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Gluten-free Eating Is Easy

By Kim Banting, Tags:

Gluten-free Eating Is Easy

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, spelt, oats, kamut, triticale and barley.  This tiny molecule can be responsible for so many illnesses it is difficult to count them all.  In fact, the New England Journal of Medicine has listed 55 “diseases” that are connected to eating gluten-containing foods.

Gluten sensitivity should not be confused with Celiac disease which is a severe autoimmune reaction to gluten, or with a wheat allergy which has it’s own specific antibodies.  However, millions of people are suffering from undiagnosed gluten intolerance which wreaks havoc on their health.

Gluten containing grains were introduced into Europe in the Middle Ages and 30% of people of European descent carry the gene for Celiac that makes them susceptible to health issues from eating gluten.  A sensitivity of intolerance to gluten can develop at any time in your life.  It has a slow onset and such a broad range of symptoms that it can be very difficult to diagnose.  Every person will experience a different combination and severity of health problems, including but not limited to:

  • gas
  • bloating
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • weight changes
  • nutritional deficiencies
  • poorly formed stools
  • fat in the stools
  • aching joins
  • headaches
  • depression
  • irritability
  • mood changes
  • hyperactivity
  • inability to concentrate
  • brain fog
  • exhaustion
  • eczema
  • cramps, tingling, numbness
  • infertility
  • miscarriage
  • irregular menstrual cycles
  • slow growth
  • poor dental health

These complaints can often seem innocuous and unrelated to anything we have eaten, however, left unaddressed these can grow in severity and cause great damage to our various body systems.  While it is always important to eat whole, nutritious food, it may be even more so during times of stress, trauma, surgery, infection and childbirth.  These conditions have been shown to be possible triggers for new gluten sensitivity or can worsen the effects of an existing sensitivity.

What should you do if you suspect you may be sensitive to gluten?  There are 3 ways of testing yourself:

  1. The skin prick test is where your skin is exposed to allergens and observed for signs of a reaction.  This type of testing is most effective for detecting IgE antibodies.  These types of reactions are immediate and severe such as with rashes, sudden digestive disturbances, anaphylaxis, etc.
  2. Allergy spot testing is used more for IgG reactions, or delayed onset.  This test takes drops of blood from a finger prick and can detect sensitivity reactions to gluten and various other foods.
  3. The elimination diet can be used if the above tests don’t show any antibodies.  Eliminate all gluten-containing foods from the diet for a minimum of 2 weeks (4-6 is better) will allow all gluten residues to leave the body.  Upon reintoduction of gluten, observe any reaction at all that has not been noticed previously.  If you eat gluten and no reaction occurs, wait 2 days and eat a good sized portion of gluten again.  If still no reaction occurs, this is not likely to be the problem food.  This testing method can be used to determine any food sensitivity.

What to do if you find you are sensitive to gluten?  You must eliminate it from your diet completely by avoiding known grains as well as foods containing hidden sources:

http://www.glutenfreehelp.info/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/TS-Hidden-Sources-of-Gluten1.pdf

  • soy sauce
  • white vinegar
  • alcohol
  • processed foods
  • veggie burgers, sausages, etc.
  • malt
  • some vitamins, minerals and other supplements
  • personal hygeine products such as some shampoos, lipstick, toothpaste, soaps and sunscreen
  • stamps, envelopes, stickers

Learn to read food labels and ingredient lists, choose to prepare your own healthy, whole food meals or look to a health professional for guidance on how to create a meal plan that is right for you.  This is the most effective way to ensure you are not eating hidden gluten.  Yes, it is difficult in the beginning while shopping for and trying out new foods, but it does get easier.  You will discover new foods you may not have eaten before, you will be cutting out a lot of processed junk foods that you shouldn’t be eating anyway and you will find a new, revitalized state of health!  Speaking from experience, I know that waking each day feeling amazing becomes addictive and I rarely get cravings for the foods that caused me discomfort before.  Many people with an intolerance can cut out the offending food for a period of time and later be able to eat small amounts of that food, but for most of us it is a life-long change that in my opinion is a great one!

Health and happiness,

Kim

 

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From Farm to Plate

By Kim Banting,

From Farm to Plate

Our food supply is threatened.  What does that mean?  How is it threatened? More importantly, why, and is it too late to correct this problem?The massive use of GMO crops, spraying of pesticides and herbicides and using chemical fertilizers has changed the way the world farms. Farming is big business.  People need to eat and most of us are now far too distracted with keeping up with society’s demands on us that we don’t take the time to consider where the food we are eating came from or how it got to our plate.  Some make what they believe to be conscious choices, such as buying organics, but the food industry is a complicated system and we can no longer trust that we are always being offered safe, healthy food. 

