Restore your Gut to Calm Allergies

Restore your Gut to Calm Allergies

It’s that time of the year again. Allergies are running rampant, and with it come all the associated sinus infections, runny eyes, and perpetual “colds.” Allergies are big business, and between all the pharmaceuticals, skin testing, and allergy shots, there is no real impetus to teach the public what is causing these allergies.


It is essential to understand allergies in their simplest form. Modern allergies to pollen, dogs, dust mites, etc., are really nothing more than the overreaction of the immune system to elements that have been in our environment since the dawn of man. Sure, if cave dwellers ran through a field of pollen (think “Sound of Music” with a loincloth), they may start sneezing to clear the excess pollen, but today’s over sensitization is extreme. “Normal” exposure to the elements causes immune system meltdowns, and people become snot factories. So what has changed to make us so susceptible to our environment, and why are our immune systems overreacting and creating allergic reactions?

Surprise, surprise, it is our gut. Yep, you heard me-it’s our gut. This is where 60-70 percent of our immune system lives and where over 90% of our daily immune response occurs.

Simply put: a healthy gut equals a healthy immune system and fewer allergies.

If the gut is not healthy and is “leaky,” this increased intestinal permeability allows the immune system to feel like it is under attack all the time. It becomes overactive and attacks everything, including pollen, dander, and mites. What contributes to a “leaky gut” and eventually an allergic over-response? Well, it’s the things that make our gut healthy or unhealthy, and there are over 100 trillion reasons in our first example.

My first question to many allergy sufferers is whether they were C-section babies, and the second is whether they were breastfed. Why is this important? Well, this determines your gut’s initial bacterial health, which is extremely important. We are hotels for bacteria. There are 100 trillion of them and only 10 trillion of us (cells of the body). They have more to do with our health and our immune system than anything in our environment. Passing through the vaginal canal is a great start in life (insert joke of choice here) because of the bacteria we “inherit” as we pass through. Then the breast milk keeps these bacteria healthy and happy, and those bacteria then modulate the immune system.

When we are products of C-sections or are formula-fed, our bacteria get off on the wrong foot, and we are much more likely to have asthma and eczema.

If a person has taken over 5 antibiotics in a lifetime, it is usually a good indicator that they have a predisposition to allergies because antibiotics kill our good bacteria and allow bad bacteria and fungus to be overgrown, which sends the wrong signal to the immune system.

A good analogy is spraying roundup on your grass and expecting more beautiful grass. Instead, what you end up with is an overgrowth of weeds after the Roundup has worn off. Same with antibiotics and your gut.

Gluten and Dairy are the two most common inflammatory foods leading to overactive immune systems and allergies.

100 percent of people have an immune response to gluten. Severity depends a lot on things we have already discussed, such as birth history, breastfeeding, and antibiotic exposure. Still, regardless of previous exposure, in every one of us, it opens gaps in the gut allowing large food particles to pass through, stimulates the immune system, and causes it to become over-reactive, resulting in allergies.

Dairy is a homogenized, pasteurized mess. The type of milk we are drinking now is not the same as in the past. The A1 protein type of milk, which is the vast majority of our milk, along with the homogenization, pasteurization process, exposes our immune system to very inflammatory proteins (Raw milk and goat’s milk are usually A2 and much more immune friendly). These new proteins, evolutionarily, are not recognized by our immune system. Our immune system feels like it is under attack. This “alert” immune system then overcompensates when exposed to other things in the environment. People with chronic sinusitis that gets worse during allergy seasons usually find relief when they give up dairy.

So what interventions that can we make now to calm our allergies? To start, make a better environment for the immune system so that it is calm. Healing the gut will accomplish this.

Probiotics are temporary bacteria that we introduce into our intestines that act as immune messengers. The type of probiotics matters as certain bacteria send different messages, so not just any probiotic will do. An even better solution is using the foundation for bacteria health like prebiotics which are polyphenols and fiber. My favorite product is Poly-prebiotic powder. This will be the foundation for increasing your good bacteria.

