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TSL & her favourite cousin

Cousins…
I’m the bossy one forcing a hug…
(Image by TSL)

I’m currently on the Autoimmune Protocol, a nutrient-rich elimination diet that removes foods that irritate the gut, cause gut imbalance and activate the immune system. You can read more about the protocol and why I’m doing this here.

It’s been a bit of a mad time here at Casa TSL. We are well on the way to getting the house organised to sell. And then, last week, we were advised that my Dad was having surgery to have his thyroid removed. And, as resilient and invincible as my Dad is, I kind of felt a trip to New Zealand was required. So, while LM toiled away here, I flew back to Auckland for a few days.

I’m so glad I did. I got to spend some lovely time with both my Mum and Dad. And, my Dad remains resilient and invincible.

There’s something about BIG life events, isn’t there? Weddings, funerals, health scares – they all bring family together. And, this trip home was no exception. I caught up with my favourite cousin (I’m pretty sure none of my other cousins read this blog, so I should be safe!). It was just fab’ to see him. It’s been too long between drinks.

TSL & her cousin

Cousins (Take II)
(Image by TSL)

We had a good old chin-wag. And, I learnt something. The skin issues that have plagued me for years, and lead me to the Autoimmune Protocol, extend beyond my immediate family. My cousin suffers from similar problems. POWERFUL genes, these TSL genes!

Any-who, we talked a lot about gluten. And I can drone on about the nasty effects of gluten for a long time. I’m almost evangelical about it. You know how when smokers give up cigarettes, they often become the staunchest and most vocal anti-smokers? Well, that’s me about the evil effects of gluten. I was the bread-loving queen. Even now, the idea of artisan, sourdough has me salivating. But no more for this girl.

After 23 years of trying to get rid of my skin issues, not one doctor suggested that gluten could be the problem. And giving up gluten was all it took to clear everything up almost completely.

And, then I learnt about all the other side effects that can be caused by gluten.

So now, I think everyone should give up gluten for 30 days – just to see how they feel. If there’s no change, well – no harm done. But, if you feel better; if your skin is clearer; if your brain loses its fog; if your joints stop aching – then gluten may well be the culprit. Isn’t it worth it just to see?

Could you be sensitive to gluten?

Gluten is a large molecule. It’s very abrasive to the lining of our gastrointestinal tract. And, it’s impossible for us to digest.

Whenever you consume foods with gluten such as wheat, oats, barley or rye, you risk damaging the lining of your gastrointestinal tract. In fact, the more gluten you eat, the greater the risk. Something to think about when the norm for many is cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and pasta for dinner… Once your gut lining has been damaged, you set yourself up for intestinal permeability which can then lead to all sorts of food sensitivities, skin problems, brain fog, depression, and many autoimmune conditions.

Something to think about?

Could you be gluten intolerant?

The best way to go gluten-free is to shop the periphery of your supermarket. Ignore the lure of all the processed gluten-free options. Sure, you may lose the gluten, but the other highly processed ingredients aren’t doing you any favours either. Rather, try adding in plant-based foods. It’s amazing what you can do with vegetables when you start experimenting. Ever tried zucchini noodles? 

Gluten Sensitivity Warning Signs

These are a number of common potential warning signs that gluten is not your friend. Here are a few of them:

  • Unexplained skin rashes – eczema, acne, psoriasis may be greatly relieved by eliminating gluten from your diet
  • Migraines and headaches – A recent study showed that 56% of people diagnosed with migraine headaches had an underlying gluten sensitivity. When gluten was removed from their diet, their migraines resolved.
  • Brain fog – In some people, gluteomorphines found in gluten, can act like morphine causing brain fog. ‘A clearer mind’ is a common benefit reported after people have removed gluten from their diet.
  • Depression – Gluten can affect your body’s ability to absorb certain important nutrients (things like B vitamins, iron, vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids and zinc). These nutrients are essential for both mood and brain health.
  • Joint pain – The body sees gluten as the enemy and attacks. This forms immune complexes that, in some, can settle in the joints causing swelling, pain and inflammation.

Not yet convinced? A couple of the more compelling recent reads are:-

Wheat Belly by William David, MD

Grain Brain by Ron Perlmutter, MD

Has anybody else experienced health wins by giving up gluten?

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