Eat

The Ultimate 2016 Cleanse

As featured on Huffington Post Now that we are two weeks into 2016, past the juice cleanse cayenne pepper detox coffee enema phase, it’s time to get real about making some lasting lifestyle changes. Sure, maybe your karma was through the roof and your toxins were at an all time low when you were subsisting solely on tinctures of carrot mango dandelion essence, but can you really commit to living next door to a cold press juice joint for the rest of your life? And let’s be honest, after a week on a liquid-only purge, do you truly feel like you’re “basking in a post-cleanse glow” or are you now binging on crunchy chips and salty cheese and frantically airing out your bathroom?

Right. Now you’re left trying to figure out how to transition back into real life, with all the daily challenges that come with it. And here’s the real buzz kill. All the overpriced low glycemic gluten free organic elixirs that you just tortured yourself with for the past 3-7 days were only temporary – the karma, the toxins, the glow, gone. The second you popped that first nacho in your mouth, it was over. Back to pre-cleanse internal disaster area.

But, rejoice, all is not lost! You have grown! Despite the migraines, cramping, and five packages of toilet paper, you have started on a really important journey to wellbeing. Don’t give up on all the healthy habits you have jumpstarted this past week, even if you never want to down another green smoothie again. Lasting change can truly happen. A three day cleanse isn’t going to heal you forever. But, there are long-term strategies that will.

So, as a guide back to sanity (…and solid food…) here are four ideas for true lifetime cleansing.

Warning – these tips are crazy simple and yet super hard to implement. They take your whole life to get right. But, with dedication and determination, they will work.

  1. Stop dieting: Diets don’t work. Actually, they work for a few months, and then you gain the weight back, no matter what diet you go on. In fact, recent studies show that if you are normal weight and diet anyway, your body has a tendency to regain more fat than had been lost in a “fat overshoot” correction by your metabolism. Instead, start crowding out the crap in your diet with real food, not diet food - fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meats and fish. These foods have not only been shown to result in weight loss, but also have incredible health benefits that will truly bring out your lasting inner glow!
  1. Drink Responsibly (or not at all): After the amount of pickling you did to your liver over the holidays, maybe your go-to detox was a dry-January. If so, vow to make the long term change in your drinking habits from weekend booze-hound to either a committed one to two drinks per day or forever-teetotaler. While zero to moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to reduce rates of some diseases, hitting it hard only on the weekends has the complete opposite effect. So lay off the Friday-Saturday benders, and instead, start buying and savoring a couple gentle pours of a good red (…or stick to tea).
  1. Move your body: While what you put in your mouth certainly is critical, physical activity has an equally important effect on overall health, no matter what weight you are. And it doesn’t make any difference what you do, as long as you do something! Go to yoga. Do cartwheels. Take the dog for a walk. Hit the gym. Run intervals up mountains. Just do whatever makes you happy and keeps you coming back for more.
  1. Let all that other –ish go: If you truly want to wring yourself out from the inside, stop dwelling on all the negative crap in your life. Instead, sit quietly with yourself a few minutes every day and practice mindfully focusing on the positive moments. This mindfulness meditation has been shown to slow cellular aging by lengthening protective DNA factors called telomeres. That’s a much more impactful and scientific approach to successful aging than a questionable and overpriced online kit for a colon cleanse.

As it turns out, health doesn’t come in 3-day spurts of righteousness. Wellness takes practice and commitment, every single day. It doesn’t come in a bottle or a pill or test tube. True health requires a realization that moderation actually is the shiny and sexy alternative -- that the latest purification regimen is fleeting, a distraction that draws your attention away from the true elements of healthfulness. Wellness comes with the understanding that oatmeal, bananas, and taking the stairs indeed are the path to the promised land, not simply a boring sermon. So, rather than wasting money and precious time on temporary fixes guaranteed to bring about bliss and immortality, take the inimitable long view. Walk to the grocery store for some good old-fashioned apples and oranges, taking note of one or two things that make you smile in the world around you.

As featured on Huffington Post

We found the Silver Bullet...

We know. We know what is killing us. We know how to prevent 80% of all chronic disease. Diabetes, Heart Disease, Obesity. We know where 84% of all health care dollars are spent. And we know how to stop it. But. We. Don't.

We know the five things that will save people:

  • moving
  • eating well
  • dealing with stress
  • sleeping
  • not smoking

They are the silver bullets. THE SILVER BULLETS. Yet, half of Americans don't exercise, one third of Americans don't eat fruit or vegetables, and 1 out of five Americans smoke. Our doctors aren't educated on exercise or nutrition, the USDA is mocked and ridiculed, the blog-o-sphere is ripe with "experts" and anecdotal recommendations.

