A Paleo Treasure in a Gluten Free Junk Yard

photo(10)I have two stories for you today. Both relate to gluten free diets, but apply to anyone who has any kind of food sensitivity or chronic illness. Actually, this information applies to us all, especially to families with young children.

Here’s the first true story:

Last year, I attended a meeting of a celiac nonprofit group because I was considering starting a similar group in my area.  This one has a lot of members. There were hundreds at this particular meeting, and there was a featured speaker.

I was sitting at a table with about 10 other people. At the time, I wasn’t certified as a health coach;  but being immersed in gluten/grain free nutritional theories, and having helped my daughter to heal from Crohn’s disease, I had a lot of information that could help people. I was there for observational purposes only, though. So, I just sat back and took in all that was around me.

People at the table starting talking about their struggles. One said she didn’t feel any better than before she went gluten free. Another one asked if she should still have a hard stomach “lump.” I thought it was nice that they could bounce problems off of each other like this, but disturbing that they all thought all they had to do was to remove gluten from their diets to feel better.

They’d managed to find the gluten free snack table, but didn’t see it for what it was:  a huge elephant in the room.

It wasn’t their fault: it’s probably what they’d been told by their doctors. Avoid gluten at all costs!!!! Focus so much on it that you don’t notice all of the other junk that’s on the food label!

It doesn’t matter what kind of food sensitivity you have, it’s a very common misconception that all you have to do is avoid the allergen in question. Our health care system loves to identify one missing piece of a patient’s health care puzzle and call it a day, without first sorting through the pieces and putting them all together.

It’s only a chosen few who decide to connect the dots on their own, by digging a little deeper for answers. Having a graduate degree in education, I’m guessing our school system has something to do with that.

As a parent of a teenager who has been living with a severe food allergy since before she was even a year old, and who developed a severe gluten intolerance years later (it took years to diagnose), I can tell you that any type of food sensitivity is a sign that your immune system has been compromised. Being that over 70% of it is actually located in your digestive tract, the fewer toxins you eat, the more of a chance you give your body to heal.

So, if you’re eating the gluten/food allergen free version of the same old processed foods, your body is never going to stop sending you warning signs that something is wrong.

There are many parallels between autoimmune diseases, like celiac, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, lupus, and multiple sclerosis, learning/behavioral disorders such as autism and ADHD, and food allergies and intolerances.  Medical doctors often don’t see that food is the place where all of these chronic conditions intersect. The few who do can put you on the right track, if you’re lucky enough to find one who has the right nutritional knowledge, which is quite rare.

So, it’s best to take matters into your own hands.  It’s your body. It’s your life.

It’s your wake  up call, and your one true chance of working toward a healthier lifestyle. Will you answer it, or do what many others choose to do – roll over and go back to sleep? If you’re reading this right now, then you’ve heard the wake up call and are ready to take action.  Or, perhaps you already have, but have somehow gotten stuck along the way. With so much misinformation out there, it can happen to any one of us. Years ago, it happened to me.

I just had to get that off my chest because the health care, food, and pharmaceutical industries are such a mess. As an accountant, I feel strongly that what these three industries are doing to our country is worse than the financial crisis (and contributing to it in a big way). The problem is, people just don’t see the elephant in the grocery store, hospital room, and pharmacy. Heck, it’s in each and every one of our homes, in the form of TV ads!

And still, so many aren’t willing or able to see it. Being that you do, does it frustrate you as much as it does me?

So, now for the treasure in the junk yard.

A couple of weeks ago I visited a specialty gluten free store that seemed to be gaining popularity. I was anxious to see what they were offering, and was really hoping the products were not just your typical, food additive and chemical laden, high glycemic junk.

I was looking for a treasure, but going through the aisles, all I found was junk! Junk, junk, JUNK!!! Most convenience foods that come in boxes, bags, and cans (even the ones in the freezer section) don’t resemble real food at all. These were no different, even though this particular store was catering to immune compromised people.

