This is an awesome question and one that I hear often. The challenge is the answer is not a simple yes or no. The answer depends on you and your commitment to your health. Understanding that health looks different to everyone but generally at this time of year when most people are on a healthier kick, are eating better and exercising their definition of healthy is more about loosing weight and not about truly getting healthy.
However, there is a major difference for someone who has celiac disease or a severe gluten sensitivity that most people overlook and that is we have to repair the damage that has already been done to our bodies and that takes time, some times years and it is your level of commitment here that will determine if you will truly ever be healthy and live a gluten-free lifestyle.
We can’t buy health in a bottle but what we need to understand about going gluten free when your health demands it, is there are stages that one must go through in your journey. The challenge is sometimes people stay stuck in one stage too long and/or additional complications arise that knock you off your feet.
If you have celiac disease that means that you have an autoimmune disease and your body is literally attacking itself so in the beginning learning to navigate new foods, trying to eat out without getting glutened, cooking things from scratch and realizing that you can make some swaps of your old favorite foods … all take time to figure out. The most important part here is to get your body to calm down and stop attacking itself, its not OMG I’m never going to able to eat ______ again unfortunately we often don’t think in these terms.
The challenge happens when we ate a very unhealthy lifestyle before having to go gluten-free and you continue this pattern and gravitate towards the middle aisles of the grocery store where everything comes in a box, a bag or a container. This version of going gluten free is not a healthy one and unfortunately if you continue here very long this will lead to all different kinds of complications with your health.
The reason for this is food in boxes, bags, and containers all vary in the amount of gluten that is actually found in these foods. The FDA allows up to 20 ppm’s of gluten to be in gluten-free labeled food, so the real issue becomes how much gluten are you consuming in a day and have you turned off the mechanism in your body that is attacking itself? When you don’t turn this mechanism off - this is when you suddenly find yourself having reactions to other foods like dairy, soy, nuts, etc. And, I haven’t even touched on the host of unhealthy ingredients that are added to these products to make them taste good that can and do cause many additional health problems which can lead to you beginning to have additional “other” complications that begin to pop up like eczema, thyroid problems, adrenal issues, diabetes, lymph issues etc, etc.
The real truth is that if your doctors had a tough time pinning down your diagnosis, how difficult do you think it will be for a doctor to understand and put together that these additional “other” issues that pop up have anything to do with you having celiac disease and what you are still ingesting is the main culprit?
So my question to you is, is healthy about loosing ten, twenty, thirty pounds or is it about healing your body, getting healthy and having a better quality of life?
Healthy and healing has to come from you stepping up and declaring that you want to feel better and you can’t find that in a doctors office, that can only be found in the everyday choices that you make.
This is where you being to move into another stage of going gluten-free and that is where you learn about creating new habits, about knowing what’s in your foods, understanding why its important for you to eat organic, non-gmo, grass-fed, and wild especially when you have celiac disease. (This is explained in more depth in Gluten Free Guide to a Healthy-Do-Over) Your diet will consist of lots of veggies, some fruit and lean proteins which will allow your body to finally slow down and begin to repair itself over time because you are no longer triggering the mechanism to attack itself. Food alone won’t do the trick here, there are several recommended supplements that are need and recommended by Celiac Specialists to be added to help heal your gut but this is where your healing finally begins (and I’ll discuss in another post).
Does that mean that you won’t have complications when you are eating better, absolutely not; however, knowing that you are giving your body the best nutrition that you can does provide you with a piece of mind and a roadmap to the beginning of a healthier future. If your anything like me this was when all hell will break loose and I had a host of issues but it’s a different feeling when you know your body is trying to purge the old yucky stuff and you know it has nothing to do with what you are eating now.
So every day I get a little healthier and it’s my goal to keep building on that and soon my body will finally look and feel the way I know it can. And, that is my hope for you that on your journey to finding health that you are looking for real health and not just another way to lose a few pounds because it’s different now when you have real gluten challenges and your perspective needs to change right along with your better choices.
Think healing and healthy first. Hope this helps answer your question, dear reader. Feel free to share your thoughts and feelings on this below. And if you have a question of your own, click the ask a question button and I’ll do my best to answer soon.