Gluten & the 80/20 Rule

Pasta on black backgroundHave you heard of the 80/20 Rule?

Also known as the Pareto principle – it’s the understanding that, in the grand scheme of things, roughly 80% of results come from just 20% of your efforts.

You can think of it in terms of economics, but it also plays out in other areas of your life. For example:

  • At home or the office – it’s usually 20% of the people, who are typically doing 80% of the work
  • It’s likely that you wear only 20% of your wardrobe 80% of the time
  • If you analyze a day in your life, it’s possible that only 20% of your achievements really matter
  • In your home, you might spend the majority of your time in just 20% of the available space
  • At mealtime in Japan, a popular rule of thumb, is to stop eating when you’re 80% full

More recently, I’ve noticed a disturbing new trend – which appears to be the “80/20 Rule with a Twist”, in regard to food and nutrition.

In this case, it’s recommended that you follow what’s generally considered a healthy diet – in terms of what’s ideal for you – at least 80% of the time.

And then, for the remaining 20%, you can ‘let down your hair’ a bit.

That’s all well and good for the general population.

Yet for anyone with serious food sensitivities – especially to gluten, or an autoimmune condition such as Celiac disease – it can set a dangerous precedent.
This is because your immune system has a memory!

More specifically, the memory that I speak of has to do with so-called ‘Memory B cells’ – a key player in how your immune system functions.

These Memory B cells behave a lot like the RAM in your computer.

They’re the reason WHY – in the case of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity – you can’t go to Italy & eat a big bowl of pasta.

All it takes is one bite and you’re actually flipping that switch in your immune system which sounds the alarm, and alerts the Armed Forces – the branches of your immune system always standing on guard, and at the ready, in case you’re accidentally exposed.

It’s for this reason, that I can think of no circumstance where the 80/20 Rule would be acceptable.

So if you’re hearing the message that a little bit can’t hurt, and that’s it’s OK to eat a little gluten once in awhile – it’s foolhardy, at best.

Again, for someone with zero dietary restrictions, from a medical perspective, it’s an entirely different story.

But for anyone with Celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, the belief that a little bit can’t hurt is one of the biggest myths I’ve come across. (Would you feed a peanut-allergic person a peanut?)

If you have an autoimmune disease, and you’ve put your disease in remission by adhering to a 100% gluten-free diet – then decide to live by the 80/20 Rule and start eating gluten again – you can expect the following:

  1. You could no longer claim to be gluten-free (any more than you can be a “little bit pregnant” – it’s an all or nothing deal)
  2. Your autoimmune disease will be re-triggered – meaning you’ll no longer be in remission (you’ll be right back where you were before going gluten-free, complete with all your symptoms)

Before you raise your hand to protest (because you just can’t live without that 20% wiggle room), let me share what Chris Kresser states in his book “Your Personal Paleo Code”:

“By removing the foods that most commonly cause problems, you allow your body to rest & recover from whatever symptoms those foods have been provoking. Just one cheat could trigger a whole new cascade of reactions.”

Is it really worth it?

To learn more, & receive the most up-to-date, in-depth information regarding all things related to Gluten SensitivityAutoimmune Disease, Inflammation & more – be sure to watch my educational video series “A Gluten Primer – Everything You Wanted to Know From A – Z“. It’s available FREE on my bi-weekly newsletter, but you can have immediate access to all 26 videos – plus a full, 2-hour Tutorial here.


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