How Celiac Disease & Gluten Sensitivity Connect to Health Problems

July 13, 2019

Many people are surprised to learn the connection between many chronic health problems and a gluten sensitivity or Celiac Disease. Alternatively, many chronic diseases could benefit from a gluten-free diet. Tune in to learn why, from two dietitians who have experienced the relief going gluten-free can bring, and have seen many of their clients experience the same.

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CASSIE: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. This show is brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I'm Cassie Weness. I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietician. My co-host this morning is Joann Ridout, who is also a Registered and Licensed Dietician. And today Joann and I want to explore the connection between many different chronic health problems and either having a gluten sensitivity or having the full blown genetic autoimmune disease called celiac disease.

JOANN: That's right. And perhaps you have seen all of the gluten-free products in the grocery stores. You might be wondering “What is the fuss about eating all those gluten grains?”

What's the fuss about gluten-sensitivity and celiac disease?

CASSIE: And we hear that question, “What is the fuss over gluten? Why all these gluten free people, right?”

JOANN: Exactly.

CASSIE: And some people tend to think it's a fad, and well we'll address that. And we'll debunk any myths that it's a fad today. But before we start that conversation, I want to sort of give you the brief description or differences between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. And then I also want to explain, just briefly, the similarities. So when we talk about celiac disease, as I mentioned earlier, it's a genetic condition, so it typically runs in families. It's also an autoimmune disease. So that means your body is attacking itself.

Both of my children have celiac disease, so if they get even a crumb of gluten, their body starts attacking their own intestinal tract. That's what celiac disease does. When we look at a gluten sensitivity, one of the differences is that your body doesn't attack itself. It attacks the gluten. So I think of all the years that I was eating gluten, Joann, before I figured out I have a gluten sensitivity. And really, and maybe you can relate, I bet I was eating gluten at every stop of the day. You know, it was a bagel for breakfast. It was maybe some fruit and pretzels, those little low-fat pretzels for a snack. It was pasta at dinner. So I visualize then in my intestines, my body attacking that gluten like it was a bad virus or a bad germ. That's all out war, pretty much 24/7 in your gut.

JOANN: It is.

CASSIE: That creates a lot of damage and inflammation. So our big theme today is that whether you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, over time, both of these conditions can lead to many of the same chronic health problems. So right there, I explained a similarity and a difference. And I would say the other similarity, besides the fact that both of these conditions can lead to a lot of the same health problems, is that the remedy for both of these conditions is the same. The remedy, right, to 100% great health is a 100% gluten free diet. And I have to say too, you know, I mentioned I have two kids with celiac disease. I have non-celiac gluten sensitivity. As you all know, I'm also a registered dietician, so I have the perfect storm there for creating this passion for staying on top of all of the research and learning all I can about celiac disease and gluten sensitivities. And I'll tell you, that's no easy feat. I feel like every week there's more research on the topic of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. And often these two conditions are being connected to a variety of different autoimmune disorders.

JOANN: That's right. That's right. And in fact, the July, 2019 issue of the Journal of American College of Nutrition published a study titled: A Peptide from Kiwifruit Exerts Anti-inflammatory Effects in Celiac Disease Mucosa. So that's a long drawn out way, but to say that, you know, they, they are still researching. And they're still finding things that are going to be helpful.

CASSIE: Things in real food.

JOANN: Exactly. So celiac disease is an immune-mediated disease of the intestine that is triggered by gluten. And what does that really mean? It simply means that gluten causes the immune system to overreact and cause an inflammatory response or inflammatory might be any kind of aches and pains. The study found that a peptide in green kiwifruit helps to reduce that inflammation.

