Celiac.com Sponsor (A1):

Join eNewsletter

Celiac.com Sponsor (A1-m):

Join eNewsletter
  • Join Our Community!

    Ask us a question in our celiac / gluten-free forum.

  • Sandi Star, HHP, CNC, CCMH

    Making the Gluten-Free Transition

    Sandi Star, HHP, CNC, CCMH
    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      Journal of Gluten Sensitivity Autumn 2018 Issue

    Image: CC--cuatrok77
    Caption: Image: CC--cuatrok77

    Celiac.com 10/04/2018 - Do a reality check. Remember, this is a choice you have to commit to. If you want to feel lousy for the rest of your life and potentially get worse as time goes on, that’s your choice—but I wouldn’t recommend it for many reasons. The goal is 100 percent. Yes, it is a process, but the ultimate goal is to be 100 percent free of gluten and any other food allergens and intolerances. This is the only way your body will heal, so let’s start the healing journey! 

    Did you know that, as we mentioned earlier, once the gluten intolerant body is exposed to the tiniest amount of gluten it sets off your B cells, which causes an inflammatory response that can take several months to calm down? That’s why the goal is 100 percent. For some food intolerances, such as eggs, for example, you would want to wait at least three to six months then bring them back in and retest to see how the body responds. This is a sensitive experiment, so please work with someone who specializes in this area. As far as gluten, based on what I know and have seen, there is no reason to ever go back to eating wheat. 

    Celiac.com Sponsor (A12):

    Celiac.com Sponsor (A12-m):

    Give it time.  Healing takes time. I’ve been on my gluten free journey for more than ten years now, and I have to say I have never purposely eaten gluten but I can sure tell when I get cross-contamination. I’m one of those people who is all in—100 percent—once I make up my mind on something. I guess if you have been seriously ill for a while like I was, you will do what it takes to be healthy again. For some, that’s not the case; it takes many tries to get there and that’s okay, as long as the long-term goal is always in mind. If you are better with shorter-term goal setting, do a sixty-day challenge. Within this time frame you will notice the brain fog getting better. Your body will start adjusting to a healthy weight. In most cases, you will lose the bloating and weight around your middle, as it is typically linked to dysbiosis (overgrowth of harmful bacteria).

    One of my patients who has celiac disease was overweight by at least forty pounds. She carried most of the extra weight in her midsection. She was only about twenty years old at the time and was having skin rashes, dizzy spells, and nausea. We got her off gluten and within a few months she was a new person. She lost all the extra weight and her skin cleared up. She had no more dizzy spells and now looks amazing! She is committed and can definitely tell when her body gets cross-contaminated with gluten.

    Don’t be discouraged if it takes a little longer than expected to feel 100 percent. Think of peeling that onion one layer at a time. That’s the journey to wellness I tell my patients about continually. A general rule is: for every year you deal with a health issue, it takes at least a month to start healing. Because everyone is unique, it could take longer for you or it could happen a lot sooner than you think: for example, I spoke with a woman who lost seventy pounds in just a few months after going gluten free and has kept it off for years. And I had one patient who went off gluten and his headaches went away immediately! However, it happens for you, it’s worth it! For me, it took a while because I had so many layers to work through. But I will say, I was seeing a lot better and my eyes started healing within a few months. When I went back to the eye doctor he was blown away at the difference and asked what I had done. I told him I went off gluten for starters! You should have seen the confused look in his eyes. That was the beginning of my amazing journey.

    Keep a food journal. You may need to keep a food journal for a week or two if you don’t have one already. It doesn’t have to be time consuming. A one-page journal example is included at the end of this book—or you can download one of many different journaling apps on your smart phone or do it online. When working with my patients, I find reviewing their journals to be a very useful tool. The key is to keep track of what you’re eating and how you feel, which is especially important for those who do not get food intolerance panels done. Journaling helps you stay in tune with what you put in our body on a daily basis. It also helps identify the foods that work for you and that offer optimal healing—I call these the medicine foods. We tie emotions into the journals because anxiety is often related to food sensitivity. To take your journal to another level, include environmental influences such as mold exposure, seasonal flare ups, body care products, cleaning products, etc. This is part of a home revamp which we will talk about below.