Glutamine is an amino acid that the small intestine needs for energy. I use 2 to 3 grams per day to help the gut heal. I combine this with aloe vera and curcumin to calm inflammation and speed healing. A gut with no holes in it is no longer leaky, and the immune system will calm down.

Finally, feed that healthy bacteria. The Mediterranean Diet is an excellent choice: whole foods with lots of fruits and (mostly) vegetables and avoid processed foods (stuff that comes in packages). Avoid gluten and dairy and eat fermented foods (miso, sauerkraut, etc.).

Dr. Nathan Morris, MD

Eating the Fear Away

Fear, unfounded or not, is debilitating. I am gaining a new appreciation for fear with my recent reading of an article in Nature magazine. In this article, I found that my previous thinking of this as a purely psychological problem is probably not 100% accurate. As I will explore, our fear and the neural connections that say “when this happens, this is going to happen” is more associated with our bacteria living in our gut, than some faulty processing of this emotion. Truly a groundbreaking insight, at least in rats, but I think we can say it should apply to humans as well.


Let’s talk about my fear. It is heights. I hate them and I even freak out 5 feet from ledges. To take up indoor rock climbing was my attempt to overcome my fear, and I did that for over 12 months with the thought that if exposed enough, my fear would dissipate. Well, after 12 months, despite all the logical self-talk, “You are tied to a rope with a knot that will not come loose, and there is no way to fall,” I still hung to the wall like a cat being forced into the water. I did not enjoy it. 

Fast forward 3 years: I’m climbing again and I am in love with the sport and have no fear of the same heights that had crippled my brain. Have I become so psychologically sound that this was no longer an issue? No, my wife can attest to this. So, what was it? Well, in this article I am going to discuss what gave me some insight into the shift.

The experiment was genius, except for the part about shocking rats. They took 2 groups of rats, one of which had been treated with antibiotics which impaired the bacteria in their gut, and the other group had normal gut flora. They then rang a bell and shocked them until they got both groups accustomed to hearing a bell and becoming fearful of a shock. Then, in the next phase of the experiment, they rang a bell and there was no shock delivered. The scientists monitored their vitals to see how long it would take their fear response to become “extinct” or when the rats heard a bell, they didn’t poop their cage worrying about getting the bejesus shocked out of them. 

The rats that had received antibiotics never got over the bell triggering a fear response. The rats with normal gut flora/bacteria were able to get over the fear of being shocked and didn’t live in fear of the sound of the bell. This is fascinating if the study just stopped there, but it went further to explain the reason.  

The study showed that the right bacteria in the gut releases metabolites/chemicals that instruct the brain that it is ok to “prune” these brain connections that are causing the fear response. If you have the right bacteria releasing the right chemicals, then you can remove the brain connections of cause and effect, i.e. hearing a bell and thinking you are going to get the hell shocked out of you. This is huge! Our bacteria, when our gut is healthy, helps us get over our fears. Amazing insights. The phrase, “You are what you eat” takes on a whole new meaning and it definitely did for me.  

My research over the last 2 years has shown that fiber is much better for your gut flora than taking selected probiotics (probiotics are helpful, but are limited depending on what each specific bacteria you are taking in the probiotic does–they have very specific functions). I like the fiber approach because it helps all of your bacteria.  

Back to my fear of heights. I have been eating much more salad and fibrous foods over the last 3 years and I think that is why I no longer have the fear of heights I did before. Eating right to help your brain heal is the key lesson here and eating right is lots of fiber in the form of vegetables and fruits. If you need some support with your bacteria besides just diet, try Poly-Prebiotic powder to increase your fiber. Your brain and your bacteria will thank you for it.

Why “Juice Detoxes” are Misguided

Why “Juice Detoxes” are Misguided

This is one my medical pet peeves: juice detoxes.  People who do them feel like crap by the end and, quite frankly, look like crap. Feeling like crap is not a prerequisite to being healthy or doing something good for yourself. The reason for the “crap” association is because it’s just the wrong way to go about detoxing. It was started by someone who does not understand the phases of detoxification. It was started by someone who thought, “Vegetables and fruits are good, so a ton of them is better and especially if we just drank them without all the other pesky things like fiber because chewing is such a bother.” 