CASSIE: It makes you want to chuck, doesn’t it? It's very interesting and I love research. I just find it interesting the different topics that the researchers come up with. I mean, how do you think of that? I'm going to study a kiwi and see. But good to know because I love kiwi, especially in summertime in a fruit salad, and if that's going to help me take down inflammation or like you said, aches and pains, that's a delicious way to address the problem. And before we go any further, I should explain too that conventional doctors, typically will diagnose celiac disease or tell you that you don't have celiac disease based on a combination of blood testing. And if those numbers that they test are off, then they'll go on to do an endoscopy, where they put a tube down your throat. It goes through your stomach and into the first part of your small intestine. And depending on how much or how little the villi, which are just those little finger-like projections that line the entire inside of your intestine; depending on how much or how little those are destroyed, that then allows them to say, “Yes, you have Celiac disease” or “No, you don't.” I just want to say, though, it is somewhat accurate but not 100% accurate. So if you've went through this testing and have been told you don't have celiac disease and you're still having a lot of signs and symptoms that would point towards celiac disease, maybe the testing wasn't really accurate. And I think part of the reason why that endoscopy isn't 100% accurate is, Joann, you and I know the intestinal tract in the average adult is 20 feet long.

JOANN: Right.

CASSIE: They go down through your stomach, just get to that little first portion of your intestinal tract. And that's where they look to see if there's damage. What if the damage is in the middle or at the very end?

JOANN: Right, farther down.

CASSIE: So again, not 100% accurate.

JOANN: That's right. And I actually went through that celiac test in my quest of trying to figure out what my intestinal problems were all about.

CASSIE: I did not know that.

JOANN: And it was negative, but that doesn't mean I'm not gluten sensitive.

CASSIE: Right.

JOANN: Because there is really no conventional way to diagnose a gluten sensitivity like I have. So the best test is to remove all gluten from your diet and then see if the inflammation level in your body decreases. So for me, that worked like a charm because as soon as I, I mean, I noticed a lot of inflammation going away when I first eliminated gluten. But you know, testing down the road further is as soon as I eat anything with gluten, maybe I might have a little sample of something or I might not be aware that there's gluten in something; Either way I run into a situation where my arthritis pain increases again. Back pain can return. I might have constipation or other digestive issues with that. So a great way to test gluten is just to eliminate it.

CASSIE: And your body will tell you.

JOANN: And your body is going to tell you after you try it in; back in your diet again. Little here; little there; it's going to speak to you.

CASSIE: And I love that you shared your story because I think too many people connect a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease with digestive issues. But like you said, your arthritis pain flares.

JOANN: Exactly.

CASSIE: Your back pain flares. It reminds me of a client I had years ago, and this was before we found out that our family has celiac disease. And she came in. I forget what her issues were that she was there to see me about, but she had already went gluten free and I remember being so intrigued that she figured that out on her own and was 100% gluten-free, and I said, is it hard to be gluten-free? And she said, “No, not really. Because when I look at bread or I look at a dinner roll, I see pain.”


CASSIE: So if you can get that visual in your head, it can really help keep you on the straight and narrow. And I so agree with you that in many cases the most reliable way to figure out if you have a gluten sensitivity is like you said, Joann, just remove it 100%. I don't know, what do you say? Usually six weeks?

JOANN: Four to six weeks.

CASSIE: Four to six weeks. And I, when I was in clinical practice, I always stressed you have to be 100%; most people do to see if it's going to make a difference. And this isn't just us saying this. This comes from, I forget if I heard Thomas O'Brien, who's a guru on gluten sensitivity worldwide, or if it was Dr. Murray down at Mayo. But one of those two said that if you get a crumb of gluten, the size of half of your pinky fingernail, that's a little pinky finger nail, not the long nails. If you get that little piece of gluten in your system, that little crumb, that's enough to leave inflammation for months afterwards. So a little thin slice of great Aunt Margaret's birthday cake could totally screw it up.

JOANN: For sure.

CASSIE: And I, before we have to go to break here, which is coming up soon, I just want to resonate with the listeners. I'm sure they are all aware that it's pretty hard not to hear that gluten word being tossed around. I'm sure you've all walked into your local grocery store and seen gluten-free products on the shelves. That wasn't quite the case just nine years ago when my child was first diagnosed. So I want to talk a little bit more about where we were and where we've come when we get back from break.

