The Gluten-Free Life: Just Another Fad?

 

Gluten Free sign with clouds and sky backgroundLet’s Talk Gluten.

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, kamut, barley, spelt, and some oats. It is formed when the two proteins called Gliadin and Glutenin are combined with water. Gluten is touch and rubbery, and responsible for allowing bread o stretch and rise. Chances are you eat a lot of gluten, as the standard western diet consists of pizza, pasta, bread (to find out what is wrong with supermarket bread click HERE) , and processed foods- all very high in gluten.

Just Another Fad?

I kGfree2now it seems like everyone is talking about going “gluten-free” and critics accuse it of being the new “fat-free” fad. And they are not entirely wrong. Food companies have indeed taken this opportunity to shell out tons of processed, sugary, crap food that are marketed as “gluten-free”. 

Don’t buy into it, folks. If you want to live a gluten-free lifestyle, stick to real, whole foods. If you do this you can’t lose.

I have personally found so much success with being gluten-free. It wasn’t until I made this switch that I ditched the extra five-ten stubborn pounds, my brain fog hit the road, and my recurring rash completely disappeared.

So although being gluten-free can seem like the newest fad, this is much more serious than just a quick diet to lose weight. But if weight gain is your goal, eating gluten will sure get you there quickly.

Why Gluten Can Be Harmful:

Gluten intolerance and sensitivity affects millions of Americans, most of whom are unaware. These people complain of bloating, migraines, an inability to lose weight, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, rashes, and more. Many times this is simply an allergic reaction to gluten.gfree3

According to a review in The New England Journal of Medicine, there are 55 diseases that can be caused by eating gluten. (i) These include irritable bowel syndrome, cancer, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and almost all other autoimmune diseases. Gluten is also linked to anxiety, depression, (ii) schizophrenia, dementia, as well as autism. (iii)

Gluten is problematic for people with celiac disease, and for those with gluten sensitivities. Celiac disease is the most extreme, affecting an estimated three million Americans. (iv) A person with celiac disease is completely gluten intolerant and must eliminate gluten entirely from their diet.

The only way to find out if you have celiac disease is to get tested. The blood test is about 95% accurate, and it’s advised to get a biopsy to confirm. An important fact to remember is that you must be eating gluten for the test to be accurate. The removal of gluten for people with celiac disease must be a habit maintained for life.

Gluten is also detrimental to those with gluten sensitivity. It’s estimated that one-third of the American population is gluten sensitive. These people include those who have tested negative for celiac disease but have relief from problematic symptoms when gluten is avoided.

If you suffer from bloating, irritable bowel syndrome, rashes, joint pain, arthritis, depression, anxiety, migraines, constipation, or the inability to lose weight, I encourage you to go two weeks without gluten to see if it could be the cause.

So What Are My Alternatives?

Your options are really limitless on this one! There are so many naturally gluten-free foods that are full of fiber and other beneficial vitamins and minerals.

Naturally Gluten-Free Foods:

  • brown rice
  • millet
  • kasha
  • gluten-free oats
  • quinoa
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • nuts/seeds
  • beans
  • most dairy
  • eggs
  • fish, poultry, meat
  • herbs

Beware of:

-Barley labeled under malt, malt flavoring, malt vinegar, and brewer’s yeast.

– distilled vinegar

-soy sauce

Once again, remember to be a label detective. It’s very easy for gluten to hide in processed items and condiments, so the more you stick to real, whole foods, the easier it will be to avoid.

Happy to be Gluten-Free,

Health Coach Jenna

HealtherNotions_Logo_Stacked

Sources:

(i) Rubio-Tapia A, Kyle RA, Kaplan EL, Johnson DR, Page W, Erdtmann F, Brantner TL, Kim WR, Phelps TK, Lahr BD, Zinsmeister AR, Melton LJ 3rd, Murray JA. Increased prevalence and mortality in undiagnosed celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 2009 Jul;137(1):88-93

(ii) Ludvigsson JF, Reutfors J, Osby U, Ekbom A, Montgomery SM. Celiac disease and risk of mood disorders–a general population-based cohort study. J Affect Disord. 2007 Apr;99(1-3):117-26. Epub 2006 Oct 6.

