Why Gluten Is Bad For You: Going Gluten-Free

Gluten, gluten, gluten. When will we stop hearing about gluten?!

We hear about gluten allergies, we hear about gluten-free diets, we hear from people who don’t know what gluten is, and then we make fun of them all. But should we? First, let’s find out why gluten is bad for you (okay, so it’s probably not bad for you, but there’s more to the story than that).

1) Why gluten is bad for you: Because you have celiac disease, dummy!

Researchers now know that celiac disease is much more common than once thought, and doctors can more easily diagnose someone. These folks can’t eat gluten, which is unfortunately found in one of the most common ingredients known to mankind–wheat.

A lot of people who have irritable bowel syndrome may have celiac disease and not even know it. That’s why gluten is bad for you–many people with celiac disease have been sick for a long, long time and have become accustomed to living that way.

2) Why gluten is bad for you: because gluten products have more than one ingredient!

If you don’t have celiac disease, then gluten won’t cause any problems–maybe. Most people can metabolize the ingredient just fine. But still, many people without celiac disease swear on everything they know and love to feeling much, much better after eliminating gluten from their diet. Why on earth is that?

The answer is simple and logical, and we should all be able to put two and two together in order to arrive at the blatantly obvious answer. But if you’re not looking at the numbers, then even the simplest equation is difficult to solve.

Gluten is found in flour. Consequently, those poor gluten-free souls are forced to eliminate all foods containing flour from their diet. Have you ever baked bread, cookies, brownies, or muffins? Then you should immediately know which other ingredient is associated with flour. Keep thinking. Have you ever eaten a bowl of cereal? What about all the other processed foods lining the shelves of any grocery store? If it contains wheat, then which other ingredient must it contain?

The answer: Sugar!

Two plus two. Now that you know the numbers in the equation, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that avoiding gluten will inevitably make you feel better–because you’re inadvertently and substantially reducing the sugar you consume, too. The sugar and other processed garbage in your diet are making you feel like crap–not the gluten. But avoiding sugar will also leave your body bereft of most gluten-containing foods. See how that works?

3) Why gluten is bad for you: Because you don’t even know what gluten is, and that’s just embarrassing!

It’s disappointing that we live in a world where people are belittled for not knowing technical details of an ailment. There are numerous articles on the internet pointing out how often gluten-free individuals don’t even know what it is.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat. Many people are allergic to that protein. Those people have celiac disease.

But what difference does reciting information make? How many people can provide a technical explanation of cancer, heart disease, or stroke? Instead of asking people what gluten is, why not ask them what the function of their kidneys is? What does the pancreas do? What does the spleen do? And why do you have such enormous gynecomastia? Feel free to look the last item up on your own–you won’t be disappointed. In any case, how many of us can provide specific details about our own organs?

Not the majority.

The point is this: Don’t tease people for being short of details about why gluten is bad for you. Those details won’t make you feel any better if gluten (or sugar!) makes you sick. But even so, being asked about gluten might lead to stress. Add it to the list of reasons why gluten is bad for you!

What are your thoughts? Are you being driven nuts by people blathering on about gluten? Is this article driving you nuts? Are we all just nuts? Shoot us a comment below! Gluten, gluten, gluten!

The Local Honey Allergies Myth And Other Allergy Myths: Busted!

Crazy allergy myths! Locally produced honey can have an effect on your… Pet allergies aren’t what you think… Eating only organic foods won’t…

Allergies are a tricky subject. It’s often very difficult to pin down exactly which allergens are causing certain symptoms, and because of this we tend to develop strong beliefs surrounding the subject. The problem is that many of these beliefs are myths that can lead to problems down the road.

I’m going to let you know which myths to watch out for, and teach you the real solution for dealing with nearly any allergy.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular allergy myths:

1. Raw, Locally Produced Honey

This one is a common belief. It suggests that if you consume raw, locally produced honey, then you’ll slowly build up an immunity to the local pollen allergens in the air. Unfortunately, the majority of seasonal allergies aren’t triggered by the pollen you’d find in honey. Although bees do tend to transport different kinds of pollen, it’s the pollen in the air that usually sets off your seasonal allergies. Most often, this pollen is from trees, grass, or weeds. Not flowers.