JOANN: That's right. So you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you today by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. And we are discussing how celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are connected to health problems. Researchers have found that celiac is the root cause of at least 50 different diseases, including cancer, osteoporosis, kidney disease, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, and a variety of neurological diseases such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, schizophrenia, and even autism. This research was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in January 17th of 2002. That was 17 years ago and is just now becoming well known: amazing.

CASSIE: We'll be right back.

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A Typical Breakfast in a Gluten-free House

CASSIE: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you're just joining us, we're discussing the harmful effects of gluten grains on human health. And I have to share. I was just remembering this during the commercial break. When my kids first started having sleepovers and, okay, they're 11 and 13 so we're still in the thick of sleepovers. But we got our routine down now. But I still remember those first sleepovers and I packed their breakfast because they can't eat what's at the other person's house, right? Cause they have celiac disease. They're gluten free. And off they went. And the first couple times they came back from those sleepovers, they begged me to eat cold cereal and pour some milk over the top. They had never seen that before. We don't have cold cereal in our house. We're dairy free. So you know, we'd have to do a coconut milk. But that just never has been a breakfast. And they didn't know that other people ate that, of course, until they went on those first sleepovers. But you know, I explained to them, you know what kids, I love you too much to feed you that for breakfast. I am sorry. It's just a bowl of sugar.

JOANN: Right.

CASSIE: And truly if you were to take, I don't know, 10, 15 boxes of popular brands of breakfast cereal, you would find that most of those are about 75% sugar.


CASSIE: Right? Think of that. So that's three-quarters sugar you're feeding to your child. So if you're thinking, “Okay, so what should I be eating?” Well, a typical breakfast at our house, just to give you an idea is leftovers of what we had the night before. Or maybe you know, two nights prior. So it might be a leftover hamburger that we grilled. And then I'll often, this time of year cut up some fresh organic strawberries. Kids love strawberries. Have that on the side, and then they both have a brand of full-fat coconut milk yogurt that they love, so I'll serve that too. So a hamburger patty, strawberries, full-fat coconut milk yogurt… And we do eggs a lot too. But if we're not doing eggs, we're doing leftovers and it's just so much healthier. That bowl of breakfast cereal just spikes that blood sugar high and fast. It starts that sugar habit young in those kids. And for kids and adults, it usually sets you up to have cravings that whole day long. And let's not forget, we've talked about this in past shows here on Dishing Up Nutrition, sugar and gluten are the favorite foods of cancer and inflammation.

JOANN: That's right.

CASSIE: Why would you want to feed that to your kids? Okay. Back to where we left off, Joann. When we went to break, I was mentioning that back nine years ago when my son was diagnosed with celiac disease, he was the first one. Gluten was a word that was becoming more well known as well as the term celiac disease. But it certainly wasn't as well known as it is now. And I am a firm believer that the reason why people are more aware of celiac disease, and certainly we're seeing more gluten-free products on the shelves, is that more people are getting celiac disease. And it's not just better diagnostic material. They've researched that. It's just that more of us are getting celiac disease. So that's a whole other topic of why that is. But here's the latest statistics: about one in 100 people worldwide have celiac disease. One in 100: that's a lot. So that means here in the United States there are about 3 million people with celiac. But what I find most astounding is that it's estimated that between 83 and 95% of those 3 million are still undiagnosed.


CASSIE: Think about that. So you might…

JOANN: That is huge.

CASSIE: Isn't that huge? You might think that you don't know anybody with celiac, but you probably do. Because like I said, 83 to 95% of them are undiagnosed. So that's just the people with celiac. Then when we look at people with a gluten sensitivity, like you and I have Joann, the experts that study this area of science are estimating that about one in 20 Americans have a gluten sensitivity. So now we combine all those numbers: the people with celiac disease, the people with the gluten sensitivity, and we have a whole lot of problems in this country digesting wheat, rye, barley, spelt, and even most oats.

