Happy New Year! Many of us are welcoming the new year with new and healthy challenges like going gluten free…
Twelve years ago, I became very…VERY… sick and the doctors immediately wanted be to take various medications (of which I am not a big fan). Instead, I found a doctor open to my more holistic lifestyle and he recommended I begin by removing gluten from my diet. Wouldn’t you know it, my body finally began to recover! *thunderous applause*.
I know, I know, I’m not saying that giving up gluten saved my life (I made a few other dietary changes as well), but kicking the gluten addiction was the beginning of my journey to better health…
What started as a treatment for celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that damages the small intestine, has since become a trend. I would be shocked if you didn’t know at least one person that followed a gluten free diet. Despite its trendiness, there is still a lot of confusion.
Gluten is a kind of stretchy protein found in wheat, rye and barley, and is ubiquitous in processed foods because of its binding properties making it very difficult to avoid. Dr. Alessio Fasano, the world’s leading expert on gluten and celiac disease, has said eating foods with gluten can lead to inflammation of the small intestines and symptoms like abdominal pain, awkward bowel movements, brain fog, headaches, arthritis, skin rashes, acne and fatigue… to name a few….
Dr. Fasano estimates that nearly 7% of Americans may be gluten-sensitive, which means some 20 million people in the United States alone could struggle with gluten.
Maybe gluten itself is not the issue, but the protein within gluten may stimulate the release of zonulin— a chemical that controls the bond between cells and regulates intestinal permeability, or “leakiness”. As zonulin is released, the leakier the intestinal wall becomes (i.e. “leaky gut”). This holds true for both those with celiac disease and those without.
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Again, giving up gluten may not be the “cure all” but cutting out overly processed, grain-based foods packed with sugar and additives is a healthy move, If you want to make another healthy move, sign-up for this 21 Day Wellness Challenge kicking off January 18th!
And just so you know, gluten free food is so very delicious, just check out this Pumpkin Alfredo Fusilli Pasta (aka adult mac n’ cheese)
Pumpkin Alfredo Fusilli Pasta
- 3/4- 1 cup Everything Sauce
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- Organic Brown Rice & Quinoa Fusilli Pasta (found mine at Trader Joe’s)
- pinch of pink himalayan salt
- squeeze of lemon (optional)
- 1 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
- I minced garlic clove (optional)
Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain the pasta. Return the pot to the stove and add remaining ingredients (the pumpkin and sauce are the important ones, the rest is just an extra splash of flavor). Combine well and serve hot.