Surprising gluten free foods


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We all miss our favorite foods since going gluten and dairy free.  But did you know that some of those foods that you thought you might never eat again are available in gluten and dairy free versions?

Since the explosion of the gluten free craze partnered with the internet, you can get just about anything in a gluten and/or dairy-free version.

This list is not going to include the usual products.  Listed below are gluten free foods that really surprised me with their availability.  I have not tried all of these products.  I have tried those with an asterisk.  I also have to admit that I placed an order while writing this post……

Gluten free Pennsylvania dutch pretzels*

If you are missing out on the office pretzel day, you need not miss out any longer.  These were pretty good.  You can microwave them which means you can bring them to work with you.

Gluten free puff pastry

These do contain dairy, but it’s pretty great that you can get these.

Gluten and dairy free ice cream cones

These would be great with dairy free ice cream

Gluten and dairy free frozen apple pie

This would be a great time saver on Thanksgiving.  There is a pumpkin version too.

Whoopie pies

Who would have thought?

Chinese dumplings*

Ordering from the link above there is no minimum.  If you order from feel good foods, there is a 6 box minimum.  Believe me, these are worth every penny.  See my review here.

Gluten free french fried onions*

It took a lot of searching to find these.  They are exactly like Durkee french fried onions.

There you have it.  Have you found surprising gluten free foods?  Please share!

 

Hit and miss with Ian’s gluten free


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It’s great when you can find a company that you can rely on for consistent gluten free products.  There are a few out there, like King Arthur, that deliver the goods.  Then there is Ian’s gluten free.  All of their products are free of most common allergens.

I have tried several of their frozen and packaged products, and I would like to share my reviews with you, so that you can make informed choices.   Of course,  my tastes are subjective.

Ian’s fish sticks

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It’s hard to replicate breading in a gluten free version.  If you grew up with Mrs. Pauls or Gorton’s fish sticks, you will be sadly disappointed.  These taste like cardboard.   There’s no getting around it.

Chicken Nuggets

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You’d do better with Tyson gluten free nuggets.  Again, these taste like cardboard.

French Bread pizza

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These are no threat to Stouffer’s.  The crust gets really tough if you microwave these.  The cheese is gooey and has a weird texture.  Pizza is one of the things that’s almost impossible to replicate.  I have struggled with this for months and have pretty much given up on ever eating a decent slice of pizza again.

Panko bread crumbs

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These were pretty good, with a nice spice blend.  They were crunchy, but did not adhere well to my chicken cutlets.  I would still recommend these.

Croutons

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I was really amazed to see gluten free croutons at my local store.  I think the whole kale thing is a gimmick, but having said that, these are absolutely delicious.  They really nailed it.  They are crunchy, but not hard as a rock.  I am really impressed with these.

So there you have it.  You should try these Ian’s products and share your reviews here.

 

#TBT Dining out gluten free


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I originally wrote this post on June 15, 2015.  It’s still relevant in the fact that dining out is still a major undertaking.  So much so, that I hardly go out to eat anymore.

When I decided to go gluten free almost a year ago, I sat down and had a talk with my husband.  “Honey”, I said, ” I think I will have to give up gluten.  Everything I have read points to that”.

“Ok”, he said, ” but I won’t be going gluten free.   But I will eat whatever you cook for me”.   Now that’s love!   But sometimes I wonder just how easy it is to live with someone who can’t eat gluten or dairy.  Especially when he is a carb and cheese addict.  But he has adjusted.  And he loves my new recipes.

When I first started out, date night became a whole new challenge.  Our first dinner out to our favorite steak place went something like this:

We sat down and I said, ” I can’t eat gluten or dairy. “. The server literally tore the regular menu from my hands and brought me a gluten free menu.  There were basically two choices-steak and salmon.  So I ordered the steak- no fried onions, and the baked potato with no sour cream. At this point, I was still eating butter.  Next was the salad bar.  I knew most of their dressings were gluten free.  While we were still eating the salad the entrees came.  You guessed it-fried onions and sour cream.   I removed the onions and scraped the sour cream from the potato.

