Oh, My Aching Head and Tingly Toes!

Headaches and glutenAsk the Nutritionist

by Melissa Diane Smith

Q: I get frequent bad unexplained headaches. Some of them are debilitating migraines. I’m also often depressed and have other baffling symptoms such as problems with balance, and tingling in my feet and toes (my physicians told me this is peripheral neuropathy). I have seen many doctors and they say they can’t find any reason for my chronic headaches or other symptoms. Is there any kind of nutritional treatment that might help?

– Monica S., Atlanta, GA

A range of dietary factors—from regular consumption of aspartame artificial sweetener to eating foods that contain monosodium glutamate—can trigger headaches. However, one of the most common yet least-known ones is sensitivity to gluten, the problematic protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.

The other maladies you list also have been associated with gluten sensitivity. Unfortunately, many doctors—including neurologists—aren’t up-to-date on research in this area, and thus aren’t aware that neurological symptoms are often linked to adverse reactions to gluten.

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The Trouble with Wheat

wheat-fieldAsk the Nutritionist

by Melissa Diane Smith

How this common grain sets us up for a variety of health problems.

Q: Why is wheat such a problematic food for so many people? Was it always not good for us, or has it become worse for our health in recent years?

– Kris B., Chicago

 

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Gluten Free and Healthy?
Many Times the Answer is No

by Melissa Diane Smith

This is a slightly revised version of an article I wrote in 2012. It is based on a presentation I gave to the Southern Arizona Celiac Support group entitled “It’s Gluten Free, but Is It Healthy?” in January 2012. Many people still don’t know this information, so I think it’s important to run it again.

Gluten-free symbol 2The gluten-free diet is one of the most talked-about and followed diets these days for good reason: It’s the nutritional answer for the growing number of people who realize they are gluten sensitive. It’s the best example we have of food as our best medicine. The vast majority of people who are gluten sensitive have experienced the amazing feeling of having longstanding bothersome or even debilitating symptoms dramatically improve or completely go away when they eliminate gluten from their diet.

However, for all the good eating gluten free can do for those of us who are gluten sensitive, it can do plenty of harm if we eat gluten free the wrong way. Unfortunately, many people are doing that without realizing it. It’s common for people to experience a big improvement in health when they first go gluten free, and gradually develop unwanted, unhealthy weight gain or new health problems, such as diabetic or prediabetic blood sugar levels, the longer that they eat gluten free. In one study, 82 percent of people who went on a gluten-free diet gained weight in the first two years of eating that way, including 81 percent of the people in the study who were originally overweight.

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Like One of My Books? Try Another

bookCovers2

by Melissa Diane Smith

In this age of instant access to information, it’s ironic that I sometimes run into people who say they love one of my books, but aren’t aware of, or haven’t read, any of the others. It’s time to connect the dots between my four main books—Syndrome X, Going Against the Grain, Gluten Free Throughout the Year, and Going Against GMOs—and let you know how reading all of them can give you a thorough understanding of the spectrum of nutrition-related health issues that affect Americans today. I’m so confident that reading even one of my books you haven’t read before will give you knowledge that improves your health, that I’m giving you extra incentive to do just that: Click here to learn how you can get a discount on counseling or coaching with me if you buy any one of these books through February 18, 2015.

Click here to go to my Amazon Author page.

If you aren’t familiar with my main books, here’s a rundown:

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Don’t Miss Book Signings of My 3 GF Books at the Gluten-Free Expo

10679809_360960924072335_7247116381953976540_oOn Sunday, November 2, 2014, from Noon to 3 p.m., I will be doing book signings of Going Against GMOs, Going Against the Grain, and Gluten Free Throughout the Year at my booth at the outdoor Gluten-Free Awareness Expo at Lifegain Park on the Tucson Medical Center grounds. This event will be a great opportunity to get my three gluten-free books at special discounted prices and to talk to me in person and ask me any questions about gluten, gluten sensitivity/celiac disease, or genetically modified foods that you’d like. All three of these books are written for people who eat a gluten-free diet. (That includes my new book Going Against GMOs, which names non-GMO, gluten-free and grain-free products to look for when shopping and includes more than 45 easy-to-make, non-GMO, and gluten-free recipes!)

At this free event, you also will receive a goody bag filled with gluten-free resources, snacks, coupons, and more. Plus, there will be other booths giving away samples of food and presenting gluten-free resources, activities for kids, raffle prizes, live music, cooking demos, and gluten-free games.

View a flyer about the event here and learn additional information here. Make sure to mark the date on your calendar, and hope to see you there!

Copyright 2014 Melissa Diane Smith

Make No Mistake

Below is a reprint from a question Melissa answered in Better Nutrition magazine.

Q: What is the most common mistake people make on the gluten-free diet?

A: For people who are just beginning the gluten-free diet as well as those who have been on the diet a long time, the biggest mistake they make is over-relying on manufactured processed foods instead of eating naturally gluten-free whole foods such as vegetables and fruits.

Highly processed “gluten-free” food products set people up for health problems in three different ways. The first way is, ironically, by those products sometimes being contaminated with unwanted gluten. Even though gluten-free grains and and flours are naturally gluten free, these foods are often processed in the same facilities – and with the same equipment – as the gluten grains wheat, rye, and barley, where they can inadvertently pick up gluten.

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Gluten-Free and Healthy?
Many Times the Answer is No

by Melissa Diane Smith

This article is based on a presentation I gave to the Southern Arizona Celiac Support group entitled “It’s Gluten Free, but Is It Healthy?” in January.

The gluten-free diet is one of the most talked-about and followed diets these days for good reason: It’s the nutritional answer for the growing number of people who realize they are gluten sensitive. It’s the best example we have of food as our best medicine. The vast majority of people who are gluten sensitive have experienced the amazing feeling of having longstanding bothersome or even debilitating symptoms dramatically improve or completely go away when they eliminate gluten from their diet.

(more…)

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