8 Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

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Gluten intolerance? I never gave those words a thought.

In fact, I used to say, a bit smugly too, that I could live on soup, bread and Diet Pepsi. Those three favorites were the foundation of my poor diet. And for years, I attempted to live by that motto. I gave up the Diet Pepsi first, more than a dozen years ago, and experienced an immediate improvement in my health. Soup can stay, minus dairy products and unhealthy toppings. Bread, though? I love it and thought I could not live without bread. I craved it, from gooey cinnamon rolls to thick slices of sandwich bread to pizza crust to those big soft pretzels.

What I did not realize, until I switched to a plant based lifestyle, was that bread did not love me. In particular, gluten did not do my body any good. I grew up in the 60s and 70s, eating a typical American diet that relied on white bread as a staple. Never once did I consider that my digestive problems and skin rashes might be caused by a substance found in wheat products.

Maybe you haven’t considered that possibility either. Here are eight common symptoms of gluten intolerance.

8 Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in the grains wheat, barley, rye and spelt, which is a form of wheat. Oats can be contaminated by gluten grains, so if eating them, look for the words “gluten free” on the package. Some people do not have an allergic reaction to gluten. Those that do experience inflammation, especially in the digestive system. Gluten compromises the immune system and can trigger diseases such as Celiac Disease, Crohn’s, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, colitis and a host of other disorders throughout the body.

8 Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

  • Digestive distress tops the list of gluten intolerance symptoms. Disorders include upset stomach, bloating after a gluten heavy meal, abdominal pain and discomfort, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, gastric ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and Crohn’s disease. Celiac disease, considered an autoimmune disease, is a severe form of gluten intolerance. It can adversely affect the digestive tract, damaging it. Bloating, which is a feeling of fullness after eating a meal, is one of the most common symptoms of a sensitivity to gluten.
  • Headaches, and especially frequent migraines, are another indicator of gluten intolerance. Those who are sensitive to gluten may be more prone to headaches than others.
  • Irritability, depression and anxiety can be very debilitating and can be accompanied by feelings of sadness, despair or hopelessness. Surprisingly, those with a gluten intolerance are more susceptible to depression compared to those without the sensitivity. One possibility is that gluten creates changes in the gut microbiota, increasing bad bacteria and decreasing good bacteria. This change may affect the central nervous system, increasing the risk of depression.
  • Muscle cramps and bone and joint pain can be a result of inflammation, caused by gluten. This pain can be widespread throughout the body and accompanied by tiredness and extreme fatigue.
  • Tingling or numbness in arms and legs is common in those with diabetes or B12 deficiency. It can also affect those with a sensitivity, perhaps because of a reaction to certain antibodies in gluten.
  • Brain fog refers to a feeling of not being able to think clearly. It has been described as forgetfulness or mental fatigue or feeling foggy headed. Such a condition is a common symptom of gluten intolerance.
  • Skin rashes and disorders are another common ailment among those who are sensitive to gluten. These tiny blisters or bumps are often found on the upper arms, elbows, knees and torso. A gluten free diet can clear rashes up and also help other skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
  • Canker sores in the mouth or digestive tract are another symptom of gluten intolerance. Chronic mouth sores are almost always an indication of sensitivity and a condition that can be greatly improved or eliminated completely on a gluten free diet.
8 Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

Healing a Gluten Intolerance

The first step toward healing sounds simple but can be difficult for people who love their bread, like I did. Stop eating grain products that include gluten. This involves more than passing on the bread. Gluten can be found in pastas, desserts such as pie, cookies, cake and doughnuts, cereals, pancakes, waffles, bagels, gravies, sauces, soups and the bread coating on veggies. Anything made from wheat, barley, rye, spelt and sometimes oats has gluten lurking in it.

Surprisingly, gluten can be found in foods that are not easily identified as a grain product. It becomes very important to read labels. I checked out the label above, for veggie burgers. They appeared to be a healthy choice. However, listed in the ingredients are wheat and gluten…and several other things that I do not eat. Eliminating gluten from the diet involves awareness and determination.

The rewards are great though. I had most of the symptoms listed above and have had them my whole life. They ranged from minor to troublesome and I never connected them to the same source…gluten. In my quest to eliminate inflammation in my body, I decided to stop eating gluten products and see if it made a difference. The change in my health was amazing. The rash I’d had on my upper arms since childhood disappeared. My gut healed, indigestion stopped, pain and swelling in my joints went away. I stopped getting mouth sores and headaches, and my irritable bowel syndrome cleared up.