JOANN: That's right. So, and you may remember in 2011 cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, wrote and published the bestseller, the New York Times best seller, Wheat Belly. So I remember when that book came out. And in this book he explains how eliminating wheat from our diets can help us, help us to eliminate fat from our bodies and eliminate so many other health problems. So eight years later it’s still a very popular book. Millions of people worldwide have read this book and have proceeded to lose 30 or 50 or even a hundred pounds. Also, many have reversed type two diabetes and many other chronic health problems that they have.

CASSIE: Right. And he was a cardiologist. I love that book. I'm trying to remember. I read it cover to cover, but he has case studies in there of how he was able to correct just some really skewed cholesterol numbers on people, not to mention high blood sugars just by changing their diet. Yes. If you have not read that book yet, that is a great read: one that I pull off my shelves every now and again and reread a chapter or two. And, you know, another New York Times best seller was Grain Brain. Do you remember that one?

JOANN: I do. It’s good.

CASSIE: And another great author. That was written by neurologist, Dr. David Perlmutter. So as you can guess from the title, this book doesn't have you worrying about belly fat, but doctor Perlmutter connects the role with gluten and inflammation in your brain. Now remember I said Dr. Perlmutter is a neurologist, and he's a very well known and respected neurologist. And he really goes through the research in this book and his bottom line is what you put into your brain is what you get out of your brain. Or in other words, what you eat, right, is what you're going to get out of your brain. He goes on to talk, I'm just trying to summarize this a bit, but I hope listeners do either check it out at the library or buy yourself a copy. Dr. Perlmutter goes on to explain that a lot of the chronic health problems people are experiencing today in their brains are not coming so much from a genetic cause, but it's more what we're choosing to eat. I mean he specifically points out Alzheimer's disease and he talks about ADHD. There's autism; there's depression. Most often these conditions are related to the foods that we've been eating for decades and I bet that is new information for a lot of you out there.

JOANN: That's right. So Dr. Perlmutter also said, “The cornerstone of all degenerative conditions, including brain disorder, is inflammation.” We've been talking about inflammation this morning. That can be triggered by foods containing gluten or that are high in sugar. And like I always say to my clients, inflammation comes from anything that contains sugar or that as your body processes that, it turns to sugar.

CASSIE: Right, so don't just go gluten free.

JOANN: It’s not just the sugar count. It's the total carbohydrate count that is going to be a factor.

CASSIE: Good point. So when you're reading a label, you're looking at carbs because all of that will turn to sugar. I have another thought on the whole sugar and gluten piece, Joann. But I'm thinking I should save that till we get back from commercial.

JOANN: Okay, that's right. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. So today if you have a question specifically about gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, or any other autoimmune disease, please give us a call in studio today at (651) 641-1071. Many of our clients with MS or multiple sclerosis are in remission and have been for eight to 15 years. So it's possible for you too. Call our office at (651) 699-3438 to make a two-hour nutrition consultation. And check with your health insurance to see if your appointment is covered. For those of you not in the Twin Cities area, we have long distance nutritional counseling available by phone or Skype as well.

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Why is gluten in the spotlight today?

CASSIE: You’re listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Our topic today is the link between gluten and a variety of different chronic health problems. And I'm betting, cause I've had this question before, it seems like family members tend to ask me this question more than anybody. Have you ever thought, “What's the problem with wheat today? Why have we been able to eat it for thousands of years and now all of a sudden everybody's talking about this problem with wheat or with gluten?” I don't know. Maybe that's never crossed your mind, but like I said, I've gotten that question before so I thought I would address that. Certainly, I think the answer is multifaceted so it could be its own show on a whole other day.