Those of us that care, argue the merits of paleo vs vegan vs Mediterranean. We huff and puff over intervals vs long distance vs strength training. We push mindfulness and meditation, on the highways of facebook and twitter and instagram. We post pictures of harder, better, faster, stronger. Meanwhile, cardiovascular disease is costing us $315 billion, cancer $157 billion, diabetes $245 billion, obesity $147 billion and smoking $289 billion. BILLIONS.

We are sick, and getting sicker. Yet, rather than treat the root cause, we spend BILLIONS on treating the symptoms. Metformin, statins, anti-depressants, beta-blockers. Just to fight the inevitable. Bandaids.

Mozaffarian et al, Circulation, 2008

People, there is a better way. And, it's free. And it's going to take some grit and determination. And it is our only hope. But in order to make it happen, we have to stop fighting and come together. Doctors, scientists, personal trainers, nutritionists, health coaches, policy makers. We know how to keep people healthy. And we need to start working together.

In a recent lecture at a class I'm teaching at the Harvard Extension school Dr. David Katz said it best, "We need to stop looking at the differences in all these diets that work, and rather look at what they have in common. Habitual intake of fruit, vegetables, and whole grains...has the power to decrease 80% of chronic disease. Let us unite and tell the world that WE KNOW ENOUGH to keep people healthy". WE KNOW ENOUGH.

We know that lifestyle changes work BETTER THAN DRUGS for preventing diabetes.

DPP

We know that healthy lifestyle behaviors (not smoking, healthy BMI, exercising, and a diet rich in fruits/veggie/whole grains) prevent 80% of chronic disease. EIGHTY PERCENT.

Lifestyle Factors

We know that the key ingredients to a healthful diet include foods that are not processed, lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and some high quality meat and fish. Who cares if the cave men ate it or someone in Italy is drowning in olive oil?! If it's not in a package, is mostly plants, and you cooked it at home. EAT IT.

cooking

We know that sitting is terrible for you and that we need to move around! Just walk! WALK.

Walk

We know everyone's lives are stressful. If we could all give it up, move to a beautiful mountain-side retreat and leave it all behind we would. But we can't. So, we need to learn how to unplug and cope. STRESS RESILIENCE.

optimal-stress

Instead, we scare people. We make them think nutrients are killing them and that exercise is too hard or unattainable. We use flashy labels to get people to eat our "healthy take on an organic processed block of crap" or guzzle down our "highly processed all natural life sustaining drinks". We embrace more, more, more, now, now, now. All in a quest to find the silver bullet. Enough already! We already have the silver bullet! And it's not sexy or flashy or in a shiny package.

It is beautifully simple.

We know. We know movement is essential. We know food in its natural form is healthiest. We know sleep and stress management are crucial. We know. So let's do it. Let's unite and spread that simple message.

Because, we know.

 

GMOs Are So Damn Scary.

Genetically modified foods are scary. They’re mutants. Not naturally of this earth. (Well, I suppose neither is Coke, but that’s besides the point…) GMOs are like Frankenstein and they’re making us sick. But are they really? Or is it just Gwyneth Paltrow-style hype?

(Fair warning, this post is long, but it’s really important so keep reading…)

What does genetically modified mean?

Two scientists that wrote a report in 2013 on the changes of GMO crops in the past 20 years define GMO (or transgenesis) as:

Transgenesis involves the insertion of a designed genetic cassette with a known DNA sequence intended to produce a prescribed gene product (typically a protein) to achieve a desirable trait through a known mechanism. The transgenic insert in the plant is sequenced to determine if it has been inserted as intended and to confirm that it codes for the desired gene product. The flanking endogenous plant DNA is also sequenced to understand if any native genes or regulatory elements are disrupted. Finally, the plant genome is probed to ensure that only one insertion site exists.This contrasts with traditional breeding by which many genes are randomly recombined and/or many mutations are generated with little or no knowledge of the genetic changes that are induced or the mechanism behind the traits that are selected. It has been acceptable with traditional breeding for many undescribed genes from wild relatives with no history of safety to be incorporated into new crop varieties to obtain novel or improved agronomic traits such as pest resistance.

Don’t skim over that. If you did, go back and read it again. And pay attention. I’ll wait...

