Is Your Immune System Attacking You?

Thyroid Word CloudDo you have days when your body seems like a bit of a drama queen?

Perhaps you were sick with the flu, you’ve been fighting a migraine, or you’re feeling sore and achy all over for no particular reason. Other days, it might seem that you’re no longer able to tolerate the foods you used to eat with abandon – you’re dealing with a major case of indigestion and you’re carrying around an extra twenty pounds (that you can’t seem to lose, no matter what you eat).

Does any of this sound familiar?

I call these on-going annoyances “mimics, marauders and masqueraders” – because that’s basically what they are – but what I’d really like you to take away from this, is that it’s an important part of your immune system and how it functions.

The good news is that your immune system is beautifully designed to deal with these pranksters at a moment’s notice, and it’s exactly that on your behalf so 24/7 – even though it might seem at times that your body is working against you.

Sometimes your immune system DOES get confused. However, even though you might think it’s making a mistake, the reality is that it’s simply doing what it’s designed to do – protect you. Consider too, that 70% of your immune system is in your gutBut because it’s inside, and you can’t see it, and you can’t necessarily feel it – you’re not at all aware that anything is wrong.

The symptoms are often subtle.

What’s really happening, though, is that some of these invaders are actually very clever,  mimicking or masquerading as something other than what they really are.

Let me explain.

 

Cross-Reactivity

As you may already know, gluten is a family of proteins found in wheat and is therefore present in any foods that are made from wheat – although it can sometimes appear in other guises, as well.

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G Is For Gluten

 

 

G - GLUTEN 2Continuing with my fun & educational new video series “A Gluten Primer – Everything You Wanted to Know From A-Z” (literally) – it’s probably no surprise that ‘G is for Gluten’.

What is Gluten anyway? And why is it a problem for so many people? (And what’s with that bottle of Elmer’s glue???)

Gluten is a protein that’s primarily present in wheat, but also other grains. Even though it is ubiquitous in our diets, it happens to be extremely difficult for the human body to digest. While some people have no noticeable problems with this – others do.

How do you know if you’re one of those people? You pay close attention to the signs & symptoms your body is telling you – be it digestive complaints, neurological issues (numbness & tingling in your fingers or toes, foggy thinking), headaches or migraines, or aches & pains throughout your body.

Hint: Even though Celiac disease affects only 1 in 6 people – Gluten Sensitivity is known to be 6-20 times MORE common.

Which means you might not be as lucky as you think.

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Is Removing Gluten Always The Answer?

Celiac Disease concept. Book with stethoscope and pills.Should you remove gluten from your diet? (I get asked this question a lot).

The short answer is “It depends”.

What do I mean by this? In a nutshell, it depends on what’s going on in your body.

It depends on the signs and symptoms you’re experiencing.

And it also depends on your test results!

Of course, if your tests come back negative, then you’re in the clear – at least for the time being – more on that later.

But it’s super important that you get the RIGHT tests!

You don’t want to stop there, either.

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E is for Environmental Triggers

E - ENVIRONMENTALThere’s a lot of talk these days about the environment – be it lead in our water, endangered wildlife or polluted air.

Some of these Environmental Triggers even come from your food!

They could be in the form of chemical additives or preservatives found in processed foods – or simply your body’s inability to tolerate a food such as gluten, or dairy.

In either scenario, your body views the offender as toxic!

This, in turn, triggers your immune system – in an all-out assault to rescue you from these harmful invaders.

That’s it in a nutshell – but I dive into much greater detail in my new video series “A Gluten Primer, Everything You Wanted to Know From A – Z” (complete with accompanying tutorial)!:

If your goal is to minimize your symptoms and turn your health around – it all starts with what you’re putting into your body.

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The Environment & Your Symptoms – Is There A Mismatch?

The Nursery toy, gas mask, old watch on white background.10,000 years.

Does that seem like an eternity to you? If so, you’re not alone.

Yet, 10,000 years is the number most often quoted by doctors, scientists and other experts, when explaining why grains – especially wheat – are a relatively new addition to the human diet.

You might be thinking, “How can that be? Haven’t humans been eating grains for most of their existence?”

How can something so abundant, and so integral to your diet, be harmful?

It’s what we call an ‘evolutionary mismatch’.

In other words, much of our modern lifestyle is based on products and foodstuffs that the human body isn’t designed to digest or otherwise process.

This includes chemicals and a host of other modern ‘conveniences’ that, in the long run, do us more harm than good – even though societies have seemingly thrived on grains for thousands of years.

That said, there’s a lot of talk in the media these days about threats to the environment, and whether the EPA will survive our current political climate.

Without getting overly dramatic – or political – about this state of affairs, here are some simple steps you can take to protect your health.

