|When I was in nutrition and culinary school, one of my fellow classmates was deathly allergic to gluten. She was diagnosed with celiac disease, and it seemed as if even a molecule of gluten was ingested, it would made her incredibly sick. Several times, it put her in the hospital. Initially, when my friend took gluten out of her diet, she felt so much better.|
But as the years progressed, it seemed like her health continued to decline. She continued having to eliminate other foods from her diet. It appeared as though she was allergic to almost everything.
Then there was me; I dealt with allergies, extreme fatigue, depression, eczema, menstrual issues, chronic sinus infections, a ravenous appetite that led to weight gain and so on. I took gluten out of my diet (this was before I knew Doug), and I found the same thing – it helped, but something still wasn’t right, and I knew I wasn’t feeling as good as I was suppose to.
Can anyone out there relate to either of these scenarios?
Unfortunately, the above cases are not all that unusual these days. In fact, most people I talk to say they have taken gluten out either because they have been “diagnosed” with celiac or gluten sensitivity/gluten intolerance, or they’ve taken it upon themselves to eliminate it and just feel better without it. It is a hot topic! I’ve seen it over and over with friends and clients. They go on a gluten-free diet and really see an improvement in their health, but then over time, they start to feel lousy again. New symptoms start popping up, so they start eliminating more and more.
So is the problem really the gluten? Or, does Doug have it right? Could it be the mycotoxins?
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley. It gives dough its elasticity and creates a chewy texture in the final product. If you’ve ever tried to avoid gluten, you’ve realized that it’s not only in refined grain products like bread, pizza crust, pasta, cookies and pastries, but it often hides in most processed foods, as well, such as ready-made soups, dressings, soy sauce, candies, cold cuts, and so on. So called “experts” lump gluten intolerances of any kind together, including celiac disease with a plethora of symptoms such as stomach aches, gas, diarrhea, headaches, tingling, fatigue, muscle pain, skin rashes, joint pain, etc. They believe the auto-immune attack gradually erodes the wall of the intestine, leading to poor absorption of nutrients that affect everything from energy to brain function.
Now, let’s take a look at what Doug has taught us over the years. Mycotoxins are poisonous by-products that are made by fungi. Mycotoxins alter and damage our DNA and are carcinogenic. Fungi and mycotoxins suppress the immune system, leaving the body susceptible to disease and other health issues, such as digestive problems, allergies, arthritis, asthma, depression, skin rashes, joint pain, heart disease, diabetes and weight issues. You name it, the list goes on! I could put ALL the symptoms that describe gluten intolerance into this list. If that doesn’t make the connection, think about this; where does 85% of our immune system reside? In the gut! Hmmm, that’s where experts say the majority of symptoms of gluten intolerance take place…
The foods most commonly contaminated with mycotoxins are: GRAINS, corn, peanuts and alcohol.
These foods get contaminated due to various environmental factors while being grown in the field and/or how they are stored and transported. We’ve all seen huge grain silos before. Think about it; grains sit in these silos year round, for who knows how long. It is hot and humid – a perfect environment to grow various types of fungus, such as mold. Before grains go into our food supply, they are, of course, sterilized. BUT, you cannot get rid of mycotoxins that fungi have produced. Mycotoxins are heat-stable and cannot be destroyed during the cooking process. So you can’t cook them out, clean them out or freeze them out!
Not only are grains, corn and peanuts in just about all of our processed foods, they are fed to animals that we turn around and consume, which includes all of our meat and dairy products, organic or not. So, you can see how we are all potentially getting massive amounts of mycotoxins in our diet; the state of America’s health is reflecting that.
Here are a few facts:
According to Dr. A.V.Costantini, the former head of The World Health Organization, Corn is universally intoxicated with fungus and often with mycotoxins, (Aflatoxin B1 is the most carcinogenic, deadly substance in the world).
In the Journal of the American Medical Association (January 2002), Dr. Ruth Etzel MD, PhD states that grains are “commonly contaminated” with mycotoxins, and corn is “always contaminated” with mycotoxins. There is no safe corn in America.
Corn is gluten free, and it is a grain. So, just because a grain is gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Did you know sugar is a grain, too? All the gluten-free packaged foods that are flooding the market these days are loaded with corn, rice and sugar, all of which are full of mycotoxins! So let’s review; there are cereal grains that are gluten-free, but not Phase 1 friendly, like corn, sorghum, millet, rice, etc.
Phase 1 is not just another name for a gluten-free diet, or a low-carb diet for that matter. It goes much deeper than that, which is why Phase 1 is much more effective than both of those diet philosophies. Yes, Phase 1 is free of foods with gluten, but not because of the gluten – the purpose of Phase 1 is not only to starve fungus within the body, but to reduce our consumption of mycotoxins. Fungi and mycotoxins are at the root of these symptoms that we discussed and that are so prevalent today.
Are any “grains” healthy? What’s left?
A few years ago, pseudo-grains were added to the Phase 1 diet. The pseudo-grain family includes quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth. Pseudo-grains are defined as “false grains”, because they are not part of the cereal-grain family. Both cereal grains and pseudo-grains are technically seeds, but from different botanical families. I know it can be confusing; quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth are often referred to as grains since they are used the same way in cooking. But not to worry; they are a complete protein, loaded with fiber and nutrients, aren’t genetically modified (yet) and do not have the same storage practices as cereal grains. These three super-foods open up endless possibilities for transforming your family favorites into Phase 1 friendly, nourishing meals!
I never share information to scare you. We receive hundreds and hundreds of questions about gluten, the gluten-free diet, celiac, intolerances and sensitivities; I wanted to clear up the confusion. Is it possible to avoid all mycotoxins? Absolutely not! But being educated can help you make wiser decisions that will reduce the amount you and your family consume. Knowing these facts helps me to avoid the fairy tale philosophy that gluten-free packaged foods are healthy. Rather, it is just expensive junk food! Do I ever buy rice crackers or other gluten-free products? Sure, I do on occasion, if they meet my standards of no corn, yeast-free and sugar-free or very low in sugar. But I do it as a treat; I don’t make it a weekly purchase at the store.
There is a way to transform all junk food favorites into Phase 1. It takes effort and time to make homemade crackers for example. It’s definitely worth it sometimes, but try to reprogram your taste buds so the majority of your diet consists of whole, real foods. It’s more budget friendly, quicker and healthier!
I hope this clears up questions you might have had surrounding Phase 1 and gluten. Now we all know that Phase 1 is much more than just a gluten-free diet. It gets to the true cause of the symptoms. Happy New Year! Here’s to a year of wisdom in the knowledge we’ve been blessed to learn and abundant health!