What is your awareness of celiac or for that matter gluten? The Gluten free/Allergy free expo was recently held in Schaumburg (did you see me at the Norwex booth?). At the expo did they share that gluten is found in all grains, not just wheat, rye, barley and oats.
Following are the types of issues one may have with gluten
- allergy – acute or delayed reaction creating some sort of inflammation which leads to → tissue damage → and subsequent disease
- intolerance – this is where gluten is not digested well and a protein called Zonulin is created which enters the bloodstream and creates an immune response with the following cascade of events:
- gut dysbiosis → leaky gut → acquired allergy (could be to any food) → tissue damage → disease
- sensitivity - not a disease, but a state of genetics which if continually triggered builds cumulative inflammation over a lifetime eventually converting into an autoimmune process. Gluten sensitivity can manifest in hundreds of ways with symptoms such as migraine headache, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, asthma, psychological disorders, bone loss, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, cancers etc.
- Celiac - a rare manifestation of gluten sensitivity which affects 1 in every 133 healthy individuals. In Celiac’s, gluten consumption causes an immune response that damages the small intestine and reduces nutrient absorption. As damage progresses, a variety of multi-systemic symptoms may develop such as other autoimmune disorders, as well as osteoporosis, infertility, neurological conditions and in rare cases, cancer.
Learn more about the types of gluten issues in this 37 minute video.
A gluten-free diet is essential to treatment for any of the above gluten issues. Unfortunately gluten can be hidden in a variety of unexpected sources, including salad dressing, supplements, and envelope glue.
Personally, I can attest to the differences in living gluten-free versus grain free. While eating so-called gluten-free foods removed many of the irritants reducing symptoms, many are still highly processed foods which break down into sugars and feed the pathogens within. Thus symptoms may be reduced, but are not resolved. By following the GAPS™ protocol removing all grains and many starches from the diet allows the body to fully heal whether you are dealing with an allergy, intolerance or sensitivity to gluten or any other form of gut dysbiosis. Once healed one may then explore slowly adding these foods properly prepared back into the diet if one is truly able to process and uptake healthfully.
A significant portion of the population has an issue with digesting dairy and specifically the lactose sugar or the proteins. Casein is the most well-known and researched dairy protein. One’s dairy issue may be due to an allergy, but it may also be due to issues with gut function. When improperly digested the milk protein casein results in casomorphins: a peptide with an opiate structure. Researchers have shown that these peptides are taken up by various areas of the brain, many of which are responsible for vision, hearing and communication, therefore leading to processing issues.
When milk is properly fermented a large percentage of the proteins get pre-digested and lactose is consumed by the fermenting microbes. Proper fermentation is 24 hours for yogurt – unfortunately most commercial yogurt is not fermented long enough. Thus fully fermented milk products are much simpler for the human gut to properly digest. If even this seems too much for your gut to handle, but you would like to add some dairy into your diet? A good starting point is Ghee or Clarified butter.
Ghee is generally well tolerated by most people as it contains simply milk fat, no milk proteins or lactose. When purchasing commercial ghee, as with any product, read the labels and know your source as they may contain preservatives and other additives. Ghee is fairly simple to make at home and then you know that it is pure.
Ghee has a nice nutty flavor. Ghee may be used plain or for cooking, baking or frying as it will not burn as butter may due to a small content of whey. As ghee is often the easiest dairy product tolerated, ghee is a great place to start when introducing or re-introducing dairy. Start with a small amount to see how well it is tolerated. Slowly build up your daily use. Once this is tolerated in the diet for 6 weeks or more you may consider trying organic butter.
Start with organic unsalted butter (any added salts may contain flow agents or fillers). Organic butter is best as non-organic butter contains pesticides, hormones and antibiotics.
Ghee may be made in the oven or on the stove top.
Oven: Preheat to 140-200°F. Place butter in a metal or glass pan and leave in the oven about 30-50 minutes.
Stovetop: place butter in a pan and warm over medium heat. Melt butter and allow it to cook uncovered in the pan for 20 – 40 minutes.
The melted butter will separate with white bits which float and sink. It will bubble a bit as you can see and here in the below video.
Reduce the heat and allow it to gently simmer until the milk solids separate, the liquid becomes clear, the bubbling subsides and it should smell a bit caramelized. You do not want it to become brown, this means you have cooked it too long.
Stain the golden liquid through a fine mesh strainer. If you want to be certain to fully remove all particles you may strain several times or add a coffee filter to the strainer.
Store in a clean glass container. Cover once fully cooled. Ghee may keep unrefrigerated for up to 2 months or longer refrigerated.