I’d suggest keeping a food diary and then begin eliminating gluten laden products from your diet, a few items at a time. Read labels. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Look for “gluten free” substitutions. I enjoy pasta still. It’s just made from brown rice instead of wheat. There are many gluten free products available in grocery stores. Typically these items are grouped together in their own section. I bake using almond or oat flour that is gluten free. Check the labels of gluten free products too, however. Those crackers or that cereal that is gluten free may contain sugar or other surprise ingredients.

Gluten free bread is available, often in the frozen food section. You know what though? Since changing my diet I don’t crave bread anymore. I rarely eat a gluten free roll or slice of bread. And I don’t miss it. I can live on healthy soups, fruits, veggies and water…and really live, while experiencing optimal health and well being.

8 Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

 

Find gluten free recipes on Pinterest, or check out this plant based gluten free cookbook!

 

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30 Foods That Fight Inflammation

Inflammation is a condition in which a part of the body becomes swollen, hot, painful or reddened, in reaction to an injury or infection. Continued inflammation can result in premature aging and diseases, including those referred to as autoimmune disorders. What I’ve discovered, through the teachings of Anthony William and by switching to a plant based diet, is that the underlying causes of inflammation, when not due to an injury, are pathogens such as viruses.

I healed from years of chronic pain and the shingles virus, which had attacked my sciatic nerves, by eating fruits, vegetables and herbs that not only soothed the inflammation but killed off the viruses. What I’ve continued to learn about my health is that when I do get a slight injury, my body reacts with an inflammatory response still.

I am grateful that I know how to deal with inflammation.

30 Foods That Fight Inflammation

Fighting Inflammation

Three times, in three years, I’ve injured myself slightly. And every time, it’s my left leg that suffers as an inflammatory response is triggered. This time I tangled with the front door, loaded down with bags of groceries, and lost my balance. As I fell, I threw myself forward toward a nearby chair, preferring to fall onto a cushioned seat, rather than onto the floor.

I’d love to see a slow-mo replay of that move! I successfully, albeit awkwardly, landed with a thump in the chair…and twisted my left knee in the process. This poor leg, that I call Darling with a mix of affection and exasperation, seems to be the weakest part of my body. The shingles virus affected it horribly, causing a great deal of pain over the years. After my graceless plop into the chair, I scanned my body, mentally, checking for injuries. Other than mild pain around the left knee, I seemed to be okay. However, within days I felt the tell-tale signs of inflammation in that leg. They included heat around the joint, muscle soreness and tightness, spasms, and pain. I began to limp.

I’m not a doctor or nurse, however, I do know my body well. And although I have healed from so much, this leg continues the recovery process. It reacts to stress by succumbing to inflammation. Thankfully, I can speed up the healing process by turning to foods that fight inflammation.

30 Foods That Fight Inflammation

Fruits that Fight Inflammation

First of all, when dealing with inflammation, whatever the cause, avoid wheat and dairy products. Both foods can aggravate and increase inflammation in the body.

Add these fruits, as many servings as possible during the day:

  • berries – all kinds
  • cherries
  • cranberries
  • grapes
  • kiwi
  • melons – all kinds
  • pomegranate

These can be eaten fresh or added to salads and combined in a variety of ways in smoothies. While oranges don’t make the list, for fighting inflammation, they are great for soothing body pains. I add them to smoothies and salads or eat them on their own.

Vegetables that Fight Inflammation

Add these veggies to eliminate inflammation:

  • asparagus
  • celery
  • cruciferous vegetables – all kinds
  • cucumbers
  • leafy greens
  • onions
  • potatoes
  • radishes

These foods can be eaten raw or cooked. My favorite anti-inflammatory meal includes steamed veggies, from the list above, with a fresh salad incorporating the rest of the list and pomegranate seeds tossed on top.

Herbs that Fight Inflammation

And finally, include these anti-inflammatory herbs and wild foods, in the form of fresh, tea, capsules or tinctures:

  • aloe vera
  • astralagus
  • burdock root
  • cat’s claw
  • chaga mushroom powder
  • chicory
  • cilantro
  • cinnamon
  • cloves
  • garlic
  • hemp seeds
  • honey (raw, organic)
  • lemon balm
  • nettle leaf
  • turmeric

Many of these can be taken in capsule or tincture form, however it works well to create tea blends and sip on the hot drink throughout the day. Combine dried burdock root, lemon balm and nettle leaf in a single large cup, add very hot water, and steep for 15 minutes. Stir in a spoonful of raw organic honey to receive the healing benefits from four inflammation fighting foods. Cinnamon and cloves can be added to chicory for a savory hot drink. Turmeric and cinnamon, combined with dairy free almond or coconut milk, makes a soothing anti-inflammatory drink.

