Autoimmune Disease & You

ImpressionDid you know that Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition?

Did you also know that autoimmune diseases are on the rise?

In fact, statistically, if you’ve already been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, your chance of acquiring two or three more is extremely high.

Kind of sobering, isn’t it?

By its very definition, autoimmune disease means that your body – specifically your immune system – is attacking YOU.

It isn’t something that’s supposed to happen.

(And doesn’t, as long as your immune system is functioning properly).

But right now, we’re actually in the midst of an autoimmune epidemic – that’s how common autoimmune diseases have become.

Yet, here’s something else that might surprise you:

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Why Is Gluten Such a Big Deal?

Gluten free words - tag cloud illustrationHave you seen all the gluten-free foods these days?

It seems like a brand new thing but really, gluten-free foods have been around for while. Go into any grocery store today and you’ll see whole sections dedicated to shelf after shelf of gluten-free breads, cookies, cereals and lots more.

It’s literally an explosion of products, the majority of which didn’t exist five or ten years ago.

So what gives?

Is this gluten-free trend just another fad? And why should you even consider taking gluten out to begin with?

 

What’s the big deal?

Gluten is a unique protein, which can be broken down further into smaller proteins, or peptides. The most common of these proteins is referred to as alpha gliadin – or gliadin, for short. But there are many others!

Sidenote: This happens to be one of the BIGGEST problems when it comes to accurate testing, the issue being that most labs are ONLY looking at gliadin – when there are hundreds of other peptides you could be reacting to. That’s why Wheat Zoomer has become my go-to test for accurate results!

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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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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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Introducing: A Gluten Primer – Everything You Wanted to Know From A-Z!

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Do You Have Street Smarts?

Always Seek Knowledge AcronymWhen it comes to managing your special diet – do you have “Street Smarts”?

You might be wondering what I mean by this.

While not always easy to come by, Street Smarts means knowing how to handle just about any situation that comes along – especially when you find yourself tempted to stray.

It means knowing that when you’re harried and frustrated by circumstances beyond your control – or, well meaning folks who don’t seem to understand or care – you’re able to make an informed choice because you understand the long-term damage that can result from that one exposure, however small.

My newly released video series A Gluten Primer – Everything You Wanted to Know From A-Z explains well, literally everything – in a collection of 26-videos plus a 2-hour tutorial.

In a nutshell, though, here’s what it ultimately comes down to:

 

Knowing what foods are safe to eat

It all starts here.

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How To Find Your Path & Stick With It

Tree blocking the roadHave you stepped on the scale this week?

Post holidays, it’s not uncommon to be 5-10 pounds heavier than you were two weeks ago.

And frustrated (yet again) that another year has passed where you ate all this junky food and are feeling like crap from all the over-indulgence – too much pies and cakes and pastries at holiday parties (or too many cookies, in my case).

And now you’re regretting it!

Chances are your digestive system is also out of whack because you’ve been eating things you normally don’t eat. And you’re paying for it now with daily heartburn & indigestion – along with those extra 10 pounds. 

It’s also the time of year when (after the wave of regret passes) you’re likely 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.

And yet, you already know doesn’t work!

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Mimics, Marauders & Masqueraders

Comedy and tragedyEver feel like there’s a lot of drama happening in your body?

I call these mimics, marauders and masqueraders. They’re present 24/7. The good news is that your immune system is beautifully designed to deal with these pranksters at a moment’s notice, through the.

However, sometimes your immune system gets confused. You might think it’s making a mistake, but the reality is that it’s simply doing what it’s designed to do – protect you. What’s really happening here 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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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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Is Removing Gluten Always the Answer?

gluten free word with wood backgroundShould you remove gluten from your diet?

I get asked this question a lot.

And the short answer is “It depends”.

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!

And you don’t want to stop there, either.

[Read more…]