I was a bit annoyed and I am sure my husband was too.   I ended up calling the waiter over and letting them know  I was not happy.   The steak had been overcooked too.  In fact, the manager brought my replacement dinner out to me and asked if everything was ok.   Meanwhile, my hubby continued to eat his meal.  Like I said, he is very patient and understanding.

You may not be so lucky.   Here are some tips to help you avoid icy stares and daggers:

  • Check the menu ahead of time.  Nothing annoys people more than waiting for someone to decide what is safe for them to eat
  • Go out to eat at non-peak times if possible.  Wait and kitchen staff won’t be as accommodating when they are running about like chickens without heads
  • Have a backup plan.  They may be out of salmon
  • Call ahead if possible to speak to the chef so that something can be prepared in advance
  • Let your family know of your dietary restrictions ahead of time.   They may not understand what gluten free means
  •  Bring your own food to family gatherings.  This eliminates problems from the get go

Being gluten and dairy free is hard.  It is much harder on your loved ones.   Cut them some slack.  Just smile and say, “pass the vegetables”.

Delicious crock pot Spring leg of lamb


 

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Picture courtesy of All recipes

 

 

Spring is in the air, and with it, lamb.  We have a local farm that produces the best lamb I have eaten since my trip to Ireland.

The crockpot is my favorite cooking method for large cuts of meat. You can be assured that it is cooked through, and won’t be overcooked.

This recipe is easy and results in tender, fall off the bone lamb.

Ingredients:

1 2-3 lb leg of lamb, bone in
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup red wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1-3 cloves garlic, to taste
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon pepper or to taste
1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash original (or your favorite seasoning)

Directions:

Combine broth and wine and pour into a lined crock pot. Place lamb in the crockpot. Mix together remaining ingredients and pour over lamb. Cook 30 minutes on high. Reduce to low and cook and additional five hours, turning lamb every 2 hours for even cooking (if possible), until meat is falling off the bone and is fork tender.

Slice lamb and make gravy with the cooking liquid using white rice flour.

Serve with noodles or potatoes.

This makes an easy weeknight dinner. I did not have rosemary, so I left it out. You can use any herbs or spices that you like. I did not add additional salt; the chicken broth is plenty salty. The cooking juices made a delicious gravy.

Please share your thoughts and outcome when trying this recipe.

Carrot cake mishap


 

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Looks great, probably has glass in it

I’ve been wanting to make a gluten free carrot cake for some time.  I just never got around to it until today.  So with my trusty King Arthur recipe,  I got out all of my ingredients, and spread them out over my incredibly small kitchen counter.

I had already measured out and mixed all of the dry ingredients and moved the bowl over to the counter on the other side of my stove.  I had my old pyrex glass measuring cup at the front of the counter, and was just about to measure the grapeseed oil when the oil bottle tipped over, slid into my mixing bowl, and pushed my pyrex cup right onto the floor. The oil bottle broke my mixing bowl as well.

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It shattered into about a million pieces.  Luckily my husband was there to help with the cleanup.  There was glass everywhere. It had skittered into my living room and under my utility room and pantry door.  Big shards and glass dust.  It took a good half hour with a broom, dustpan, and vacuum to get it up. Luckily, I did not get cut, and my cats were not in the vicinity.  But what about my carrot cake?

I decided to go ahead with the recipe, thinking that I might be ok.  Then my husband found some shards of glass in the sink, right next to where my shredded carrots were. And since the glass had literally flown into the air, and had vaporized,  I realized that it just wouldn’t be safe to eat this cake, so I baked it and tossed it in the trash.

You do not want to eat glass dust.  It might be microscopic enough to not be seen, but it will rip up your insides.

It was just not meant to be.  I will probably bake another one next week.  I wanted to do a video on how to make cream cheese frosting, but that will have to wait.

Oh well, better safe than sorry. I will be shopping for a new measuring cup, and a new bowl as well.

 

11 Things I love, and 10 things I hate about being gluten free


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I have a love-hate relationship with being gluten free and dairy free.  I have lived this life for over two years now, and there are days when I wake up ready to eat my gluten free toast and days when I want a real cream in my tea.

