WEEK 6 - The Storyteller
Tell a New Meaningful Story
Positive Health Principle #38
Change Your Story
In today's class you will learn:
1. What is celiac disease and who should choose gluten-free diet
2. How gluten-free diet affects our health and why it's not for everyone
3. What research says about gluten-free diet recommendations
When you finish today's class, click the golden button below and take another extra small action!
REFLECT: What is your old story you would like to change?
“Every Story has an end, but in life every end is just
a new beginning.”
a New Story
TODAY'S DOSE OF POSITIVE HEALTH
“Everyone has their own definition of a healthy lifestyle, and mine has come to mean making
health a priority but not an obsession.” Daphne Oz
Until a decade ago about 99% of people worldwide rarely seemed to be giving gluten much thought. Now, the fear of gluten has become so pronounced that almost a third of the Western population tries to avoid gluten. Gluten-free labels, gluten-free menus, and gluten-free parties proper. We even have gluten-free dog food.
What is gluten and what is the crusade against gluten all about?
Gluten is everywhere. It’s the main structural protein complex of wheat, barley, rye, and triticale which is a cross between wheat and rye. We can find it in bread, pasta, soup, sauces, food colouring, even in beer, so eliminating gluten is not easy.
People who need to be a gluten-free diet suffer from one of the following three conditions: celiac disease, wheat allergy or gluten sensitivity. Celiac disease is the body’s immune reaction to gluten. When gluten enters the small intestine, it activates the immune system in an attempt to fix the problem, but it actually does more harm than good. Over time, the lining of the small intestine gets chronically inflamed and people are no longer able to absorb all of the nutrients they need. Celiac disease causes weight loss, bloating and diarrhoea and as other parts of the body are denied nutritions too, it leads to even more problems in the future. It’s not easy to diagnose the celiac disease as most people don’t have any serious symptoms, or they ignore the existing ones. At the time of diagnosis about 20% people with celiac disease have constipation, 10% are obese, and 75% of children with celiac disease are overweight or obese.
Celiac disease is more common in people with type 1 diabetes, autoimmune thyroid disease, microscopic colitis, Down syndrome and Turner syndrome. Those whose family members have celiac disease are also at higher risk. A simple blood test helps diagnose celiac disease, but the gold standard is endoscopy - a tube with a camera is placed in the intestine to look at the lining and take a biopsy.
There is no cure and the only real treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet for life. Although the diet works well for most people, it may take up to two years to heal the damaged intestine. Starting eating gluten again causes remissions.
A recent study estimated that about 1 in 100 people in the UK, and 1 in 140 people in the US live with celiac disease. Unfortunately, most cases are underdiagnosed which is probably why gluten gained so much attention. This is a real problem as most people don’t know they live with this serious disease.
The Journal of General Internal Medicine surveyed more than 2,400 patients with celiac disease. Only 11% were diagnosed by their GPs; the rest were diagnosed by someone else. They also surveyed the GPs and only 35% of them had ever diagnosed celiac disease. Research has also shown that doctors would often misdiagnose celiac disease. People with irritable bowel syndrome, for example, are four times more likely to have celiac disease. Patients diagnosed with iron and folic deficiency are also more likely to have celiac disease.
Many people with various symptoms start self-diagnosing. They put themselves on a new diet and say that they feel better. Then they declare that gluten-free diet is great and everyone should try it. That’s not how medicine works. If someone feels they may have celiac disease, they need to see a doctor as only a doctor can make the diagnosis. If celiac disease is diagnosed, the gluten-free diet is absolutely necessary. However, most people who start gluten-free diet don’t have celiac disease. Some of them have a wheat allergy which is also very rare.
In Europe for example, the prevalence of real wheat allergy is about 0.1%, in the US it’s between 0.4 and 1.0% which makes it even rarer than allergies to milk, eggs, soy, peanuts, fish and shellfish. Most of the wheat allergy occur in childhood and many children outgrow it, so wheat allergy is even less common than celiac disease especially in adults. If anyone is diagnosed by a doctor with a wheat allergy, then gluten-free diet is recommended.
What about people with gluten intolerance?
Gluten intolerance is not an autoimmune problem like celiac disease or an allergic problem like a wheat allergy. It's a different group with some symptoms related to gluten. A couple of years ago a research published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology supported the idea of gluten intolerance. Researchers enroled 34 patients who claimed gluten intolerance and asked them to eat either gluten or gluten-free food in the form of two bread slices. They found a significant difference in symptoms, pain, bloating, tiredness and satisfaction with stool consistency. Their conclusion was,“non-celiac gluten intolerance may exist, but no clues to the mechanism were elucidated.”
