Why Wheat Free?
By Johnann Johnson, MT CHt HNS

{I was excited to post an article on this page as soon as it went live so I was perusing my past articles when I found this one. Why Wheat Free was first written over three years ago. I still stand by most of what is in this article but I am a true Gluten Free Warrior now. Since penning this little informational I have become a Holistic Nutrition Specialist and continue to learn new science and details on how to go gluten free and even more reasons to choose this eating lifestyle. I want you to be able to see the growth and the progression that happens as we get more serious about our health and get deeper onto this road of natural wellness. All information in red is new to the article. Remember make the changes you can and the ones you are ready for to begin changing your health, no more binges or radical moves, only slow, steady and safe changes last a lifetime. Be Well, Johnann}

Many of my clients and friends know that I live Wheat Free and I'm often asked... WHY? Thought I would take an opportunity to share with you some thoughts on my decision and on being wheat free in general. I want to specify that I do not have celiacs and I am not completely gluten free (I am completely gluten free now).  For me cutting wheat from my diet was a direct result on researching Arthritis and internal inflammation. Science and medicine now agree that most illness and pain comes from the root cause of internal inflammation. Early last year (2012) I was diagnosed with early onset Osteoarthritis. Because it was already affecting my hands, I knew I had to find ways to reduce pain, inflammation and the damage I had. I started listening to and reading anything I could on reducing the symptoms and hopefully reversing some of the affects. The thing I found most often was a
​reference to Wheat (followed closely by sugar & bad fats).  

​Today's wheat is a nasty little aberration of what it was 50 (100) years ago. It has been modified and tampered
with in ways that our body can't understand. I'm not a conspiracy theorist or anything, I don't think that it was
originally done to be harmful, just to be more easily grown and processed. (I am much more of a conspiracy
theorist now but only for the changes made in the last 20 years as most of the wheat and grains in the US are
GMO or Hybridized for unnatural pest resistance.)

However, because our bodies don't recognize wheat, it also can't easily digest it. (Consider what grains like
wheat are.. they are grasses. Human bodies are not made to digest grasses since we only have one stomach and lack the jaw structure to efficiently break down grasses.)
Instead our body tries to fight this invader and thus begins a really bad reaction in the intestines and immune systems.  Those reactions cause the body to inflame, slow down & cause intestinal/digestive issues. Part of that shows up in the joints and gut, and that's where I notice the bulk of my relief.

Since going wheat free, May 2012, my joints aren't swollen, my feet don't swell, and my digestive system is working better. Just a few other things that have improved.. my skin is better, my weight has gone down, I rarely have a headache, my emotions are more stable and I'm generally eating WAY BETTER!  

Most people ask, "Isn't it hard?" And the truthful answer is Yes at the beginning it was really hard, but just two weeks into this life change it became remarkably easy! Once I felt the total body changes and my energy soared and my pain decreased, making the little changes was so worth it that I didn't even want the wheat anymore. I know that sounds very 'pie in the sky", but its really true. 

Recently I ate gluten several days in a row as I attended parties and visits with friends and family. I decided that I wasn't going to worry about what I ate. Then it happened... my body reminded me why I am gluten free. After 5 days of very small amounts of gluten in my diet my face erupted with acne, I had several headaches, stomach pain and bloating. But on day 6 when I woke up to go to work I noticed that my hands were swollen. The joints had stiffened and I was unable to make a complete fist. This is a close resemblance of how I felt everyday 3 years prior. Day 6 was the last day of gluten in my life. The next week I worked hard to detoxify my diet and go back to my gluten free lifestyle. Within 3 days my hands were better but the acne and stomach bloating took several more days to resolve. This was a great reminder of why I do this and perfectly timed before the holidays to deter any temptations.

So what do I eat... I try to make the commitment to take out wheat (gluten) rather than just replace it with "gluten free" breads & foods, since these can be full of other unneeded carbs and sugars, but there are times I've loved a piece of gluten free bread or made wheat free lemon bars. (Also beware of xantham gum which is in almost all 'gluten free' labeled foods. Xantham gum can cause serious allergic reactions in people with food sensitivities. But that's a topic for another article.)

Here are a few of my little changes:
I don't have sandwiches anymore, now I have lettuce wraps. 
All my Mexican food comes in corn tortillas. Use organic corn products only!  
For sauces or recipes I use rice, almond & coconut flour. 
I use zucchini slices or corn tortillas as my base for pizza.  
•I rarely eat pasta anymore but when I make spaghetti sauce I put it on a baked potato or use 
organic brown rice pasta
(this also works at restaurants since almost every restaurant does
I don't eat fast food!!
Veggies make for better tasting treats with dips and toppings then any cracker.  

One important thing to know is that life happens, and when it does, I don't stress out. This is a lifetime change for me but if an accidental Oreo gets eaten, life goes on! Now it just goes on with less pain. However, if you have serious gluten sensitivity or have celiac disease do not think you can easily get away with the sneaking some in, your body will rebell.

A few great sources for more information:  
This is a podcast that gives great information from my favorite group of wellness practitioners. Click here for great recipes and ideas.  An article from my favorite magazine Spirituality & Health.

If I can answer any questions for you personally about going wheat free please just ask, johnannjohnson@gmail.com.

Why Wheat Free? 

By Johnann Johnson, MT CHt HNS

Johnann Johnson

Natural Wellness