(iii) Millward C, Ferriter M, Calver S, Connell-Jones G. Gluten- and casein-free diets for autistic spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(2):CD003498. Review.

(iv) Gluten: What You Don’t Know Might Kill You – Dr. Mark Hyman. (2011). Retrieved March 1, 2016, from http://drhyman.com/blog/2011/03/17/gluten-what-you-dont-know-might-kill-you/

MILK. Does It Really Do the Body Good?

milkLet’s talk milk. Dairy is controversial and is the cause of many debates between health professionals. Some say dairy is healthy while others believe it should be avoided like the bubonic plague. The truth is, around 60% of the entire world is somewhat lactose intolerant, which means they can’t digest the milk protein, lactose.

If you are lactose intolerant and drinking cow’s milk, you could be experiencing symptoms such as bloating, gas, constipation, loose stools, and allergies that may lead to ear, nose and throat infections.

If your body can digest cow’s milk and you feel like it is the right fit for your body, by all means it’s your choice to stick with it. However, I encourage you to eliminate it from your diet for at least 10 days to see how your body feels without it. You might be surprised by the results.

I personally avoid dairy milk, as I feel lighter and more vibrant without it. I agree with Dr. Hyman when he says “cow’s milk is the perfect beverage…. for a baby cow”.

So what are my alternatives?

Switch to a dairy-free milk such as almond milk, coconut milk, hemp seed milk, or rice milk. I encourage you to pick one with no added sugars and to choose the organic version.

It’s also best to stay away from soy milk as it has high levels of phytoestrogens, which mimic the body’s natural estrogen hormones. For women, this can lead to estrogen dominance, which has been linked to infertility, menstrual problems, and cancer. For men, it can cause testosterone imbalances, low sperm count, and cancer.

Bottom line – soy is not healthy and its widespread use is destructive to the environment. *

But what about calcium?

Adults need 1,000 mg of calcium per and the fact that we need milk to get this daily dose is a myth created by clever ads to keep us buying milk products. In fact, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, “Animal protein leaches calcium from the bones, leading to its excretion in the urine.” This means that when you consume cow’s milk it changes the pH level in the body and turns the blood acidic, notifying the body to neutralize the damaging acidic protein before it reaches the kidneys. The only way to neutralize it is by using our stored calcium, which is drawn from our bones, causing a reverse and undesirable effect.

In reality, the best and most efficient way to get calcium is from dark leafy greens, and foods such as almonds, salmon, black-eyed peas, white beans, seaweed, seseme seeds, and oranges. In addition, most dairy-free milks found in the store are fortified with calcium. However, if you are making your own dairy-free milk this will not be the case.

calcium

But what if I want to stick with cow’s milk?

If you would like to keep cow’s milk in your diet, then it’s crucial that you switch to organic. You should choose organic milk because it is free of synthetic hormones, antibiotics, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and GMOs. Studies have also shown that organic milk has higher levels of vitamin E, omega-3, antioxidants, and beta-carotene.

Non-organic milk contains harmful contaminants from antibiotics, growth hormones, and pesticides.  One of the most dangerous is the bovine growth hormone (rBGH). The bovine growth hormone is given to cows to make them produce milk faster to keep up with the increasing demands worldwide.

According to a study titled Monsanto’s Hormonal Milk Poses Serious Risks of Breast Cancer, Besides Other Cancers, “Drinking rBGH milk would thus be expected to significantly increase IGF-1 blood levels. And higher levels of IGF-1 are linked to several cancers.”

Cows that are injected with rBGH are more likely to form an infection called Mastitis, causing the cow to produce pus which ends up in your milk.

GROSS.

Even more disgusting is that in order to beat the infection, cows are given antibiotics, which also end up in your glass.

DOUBLE GROSS.

In addition, the cow feed used is most times genetically modified corn, creating a decrease in healthy Omega- 3 fatty acids, and an increase in Omega- 6 fatty acids.

Fat-free, low-fat, or full-fat?

If you are still set on drinking cow’s milk, it’s best to stay away from fat-free milk and choose either a full-fat or low- fat option. Healthy fats are our friends and they help keep us satiated, allow the body to absorb nutrients more efficiently, as well as promote brain health.

