One of the courses I’m taking to further develop myself is called “Green Medicine.” It is pretty well recognized in the region as a strong foundation for herbology because it is so in-depth and all-inclusive. I love it because it not only covers natural remedies, but also a more than basic overview of how and why the body does what it does. Also, Peeka is really fun to work with!
Discussing digestion, we spoke about celiac and gluten intolerances. One of my biggest beliefs in food is that intolerances can be overcome if we treat the body properly. Personally, I have faced three sensitivities: lactose, preservatives, and gluten. Currently, I am very happy with my ability to process dairy, and preservatives I think are generally just not good for you.
When I first recognized my intolerance to gluten, I was in so much pain I went to the hospital. Of course I unknowingly had an issue with gluten for years, but it wasn’t until I unintentionally took two months off from the stuff that my body was able to pinpoint and react to exactly what the problem was. It felt like overnight, a soft ball had been inserted into my small intestine.
Fast forward a year and a half later, and I no longer am effected by cross contamination, and I can even consume a small portion of wheat with only very slight discomfort. I tried a donut and cheese danish as a test the other day – figured I might as well go big – and I’ve barely felt it at all this past week.
So, you might be wondering how I got from point A to point B in this process. I didn’t take anything special, or torture myself until my body got used to processing the poison again.
What I did do was take care of my digestive system, and start eating the right way for my body.
1. I Avoid Gluten! Sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing to me how many people continue to eat the things their body tells them is not good! Even being able to tolerate it on occasion, I’m not going to except on very rare occasions for items that are really difficult to substitute. Currently, that includes dumplings – which have been impossible for me to replace with something I like as much as the real thing.
I didn’t even test myself again until about a month ago – so a year and a half plus in. My body needed time to breathe and heal before it could even consider getting it through on occasion.
2. Eat Seasonally. We aren’t designed to eat the same products all year round. We need different minerals in the winter than we do in the summer, and different bacteria and flora.
It’s amazing how varied a diet feels when you only eat items when they are supposed to be consumed. I have a few dishes that I like for each vegetable and fruit, and I add maybe one new dish each season. But, because I’m only preparing it for a month or two a year, it doesn’t feel like something I eat all the time.
3. Eat Organic UnProcessed Foods as Much as Possible. The more de-natured food is, the less value it has to your internal eco-system. I personally theorize that all those preservatives play a huge role in obesity. That aside, we evolved over thousands of years to eat what earth provided. Why would we think it’s necessary to modify that?
4. Eat Locally / Bio-regionally. I didn’t really consciously do this at first, but I purchase locally grown organic all the time. And, because it’s grown here, I’m getting the minerals and bacteria that I most need. The earth knows what should be in the food, and plants will grow that way. So trust the planet!
Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to eat wheat all the time again. Clearly, my body has to work a lot harder to process gluten than other grains. But, being able to eat out without fear of cross contamination, and having the occasional serving of traditional pasta or some other meal that’s hard to substitute, is nice.
It’s all about the moderation! Ideally, if you are healthy, you can eat whatever you want on occasion. It’s just a matter of keeping your body in that functionally healthy state.
And, there are a lot of proven benefits to living GF even for those who do not have a sensitivity:
- Your body will have more energy! Most people who cut gluten pretty quickly notice a difference in their energy levels. Even those that don’t notice when they first change their diet will usually notice it when Gluten is re-introduced.
- Skin problems tend to clear up. I was pretty lucky to begin with when it comes to skin problems – very little acne growing up, not too oily/dry. Though I did have slight redness on the cheeks. Pretty much went away entirely once I went gluten free.
- Lose a quick 5lbs. It takes a little while for your body to stop craving this type of sugar, but once it does and it learns what better sources of nutrients are, it’s easy to go without traditional sweets. (I know, hard to believe, and it took me three months to get to this point). In the meantime, if you’re GF, snacking isn’t as easy, and most people stop munching on garbage during the day.
- Stop feeling gassy. Gluten and other breads aren’t typically fully digested by humans, and typically begins to ferment inside your body. Taking gluten out (and not overloading on substitutes) eliminates this part of digestion, and probably a lot of gas.
- You’re not really losing any nutrients. Wheat in itself is not particularly beneficial for humans. Then add to that the refining process that takes out pretty much any value you might have been able to get.
I’m sure if I sat here I could come up with a ton of other reasons why to live the GF lifestyle, but it’s really about the individual. The ultimate goal is to be happier on the overall scale, which is possible when the body isn’t working harder than it has to.
Try it for a month if you dare. To really see the benefits, write down all the physical discomforts you have now with as much detail as possible, and put it away. Include issues whether you know the root cause or not. After you’ve successfully been GF for a month, take it out and evaluate the differences. See if it had any benefits you didn’t expect!