What are your thoughts regarding gluten? Episode 11.

What are your thoughts regarding gluten.... Why is it so bad? Why does it seem that decades ago this wasn't a problem? I have been gluten free for 2.5 years and can honestly say it gave me the most improvement out of anything I've ever tried. I have been sick since age 11 (and probably before that) and have tried everything and have been to every doctor. However doctors never told me to try quitting gluten!

A modified excerpt from The Autoimmune Fix by Dr. Tom O’Bryan: 

“A person can go a lifetime with the earliest symptoms of autoimmunity which can include joint pain, weight gain, brain fog, gut imbalances, depression, mood disorders and fatigue.
Autoimmunity occurs on a spectrum and it develops slowly, almost imperceptibly, overtime.
For autoimmune diseases the process starts as early as your 20s or 30s with multiple steps of declining health along the way. 
The biggest problem we have is that a medical diagnosis can occur only after there is significant tissue damage. By this time it takes longer and more work to fix the problem.

Currently in the United States the number one cause of morbidity and mortality which means getting sick and eventually dying of some kind of disease is your immune system trying to protect you. We now know that the only system of the body that addresses inflammation is your immune system and it appears that the triggers of the immune system are the number one reason behind getting sick and dying.”

Gluten sensitivity is one of the most common mechanisms for launching the immune system into action. Your symptoms are rarely the problem but more often a signal from the body of some other underlying issue.

So let me ask you this. Do you believe you have optimal physical mental and social well-being?

“The healthcare system in the United States is the most expensive in the world but reports consistently show that it grossly under performed relative to other highly industrialized countries. According to the new England journal of medicine, for the first time in the history of humans, our children will have a shorter projected lifespan than their parents. Our children will get sick earlier, get diagnosed with disease earlier, and die earlier than their parents from completely preventable diseases.

And for the adults of the world, we have bought into the idea that aches, pains and fatigue that limit us are due to the fact that we are getting older or under a lot of stress. Look at all the drug commercials on TV that Tell us that we can be happy and healthy again especially if we overlook the warnings at the end of the commercial that tell us we will die if we take this or that medication.”

Think of your body as a chain of interconnected organs and systems.  If you pull on a chain, it will break at the weakest link in the chain. Wherever your weak link is in your body, that's where inflammation will end up causing symptoms. Your weak link might be why you have a sense of not feeling well. Maybe it's your memory or it could be your thyroid. You might have been associating these symptoms with getting older. The truth is that  age does not have much to do with your sense of well-being.

We need to pull our head out of the sand stop thinking we are just fine and learn how to take care of our body. It takes an average of 17 years for research findings in the medical community to work their way down to your local doctor and you don't have 17 years to waste. The immune system has been researched a lot and new findings in medicine hat been found over the past 25 years. It takes an average of 17 years for research findings to get to your doctor so unless your doctors are completely up-to-date with the latest medical research they may not be aware of what cutting-edge science now knows about the immune system. There is a lot of science to show that changing your eating habits to avoid foods that trigger the immune system does not mean you are following a fad diet is the only way to address the information in your body so that you can heal. 

There is a spectrum for autoimmune disease. On one end you have no symptoms that just stick out at you and on the other end you have dis-ease and in between there is where all the damage accumulates until you have the dis-ease. The problem is that you might have elevated antibodies and feel completely fine or you may have elevated antibodies and be in a full blown thyroid storm. Either way- if you choose to do nothing about the elevated antibodies you are looking at continued destruction of you thyroid. So it doesn’t really matter if you have symptoms or not. Your immune system has been activated to protect you when there is any environmental trigger- gluten, mold, nuts… anything. This is normal and is supposed to happen. Your immune system is not supposed to attack your own tissue though. 

We are cellular beings, made up of trillions of cells. Our cells make tissues which make organs which make systems which make us- the organism.  Damage to the body starts at the cells. when there is damage to our cells, we have damaged tissue which leads to organs that are made up of damaged tissue so they are also damaged and then our systems are damaged which makes us sick with symptoms of thyroid problems and or Hashimoto’s. You can insert any chronic condition here too. Not just thyroid. 

The gift you have been given by having these symptoms is that you are now in control. You can do something about your symptoms. You don’t have to feel like crap. You now have an opportunity to nip those symptoms in the bud. To stop them before they cause complete destruction of your thyroid or before you have to give birth to a dead baby like I did. 

It is time to wake up and do something about what is going on with your body. This chronic state of disease so many of us are living in is not normal! 