The owner was nice and very knowledgeable about his products, but I can tell that he didn’t have the slightest clue that what he was selling were foods that harm, not ones that heal.

He meant well, I know. Anyone who tries to make life a little easier for those with food restrictions has good intentions. Unfortunately, this person is a perfect example of someone who’s been led astray by the food and health care industries. Someday, he might realize that’s the case. I hope so.

All this was going through my head as I picked up products and read the food labels.  The more I read, the more disgusted I became.

Then, in this gluten free junk yard, I found the treasure I was looking for!!!! A packaged food that had only 2 real ingredients:  coconut meat and coconut water!  Both organic. It was called a Paleo Wrap, and it was made by Julian Bakery. I’d never tried their products before, and can’t vouch for them, but when I tried this one, it tasted really good! And it’s great to be able to use something other than lettuce as a wrap.

I fill it with another treasure that I found at Whole Foods (yes, junk food can be found there too):  Applegate organic, grass fed roast beef.  Add some lettuce, and you have a quick, easy meal or snack.photo(7)

So, here’s the lesson I learned:  some of the best treasures can be found in the junk yard, but only if you take time out to look. I sent a message, loud and clear, to that store owner that the only product I found acceptable was the Paleo wrap I walked out with.  Hopefully, he will take my hint and seek out other treasures to stock on his shelves in the future.

The Paleo wrap planted seeds of hope in my mind.  There are farmers and manufacturers who really are going to great lengths to make a difference in the world and move it beyond the status quo. It’s up to us as consumers (and store owners!) to support them in any way we can.

I can’t control what other people buy, but I can – and have – made the healthiest choices possible for my own family. I do write this blog, and live the cleanest, greenest life I possibly can. I like to share my knowledge and experience with others, when they’re open to it, but I won’t be doing so through an affiliation with any not-for-profit organization that promotes unhealthy, “free from” foods (and many of them do).

I don’t buy many processed foods anymore, and my kitchen cabinets are quite empty. I’m going to need another refrigerator soon because the one I have is too full! I don’t feel deprived at all, because fresh food tastes better than any processed food ever will, if you awaken your taste buds to the possibilities.

Even still, I will never stop looking for treasures in the junk yard. The kind that are not just “free from” common food allergens, but free of food additives, preservatives, colorings, chemicals, pesticides, refined flours, and other toxins. If you want to know how to tell the difference within a few seconds of reading a food label, feel free to download my free report, Detox your Diet in 3 Simple Steps.

Your informed choice is your voice, and your best chance at living a healthy and happy lifestyle.  May real food set your health free!

Please note that this post has been shared with the Natural Living Monday,  Allergy Free Wednesdays, Gluten Free WednesdaysReal Food Wednesdays, Party Wave Wednesday and Gluten Free Tuesdays blog carnivals.

About Dawn

As a Certified Health Coach, I provide motivated individuals with the resources, tools, support and encouragement they need to make the gradual changes in food and lifestyle that could completely transform their lives. Contact me.

11 Responses to A Paleo Treasure in a Gluten Free Junk Yard

  1. Kevin gieg August 15, 2013 at 4:36 pm #

    Love it dawn! I am still light years away from being where you are at but I am also probably much further along than most people. Keep writing… I am going to keep reading.

    • Dawn August 15, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

      Thanks, Kevin! I’m sure you’re light years ahead in other areas. We all have our areas we like to focus on. It’s great when we can all share what we learn and help each other out.

      The only reason I know so much about the food industry, our health care system, digestive illnesses, and gluten/grain/multiple food allergen free lifestyles is because of the experiences I went through with my daughter. I used to see a diagnosis as a curse, but now I see it for the wake up call it really is. Diet and lifestyle changes are more powerful than any pill ever will be, whether you’re able to make them all at once, or gradually over several years. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

      So many people think that gluten free/Paleo diets are fads, or that they’re just for weight loss, but they really are powerful healing tools. We’re all exposed to so many toxins these days that eating real, minimally processed food is the best way to fight off pathogens and keep the immune system strong.

