Myth or Fact: Bread May Cause Seizures

image1Can bread be the reason you’re feeling anxious and depressed? Do you know someone who has seizures but doesn’t know the underlying cause? Based on recent research, it’s quite possible that gluten is the problem. Gluten is often linked to digestive symptoms, however, there is also research that suggests gluten is related to brain functioning and mental health.

Here’s what a research review of 162 studies shows regarding the relationship between gluten and neurological and/or psychiatric symptoms (Jackson et al., 2012):

36 articles for seizure disorder

20 articles for movement dysfunction such as ataxia and cerebellar degeneration

26 articles for neuropathy, which causes weakness, numbness and pain related to nerve damage

20 articles for schizophrenia

14 articles for depression

12 articles for migraine

Up to 10 articles each for anxiety disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, autism, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis, myopathy, white matter lesions

There may be a variety of reasons why a person is experiencing any of the neurological or psychiatric issues listed, however, it’s worth talking with your doctor if you suspect gluten might be part of the problem.

To read more about the relationship between gluten and the above listed diagnoses, go to http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3641836/

 

Advertisements

Just Say “No” and Other Ways to Turn Down Amazing Holiday Foods because it Just Wouldn’t End Well

 

IMG_1731 - Version 2Oh, the sparkly decorations, holiday parties and all that alluring food that gives you the come hither look that no one else can see. During the holidays, it is sometimes difficult to say no to all of the variety available at the table. You’re laughing and talking and maybe drinking a few sips of alcohol throughout the evening. You’re having a great time, the conversations are intriguing, your inhibitions are slowly slipping away.

Even though some of us may know exactly what foods trigger our allergic and inflammatory responses, it’s tempting to overlook the repercussions in the moment, particularly when dining with others. As though it’s not hard enough to fight off the urge to try every little delightful dish on the table, there’s also Good Food That’s Oh, So Bad for Me peer pressure. The act of sharing a meal is a significant custom in many parts of the world. It is a cherished form of communing for many, and some take these rituals very personally.

Every culture has its unspoken guidelines about food. In some cultures for instance, burping is apparently a sign that the food was tasty. It is said to equate to a sign of appreciation. In other cultures, it is a sign of disrespect to refuse food, which might be a more difficult custom to work around when trying diligently to avoid certain foods. Although you don’t want to go around offending people, there are definitely ways to stand your ground without feeling like the pretentious jerk of the party.

The more information people have about the severity of a food allergy (or your reasons for staying away from a particular food), the more buy-in you’ll receive. An explanation of your preferences is often sufficient for people to back off, however, in some families, such as my own, people insist that I MUST try a certain dish. If you start getting the evil eye and you want out, it may be helpful to throw out some solid statistics to solidify your point.

If your loving family finds a cunning reason to induce guilt (sometimes being synonymous with family) by saying something like, “Oh, that’s too bad because your 98-year-old grandma made this just for YOU,” thrown in with a look that could slap, you might have to reach far within the back of the arsenal.  In the past, I’ve taken a piece of food and offered the possibility that I might try a teeny, weeny bite. Maybe. This is usually a huge maybe.

And I get the pressure. This is THE family recipe. Your Mama’s Mama’s Mama made this particular recipe for 70 decades. And it’s not about the Jones family cookies or the Mama Lucy’s peanut bars, it’s about unity, nostalgia and making new memories together. So, as I said, It’s a huge maybe, but I’d rather slide something onto my plate instead of hurting poor Grandma’s feelings.

There is also the option of bringing a dish, which the host will surely appreciate. This way, temptation is down and you have a safe alternative. Bringing a dish is also a visual reminder to others that your food concerns are real. They may even love what you’ve brought.

Have a wonderful, yummy holiday filled with blessings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feingold Diet for Attention Difficulties

salad

The Feingold Diet is a diagnostic tool used to investigate whether elimination of preservatives, dyes and certain foods may decrease symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Even those who do not suffer from ADHD could benefit from the Feingold Diet because the purpose of it is to systematically analyze how removing chemicals from the body can positively influence the brain.

Is the Feingold Diet the solution for ADHD? I wouldn’t go that far. However, research shows that it has marked benefits in some people. By the way, the diet isn’t exclusively for children.

Check out http://www.feingold.org/what.php to find out more. Under the section about dyes, there is a link that reads, “What they can do to you.” There is a detailed list of dyes and their physiological effects. It’s a nice resource to put in the kitchen as a reminder.

Who Me? Gluten-Free?

IMG_4970   I remember my first experience with numbness and tingling in my hands and feet, along with other weird symptoms – a rash around my elbows (yes, just the elbows), stomach pain and breathing problems. After weeks of having symptoms, I began to wonder what was really going on. I saw my doctor, who suggested vitamin supplements and said we’d observe how that went. Kinda sorta saw a minor improvement, which made some sense, but ultimately, I still had frequent symptoms. Check out this article on neurological symptoms and vitamin deficiency to find out more about that:

that.http://brainblogger.com/2014/07/30/vitamin-b12-deficiency-and-its-neurological-consequences/

So anyway, she then referred me to a neurologist who cleared me of all things terrifying. I was very grateful but I still didn’t have answers. With time, I began to learn the connection between gluten sensitivity and its symptoms. I started experimenting. I went off of gluten. Felt amazing. Then, drowning in the sea of denial and bread withdrawal, I told myself my health improvement had nothing to do with gluten and I’d be fine if I ate it. Terrible idea. So I went back off. And on, and off. I did the tango with gluten a few more times before I regretfully came to terms with it. So eventually and very reluctantly – I decided to give up gluten. Bread versus being symptom-free of weird, scary sensations, I decided giving up bread, and pizza, and ugh, cookies was definitely worth it. Painful, but worth it.

I also later realized that although I had to make some food and financial sacrifices, there are a lot of gluten-free options now available. The Autism & ADHD Diet: A Step-by-Step Guide to Hope and Healing by Living Gluten Free and Casein Free (GFCF) and Other Interventions by Barrie Silberberg is an excellent resource for people looking to switch to gluten-free eating (and casein-free, if you prefer). Despite the title, it is not only for those suffering with autism or ADHD. It’s a great resource for multiple reasons, really, because she also details how gluten and casein affect developmental and overall general health.

Gluten Implicated in Cognitive Decline?

IMG_4581      Gluten-free diets are sometimes thought to be a fad. Friends have disgustedly asked me, “Ew, you do that? Why?” Believe me, it’s not a choice, it’s a necessity. Other people eliminate gluten because they figure if it bothers other people, it can’t be good for them. Until recently however, no one was really sure why it causes adverse effects.

People who have Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity/intolerance may have reactions from stomach discomfort to neurological symptoms, like tingling and numbness. In a book titled, Misdiagnosed by Jody Berger, she shares how she was misdiagnosed as having multiple sclerosis, but after doing some lengthy research and seeking other sources such as Ayurvedic doctors, she finally discovered she had a gluten intolerance.

There’s increasing research that neurological symptoms of gluten insensitivity and intolerance do actually mimic multiple sclerosis and other neurological diagnoses. Further, there might also be a link between gluten and cognitive decline. Check out this article that details how gluten affects the brain: http://thepaleodiet.com/gluten-brain/ There are some interesting MRI scans that show atrophy in a particular part of the brain that’s thought to be caused by gluten consumption.

By the way, the dish I made in the pic is all gluten-free – noodles by Ronzoni and gluten-free corn meal for the breaded salmon.