Being tired all the time, pain, depression, not being able to lose weight, insomnia, anxiety, headaches, hair falling out, and the list goes on.  These things are not normal. You might have just gotten used to feeling so bad all the time that you forgot what it was like to feel good. 

Let’s talk about gluten and the role that plays in hashimoto’s and thyroid in general. 

Gluten sensitivity is high among those of us with autoimmune disease. We can have the same types of symptoms as people with celiac disease when they consume gluten containing foods. Things like anxiety, headaches, brain fog, chronic fatigue, weight gain, depression and a not feeling well. Your risk of dying early with gluten sensitivity is 72%. University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center says that 300 different conditions can be associated with gluten sensitivity. 

Here is a really simplified version of what happens when you consume gluten. 

When gluten molecules enter our bloodstream, your immune system will make antibodies against it. The antibodies go through your body looking for it and will sometimes get confused by tissues that look similar to the gluten proteins in your blood. For those of us with Hashimoto’s the thyroid is the victim and the tissue is being destroyed. All because we can’t give up bread or pasta. The tissue in our thyroid becomes inflamed from the attack and eventually dies off little by little until we have symptoms and we go to the doctor. 
Remember that gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, rice, corn, quinoa, spelt and so on. It is thought that wheat, rye and barley are the toughest for us to digest well. Almost half the celiacs also have a sensitivity to corn too. The best way for you to know if you have a sensitivity is to eliminate it for a month and reintroduce it. 

Why isn’t gluten good for us?  The enzyme that our body makes that breaks down proteins in the food we eat doesn’t work so well on gluten containing grains like wheat. The way the proteins in wheat are made up, the enzymes we make can’t really break it down like other things we eat. So we don’t really get a whole lot of nutrients from the wheat because we can’t break it down properly enough to use the vitamins and minerals contained within. 

You can actually develop an autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s because you are gluten sensitive. 

Gluten is causing intestinal damage and permeability so we are not breaking it down well, it is keeping us from absorbing other nutrients and the proteins from gluten and other things are getting in to our blood stream causing more inflammation.  There are not a lot of good blood tests to test for gluten sensitivity so the best test is the elimination diet. Take it out of your diet for 3-6 months and reintroduce it to see how your body reacts. 

The longer you eat gluten, the more likely you are to develop an autoimmune disease.

Why is gluten such a problem for us?  Most bread used to be fermented in the form of sourdough which breaks down the gluten protein making it easier to digest. Most bread you buy in the store is so overly processed and the wheat is sprayed with chemicals that end up also affecting our gut. 

How do i become gluten free!? I wish I could get hypnotized!
How do i become gluten free with a toddler and a husband who is not gluten free? Everyday I keep telling myself not to eat junk then 5 min later i get a craving and eat I have no self control.

This is not about self control first of all. Your body will crave what is harming it because you get a dopamine hit from the damage being done. It is your body’s way of protecting you.  You have a toddler who is not in control of what he or she eats- that is easy. They can eat what you make for them and they can eat just like you. You are actually at an advantage with a toddler because you can introduce foods to them that you maybe never were introduced to like liver. They can learn to like liver because they don’t know any better. Get the book Nourishing Traditions and start cooking. :)

You probably already eat meat, fruits and veggies so you are half way there. There are a million recipes on the internet for gluten free diets- just look at the paleo world. So many delicious recipes out there. I wasn’t a fan of many veggies when I went gluten free and I found myself eating new things all the time. Some of them I liked and some not so much. 

It can be really overwhelming so you just start with one meal. Maybe lunch or dinner and make one gluten free meal for dinner. Make enough for leftovers so you have an easy lunch. Do some kind of meat like chicken or steak or hamburgers (no bun) and make a salad and another veggie to go with it and you have a gluten free meal. 

Buy some applegate lunch meats and roll them up in a lettuce wrap for lunch with avocado, maybe mayo if you tolerate it, some lettuce and have some cucumbers on the side. There is lunch. 

Breakfast gets to be trickier for a lot of people because we are taught that we must have breakfast food for breakfast which is a total load of crap. Have leftovers for breakfast. I spent so many years trying to make breakfast n’oatmeal out of spaghetti squash and riced cauliflower only to be super disappointed in the taste. 
Don’t try to replace old favorites with gluten free versions. Don’t trade one junk food for a gluten free version. That will not help you heal. Start with real whole foods. 

