Monthly Archives: September 2011

gluten free livingRecent research shows a prevalence toward the increase of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. The problem is growing! The question is – WHY?

Gluten is a special type of protein commonly found in rye, wheat, and barley. Therefore, it is found in most types of cereals and in many types of bread. Examples of grains that do not contain gluten include wild and brown rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, teff, oats (the ones processed in dedicated facilities where other grains can’t cross contaminate), soybeans, and sunflower seeds. Not all foods from the grain family contain gluten, giving you a variety of choices while changing and adhering to your diet.

Here are some of the reasons:

  • Genetic manipulation of grains. The original wheat (Einkorn Wheat) contained very little gluten. Once is was blended and changed it now contains lots of gluten and it’s also mixed with wheat in breads, etc.
  • Almost all packaged foods contain grain either as a main ingredient or as an additive to give texture, etc.
  • The use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are used under the assumption they are safe.
  • Over use of antibiotics. They can be life saving but the over use changes the normal healthy gut flora and that can weaken the immune system. They are also fed to pigs, chickens, cows and fish that we are eating.
  • Anti-acid medications like Nexium, Tums, Prilosec and Rolaids suppress acid in our stomachs and that weakens the immune system and can lead to malabsorption of nutrients.
  • Anti-Inflammatory meds like NSAIDS tear down the gastric and intestinal lining and weakens immunity and intestinal permeability.
  • Medications and even supplements can contain gluten.
  • Grains are cheap and are subsidized by the government so they are less expensive to buy.
  • Advertisements show how healthy grains are and to eat more of them.
  • Nutrition isn’t taught much in school and what is is based on the food guide pyramid which isn’t working well in our country.

So why are so many people having problems with gluten? There are many reasons. It can be genetic and family members would also be at risk. If, from time to time you experience digestive challenges such as gas, bloating, and constipation,you may find yourself attributing your discomfort to eating a particular food that does not agree with you and then decide to avoid the food you think caused the problem. If you can attest to this, then you may, in fact have a more serious issue such as gluten intolerance. The good news is that there are ways to determine if you have an intolerance and many good tips and recipes to eat a variety of other grains and eat delicious tasting foods. I live it every day and feel great!

Karen Russell is a Certified Health Coach and Nutritionist with over 20 years experience working with the most challenging health issues facing our society. She is the creator of the signature program: “Banish Your Belly & Weigh Less”, a six month program designed to help you lose weight, and feel great all while eating great tasting food. Contact Karen at

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