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Go with your gut

Did you know that 80 per cent of your immune system is in your gut?

When you think about this it makes sense since most of the foreign invaders entering our body come in through our mouths.

I’m sure you know that having a strong immune system is one of the best defenses against disease, so to maintain optimum health you must look after your gut.

Eliminating gluten from your diet is a great way to strengthen your gut.

Gluten is a type of protein found in most true grains like wheat, spelt, kamut, rye, oats, barley, and corn (many people can tolerate corn). Gluten is a staple in the North American diet found in everything from pizza, bread, cakes, cookies, to sauces, dressings and most processed foods.

I’m sure it is way more complicated than this but what I understand is that when gluten enters our system the cells of our intestines become inflamed and secrete an enzyme called zonulin. Over time the zonulin can start to erode the proteins that hold our intestinal cells together and can lead to gaps forming in the intestinal walls allowing intact proteins to enter the bloodstream.

This consistent high exposure to gluten and constant inflammation can lead to serious health conditions.

The New England Journal of Medicine lists 55 different diseases that can be caused by eating gluten. Everything from autoimmune diseases, cancer, digestive issues and many psychiatric and neurological diseases.

If you’re up on the latest nutrition books I’m sure you’ve heard of Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis and and Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter. Both of these discuss at length the nasty side effects of not only gluten but all grains.

And it’s not just those with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivities that need to watch out for gluten. 99 per cent of people who have problems associated with gluten don’t even know it.

I’ve been living gluten-free for a few years now and more recently grain-free and it’s made such a difference. I no longer suffer from digestive issues. The bloating, brain fog and cramps are gone. I’ve found a simple way of eating that leaves me satisfied, nourished and energized.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pancakes

4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 mashed whole banana
2 tablespoons coconut oil melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice/nutmeg
pinch of sea salt
Toppings —shredded unsweetened coconut, chopped walnuts, mashed banana.

Whisk the eggs, canned pumpkin, banana and vanilla extract together. Mix the spices, baking soda and salt into the wet ingredients. Pour the melted coconut oil into the batter. Grease a the skillet with an additional tbsp coconut oil. Spoon about 1/4 cup of the batter into the skillet for each pancake. When a few bubbles appear, flip the pancakes once to finish cooking. Enjoy with suggested toppings.

* This post was originally published in the Herald Community on January 22, 2014

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