• Kasie Carlson

Why am I GLUTEN-FREE?

As a child, I was a CARBOTARIAN. The only foods that I consumed were carbs. I ate bread with butter for breakfast or a bowl of shredded wheat cereal. If I was hungry mid morning, I’d grab some saltine crackers or on Sunday, we had donuts. Lunch was always a sandwich on two slices of bread and my only acceptable options for dinner were pasta or pizza. If I needed a snack, it always included bread or a gluten filled cracker.

I also spent a good part of my childhood being SICK. I always had “stomach issues.” I can remember thinking that I seemed to be the only one who never felt good. I was always tired, always had cramping or pain in my stomach and rarely had an appetite. At the age of 10, I fell roller skating ( it was the 80’s and roller skating was BIG!)  and I had a very complicated break in my elbow, it was a fracture, a Monteggia Fracture to be exact. Unfortunately, the Doctor set it wrong and for the next 8 years, I endured surgeries and a full reconstruction at Mayo Clinic. I still don’t have full range of motion in my right arm and for many years, I blamed the multiple surgeries and medications for my “chronic fatigue and digestive issues. ” The story goes on and on, but to get to the point, I ended up with gall stones at the age of 19 and a gall bladder removal at 22. That’s very young to suffer from Gall bladder disease. After that surgery, my digestive issues were worse than ever, it was like the surgery just magnified the problems that I had prior and now the suffering was daily and ever so chronic. I was down below 100 lbs at one point and had never been so sick. The Doctors had nothing for me and I was desperate. I found natural medicine and acupuncture to be soothing but nothing quelled my symptoms. I had test after test to no avail , no one could tell me what was wrong.

I went through 3 pregnancies and continued to suffer with chronic fatigue and digestive issues. At this point, spending an hour in the bathroom every morning was normal. I didn’t work though, when I had my babies, so it was manageable. I had no where that I “had to be” and I was home most of time, so I felt like I had found a solution to my problems. However, I can tell you now, I wasn’t living.

I started my acupuncture clinic, many years later and one of my patients told me about the book Wheat Belly. Here it is for under $10! I began reading and I was fascinated. I then began to do research on gluten allergies and celiacs disease. My tests from the GI all showed NO celiacs, NO wheat allergy, OKAY… but I had all the symptoms? Bloated tummy, pain in my stomach, digestive difficulties, “IBS,” chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, you name it, I had it.

So, in January 2013, my new years resolution was to go gluten-free for one year. Why not? I figured that I had to try it out. However, I was terrified, I’m such a picky eater.  Are you kidding me? No pasta? No bread…what the hell am I supposed to eat?? It didn’t matter…..I was determined. I missed my bagels the MOST….ugh…just thinking about them distracts me…… GOD I LOVE BAGELS.

The first 3 weeks, and this is important, I think I felt worse. My stomach was a mess and I was exhausted. Then, end of January, it was like a miracle, I slept really good one night and when I woke up, I was hungry. That’s rare for me, because my appetite is limited. From that day on, my stomach felt a sense of calm. I should say , my intestines felt a sense of calm because my pain, pressure and issues are below my belly button and it’s all in the large intestine. I began to feel GOOD. From beginning of February until May, I NEVER ONCE had pain in my tummy and had NO IBS SYMPTOMS WHATSOEVER! It was like a freakin miracle. Then, one day in May, I was at a birthday party and decided to be a smart ass, I’m sure I was drinking wine,  and I ate some REAL PIZZA, oh yeah baby! It wasn’t stupid gluten free pizza, it was GLUTENTASTIC PIZZA…..squishy, chewy, stick to my teeth delishness…I was in HEAVEN….until 3AM.

I woke up covered in hives.

I hurt everywhere … okay maybe that was the wine.

I got up in the morning to get breakfast for my girls and I heard the gurgling in my tummy….rrrrrrrr…..rrrrrrr…..I felt pressure and anxiety and I honestly forgot about the pizza…I WAS SO SICK FOR THE NEXT TWO HOURS. My Skyler literally said, “Mommy, this hasn’t happened in so long, are you okay? Maybe it was the pizza?”

