What you need to know:
1. Gluten does not affect everyone in the same way, and many can easily tolerate it.
2. Severe gluten sensitivity can trigger painful inflammation, brain fog and headaches within minutes.
3. Low level inflammation caused by gluten can go undetected for extended periods of time.
4. “Gluten Free” does not mean healthy.
5. Removing gluten from your diet can improve physical performance.
6. Eating gluten free can promote a more toned physique.
I told my little sister Melissa to look at my hand. I extended my hand face down toward her over the dinner table and as she focused on it I began to describe some of its features. I pointed out the network of bones and veins which were clearly visible and almost protruding upward from under the skin. I made sure she noticed my knuckles were the largest point in my fingers almost appearing as if they were vacuum packed within the skin. The creases and wrinkles were clear and distinct. She continued to gaze at my hand as I told her to remember all these things I’d pointed out until after dinner. I then proceeded to eat as much gluten as possible. We were conducting an experiment.
In 2013 I successfully lost a half a shoe size in both of my feet by removing gluten containing foods from my diet. My feet obviously didn’t become shorter as that would require my bones to shrink, but they did become skinnier. I no longer resemble Froto Baggins. Over the following months my face shrank while my cheek bones and jaw became more prominent and after a lifetime of hard training and sports I began to see the first signs of an actual six pack. HEY LADIES!
It was very clear that gluten, or the food in which it resides, triggered a strong inflammatory response for me. In reality, I had been chronically inflamed my entire life and totally unaware.
My first gluten free month was mostly just figuring out what the hell I could actually eat. Unfortunately, ho ho’s and beer were not on the list. The second month was more deflecting the criticisms dealt out by “normal” people who ate “regular” food. The third month was largely spent looking at my abs and training ridiculously hard. With the inflammation gone I excelled athletically. Pain in my joints virtually disappeared.
In the end I’d lost about 15 lbs in a couple months. In hind sight this was due to a combination of less overall carbohydrates, inflammation management and increased fitness training which was all aided by removing the targeted gluten. With the brain fog gone I just felt way more motivation and energy to work at my goals.
Correlation or Causation
Was the gluten causing the inflammation or was it the food which contained it. I continued to experiment with “Gluten Free” marketed foods. I was eliminating only one variable (the gluten). I ate cookies, cakes, rice pasta and even drank gluten free beer. The end result was that these gluten free options did not trigger an inflammatory response for me. They did however raise my blood sugar quite a bit which lead to a host of other inconvenient symptoms. I could now safely say it was the gluten that caused the inflammation.
Gung ho Gluten freak
The super enthusiastic gluten Nazi! Every diet has some mascots that you would think were paid to talk about what they eat. These are individuals who’ve recently changed their diet and experienced positive results. Here’s the thing, when someone has been eating like an asshole for 10 years it really doesn’t matter what diet they choose. Vegan, high protein, ketogenic or paleo are all better than the standard American diet (SAD). Yeah, we get it you removed gluten from your diet and you lost 50 lbs. But you also started drinking more water, exercising, taking vitamins and may even be popping fat burners. Just a simple concept to be aware of.
Gluten free junk food
As I scoured the isles of the local sprouts for “Gluten Free” shit, I realized that’s exactly what I was likely to find. Turning over the packages of the GF foods I started seeing a trend of enormous amounts of carbohydrate, sugar and even chemical type ingredients. This stuff may have been gluten free but it was far from healthy. I can see how someone trying to make positive change to their nutrition could be coaxed into making horrible dietary choices. Bottom Line – Gluten free does not mean healthy. Case in point: arsenic is gluten free. Bon appetite? I don’t think so.
Everyone is different in just about every way imaginable. Think about the peanut allergy. Some people die from eating one of them while I can make triple stack PB and Jay sammys before going on a run. Simply put, we should respect the nuances of healthy eating. My brother and I can sit down with a 6 pack of Double IPAs and within 15 minutes he’s buzzed while I’m red and puffy. Just so happens that dark beer contains a butt load of gluten…doesn’t affect him in the slightest, and were brothers!
…as we all sat waiting for the dinner bill I slugged my beer and shoved another bread roll into my face. By this point I was blimp-like and although the pasta was delicious I was starting to feel crappy. The beginnings of a headache and bloating had now joined the party, but were welcomed guests in the name of science. I leaned forward and slapped my hand down on the table in front of my little sister, who had apparently forgotten about the experiment altogether. She peered down at my hand with a confused look for a split second before looking at me with widened eyes to say “what the fuck?!” My hand had exploded. No more bones, veins or defined knuckles. The wrinkles had been flattened from the inside out and I was now preparing to unlace my Jack Parcels. I’d successfully convinced my little sister of the effects of gluten.
Is gluten effecting you in ways you are unaware of? Would reducing inflammation help you as much as it did me? If you’re interested in learning more you can contact yours truly for a complimentary consultation. Thanks for reading!