I have met hundreds of people who are now on gluten-free diets. My daughter used to be one of them. Gluten pain can make life difficult and become a heavy load to bear. How can this grain that has been around since time began suddenly wreak such havoc on so many individuals? Well, it is definitely causing a lot of problems, but I was never one to just do something without understanding the reasoning behind it. I want to know the answers for myself and not just take someone’s word for it. When my daughter developed IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and couldn’t eat wheat, and every week the list of foods she couldn’t tolerate kept getting bigger, I became a woman on a mission to understand what was going on.
One of the things I have always hated about modern medicine is that they slap a band-aid on problems such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and a host of other problems. My question is, why do you have high blood pressure and why can you suddenly not digest wheat and other foods? What causes the body to develop these symptoms? This is the best part of all our beautiful bodies. They call out to us with problems to get our attention. They are our best teachers and when we start having troubles there is much to learn. The only way to learn is to go within and become attentive to something we take for granted – the inner world of our bodies. I will share with you what I learned. This is my journey to understanding and yours may be different, but maybe I can shed light on some things that will help you.
Every morning my sixteen-year-old daughter would climb out of bed and drag herself to the kitchen. Each morning I would pray that she would feel better that day. Her words were always the same, ”I never feel good, Mom.”‘ It broke me. She was only sixteen and she hated getting up every day to a life filled with pain. I took her to doctors and they wanted to remove her gallbladder for no good reason. It was just a guess. Then I took her to an acupuncturist. This was my first lesson in the body’s ability to talk to you. With much kindness, our Chinese acupuncturist talked with Maci. He said things to her like, ”You have too much hurry worry and your body is hurting because of this.” I remember as those words came out of his mouth, I fought back tears, because it was so true. She came home that afternoon and broke up with her boyfriend and then the journey really began.
I started researching the foods that hurt her gut the most and eliminated them from her diet. Here is what I found – the reason she was having so much trouble digesting grains was really two-fold. First, her gut lining was damaged. Stress, certain foods she was eating, and a lack of nutrient dense foods was destroying her gut lining. The lack of the proper bacteria to turn her foods into vitamins and fatty acids was causing great stress on her gut. There was nothing to protect her gut lining. Years of antibiotics had stripped her of all her good bacteria and left her defenseless. Just eliminating the offending foods will eliminate the pain but then you need to fix the lining and add foods to do this.
The best foods for this are cultured foods. She had a cultured food at every meal – kefir for breakfast and one to two tablespoons of cultured veggies at lunch and dinner, then kombucha or coconut kefir to drink at every meal. She also had a lot of bone broths made into soups. They are healing to the digestive tract because of the collagen in the broth. She also ate a ton of coconut oil – usually three tablespoons a day. I would watch as she got a burst of energy from this and I was always amazed. All these foods are healing to the gut. Each one plays a different part in the healing. As she got better, I discovered why we have such trouble with grains now. Grains are not the same as they used to be. For hundreds of years they would cut the sheaths of grain and stack them in the fields, leaving them to be gathered the next day. The dew would make the grains sprout – this sprouting would unlock the nutrients, as well as deactivate the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. Then the workers would gather the grains and take the seeds off the stalks to be used. Today we have combine machines that take the seeds off instantly, never allowing the grains to sprout. Then for years, and still today in European countries, we always used sourdough starters to raise our breads, which transforms the bread in the same way that sprouting does. It puts lactobacillus into the bread. These wonderful bacteria not only change our breads into healthful foods, but they also change our bodies the same way. Now we have instant yeast and the bread never has a chance to transform. Couple this with guts that are so damaged they can barely digest anything and you have a recipe for disaster. Grains take huge amounts of B vitamins to digest and when you are under a lot of stress you don’t have what you need. Sprouting a grain activates all the B vitamins that are locked in there, giving you what you need to digest it.
So, the formula: remove or deal with stress, then heal the gut with fermented foods and nutrient dense foods. Then, once it is healed, add sprouted or sourdough grains. This is what I did and have watched many others do. My daughter can now eat anything and is free from a life sentence of a life without grains. She loves life and can’t wait to get out of bed. Food is not something that she is afraid of but something that brings her great joy.If you are reading this blog chances are your body is trying to tell you something. Your body is your best teacher are you listening?