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ALBERTJON SparkPoints: (3,133)
Fitness Minutes: (7,415)
Posts: 1,299
9/27/13 3:59 A

If you read "Wheat Belly," why not read a few reviews and refutations made by health professionals.

Here's a short one, for example, that is well-presented and unbiased.

EXOTEC Posts: 3,327
9/26/13 9:41 P

Gluten (ie wheat) sensitivity isn't limited to digestive symptoms.
If you want real answers and the science behind it, read "Wheat Belly." You should be able to find it in your local library, if it isn't on a long, long waiting list.

MEG-NATALIA07 Posts: 679
9/26/13 8:30 P

I have a very similar background of chronic pain and inflammation and Fibromyalgia. Almost a year ago I went gluten free (it was a struggle at first, but TODAY it's so simple and I'd never go back!). Within several weeks my brain fog and pain was going down! It was amazing! I say if you have any kind of an inflammatory condition---Do it! What have you got to lose??

I'll be honest, it was tough. But the more real foods you eat, especially produce, the easier the switch off wheat is.
Potatoes, yams, squashes, pumpkins, plantain, bananas, fruit---lots of fruit! If I was eating less bread I had more room for fruit carbs =)
I would take squashes and bake them in the oven or microwave and add butter and salt, or butter, cinnamon and stevia for my sweet tooth.
If I wanted bread I'd get a loaf of something gluten free.
I ate GF crackers, hummus.
I also began eating more meat protein sources--it's been great!
I did learn to bake with gluten free flours and nut flours and that's been a lovely adventure as well.

This was the best decision I have made in the past year--I love it! And yeah, I miss bagels, but if I am not eating them then they can't make me fat =) haahaa.

I occasionally accidentally ingest gluten and my symptoms get awful again. I am so much better off of it.

And in answer to your question about the HEALTH of gluten free lifestyle, I personally, amd eating better than I have in my entire life! It's definitely a choice--because there are tons of unhealthy "gluten free" choices out there. But it can be done =)

Edited by: MEG-NATALIA07 at: 9/26/2013 (20:37)
JENNILACEY SparkPoints: (81,972)
Fitness Minutes: (86,286)
Posts: 2,489
9/26/13 1:30 P

Typically, going gluten-free/wheat-free also comes with other health conscience food choices/exercise and weight loss which accounts for the "feel better" feelings. It is a logical fallacy to assume correlation equals causation. I have never been easily convinced by anecdotal stories and prefer to follow scientific evidence/research. This sort of diet is far too pricey and far too complicated for me to ever be interested in.

Personally, it's balanced nutrition (limiting processed foods, choosing more nutrient dense foods, limiting added sugars, etc.), daily exercise, avoiding the "sitting"-disease and all the weight I lost that keeps me feeling good and healthy.

Here's my testimonial; since I've lost weight and changed my lifestyle to a very active one and I started eating a balanced diet and limiting my intake of sugar and heavily refined foods that I feel like a whole different person. I have 10x the energy I did when I was overweight (to the point, I can't sit for more than 20 mins at a time), my blood pressure is in the range of a professional athlete (as is my RHR), my blood work always comes back cleaner than a baby's bottom after a fresh change, I don't suffer from any kind of medical conditions and *ahem* I've become very regular (TMI) and I eat gluten and wheat.

Anyways, it never hurts to give something a try if you're interested. Just take it with a healthy dose of skepticism to keep the placebo effect at bay and be sure to consult with a registered dietitian... very often when people go gluten/wheat-free without proper instruction they end up lacking certain vitamins/minerals in their diet considering so many foods from the "whole grain food group" will have to be avoided; barley, rye, bulgar, spelt, etc.

Edited by: JENNILACEY at: 9/26/2013 (13:41)
9/26/13 8:18 A

I have had digestive issues my whole life that have gotten much better after I gave up gluten. I have also had a chronic skin condition for my whole life that is now almost gone thanks to giving up gluten. Since our skin is a major detoxifier and my skin is so much better since giving up gluten I'm going to assume that my health is better for giving it up. I know that not having gas cramps, chronic constipation mixed with diarrhea has made my life much better.

Wheat/gluten is not a food group and cutting it out will not leave you lacking for nutrition if you eat a real whole foods, balanced diet.

I have also noticed that many GF products and even some grains cause me some digestive problems so I limit them and I have been feeling great for it. Keeping a food diary is a great way to figure out what foods are causing you distress, I highly recommend it.

I am able to keep my food costs down by buying only ingredients for foods and then making everything myself. Perimeter shopping and I buy my meat in bulk from local farmers. By buying and making all my foods I know what's in it and that it's going to be good for me.

All the best to you,

9/25/13 10:47 P

I don't have fibromyalgia but I do have IBS so I can partly understand your struggles. I try and follow the FODMAP diet, which excludes gluten. I can tolerate small amounts of gluten but eating too much causes problems.

I've found that the best thing to do is avoid all those pre-packaged, super expensive gluten free foods. Instead I focus on eating meats, the fruits and vegetables that my stomach can tolerate, rice, corn tortillas, small portions of nuts, things like that.
If you're craving bread, there are options. I've tried quite a few gluten free breads, and most aren't that great, but I do love Udi's hamburger buns.

Good luck if you do decide to go gluten free! It's a bit of an adjustment, but after awhile you get used to it.