In the interest of positive thinking, I will start my why I love list:

  1. I have learned how to bake and make savory dishes from scratch
  2. I am constantly amazed by the new and really delicious gluten and dairy free products that are emerging
  3. I am writing this blog, and in doing so, I am helping others who are struggling
  4. I get emails from all over the world asking for my help
  5. I have grown as a person
  6. I have connected with companies and have been able to sample a lot of great gluten free products
  7. I have learned how to convert recipes and can eat just about anything I want
  8. I have over 200 loyal followers (and growing)
  9. I have learned how to read labels and how to find hidden gluten and dairy
  10. I have learned to love dairy free cheese
  11. Labeling laws have made it easier to find hidden allergens

I am proud to be able to share my experiences with all of you.  I am amazed at how far I have come in the past couple of years, not only with my gluten free knowledge, but in becoming a better blogger, and a better person.

I never dreamed that I would be able to bake, cook, and convert gluten and dairy free recipes with a really high success rate.

I do not really feel deprived.  Of course, there are days when I really miss something that I can’t replicate.  But they are few.

Ok, now for the hate part:

  1. I have to mail-order a lot of gluten and dairy free products because no-one carries them in my area
  2. Gluten and dairy free items are expensive, especially when you add shipping costs
  3. Dry ice is a pain to deal with
  4. Dining out holds no pleasure for me anymore
  5. I am tired of ignorant restaurant staff
  6. I avoid social situations involving food
  7. I can’t find a decent gluten free pizza crust (I have come close)
  8. I miss Chinese food
  9. I can’t make a decent biscuit 
  10. I miss real milk, cream cheese, and sour cream

I am a bit disappointed with the availability of gluten and dairy free products in stores.  It is exorbitantly expensive to mail-order gluten and dairy free foods.

I am upset that I can’t go out to eat without having to have a degree in food science and having to search to find allergen-free menus.  Although I have to say that I do see an upward swing in online availability.  However, they don’t often have these menus available on site.  So how do the waitstaff and kitchen staff know what you are talking about?

I once had a server ask me if there is dairy in butter.  I once found wheat berries in rice pilaf.  There is wheat in foods where it doesn’t even belong.  Canned chicken?  Potato salad?

There are things that just can’t be replicated.  Sometimes I am not okay with that.

All in all, I have to say that I am more and more comfortable with this lifestyle.  I can’t say I completely love it, but I am learning to live with it.  And that, my friends, is key.

 

 

 

#TBT: Is gluten free a scam? revisited


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I originally wrote this post on June 11, 2015.   At the time, the news was filled with reports that the gluten-free diet was a “fad” and that gluten-free foods were a “scam”.  I got all kinds of incorrect medical advice until I figured out that my IBS was exacerbated by eating gluten and dairy.

The motivation to go gluten-free is often begun for reasons other than stomach upset.

 

Why are gluten free diets considered a scam?

Do a search on gluten free diets and you will not only find advocates, but naysayers. The gluten free movement has exploded recently, and with it dozens of websites, blogs, opinions, articles and debates.

Those who say gluten free is a scam obviously don’t have a gluten intolerance, or celiac disease. Some say if you are not diagnosed with celiac, it is all in your head.  I beg to differ.

What motivates people and industries to go gluten free?

Money. Diet books and diet foods are a huge industry right now, with more and more people in the US trying to eat better.

Health. Weight loss, digestion, brain fog, joint pain-these are just some of the reasons someone might stop eating gluten.

Celebrities. This is where the fads come in. I believe celebrities who are going gluten free just because it is the latest fad hurts those of us who actually need to be gluten free.

Below is an answer to an online question “is gluten free a scam?” that I believe to be misguided:

“The gluten-free diet is not a scam… at least, not at first. In 2011, an Australian scientist, Dr. Peter Gibson found that certain people who did not have Celiac disease (a well-known autoimmune disorder discovered in the 2nd century CE where people cannot eat gluten) also reported several gastrointestinal disorders when eating gluten that went away when they stopped. As is the case, as soon as a single nutrition paper comes out, someone will write a diet book based on it. This can be dangerous (in the 1980’s everyone was told to eat saturated fat-free diets… which meant eating lots of trans fats, which we now know to be extremely toxic, killing 20000 Americans a year… oops), though in the case of gluten-free diets the risks aren’t so bad as long as one gets vitamins elsewhere.