First, a juice detox is full of fructose in an unadulterated form, if you are using fruit as a portion of the detox.  Ironically, this creates a huge burden on the organ you are supposed to be helping, the liver. Fructose can only be processed in the liver and fructose is converted to fat so the body can use it for energy. This is stressful on the liver. 

Juice detox also up-regulates Phase 1 of our detox process, which is when we take a toxin already in the body, make it worse (make it even more inflammatory via Phase 1), before finally giving it to Phase 2 of the process, which then makes it a soluble molecule that can then be excreted through urination or defecation.  Phase 2 is not supported very well with juice detoxes.  The most important reason juice detoxes are not helpful,  is that you need amino acids for Phase 2 and without these, you are basically creating Hell’s Angels (Phase 1) from delinquents (initial toxins), and have no way to kick them out of the body (Phase 2).  Juice detoxes have very little essential amino acids, so Phase 2 is rate limited, and you have made a bad situation worse.

Good liver reboots have both whole fruit/vegetables and protein eaten as a meal. Lean, pasture-raised, animal protein actually works the best, but specific formulations of plant-based protein that are cognizant of the detox amino acid needs, work well too like Pure Lean Detox, Mediclear SGS, and CytoQuel. These are a 2-3 week boost to the detox system, and don’t need to be used long term.  I would start with 1 serving a day for the 1st 3 days, then increase to 2 servings a day for days 4-7, and increase to 3 servings a day for week 2, then back to 2 servings a day for the third week.  These “boosts” to your detox pathway should always be accompanied with the meal described above.

Detox is nothing more than creating balance. Healthy meals detox you all the time by giving you lean meats or a complete plant-based protein source, and include vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts (they up-regulate both Phase 1 and Phase 2) and a serving of fiber-rich fruit (like apples, blueberries etc.), but not juice. Think of the Mediterranean Diet and you are thinking of a detox diet. If you want a more specific plan, look at doing 2-3 weeks of a detox powder to support your “detox” diet, like those mentioned above.

Surviving or Thriving the Holidays?

“Surviving Holidays and Social Outings” is always a large concern for patients working to place symptoms of Autism and chronic conditions into remission. But is that all we want to do? Merely survive? With a little planning and some modified expectations, the holidays, and social outings can be enjoyable for every member of the family, including those with the diagnosis.

It’s important to discuss what is important to each family member, and make a plan. A plan will help replace traditional ingredients that later will cause symptoms to flare. A plan will help extended family members understand how much this mean to you, which will reduce their feelings of being hurt or offended.

The internet is flooded with recipes that provide satisfying substitutions for most traditional foods. Google Search words such as: Paleo Auto Immune Thanksgiving, Paleo Thanksgiving, SCD Thanksgiving, provide ample ideas. Starting the planning process now will not only provide food you can eat, but also reduce “holiday stress.”

Here are some suggestions to have the best Holiday Season yet:

Prepare in advance.
Talk with your extended family or friends and identify what is being served for the holiday. Feel confident to ask permission to bring your own version or something different to share with family and friends. When you are kind and Matter of Fact about living this lifestyle, more people will be intrigued than insulted. Chances are they or someone they know are struggling with digestion issues and poor health.

Sugar is a large villain, which compromises your efforts. Bring some dark chocolate to satiate your sweet tooth and help you feel satisfied in order to by-pass the dessert table. Another great way to reduce the carbohydrates is with crust-less pies or with pumpkin mouse. There are many dairy free versions of mousse, which use ingredients such as: avocado, cacao powder, maple syrup or honey, and coconut milk.

Helpful Supplements
In the event you do eat food which creates a flare, talk with Dr. Morris ahead of time about which supplements are best for you to help break down and digest the high allergen proteins more quickly such as Gluten/Dairy Digest Enzyme, L-Glutamine, or Inositol powder.