Detox smoothie, celery juice, anti-inflammatory smoothie, turmeric milk (made with almond milk)

Sample Anti-inflammatory Menu

When I realized inflammation had settled around my left knee, I focused on consuming foods from the lists above. Here’s what a day of meals looks like:

Breakfast – 12 ounces of celery juice, 32 ounce smoothie (frozen berries, mango and pineapple, bananas, kiwi, grapes, pomegranate seeds, fresh aloe vera gel, teaspoon each of chaga mushroom powder and hemp seeds)

Lunch – plain baked potato with cooked cauliflower, salad of leafy greens, cucumbers, radishes and pomegranate seeds

Dinner – steamed veggies (potatoes, white and sweet, and asparagus), salad of leafy greens, cucumbers, radishes and pomegranate seeds.

Snack – fruit salad, mixing all the fruits from the list together.

During the day, I drank plenty of water and cups of hot tea, combining dried herbs together and throwing in several cranberries. I took cat’s claw and turmeric in capsule form, increasing my usual dosage. Several times during the day I iced the knee, to ease pain and reduce heat in the muscles.

List in hand, I headed to the grocery store and purchased as many of the healing foods as possible. I noticed improvement within 6 hours of including anti-inflammatory foods in my diet. After a couple of days of eating these foods, primarily, I am well on my way to being back to normal.

And this is what I’ve learned, finally. Because even a slight injury seems to trigger an inflammatory response, especially in my left leg, I need to be including foods from this list regularly, rather than waiting until I feel inflammation. I do eat lots of potatoes, celery and cilantro, and berries go into my smoothies most mornings. However, I want to be more intentional, more consistent, about eating these healing foods.

I’d rather be proactive. And perhaps someday, a little bump or tumble won’t set Darling off!

30 Foods that Fight Inflammation

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Tips for Avoiding Seasonal Allergies, Naturally

Fall is approaching and with it comes boots and hoodies, crackling fires and hot tea, blankets and pumpkin spice…and seasonal allergies. I suffered from severe fall allergies all my adult life. As September arrived I stocked up on over the counter decongestants, allergy relief meds and ibuprofen. By Thanksgiving my eyes were usually so irritated I could not wear my contact lenses. And cough drops? I carried bags of those at all times to help stifle coughing fits.

Thankfully, allergies are in my past. I am entering my third autumn without trepidation, because I’ve implemented these tips for avoiding seasonal allergies, naturally.

Tips for Avoiding Seasonal Allergies Naturally

What causes allergies?

Allergies occur when the body reacts, or shows sensitivity to an antigen. This time of year, one in five people show a heightened sensitivity to pollen, mold and fungus spores, and ragweed. The body’s response can range from mild sniffles, itchy eyes and a dry cough, to skin rashes and hives, sinus congestion, runny nose, headaches and respiratory distress.

Allergy symptoms occur when the body responds to allergens by producing a chemical called histamine, which works to counteract the allergen. The immune system causes the allergic reactions by producing Immunoglobulin antibodies that result in widespread symptoms.

Tips for Avoiding Seasonal Allergies Naturally

Eliminate foods that create inflammation

Lessening and ultimately avoiding seasonal allergies is a two step process: eliminate foods that weaken the immune system and then support the immune system so it can work properly.

A healthy immune system can handle allergens without creating symptoms in the body. An immune system that is already overwhelmed by a body fighting inflammation and viruses can’t handle anything more.

These foods cause inflammation in the body and should be avoided, especially during allergy season:

• eggs • gluten • canola oil • soy • corn • dairy products • MSG

Dairy products create mucus in the body. Continuing to consume dairy products while fighting allergies is akin to throwing gasoline on a fire. Eggs, all eggs, feed viruses in the body such as Epstein Barr and strep, which weaken the immune system and create inflammation by way of their toxic wastes.

Strengthen the immune system

Eliminating inflammation-causing foods allows the immune system to quiet down. Eating nutrient rich, alkalizing foods strengthens the immune system, allowing it to handle allergens when they invade the body, without creating symptoms.

Include as many of these foods as possible, daily:

• wild blueberries • lemon/limes • celery • garlic • sweet potatoes • leafy greens • cruciferous veggies such as cauliflower and broccoli • onions • oranges • cranberries • raw local honey

Buy wild blueberries frozen and add to fruit smoothies. Sip on lemon or lime water first thing in the morning. Follow with the miracle drink, celery juice. (Read more about why celery juice is so good for the body.) Add extra garlic to recipes. Raw honey is crucial and it needs to be purchased locally. Bees carry local pollen. Consuming it in the honey helps the body to build up a resistance to pollens. Replace cow’s milk with coconut or almond milk in recipes and drinks.

