After being diagnosed I was lost. I was misdiagnosed by doctors and left with just the rules of a gluten free lifestyle. I had so many questions. When I finally got out from under the rock of sickness and depression, I began this journey. This journey that came to be Jennifer’s Way. It’s the way I learned to live again, but healthier. I read everything I could on the subject of gluten, celiac, vitamins, nutrition, mind body and food. I took some classes on nutrition and to learn about good and bad grains. Little by little I started to put together this road map, I became the guinea pig to my findings. Recipes I developed, vitamins I tried and hints that have helped me along the way. I was shocked and excited by what I discovered on the subject of gluten and celiac disease. I learned, among so many other things, that gluten was basically glue that holds a product together. This “glue” was in everything. Food, toothpaste, body products, make up, even charcoal! Another shocking finding was the amount of illnesses and health conditions gluten plays a part in. Did you know that if you take gluten out of the diet of anyone struggling with an auto immune disease, they will see a definite difference in their health? Did you also know the removal of gluten would dramatically help with children with Autism? How about one of the hidden problems with fertility is an underlying case can be celiac disease. It is my belief that celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or a gluten allergy is the building block for so many other diseases and conditions. Gluten can NOT BE BROKEN DOWN BY ANYONE! Simply put – we can not properly digest the protein gluten.
So why do celiac or gluten allergies seem much more prevalent these days? Years ago the production of wheat based products took a long time to make. It simply isn’t made the same way anymore. Everything is made quickly and made to stay on the shelves longer. Things are highly processed, packed with sugar, salt, and preservatives. Our bodies simply can not handle it any more. So what do we do?
We need to talk about it. I have definitely annoyed people with how much I talk about the perils of gluten. I feel that education is the best weapon here. I actually have had a hand in getting seven people properly diagnosed with celiac disease. One person was even on chemotherapy drugs for Crohns disease for two years when, after hearing of my diagnosis, he demanded a test for celiac disease. He not only had celiac disease but never had Crohns disease, which is what the doctors originally diagnosed. He was on chemotherapy drugs for 2 years – horrible!!
Why and how does this happen? Is it the lack of education and knowledge about this disease with doctors? Is this disease just so hard to detect because the symptoms look like so many other illnesses? Or is it the fact that there is no pill anyone can sell us to make it go away? I believe it’s all of the above. Thats why we must talk about this disease. Get the word out if you have it. Talk to friends and family about the warning signs and the right to live better. If you don’t have celiac but believe you may have a problem, demand to be tested. Don’t stop searching even if you are told you don’t have it. There are so many false negatives with the testing for celiac disease. Keep searching, listen to your body!
What are we eating? We must get smart about our food. Our health depends on it. You must read your labels. Better yet, pick foods that don’t have labels. Pick fresh foods and vegetables. Like I said, foods on the shelf at supermarkets are loaded with preservatives, sugar, sodium, and very little nutrition. Even “gluten free” foods, don’t think that all gluten free foods are equal. They are not! Just because it says gluten free does not mean you should eat it. I say this because big food companies are jumping on the “gluten free” band wagon because they see money! I would like to think that is ok but most of what I have seen out there from major food companies is crap! Sorry – not better way to say it. There is actually something close to formaldehyde in a big brand gluten free product. You remember what formaldehyde is? It’s what kept our frogs preserved so we could dissect them in Biology class … yum! Don’t you want that in your breakfast cereal? I think not. Read your labels! Actually, forget labels – make your own food!
Getting back to fresh pure home cooked food. I know you are busy. We all live in the so ridiculously over worked, under paid existence that we call life. I’m not saying to stop, move to a farm, grow your own veggies and live off the land – although that sounds awesome to me. Do what you can though. Instead of going through drive through or heating up some frozen processed food. An extra 5 minutes can really make a difference in your health and your families health. I heard a quote recently that said exactly how I was feeling but couldn’t articulate it. The quote was “The state of our culture is directly related to our health.” Think about it. We are all on the quicker, better, faster track. We email, text, fax, eat on the run and barely sleep. Did you ever stop and think what all this does to you as a person and your health? We interact less with people. We are eating standing up. We are running so fast that we are forgetting to taste life. We need to slow down, have a meal that has been cooked for you or by you, and it needs to be whole good foods. This is the part of life that should be enjoyed! It’s sad that food has become the brunt of this disease. It’s not all food, it’s just the over processed, gluten rich kind. Slow down, cook your meals and I promise you will start to feel better.
Education is key. When we learn what is good and bad for us we will stop purchasing the products filled with preservatives. Maybe then the big food companies will get the message and make things of higher quality. Until then take some extra tie to cook fresh foods, eat fresh veggies and start to heal!
The first ingredient listed on a food label is the one that is used the most in making that product. So if the first or even second is a starch such as corn, tapioca, potato, just know that there is little to no nutritional value there. Even if the first ingredient is white rice flour, not the best option. White rice turns into sugar in the body and doesn’t pack in vitamins and nutrients as say… brown rice. If your gluten free product’s ingredients starts with brown rice flour, coconut flour, chickpea flour, or teff flour – those are all great options. Be aware and read the entire ingredient label though. You don’t want tons of salt and sugar. Make sure to check for words you can not pronounce, that usually means you shouldn’t be eating it.
You may have noticed “gluten free” has been on the rise lately. Great … or is it? As I said before, not all gluten free is created equal! Now people are hearing about gluten free as a new “diet craze” or the “fad of the moment” and this is worrisome. Gluten is serious and needs to be seen that way, not as a fad.
What’s coming. There is a cook book coming soon to satisfy every savory and sweet desire. There is also a very personal book of my journey. I know people will relate on so many levels. It is my hope that you will read it and be inspired to change your life for the better. To not stop in the face of opposition. To hopefully share what you have discovered with others. There is also a line of products that are on the way. It’s my promise that when you see something with the label Jennifer’s Way, you will know it is made with love and care in every ingredient.
Also, a bakery is well underway here in New York City. I want you to be able to taste fresh baked gluten free breads, bagels, muffins, and scones that are all actually good for you and truly taste amazing!
As always made with Love.
Ever Onward ~ Jennifer