Talk with Dr. Morris about taking extra magnesium to make up for any that alcohol indulgence will deplete further from your body.

Abundance vs. Scarcity
A large piece to healing is to train the mind to look for abundance rather than scarcity. To look at what we can do rather than staring all the seemingly insurmountable obstacles. To look at what our condition is teaching us rather than what it is taking away. To look at all the foods we can eat rather than perseverating on the foods which will cause us to react/regress. Read more about Mindful Eating, and our Mind Concept Piece to include in your Care Plan.

Cook ahead of time
Try the recipes, found on the internet or in a cookbook, ahead of time. Print out the recipes and take notes. Make your own binder of recipes to use for future holidays. A little bit of planning goes a long way to feeling pleased with your food options. has a fantastic library of recipes.

Flour Alternatives
With so many patients becoming sensitive to Coconut and Almond there is the option of Cassava Flour. Cassava is gluten, grain and nut-free, as well as vegan, vegetarian and Paleo. Since cassava is a high in starch it could mean an insulin spike for you! This means use in moderation particularly if you’re following a low carbohydrate, low-sugar or Paleo-based diet. To reduce the amount of grains, a perfect place to skip the carbohydrates is the stuffing. Try a ground pork, mushrooms, green peppers, apples or pears or another version that does not require GF bread.

Translation: don’t eat cassava flour recipes at every meal! As always, moderation is key.

A Well-Stocked Baking Cabinet
Having a well-stocked baking cabinet helps to organize the ingredients, in one cabinet, to minimize the amount of time to bake your deserts/rolls for the holidays.

Use Ghee or Duck Fat or Avocado Oil to rub on the bird rather than butter. Melt Coconut Oil and Ghee together. Place in glass container and use on your GF rolls rather than butter. Use Ghee or Duck Fat for your gravy.

If your kids are the ones recovering from a chronic condition/developmental delay, it’s best if all family members adhere to the nutritional recommendations of his/her care plan. Parents are the role models and lead the family toward healing through their actions more than by their words. If you need to eat high allergen foods, then do so once the kids are in bed and there is no way for them to see you ‘sneaking’.

Eating out this holiday season? Feel confident to phone ahead and review the menu with the staff. Restaurants are becoming more accommodating to whole food nutrition and substituting out high allergen ingredients such as gluten and dairy. Taking a few minutes to explore what you can eat off the menu will eliminate the awkward feeling of asking a million questions at the celebration.

Ultimately, the holidays are for celebrating our relationships with the loved ones in our lives. Being together, communicating and sharing our experiences in life, even the burdens such as having to watch what we eat, allows those people we don’t see often to know us better.

We should never have to be ashamed that we are doing the best we can to take care of ourselves. Being matter of fact and kind enough to offer to bring safe food allows us to partake in the fun without the worries of exposure and subsequent reactions.

Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season from the Staff at Good Medicine!!

Kara Ware is Good Medicine’s Clinical Coordinator and Functional Medicine Health Coach. She also provides online courses and coaching for families living with Autism.

Stages of Change

Happy New Year! January came and went quickly!
Does the New Year have you feeling inspired more than ever to make change? We all know we want to exercise more, eat more whole foods, and feel better! But HOW do we make the required lifestyle changes?
Let’s first review The Stages of Change. If you know where you currently are, it will help you move more easily toward where you want to go.


  1. Precontemplation: Everybody thinks you have a problem but you. The best example is the wife dragging her husband to the doctors because of her concerns for his health
  2. Contemplation: You are aware you have a problem, but feel it’s really hard to change. Depression is at an all-time high because you know you should change but feel like you can’t. It’s not the right time with Valentine’s Day & Birthday’s this month plus fear of change are common barriers. You feel stuck.
  3. Preparation: You haven’t made changes yet but have made some of the initial steps. You have been thinking more about what you want and why. You have been looking at different foods in the grocery store. You’ve been reading and preparing.
  4. Action: You have started making the change you have desired to make. You are no longer afraid to give up old patterns and you move right into the action.
  5. Maintenance: You have achieved your goal. Your feel stable with this change in your life and it is now a part of you. It’s time to circle back to precontemplation and start the process over to layer in the next piece of your care plan.