However, Dr. Gibson himself never trusted his work, and like a good scientist tried to repeat it. In 2014 he published a paper showing that people with “non-celiac gluten sensitivity,” when told they were on a high-gluten diet, always reported feeling sick even if they were actually being fed gluten-free foods! He concluded that his initial report three years earlier was wrong. Many other scientists have confirmed his work, but the damage was done: in those three years, gluten-free food became an industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Pseudoscientific claims [gluten causes all symptoms of every diseases ever, gluten is a GMOs, gluten is a CIA mind control device, etc] have gotten more popularity than Dr. Gibson’s works ever could, and a fad has started that will take a lot of time and information to die down, if it ever will.”

There is an interesting article on Dr. Gibson’s views here:

http://glutendude.com/interviews/does-non-celiac-gluten-sensitivity-exist/

I find it very difficult to believe that someone being fed gluten free foods would have symptoms of gluten intolerance, even though the mind can play tricks, like a placebo effect.  Each of us knows our own body better than any scientist, doctor, or wannabe expert.  I tried for years to get doctors to believe I had IBS symptoms.  I was told:

“It’s related to your periods” by my family doctor

“It’s related to your digestion” by the OB/GYN

No one would listen to me.  It was all related to hormones, stress, having no gallbladder, having ovarian cysts, etc. I took care of the hormone issue and the cyst issue, thinking, ok, that should be the end of it.  Wrong!  While it played a part, it wasn’t the whole gluten free enchilada.  And it took 15 years of suffering to get a doctor to listen to me about my “female trouble”.

Celiac disease was ruled out for me.  But actually being diagnosed is not that simple.  Presuming you find a doctor that doesn’t brush you off and write you a script for antidepressents, it is an uphill battle.

Yes, pseudoscience does exist and so does marketing for profit. However, I believe the person who wrote this answer to an online question has never experienced the horrific effects of gluten intolerance. While everyone is entitled to their opinion (CIA mind control device, really???) please educate yourself on what you are writing about. Just because you read it on the internet, see it on Dr. Oz (God forbid)or CNN doesn’t mean it is so, and just because a “study” is done doesn’t mean it isn’t slanted, or junk science. Think Measles vaccine as an example.

Yes, gluten free is a money maker and a celebrity band wagon. But please don’t forget about those of us whose lives have changed for the better because we stopped eating it. It is no picnic-in fact, it is a very difficult lifestyle. Not glamorous at all.

I hear people complain all the time about their “stomach issues”.  But when I try to tell them-it might be gluten, or dairy, I get the denial.  No, that can’t be it.  I just ate yogurt.  It’s supposed to help with your digestion.  Thank you Jamie Lee Curtis!  Not if you are lactose intolerant, which, by the way, 65% of the human population is. We are not baby cows!  We were never meant to drink cows milk.  Ok, I will get off my milk box.

I would say to the original poster, walk a mile in my shoes-go gluten and dairy free for a month. I’m sure it would be a gut experience. It may even make you feel better.

Battle of the chocolate cakes, Part 2


Several months ago, I wrote a post about the battle between the chocolate cakes, using King Arthur Measure for Measure flour and Mina’s chocolate cake mix.  Today the battle is between King Arthur and Better Batter.   I have heard people rave about it, so I decided to compare it to my favorite King Arthur gluten free flour.

I contacted Better Batter for a free sample.  They usually don’t send any out unless you meet several criteria, but after a few back and forth emails, they consented to send me a sample of their gluten free Better Batter Cup for Cup flour.

