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They say that 3 million Americans suffer from celiac disease. But just think about it, those are only the cases that have been confirmed by a doctor by testing positive to the blood tests and other medical tests that have been ran. What about all the people out there who have not been tested positive, but still have a very real and serious negative reaction to gluten? Don’t these people count too? Sure they do!

I happen to be one of those people. Before I went to a gluten free diet I suffered immensely. It tore my stomach up within minutes, not hours, of ingesting it. Looking back, I would have to say that just about every meal I ate contained gluten. This explains why I would have to RUN to the bathroom in an instant. How horrible! What an awful way to live, but I did! I lived like this most of my life, until I finally figured it all out.

Most who cannot tolerate gluten find they are also lactose intolerant. I am. Actually, I had figured out that part before I figured out the gluten part. I knew that milk, cheese…basically any kind of dairy, and for me, eggs too, destroyed my stomach, it was so obvious. I chose to keep eating them though. I was young, and the importance of good health had not sunken into my head yet. More importantly, I had no idea that by continuing to eat all these foods which my body so fervently rejected, was making me sicker every day. We can’t see our insides and what’s going on in there, but if we could, we all may get pretty scared and stop our bad habits, even if it meant making sacrifices and enduring a little hard work & effort.

Gluten is a protein found in all forms of wheat and related grains, including barley & rye.

We certainly can see what’s happening on the outside of our bodies though. There are many signs and symptoms that come with celiac disease and gluten intolerance, far beyond the obvious intestinal and digestional issues. Some symptoms you may never suspect even being related, but once you change your lifestyle and become gluten free these symptoms disappear – so one can only then begin to know. A few celiac & non-celiac gluten sensitivity symptoms are:  migraines; skin allergies; mood swings, bloating, gas, IBS, lethargy, and more!

See, celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the small intestines when gluten is consumed. So basically, with this in mind, we can put 2 & 2 together and know that anyone who battles with one or more autoimmune disease would greatly benefit from a gf lifestyle. I’m not a doctor, but I have found that by removing gluten from my diet, my Raynaud’s subsided. See what I’m saying? Most people would think that gluten would only be relevant to Celiac, Crohn’s or IBS, but I’m thinking all autoimmune diseases run together, so to speak, so by merely removing gluten, you may be helping end several other symptoms & diseases that you may suffer with. I also believe that if you have one autoimmune disease, you most likely have others. They may not be fully active, or show up in any medical test done to you, but you may very well be experiencing small symptoms here and there – so pay attention to your body and what it’s telling you.

If you ask me, gluten and autoimmune diseases are closely related. Sometimes these answers are not written in medical journals, or even suggested by the medical arena, they are answers we need to discover for ourselves!

What are some autoimmune diseases? Well, I can tell you this, the list is longer than I could insert here; I mean, it goes on and on. Some very common ones, that we tend to hear more and more of lately, are: Crohn’s, RA, Lupus, Raynaud’s, Sjogren’s, Scleroderma, RLS, Psoriasis, and of course Celiac.

Some people have no choice but to remove gluten from their diet, while others may choose to do so in an effort to lose weight. Since gluten is found in most processed foods, removing gluten automatically causes you to cut a big portion of junk food out of your diet which leads to weight loss. That is unless you substitute it with a processed gf food. Aim for eating Mother Nature’s healthy, beautiful and delicious foods!

Why are Americans becoming inundated with these afflictions? It’s a different world today than it was 30, 40, years ago! Everything is changing. The food, the water, the air…it all affects us more than we realize. Stress is another big factor. Stress can bring the devil himself on. It’s a demon that needs to be surmounted as quickly as possible. Nothing is worth stress. Nothing. There are ways to get rid of stress, and ways to deal with it. But know that if left unattended, stress does kill and it will.

The good news in all this is that we have the ability to EAT and DRINK what we choose. Going gluten free doesn’t mean you must replace bread with gf bread, or pasta with gf pasta. I mean, if you need your gf diet to be as close to your traditional diet as possible, then fine, yes…there is going to be a gf version of just about any product.

But, you may want to consider eating healthier all around and increase your intake of natural gf foods such as fruit, legumes, nuts, seeds, gf grains, and veggies. If you eat meat & dairy (I don’t, as they too added to my aches and pains – more on that another time), then that would be acceptable too. Staying away from processed foods, even if they are gf, is a good idea. You’ll see, you’ll feel energized and healthier almost immediately.

Changing your lifestyle to eating a gf diet may seem to be overwhelming at first, especially since the majority of the American diet and many common foods that we eat contain gluten. But, it doesn’t have to be so daunting! You can still enjoy well-balanced, delicious meals consisting of the many naturally gf foods made available to us courtesy of Mother Nature herself. Give it a try, my guess is that you’ll be happy you did!

Gluten free living truly seems to be the way to go these days for a healthier and happier YOU – for many reasons! Diagnosed celiac or not, you many want to consider giving it a shot. What have you got to lose? What have you got to gain? You weigh the odds, you’ll find the right answer!

The ME-gan Lifestyle pick up your copy today! Gluten free ME-gan love to you and yours!