As you know, diet plays a huge role in your health. I’ve seen firsthand, in myself and my patients, the power of food to reverse chronic illness such as autoimmune diseases, including Hashimoto’s, Graves’, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s, and others. I’ve also seen thousands of patients achieve their ideal weight, banish everyday annoyances such as headaches and bloating, and regain their energy and vitality simply through dietary changes.
That’s why optimizing your diet is a major component of all of The Myers Way® programs, which are designed to address the root cause of chronic illness in order to achieve optimal health. I lay out a complete plan for optimizing your diet in my two New York Times bestselling books, The Autoimmune Solution and The Thyroid Connection. However, if you’re just starting out and are looking to make small changes that will have a big impact on your health, then without a doubt the very first step you want to take is to ditch gluten and dairy for good!
Gluten and dairy are two of the biggest culprits behind the skyrocketing rates of chronic illness and autoimmune disease we are facing today, and removing them from your diet is the single best step you can take to restore your health.
Read on to find out how they wreak havoc on your health, why it’s so important to ditch them for good, and how to repair the damage they have caused (in just 30 days!).
The Problem with Gluten
Gluten is a protein that occurs naturally in certain grains such as wheat, rye, and barley. It’s important to mention though, that the gluten we eat today is not the same as the gluten our ancestors ate. Over 100 years ago, scientists began to develop new, hybridized forms of wheat with higher proportions of gluten protein to produce bigger, fluffier breads and pastries. They also figured out a way to deaminate gluten, which allows it to be dissolved into liquids and other products that didn’t previously contain gluten. This is why nowadays gluten can be found in everything from meat substitutes to medications, supplements, and even toothpaste.
As a result, we are not only eating a very different kind of gluten than our ancestors ate, we are eating and being exposed to way more of it. And it’s no coincidence the change in our gluten consumption aligns with a dramatic increase in chronic disease. In fact, gluten has been linked with more than 55 diseases.1
So how exactly does gluten lead to chronic illness? Let’s take a deeper look at why gluten is so harmful to your health.
The new proteins that are present in our modern hybridized wheat and were not found in our ancestors’ wheat are highly inflammatory, especially in the large quantities that we eat today. Our bodies simply have not had time to evolve properly to digest these gluten-dense forms of wheat and the result is a state of chronic ongoing inflammation. This chronic inflammation can affect your skin, your sleep, your mood, and set you on the path to autoimmunity.
That’s because as your immune system becomes overly stressed as the inflammation just keeps on coming with each bite of bagel, pretzel, or even whole wheat pasta, it can begin to malfunction. The result is that your immune system begins to misfire, attacking your body’s own tissues as it tries desperately to combat the sources of inflammation.
However, gluten doesn’t just cause inflammation from its own proteins, it adds fuel to the fire by opening the door for other inflammatory agents to wreck your health as well. Allow me to explain.
When you eat gluten, it travels to your small intestine where it triggers the release of zonulin. Zonulin is a chemical that signals the tight junctions of your intestinal wall to open up, creating intestinal permeability—otherwise known as leaky gut.2
Once your gut becomes leaky, larger proteins (such as gluten) as well as toxins, microbes, and partially digested food particles are able to escape through your intestinal wall. Your immune system reacts to fight off these “invaders,” creating a chronic inflammatory state as your gut remains leaky and the invaders keep on coming. This leaves your body open to a whole host of other issues, from gastrointestinal distress, to seasonal allergies, to autoimmune disease, as we just discussed.
On top of causing leaky gut, which itself contributes to autoimmunity, gluten is particularly dangerous because of a phenomenon known as molecular mimicry. This is when a foreign antigen (such as the gluten proteins now flooding your bloodstream due to leaky gut) shares sequence or structural similarities with your body’s own tissues. When your immune system is exposed to an invader, it memorizes the structure of that pathogen to develop the perfect defense and recognize it in the future.3
However, your immune system is not always perfect. If the invader looks enough like your own cells, your immune system ends up attacking your own tissues along with the invader by mistake, in an autoimmune reaction. Gluten happens to be structurally similar to a number of your body’s tissues, particularly the thyroid gland. This is why gluten is one of the leading causes of autoimmunity, especially in those with a thyroid condition.
The Dangers of Dairy
Dairy causes inflammation in a huge percentage of the population, either due to lactose intolerance or casein and whey sensitivities. Not to mention, it’s typically full of hormones and antibiotics.
Lactose Intolerance and Casein and Whey Sensitivities
Lactose intolerance occurs in people who do not produce the lactase enzyme, which is required to break down lactose, a sugar found in milk. Around 70% of the population worldwide stops producing lactase once they have finished breastfeeding.4
People who do produce the lactase enzyme yet still experience dairy sensitivity are reacting to one or both of the proteins found in milk, casein and whey. Food sensitivities are a type of delayed inflammatory response triggered by your immune system’s IgG antibodies (as opposed to a food allergy caused by IgE antibodies that create a severe and immediate reaction). Because it could take up to 72 hours for food sensitivity symptoms to appear and they can vary widely, you may not realize it’s dairy that’s causing your bloating, gas, headaches, fatigue, eczema, or other symptoms. As a result your system can become chronically inflamed as you continue to snack on cheese, add milk to your coffee, and slather butter on vegetables, damaging your gut lining with each exposure.
While some people are sensitive to both casein and whey, casein protein is much more difficult to digest than whey, which is why casein sensitivities tend to be more common.5 The casein protein is also very structurally similar to gluten, so the same molecular mimicry that triggers an attack when you eat gluten can also occur when you eat casein from dairy, initiating an autoimmune response. In fact, roughly 50% of those with gluten intolerance are casein intolerant as well.6 If you’re still experiencing symptoms of gluten sensitivity even after eliminating gluten completely, dairy could be to blame.