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I used my go-to King Arthur chocolate cake recipe.  I don’t normally substitute gluten free flours in specific brand recipes, but in this case I made an exception.  You don’t want to make a recipe that’s already gluten free if you are using measure for measure gluten free flour.  It’s meant to replace wheat flour in recipes.  If you have a gluten-free recipe, use gluten-free flour.   There is a gluten-free version of this cake, but I prefer to make this one, using the replacement flour.

I made the cake exactly as directed in a 9×9 square cake pan.   The recipe is in the above link.

Here is a picture of the King Arthur version of the cake:

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And here is a picture of the Better Batter version:

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As you can see, the King Arthur version baked up much taller.  But the Better Batter had a slight edge in the moistness of the crumb.  I cut the cake before the ganache set, so I could write a post on it.  Oh, who am I kidding-I couldn’t wait to try it!

This is from Better Batter’s website:

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For a comparison, here are King’ Arthur‘s ingredients:

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They are both based on rice flour, but they have a slight difference in ingredients.  Better Batter has fewer ingredients.  I find King Arthur amazing in that it works in just about any cake recipe as a cup for cup replacement.   Three pounds of the King Arthur cost $9.95. Twenty ounces of Better Batter costs $8.69.  You get much more bang for your buck with the King Arthur flour.  Better Batter is a very close second.  The winner: King Arthur.

On a similar note, I have been asked by several people how to make dairy free ganache.  It couldn’t be any easier.  I use Coconut milk and Enjoy life dairy free chips.  You can see how easy it is in this video:

Watch my YouTube video on how to make easy dairy free chocolate ganache here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXSAjCvzFvE

It’s interesting to try different baking mixes to see if one edges out the others.  Of course, this is all subjective.

In any case, it’s a delicious way to try gluten free flours!  Happy baking!

 

#TBT: Revisiting older posts with new meaning


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I am starting a new feature for Throwback Thursday; I will be revisiting some of my older posts and adding an updated commentary.

Today’s retro post is from June 3rd, 2015:

Advice is everywhere.  So are opinions.  Everyone has one, and everyone is entitled to one.  That is where the story should end, but it doesn’t.  Facebook, twitter, TV, media….are all as good as the people on it.   You have to be able to weed through the crap to get to the good stuff.  And that often takes too much effort.  It’s just easier to take all of these messages we are bombarded with at face value than to think for oneself.

I recently joined a couple of Facebook groups on gluten free living.  While I think it’s a great idea to exchange ideas and have support, there are too many cooks in the kitchen with their finger in the pie.  If you are  just starting out with a diagnosis of celiac or gluten intolerance, the amount of advice on social media can just make you want to say “give me that doughnut!”

Everyone thinks their way is the best way.  Eat only fruit, veggies and meat!  Eat only pre-packaged foods!  Eat only recipes made from scratch!  Eat vegan!  Eat Paleo!   Now I myself give advice, but I always say-find what works best for you.  What works for one person may not work for you.  You have to find your own path in life, and you also have to find your own path eating gluten and allergy free.   You will quickly become overwhelmed if you listen to the talking heads and try to do what they tell you to do.

Now, I can tell you what I did.  I did an elimination diet for two weeks.  Then I slowly started to discover boxed mixes and gluten free items that helped with my carb cravings.  As a carb addict, I could not give up bread, cookies, pasta and cake.  And I didn’t have to.  Is it unhealthy?  Yes.  Did it work for me?  Yes.  Will it work for you? Maybe, maybe not.  Although I can tell you that if you go cold turkey off of carbs, it will be extremely difficult for you to stick with a gluten free diet.

That being said, the choice is completely yours.  You will have to make modifications and changes as you go along.  I have found confidence in cooking and baking that I never thought I could have.  But not everyone is Suzy Homemaker. Don’t be afraid to use boxed mixes and packaged goods if it makes your life easier.  If you want to go vegan, that’s ok too.

Be true to yourself.  Here are some tips that can help you.