 The agricultural system changed in the 1940′s when men were away to fight in the war.  At this time what is known as factory farming began to take shape.  Tractors and other machinery were brought in to replace the work horse and mule and a monoculture was introduced to the family farm.  Monoculture is the growing of vast fields of the same crop or livestock, year after year without allowing the land to rest and regenerate.  Farmers were supposed to see greater yields with this style of farming, yet there is no evidence of this being the case.  Before this, farmers would create a polyculture by rotating their fields for animal grazing and a variety of crop growth.  This encourages a natural balance and biodiversity that is essential if a farmer wants to maintain the integrity of his or her land and the health of the food grown there. http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=sYWYU5V8JOo   This type of farming strives to mimic nature in all aspects and produces nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables and healthy, happy animals that have no need for medication.  It also discourages pests, eliminating the need for pesticides.  Actually, the current popular method of planting large fields of the same crop has increased the need for pesticides instead of reducing it as was promised by the companies that introduced the idea.

The face of organic farming has also changed in recent years.  Approximately 15 years ago, larger corporations saw the revenue to be made in organics and wanted a piece of the pie.  This is why we can purchase cookies, sugary cereals and other highly processed foods with an organic label.  We can no longer assume that organic foods have the benefits we have come to expect.  So now what do we buy if we want quality food with a conscience?  The new keywords to watch for are “local”, “sustainable” and “transparent”. 

  •  Buying local (within 100 miles of your home) improves your economy and you are more likely to be purchasing from a small, family farmer. 
  • Sustainable means that the methods used promote rich, fertile soil, less disease and fewer pests without using chemical fertilizers or pesticides.  The land’s resources will not be damaged or depleted and the animals are fed a species-appropriate diet.
  • Transparent means that you will not be turned away if you want to see the farm yourself.  The farmer will be proud to share his practices with the consumer. 

This is not the case with corporate farming, not even organic.  Organic foods are shipped to us from all over the world, there is much secrecy surrounding the production of commercial organics and these companies are still using a monoculture system which has been proven to be unproductive.  In fact, small farms that had previously been certified organic have begun decertifying their farms which has led to these new labels to identify quality food.

When we buy organics, we are told what we aren’t getting in our food: pesticides, synthetic chemicals, antibiotics, hormones, GMO, etc. This is good, but what if conventionally-grown foods also had to be labelled with what they do contain?  http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/ Would people continue to purchase it?  Would people still buy bacon if they knew where it came from or understood what that animal’s life experience was before it was slaughtered?  We have the right to know where our food comes from and what happens to it from the farm to our plates.  We, as consumers, also have a responsibility to seek out the healthiest, safest, most humane and eco-friendly foods we can find. 

What happens on your plate represents your most important engagement with the natural world and your biggest impact on the Earth.” ~Michael Pollan, “The Omnivores Dilemma”

Health and happiness,

Kimberly Banting, RNCP, HHP

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Eat Your Way to A Healthy Brain

By Kim Banting, Tags: , , , ,

Eat Your Way to A Healthy Brain

WHO defines mental health as “a state of complete mental, physical and social wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease” and states that diseases of the brain affect 1.1 billion people worldwide.  http://www.who.int/topics/mental_health/en/  1 in 4 people will be affected at any point in their lifetime.

Read More…

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You Are What You Eat…Absorb and Assimilate

By Kim Banting, Tags: ,

You Are What You Eat….Absorb and Assimilate

You are only as healthy as your digestive tract.  Many of us take for granted the work our bodies do for us until they fail us.  According to Canadian Digestive Health Foundation, 20 million Canadians suffer from digestive diseases.  30,000 Canadians die each year from diseases of the digestive system. http://www.cdhf.ca/digestive-disorders/statistics.shtml  In fact, the epidemic of digestive disorders in this country is so common they are often considered normal! Read More…

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The Truth About Detoxifying

By Kim Banting, Tags:

Detoxifying has received a bad reputation from so many enthusiasts jumping on board the latest lemon juice and cayenne pepper trend.  Read More…

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My Philosophy

By Kim Banting, Tags: , ,

I believe it is an absolute truth that to acheive true health, we must reconnect with our place in the universe.  We must have a spiritual understanding of why everything was created as it was. Read More…

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Healthy Aging – Prevent Chronic Illness and Disease with These Tips

By Kim Banting, Tags: ,

You insure your house and your car without thinking. But, are you doing everything you can to protect your most important asset – YOU?

Cancer, heart disease and diabetes are the 3 biggest killers in North America today. Read More…

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The Best Supplements for Preventing Chronic Disease

By Kim Banting, Tags:

Take a look around. From cancer to diabetes, obesity to arthritis, chances are you already know someone with a chronic disease or health problem. Diseases that were once rare are suddenly all around us. Read More…

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