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Of course, the removal of gluten is your first step to brilliant health, though for some people this may not be enough. Compromising our gut and immune system may have led to deeper issues that may require more healing.

When the protein ‘gliadin’ found in wheat and several other grains enters our digestive tract, it signals to the hormone zonulin, to open up the tight junctions in our gut lining. This essentially results in leaky gut, causing an immune response in our body, leading to inflammation.

In some people, the tight junctions in their gut lining may close soon after exposure, though in others it may take months or even years to close. The exposure to gluten may also lead to microbial imbalances in your gut which can also lead to many other health issues. So what are some things you can do?

1. Have quality probiotics and fermented foods

Your gut houses roughly 2 kilograms of microbes which are absolutely essential to your health. Your gut can become heavily compromised through the exposure to a high carbohydrate diet, gluten, pesticides and  antibiotics. A therapeutic probiotic or beautifully fermented foods can assist in replenishing the good bacteria to eliminate pathogens, enhance your immune system and assist in repairing leaky gut.

A common chemical that can directly affect our beneficial gut bacteria and enhance the chance of overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria is Glyphosate,  the main ingredient in herbicides that are sprayed onto wheat crops. By having fermented foods and probiotics, it will add beneficial microbes into your gut enabling you to digest and absorb your food efficiently, produce mood regulating hormones effectively (like serotonin, melatonin, dopamine), as well enhance your immune system. It is best, however, to seek professional advice regarding which probiotics and fermented foods are best for your gut.

2. Avoid things that will destroy your gut flora

Your gut flora is essential to your overall wellbeing. We provide a home for the microbes, and they provide a life for us. Antibiotics, chlorine, preservatives and some cleaning products are items that will damage your gut flora and I strongly recommend you avoid these as much as possible. This will ensure your gut flora and gut lining continue to bring you the best health possible.

3. Gelatin, collagen and bone broths

These foods are rich in proteins that are exceptionally healing to the gut lining. They contain specific amino acids that rebuild the intestinal tract which helps to rebuild the damaged lining. These foods also enhance gastric acid formation, allowing you to digest your food efficiently.

4. Address any pathogenic microbial overgrowths

If you are still experiencing symptoms, you may have developed an overgrowth of bacteria, parasite or yeast or a combination of these.  Through the guidance of a health practitioner, I recommend for you to adhere to strict dietary guidelines and use antimicrobial herbs to eradicate the overgrowth. This will allow your intestinal tract, stomach acid and digestion to normalise over time.

5. Remove other potentially inflammatory foods

As you’re aware, gluten has inflammatory properties and is in most ‘modern’ packaged food items. However, there are certainly other inflammatory foods that you need to think about avoiding in your healing process such as corn (particularly if it is not organic), soy, dairy, nuts that aren’t activated, grains that aren’t prepared properly, vegetable oils and vegetable fats, as well as other foreign additives such as flavours, preservatives, colours and dextrose.

These may also aggravate the gut and cause inflammation, particularly if your gut has been damaged over many years. If you have an autoimmune disease, then nightshade vegetables also may be a problem for you, which include; eggplant, peppers (not including blacked cracked pepper), white potato, goji berries and tomatoes.

The removal of gluten is one of the first steps to eliminate inflammation on your body, helping to bring your body back into homeostasis (balance).  When you are ready, begin to follow the other steps which will ensure you continue to heal and thrive.

In the end, it is about moving towards the way we use to live; traditionally, simply, without chemicals and with beautiful real, fresh food that is without human interference.

Sheridan Williamson
Changing Habits Nutritionist