Can Gluten Free Really Mean Pain Free?

GlutenFreePainFree“Mommy what is wrong with your stomach?”

Though my little one giggled at the loud noises my stomach was making, there was nothing funny about this all too common occurrence.  For years I’d come to accept as normal this crazy dance that happened within my gut after every meal. Wasn’t this just a normal part of digestion?  Gas… Bloating… Pops and squishes…. Movement so strong it resembled a baby’s kick…

After all countless tests and procedures had all come up devoid of any answers.   Though my liver enzymes were elevated and medication led my doctors to believe I was suffering from acid reflux and perhaps ulcers, nothing was conclusive and the real source of my problems evaded us all.

I laugh at it now and marvel at how clueless I was about my overall heath. I considered myself to be fairly healthy, despite all sorts of annoying little aches and pains, debilitating migraines and other irritations which I started attributing to my lifestyle (I was one of those mommies that never slept) and getting older.

But those little annoyances began to accumulate and I was progressively more and more frustrated at my doctor’s inability to find a cause, which of course meant no cure.  I’m not one to relish taking meds unless they are absolutely necessary.

I wanted answers.

Real answers.

But I was not getting them.

Finally about five years ago, a friend of mine stepped in after I shared with him my utter frustration and being told once again “there’s nothing we can do about this, you’re just going to have to learn to live with it.”

Seriously?

No way.

My friend insisted I go see his doctor who was outside of my medical group.

I did.

After a thorough one and a half physical evaluation followed by an in depth 5 page questionnaire, this doctor suggested I give up gluten and dairy. Somehow that struck a cord. As soon as I got home I read everything I possibly could about gluten and the impact of gluten on our health.  I decided to stop eating right there and then.

And my life has never been the same!

Although the process was tedious at first as I had to carefully read the list of ingredients in everything I ate and ask servers in restaurants what was in every item on the menu that looked interesting to me, within about a month it was clear I had made the right choice.

Five years later I can’t remember how awful I used to feel. But never in my wildest dreams would I have realized how sick I was because I did not know what living without all the pain felt like.  Not only has my stomach stopped it’s crazy dance, but all my aches and pains have gone as well.  In fact I know now that my stomach was the least of my problems.  And it’s been years since I’ve met spring with a stuffy nose and burning, swollen eyes or cringed every morning as I coaxed my feet into waling despite the sharp pains shooting up my legs. I jump out of bed eager to get my day going!

I had been tested for Celiac disease and wheat intolerance years ago and both tests had come back negative.  Yet my experience with giving up gluten clearly indicates that I have a sensitivity to gluten.  And I realize that my stomach problems were in fact, just one tiny manifestation of this intolerance. My body was screaming out “HELP” in so many different ways but I had no idea!

I’ve learned a lot about gluten intolerance and the detrimental impact it can have on our overall health. But gluten is far from the only culprit. The bottom line is that the secret to optimal health is a healthy gut. It makes sense. Our gut is after all the gateways through which the foods we eat reach the rest of our cells. And if our gut is inflamed the rest of our cells will suffer.

There is a wealth of information now available about the fragile link between a healthy gut and overall health and I strongly encourage you to stay informed and talk to your health care provider about your own gut health. We now clearly know that many ailments that seem completely unrelated to our gut are actually caused by a leaky gut.

One of the places you can get a ton of information is through the Healthy Gut Summit happening online this week. This is a free event bringing together 32 health experts that share their knowledge on gut health and overall health to help you live a life that is pain free and brimming with energy and vitality.

If you suffer from any pain whatsoever, I highly encourage you to tune in. You can catch the last few days of this conference online or buy the entire series for a nominal feel as an invaluable addition to your health library.

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What about dairy you might ask?  I’m highly in tune with my body now and know that I am indeed sensitive to dairy as well. But I am French and I LOVE cheese and yogurt. So I choose to keep dairy in my diet, but in much smaller quantities than I use to.  I’m willing to suffer a little discomfort here and there to savor some of my favorite dairy products, but it’s nothing compared to what I use to accept as perfectly normal.

 

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About Valerie 

Valerie Remy-Milora is the mother of 3 amazing girls, an author, public speaker, coach and founder of Scrumptious Moms. She is passionate about empowering moms to embrace self care and live a vibrant, joyful life with their loved ones. A health and fitness nut, she is an advocate for chemical-free living, real food and GMO labeling. She believes in the sanctity of life from conception to natural death.

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Comments

  1. I’ve read that gluten free can make a lot of things better!

    • It certainly does if you have a sensitivity Jenn. The challenge is that it’s hard to know if you are sensitive or not unless you get rid of it for a while. Gluten is far from the only food that can cause gut problems though so I would encourage everyone to try an elimination diet to determine what their unique sensitivities might be.

  2. It’s amazing how big on an impact our food choices make on how we feel. I can definitely tell when I’ve made poor choices. It sounds like you’ve figured out the best route for yourself.

    • It is amazing Crystal and I love being in tune with my body so that I can make the right choices for me. I also realize that what works for me does not necessarily work for other members of my family and try really hard to be attentive to their unique needs as well.

  3. I am attempting to give up dairy in my diet and after 4 months, I can definitely say it’s helping with the way my body feels in terms of bloated-ness, not to mention weight loss. I’m hoping that it will also help with the inflammation in my joints. We’ll see. I don’t have a gluten allergy that I know of, but I have talked to a couple of people who have dealt with it. They say the difference in overall health and emotional moods without the gluten is like night and day.

    • Good luck to you Tisha! It sounds like you are in it for the long run and I am thrilled that you are already feeling a big difference. Living without gluten has been night and day for me as well and I never would have realized what I was depriving myself of had I not made the decision to give it up. I had no idea how damaging it was for me! I suspect you’ll feel a difference in your joints as well. One that is crucial for reducing inflammation as well is making sure you stay properly hydrated. Good luck. Let me know how I can support you 🙂

  4. Yes, It can.. I’m a believer, I’ve seen so many ways that gluten free can be slipped into your diet.

    • Yay Raijean! It takes a little practice and a lot of diligence initially but once you’ve made it a habit it’s easy as can be. And when you feel so much better you aren’t even tempted to go back to gluten laden foods 🙂

  5. I’m just starting to wonder if I should dabble in a gluten-free lifestyle to see how it does for me. I have sensitivities, it seems, but I’m not sure to what…yet.

  6. I have a lot of gas and bloating and have been experiencing more and more headaches lately, I’ve wondered about gluten, but now I think maybe I should try a gluten-free diet for a month and see if I see some results. Thanks for sharing your story!

    • You are most welcome Donna and YES! I would strongly encourage you to try a gluten-free diet for at least 21 days.It’s the easiest way to find out whether you do indeed suffer from a sensitivity. It’s a bit tough at first as you have to be diligent about checking ingredients but it is sooooo worth it! Best of luck and please reach out if you need support, tips, easy recipes or anything else to make your journey a success!

  7. Michelle says:

    You are what you eat.

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  1. […] first change — I gave up gluten.  I never would have guessed how one small change like that could have such an impact on my health […]

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