Most researchers consider this myth busted since there isn’t yet a study which clearly indicates that raw honey and allergy prevention are linked, and in fact most evidence seems to support that they aren’t. There are countless other health benefits to eating raw honey over processed honey, however. So if you enjoy the stuff, give this one a try anyway.

2. Antihistamines Versus Prevention

It’s sometimes difficult for people to believe that the only way to prevent allergic reactions is to stay away from them. We’re human, and so we inevitably want to believe that popping a pill will make all our problems go away. But take it from me: being human just means that we’re usually wrong. Antihistamines come with a host of side effects. These can include symptoms ranging from dry mouth and dizziness to constipation and bladder retention. Most often, though, you’ll find yourself drowsy.

It’s best to avoid the allergen altogether. Using antihistamines should be considered a temporary solution, as serious side effects may develop from constant use. Your best bet is to see an allergist in order to find out exactly which allergens are causing the reaction. Your doctor will also be able to prescribe more effective medication, or at least medication more suited to your own personal needs. Prevention will always be more effective than the drugs you use to combat these allergies. Be careful.

3. Food Allergies

Do you think you have a food allergy? Maybe you do, but maybe you don’t. If you have an allergy, then reactions will always occur when you come into contact with an allergen. This is because coming into contact with distinct types of food proteins will trigger your immune system to respond 100% of the time. Because these reactions are constant, certain food allergies can lead to very serious problems down the road. For example, celiac disease prevents your small intestine from absorbing nutrients due to an allergic reaction to gluten, and can cause a dizzying arraying of ailments, including malnutrition and cancer. It’s an extremely dangerous and underappreciated condition, and unfortunately only one of many. For more information on gluten and the dangers of celiac disease, check out my article called What Is Gluten Free Food? Gluten Free Myth vs. Fact!.

If the reaction only happens sometimes, then you probably have some sort of sensitivity to a specific type or food, or you may be mistaking the reaction for food poisoning. In order to be sure, you’ll need to give your allergist a list of your symptoms. It may help to keep a detailed food diary. Write down which foods you eat, when you eat them, when the reaction occurs, and the specific symptoms that occur. Bring this with you when you visit the doctor. It’ll make diagnosing the exact problem much, much easier, and maybe even save you an additional trip or two.

4. Pet Allergies

Believe it or not, if you’re allergic to cats or dogs, it’s not the hair that’s triggering the reaction. The allergy is caused by a specific protein found in the skin, urine, and saliva of those animals. The myth most likely persists because hair often traps and carries this protein. Because these pets shed, the protein will pretty much end up everywhere. Still, you’re better off with a short-haired animal since the hair will trap less of the protein and can be more easily washed. If you have an animal, groom it well, and keep its hair short if at all possible.

5. Organic Foods

One of the biggest myths is that consuming only organic foods will let you avoid certain food allergies. Guess what? That’s a big fat lie. First of all, labeling a food as “organic” doesn’t mean as much as you might think it does. You’d be surprised how often foods are granted this label without really qualifying. But even so, unprocessed foods account for around 90% of food allergies.

Therefore, if you have a food allergy, then organic versus inorganic won’t make much of a difference. If you notice that there is one, then you’re probably misidentifying the protein causing the allergy in the first place. Remember, there are many different parts to a food item. If you’re allergic to an apple, for instance, then there’s a good chance you’re allergic to either the skin or the meat but not both. In other words, skinning an apple might solve your problem.

One thing is for certain: Don’t listen to anyone who isn’t a doctor. If you’re looking for treatment or professional prevention tips, then ask an allergist for more information. They’ll be able to help you sort out the facts from the fiction, and they’ll be able to help you discover exactly which allergens are causing all of your ailments. For now, though, check out some great tips on how to prevent allergic reactions.

By all means, share your own stories. What other myths have you heard? Are there any natural remedies that have worked for you? Have you been dealing with a potentially life-threatening allergy? Let us know! If there are any other subjects you’d like us to cover, feel free to comment below! Thanks for reading!

