How to Get Off Gluten and Why?
7 Starting Tips For Your GF Journey!
by Jada Tam Creator of Medicine Kid
Curious about all the talk and speculation around gluten being the culprit? Feeling called to explore a gluten free lifestyle and not sure where to start and why? Hopefully, I can shed some light on the matter. I have been 100% gluten free for over two years and never thought I would be so diligent about this nutritional path, never mind passionate about it.
1 in 100 people today have received a celiac diagnosis. I am a part of that calculation although strangely this auto immune disease is rampantly on the rise. Even more peculiar is that the disease is actually under diagnosed, meaning it is likely that more people have celiac than are aware. What is celiac? Celiac is a hereditary, autoimmune disorder that impacts the digestive process where an immune response attacks the small intestine and damages the intestinal lining. We have these thin movable like hairs that move freely, stemmed from the intestinal walls called villi that assist in the proper absorption of iron and many other nutrients into the body. The villi hairs can become flattened, sort of pasty or glued together, creating a road block or closed door for the body to access nutrition when gluten begins to negatively impact the intestinal lining. In contrast, when the colon is functioning properly we have healthy gut flora and the body naturally assimilates and digests food.
What Can I Eat?
Let’s start by considering everything that comes without a plastic packaging, like fresh fruits, vegetables, roots, legumes, nuts of all kinds, this is a sound, abundant and refreshing start. Food is thy medicine so lets treat it this way. Due to the on the go eating habits and culture we live in, our gut- now referred to as our second brain, becomes compromised and suffers from lack of nourishment and experiences high levels of inflammation through this imbalance.
The quality of our food supply has dramatically changed where the original seeds of wheat have been essentially lost in time. The gluten content in wheat, barley and rye have increased significantly over the past decade or more, making it difficult to process and digest such food. It is also becoming clear that the demise of naturally healthy food is due to the introduction and rampant growth of GMO, genetically modified seed. Wheat, corn and soy are the 3 most contaminated food sources grown with GMO, unless it is stated otherwise and labelled certified organic. We can no longer assume that the integrity of our agriculture is able to provide us true health. It is time to do the research and experiment with eliminating these mainstream contaminants. If you are severely sensitive to gluten the other cross contaminants or food triggers are corn and coffee. Geez! I know. Try eliminating for a few months and see for yourself. The doc has no pill to cure this. The power is returned to your hands.
Now perhaps not everyone suffers from specific digestive symptoms. We can be non- symptomatic or turning our focus towards another conditions such as a thyroid imbalance, attention deficit disorders, bone loss or arthritis. All my research points to gluten as the first thing to eliminate completely to treat Hashimoto’s, thyroid imbalances and more.
Why I choose Gluten Free Lifestyle…
My own attention turned to going GF after having a specific celiac blood panel test. Fortunately, I met with a knowledgable integrative oncologist who confidently believed in accessing optimal health through proper nutrition first. I had been guided to visit this doctor as my iron levels were so low, my husband and I were perplexed and looking at near death possibilities with my condition. Luckily, I had the guidance of a health professional who had a hunch that celiac disease was the root of my iron deficiency.
When the lab results returned, I received a call from the doc to address the matter. He said, good news is we know what it is and it is completely curable. The bad news… I would never be able to eat gluten of any kind ever again. ‘Curable’ meant that I would need to change everything about my eating lifestyle to absorb iron properly. No iron, no life. For more on this story read: I Am Iron Woman!
At the time I thought it was bad news but in reality was just an opportunity to evolve a bit deeper and take more responsibility for my health. In doing so I learned a plethora of new dishes to heal and strengthen my body and so will you! The doc said that most health practitioners will not address celiac or gluten intolerance with their patients because if the results are positive, there are no medications to prescribe. Ultimately, doctors cannot make any money off a celiac patient. Huh. The patient just needs to head home and start cooking mostly all meals to ensure they are fully GF and become educated on the new lifestyle, way of eating and being.
Fun and challenging at first though once you get through the learning curve it becomes second nature. Actually, when I am fully cured from celiac disease (which I intend to achieve through herbal remedies) I would never go back to the old ways of eating and living. I would have never discovered some of my new favorite meals and mostly the powerful connection I share with food, sacred healing plants, even occasional free range meats and herbs of all kinds. My next challenge is embracing the Vegan path. One day at a time. The journey is the best part.
7 Starting tips for your GF Journey!
- Make a long list of all the foods, resources, minerals, oils and more that you can consume. Become relieved by the long list and start engaging there first.
- Clean out the house! Empty all cupboards, fridge and wipe everything down. Deep clean the house and then go shopping to restock the shelves accordingly. Treat your self to some simple joys, like a box of GF cookies or bread but keep it to a low as the sugar content can be quite high.
- Give & Take. It is not about taking out but rather what we put in! What you take out, find a replacement for it right away. If you are a pasta lover, find rice noodles. Love bread? Bake your own and add chia seeds, cinnamon, tumeric and honey to it. Love a sweet dessert? Our favorite is a few slices of GF toast with coconut oil, quality honey and cinnamon… delish!
- Read Labels (your new hobby) and become educated on ingredients you have never heard of before. If the ingredient list is a long one, put it back on the shelf. The body doesn’t need that much confusion. Pay close attention to colored dyes which are just as harmful to our body and especially for our little ones.
- Prepare abundant meals so you can take the leftovers with you the next day, packing GF lunches that come from your kitchen. Always pack enough or you may get angry or discouraged. Trust nothing more than your own home cooked meals. A plastic wrapped granola bar doesn’t necessarily mean its good for you, even if it is GF. Think nourishment!
- Start small with 3-5 nourishing meals that you can create and repeat for a few weeks until you add in new ones. Watch your inner creative kitchen witch come alive! You may even be compiling your own GF cook book one day!
- Create a health log. Make observations so you have a clear timeline to see and study how the symptoms of nausea, gas, bloating, fatigue, diarrhea, mental focus, weight management and iron levels have improved.
Remember, there is a healer within us all.
Be patient and consistent for a three month minimum before you start to really see and feel results. Restoration takes time. Since cooking meals at home takes more time, invite your little ones in the kitchen to help. When you are happy and excited about making a medicinal meal they will be too. All kids like to create something. Imagine creating medicinal food together and then eating it. Be sure to credit the little chefs and comment on how delicious they made the meal taste.
We have a lot to learn from those Medicine Kids mindful questions and choices!
GF Recipes coming soon! Be sure to try our bottle of herbal love and immune support, Medicine Kid.