Gluten is one of the hottest health topics these days. But what exactly is gluten and how is it affecting our health? There are lots of theories out there and also lots of confusion.
In this 7-minute video, Dr. Junger teaches us how to figure out for ourselves if gluten works for us.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in certain grains like wheat, barley, rye, and spelt. When it is digested by the body, it is broken down into peptides. The two most famous peptides are glutenin and gliadin. Once these peptides are absorbed they cause damage to the body in different ways.
Gliadin attacks the cells of the intestinal lining while Glutenin generates autoimmune reactions in the body.
What do doctors say about gluten?
Some doctors say that very few people are sensitive to gluten. In their opinion, the only true gluten-intolerance is found in people with celiacs disease. Celiacs disease is an autoimmune condition of the intestines that occurs in genetically-predisposed people. These doctors believe there are very few in the general population.
Other doctors say that up to 85% of the world’s population is sensitive to gluten in some way. With so many different opinions, it’s hard to know which to believe.
But we don’t have to believe either side on blind faith. We can test gluten and find out how gluten affects us.
Step #1: Follow the Elimination Diet for 21 days
Following the Elimination Diet for 21 days is the ideal way to determine if gluten affects you. We also call the Elimination Diet, the Cleanse Diet.
The Elimination Diet removes the major toxic triggers from our diet. Toxic Triggers are foods that cause inflammation, irritation, and digestive upset. Long-term, Toxic Triggers can cause chronic issues and major health challenges.
Here is the list of excluded and included foods for your Elimination Diet.
Step #2: Reintroduce Gluten 2-3 times a day for 2 days
After you have finished your 21 days on the Elimination Diet, it’s time to reintroduce gluten to see if it is one of your Toxic Triggers.
For two days, eat gluten two to three times a day. Then notice what happens over the next forty-eight hours. You’ll still be eating from the Elimination Diet, the only difference is that you’ll be adding in gluten to see if it is one of your Toxic Triggers.
Reintroducing gluten by itself is simple. Try eating just bread for breakfast, and then some pasta for lunch or dinner. Don’t include any dairy or other excluded items yet. The goal is to isolate one excluded food at a time to determine if it is one of your Toxic Triggers.
Pay attention to how you feel when you add gluten back into your diet.
Here are some things to look for:
Right after: Does anything happen shortly after eating it, such as a runny nose or mucus in the throat, or fatigue, bloating, or a headache (typical of wheat)?
Energy: How are your energy levels? A bowl of wheat pasta at night, for example, may make you feel very tired immediately after eating it or upon waking the next morning.
Bowels: How are your bowel movements the next day? Were they as frequent and as easy to eliminate as they were during the Cleanse?
Sleep: Did you sleep poorly? Did you have intense dreams or nightmares? Did you wake up in the middle of the night?
Emotions: How do you feel emotionally the next day? Are you angry, moody or irritable?
What do I do If I have a reaction to gluten?
First, this is a great discovery. Most likely gluten was causing health issues without you knowing it. Now you are ready to creating a game plan. We recommend two paths to take: a) Remove or b) Rotate your Toxic Triggers. Let’s take a look at both options.
Remove: If you had a strong negative reaction to a Toxic Trigger, this is your body telling you that it’s important to eliminate this food from your diet completely for a period of time. We know that removing a favorite food from your diet can be challenging, but the long-term benefits outweigh the short-term gratification. Many people continue to become healthier simply by removing their key Toxic Triggers.
Rotate: If your reaction to a Toxic Trigger is mild but still noticeable, it may not be necessary to eliminate them forever. However, you will benefit greatly from reducing your frequency of exposure to these foods. Rotate your choice of foods in such a way that you don’t eat the irritating ones more than once a week.
You can find out more about this process by visiting cleanprogram.com or by booking an appointment with a wellness coach. Our coaches and nurse-practitioners are here to support you in your health journey.