Introduction to the Healthy Gut
My name is Lauren, and I work with Mother Earth Products. I have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), multiple food sensitivities, food intolerances (gluten and lactose), and arthritis in my knees. I’ve had trouble over the years with inflammation, constipation, and weight retention.
Recently, I started working with a functional nutritionist to help heal my gut, bloating, food reactions, and to get some traction on feeling better, as well as balancing out my hormones. First, she put me on a Gut Friendly Diet, which removes the most common inflammatory foods from my lifestyle, so the body has a better opportunity to fully heal. I am still doing this diet, and it’s become rare that I am constipated and bloated. But, since it is quite a long list, I’ll give you my personal top 5.
Over the course of the next few months, I’d like to share one new thing each month that I cut out of my diet for gut, brain, and energy health.
Wheat (or more appropriately, gluten):
What is gluten? Celiac.org defines gluten as a protein found in wheat (wheatberries, drum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, einkhorn, etc.), barley, and rye. Traces of gluten have also been found in oats. Many people cannot digest foods with gluten, and they all seem to have similar and alarming symptoms: bloating (gas or abdominal pain), diarrhea or constipation, nausea, headaches or migraines, brain fog (this is a big one for a lot of people diagnosed with celiac or gluten intolerance), joint pain, numbness in the limbs, and fatigue.
Personally, every day, before I went to work or class (this was a over 11 years ago), I’d eat Cheerios. Immediately, after eating them, I’d get a headache that I couldn’t shake. I remember posting about my headaches on Myspace. Our local paper ran an article about being Celiac, and the symptoms were listed. I had all of them, except diarrhea. To this day, if I ingest gluten, I get brain fog and joint pain.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should consult your PCP to give you a reference to a gastroenterologist, and stop eating any gluten you’d normally eat throughout the day. If you don’t feel better in a week, give yourself some time. Studies have shown that it can take up to 3 months for gluten to withdraw from your system completely. For a fascinating article on this, read: “The Boy With a Thorn In His Joints” by Susannah Meadows.
There are many alternative flours to use in baking, bread-making, and other pastries – almond, cassava, coconut, arrowroot, quinoa, chickpea, brown rice, etc. I even saw an apple powder for baking at our local Walmart It’s easy to pull some bread recipes off the Internet to meet your needs. I’m not a professional cook, but since I’ve been on the Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle, I’ve had to learn to cook more at home. I enjoy it now.
There are easy recipes for nearly everything you want. Zucchini Bread (we carry the zucchini at our shop). Paleo Donuts (we have the sliced strawberries to use as garnish). French Toast Casserole (we have delicious raspberries to add into your batter) or Blueberry Pancakes (we have the blueberries at our shop). Plain Sandwich Bread (it’s all there!). Just because you’re not eating the food with flour, wheat, or gluten in it doesn’t mean you can’t have it in an alternative way.
Want some ideas? I can recommend some social media influencers who dedicate their career to creating and sharing easy, healthy, and gluten free recipes. I can also point you to a lot of Mother Earth Products food that will enable you to cook easily without having to worry about spoilage or quality, and even add in some snacks to take the craving away for those baked goods.
Don’t let this one intimidate you! Many people across the world, internet, and even in journalism espouse the benefits of giving up any type of gluten. The brain fog goes away, the joint pain fades, and your digestion will start to work correctly again.
I’m already looking forward to next month’s article about sharing the second food group I gave up and why. Remember, it’s possible! Take it day by day. Try something new to cook, and think positive.
“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different”? – C.S. Lewis
“Let thy food be thy medicine.” - Hippocrates