But I think one of the reasons that we need to consider in terms of why are so many people having an inflammatory response from eating these grains, especially gluten, is that today the grains are not grown the way that our grandparents or our great-grandparents grew them or farmed them. And there are many factors to that. But one of the things we do differently is that today many grains are sprayed with a chemical herbicide called glyphosate. And as many of you know, this herbicide is used to increase crop production. You probably know it better as Roundup. You might not know that Roundup didn't even exist until 1974 but today it's used readily. And the glyphosate in Roundup has been shown in the research to be associated with several different chronic diseases: cancer, kidney disease, fertility issues. Those are a few that come to mind. I know there are a couple others, but just something to think about.

JOANN: It really is interesting. And very often I'm talking to clients who have visited Europe or other countries that don't allow glyphosate or genetically modified organisms. They have been able to eat gluten or maybe drink some beer without the nasty side effects and stomach issues that they would typically have from wheat and barley in the United States. So I've always found that fascinating and that kind of…

CASSIE: Yeah, that kind of adds argument to what we're saying here: very interesting. And when we went to break, Joann, you were talking about how anything that has a lot of carbs is going to turn to a lot of sugar and how sugar can create inflammation. So gluten for a lot of people creates inflammation, which you know, can show up in different ways, but it usually means aches and pains and nothing good. Gluten can cause inflammation but so can too much sugar. So on that note, I just wanted to make sure that people are aware. If you feel like you need to try going gluten-free for health reasons, do not turn to all of the processed gluten free products on the market.

JOANN: That's right.

CASSIE: They are readily available. Pretty much any grocery store will offer gluten-free granola bars and pancake mixes and cake mixes. But you're probably not going to feel any better because all of those products turn into a lot of sugar. So that's going to keep fueling that fire of inflammation. Yeah, so be careful. And be careful when you're ordering out at a restaurant too. I still remember the time years ago: my dad, I had gone home with my then toddler. It was just him and I to visit my parents for a weekend in the summer. And my dad trying to be nice, took us out to Perkins the day we were heading home, sort of as a sendoff. This is before we found out we had to be gluten-free. And so I'm looking at the menu and I couldn't decide what to order. And I remember my dad saying, “Oh, just order the pancakes. Those are always good.” And I said, “No dad. I don't want all that sugar.” And he said, “What?” And my dad's a very intelligent, smart businessman. But he looked at me and said, “What? Pancakes aren't sugar. They're flour.” You know? So I, it just was a great reminder to me that if you're not a nutritionist or dietician, you probably don't get that all things made of flour turn to sugar. And then if you're ordering the regular wheat pancakes, you're getting that double whammy of gluten and sugar.

JOANN: That's right. So a couple of foods I think of containing gluten or lots of sugar that my clients seem to love, you know, one favorite spring pie choice or actually any pie, but rhubarb pie is really popular this time of year. People are making rhubarb pie, rhubarb cakes, that is both high in sugar; have a gluten crust. Also cereal bars or granola bars are another food that I hear many parents are eating; also giving their kids for breakfast. And a lot of times we're cramped for time, and those cereal bars are just quick, throw them in your pocket, eat it on the way to school. Not the best choice. So those are not real foods. We always say that. Those are not real foods. Those are just sugar and gluten.

CASSIE: Right. It's a real food if grandma and grandpa could raise it on their farm. That's what I tell my kids any way, or we could grow it in our garden. You can't grow granola bars in the garden. You know, and let's remember: Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson's disease, MS, these are all neurological disorders, and like Dr. Perlmutter alludes to in his book, Grain Brain, not very often is there a genetic connection to these chronic conditions. But there is a food connection.

If I can't eat gluten, what can I eat?

