Sticky Icky Gooey Gluten

What’s up with Gluten? Has anyone noticed that it seems more and more people are gluten sensitive? Personally, I’ve been able to drop pounds and lose inches from my waist when I give up gluten. Remember high school chemistry? The solution to pollution is dilution. When I eat pizza, I can gain up to 7 pounds in one day. Where did that weight come from? I didn’t eat 7 pounds worth of pizza….All that weight is water retention from my body freaking out trying to digest the glutinous mass of pizza. And it all shows up right around the middle where my poor small intestine is in shock from the pizza assault. 

Professionally, I’ve seen many of my clients improve dramatically from simply giving up gluten. Symptoms from acne to arthritis all start to clear up. This is just another amazing example of how your health is a direct result of what you’re eating…or to put it differently, your health is a direct result of what you’re able to absorb. For the gluten sensitive person, eating gluten results in the flattening of the microvilli of the small intestine. The microvilli are small finger like protrusions that dramatically extend the surface area of the gut and enable us to absorb the nutrients from our food into our blood stream. Stunted microvilli means less food absorption and less food absorption means that you’re not getting the nutrition that you need! Is your skin wrinkled and dry? Maybe you’re not properly absorbing fats due to gluten sensitivity. Do you have skin conditions like psoriasis? Maybe you’re not absorbing the necessary nutrients for skin health (Vitamin A, C, E, and minerals selenium and zinc) due to gluten sensitivity. Are you iron-deficient anemic? Maybe you’re not absorbing iron due to gluten deficiency. You see how all of these issues can be directly related to digestive health? 

Gluten sensitivity is a genetic condition and is really more like an autoimmune disease than a food allergy. (I suspect that  the genetic modification and mono-culture of wheat and other grains has something to do with the amount of people that are suddenly unable to deal with gluten). A person with gluten sensitivity is lacking the proper enzyme needed to break down gluten. Because the gluten isn’t fully digested, the body sees the gluten glob as a threat like a virus or a parasite and begins to attack. In the process, healthy cells of the small intestine are attacked as well. In it’s full-blown version, we see Celiac Disease. Not everyone with gluten sensitivity will end up with Celiac Disease. But everyone with gluten sensitivity will develop symptoms sooner or later if they don’t get off gluten. 
Typically, when there is gluten sensitivity, other food sensitivities will develop. Due to the body’s own attack on the small intestine, “leaky gut” can develop. This means that larger particles of undigested food escape into the blood stream. This can mount a full blown immune response. The result is that your immune system is stimulated every time you eat that food again. Do you ever get a runny nose after eating? That’s probably due to your programmed immune response from your leaky gut due to…gluten sensitivity!! 

Gluten is found in most grains. The only “safe” grains are rice and corn. Some would argue that quinoa is gluten free but others say that due to very similar molecular structures, people sensitive to gluten should also avoid quinoa. Millet, amaranth, and buckwheat are also safe to eat. However, often times, those sensitive to gluten need to give up all grains and grain like foods for a certain amount of time in order to heal their gut lining. 
In the spring time when I like to do a gentle detoxification with my clients, we pull the glutenous grains out of their diet for about a month. It’s amazing how many people feel better just from doing that alone. After following my gut healing protocol, it may be possible for some people to reintroduce some grains into their diet. However!! They must learn to properly prepare them with soaking and lacto-fermentation. One of my favorite companies is the Grindstone Bakery. They have some yummy gluten free breads and they traditionally soak and ferment their grains for better digestibility. 
Future posts will include delicious gluten free recipes with one of my favorite ingredients: coconut! 
Stay well,
Sylvie Nalezny
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About nutritionthatworks

Sylvie Nalezny has a Master's degree in Holistic Health Education and is a certified Nutrition Educator. She has worked as a Nutritionist specializing in weight loss and overcoming sugar addiction and as a Wellness Coach, helping people to create healthy habits.

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