In the modern world, there are two reasons main reasons for GMOs, or transgenesis:

  1. Pest Resistance: Which, by reducing the detrimental effect of plant eating pests, is intended to yield more crops and bigger fruit/veggies. These are the majority of GMO crops on the market.
  2. Nutrient Enhancement: Which is intended to insert or boost nutrients into plants which may not always be there. These types of crops are not typically marketed yet.

There are a million reasons why you may be for or against GMOs. The environmental impact, healthfulness, crop yield, feeding the poor. The need for these crops, and subsequent consequences, is complicated and globally complex. Add in the disdain for major corporations, lawsuits over proprietary rights, labeling laws gone awry, and Golden Rice Scandals and you’ve got a serious rat’s nest.

There are environmental issues, to be sure. The propogation of superweeds (i.e. weeds that are resistant to Monsanto’s RoundUp) is real. However, the rise of superweeds from conventional herbicides and pesticides is also on the rise (i.e. the pest and virus killers sprayed on non-GMO plants). In fact, more than twice as many conventionally induced superweeds are out there as compared to RoundUp resistance weeds. What’s more, because you have to use less herbicide and pesticides on GMO plants, there was a 6.1% reduction in overall use between 1996 and 2011. This resulted in an 8.9% improvement in the environmental impact that these GMO crops had, when compared with conventional plants. Now, I’m not going all PollyAnna on you with this one. As a result of the increase in superweeds, farmers have also had to start using more and more RoundUp and other herbicides on their crops to keep the weeds at bay. As a result, a Penn State study estimates that total herbicide use will most likely double by the year 2025. There was no estimate in this study on what the increase would be with the use of conventional pesticides and herbicides only (but, based on the abundance of conventional superweeds, you can imagine it would also go up by necessity).

But, let’s just stick to nutrition. Specifically, plants. Transgenic animals can be a post all its own. Environmental and global farming issues aside, are these crops safe to eat?

First, I think we need to address the difference between the modified crop itself and the herbicides and pesticides that are sprayed on them. At the end of the day, this is really important because it separates scientific intention from agricultural practice. This is a controversy over which even scientists come to serious blows, because it’s really hard to use laboratory models to predict how these plants will affect human health when unknown farming practices are also in the mix.

So, the use of pesticides and herbicides aside, let’s just look at the modified plants themselves.

One way scientists describe differences in GMO crops versus conventional crops (like corn, say) is to compare the nutritional properties of each. So, they use some pretty sophisticated machinery to break down all of the nutrients in each plant and lay them side by side. Because DNA and RNA themselves are generally not considered food safety risks, mostly what scientists look at are the proteins that the DNA and RNA code for. What they find, for the most part, is that GMO crops look almost exactly like conventional crops from a nutritional standpoint (minus whatever nutrient they’re inserting). GM- Cotton, rice, and soybeans (among several others) have all been analyzed and show remarkably similar nutrient and protein composition to their conventional counterparts. Interestingly, it actually seems as though there is more variation between conventional crops due to environmental conditions (i.e. Why an orange from Florida tastes slightly different than an orange from California) while the GM crops remain fairly stable.

It’s worth noting that over time, conventional crops show more unintended genetic variation due to old-school breeding programs and naturally occurring mutations when compared to GM crops. So think about it this way, when you go to the nursery in the spring to pick out your tomato plants for the year, you’ve got choices. Big boy, Roma, Beefsteak, Cherry. All of these plants have been conventionally bred (i.e. modified) to enhance certain characteristics: sweetness, size, color. This is not a naturally occurring process, and results in many more unintended mutations than GMO crops exhibit.

So, if the nutritional content is the same and perhaps even stabilized or enhanced (like in crops designed to boost nutrients like apples with more polyphenols, or rice with more iron and resveratrol, or corn with more lysine), then are they actually safe to eat? Does messing with the DNA have unintended consequences?

Rice with boosted amounts of B-carotene has been introduced to combat childhood Vitamin A deficiencies.

Here is where the story actually starts to become a little tricky, and it mostly has to do with GM crops that are altered for herbicide and pesticide use (like Bt Corn) not so much with enhanced nutritional content (like resveratrol rice).

In order for scientists to determine if these crops are safe for people to eat, they conduct randomized controlled animal studies on mice, rats, hamsters, and ferrets. One group of animals gets their normal food, one gets the conventional crop (like organic corn) and one gets the transgenic crop (GMO-corn). It’s not a perfect model because each animal has it’s own quirks (for example, we use ferrets to look at B-carotene metabolism because mice don’t absorb it well from food). But, it’s close enough that we can get a good idea if a food (or drug for that matter) is helpful or harmful. Without getting into the moral merits of animal models (I know it’s controversial) I believe this type of research is completely necessary in the modern era of rapidly changing food (and drug) technology. Testing out GMO-soy on a mouse is infinitely better than tossing it straight into your already colic-y infant’s Gerber Soy Formula.