JOANN: Yes, definitely. And as a dietician, I have a hard time understanding why people don't follow a gluten-free diet or at least give it a one month trial. You know, if they have a chronic health condition like diabetes, like MS, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease, the list goes on and on. But people continue to eat factory foods such as bagels, pasta, cakes, cookies, muffins, waffles, pies, pizza. Then they experience these major inflammation responses. And a number of my clients say, when we first meet say, “Well then what can I eat?” So we spend a lot of time talking then about, okay, don't worry about that. I'll tell you. We'll include that as part of this meeting, but you, you know, real food, real food, vegetables, and healthy fats. Yes. So doctors have found there is no medication as powerful as eating a balanced diet that is free of those gluten grains.

CASSIE: I wish I had found those doctors when I was trying to figure out Riley and his problems way back when. But I love that. It's so true. Can you repeat that last statement?

JOANN: Sure. Doctors have found that there is no medication as powerful as eating a balanced diet that is free of gluten grains.

CASSIE: If you're trying to get rid of that inflammation: exactly. You know, and so many, well, I shouldn't say that. It seems like so many times, but if I had to count it up, it probably hasn't happened that often. A lot of people have been very supportive of our family's gluten-free lifestyle but I've had a few family members nonetheless, who have kind of cornered me at times and said, “Oh, isn't this just all a fad?” And, “Why are you depriving your kids by feeding them this fad gluten free diet?” Well, I'm here to say this is not a fad diet. Gluten-free is a healing diet. It keeps my kids out of the hospital. It keeps them feeling great. They are both full of energy, smart, smart kids; great athletes. Yes, it's definitely more work for me. But to have healthy, happy kids is worth every minute that I spend in the kitchen cooking for them.

JOANN: That's right. I have a gluten sensitivity also, but because I don't have celiac disease, people often say to me, “You don't have celiac.” So you know, “Can’t you just eat a little gluten here and there once in awhile.” I have what is called non-celiac gluten sensitivity and more than 55 different diseases have been linked to gluten. So for my health, I prefer to stay away from gluten entirely. And I know I feel so much better when I do.


JOANN: I know what those symptoms are and I can pick them out: the arthritis; the intestinal issues.

CASSIE: It just doesn't work. And I, you know, and maybe that's, I think sometimes people get so weighted down by others saying to them, “Can't you just take a bite? Can't you just eat a little?” You know, if you just say, “That food doesn't work for me.” And walk away.

JOANN: Exactly.

CASSIE: That's all it takes; hopefully.

JOANN: That's right.

Other Autoimmune Diseases Caused by Inflammation

CASSIE: You know, and as I mentioned at the start of today's show, our topic is how celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are connected to health problems. We've mentioned a few but we haven't talked about all of them yet. So I want to spend a little time doing that. Many of these health problems are some type of autoimmune disease and I explained early on in the show that autoimmune simply means your body is attacking itself. So looking at: What are some of these chronic health problems that we haven't mentioned yet? And I want to slow down and say these because I'm sure many of our listeners have been diagnosed with one or more of these conditions or know somebody that's been diagnosed with one or more of these conditions. So one that comes to mind that we haven't mentioned: Crohn's disease. That is often linked to having either celiac or a gluten sensitivity. Also: Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Quick story: my kids’ teacher way back when her thyroid was so out of whack and they could not figure her out and it wasn't until, you know, and she's taking medication and they're adjusting. It wasn't until they diagnosed her with celiac disease and she got the gluten out that they were then able to control her thyroid. So oftentimes thyroid problems, especially Hashimoto's thyroiditis is connected to celiac disease, Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, MS, fibromyalgia, diabetes, especially type one diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's. And there's more. We just don't have time in this short hour to get to all of them. But they're all connected to gluten.

JOANN: That's right. And so when I work with any client who has a chronic condition, I look at their symptoms, develop an eating plan to support their whole body and brain and reduce overall inflammation. The first suggestion I give them is to start giving up gluten grains and start eating more vegetables. So that's, and then as I mentioned earlier, we do the whole meal plan so that you have no guesswork in terms of what you need to do next.

CASSIE: Yes. You walk away with a plan.