Why Are My Allergies So Bad? Natural Ways to Help Allergies

Allergies are on the rise: 18% increase in food allergies. We don’t know exactly why. Here’s what you need to know: We don’t encounter as much bacteria…

Allergies can pack a truly unexpected punch, striking at any time or place. Seasonal allergies, food allergies, animal allergies. They all equate to a world of pain for those who have them.

Did you know that allergies are becoming more prevalent in today’s society? The number of food allergies alone have risen a shocking 18% in children between the years 1997 and 2007. We’re not really sure why just yet, but a popular theory suggests that because we live in such a clean, sterile environment, our bodies aren’t being exposed to as much bacteria. In other words, our cleanliness might actually be making us sicker! This trend implies that allergies are only going to make us and our children feel worse as time goes on.

Those of us who have asthma or skin conditions might expect an even more agonizing assault. I unfortunately have every debilitating condition known to man, but luckily this puts me in a unique position to help others.

Allergy prevention methods range from pretty much free all the way to pretty much ungodly expensive. For the sake of giving you as much information as possible, I’m going to pretend that we live in a communist society where people get everything they need when they need it.

I’ll start by explaining how you can most effectively stop the symptoms of allergies from becoming a nuisance, and then let you know how you can combat them when they already have. Here are the five worst causes of allergic reactions, small and large!

1. Bedding

First things first. You know that place where you sleep? It’s filthy. And I mean mind-bogglingly, absolutely filthy. It’s true, some of us just don’t wake up until we’ve had our morning shower. But as far as allergies are concerned, it’s counterintuitive. If you shower in the morning, then that means you spend the entire day picking up allergens from each and every one of the places you visit. You’re inviting them into your bed. Don’t.

You should shower or bathe in the evening instead. At the very least take a short shower in the morning, and enjoy a more serious scrub-down in the evening before lying down.

That’s all well and good, of course, but truth be told your bedding is a festering den of debauchery for those crazy little critters no matter what you do. Allergens aren’t the only things you’re bringing to bed. Dirt, bugs, sweat, and bacteria all habitually find their way into your nest. There are two ways to fight them. First, buy hypoallergenic covers for your pillows, mattress, and comforter. Second, and this is the priority, you should find the time to wash the entire bedspread at least once every week or two.

2. Air Conditioning

Believe it or not, air conditioners do more than shoot blissfully cool air into your fortress of solitude (I call it your fortress of solitude because let’s face it, if you have seasonal allergies and you’re reading this, then you’ve probably realized that you should never leave the house again). Air conditioners filter the air. Cleaner air means fewer allergens, which in turn means fewer stuffy, runny noses. If you’re worried about allergens floating around during the winter months, try searching for a HEPA air purification unit.

Something else to consider: Air conditioners not only filter the air, but they reduce its humidity as well. I mention this because while a dry environment can most definitely help allergy sufferers reduce their symptoms, it can also go a long way toward increasing the symptoms of those who suffer from dry skin.

If you suffer from ichthyosis, eczema, or a number of other pesky skin conditions, you’ll want to weigh which is worse–your allergies, or your skin. And don’t forget, allergies can irritate your skin. Yep, you heard me. If you turn the air conditioner on, your skin might dry out. And if you leave the air conditioner off, your skin might get irritated. And if you have asthma on top of all this? Don’t even get me started. Sucks, right?

3. Furniture and Carpeting

If you have the option of leather furniture, go for it. It’s safe. Upholstered furniture is great for caging all the little allergens that find their way into your home. Any other surface needs to be regularly dusted and wiped down. Tables, mantles, floors, picture frames, sliding glass doors. Anything and everything. Maybe you can afford a maid.

Carpeting isn’t worth the trouble. It’s a safe-haven for anything floating in the air and it’s a great environment for mildew or mold to thrive. And no one wants to go shopping for a special HEPA vacuum cleaner. (Although if you insist on carpeting, this is what you want). If you can, choose hardwood flooring instead.

That’s three down and we’ve got two allergy offenders to go. Did you know that knowledge itself can be a reason for your out-of-control allergies? Next up: Knowledge!