food sensitivities

Gluten-Free: Just because we can, doesn't mean we should


Many patients seek out my services for my "life-saving" meal plans after they receive news that they are sensitive to half the foods they eat on a regular basis. Gluten/wheat is almost always positive on these food sensitivity tests. Can you imagine your life without bread, pasta, crackers or tortillas? What would you eat instead of these gluten-containing foods?

A conversation I have often with patients, 21-Day Sugar Detox participants, peers, colleagues and family is that just because gluten-free "food" products are conveniently available doesn't mean we need to make them a regular part of our eating patterns.

Have you ever looked up "paleo recipes" on Pinterest before? Try it. You'll likely find tons of dessert recipes such as: fast food remakes, candy remakes, brownies, coffee cakes, cookies, etc. Don't get me wrong, some of these recipes can come in very handy if you're trying to make a "less-bad" dessert for a birthday or special occasion. The point I'm trying to make is that these foods still have sugar (even though it may be coming from honey, maple syrup, dates, or other fruits). Almond flour and tapioca starch can be great flour substitutes when making "paleo" treats, however we still don't want to overdo it with excessive PUFAs (read: fats more prone to oxidation when exposed to heat/light/air) found in almonds or the pure glucose (read: blood-sugar spikes) found in tapioca starch. Balance is key and only you can determine what that balance is.

This morning while I was making some carrot gingerbread muffins from the Practical Paleo cookbook (written by Diane Sanfilippo, author of the 21DSD program and cookbooks), I was thinking about how I hadn't made muffins in a few months. A few weeks ago I bought a gluten-free cinnamon raisin bread, but I didn't even finish the whole thing before it went bad. I'm mentioning this because I too take part in "gluten-free" sweets/treats on occasion; however with much less regularity than one may think.

Carrot Gingerbread muffins from Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo

Carrot Gingerbread muffins from Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo

Common symptoms you may be having if you're riding the blood sugar roller coaster:

  • Feeling hangry
  • Irritability
  • Cravings (especially sugar)
  • Regular acne
  • Fatigue (especially in afternoon)
  • Shakiness/Dizziness

If you experience some/all of these symptoms regularly, consider joining my next 21-Day Sugar Detox group. In my groups, we support you through the process of resetting your taste buds and eliminating sugar and carb cravings.

So next time you are eating out at a restaurant and they provide gluten-free pasta or offer to use gluten-free bread, show your appreciation for their consideration but know that it's still okay to get a more blood-sugar balancing entree or using a lettuce-wrap instead.

Elimination Diet Detox phase: Days 1 and 2

Yesterday we started day 1 of the Elimination Diet. Why? Because I've never actually officially done it! This is something I've learned and read about for how to teach others to do it, but I would not feel comfortable asking my patients to do something I haven't even tried myself. Of course, I've eliminated foods I "suspect" and retested them, but with so many other variables in my life and diet, I never knew 100% if such foods are really "offenders".

The elimination diet is not what you might think it is. You're not eliminating ALL foods, only foods that are most commonly irritating to people. But most importantly, INCLUDING foods that help heal the gut and reduce inflammation. After 2 weeks of elimination, individual foods are reintroduced while watching for symptoms. People do the elimination/reintroduction diet challenge if they suspect food sensitivities or experience symptoms such as fatigue, gas, bloating, irregular bowel movements, headaches, pain/inflammation, moodiness, etc.

If you experience any of these symptoms, please come see me in my practice! Participating in this challenge myself, I'll be able to provide you with meal plans and recipes to improve your elimination diet experience.

The first two days of the Elimination Diet is a detoxification phase intended to rest the gut, provide essential detox nutrients, and reduce inflammation. This means two days of: fruit and vegetable juices and smoothies, puréed vegetable soups, and herbal teas. I've got a lot of delicious recipes to experiment with during this time! In the photo below you'll see my refrigerator stocked with colorful veggies and soups. I prepped them all on one day since we have busy work-days. 

My experience in phase 1:

The one thing I've noticed during this phase was that I felt pretty hungry the whole time even though I've been eating a lot, though it's only vegetables and fruits. I felt my body longing to drink the olive oil straight from the bottle, knowing it would receive some sense of fullness. It reminded me of the years when I ate a vegetarian diet. I thought it was normal to have to eat ALL the time to feel some kind of fullness. Once I switched to an omnivorous diet, I felt satiety for what felt like the first time.

I've also been experiencing lower perceived body temperature during phase 1. Though it is getting cooler outside, I noticed I didn't take off my vest and sweatshirt all day (even indoors). I perform a religious fast every March and these last two days I feel cold just like when I'm fasting. To help with this, I've been drinking a warming herbal tea with chai spices to keep me warm.

Though all the food I've been eating in the two days of this detox phase is very delicious, I am looking forward to eating full, balanced meals tomorrow.


Prepped soups, carrot cucumber ginger for juice and berry cabbage smoothie