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JOANN: That's right. And so it is time for our next break. Time flies, huh?

CASSIE: Yes, for sure.

JOANN: You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Here's another food surprise. Oatmeal is not a health food. So I'm sure you're thinking “What is the problem with oatmeal?” The problem is that oatmeal spikes your blood sugar and makes you hungrier. Although oatmeal doesn't officially contain gluten, it is often contaminated in the field and in the grain elevator or it could be in the processing plant. So especially if it's in that plant that also processes wheat. So I always tell my clients to avoid oatmeal, and eat eggs and vegetable sautéed in butter. My granddaughters love to eat sweet potatoes, green beans, avocado, and sausages. They eat all of that for breakfast. They'll eat whatever's out.

CASSIE: My kids too.

JOANN: As long as I give them all those vegetables first thing in the morning, they're happy campers.


JOANN: If they would eat cereal and juice, they would not be so happy. So I have also been around when they've had a little bit of candy given to them and oh man, it can be a bad day. So our dietitians and nutritionists can set you up on a balanced gluten-free eating plan that your kids will love. Call 651-699-3438 to set up a day and time that is convenient for you. And we'll be right back.


CASSIE: Welcome back everyone. Joann and I really hope we've given you a lot of great information to think about today as we've discussed the connection between a lot of different chronic health problems, especially autoimmune diseases and gluten. Sort of on a side note, I just want to mention because this is timely information, that if you are in a place where you really are ready to shed some unwanted weight and you also just want to get healthy from the inside out, I really encourage you to think about taking our Nutrition for Weight Loss series. We're starting up a new set of classes. It's a 12-week series starting again here on July 23rd at all seven of our locations here in the twin cities metro area. If you don't live close, maybe you're out of state, maybe you are out of the country. That's okay. Our 12-week class called Nutrition for Weight Loss can be started online at any time. So if online on your own time works best for you, just go to and click on online classes. And I also need to say that we still have our $50 early bird discount available but only until this Monday, July 15th. So if you call today or if you call Monday, you can get $50 off of this class series. The office number is (651) 699-3438. And then just one more bit of housekeeping: next Saturday, Dar and Britni are going to interview Dr. Becky Campbell about her new book called The 30-Day Thyroid Reset Plan. Doesn't that one on like a good show, Joann?

JOANN: It really does.

CASSIE: I know you would agree with me. It seems like we're seeing more and more people with thyroid issues.

JOANN: Oh, absolutely.

CASSIE: And you and I know a piece of the puzzle is a gluten problem. So, but we're going to learn a lot more next Saturday when they talk to Dr. Becky Campbell. And again, her book is The 30-Day Thyroid Reset Plan; 30 day plan. Gluten is the problem. This is the 30 day thyroid reset plan. I want to get back to our gluten problem here and just say that Joann and I know firsthand that giving up gluten is no easy task, so if you're at all considering it, just know that we realize the trepidation that you might have. I mean gluten is seemingly everywhere, especially when you're trying to give it up. Certainly it's in bread. It's in cakes and muffins. Then there are the more hidden sources like luncheon meats. Not all luncheon meats, but some luncheon meats contain gluten. And I am continually learning. I just found out, I don't know, maybe a year and a half ago that some restaurants have gluten in their scrambled eggs. Who would have thought? So you really have to be careful eating out. But what happens: it's usually more at a breakfast type place, like a Denny's or maybe a Perkins. They might throw a little pancake batter into their scrambled eggs because it makes it fluffier. So again, beware. And then there are the non-food sources, especially if you have little kids, the non-food sources of gluten that you need to be aware of. Like Play-Doh; a lot of the paints. We're getting to the end of the hour. I can tell my words aren't coming. But Play-Doh; finger paints. So you really need to read labels on everything when you're going gluten free.