  • Google is your friend.  I google everything and anything I am not sure of.
  • Take articles about gluten intolerance with a grain of, well, wheat.  Studies are inconclusive but no-one knows your body better than you.  If you feel better after eliminating gluten, chances are you are intolerant.
  • If you want to be tested for celiac, do so before eliminating gluten.  If you are losing weight I would definitely be tested.
  • Gluten and dairy intolerance often go hand in hand.  It may not just be lactose intolerance.  Try lactose free, then if that doesn’t work go dairy free.  I found that products containing whey bother me.  But it may be different for you.
  • Giving up both gluten and dairy is extremely difficult.  It is very hard to find both gluten and dairy free, especially when dining out.  But you may have to to feel better.  You can still eat well.
  • Give yourself time to acclimate.  You should start feeling better the first week.  If you need to, give the elimination diet a little more time.
  • Consult a nutritionist.
  • Consult your doctor but be aware they will more than likely want to treat you with drugs, which isn’t always the right way to go.
  • Read everything you can get your hands on, then form your own opinions.

I am not a physician.  I don’t play one on tv and I don’t claim to be one.  These are just suggestions to get you started.  it will take a lot of trial and error to get settled, but once you do, you should see a remarkable difference.

Please contact me if I can be of any help sorting things out, or just be an ear to listen.  Support is very important.  Educate your family and friends and tell them this is not just a “fad”.  And most of all, focus on what you can eat, not what you can’t.  That is the first step.

This holds true even more than it did almost two years ago.  Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. it can be very overwhelming.   Celebrities and so-called health gurus give advice, often with nothing to back it up.  Their way is the only way.  Health scares are everywhere.  So what can you do?

As I said in this post, do your homework.  This has been an undercurrent since I started this site.  Don’t believe everything you read or hear.  Be your own advocate.

It is becoming much easier to find gluten and dairy free alternatives, thanks to those who have turned gluten free eating into a fad.  It has forced large food conglomerates to jump on the gluten-free bandwagon by providing easier and familiar options.  It can be a double-edged sword, but it certainly makes it easier to maintain this lifestyle.

Please share this post and comment, comment, comment.  Get the word out.  Help others in your situation.  Most of all, be safe, and healthy!

Do you have leaky gut? And what can you do about it?


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Disclaimer:  I will be sharing information and websites that discuss leaky gut syndrome and it’s possible treatments in this post.  I do not intend to diagnose any illness here; this post is intended to be informational.   

After many years of battling IBS and my change to a gluten and dairy free lifestyle, I am now on an experimental journey to heal my leaky gut.  My first step is to try drinking Kombucha.   I will be posting my progress on that in other posts.

What is leaky gut?  As defined by WebMD:

A possible cause of leaky gut is increased intestinal permeability or intestinal hyperpermeability.

That could happen when tight junctions in the gut, which control what passes through the lining of the small intestine, don’t work properly. That could let substances leak into the bloodstream.

It can cause all sorts of health problems and conditions.  But is it a catchall condition that is being blamed for a myriad of health problems?

I have read several articles from several websites and have drawn my own conclusions.  There are many that promote supplements.  I tend not to rely too much on that, as that tells me they are in it for the money.  But there are some intriguing points that are made.  I don’t intend to try to stop doing everything that could be causing my symptoms, but by reading these articles, I realize there are some things I am doing that I could change.

I got most of my information from the Leaky gut support site.  I will share some of her information; you can click on the link and draw your own conclusions. She also has a free quiz on her site that you might want to take.  I got a very high score for leaky gut.

These are some of the symptoms you might experience:

Digestion and Other General Symptoms

Some symptoms are localized to the gut, and include:

  • Bloating
  • Candida overgrowth
  • Constipation
  • Ongoing diarrhea
  • Gas

General signs include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Food allergies
  • General/seasonal allergies
  • Joint pain
  • Arthritis
  • Skin rashes (related to inflammation)
  • Nutritional deficiencies (improper absorption)
  • Weakened immune system (from overexertion)

Brain related symptoms include:

  • Mood
  • Brain fog
  • Anxiety
  • Depression (usually worsened)

More severe conditions from leaky gut include:

  • IBS
  • Crohn’s
  • Celiac
  • Diabetes
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Hashimoto

I can check off a lot of these symptoms.  But all of some or all of these can be attributed to other conditions.   There also seems to be a lot of conflicting information as to what is actually helpful in healing leaky gut.  I will share some of the FAQ’s from myleakygutsyndrome.com:

Are eggs good for leaky gut?