ANARIE Posts: 13,185
9/25/13 10:12 P

One other thing-- well, actually two. Are you controlling your calorie intake and doing some exercise every day? Moderate daily exercise is one of the few things that has *definitely* been shown to relieve fibromyalgia and depression symptoms in almost everyone. Being at an appropriate weight is almost as helpful (that doesn't mean you have to be all the way to your goal, but the closer you are, the better.) Even before ditching the refined sugar, make sure you're getting a daily dose of Vitamin W (alk). Half an hour or so every day-- a walk to the post office or the park-- is much more likely to help than an extra $500 a month spent on gluten-free this and that.

And you may have discussed this with therapists and doctors already, but if not... Work is medicine. You mentioned being on disability; that in and of itself may be a major contributor to fibromyalgia. (TONS of women start getting it shortly after they retire.) You can't run out and get a full-time job on a construction crew for obvious reasons, but you CAN create a workplace type of environment with all the positives. Find a volunteer position where they count on you to work a regular schedule, even if it's only a few hours a week. Maybe also find an exercise buddy or two who will be disappointed if you don't join them at a specific time on specific days.

Having somebody who needs/expects you to be there is the best (maybe only) way to make yourself say, "Eh, yeah, it hurts, but I'm gonna give it a shot anyway. If I really, really can't stand it once I start, I'll come home." The vast majority of the time, you'll stick it out for the sake of someone else, even if you would stay home if it was all up to you. Pain is a lot easier to deal with if you have something else to do and think about while you're dealing with it.

ANARIE Posts: 13,185
9/25/13 9:46 P

What other dietary changes have you tried? You don't track nutrition here; are you tracking it elsewhere? Do you keep records of what you've eaten so you can compare that to symptoms to see if there's a pattern?

That really ought to be your first step. If you can prove to yourself that you have pain when you eat balanced, healthy, calorie-appropriate menus that include whole wheat or other sources of gluten, and you don't have pain when you eat the same balance of nutrients without gluten, then it would make sense to eat gluten free all the time. But usually, people who "go gluten free" are also just generally improving their diet. If you make a bunch of changes at one time, you can' t tell which one made you feel better or worse.

For every person who says they've gone gluten free and felt better, you can find 1000 who have gone junk-food free and felt better. Try that first. It's much easier to eliminate refined sugar, white flour, fried foods, etc, than to figure out what regular foods do and don't have gluten and try to make meals out of those. It doesn't cost any money at all to stop buying foods you kind of know aren't healthy and replace them with more of the foods you already buy that you're pretty sure are good for you. Use the Spark nutrition tracker (or a similar one) to make sure you're not missing out on protein or calcium or whatever nutrients you know you don't always get enough of. After you've gone for a few months without sugar and other obvious unhealthy foods, you'll have a much better idea of whether gluten is a problem or not. Gluten free is a last step AFTER junk-free has failed.

9/25/13 9:13 P

I would encourage a consultation with a Registered Dietitian.
I know you are on a budget---but it may be worth the expense.
I would suggest you begin by looking at the overall "quality" of your diet.
Is it really necessary to go gluten-free; or just get rid of those overly refined gluten containing products: refined white bread, doughnuts, pastries, refined cereal, pizza crust, etc.

Your SP Registered Dietitian

ALBERTJON SparkPoints: (3,133)
Fitness Minutes: (7,415)
Posts: 1,299
9/25/13 7:02 P

This is the same reply I gave to the question on Spark Cafe Board. {I have no horse in the race, so if 99.99% of the members of SparkPeople want to eat gluten-free, that works for me. I eat gluten daily and will continue to do so.}

Fewer than 10% of the population has adverse affects from consuming gluten. Yet many people do their usual fad-jumping onto some dietary trend that has absolutely no unbiased proven scientific basis. Definitely people should NOT consume gluten if they (1) have Celiac Disease (2) Wheat Allergry or 3) Gluten Sensitivity

"If you aren’t experiencing any symptoms of these three conditions, there’s no sound scientific reason for you to avoid gluten. None." --

I'll go with the list of foods as presented by Worlds' Healthiest Foods (which includes whole wheat, rye, and oats). --

"And we would like to make this point for our fellow bakers and bread lovers. Those who do not have gluten intolerance should not fear gluten....Gluten is perfectly healthy and foods containing it can have a lot of nutritional value." --

Most of the people I know who are going "gluten-free" are self-diagnosing themselves, changing their diet drastically, and then declaring that going gluten-free was what made a healthy change. What made the healthy change was they switched to eating many healthier things and started exercising. As with most of the "trends" in the dietary world, it sure is interesting how many people are selling books to prove this diet or that fad or some health marvel.

Edited by: ALBERTJON at: 9/25/2013 (19:07)
HLTHAPPINESS4C Posts: 27,333
9/25/13 5:07 P

I understand that if a person has an intolerance or has celiac then gluten free is what is necessary, but I have questions regarding other health issues. I'll give you a lil back ground.

I have been dealing with Chronic Pain (Fibromyalgia) for 3 and a half years and IBS for several...(since I was a teen and I am now 36). My fibro has gotten much worse this past year and I have had a few people tell me to try going gluten/wheat free....that it has helped them with their symptoms. I am starting to give it serious thought yet I have questions.

~ How healthy is is to be gluten/wheat free for a person that does not have celiac? Are there nutritional problems involved?

~ How does one go about going gluten/free. I am aware there are many products on market, but I have found them pricey. What is the best way to get started and how do I do it on a shoe string budget. (I am on disability).

I would love to hear any and all valid ideas and opinions or testimonies!

Thank you so much, emoticon

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