People with digestive health problems ask me, actually they don’t really ask me, they just tell me their story: “I had all these tests done and nothing is showing up. I had the celiac sprue testing done and it was negative. That means I can eat gluten, right?”
Well… this is a difficult question, really…the answer is perhaps, but perhaps not.
Why is this a difficult question to answer?
1. The celiac sprue test is not 100% accurate. There are false negatives all the time ( I am a perfect example of that).
2. There also exists a non-celiac, gluten sensitivity/ intolerance (that’s what I have) (I am not addressing all of the issues with how grains are grown, stored and processed here).
To be 100% certain, you can perform a genetic test. However, if you don’t want to shell out the cash to get genetic testing done, this can be simply and inexpensively figured out with a little detective work in your own home kitchen. I didn’t need the genetic testing, my body was very clear in sending me messages about how gluten made me feel. I consider myself lucky, in that I had symptoms. Not everyone has outward symptoms of digestive distress. Some people live with a silent level of internal inflammation and immune system on high alert, without ever knowing about it. Constantly getting colds, allergies, eczema, or some other “little” innocent diseases. Then BOOM! One day they get a serious diagnosis and wonder where in the world did this come from? This happened to a dear friend of mine who ended up with MS, but has now turned her life around with appropriate for her nutrition and healthy living.
The trouble is that silent inflammation was there the whole time, just hiding underneath the radar, lurking, sneaking around, until the body manifested and presented the problem in another way. Bam, dis-ease!
My recommendation, as a stable starting point, particularly for anyone struggling with any form of auto-immune disease, is to go 100% gluten free.
Of course, there are gluten free cookies, cakes, pretzels, etc. and while at first, when switching over to gluten free I tell my clients to go ahead and experiment with that, just to have a crutch, to ease the transition and the withdrawal symptoms that occur from going off of gluten. Eventually, in the right timing for them, I encourage a transition to healthier options and a whole foods gluten free lifestyle. That’s not to say, “Never again eat dessert!” That’s not what I am saying, but just be mindful of what you are eating because there is a lot of packaged food out there disguised as healthy, but it really isn’t all that great. So don’t fall for it, not for long anyway!
And remember – baby steps. Long term changes are exactly that – Long Term. New skills and habits take time to establish. It takes conscious effort, yes, it does, to get into a system, into a routine, and eventually a few months or a year from now, you may be looking back and going, “Wow, this gluten free thing is really not as hard as I thought it would be at first. And I didn’t even miss that piece of cake at the party. Even the craving for it seems to have gone away along with all the tiredness and low energy.”
Trust me, I know from my own experience of how challenging and daunting this can be at first. All these doubts and fears flood into the mind. The mental freak out happens: “How can I do this? Gluten free! It is so hard! Eliminate this and eliminate that! What do I eat? I won’t be able to eat with people!”
I totally did this at first, had myself an internal pity party. However, after I got over my attachments and addictions to certain foods, messed up a few times, made a mistake or two, wasted a good chunk of change trying stuff that was either stiff like cardboard or just plain old gross, etc. I discovered alternatives that worked, that actually tasted good! Most importantly, I got my life, my health, and my energy back and it Absolutely was worth every calorie of energy that I had put in at first.
Remember chemistry class? Exo- and endothermic reactions! Some reactions happen spontaneously, right? But other times, in order to get a reaction to “go” you need a little energy input and then BAM! You have fireworks. That’s kind of how this gluten free thing works too. It is difficult at first, yes, it is a sharp learning curve, yes, but then you are off and flying or surfing or dancing or playing soccer with your kids, oh wait, that’s me. 😉
But I know – You get it. I know you are looking for just a little bit more energy. I know you just want to feel good in your own skin. I did, terribly.
If you have an autoimmune disease, like me, or are struggling with digestive problems that will not let you live your life in peace… If you are hungry for personalized guidance and support, I would be honored to be your biggest cheerleader and coach; to help you navigate any confusion or questions that come up in your healing journey. Let’s heal your gut, it truly is the foundation for all health!
With love and always in service!