Yes. Eggs are nutritious and acceptable to consume. They are rich in good fats (omegas), B vitamins which are often deficient in leaky gut patients, and l-lysine to help support immune function. Ensure that you cook your eggs either poached or over medium heat: cooking them too fast on high can destroy some nutrients and create free radicals–which are natural antioxidant enemies. Use only coconut oil or other heatable, extra virgin oils.

What about fermented foods: are they good?

Fermented foods are naturally rich in probiotics, so yes!–With some cautions in place. Ensure that the foods do not have chemical, sugar, or salt added. Sauerkraut, kim chi, and even kefir or plain, whole yogurt are rich in probiotics, though the latter two are dairy based and may need to be excluded from the diet for a period of time when first beginning to heal leaky gut.

Is banana good?

During a leaky gut diet, you may want to avoid bananas. Though they are nutrient, fiber, and mineral dense (especially with potassium), they are also high in sugar, and many people can develop allergies to bananas. Small portions of banana may be added much later in the diet, but be aware of your overall sugar consumption. Once your body is healed, be it a few months or even years, bananas are good when consumed in moderation. Aside from the afore mentioned benefits, they also contain FOS, which is food for beneficial bacteria in your gut.

Is Coconut Milk Good?

Depending on how pure the coconut milk is, any source of coconut can be healing, have anti-inflammatory properties, and is made up of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs, or sometimes MCTs–medium chain triglycerides) which are easier for the body to digest than many other fats. Many store-bought containers of coconut milk will have fillers and ingredients difficult to digest and absorb, such as calcium carbonate. Guar gum, usually derived from corn, is a thickener found in many premade sources of coconut milk as well and is disruptive to the gut-healing process.

Is Coconut Oil Good?

A resounding yes! Coconut oil is heavy in nutritious fats easily absorbed by the body, and has immune-supporting and healing components. It can inhibit candida growth and help support healthy digestion. Ensure that coconut oil is unrefined and extra virgin.

Can leaky gut cause acid reflux?

Here comes a surprise: acid reflux is not always as a result of high stomach acid. In fact, in many cases it evolves as a result of low acid. When you have low acid, which means that of a more alkaline variety, then you not only have a build up of undigested food stuffs but also can develop reflux which is thought to be as a consequence of fermentation rather than degrading of foods. This can also present, and often does even prior to reflux, as bloating and general ‘gassiness.’

Can leaky gut cause symptoms of anxiety?

Many people with leaky gut syndrome suffer from increased anxiety. For some people this will only happen at a social level and they may feel less confident than they once did when they are exposed to larger gatherings of people. Others find that this anxiety is so extreme they are affected even in their home environment and when attempting to cope with the normal routine of everyday life. What has to be appreciated is that when the body is coping with leaky gut syndrome it is affecting the nervous system. Most particularly if affects the autonomous ‘fight or flight’ system and essentially the body is remaining in a more or less, constant state of high alert. These are not responses which we have conscious control over. This aspect of the nervous system, together with that of the enteric nervous system, which controls our gut, takes over automatically.

Inflammation and Leaky Gut

Inflammation due to leaky gut can arise in several different ways. Firstly the change in the intestinal environment causes irritation to the digestive system itself. Then, when the balance of gut microflora changes, bacteria can release more toxins which set up an inflammatory response. As the tight junctions of the intestinal wall are affected and molecules seep through into the blood stream, yet again they prompt an inflammatory/immune response. This is, of course, excluding several other factors including how these molecules adversely affect the parts of the body in which they settle. Other aspects relating to inflammation relate to how the stomach lining responds to a more alkaline environment and the over production of gastrin. Also it should be taken into consideration that the food eaten is likely to be fermented rather than degraded in the stomach cavity and the bigger picture suggests internal effects which are constantly thrown into an inflammatory response.

Is Ibuprofen good for leaky gut?