In the long run, it’s up to you to decide what is best for your body. I’m a big believer in bio-individuality, which means that each person has unique food and lifestyle needs. One person’s food could be another person’s poison, so it’s up to you to discover what works for you!

Cheers!

Health Coach Jenna

 

*2-3 servings a week of FERMENTED soy (tempeh, tofu, miso) is okay if your body can digest soy. If you are suffering from an autoimmune disease or any sort of endocrine system balance, it is best to avoid all forms of soy.

Why MSG Is Toxic And How You Can Avoid It

Monosodium_glutamate_crystals Monosodium Glutamate. Most likely when you hear the word you probably think Chinese food, right? But ladies and gentlemen, MSG is found everywhere, including many items you find on the shelves of your neighborhood grocery store. MSG is found in many canned foods, soups, and processed meats. Companies throw MSG in to enhance their flavor, but at what cost?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies MSG as generally safe, although people sensitive to MSG suffer from extreme adverse reactions (me being one of them) such as migraines, heart palpitations, body aches, mental confusion, and even mood swings. If I get dosed with MSG, I get a migraine that lasts for days, so I am very cautious about avoiding the stuff.

These days, however, it’s getting more difficult to avoid being poisoned, because MSG hides in more than 40 other FDA-approved ingredients! It seems food companies are aware of the bad rap MSG gets, and instead of getting rid of it, they have gotten extremely sneaky with the food labels. What’s aggravating and extremely dishonest is the fact that if the company doesn’t add the ingredient called “monosodium glutamate” they are still allowed to claim “No MSG Added” on their label.

Disgusting, right?

So for those people like me who get blinding migraines and flu-like symptoms from MSG, we are left with no protection from the FDA. Instead, we are forced to put on our detective hats every time we purchase something at the food store.

Here are some of the names MSG is known by, so you can recognize it on food labels when next shopping:

  • Glutamic acid
  • Monopotassium Glutamate
  • Glutamate
  • Yeast Extract
  • Autolyzed Yeast
  • Yeast Food
  • Yeast Nutrient
  • Hydrolyzed Protein
  • Soy Protein Isolate
  • Soy Protein Concentrate
  • Whey Protein Isolate
  • Autolyzed Plant Protein
  • Hydrolyzed Oat Flour
  • Textured Protein

But hold up, Health Coach Jenna. I’m not sensitive or allergic to MSG. Why should I bother cutting it out?

The effects of MSG are accumulative. So just because you don’t experience any adverse side effects now, doesn’t mean you won’t later. According to Dr. Russell Blaylock, in his book Exitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, sensitivity to MSG builds up in our bodies until we reach what he called our “threshold of sensitivity”. MSG intake causes brain damage, leads to nervous disorders, and causes rapid hormone fluctuations. In a scientific study, scientists found that mice injected with MSG become rapidly obese, inactive, and have other hormonal issues (2). More importantly, if you are pregnant or nursing, you should be even more cautious about MSG intake, because infants and children are four times more sensitive to MSG than adults (1).

The main points I hope you take away from this article:

1. Just because the label says “MSG Free” doesn’t mean it is.

2. MSG is damaging to your health, and even more so to infants and children.

3. The other names for MSG. You can find a downloadable list of all the MSG- containing ingredients at Food Renegade. Just click HERE and scroll down to the orange box at the bottom of the page.

And remember folks, if you stick to real, whole foods, it’s much easier to avoid these toxic chemicals! Also, remember the basic guideline of five ingredients or less. And chances are, if you can’t pronounce the ingredient, it probably isn’t the best thing for you.

Proud to be MSG Free,

Health Coach Jenna HealtherNotions_Logo_Stacked   Sources:

1). BLAYLOCK, RUSSELL L. EXCITOTOXINS: THE TASTE THAT KILLS. SANTA FE, NM: HEALTH, 1998. PRINT.

2. LORDEN, J.F., AND A. CLAUDE. “BEHAVIORAL AND ENDOCRINOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF SINGLE INJECTIONS OF MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE IN THE MOUSE”. NEUROBEHAVIORAL TOXICOLOGY AND TERATOLOGY 8.5 (1986): 509-19. PRINT.