Going gluten-free seems to be the rage these days…and most often not by choice. There is a growing link between gluten sensitivity and many autoimmune conditions. While the reasons for gluten sensitivity and complete intolerance are not completely understood, it is often inherited. In my case I have suffered from inflammation for a long time, both in my joints and digestive system. After a DNA test showed that I carry both Celiac genes, (the intestinal disease that occurs from complete gluten intolerance) I am lucky that I don’t have the disease. I am, however, highly intolerant. Surprisingly, living gluten-free hasn’t been difficult at all. Beyond my initial despair at the thought of never eating bread or drinking beer again, I quickly realized after a couple of weeks of going off grains entirely, that I don’t really miss it. It appears that it is common to crave the foods that you’re allergic to. The result though, from not being aware of this sensitivity for most of my life, is that it has wrecked havoc on my digestive system. After completing a protocol for “leaky gut” syndrome, and removing foods that I’m allergic to, like gluten, soy and cow’s milk, just to name a few, I have never felt better! I feel more energy and that swollen and puffy look that has been plaguing me for months is finally gone. I’m grateful to my husband for recognizing a recurring theme in many of our patients and then getting the education necessary to work with people with autoimmune problems, which has expanded his scope of treatment at our clinic and has given many people renewed hope in regaining their health.
I don’t generally share such personal health information, and I do so today to hopefully direct people to 1) be more concerned about the food they put into their bodies, and 2) get tested if they don’t seem to be getting relief for autoimmune issues (google “autoimmune symptoms”). I feel strongly that our bodies are temples and are a beautifully complicated set of integrated systems that need our utmost care and respect. Right now, my diet consists mainly of lean proteins like poultry and fish, and vegetables and stone fruits, nuts and gluten-free grains like quinoa and brown rice. It is really important to make sure that the foods you eat are environmentally clean, without pesticides or additives and if at all possible the meats are free range and grass-fed. While people complain that those choices are more expensive, my take on that subject is that our bodies are the only tool we have to live this life and they should be our top priority. I don’t have a green thumb, but we are members of an organic farm every summer that gives us a box of wonderful veggies every week. It has also expanded my culinary skills! Food has never tasted better, and I am amazed that even my two teenagers are more willing to incorporate good food choices into their daily routine.