Tips to Avoid Seasonal Allergies Naturally

Supplements to support the immune system

Finally, support the immune system with these health boosting supplements:

• turmeric • nettle • Ester C • elderberry syrup

Turmeric is one of the most powerful inflammation fighters available. Take it in capsule form or create Turmeric Milk, made with coconut milk, to sip on at night.

Stinging nettle naturally controls histamine. Take it in capsule form or purchase dried leaves to brew hot tea.

Ester C is a powerful form of vitamin C, taken in capsule form. Elderberry syrup boosts the immune system, relieves cold and allergy symptoms, and calms a cough.

Tips to Avoid Seasonal Allergies Naturally

Daily regimen to avoid allergy symptoms

Prepare for allergy season beginning in late August or early September by doing the following daily:

• Avoid inflammation causing foods.

• Eat immune boosting, alkalizing and inflammation fighting foods, as many as possible.

• Take turmeric and Ester C capsules (follow dosage instructions on the bottle) or drink a cup of turmeric milk.

• Take a spoonful of raw organic honey, locally produced, and a spoonful of elderberry syrup (I buy unsweetened syrup).

• Drink a cup of nettle tea, or take a nettle capsule.

After many years of losing seasonal allergy battles, it feels so incredibly good to know that I can enjoy fall without misery, and without the use of drugs. Food is my medicine. And I am the victor.

Tips to Avoid Seasonal Allergies Naturally

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Celebrating Two Years on a Plant Based Lifestyle

Two years ago this month, I embarked on a healing journey that has completely transformed my life. Here is a recap on the healing that occurred during year one, and an update with the continued healing that has taken place in the last 12 months.

Two Years Plant Based

My healing journey began with a desperate prayer for help. After suffering with chronic sciatica and pain in my legs for 20 years, after a car accident, my left leg deteriorated, requiring me to walk with a cane. The pain and the tightness in leg joints and muscles continued to worsen. I struggled to walk at all, or sleep, or even straighten out my legs. A wheelchair seemed inevitable.

I asked the Divine for help and help arrived the next day, via an article by Anthony William, the Medical Medium. He wrote that a traumatic incident, such as a car accident, could create pain that does not heal. His words described me and my condition. Thankfully, he offered hope. I ordered Anthony’s books, and immediately began a 28 day healing cleanse, eating raw fruits and vegetables. I saw such remarkable improvements after 28 days that I adopted a plant based lifestyle and never looked back.

Two Years Plant Based

I avoided meat, eggs, dairy, sugar, gluten, soy, corn (unless non GMO) and canola oil. And I ate fruits, vegetables, brown rice, legumes, nuts and seeds. The problem, I discovered from Anthony, was that the viruses I’d had in my body…some since childhood…were wreaking havoc. The shingles virus was the culprit that attacked my sciatic nerves. Epstein Barr and strep had infected my liver and thyroid, and other organs and body systems. My action plan was two fold: eliminate the viruses by avoiding the foods that feed them and support my immune system with healthy, wholesome food.

It worked. In the first year I experienced healing of these symptoms/disorders:

sciatica • inflammation in legs & body • pain in legs • high blood pressure • irritable bowel syndrome • sensitive gut • severe acid reflux • indigestion • rashes & hives • tinnitus • gall bladder inflammation • headaches • sinus problems • seasonal allergies • joint pain • nerve pain • insomnia • heart palpitations

I also dropped excess weight.

Two Years Plant Based

Two Years Plant Based

With such amazing changes in my health, I chose to remain plant based. Returning to my old way of eating would mean a return to my old way of feeling unwell. I’m not willing to sacrifice my health, ever again.

My mainstays this past year, as my healing journey continues, are celery juice first thing in the morning, followed by a fruit smoothie. At least 3-5 times a week, that breakfast smoothie is a heavy metals detox blend of wild blueberries, bananas, Hawaiian spirulina, cilantro, Atlantic dulse, chaga mushroom powder, barley grass juice powder, aloe vera gel and hemp seeds. I love fruits and veggies, and add brown rice, legumes, nuts and seeds to round out my diet. I sip on lemon or lime water, ginger water, juices and herbal teas.

My meals are simple and beautiful, and full of health boosting nutrients. I rarely eat out, preferring to prepare meals at home. A desire that I expressed, to cook more, is being fulfilled with this lifestyle.