Then it hit me, maybe it was the damn pizza. I decided in that moment to never touch this toxic poison ever again and I mean it. I’m on the gluten free lifestyle and I’m in for good.

One of the things that the “Wheat Belly” book talks about is the wheat chemical reaction in the brain. It’s like Morphine and it’s addicting. It has an opiate effect on the brain. It’s no wonder I got sick back in January when I was going off of it, it was like going through detox! Seriously, buy this book. it’s so amazing and for me, life altering.

Listen. I know that some people don’t need to be gluten-free, they feel good, all the time. They have no digestive issues, their joints don’t hurt and they  honestly feel good. Those people need not be concerned.

However, if you are sick, in any way, if you have digestive problems, joint pain, chronic arthritis, anxiety, depression or chronic fatigue, you owe it to yourself to try going gluten-free for one year. If you have an Auto Immune Disease, like Lupus or MS, you owe it to yourself to go Gluten Free for one year, in fact, I would say, don’t go one more day without reading this book!! It has great information about autoimmune disease and diet. I read the book above, The China Study, before I read Wheat Belly, it’s specifically about gluten and auto – immune disease but a little more subtle on the gluten-free side of things …..if you have an auto – immune disease or know someone who does, please please read this book!

I have some serious Long-Gevity in my family. My Great Grandfather, my Papa Johnson, lived to be 100, and I still , right now, at almost 40, have all 4 Grandparents. They are all in their mid 80’s and doing well! I wonder though, why, now, do so many elderly people have memory issues, Alzheimer’s and low quality of life near the end? This guy has it figured out! If you are over 50 and concerned about your memory, READ THIS BOOK! This Doctor has connected so many foods to our low quality of life as we age and one of them is….of course…..gluten!

One of my biggest pet peeves is these Registered dietitians and some nutritionists who say ridiculous things like the following quote which I TOTALLY DISAGREE WITH!!!!

“It’s a tough row to hoe, and I’m here if you need me, as studies have found gluten-free diets can be seriously nutrient-deficient — low in fiber, iron, folate, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, vitamin B12, phosphorus and zinc. That’s because so many “gluten-free” products are made with refined, unenriched grains and starches, which contain plenty of calories but very few vitamins or minerals.”

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!???? AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!! Okay, listen up….”gluten” is processed CRAP, for lack of a better word. So, gluten-free substitutes, like gluten-free pasta and gluten-free pizza are also going to be processed CRAP. We are, as humans, supposed to eat, vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs, and nuts. The idea of processing grains in a factory is pretty new to the world in the grand scheme of things.  I mean, cave men didn’t have a mill to process grain in or a rolling-pin to force gluten filled dough into a flat pizza. They had a turkey leg, with some corn from the field and maybe a handful of nuts for the whole day. Trust me, we can live without processed grains and live well. If you go gluten-free and you are low in fiber and iron, it’s not because you went gluten-free, NO!! It’s because you didn’t eat enough kale, spinach and broccoli to feed your body’s need for nutrients!

I can’t stress to you enough, how great I feel being gluten-free. I’m more calm, my stomach feels good and normal. I focus on eating more vegetables and fruits, and meat and eggs taste better than ever because I’m starving! At first, I lost 3 lbs. on the gluten-free diet. Now, I’m the heaviest I’ve been in YEARS!!! I attribute it to my body now absorbing nutrients that it couldn’t absorb before and it’s forcing me to count calories and work out more. I think I will age better, have less joint pain and overall, have a better quality of life.

I hope that if you are suffering with any of the health problems mentioned above, that you will order and read one, if not all three, of the books that I mentioned here. Your health is your responsibility and no matter what your blood tests show, no matter what your Doctor’s opinion is on Gluten-free diets, if you read the books, try the diet for a minimum of 90 days and you feel better, that’s all that matters.

This is still a free country and you can still decide what you read and what you will and will not eat. Let me know your thoughts!!

In case you are already gluten free OR if you start this week….here is an all important gluten-free candy list for Halloween 🙂

GLuten Free candy list

http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/glutenfreefoodshopping/a/GFcandies.htm

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