Starting today!

 

Knowledge is Power

What if government oversight of the environment and our food supply were to disappear overnight? What then?

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Gluten-Sensitivity & Celiac Disease – Should You Be Tested?

gluten free word with wood backgroundAre any of these symptoms common for you? (You might even know others who do.)

  • Digestive Complaints
  • Cramps, Bloating or Gas
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches or Migraines
  • Sinus Congestion
  • Joint Pain
  • Rash or Itching
  • Insomnia
  • Chemical Sensitivity
  • Memory Loss
  • Osteoporosis
  • Weight Gain
  • Mood Swings

While this list is by no means comprehensive, the thing to note is that NONE of these symptoms are NORMAL!

It’s also why it’s critically important to take a closer look at what you’re eating – and to know whether you have Celiac Disease – or non-celiac Gluten sensitivity.

While additional food sensitivities would also be great to test for, you want to rule out gluten first and foremost.

Here’s why:

Gluten-Related Disorders are known to be the cause behind almost every disease, or symptom within the human body – neurological disorders, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, – especially anything related to your thyroid – plus common age-related diseases such as osteoporosis.

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Your Body’s Wisdom – Invitation or Threat?

Woman having migraine headache.“Symptoms are a signal from the body that it is imbalanced, in distress, or in need of support.” 

Kelly Brogan, MD

Your body has it’s own innate inner wisdom.

In other words, with a little help from you – it has the ability to heal (you just need to give it what it needs).

How do you know what your body needs most?

You listen!

What signs and symptoms are your experiencing? How debilitating are they? Are you in pain, or is it more of a nagging discomfort that keeps you from enjoying your life to it’s fullest?

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The Myth of Weight Gain & What To Do About It

Calories LetterpressAre you swept up, once again, in the first-of-the-year weight-loss battle?

Post holidays, it’s not uncommon to be 5-10 pounds heavier than you were two weeks ago and frustrated (yet again) that yet another year has passed where you ate all this junky food and are feeling like crap from all the over-indulgence.

Chances are you’re also thinking about what to do to start losing that weight. (It’s why Gym memberships EXPLODE during January.) You’re going to start seeing all these Detox and Cleanse programs – with the emphasis on exercising more and reducing calories.

While that’s all well & good, there’s also an elephant in the room!

What if I told you that your struggles to lose weight aren’t so much about how much you’re eating, but rather WHAT you’re eating? And that the chemicals and other irritants in your environment can also have an enormous impact on your weight!

What’s toxic to your body?

If your normal diet is gluten-free, (maybe dairy-free as well) and you veered off that path, that alone can get you off track.

But maybe you didn’t stray. Maybe you did everything ‘right’ –  yet you still baked, and ate your share of seemingly safe holiday treats. In that case, you might simply have eaten more refined gluten-free flours and starches than you would normally eat, and are now feeling bloated and out of sorts. (Not to mention the additives and preservatives typically found in processed foods – whether gluten-free or not).

Add to this a simmering cocktail of chemicals like BPA found in plastic storage containers, water bottles, and store receipts! (you’ve likely read about this offender in the news)

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3 More Environmental Toxin Myths Debunked

Composition with plastic bottles of mineral waterThere are lots of myths circulating about environmental toxicants, detoxing, and whether or not it’s even a necessary thing to worry about.

You can read Part I of this conversation here.

I like to be thorough, if nothing else – leaving no stone unturned!

 

 

MYTH #4 – I’ve Already Switched to BPA-Free Plastic

That’s wonderful – you’re already ahead of the curve!

Unfortunately, I fell for the exact same marketing spin when I first learned about BPA in plastic.

I went out and bought all new plastic containers – looking for the tell-tale stickers that said “BPA-Free”.

I thought I was safe.

But guess what?

Manufacturers are smart. They know to replace BPA with something else – other chemicals with names like BPF, or BPS.

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5 Simple Ways to Pamper Your Skin

Gal Toiletries SmallDid you know that your skin is your largest organ?

Not only that, it’s also your body’s #1 defense against the outside world. And it gets more fascinating still – since you have both an outside skin, and an inside skin. (That inside skin covers things like your digestive tract and your respiratory system – not necessarily something you would think about)

Back in the early days when I first went gluten-free, I attended a lecture that was geared toward gluten-free folks like you and me.

The presenter was very insistent that there was no need to be concerned about putting gluten-containing products on our skin.

He said it was virtually impossible for gluten in skin care products to be a problem – because we weren’t ingesting it.

At the time, I thought it made sense.

But guess what?

He was wrong!

While it’s true that we don’t ingest our toiletries or cosmetics – whatever we put on our skin can get absorbed.

And that’s important!

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