I don't usually eat gluten containing foods much. But this year I hosted Thanksgiving, and I love good old fashioned bread stuffing. My favorite Thanksgiving memories are the smells of onion and celery being sautéed in butter first thing in the morning.
So since I love bread stuffing so much, I made a double batch because I DID NOT WANT TO RUN OUT!
I didn't run out, in fact I had enough for leftovers for at least one dinner and probably a lunch, too.
By Sunday, I woke up with a horrible headache. The kind of headache that doesn't go away with a cup of coffee and doesn't go away by sleeping it off, either.
I knew that it was the gluten, so I swore it off. Again!
I was pretty successful until the Christmas holiday rolled around. It's just too easy to arrive at a holiday party starved and make bad food choices.
So between eating those yummy crackers and cheese, and staying up later than I like, I ended up with the two day headache again the day after Christmas.
Doesn't everyone get headaches?
I suppose everyone get's headaches from time to time, but what if we looked at chronic headaches as a symptom of brain inflammation.
That probably seems a little dramatic, but the truth is that many health problems stem from inflammation.
Like I said last week, the first time I thought of inflammation as something other than what happens to your joint when you sprain it, or what happens when you get a bug bite, was when I was reading a book called The Ultra Simple Diet, by Mark Hyman, M.D.
It was recommended as a good book for doing an elimination diet, I wasn't really trying to lose any weight.
He describes fat as an inflammation and toxicity problem. I had never thought of it that way.
Since reading that book, I've become fascinated with the subject, especially after what I went through with my son.
You can watch the Facebook Live I did a month or so ago about how my experience with my son lead my interest in Integrative Health here.
Low level chronic inflammation and toxicity leads to a lot more than just headaches.
Signs you may be inflamed.
I know it sounds horrible. The good new is that with research coming out every day that so many chronic and degenerative diseases are caused by low level inflammation, there's actually so much you can do to reduce inflammation.
The first category of symptoms are brain related.
These are the signs of inflammation that I'm most familiar with and include headaches and allergies, brain fog, in kids it can show up as ADD or ADHD, and as you age it can eventually show up as dementia or Alzheimer's disease.
Certain foods tend to trigger my headaches and my sinus pain. When I get rid of them, I feel much better.
The second category of symptoms are joint related.
This can include some types of arthritis or simply achy joints.
When I injured my knees about two and a half years ago, I got MRIs on both knees after doing physical therapy for about six months.
The orthopedist diagnosed osteoarthritis, along with a couple other potentially operable injuries. According to traditional medical opinion, there's not much to be done about osteoarthritis, as it is a general wearing out of the joints that occurs with age.
I was a runner for years, so it would follow that eventually I would end up with osteoarthritis. Further research is showing that inflammation makes it worse.
I elected not to have surgery on my knees, I opted for an alternative treatment called PRP or platelet rich plasma injections.
I did three treatments on one knee and two lesser treatments on the other knee. Over my ten months of travel last year, my knees felt better and better.
But I still wasn't able to do a lot of the poses I used to do in my yoga classes until I quite eating anything with gluten at the end of December.
The third category of symptoms are digestive symptom related.
These include indigestion, gas, bloating, pain, and diarrhea or constipation. These symptoms also include food sensitivities, whether they're realized or not.
Even if you don't have noticeable digestive problems, often it's still digestive problems that are the cause of the first two categories.
Other problems associated with chronic, low-level inflammation are anxiety, chronic stress, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, lack of focus and concentration, insomnia, intestinal problems, memory problems and mild cognitive impairement, mood disorders, overweight and obesity, and many more. Ref. Grain Brain, by David Perlumutter.
So why do I think this is good news?
I think it's good news because there is so much you can do to tackle inflammation.
Next week, I'm going to tackle the reasons you might have chronic, low-level inflammation and the week after I'll give you some suggestions for an anti-inflammatory life style..
What I'll tell you right now, though, is that I eliminated gluten from my diet just after Christmas and my headaches are nearly gone and several weeks into January, I was able to start practice lotus pose again. (Lotus pose is that cross legged, feet on top of the thighs, yoga pose).
It takes at least 60 days to get gluten completely out of your system, but in just a few weeks, I've seen big results.
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Hi, I’m Crystal!