. To make matters even more difficult, gluten isn’t limited to just food. It can be found in body and hair products, office supplies, and various household items. And labeling can fool you because manufacturers are not required to list every single ingredient. The product could contain a wheat filler, which is very common, or it could have been dusted with wheat for easier packaging. So it means you must assume the role of detective, to the point of possibly contacting a manufacturer to be sure of all ingredients!
There are tests to diagnose Celiac and gluten intolerance, but you can be your own detective and pay attention to your symptoms and how you feel an hour or two after a meal and beyond. Eliminate gluten products for five days and see what happens when you again ingest them. One client of mine decided to eliminate gluten and cut down sugar since she wanted to lose weight, and in 5 weeks, with doing nothing else but eliminating gluten and lowering sugar, lost 25 pounds! She also noticed she had more energy and experienced better mental clarity.
For those who want to know what to do to eat healthier and consider removing gluten from their diet, check out my new e-Book entitled Simple, Healthy & Gluten-Free Cooking that contains many facts with lots of information along with 113 recipes with color photos to help you get started on a new path. This is available at www.wheremiracleshappen.com.
Dr. Carolyn Porter, owner of Where Miracles Happen Healing Center, has dedicated her life to helping individuals create the life they truly desire, including vibrant health. She is a five-time published author, wholeness coach, speaker, trainer, and angel practitioner. Her books include, “The Realness of a Woman” and ‚ “Seven Roads to Glory.” To learn more about adrenal fatigue and Dr. Porter’s work and books, visit www.wheremiracleshappen.com.
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