With regard to GMO safety, there is a consensus of animal research that says the food is perfectly safe and maybe even helpful. In fact, with an enhanced polyphenol profile in apples, researchers in New Zealand have shown improved gut bacteria levels and reduced metabolic syndrome; modified wheat seems no more allergenic than conventional; GM-Rice has no adverse effects on GI health or body composition when compared to conventional; transgenic peas seem fine; GMO-soy was no more detrimental to rat reproductive organs that organic; even GMO-corn that is grown for both nutritional enhancement and pesticide tolerance seems ok. In fact, a full review of 24 such studies completed in 2012 concluded that GMO crops were essentially safe for consumption.

But, I know you’ve heard otherwise, so don’t stop reading just yet.

There have been a few very public and damning reports of increased health risk with GMOs. In a study published in 2012 in rats, a group of French scientists determined that Round Up Ready Corn eaten by a certain strain of rats resulted in 5x the growth of tumors of those fed normal rat chow. Unfortunately, you can’t read this study anymore because it was retracted by the journal after being subject to some pretty (in my opinion warranted) criticisms of study design and scientific rigor. At the end of the day, the scientists used a strain of rats that is prone to tumor development and teasing out whether the actual corn or the Round Up is to blame for the development of the tumors is difficult. You can read the authors response to this criticism here.

The original study that caused a ruckus in the GM world was done by a Scottish scientist named Pusztai. He found that potatoes that were genetically modified to produce more lectin (which naturally wards off pests in many plants) was highly detrimental to the intestinal linings of rats. Unfortunately, because of industry backlash and governmental kowtowing, his career was ruined. However, given that lectins have since been shown to pretty tough on human digestive tracts too, he was certainly onto something. (n.b. One thing to note, is that lectins are naturally occurring substances found in many conventionally grown plant foods that we eat and, if cooked, are not harmful). Indeed, this type of enhancement should be a well heeded warning of enhancing properties in food that are not tested for consumption in high doses, but it does not disqualify the practice as a whole.

Unfortunately, the literature stops at animal studies. I could not find any studies yet on humans and GMO consumption (although, I wish there were and I truly hope they are being conducted). Nor could I find any reputable studies on cows or pigs that are now mostly fed GMO-crops and risks of cancer or disease (if someone has actual research on this, not anecdotes or supposition, please send it and I will add/reference). There was one study done on inflammation of pigs' stomachs with GMOs (which has gotten a significant amount of unwarranted press), but the results were all over the map, so I hesitate to even bring it up. However, in an effort for full disclosure, there was no difference in the organs of non-GMO vs. GMO pigs except in the stomach and a possible false positive in the uterus. Many non-GMO pigs demonstrated mild to moderate inflammation (n=60) compared to GMO (n=41). Some GMO pigs demonstrated severe inflammation (n=23) while less non-GMO were severe (n=9). Overall, equal amounts demonstrated stomach inflammation. But, twice as many GMO had NO inflammation (n=8) compared to non-GMO (n=4). Further, no actual scientific testing was done, inflammation was determined by the eyeball of a veterinarian. Lastly, all of the pigs were really sick, probably because they were kept together in huge numbers on cement. If you want to read a pretty thorough going-over of the study, read here. I take nothing from it. Nothing.

But here’s a fairly convincing argument for the overall safety of GMO crops. In addition to doing interventional studies on animals and humans, scientists use population based studies of naturally occurring events in order to determine whether a policy with direct effects on humans results in any change. In America, we eat A LOT of GMO-corn, whether we know it or not. It’s estimated that almost all corn in processed foods is GMO. However, cancer rates in the United States are almost identical to that of Europe, who previously ate far less GMO corn than we did and now eat almost none due to legislation.

I’m not necessarily giving GMOs a health pass. I think there is enough research out there on the harmfulness of pesticides and herbicides to be concerned (which are the typical reason for implementing GMO crops on a massive scale and should be a post of its own). But that concern holds true for conventional crops as well as GMOs, which also use massive amounts of pesticides and herbicides. My skepticism has very little to do with the modification of the plant itself.