      Of course, food isn’t the only piece of someone’s health puzzle, but it certainly is a big piece of it!
      Dawn recently posted…Gut Soothing Beverages, Part 3My Profile

  2. Sami Veloso August 17, 2013 at 5:49 am #

    I have just found your blog looking for a sausage recipe, and wow, wow, wow, this article is so amazing! I went gluten free a couple of years ago due to gut problems, after doing my own searches, and visiting a nutritionist, as my Dr just prescribed antibiotics for H.Pylori bacteria.

    I felt a lot better and only recently decided to go Paleo as my husband was diagnosed with diabetes. The nutritionist he saw recommended by his Dr, suggested a normal diet just with a change from white bread and rice to wholewheat versions!! Neither of us was happy with that verdict, so after having read “The Paleo Diet” by Dr Loren Cordain, we had an answer!

    Three months later, he has lost 9kgs (20 pounds) and his blood sugar is way down too.
    Neither of us follows a true Paleo diet, but we try our best and it’s a work in progress.
    Thanks and keep up the good work.

    • Dawn August 17, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

      Thank you for such kind words! I hope you found the sausage recipe.

      Sometimes, a book can save your life more so than any doctor can. I’m happy for you that you’re finding much success by connecting the dots on your own. Not many people take it upon themselves to do so.

      You’re very lucky to have stumbled upon Dr. Cordain’s book (I can recommend others as well, if you like). So many people think it’s a fad diet for weight loss. People can lose weight on it, but others gain weight, since they are finally eating the food that allows them to absorb the nutrients they were missing before. Of course, contrary to popular belief, no diet is a cure all (not even Paleo or SCD/GAPS). Years of malnutrition can be very hard to reverse, and other lifestyle changes need to be made, and sometimes other medical approaches (and yes, even drugs as a last resort) need to be tried. Healing is a gradual process, and takes time and motivation. You’re definitely on the right track!!!

      Most people don’t realize that carbohydrate intolerance is behind so many chronic illnesses, like diabetes. Blood sugar is a huge medical problem, not just for people with diabetes. I just shared a related quote on Facebook:

      “Certain fats, the saturated, shorter-chain ones, will keep your blood sugar more stable than any other foods. That’s why we all enjoy butter on our food so much: it satisfies our bodies and lets us know we can stop eating because our blood sugar won’t drop precipitously the way it does with high carb, low-fat foods.” – Julia Ross, MA, author of The Mood Cure

      The Paleo philosophy is that it’s best to eat lean meats, whereas real foodists (and Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories) emphasize the role of healthy fats (from healthy animal sources and coconut oil, for example) as especially healing. So, there’s plenty more to read if you want to learn more!

      Sometimes, people do have to follow a diet strictly, at least temporarily, in order to heal their digestive systems. Such is the case with food allergies/intolerances and digestive illnesses. Other people can make gradual changes, and adopt bits and pieces of different nutritional theories. That’s what we did. No member of my family eats exactly alike. We all have preferred foods and ways of eating, and that’s ok. You have to eat in a way that’s going make you feel your best. So, if you’re feeling great, keep on doing what you’re doing! You’re way ahead of the game already.

      Thanks again for leaving such a kind and thoughtful comment. Best of luck to you!
      Dawn recently posted…Digestive Health 102: The Healthy Soil/Gut Bacteria ConnectionMy Profile

  3. Sami Veloso August 17, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

    Thanks Dawn for leaving a comment on my blog too. I will certainly try and get the books you mention. I love reading about nutrition and what we can do to improve our health.
    Scary facts about arsenic in rice!
    Sami Veloso recently posted…Changing our way of eatingMy Profile

  4. Billie Fisk October 14, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    Hi there, I check your blogs on a regular basis.

    Your writing style is witty, keep it up!

  5. Ken Atodahl January 28, 2014 at 5:38 am #

    Organic Roast Beef? Wow. I want that.

  6. Tami September 6, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    I would like to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, great post!

    J I came across it while searching on on Yahoo News.

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