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About 4 weeks ago, I started thinking more about my family’s diet. How well are we eating? What is my 2 year old learning about food?
One of the first steps this family has taken is going Gluten Free. As a side note: I was and always have been a HEAVY gluten eater. The thought of cutting out my pastas and breads made me quake in my boots.
However, after lots of research and realizing we needed some dietary changes, we dove in. Many people have a gluten intolerance and don’t even know it. And even more important to me: some studies link gluten to ADHD and autism – we’ll look at that more in depth later. But seriously, can it hurt to introduce less grains and more veggies and colorful foods into your diet?
I happen to have a great friend that is a naturopathic doctor – Courtney Jackson, N.D., of Summit Natural Health in Colorado. I went to her for the skinny on Gluten and Gluten Intolerances:
GLUTEN INTOLERANCES AND YOUR HEALTH
Gluten is a sticky protein found in wheat, rye, kamut, spelt, and barley that makes bread and baked goods springy. A gluten intolerance is common in our country (1/133 Americans) and can be the cause of numerous health concerns. Most people can connect digestive problems like bloating, diarrhea, and constipation to a food intolerance However, a gluten intolerance will commonly cause weight gain, headaches, moodiness, acne, difficulty conceiving, joint pain, and increased susceptibility to illness in adults. In children, a gluten intolerance can cause increased irritability, attention deficit, and failure to thrive.
Things to know about a food intolerance:
1. A food intolerance is the result of an abnormal reaction of the immune system and symptoms may not appear FOR HOURS TO DAYS after ingesting the food.
2. A food intolerance differs from a food allergy, which is a specific response of the immune system that produces an IgE antibody. Wheat happens to be one of the most common causes of food allergies.
3. In some people, gluten intolerance may be so severe as to cause an autoimmune response that destroys the small intestine called Celiac disease. Even without true Celiac disease, people can still react negatively to gluten.
Blood tests are available to help you discover if you are intolerant to gluten. Or, you can take all gluten out of your diet for 4 weeks and see if your symptoms resolve and your sense of well-being improves. There are many gluten-free grains available to enjoy, including rice, corn, oatmeal, potato, quinoa, and amaranth so those who are gluten-intolerant do not have to feel deprived.
Benefits of getting off your food intolerance include increased energy, improved mood, weight loss, improved skin, and healthy bowel function.
Summit Natural Health uses naturopathic medicine to help people discover and treat food intolerances. They provide a comprehensive evaluation to our patients that places a food intolerance in the context of their total health history. Removing a food intolerance and supporting the body with whole foods and appropriate nutritional supplements can significantly improve well-being.
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