- sounds familiar to those who have read about the GAPS Protocol.
Alter your gut biome and alter your health.
The below TedX talk gives a nice visual explanation of the gut-brain connection.
It shows how microbes in our gut can be a factor in our brain health and issues such as:
- multiple sclerosis
Elaine Hsiao makes the statement
“What if we could without a single invasive procedure treat disorders like autism, depression and multiple sclerosis. Microbe-based therapeutics might offer us a way to build a stable community structure that can impart long-lasting effects without the need for continuous treatment. “
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has proven this in treating thousands of individuals with the GAPS healing protocol. Using diet, supplementation and detoxification one can heal from within from a countless list of ailments, disorders and illnesses. True healing results in long-lasting effects without the need for continuous treatment or dangerous side effects.
The New Year often is a time to turn a new leaf and learn some new habit to support your greater health. Diet is often a habit adapted (or at least thought about) this time of year.
If you would like to learn about some healthy habits to incorporate in your kitchen come and join Renee Renz and Edie Brennan on the 3rd Saturday of the month for:
Healing Foods: Cooking Basics for Abundant Health
All topics and recipes fit or adapt to the GAPS™ Healing Protocol
Come learn the how’s and why’s of making your own delicious healing foods – hands on. Each month we will explore and create a variety of simple, nourishing, and family friendly foods. These basic cooking skills will save you time, save you money, and could save your family’s health! Learn more about why these traditional foods are so essential to our health, and how to get your families to enjoy them.
Held on 3rd Saturday of the month 1:30 – 3:30 pm
February 16 – Fast Ferments
March 16 – Dairy: Culturing, making whey and more!
April 20 – Cultured Beverages
May 18 – Against the Grain
June 15 – Leafy Green Preparation
Cost: $25; $120 for 6 class series)
Advanced Registration and Payment Required please contact 847.221.5250 Himalayan Yoga & Meditation Center
Renee Renz is a Holistic Nutrition Consultant, board certified with the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, and a Certified GAPS™ Practitioner. Renee firmly believes in the phrase “You are what you eat,” adding “and also what you eat eats”. She is a staunch advocate for local farmers and natural food co-ops, an active Weston A. Price Foundation Chapter leader. Renee is co-founder of GAPS™ Connections support and education group, and provides individualized consultations to anyone seeking to restore their health and vitality through natural, nutritional healing.
Edie Brennan is a Master Certified Healing Foods Specialist and Certified GAPS Practitioner and co-founder of GAPSTM Connections. She is passionate about helping individuals and families achieve abundant health and wellness. Edie is also available for individual consultations, workshops, and cooking classes to anyone interested in improved health through food and lifestyle changes. As a busy mom of three little lacto-fermented pickle-eating cuties, she has learned to take a no frills, practical approach to making delicious and nourishing foods that families will love.
Enjoy this wonderful newscast from ABC30.com:
Eating away autism? The GAPS diet
Validation that diet does make a difference for your brain as well as your body.
Could you or your family member or friend benefit from the GAPS diet? Support for this healing protocol available here.
Beets are currently in season and each morning I find myself going out to my garden to pick a beet. I then juice the greens and save the roots in the refrigerator to be fermented.
Fermented beverages are a wonderful food to help restore the proper balance of bacteria in the gut. The beneficial bacteria in our digestive tract aide digestion, produce a number of vitamins and nutrients for us, provide protection against pathogenic microbes, and support our immune system. With all these functions and many more, it is crucial to take care of and replenish these good guys daily. Beets and beet juice have positive effects on the liver and gall bladder, and can thin bile so that it flows easier, much the way paint thinner works for paint that is too thick. This makes beet kvass an excellent food for dealing with constipation, and other issues related to bile flow, fat digestion, and gall stones.
Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has instructions for Beetroot Kvass on page 215 of Gut and Psychology Syndrome 2nd Edition. As with all ferments, adapt them to your style and taste. Following is how I ferment my beets.
2 large or 3 small beets, cut into small pieces
1-2 tablespoons sea salt
1/4 cup whey
2-3 tablespoons ginger, grated or finely chopped
2 quarts water
Beets may be peeled or if fresh, simply scrubbed. Chop into 1/2″ pieces. Do not grate them as they will ferment too quickly and produce alcohol. Place beets into a half-gallon jar and add sea salt, whey, and ginger. Cover with water. Cover and place in quiet location at room temperature for 3-5 days.
Pour liquid through a sieve into another jar and move to the refrigerator. Drink your kvass as is, or you may dilute with water as your palette enjoys. Save the solids and at least a 1/2 cup of liquid in the original jar. Re-fill with water and ferment again 3-5 days. When this batch is done you may repeat this step for a third batch, but note that each subsequent ferment has a milder flavor, and I have not gone past three times. I usually will do two ferments and then I will juice the remaining solids to add into the final product.
