GLUTEN….Does it agree with you?

glutenAs a health seeking junkie and one who is doing everything I possibly can (without drugs) to keep my Multiple Sclerosis in check…..I stopped consuming GLUTEN over a year ago.

Many MS books and articles I have read along the way suggest that GLUTEN is an allergen that may cause an  inflammatory response in the human body.   If you are the slightest bit sensitive to gluten then it can have a huge and detrimental impact on how your digestive system works and affect many other systems in your body.

Wheat is not the same crop today as it was years ago.  It is hybrid, engineered over many decades to grow quickly while resisting fungus.  Wheat of 50 years ago only contained about 5% gluten.  Now today’s wheat contains 50% gluten.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, spelt, kamut and oats.  It is pervasive in our modern diet today.  There is gluten in bread, of course, but also pasta, pizza, cereal and most processed foods.  You will find gluten in places you would never imagine it to be such as cosmetics, vitamins, some medications, the sticky side of postage stamps and so many other hidden places.

From what I have gathered through reading up on this topic…… you may not have full blown Celiac disease, a severe allergy to gluten, but eating gluten can be causing serious health issues with you and you don’t even know it….YET.

Taken from an article by Dr. Mark Hyman in the Huffington Post, he makes mention of a recent and large study by the JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION that found that people with diagnosed, undiagnosed or latent celiac disease or gluten sensitivity had a higher risk of death, mostly from heart disease and cancer.  I will not go into the details of the study but I will share the findings.  There was a 39% increased risk of death in those with celiac disease, 72% increased risk in those with gut inflammation related to gluten and 35% increased risk in those with gluten sensitivity but no Celiac disease.

Basically what this is saying is that you do not have to have full blown Celiac disease to experience serious health problems from eating gluten.  Most people who eat gluten on a daily basis, and many times a day, don’t even know they have an issue.  They eat gluten, suffer digestive upsets such as bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea etc. and just carry on as if these symptoms are normal.

The New England Journal of Medicine lists 55 diseases that can be caused by eating gluten.  I will list some of them here:  oseooporosis, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, cancer, fatigue, canker sores, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS, neurological diseases such as anxiety, depression, dementia, schizophrenia, migraines, epiolepsy and autism.  WOW…and those are just some of the diseases or conditions on their list.

Gluten sensitivity causes inflammation which affects many systems of the body including brain, heart, and digestive tract to name a few.   Dr. Hyman says that not all of these conditions may be from gluten in your particular case but if you suffer from any chronic disease you should definitely look into the “gluten” connection.  Maybe….just maybe….giving up gluten could bring you back to vibrant health.

If you think you might be gluten sensitive you should try the “elimination diet” for a month and see how you feel and function.  You must eliminate 100% of the gluten from your diet.  You must become vigilant with label reading when it comes to the food you put in your body….and every single bite must be gluten free.  Without question.  Then after that period of time…start eating gluten again and see what happens.    You can also be tested for gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease through blood tests.

I can vouch for elimination of gluten and how well it has helped me.  I have been avoiding gluten now for close to 16 months.  In that time, my digestion is 100% better.  I don’t suffer at all from bloating or abdominal cramping anymore.  My complexion is smooth, I’m sleeping well, I’m happier and much healthier overall.  And a great bonus is I have maintained the same weight now for a very long time.  My goal, through my healthy nutrition of organic, vegan and gluten free, is to help my body heal itself of all ills including Multiple Sclerosis.   If giving up gluten has anything to do with the fact that I have not had a headache or any body aches to speak of for the time I’ve been off gluten then it is well worth the minor sacrifice.  My body is thanking me.

I eat a delicious and nutricious diet full of colourful fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes.  While avoiding gluten I enjoy sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, millet, gluten free oats and so much more.  I don’t feel the least bit deprived.  I do feel wonderful though.

Why not give up gluten for a month yourself and see what happens with your day to day body functions.  You may discover that eating that slice of toast every morning is the reason you are NOT FUNCTIONING at the TOP OF YOUR GAME!

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