Hormones and Antibiotics
Food sensitivities, inflammation, and molecular mimicry aren’t the only issues we have to worry about when consuming dairy products. To increase milk production, American dairy farmers inject their cows with the genetically engineered bovine growth hormone rBGH. The increased milk production puts strain on the cows’ udders, often leading to an infection known as mastitis, which is then treated with antibiotics. All of those added hormones and antibiotics make their way into the dairy products you eat and contribute to acne, mood swings, and antibiotic resistance, which in turn could lead to serious illness caused by antibiotic-resistant infections.7 8
I’m often asked, “Don’t we need the calcium from dairy for bone health?” It may surprise you to learn that The Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, which followed over 72,000 women for 18 years, found no protective effect of increased milk consumption on fracture risk.10 And, if you are concerned about osteoporosis, there are many non-dairy sources of calcium that don’t come with all the harmful side effects of milk.
Non-Dairy Sources of Calcium
3. Collard Greens
Along with incorporating these foods into your diet, you can always add in a calcium supplement. The one I carry in my store is a particularly complete form of calcium that comes from cow bones and contains trace minerals, collagenous proteins and peptides, and other micronutrients that support bone growth and structure. I recommend pairing your calcium supplement with vitamin D, as this helps your bones absorb the calcium you are getting in your diet or through supplementation.
How to Repair Damage Caused by Gluten and Dairy
Eliminating gluten and dairy is essential for stopping the assault your gut, however to fully restore your gut and your health, you’ll want to repair the damage caused by these two inflammatory foods over the years. Fortunately, because your individual gut cells turn over very quickly (roughly every 48 hours), you can repair your gut in just 30 days using my 4R Approach. I cover this in depth in my Guide to the Gut eCourse, and the basics are as follows:
- Remove. Aside from removing gluten and dairy from your diet, you’ll want to eliminate any other factors that negatively affect the gut, including other inflammatory foods such as corn, soy, and eggs, as well as toxic foods, including sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. Finally you’ll want to eliminate gut infections from yeast overgrowth, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), and parasites.
- Replace. Replace the good, adding back digestive enzymes required for proper digestion.
- Reinoculate. Restore a healthy balance of good bacteria by reintroducing beneficial bacteria through a high-quality, multi-strain, high-potency probiotic supplement.
- Repair. Provide the nutrients necessary to help restore your gut lining. One of my favorite supplements is collagen which is rich in amino acids that quite literally, “seal the leaks” or perforations in your gut by repairing damaged cells and building new tissue. Another one of my favorite supplements is L-glutamine, an amino acid that helps to rejuvenate the gut wall lining.
A quick note from our founder-
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To begin, I apologize for the dark nature of today's email.
However I promise what you'll discover today will be completely worth it.
Imagine a rotting corpse draped over your body from head to toe...
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64% of women and 74% of men carry too much body fat according to the National Institutes of Health.
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In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
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Is Bread Really the Staff of Life… or the Stuff of Disease?
For most us, there are few foods more comforting than bread.
Fluffy biscuits, crusty baguettes, flaky croissants… even a simple slice of toast topped with melted butter can taste like heaven.
And that smell… few scents are quite as pleasant as fresh bread baking in the oven.
But there is a lot of confusion as to where bread fits into a healthy diet.
The Bible practically commands followers to eat it: “Give us this day our daily bread…” The government put it at the base of the food pyramid. And for centuries, it has been called “the staff of life.”
Of course, there are some who disagree…
Well-known cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, calls wheat “the perfect chronic poison.”
And for a poison, we sure eat lots of it…
The average American consumes 55 pounds of wheat flour every year, making refined flour the #1 source of calories in the American Diet – a situation that nutrition expert Chris Kresser describes as, “a public health catastrophe.”
So, what is the truth about bread and wheat?
- Is it the perfect poison… or an essential daily food?
- Is “gluten-free” bread better for you than regular bread?
- And can you still eat bread… while maintaining a lean body and optimal health?
The answers to these questions may surprise you!
Be sure to read #5 – the biggest surprise of all!
Recently, Doctor of Naturopathy, weight-loss expert and best-selling Amazon author Liz Swann Miller, creator of the Red Smoothie Detox Factor, revealed 2 of the secrets to easy, steady weight loss. Secrets the big food corporations do their best to hide from us.
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You probably know most of us eat too much processed food. What you may not know is that it’s full of toxic chemicals and substandard, dirt-cheap ingredients designed to make you eat more…and force you to gain weight.
Here’s how it works.
“That stuff is just a lot of calories your body can’t use,” Liz told me, “Some are poison. And all these foods are stripped of the anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that help your body detox. The result? Your body expends huge amounts of calories to eliminate some toxins—the rest, it stores in your fat to protect you. This is why most people are hungry all the time. They’re not getting energy they need.”
“So… what’s going on with me? Why am I losing weight but not going hungry?”
Liz paused, then dropped the bombshell.
Your body is designed to burn fat. You just have to let it.
“What? I thought we were designed to store fat?!?” We were Skyping and I was practically shouting. Then I heard Liz say…
What good is a fat reserve if you can’t burn it?
Liz continued: “You’re drinking smoothies packed with phytonutrients, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that pull toxins out of you like a tractor beam. Allowing your body to burn those toxin-filled fat stores… and releasing tremendous amounts of stored energy.”
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Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
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5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.