It's Sunday and it's raining...again!
This article details a full week of our paleo meals: it gives an idea of what we are eating now with our family of three children - that's those still living at home!
Fried in coconut oil: sausage (for children, gluten free) , bacon, egg, asparagus tomatoes
Lunch: Bacon, beetroot, walnuts
This past autumn I attended a showing of Green Fire, the story of Aldo Leopold and how he shaped and influenced the modern environmental movement and the Land Conservancy. In the discussion following the film, the moderator posed the question – “Do you own land?” Her point being that you can take part in the environment at large by how you treat the land you own. This brought me to question – Can man really own land? I subscribe to the belief of the Native Americans and other indigenous Peoples that we do not own land, we borrow it from our grandchildren. Then I had the thought that we do own the land our spirits inhabit – our body. And, just as with the earth, how we treat this body affects the greater world around us.
As with a farmer of meats or produce, the health of the soil is where it all begins. If the soil is not properly tended and full of nutrients – vitamins, minerals, active bacteria and other microorganisms – the product cannot create these nutrients. With our body, the soil is made up of the many creatures within us – bacteria, worms, parasites, protozoa, yeast, viruses, etc. We have more creatures living in and on us then there are cells which make up the body. This biodynamic land mass, when properly tended, creates many vitamins and enzymes aiding digestion as well as providing up 85% of our immune system. Ideally, the creatures within are dominated by the “good guys” or healthy, beneficial probiotic microorganisms, not the “baddies” or pathogenic microorganisms. Understand that the baddies will never be (nor should they be) fully eliminated, but as long as they are kept to the correct proportions, our bodies will know how to keep them in check. If the goodies are maintained, they in turn maintain the baddies. Thus we are all “body farmers” managing the creatures within – our inner soil.
The maintenance of our inner soil is most affected by our food and lifestyle choices. Do we eat live foods full of enzymes, good bacteria, and yeasts such as kefir, fermented vegetables, and raw foods which promote the good soil? Or processed, pasteurized foods lacking enzymes but full of starch, sugars, and fiber on which the baddies thrive? Are we threatened by all bacteria and dirt in our surroundings and attack it at all costs? Do we find a natural solution and embrace some of the weaker baddies so that our soil will be able to handle an attack of some larger baddies in the future? As with any plant, if the soil health is not properly maintained, it will experience disease and eventually death and decay. This is the biodynamic body farmer’s way of creating a healthy body which yields a plentiful crop. The study of epigenetics illustrates just how key this “cultivation” is in not only our health, but that of the next generation. This research demonstrates that it is not only genetics that predetermine the way we are, but the environment. Epigenetics has shown that we are born with a huge choice of genes, most of which we never use. The genes are covered by special proteins, which communicate with the environment and then decide what genes to use. So to a large degree it is the environment, and especially nutritional status, that predetermines our gene expression.
While mulling this concept over, I was struck by a profound thought – we don’t really own this body, just as we can’t own land. We truly do borrow them both from our grandchildren. This is evidenced by the works of Dr. Weston A. Price whose studies show the link between the health one’s body and its effect upon future generations. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride also shows the link between our health and that of our ancestors. One can trace their GAPS story back to the bacterial health of the parents and grandparents, as the initial “dose” of bacteria comes from the mother’s vaginal flora. This sets the stage for future heath: be it good or bad. Dr. Campbell-McBride’s GAPS protocol can heal the “root system” by repairing the intestinal tract and reestablishing the good flora through diet and supplementation, thus restoring our body’s soil in order to nourish every cell in our body, much the way the earth must nourish every seed.
I now firmly believe that we don’t own the body our spirit inhabits, we do borrow it from our children and grandchildren. How we treat our soil affects the health of future generations, both directly through reproduction and indirectly through modeling of behaviors. How we treat the microcosm within has a major impact on our individual health, our children’s health, and on down through the generations. We even impact the macrocosm of the world at large by the effects our food choices have on the types of farming and industry used to produce them, and how that in turn affects the earth and world around them. That bite of food on your fork has implications for generations to come, in ways most of us are completely unaware. Let’s strive to open up that awareness and make our legacy one of health—for ourselves and for those from whom we have borrowed our world.
Science is now underway to show us the diet connection to our gut microbiome with American Gut . By following nourishing traditions, a real food diet and embracing the world of tiny creatures among us we can restore our health and that of future generations. Join me in creating a healthy microbiome.