Fibromyalgia and a Gluten-Free Diet

My latest challenge

My latest challenge is a gluten-free diet.  I have even purchased a bread-making machine and I am actually pleased with how my breads have turned out!  I think making my own gluten-free bread might actually work!

Gluten is the protein part of wheat, rye, barley and other related grains.  It is what gives elasticity to dough helping it to rise and to keep its shape.

Gluten sensitivity may not be an issue for you since living with Fibromyalgia gluten-free-diet-planpresents each of us with individualized challenges.  Hopefully, I will find that I am one of the few who is not negatively affected by gluten in my diet, but the only way to find out, I think, is to eliminate it now.  One benefit I am looking forward to is the weight loss that people have spoken about.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome – undiagnosed gluten intolerance?

 IBS is found in a high percentage of patients with undiagnosed gluten intolerance.  Research published in the “British Medical Journal” states that patients with Fibromyalgia should be screened for gluten intolerance and that doctors should suggest the patient switch to a gluten-free diet to help relieve symptoms.

In one research endeavor, an investigator found that in 123 patients with Fibromyalgia, 73% suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

With gluten intolerance we aren’t getting the use of the amino acids present in the grain and we are reacting badly to them, often with a low level inflammation of the intestines.  Why is this important to know?  Because, any disruption in the gut by inflammation prevents us from absorbing the vitamins and minerals we need to be in balance.  Our cells can be starving for proteins and for the enzymes and hormones.  

 ***Gluten sensitivity affects 40% of the population while only 1% is people with celiac disease.

 Gluten Sensitivity linked to many “dis-eases”

 A review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be caused by eating gluten, which include:  Osteoporosis, IBS, inflammatory bowel disease, anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, MS, and almost all other autoimmune diseases.

Gluten is also linked to many psychiatric and neurological diseases, including anxiety and depression, which are also experienced in people living with Fibromyalgia.

 Similar to celiac disease, the immune system of the gluten sensitive individual reacts to the ingestion of gluten.  The biggest difference between the two conditions is that the gluten sensitive individual doesn’t suffer the destruction of the small intestine as the celiac patient does—yet the damage is no less severe to the health of the person suffering.

Why is there a higher increase of gluten sensitivity today?

Dr. Leigh Erin Connealy writes: “Until recently, whole grains had been considered some of the healthiest foods around. However, decades of tinkering with wheat to make it more productive and profitable have turned the grain into something of a monster with questionable health benefits.

In fact, today’s wheat even looks different than the classic grain, and it no longer contains the same beneficial nutrients. Even worse, wheat – like sugar and high-fructose corn syrup – is used in some form or other in products where you would least expect it. Wheat turns up in everything from frozen french fries to pet foods to skin lotions – and it uses a variety of names, including hydrolyzed wheat protein or wheat starch.

Unfortunately, there’s one additional concern with wheat: contamination by GMO (genetically modified organism) wheat that “escaped” from experimental fields.

This fact, acknowledged by the USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture), has already led Japan to cancel its contract for wheat with American farmers. Many other countries have also banned GMO foods”.

***So, I am attempting another challenge — ridding my diet of gluten.  I know it may not be a perfect transition to the world of gluten-free, but, hopefully, it’ll be a positive move forward on the road to a healthier lifestyle.  Below I have listed gluten-free foods and foods that can be part of a gluten-free diet.

Naturally Gluten-Free Foods: 

  • Beans, seeds, unprocessed nutfruit
  • Fresh Eggs
  • Fresh meats, fish, poultry – not breaded, batter-coated or marinated
  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Dairy

Make sure the foods are not processed or mixed with gluten-containing grains, additives or preservatives. Many grains and starches can be part of a gluten-free diet….. (well, that’s good to know!).

 Foods that Can be part of a Gluten-Free Diet

  • Amaranth
  • Arrowroot
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn and Cornmeal
  • Flax
  • Gluten-free flours, (such as rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)
  • Hominy (corn)
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Sorghum
  • Soy
  • Tapioca
  • Teff (North African cereal grass)

Avoid foods and drinks containing:

  • Rye
  • Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
  • Wheat
  • Barley 

Wheat products go by different names as your roaming the grocery store.  You will see many types of wheat flour—bromated, enriched, phosphate, plain and self-rising.  If that isn’t enough, here are more to avoid:

  • Bulgar
  • Durum flour
  • Farina
  • Graham flour – (one of my fav snacks with peanut butter)
  • Kamut ( closely related to durum wheat, Kamut® grain is considered nutritionally superior)
  • Semolina
  • Spelt (wheat grain used primarily for bread)

Avoid the following unless they are labeled Gluten-Free or made with corn, rice, soy or other gluten-free grain.

  • Beer
  • Breads
  • Cakes and Pies
  • Candles
  • Cereals
  • Cookies and Crackers
  • Croutons
  • French Fries (the oil could have been used for frying other things, such as breaded onion rings)
  • Gravies
  • Imitation meat or seafood
  • Matzo
  • Pastas
  • Processed luncheon meat
  • Salad dressings
  • Sauces, including soy sauce
  • Seasoned rice mixes
  • Seasoned snack foods, such as potato and tortilla chips
  • Self-basting poultry
  • Soups and soup bases
  • Vegetables in sauce

Even oats can be contaminated with wheat gluten during growing and processing.  It’s best if they are labeled gluten-free. Watch for cross-contamination!

Medications and vitamins that use gluten as a binding agent and play dough should be avoided if you are trying to go completely gluten-free.

****To assist with digestive health, I suggest a high quality probiotic and digestive enzymes and a whole food supplement, such as afa blue green algae.  I can assist you with this simple dietary program.

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I would love to hear from you!

Today, besides being an active grandmother, I am a volunteer with several community organizations and love spreading the word of this amazing super food that will always fit into a natural, organic gluten-free lifestyle. patti

You can read my story here about my journey living with the many challenges of  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.


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