As for your husband it really depends on how supportive he is. If he is supportive, he will eat what you eat while he is with you. My husband was not the best at this. He complained at what dinner was sometimes but I did my best to ignore his complaints and made food that made me feel better so I could be there for my family in a better way. Now, he will eat a burger without a bun and will eat what I put on the table without any complaints. He had to or he would starve. 

Good luck. 


I am recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s. It’s been less than a week since my diagnosis. I’ve just started taking Levothyroxine daily and Vitamin D2 weekly. I also have been a vegetarian for over 13 years. It will be difficult for me to reintroduce any kind of animal protein into my diet, aside from eggs and dairy. I wonder if there are any alternatives to taking supplements? I’ve read about how to get “complete proteins” from combining veggies/beans/and grain. I’m basically starting from scratch, with no real knowledge or thought previously put into my diet. Should I focus more on how I combine ingredients to create more beneficial meals?


First of all, Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol is what you should be taking instead of vitamin D2. Please make sure your doctor is monitoring your levels as you can get too much of it.  

Here is the thing with Hashimoto’s. Gluten will probably be a problem for you as I have just explained. Vegetarian and vegan diets can be carb heavy, meaning more pasta, bread, rice, beans etc. Those are all things that will mess with your blood sugar which will also need to be addressed. Soy is a complete protein but is not great for us. It was only ever meant to be consumed in a fermented state as a condiment.  It might be fine to consume some organic miso or tempeh occasionally but I would not rely on it for a protein source. 

All of the grains, beans and dairy can perpetuate intestinal permeability or leaky gut rather than heal it. 

Pea protein is a good alternative source of protein which you could include in smoothies. Look for a brand that has no other ingredients in it. Have a couple smoothies per day adding in a couple of handfuls of greens to each of those smoothies. 

Many people with hashimoto’s are going to be intolerant to eggs, nuts and seed which are all good sources of protein. Nuts and seeds are very hard on the digestive tract and eggs are one of the top allergens. 

Datis Kharrazian book, Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms has an elimination diet that allows for rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat or tapioca keeping in mind your blood sugar levels when consuming these foods. 

You will have to work extra hard to get enough protein so that is where a pea protein powder will be good for you. You will want to avoid soy, nuts, nut butters, all dairy products, eggs, wheat, oats, rye, barley, spelt and kamut, tomatoes, tomato sauces, corn, alcohol, caffeine (includes coffee, tea, pop, chocolate). You should do this for a minimum of a month and then you can reintroduce some of these things to see if you have a reaction. 

When you do legumes, make sure you soak them for 24 hours. This will help them digest better. Same with any grains you plan to consume. Soak them, then prepare them. Then you can combine them to get a complete protein source. 

You need to consume some healthy fats like olive oil, olives, avocados, avocado oil, coconut products and make sure you are getting lots of variety of veggies both cooked and raw. Also make sure you are drinking lots of water. 

If you are willing to add in fish, this would be beneficial at least once a week. Just be mindful to buy wild caught fish if you do. 

You will want to load up on veggies at every meal along with some fat such as avocado. You will want 5-7 servings of veggies each day. 

You have to remember that Hashimoto’s is not a problem with your thyroid but a problem, first with your immune system. You have to figure out what is causing the inflammation and keeping your immune system on high alert. Doing this type of elimination diet will be quite helpful. 

You might want to have your B12 levels checked by your doctor and supplement with that accordingly. Same with your iron levels which are commonly low in people with hashimoto’s or thyroid problems. 

Udo’s oil is a vegetarian source of Omega 3 fatty acids that will be beneficial and make sure you are taking a good quality probiotic being sure to switch up the strains of bacteria every couple of bottles. 

Nutrients you will need to be sure you are getting are: 

tyrosine(found in fish, eggs, nuts, beans, oats and wheat), 
selenium (fish and eggs will be your best sources here), 
fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K (you can supplement this. Biotics Research has a product called Bio-ADEK-Mulsion that you can get at getbiotics.com and enter in code DFILC163 to order it, 
choline (eggs, peanuts, rice, spinach, beets), 
the omega 3’s (Udo’s oil), 
amino acids (which come from proteins and you can get them from tempeh, lentils, black beans, quionoa, pistachios and pumpkin seeds), 
B vitamins you can get from many fruits and veggies
iron (lentils, tempeh, lima beans, quinoa, brown rice, oats- I would avoid oats, pumpkin seed, pine nuts, pistachios, sunflower and cashews, dark leafy greens). 

I hope this helps. 

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