Inflammation is a major problem for those of us who are gluten sensitive. Though you might not understand exactly what inflammation is or how it really throws a big, rusty wrench in your quest for good health, Engin Coach Ali Weinberg is back to explain. She’s got another important piece of her personal celiac journey to share as well as some critical tips to help you minimize your own inflammation.
As I mentioned in the article about my personal journey with celiac disease, inflammation is a big deal. You might recall the mass which formed inside my right ventricle as inflammation crept in around my heart. And then I shared with you how inflammation impacts the lives of many (including my own clients) both emotionally and mentally which is directly related to building systemic inflammation as a result of ingesting gluten and other food toxins.
Since gluten intolerance is marked by inflammation in the small intestine, it makes sense that a person would experience bloating, abdominal pain, and overall GI upset when eating trigger foods. However, not all people with gluten intolerance experience GI distress.
I’ve personally met many clients suffering more vague-type issues like arthritis-like aches & pains, chronic fatigue, overall fluid retention, and general “overall puffiness”. Before my celiac diagnosis, I’d have certain days wherein my body would retain 6-7 lbs of fluid, mostly in my lower legs and abdomen. Doctors could not understand why my body was so inflamed. I often needed to wear sweatpants and ended up avoiding wearing shoes on the ‘bad days’ because they squeezed my swollen feet. At times the fluid’s pressure would become highly uncomfortable and even painful, so I was put on high doses of diuretics. These drugs made me urinate ALL the time and sadly, didn’t help with my systemic inflammation.
But my celiac diagnosis was only the tip of my health-crisis-iceberg. As I began to learn about food toxins and inflammation, what I found both fascinated and concerned me. My research connected dots about why being gluten-free was simply not enough to get me back on track. Clearly, I needed to be more careful about eating trigger foods as well as the level of pesticides, antibiotics, and GMOS.
Intestinal damage from food sensitivities potentially leads to something called “Leaky Gut Syndrome” wherein your gut wall has lost its structural integrity. Basically, this wall should normally have tight junctions that prevent ingested food within the digestive tract from leaving. When the lining is damaged, gaps form in these junctions and tiny food particles can slip through into your body.
Autoimmune diseases such as Celiac, Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Lupus fall under the umbrella of issues that “Leaky Gut Syndrome” can present itself. Each time your body recognizes particular food particles as toxic, your immune system kicks into gear to fight off the foreign “invaders”. Though it might be your immune system’s job to attack true foreign invaders such as diseases and germs, you can experience various physical symptoms when food you’ve eaten becomes it’s target.
This process is further described in the book “Digestive Wellness” by Elizabeth Lipski —
“When the intestinal lining is damaged even more, substances larger than particle size — disease-causing bacteria, potentially toxic molecules, and undigested food particles — are allowed to pass directly through the weakened cell membranes. They go directly into the bloodstream, activating antibodies and alarm substances called cytokines. The cytokines alert our lymphocytes (white blood cells) to battle the particles. Oxidants are produced in the battle, causing irritation and inflammation far from the digestive system. That is the basis for a condition called increased intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome.”
As you can see, the inflammation and bloating you experience after eating gluten or other foods (for me, dairy and soy also trigger a reaction) is a real phenomenon. It’s your body’s way of protecting you even though the result doesn’t really mirror these good intentions. That’s why it’s especially important that you allow your intestines to rebound by focusing your diet around foods that will not elicit an immune response.
However, some foods are very well-known “gut irritants” like wheat, dairy, corn, soy, coffee, pesticides, antibiotics, and alcohol. Though its best to entirely cut out these foods for a period of time to allow your body’s inflammation to cool down, even minimizing your exposure can have a significant impact. Know that you’ve got a choice in this matter since what you put in your mouth can help or harm you.
My suggestions to get started? Choose high-quality, organic meats and dairy whenever possible and fresh, organic fruits and vegetables to avoid further irritating your symptoms with harsh pesticides. Since we’re all sensitive to gluten, be aware that it is one of the most gut-irritating foods which further underscores the need to be tested for celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Even if the tests come back negative, many people report feeling immense improvements after cutting out gluten. As usual, feel free to contact me with any more questions you may have on this topic. Good luck!
Wanna learn more?
Check out the next FREE master class with Dr. Barry Sears on ‘Gluten & Inflammation’ on Thursday, February 16th @ 8pm ET. Register your seat HERE!