In the past 12 months, my health has continued to improve. I’ve experienced healing of these symptoms/disorders:

frozen sacroiliac joint • floaters in both eyes • discoloration on fingernails and toenails • ocular migraines • chronic dehydration • menopause symptoms such as flushing, night sweats, hot flashes • fluid on left knee • mouth sores • tingling and numbness in feet and hands • overactive thyroid • toxic liver • neck pain and stiffness greatly reduced (my neck vertebrae are so messed up from the car accident that X-rays freak out doctors…but my neck doesn’t hurt like it once did)

Two Years Plant Based

My skin is clear and healthy. My hair texture has improved, and although it’s hard to tell in photos, as my silver hair reflects more light, I swear my hair is darkening up. I have more dark strands of hairs growing in, than I did a year ago. My legs feel so incredibly good that they amaze me every day. I continue to see improvements in flexibility and strength in both legs. I am energetic, have mental clarity and operate at a high vibrational frequency.

I’ve come to understand how marvelously and wonderfully made my body truly is. It is a finely tuned sensor, that lets me know if I need the nutrients in a certain food, or if I accidentally ingest something I shouldn’t. I trust my body. I listen to it. I respect it. And, I nourish it and care for it like I never have before. And I’m mindful of what I put on my skin and in my home. I’ve been eliminating chemicals and toxins by switching to natural cleaning, laundry and bath products.

To celebrate my two year anniversary, I climbed into my favorite tree…the redbud in my front yard, something I couldn’t do two years ago. This tree survived the Joplin tornado in 2011, when thousands of trees perished. My redbud twisted and lost branches and now bears scars…but its deep roots held. I’ve survived my own storm, one that lasted many years. I twisted, parts of me broke, and I bear scars as well, however, I am strong and determined, and healing continues.

This exciting journey is ongoing with health and wellbeing my priorities. It’s onward and upward from here.

Two Years Plant Based

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Make Your Own Deodorant

The first question one might ask is why would anyone want to make their own deodorant? In the US, after all , 95% of the adult population use deodorants and antiperspirants. Why bother to make something that can be so easily purchased?

My answer, my reason for trying this Do It Yourself project, was simple. While I am in the process of increasing my health and well being by changing my diet, fighting viruses with plant based foods, and detoxing from heavy metals, it seems counterproductive to keep using a product that contains unhealthy chemicals and additives.

Make Your Own Deodorant

My research shows that most deodorants and antiperspirants contain these ingredients that are not good for us:

* aluminum-a primary ingredient, this metal has been linked to breast cancer and increased risk of Alzheimer’s. Aluminum clogs the pores to prevent sweat from reaching the skin’s surface.

* parabens-a synthetic preservative that can disrupt hormonal balance. This chemical has been linked to birth defects and organ toxicity.

* propylene glycol-a petroleum based material that can cause damage to the central nervous system, heart and liver.

* phthalates-another chemical that has been linked to health issues, including birth defects.

* triclsoan-a substance classified as a pesticide that is a known carcinogen.

As I am seeking improved health, I have made the decision to stop using products that can compromise my well being. When I ran out of the antiperspirant I have used for years, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to switch to a healthier version. I felt inspired to make my own!

Make Your Own Deodorant

I used this simple recipe, from Thank Your Body:

1/3 cup arrowroot starch (available from health food stores or click link below)

2 tablespoons baking soda

1/3 cup coconut oil

10-15 drops of essential oil (optional)

Combine arrowroot starch and baking soda in a small bowl. (You can substitute pure cornstarch if you want. Just make sure it doesn’t have aluminum in it.) Add coconut oil (I softened the oil for 20 seconds in the microwave) and blend, using a spoon. Add essential oil, if desired. I added 10 drops of orange oil and 5 drops of rosemary, creating a light, clean scent. Combine, pressing mixture with back of spoon, until well mixed and smooth. Use by smoothing small amount on underarms with fingertips.

Make Your Own Deodorant

Making my own deodorant only took a few minutes. I tried a dab on my inner wrist and tested it under my right arm. I have been using this DIY deodorant for a couple of months now, and it is working wonderfully!

I feel good about this unique creative endeavor, and good about further eliminating my body’s contact with chemicals and toxins. Healthy living, for me, involves more than diet and exercise, although those are crucial. What I don’t allow to interact with my body is important too, even if it puts me in a category considered outside the norm.

The second question one might ask, and I get this one frequently, is…are you a hippie? That’s a simple answer as well.

Yes…yes I am!

Make Your Own Deodorant

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