    Stick to whole foods to heal the gut. We have options depending on how much inflammation is going on in the gut and, quite honestly, how fast we want to heal. I suggest you drop bakery goods as well as all processed foods and sugar for a while to allow your gut to heal. Eating cooked foods in addition to drinking a quality bone broth is very healing to the gut. This helps calm things down when we are inflamed. A lot of raw foods are awesome but the body has to work hard at digesting them— which isn’t a bad thing, unless you have some inflammation going on in the gut. So, take it easy on raw foods for a while. The Recipes section has some good recipes that use functional ingredients. Treat yourself to exotic organic dark chocolate that is GF. Look for 70 percent or higher. Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants. The darker the chocolate, the less sugar. Keep in mind that chocolate is on the cross-reactive list, in case you have a reaction to it. Some raw treats such as kale chips are a much better choice than potato chips or crackers. I will say when I give into chips I opt for the non-GMO ones that are either baked or cooked in coconut oil. Be on the lookout for healthy meals on your current menus or the menus of friends and family that are naturally gluten free—roasted chicken (without seasoning), baked sweet potatoes and steamed veggies, for example—and make them a staple on your new menus. Surf the internet, watch cooking shows, and browse magazines for ideas you can adapt as you see fit. Karmic Health (www.karmic-health.com) has a great resource and links page with a list of gluten free food companies, blogs, and recipe sites under Holistic Resources. We also have a recipe page.

    Go through your pantry and refrigerator at home. Make a list of foods and meals already in your diet that are gluten free. Be sure to list condiments, produce, snacks, and other foods. This list will be helpful as you create menus around your new restrictions, and will give you encouragement that you’re already on the right track and have choices! We have a great video under the Media page on www.karmic-health.com with yours truly talking about optimal foods.

    At the same time, clear out all foods that have gluten, wheat, wheat flour, oats, oat flour, rye, semolina, or modified food starch as an ingredient. If in doubt, throw it away. If you have family members living with you who will not go gluten free, you might consider giving the offending edibles to them to be put in another part of the house while you learn to live and think gluten free. This step becomes very important if you are dealing with celiac disease. With that being said, your toaster can be a problem if you are sharing it with someone who is not gluten free. They do have toaster bags you can purchase to protect your gluten free bread. I personally don’t have gluten in my house—it’s just my husband and myself, which is obviously a lot easier than having a large family. Do what you can to protect yourself. The same goes for pots and pans and utensils. More on this in the cross-contamination section.

    The goal is to cook for the entire family without using gluten. Most of the time they won’t be able to tell the difference—and they may be surprised they actually like gluten free, healthy meals. They will feel better and the taste might pleasantly surprise them.  Ideally, the whole family will join you on this journey from the beginning—at the least at home. We can’t always control how they’ll eat outside the house. In most cases, once everyone understands the importance of going gluten free and its potential for healing, they will be on board. I don’t have any gluten or cow dairy in my house and my husband is fine with it—not to mention a lot healthier because of it. He does have his cheats occasionally, but he does pay for it with a swollen belly.

    Give yourself permission to eat things you may have restricted from your diet before your diagnosis, as long as you are not experiencing inflammation.  Tortilla chips or cookies may not be appropriate for some people, but they are a treat in a GF diet—in small doses, of course. This becomes important with children. As soon as you can get comfortable, opt for healthier snacks. The Recipes section includes some great treats for both kids and adults, as well as a list of wonderful recipe blogs you can find on the internet. The sooner you can get to using functional ingredients, the more quickly you will heal. I see a lot of people in social media groups posting their gluten free food options, but honestly, a lot of those may be unhealthy and full of other inflammatory ingredients. Be careful.

    An excerpt from Sandi Star’s book Beyond Gluten – A Healing Transition walks you through healthy steps in going gluten free.