JOANN: That's right. And a great guide to help you through your healing journey is The Autoimmune Solution by Dr. Amy Myers. She personally came down with an autoimmune disease when she was in medical school. The first sentence in her book is, “About 10 years ago I developed an autoimmune condition and conventional medicine failed. I don't want to fail you.” That's pretty interesting.

CASSIE: That is so profound. I read that book cover to cover and that first, those first two sentences just captured me because that's exactly how I felt.

JOANN: Right.

CASSIE: Nine, 10 years ago when I was trying to figure out my son's health problems. Conventional medicine failed time and again. So yeah, if you think you have an autoimmune disease or you know you do, that is a great book: The Autoimmune Solution by Dr. Amy Myers. And she really talks about a lot of the basic principles that all of us at Nutritional Weight and Wellness believe in.

JOANN: That's right.

CASSIE: It's all about eating real food, eating protein to support your immune system, eating the healthy fats to heal that gut wall and certainly eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.

JOANN: That's right. We do have an excellent class online called Going Gluten-Free the Healthy Way and Cassie teaches this class. She shared essential information that you need to know and many great tips that she uses so you can find Going Gluten-Free the Healthy Way on our website at Just click on nutrition classes and then scroll down to find that class. That's a great resource.

CASSIE: Yes. That was quite a few years ago now that my colleague, Mary Hauge, and I taught that, but it's, there's just a lot of timeless information in that class. And I want to stop here too and make the, make sure that the listeners are realizing that it's not just Joann and me and Amy Myers who say, get the gluten out if you're suffering with a chronic health problem. Dr. Mark Hyman pretty much says the same thing in one of his newest books. I don't know if you've heard of his New York Times bestselling book called Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?


CASSIE: I love that title.

JOANN: That's great

CASSIE: In his book, I'm going to quote him here: Dr. Mark Hyman says, “You don't need grains at all. You can get the nutrients you need from other less problematic foods.”

JOANN: Like vegetables.

CASSIE: Right. We don't need bread. How about some sweet potato cooked in coconut oil: one of my favorite things. And in fact, another well-known doctor is saying the same thing as us and Dr. Hyman, and that's Doctor Alessio Fasano. I'm sort of a groupie of Dr. Fasano's. He is a leading expert, I think worldwide in the area of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. He's from Harvard and first of all I want to say that Dr. Fasano says non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a real ailment. But get this Joann, I read anything I can get my hands on that where he's interviewed or any of his research. He also says anyone who eats gluten, even if you don't have celiac disease; you don't have a gluten sensitivity. Anyone who eats gluten is doing a small amount of damage at the very least to their intestinal lining, creating leaky gut and inflammation. The human body wasn't meant to digest gluten.

JOANN: Wow, that's pretty fascinating. So what is the bottom line concerning eating gluten grains and chronic disease? The truth is there isn't a clear cut answer. There may be multiple reasons leading to chronic disease or autoimmune conditions. And eating gluten grains can be one of those reasons. So as dieticians and nutritionists, we look at all aspects of our clients' health. One reason may be a lack of sleep or low vitamin D level, or eating too much sugar or too many processed carbs, drinking excess alcohol or eating gluten grains. Those are just a few of those problems that will lead to chronic conditions. Typically, there are a vast number of reasons leading to these chronic disease or autoimmune conditions. Therefore, it takes time and patience to help our clients become rebalanced. So if following a gluten-free diet puts your symptoms into remission, you found your personal reason then. And so research simply may need to catch up.

CASSIE: I love that you found your personal reason. Stand by it. Stick to it. If you need more ideas and more support, I really encourage you to make an appointment with a nutritionist at our office, but also check out the latest blog on our website: It's called Seven Ideas for Summer Snacks on the Go. There are some delicious recipes on there and that was posted by Melanie Beasley just this last week.

JOANN: That's great. Yes, you'll get some great ideas there. So in closing, I hope we've helped you to help you figure out this journey and hope your hope you're interested in giving the gluten-free way of eating a try. Our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Thank you for listening and have a wonderful day.

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