We do need to take in mind though, as our massive global population grows to over 7 billion and results in exponentially more livestock mouths to feed, we do need to use science and technology to avert a world-wide food crisis. Utilizing our brains to enhance foods to alleviate nutritional deficits, reduce poverty related hunger, and perhaps even enhance the health of people shopping at grocery stores in America, is important and, arguably, a moral necessity for the health of our ever expanding population.

Screen shot 2014-02-05 at 2.38.55 PM

Are these GMO foods safe? As far as the research says today….yes, they’re safe. A few rogue studies does not a consensus make (although more studies do arguably need to be conducted). Are they natural? No. But neither is taking vitamins, putting wrinkle cream on your face, or chewing gum. Should we be skeptical? Of course. We should always insist that our safety is taken seriously by the companies that feed us and we should demand the highest level of scientific testing (made available to the public) with subsequent stringent regulations based on the results. Is it scary because you don’t quite understand the specific science behind it? Maybe. But, that fear is simply based on the unknown of the process, and should not be of the science itself. Are you fearful of how your dry whey protein is extracted from liquid milk? Or how food companies add folate to your bread? Or how your sugar alternative is distilled from a plant from ancient Taiwan? These are all scientific advances in food production that you trust everyday.

If you want labeling, fight for a bill and then vote for it. I’m game. I think we should have transparency and choices in our food markets. However, we should not demonize an industry that is truly necessary to feed the massive human and animal populations in the world based upon anecdotes, ideology and conjecture. Being afraid of GMOs because your trainer, or neighbor, or Gwyneth Paltrow told you they're unsafe is akin to not vaccinating your children because Jenny McCarthy claims vaccines cause autism (they don't). Do your homework, follow the facts, and pay attention to the research. As always.

Science says, STOP EATING.

Based on the aggregate opinion of the experts, it has been determined that food is no longer safe to eat. It has become so manipulated, fabricated, and subjugated that there is simply nothing acceptable left for human consumption. Of course each belief is completely likely to contradict another but, on the whole, you should now be certain that nothing is fit for your dinner plate. There is an expert for every diet algorithm, and indisputable scientific proof for their convictions. From the authorities on dieting:  

The perennial thematic pests:

Sugar. Unsafe at any dose. Tell grandma no more cookies.

Carbs. Single handedly causing obesity. No more rice, pasta, bread, crackers, or grandma’s cookies.

High Fructose Corn Syrup. Sugar with extra fructose...that stuff will kill you on the spot. Unclear if it’s in grandma’s cookies.

Fat. Heart disease, inflammation, cholesterol. Nix the butter, bacon, whole milk, and grandma’s cookies.

Protein. Turns your insides acidic. No chicken, steak, pork, fish, or duck.

Sugar Cookies

 

Fruits and vegetables are out, because they are now genetically modified organisms.

Corn. All of it. Corn on the cob, frozen corn, corn tortillas, nacho chips...don’t even think about it.

Sugar Beets. As if the sugar alone wasn’t going to be the end of you, now it’s mutant sugar. Grandma’s cookies are definitely out.

Soy. Besides containing estrogen like compounds, which could give you breasts, soy is also genetically altered. Cross traditional alternatives like soy milk and tofu off your Whole Foods shopping list.

Zucchini, chard, kale, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, turnip, brocollini, acorn squash, flax, rice. You thought you were taking the high ground with these ones, huh? Turns out, tainted by human hands.

Christmas Gingerbread

Even your most favorite, go-to, safe foods harbor dangerous, naturally occurring metabolic grenades.

Coffee. Furan and acrylamide.

Lentils and Beans. Anti-nutrients.

Whole wheat pasta. Gluten and WGA.

Lean chicken. Fed GMO corn, therefore now mutant.

Fish. Mercury.

Apples, Peaches, grapes, and any other fruit. Fructose.

And, whatever you do, don’t cook your food.

Grilling. Gives you cancer. No more BBQ’s.

Steaming. Kills vital enzymes. No more veggies.

Pasteurizing. Ruins the stuff. No more milk, cheese, or yogurt.

Microwaving. Zaps away nutrients (and the Russians say it’s bad). No more popcorn.

Frying. Cancer. No more stir-fry.

Roasting. Cancer.  No more Sunday dinner.

But definitely don’t eat it raw either.

Eggs. Salmonella. Don’t even think about grandma’s cookie dough or that egg nog.

Milk. Bacteria that give you Listeria. 

Vegetables. Fibrous cell walls that you can’t digest block vital nutrients.

Lentils. Lectins that make your gut leaky.