Stages of change


Change happens in community, not in isolation. If our friends and families are eating toxic food then we are 50% more likely to repeat those same patterns. Families work together to identify what do they want and what are some small changes they can make together. Our homes are the headquarters for our healing. Everyone in the home gets on board with the nutrition and lifestyle required to heal the one with the diagnosis. This creates a United Team; which makes social situations much easier to navigate. When we feel good and confident about our choices and when we practice being Matter of Fact that we are choosing rather than acting as though we are being deprived our friends interests may be peaked. Chances are they too are living with a chronic condition. Read HERE for some more social strategies.


Change: to cause to be different. Doing something different can be uncomfortable, even frightening. Fear of change is a big issue. This makes us stay with what we know even if we are unhappy. But note: staying the same and not making any decision to change are still decisions. A good tool is to use the Change Assessment Tool. What are the pros to remaining the same; what are the cons? What are the pros to changing, what are the cons?


Your brain actually wires itself and forms neuronal connections based on what you do over and over in your life. Vegging out in front of the TV. Having a sugar fix. Sipping soda. Fixing a cocktail to unwind after work. Smoking cigarettes. Biting your fingernails. These activities literally become wired into your brain.  Your brain is a self-reinforcing feedback loop. We are creatures of habit. Over time, patterns evolve which determine your brain’s form and function. What you do, experience, think, hope, and imagine physically changes your brain.You may have the desire to change but you first have to dissolve the old tracking so the pattern is no longer automatic and unconscious. How? Read more here.


When we start this road to heal the root cause of our symptom sets; it’s something we will start and only getter better at living the solution. It’s not something we try for a few months and then give up because we don’t see the results we are seeking. You must identify small steps, which are reasonable, and which interest you. Overtime, these small steps will accumulate into big change. Overhauling our lives and then growing exhausted and more stressed from the drastic change is counter intuitive to healing. Look for our next post on care plans.


There is no one thing that you can do to improve any one symptom. These foundation pieces to a Functional Medicine Care Plan must be priority. This foundation is how we make the medical interventions provide results. There is no silver bullet. Results come from establishing a strong foundation. Next you continue layering pieces to work in combination to maximize the medical piece. Once you place something into your plan you maintain it just like pouring the footers of a home’s foundation. What small things can you do to improve the following foundation pieces?

  • Sleep and Relaxation
  • Exercise & Movement
  • Nutrition & Hydration
  • Stress and Resilience (identify stressors and areas where they have been successful in the past so to tap into strengths)
  • Relationships and Networks

Kara Ware is Good Medicine’s Clinical Coordinator and Functional Medicine Health Coach. She also provides online courses and coaching for families living with Autism. You can read more here.

Mindful Eating

Eating is an art, a practice, and should be a pleasure in all cases.

The mindfulness movement is a big one and I wanted to dedicate this article to all the teachers who have been trying to teach mindful eating. Because of them, I woke up this morning with a great memory.

My Daddy, rest his soul, was a tolerant man. In a house where no one questioned much, as was traditional, I dared to ask a question about what I thought was being religious. I asked why we pray before we eat. Daddy looked at me with a little shrug and simply said, “Makes it taste better.”

He probably said that to hush me, and it worked. What he may not have known was that he was absolutely correct.

Pausing before one eats, whether there is spoken word or not, allows the body to get ready to experience food and the nutrients therein.

The body’s parasympathetic nervous system is activated by breathing, anticipation and bringing our full attention to what is in front of us. Our “rest and digest” systems do not kick in if our mind is thinking about 5 different subjects, especially those that have nothing to do with the present moment.

