I recently had a conversation with a reader who felt that my philosophy of living and what my blog promote eating organic, non-gmo, lowering the use of chemicals in all areas of life, and staying away from so much pre-packaged gluten free foods was too much. They felt I should only be talking about gluten free living because in her words “gluten free is too expensive” and she can’t afford to feed her family the way I have been promoting.
And to her and to everyone I can only say, I understand. Yes eating whole, healthy, organic, non-gmo foods does cost more money without question but, I truly believe either you can spend your money buying foods that nourish you or spend your money in the doctors office. It’s that simple and I’ll explain my reasons below.
When you live with celiac disease or really any autoimmune disease removing gluten from all areas of your kitchen, pantry, cleaning products, medicine cabinet and yes even in your skin care and cosmetics will eventually come into play.
Removing gluten from your food is really just the first step and the more you dig into your disease you will come to realize that gluten truly is everywhere. It is added to so many things that most would never even think of. Now I realize that there are several different points of views on this and everyone is entitled to their opinions but for me if comes down to three really key points that led me to clean up more than just my food.
First, it only takes 1/ 1000 of a gram of gluten (that’s equivalent to one crumb) to get into your system, to set off and trigger an immune system response in your body for the next three months.
And that’s how much damage one crumb can do so truly understanding that gluten can not be hiding in any of my products that I would digest is the first step to trigging a constant reaction in my immune system that must be stopped. Our goal as a celiac is to heal our guts. To get our guts to stop over reacting and the only way to do that is to stop adding fuel to this overgrown fire. That is why there can be no cheat days, you have to be diligent about cross contamination and cleaning up any foods that are high on the ppm scale.
Second, study published in the British Medical Journal in 2004 has showed that participants with celiac disease had a 30% greater likelihood of developing some form of cancer (mostly gastrointestinal malignancies) in a three and a half year observation period.
Three and a half year study what about a lifetime? There have not been any studies done that long but if in a three and a half year timeframe they have found that I am at a 30% risk for developing cancer than why not get ahead of this and start removing chemicals that are known to cause cancer from my life now, before this happens? For me, it was just a no brainer to clean up all the areas of my life not just some of them.
Third, if you have one autoimmune disease you have a 25% chance of getting a second autoimmune disease. And, according to Dr. Gerald Mullin from Johns Hopkins, he said that statistically somebody with an autoimmune disease they are at risk for a total of 7 autoimmune diseases in his or her lifetime.
Why? My guess is because your immune system is so compromised and unable to heal that my body would be in a constant state of stress working too hard. So hard trying to send me messages and clues that there still is a problem and you are still harming your body and eventually I may get up to 7 autoimmune diseases in my lifetime.
Ahh, no sorry that does not work for me. I chose to get ahead of all of this, take my health and my life really seriously here and clean up every aspect of my life so that I can turn off and help support my immune system because if I don’t it’s pretty clear that lots of additional sickness, pain and most likely cancer will be my future.
No thank you, I chose to turn off my inflammation. And that is why it is so important to eat organic and not have the additional pesticides on my foods, that is why it is so important for me to eat real food not food created in a lab or a franken-food.
How about you? Do you think I’m being too extreme? That would be your opinion and your choice. I live by the motto my health, my rules, my life and it has truly is the only way I know how to be. I have way to much to live for and waiting around for more sickness to consume my life just isn’t who I am. That is why I have chosen to life a organic, non-gmo, as chemical-free and gluten free life that I can. I hope you will consider making healthier food choices for you and your family.
Are there ways to eat this way and eat more cost effectively, sure. Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) where you can get fresh, organic, non-gmo yummy foods at a fraction of the cost. Support your local farmers markets where you can get to know the people who grow your foods. And,when you purchase produce in your local health food store purchase seasonal fruits and vegetables not only are they delicious there are often discounts when there is an abundance in season.
Having celiac disease or any autoimmune disease means that you have to ask the questions and do some investigating that most people never even think to do. Yes, it can become overwhelming and exhausting but you still have to do it, your health depends on it. The choices that you make every single day have a definite affect on your well being.
Hope this helps dear reader understand my philosophy and outlook as to why I couldn’t promote the simpler gluten free lifestyle as you put it. For me, it’s not about the short term, every decision I make is about the bigger, long-term picture towards the rest of my life.
Should you want to want to learn more about celiac disease and my philosophy feel free to check out my book Gluten Free Guide to a Healthy-Do-Over it’s full of goodies, secrets and tips on how to live your best life when gluten is poison to your body.
* Here’s my little disclaimer, I’m not a doctor, researcher, immunologist, just someone deeply concerned and trying to help as many peeps as I can make conscious, good, healthy choices for their health and their bodies when living life with gluten challenges. I have not been compensated or obligated to write this article, and as always, all thoughts and opinions are honest and my own!