    Edited by Scott Adams


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    Thank you for talking about how long your body takes to heal when exposed to gluten. My son was recently diagnosed and taking it very seriously but he is at a critical point in his growth/maturity and is only 5% in height.  I want to be super serious about it during his growth years and wanted to know if he was accidentally exposed how many months would we have "lost" given his body would not absorb nutrients.  It's scary to think that it's months when he has only a 5 year window now to catch up.  If you have any additional information that would be greatly appreciated.

    Share this comment

    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Join the conversation

    You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • About Me

    Sandi graduated from The Natural Healing Institute in Encinitas, CA., with the following Certifications: Holistic Health Practitioner, Clinical Nutrition, Clinical Master Herbology, Aromatherapy and has a Bachelors in Communications. Sandi started Karmic Health in 2008 with a holistic approach to wellness and nutrition. Sandi is a proud member of the American Holistic Healthcare Association.

    Sandi specializes in functional nutrition and wellness with a focus on addressing the underlying triggers of inflammation and disorders by incorporating a comprehensive evaluation and laboratory testing as needed. 

    Sandi’s primary focus is treating and preventing disease and dependency on pharmaceuticals. Sandi incorporates naturopathic therapies, lifestyle and nutrition counseling.

    Sandi offers kitchen revamps, grocery store tours and customized wellness parties and has her practice at Orian Wellness in Carlsbad working alongside Naturopathic Doctors.

    Sandi is the author of Beyond Gluten – A Healing Transition and has written articles for several online publications.  
    Sandi lost 6 dress sizes and has kept it off for over 25 years and has been gluten & cow dairy free for over a decade after struggling with several chronic medical conditions.
    Sandi has hands on understanding of many health issues and is dedicated in creating awareness that will impact our nations focus on disease prevention with a holistic approach. 

    Here site is: sandijstar.com


  • Celiac.com Sponsor (A17):
    Celiac.com Sponsor (A17):

    Celiac.com Sponsors (A17-m):

  • Related Articles

    Scott Adams
    Celiac.com 08/12/2018 - Receiving a celiac disease diagnosis or being told you need to be on a gluten-free diet can be an overwhelming experience, and it is certainly not for the faint of heart. Most people get frustrated with the transition, and many don't know where to begin. While eating gluten-free can improve your health, I must emphasize that it is not recommended to attempt a gluten-free diet without a doctors supervision, as there are many potential health risks involved with making drastic changes to your diet, which can be avoided with assistance of a qualified doctor and/or nutritionist. If you suspect gluten-intolerance to be the culprit for...

    Dr. Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.
    Recently I have noticed a trend in articles that demonize the gluten-free diet, and imply that there is something unhealthy or even dangerous about it. Here is an example of one that I forwarded to Dr. Ron Hoggan:
    and below is his response to its author:
    Dear China Millman,
    Thank you for your interesting article on gluten-free dieting.  I was very pleased to read that you include patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity among those who should follow a gluten free diet.  I assume that you have arrived at your estimate of 2...

    Jefferson Adams
    Can going gluten-free boost your brain power? Dr. David Perlmutter, neurologist, and author of Grain Brain, published by Little Brown and Company, thinks there's a good reason why we may want to go gluten-free a try. Dr. Perlmutter gives three basic reasons for people to avoid gluten in their diets:
    1. Avoiding Gluten Reduces Brain Degredation
    While the majority of individuals suffering from gluten sensitivity experience intestinal discomfort, Perlmutter says an increasing number are experiencing neurological challenges including difficulty staying on task, poor memory function, brain fog and severe headaches that result from inflammation; a common...

    Sandi Star, HHP, CNC, CCMH
    Celiac.com 02/08/2018 - Have you ever considered being tested for a genetic defect called MTHFR? If you have a family history of heart disease or stroke, migraines, trouble getting pregnant or have a child with Autism you might want to consider reading on to learn more. These are just a few of the list of conditions linked to MTHFR mutation. Surprisingly, 60% of our population has this mutation and most do not even know what MTHFR is.
    I recently came up positive myself for MTHFR A1298C. We will talk more about the two common markers in a bit. This changes everything when it comes to choices and is important to have the knowledge when choosing foods...