Here are a few tips that bring Mind to Food, and aid in digestion:

  1. “Never eat on your feet.” A brilliant suggestion by a mindfulness teacher I heard talk last month. This is a huge battle for me personally. I grew up in a big family and we never ate standing up. I grew up and decided it was more efficient to do so, and worst of all, I have not had a place to sit and eat for the last 10 years. I would cook (nibble as I cooked) and serve and stand to eat in the same place. It was not a pleasure to eat. I ate to get it over with. Now, I have a family table, plenty of kids old enough to help me so that we can all get to the table and eat….and yet, I find myself eating upright sometimes. Just a terrible habit. The trick is to recognize it, recover from it, and sit down to eat.
  2. Before you start to eat, pause. Taking 5 mindful breaths gives one time to contemplate, give thanks, and appreciate where the food came from. Whether done in complete silence, or in the form of a traditional Southern Baptist prayer (no offense Mama. You know I love you more ‘n my luggage.), this type of breathing lowers blood pressure, heart rate and puts the body in a restful state, calling the blood to the internal organs and allowing digestion to be efficient and effective for nutrient absorption.
  3. Activate your sense perceptions. Look at your food, smell it. When food is colorful, the eyes will activate the digestive glands as well as the nose will. The odor of food influences the tongue’s taste buds. The more we experience our food, the more satisfying it will be, and consequently, the less we will eat. I should say, we will be satiated sooner. This feeling often has no bearing on the amount we end up eating….especially if there is an abundance of something we love. It takes a lot of mindfulness to realize when we are satisfied, but not stuffed.
  4. Chew food until it is watery, then swallow. This mindful action not only allows for proper digestion by activating the salivary glands and those in the stomach getting ready to receive the food and break them down, but also enhances the food experience by allowing the food to touch all of the taste buds in the mouth, which in turn tells the stomach what kinds of enzymes it will take to process the food and how much of those it needs to make. I believe fast eating and improper chewing is the main reason people end up with reflux disease.

I know when I am conscious of these things, I have a really different food experience, my body reacts to that by feeling more energized when I need it to be, and that I sleep better because my body isn’t as stressed as it is when I wolf my food down.

Life is all about pleasure, and nourishing our bodies has a true purpose.

Let your purpose be a pleasure.

Sit down, slow down and enjoy all that is there for you.

Annie Morris, LMT

Things You Must Know About Gluten Sensitivity

Things You Must Know About Gluten Sensitivity

More and more “gluten free” is showing up in our food markets, advertising and in daily conversation. This could easily be written off as another food fad much like low fat, low carb, and numerous other recycled food crazes. We may have someone we know that is trying to convince us that “gluten free” is the lifestyle “you just have to try.” Our doctors often tell us that if you do not have celiac disease there is no need to subscribe to this trend and that it is too radical to remove gluten from the diet. So why is this “fad” gaining momentum?