Cookie Dough

So, this season when you’re trying to run through all the rules of your diet, just remember that nothing is safe. If it has carbs, fat, protein, dairy, vegetables or fruit, or if it’s been cooked or it’s raw, don’t eat it! Take the advice from the experts, they have scientific proof that this stuff is really really bad for you.

On second thought, that may cause other problems…

Hmmm...maybe you should just use a little common sensibility. Perhaps this season, eating well prepared food, made from ingredients that you recognize, in portions that are enough to fill you up but not leave you in a food coma, is a healthier idea.

Oh, and grandma's cookies? Definitely have one or two. She worked hard on perfecting that recipe throughout the years and you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

 

Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies. www.suzdaily.com

 

The Gluten Myth

I was working with a client the other day that suffers from headaches. A practitioner that she is seeing to relieve the tension in her neck suggested she may be suffering from a gluten sensitivity and that eliminating wheat from her diet may be helpful in relieving her symptoms. During our training session, she asked me what I thought. Well...I actually have thought, and read, and researched a LOT on this topic. From familial gluten sensitivity to mass media hysteria, it's been seriously on my radar.

Here's what I think in a nutshell: If you don't suffer from Celiac Disease, you may...MAY...be sensitive to gluten. But, it's WAY more likely that you're allergic to shellfish.

Screen shot 2013-07-17 at 3.07.40 PM

 

In fact, a recent study that was done to examine the prevalence of gluten sensitivity in the US found that only about 0.55% of the population were actually gluten sensitive.  While others have suggested that upwards of 7% are gluten sensitive, no study has yet been able to prove even close to that number.

But, the popular press, fueled by celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, are quick to ignore the data (shocking). Wheat Belly, a super popular book written by cardiologist, William Davis, has thrown gasoline on the fire suggesting that wheat is truly the ROOT of our obesity problem (and pretty much all disease besides). (n.b. For a pretty good tear down of the absurdity of the book by a true sufferer from Celiac, check out this blog post from Pete over at NoGlutenNoProblem).

gluten-breakdown-300x279

The problem is, there is very little data to confirm that gluten is the monster protein everyone suggests it is, and worse, none of the results from the studies done on gluten sensitivity agree. In fact, in the most recent study on those suffering from "gluten sensitivity", patients showed massive improvement in symptoms by decreasing certain short-chain carbohydrates (FODMAPs), NOT gluten. These FODMAPs are the carbohydrates are found in many common fruits and vegetables! Something else besides gluten was causing their problem. But, until researchers blinded people to their bias, they were convinced it was the gluten.

But, haven't you read that gluten makes you fat, gives you asthma and eczema, and makes your GUT LEAKY??!!  Actually, not true...on all accounts. In fact, there are several studies that show that going on a gluten free diet can often cause initial weight GAIN (partially because "gluten free" labeled foods are just high fat, corn substituted, processed crap)! The data on asthma and gluten is in patients with CELIAC disease (i.e. there is a strong immune response) not gluten sensitivity. Eczema, again only seemingly associated with celiac disease. And, several studies have shown that not only does gluten NOT affect intestinal permeability (i.e. leaky gut) in people with gluten sensitivity, but a gluten free diet can actually adversely affect your healthy gut microbiota (...leading to illness and potentially weight gain!).

Imagine you cut all this crap out of your diet...you would probably lose weight too.

Here's the thing. I'm not saying that people aren't allergic and/or sensitive to wheat or gluten. They are. There is no doubt. About 1.7 million people in the US (which is significantly less, incidentally then the number of millionaires in the country - of which there are ~9 million, or 2.5% of the population). And they most likely experience digestive issues, headaches, and possibly even skin problems (as do many allergy sufferers). But, not EVERYONE is sensitive to this little protein. Just like, not everyone is allergic to peanuts, or strawberries or shrimp. Some people are. And they need to avoid peanuts, or strawberries or shrimp. Because if they don't, they may end up in the emergency room. But that doesn't mean that every person should nix  PB&J's, Strawberry Shortcake, or Fra Diavolo.

It is true that the number of people suffering from gluten sensitivity does appear to be on the rise. But so are ALL food allergies (which may actually have to do with excessive cleanliness, but that's a separate dirty blog post...). (n.b. I'm not addressing the GMO issue here, although I do think that may be a valid food allergy argument...but even still, there is no GMO wheat in the USA currently).

So to wrap up the gluten myth, think on this one...according to the numbers, you are much more likely to BE a millionaire (right now) than to be sensitive to gluten. Go check your bank account...I'll wait.

money_bag_bigger