Food and Optimal Health – Wheat, Gluten & Celiac Disease!

For some it is simple – they just want to feel better! More and more toxic products are being added to our daily diets through processing and we don’t know where to start with detoxing or eliminations.  The trend to eat healthy is becoming more predominant and a good place to start is with wheat and gluten.

The best way to feel better is to rid our bodies of chemical toxins that have been collected.  Thanks to our amazing bodies we already have natural ways of eliminating from our system, but many times even our elimination systems get clogged.  In order to keep our elimination system healthy and working properly we have to look at what we are putting into our system that is causing the issues.  Our food is both the problem and the solution.

Detoxification is helpful for people suffering from many chronic diseases and conditions including allergies, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, chronic fatigue, chronic infections, depression, diabetes, migraines and headaches, heart disease, high cholesterol, low blood pressure, low sugar levels, digestive disorders, mental illness, and obesity.

I know from personal experience.  For many years I was not feeling great and never really knew why.  I watched my daughter suffer some of the same symptoms and could never put a finger on the cause.  The doctors constantly said “You better start eating better” or “You should exercise more”.  I can honestly say that there weren’t many people that had a better diet or exercise regime as I did.  So I knew that was not the problem.  There had to be an underlying cause as to why I was always feeling bloated and tired.

Years later, and many finger pointing doctors later, I finally came up with a diagnosis of Celiac Disease.

Thanks to early diagnoses, more and more people are not suffering any long term effects of the disease.   I know from my clientele at Simply For Life that many people walk in the door not knowing the real reasons for their bad health. Some estimates are as high as 1/105-110.

Most of us generally eat well, as we are more educated on our health and the role that food plays in it. One major hindrance is the food marketing and commercialization of unhealthy products.   Advertising plays a major factor in what we consume and when it is misguided it makes it more challenging for us to make healthy choices.

If untreated, Celiac results in damage to the small intestine.  More accurately it destroys the villi. Think of villi in the stomach as little fingers grasping at nutrients.  If flattened they cannot absorb those nutrients.  Of note, vitamins A,D,E,K along with iron and the B-vitamins are not absorbed. Therefore it is important for those with Celiac to ensure varied and adequate nutrition, with supplementation of vitamins/minerals under the care of a physician.

From my personal experience and perspective, a gluten free diet is essential and the only effective treatment for people with Celiac disease.  This does vary from person to person based on the severity.  However, abstinence works very effectively in controlling symptoms.  Novel emerging treatments are currently being studied. These treatments are geared towards people who struggle with the diet and/or occasionally prefer to ingest gluten.

The symptoms vary from person to person depending on the damage and absorption deficiency.   However, we know what diseases commonly occur with Celiac disease. Anemia due to loss of iron or malabsorption is somewhat common and women are at greater risk. In all cases of Celiac, Anemia should be assessed especially if fatigue is present.  Celiac also increases the risk of certain cancers, namely adenocarcinoma, a cancer of the small bowel. However, the good news is this risk appears to return to baseline following the removal of gluten.

In closing; wheat and gluten are not the only products that we should reduce, eliminate or detox.   Removing certain foods for a limited period of time can help you achieve optimal health and weight.  Try omitting dairy or sugar for a week and see how you feel.  These along with gluten are the top three culprits of weight gain and poor health.  Alcohol and caffeine are ferocious toxins as well and simply reducing or eliminating them can change your overall health.

With a few changes and adjustments to foods we can eliminate and to foods we can add, we can achieve optimal health and with that, optimal weight!

Angela-Wilcox-HeadshotAngela Wilcox is a Nutritionist and a Simply for Life franchisee in St. John’s, NL.  She has 30 years of experience in the Health & Wellness Industry, including working as a Group Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer and Nutrition & Wellness Specialist at New World Fitness and a Regional Fitness Manager and later a Sales Manager at Nubody’s.  Angela is now helping clients of Simply for Life manage, prevent or eliminate their health issues through Nutritional Counselling.  For more information about Simply for Life check out their website, or check out the Newfoundland clinic on Facebook and Twitter.


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