  1. This is not a fad.
    Gluten free is a lifestyle change and the reason for the momentum is because it works for numerous medical conditions and not just gut-based symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain and heartburn. In my practice, I recommend that most patients eliminate gluten immediately. Why?
    Simply because 80-90% of my patient population responds to this therapy. Patients with seizures, migraines, anxiety, depression, attention deficit disorder, multiple types of arthritis, fatigue and many other non- gastrointestinal related conditions are feeling better than they ever have before. First, let’s define gluten. Gluten is the protein portion of the wheat kernel. It is also the hardest protein to digest and process.Gluten now makes up about 26% of the kernel compared to 3% just 30 years ago, due to the hybridization of wheat. So, when you eat two slices of bread today, it yields about the same gluten equivalent as 17 slices did back in 1980. Gluten is also found in barley, rye, spelt and often in oats due to cross contamination from wheat in harvesting and processing. It is also found in numerous other processed foods.
  2. Gluten sensitivity is not celiac disease.
    The gluten sensitivity disease classification is brand new, although it has been a term utilized by functional medicine practitioners for years. Gluten sensitivity as a “medical diagnosis” has just appeared in the medical literature as of March 2011 and that article strongly advocates that gluten sensitivity is a separate disease from celiac.Celiac disease is mainly oriented to small intestine destruction/dysfunction. This is present in about 1% of the population and increasing. Celiac disease is the only autoimmune disease of the small intestine completely initiated by a food protein – gluten. Celiac disease destroys the villi (the absorption “fingers” of the small intestine) resulting in poor absorption of food and nutrients. Gluten sensitivity, unlike celiac disease, is not an autoimmune disease, but rather it is a
    generalized immune reaction. This is much like the flu virus, where symptoms present because of the bodies response to the irritant.
    In the case of gluten sensitivity, it is gluten, and not the flu virus you are reacting to, but with a lot of similar symptoms such as joint pain, headache, fatigue, brain fog etc which all starts in the small intestine where 60-70% of your immune tissue resides.
  3. Gluten sensitivity is not diagnosed with blood tests but rather a trial of elimination of gluten from your diet for at least 4-6 weeks.
    Celiac disease can be diagnosed with blood tests or the gold standard, intestinal biopsy, but even negative test results do not rule it out. Celiac disease, however, is still easier to diagnose and confirm than gluten sensitivity. The test for gluten sensitivity is this: if your symptoms get better when you avoid gluten, then you are sensitive.It takes about a 4-6 week trial of being off gluten and then reintroducing it to see if you are sensitive. If symptoms go away with removing it and then reappear with reintroducing gluten after 4-6 weeks, viola you are gluten sensitive. There are stool tests and saliva test for this from specialty labs but they are still
    considered experimental. Gluten sensitivity affects about 10% of the population, but I would say from clinical experience, the more subtle presentations of this disease make this percentage much higher. Under this conservative percentage, it means 30 million Americans are gluten sensitive.
  4. Gluten sensitivity is not an allergy to wheat.
    Wheat allergy is different than gluten sensitivity. Wheat allergy causes immediate symptoms, as it is a histamine driven reaction, much like other food allergies or bee stings, which cause quick onset of swelling, airway problems, rashes and redness. This reaction is much like a peanut allergy.
    In gluten sensitivity it is a more delayed response driven by a different immune pathway in the small intestine. When the small intestine is inflamed by gluten then the whole immune system is inflamed (Note: 99% of our immune response is due to our interaction with food in the small intestine.). When the immune system feels it is under attack, it sends out the signal to the body to defend itself. This defense to certain foods causes an overreaction of the immune system to normal stimuli such as dust, pollen, pet hair, etc. In my experience, this is where we get a lot allergy symptoms-runny nose, sinusitis, sneezing etc., although this is not “wheat allergy” technically.The same thing happens with imperfect areas of the body such as joints to name another. Our immune system then attacks that which is not “perfect” due to this up regulation of the immune system and a lot of arthritis sufferers joints are being assaulted because of what they eat. The same thing occurs with the brain as it is exquisitely sensitive to ramping up of immune function through cytokines (chemicals released by the immune system which can cause inflammation and regulation of other pathways) which are why you feel like crap when you have the flu.Depression and anxiety are severe in a lot of patients with gluten sensitivity due to the cytokines which block production of serotonin and other neurotransmitters which are essential in upregulation of mood. With the elimination of gluten and often dairy, many patients (myself included) have been freed from allergies, arthritis, and numerous other medical conditions due to overactive immune function.
  5. Gluten free is a lifestyle.
    When going gluten free you are choosing to eat a majority of whole foods. This is the same diet that prevents diabetes, hypertension and heart disease, just to name a few. Whole foods are best described as foods that are not processed. Processed foods are those that are manually changed from their original structure. This is done by grinding, adding sugar, preservatives and dyes.

BONUS: Gluten free grocery tips:

Shop on the outside of the grocery store and avoid the middle.

When shopping in the middle, read every label and choose products with 5 ingredients or less in them (most of these should be spices or things that you can pronounce). “If you can’t read it, don’t eat it!”

You should try not to spend hard earned money on gluten free items such as bread, cookies, and pasta. These foods as a whole have little to 0 nutritional value. They are still processed and/or refined gluten free grain products.

Google the Internet for ingredient and product lists to help you avoid gluten. and are good places to start.

Dr. Nathan Morris, MD