I hear patients say time and time again, “gluten free didn’t work for me.”
It’s important to realize that just because you don’t see changes immediately, it doesn’t mean that they’re not occurring. Your body has been living one way for so long, you can’t expect it to heal completely overnight.
Why go without gluten?
Grains have changed a lot over the years. They’ve been hybridized, genetically modified, and doused with many different pesticides. The structure of the grain is not the same as it was 50 to 100 years ago. This “food” is extremely inflammatory in nature and, as a result, has introduced our body to molecules it’s not necessarily set up to deal with.
It’s not just the gluten that causes problems for autoimmune individuals. There are other parts of the wheat that increase inflammation as well. Did you know that viruses and bacteria love to feed on grains? When you eat a diet full of grains, you’re feeding the viruses and bacteria in your body.
You may be thinking, “Well, I don’t have any viruses I’m healthy except for this psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis!” But think again.
The underlying cause of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis has yet to be identified, but there is ongoing research looking at Epstein Barr, certain Shingles viruses, E.Coli, c.Diff, and Streptococcus for autoimmune conditions. And you guessed it! Grains fuel every single one of these viruses and bacteria.
Omitting all grains from your diet can be a daunting task. My own journey has been a few years in the making. I first went gluten free for a year and then transitioned over to grain free over two years ago. I believe this was an easier transition for me because it eased me into getting used to omitting certain foods and switching in new ingredients.
It took me months before I truly saw a difference with my diet. And that’s not abnormal. You must take this journey one step at a time to help control your inflammation and help your body heal.
Want to take the first step? Then cut out gluten! It will help your body by reducing the amount of toxins and foreign objects it needs to fight off. It will also cut down on the amount of fuel you’re giving the possible different viruses and bacteria in your body!
There are several options that you can turn to when you go gluten free. Which are good for you and which aren’t the best? Here are a few options.
Pre-packaged gluten-free foods:
Just because the package says “gluten free” doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Many gluten-free packaged foods are laden with sugar, eggs, canola, soy, additives, corn, rice, and everything else under the sun.
Do not go free range and eat all the “gluten-free” foods. It’s easy to get excited when you see gluten-free buns, cinnamon rolls, pasta, and other delicious foods in the grocery store, but you must be cognizant of what’s in the product.
If you pick up a “gluten-free” pre-packaged product and take a look at the ingredient label, you’ll see that there are still many ingredients that you should avoid. Many companies are playing into the “gluten free” craze and using it to their advantage. Don’t be fooled!
If you ask my Grandma, she’d tell you that corn is her favorite vegetable. But did you realize that corn isn’t actually a vegetable? It’s a grain! This is a common misconception in our society.
Years ago, corn was a nutritious and healing food. But now, after genetic modification, it’s DNA has been altered and it no longer is a source of nutrition. Corn is one of the gluten-free options that will NOT promote healing in your body. Corn will feed any pathogen you have in your body, causing you more symptoms and problems.
My advice: remove all the corn from your diet. And be on the lookout for it in packaged foods as well! Corn is cheap so you’ll find it lurking on many ingredient labels — corn oil, corn starch, maize, corn syrup, corn fructose, dextrin and dextrose, fructose, lactic acid, malt, mono- and diglycerides, monosodium glutamate. The list goes on and on!
Rice is a good option if you’re omitting gluten from your diet. It gives you the opportunity to still enjoy home cooked dishes, while cutting down on inflammatory foods in your body. There are many different types of rice, but your best bet is to go with a bag of organic short grain brown rice because of reports finding measurable levels of arsenic in rice. Brown rice flour also makes a great baking substitute!
Oats are almost always processed in factories with gluten and wheat. Therefore, you must make sure that your oats explicitly state “gluten-free” on the label. Eat a bowl of steel cut oats for breakfast or use oats to make homemade granola bars. With all grains, you should limit the amount you eat, but oats are a safer option.
Millet is a very nutritious, and fairly cheap, grain. Millet bread would be the best gluten free bread option, but, unfortunately, whenever you buy prepackaged foods you get many other ingredients that will cause you problems such as eggs, canola, corn, soy, sugar, etc. Your best option is to buy a bag of millet and cook up a pot. Each bowl will be cost effective, and you will provide your body with nutrients it can use!
Many think that quinoa is a seed, but it is actually a grain. If you’re living with psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, or any other autoimmune condition, quinoa is your best choice. You should still limit how much you eat of it, but if you’re going to eat one grain, make it quinoa.
Living gluten- or grain-free
What’s the best way to eat rice, oats, millet, and quinoa? With vegetables! Add celery, spinach, lettuce, and other greens to these grains to help bump up their healing potential!
With everything, some psoriatic disease patients do better with certain foods than others. It’s important that you identify what works best for you. You may find that rice sits well with your system, but oats are off limits. Track your symptoms and listen to your body.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic condition, like psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis, it’s a good idea to keep all grains out of your diet. It truly will help you fight off pathogens in your body and help set you up for healing. But, if you absolutely cannot cut them out, try to stick to rice, oats, millet and quinoa in moderation!
Julie Cerrone is a Psoriasis HealthCentral Social Ambassador, certified holistic health coach, ePatient advocate, yoga instructor, autoimmune warrior and the blogger behind It’s Just A Bad Day, NOT A Bad Life. Helping chronically fabulous patients realize they can live their best life possible, Julie stresses the importance of finding your own personalized treatment plan. Check out her Elimination Diet 101 eCourse which will help jump start creating your own plan.
Julie Cerrone is a Psoriasis HealthCentral Social Ambassador, certified holistic health coach, patient empowerer, yoga instructor, autoimmune warrior, and the blogger behind It’s Just A Bad Day, NOT A Bad Life. When she’s not empowering chronically fabulous patients to live their best lives, she can be found traveling, cooking, geeking out over health-related things, or enjoying life in Pittsburgh. Julie loves social media, so make sure to connect with her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.