This research opened a huge debate and thousands of people started gluten-free diet to “cure” all of the symptoms mentioned in the research. Gluten became public enemy based on one research with 34 people involved. Since then many other, better designed and more sophisticated clinical trials were conducted to see the impact gluten may make on our health. The most reliable clinical trial concluded: “In a placebo-controlled, cross-over re-challenged study we found no evidence of specific or dose-dependent effects of gluten in patients with non-celiac gluten sensitivity placed diets low in FODMAPs.” In other words, the gluten-free diet made no difference.
A newly published study looked at people who claimed they had gluten sensitivity. Researchers studied 147 patients, 72% of whom didn’t meet criteria for gluten-sensitivity, despite having made self-diagnosis or even having been diagnosed with gluten-sensitivity, most often by non-physicians. In 25% of these people, their symptoms were poorly controlled even with the gluten-free diet. Gluten sensitivity probably does exist, but it is an extremely rare condition and it certainly doesn’t explain why millions of people around the world are giving up gluten.
For people who are not diagnosed with gluten-related conditions, like celiac disease or wheat allergy, substituting gluten free products for similar gluten-containing products doesn’t make any difference. In fact, it may make things worse. A recently published article showed that gluten-free products are often higher in carbs and sodium and lower in fibre and protein than some gluten-contain products. Gluten-free cereals can have significantly fewer vitamin and minerals than gluten containing cereals.
It is important to remember that many immune diseases have increased over the last few decades. We have become more sensitive to pollens so we suffer from hay fever. We don’t tolerate our own microbes so we have developed inflammatory bowel disease or we fight against our own tissues like in the cases of multiple sclerosis. The Western diet loaded with processed foods is recognised by the body as pro-inflammatory. Our intestinal microbial communities have shifted and our modern immune system has become weaker.
Gluten has done much good to our health for more than ten millennia. It’s bad for some people indeed, but the epidemic of gluten intolerance has gone way over the top. Instead of eliminating gluten we need to eliminate collective anxiety that causes imagined intolerances and allergies in healthy people.
The best way to find out if the gluten-free diet is right for you is to discuss it with your GP. When you receive accurate, evidence-based information, and proper testing, you can make a decision that is safe for you.
PThe Science of GMO. Are We Safe?
The science of gluten
TODAY'S INSPIRED ACTION
Scan your body from top to bottom. What do you feel?
YOUR WEEKLY SESSION
Get ready for your weekly session.
In your fifth session you will focus on reframing your past experiences, focus on finding meaning and set the following intentions:
1. Identify and change your old story; replace it with a new meaningful one
2. Forgive yourself and others
3. Transform a post-traumatic stress syndrome into a post-traumatic growth syndrome
Answer the Meaning Questionnaire (download No1), spend a few moments reflecting on the PT Growth Worksheet (download No2), and go through the exercises (download No3) before your next session. Evaluate your session in the Self-Evaluation Worksheet (download No4).
1. Please make sure that you choose a convenient time and a quiet place for your Skype conversations.
2. Let the members of your household know when you need time for yourself, so you are not being interrupted.
3. Check your wifi connection and show up on time.
4. If you are unable to attend, you can still reschedule within the next few days before the Monday of the following week, if your guide has a free time slot.
5. Your one-to-one sessions are an integral part of the Grace School curriculum. It is, therefore, fundamental that each session is in synchrony with the weekly Grace School module.
YOUR WEEKLY DOWNLOADS
All files attached below have been created to support and enhance your learning experience.
These are available for download for the next 7 days. Please make sure that you answer the Meaning Questionnaire (No1), reflect on the PT Growth Worksheet (No2), and do the exercises (No3) before your next session.
Use the Self-Evaluation Worksheet (No4) after your session. At the end of the week reflect on your experiences and challenges. Summarise your week with the Self-Reflection Worksheet (No5).
Your WEEK 5 Downloads:
1. Meaning Questionnaire - answer 10 simple questions related to a deeper meaning of life (approx. time 5 minutes)
2. PT Growth Worksheet - grow from your previous experiences (approx. time 10 minutes)
3. Exercise Worksheet - do the exercises before your next session (approx time 10 minutes)
4. Self-Evaluation Worksheet - evaluate your session and learn from your experience (approx time 10-15 minutes)
5. Self-Reflection Worksheet - at the end of the week reflect on your experiences and challenges (approx time 10-20 minutes)
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