Ibuprofen comes under the classification of NSAIDs (Non-steriodal anti-inflammatory) drugs which are thought to contribute to causing leaky gut syndrome. Originally the theory, which was precisely that, a theory, was derided by the orthodox medical community, however in the past few years research has confirmed that Ibuprofen can indeed result in leaky gut syndrome. A report published in 2014 by the National Institute of Health in the UK confirmed that Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs result not only in inflammation of the intestinal lining but also in increased permeability. Although much of the research which has taken place focuses on the effects of people with celiac (coeliac) disease and the increased intolerance to substances such as gluten, such drugs can obviously detrimentally affect those with leaky gut whether their condition is diagnosed or not.

Immune System and Leaky Gut Syndrome

When the integrity of the intestinal wall becomes compromised it lets through molecules which are too large and some toxins and bacteria. Although nutrients are actually meant to pass through the intestinal wall, the structure of it means they should only pass through when they have reached a certain point in the digestive process. Because in leaky gut the gaps in the wall are bigger then this barrier is breached. Because of this our immune system responds. These particles become foreign bodies and our immune system does what it’s supposed to do – fend off invaders. It may well be that these ‘invaders’ are substances which would, at a later point in the digestive process, normally be sent through the intestinal wall, but because they are sent through at the wrong point and they are of the wrong ‘structure’ the body simply does not recognize them. The immune system then goes into overdrive and it sets off all kinds of reactions including that of our endocrine system. This means that not only can all the glands in our body be affected but also that our hormonal system becomes erratic. So, when you get thyroid dysfunction or sleep problems, or even excessive sweating, these can all be signals that your immune system is being adversely affected by a leaky gut. Many people find today that they test positive for antibodies in various parts of the body: again an indicator that the body is overreacting when foreign particles are entering the body.

A more direct observation can be made when we start to become sensitive to certain foods – foods that the body should be able to cope with under normal circumstances. This is the immune system starting to recognize normal foodstuffs as enemies simply because they are entering the body at the wrong point and in an unrecognizable form when you have leaky gut.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Leaky Gut Syndrome Are They Connected?

Some people believe that their IBS could possibly be a cause of their leaky gut syndrome, however what is more likely is that IBS is a collection of symptoms indicating that they have gut dysbiosis and intestinal overgrowth which will ultimately lead to Leaky Gut Syndrome. Of course this could be construed as being a possible cause but really it is simply the progression of an illness. In the same way that some patients achieve a diagnosis of IBS and which later is attributed to SIBO, then this can eventually be diagnosed as leaky gut syndrome. The symptoms of IBS are general stomach pain and cramping which may often be alleviated after passing a motion. Additional indicators of IBS can be: suffering pain on intercourse, excessive wind, backache, nausea, excessive urination during the night time, lethargy, incontinence and bloating. Some people also suffer from low mood or depression which is usually put down to being a result of dealing with their condition. Of course, if IBS evolves from a digestive dysfunction then the real truth of the matter is that they probably are not obtaining the nutrients they need to ensure such problems as neurotransmitter production is not lacking. Still, rarely is IBS currently seen as the initiation of a more chronic condition, despite the fact that this often turns out to be the case.

I was especially interested in what she had to say about IBS, anxiety, acid reflux and the use of NSAIDS.  I take an aspirin and an antacid daily.  I used to take Prilosec every day until I got a weird side effect: my big toenails started to grow out funny.  I was able to wean myself off of the Prilosec, but it took about another year for my toenails to grow out normally.  I take the aspirin for arthritis joint pain.  I am hoping that by taking the Kombucha that I can stop taking both of these.

She also mentions that white rice can make symptoms worse.  This is bad for those of us with gluten intolerance-most gluten free packaged flours and mixes have white or brown rice as their base.  I don’t know if I can give these up entirely.

My whole mission of drinking Kombucha is to be able to eat wheat and dairy again in really small amounts.  I am not sure if that will ever happen, but I am hopeful.  I am also hoping to alleviate my joint pain and have more energy.  I realized that Kombucha is not a miracle elixer.  But it will be interesting to see if it makes any difference in how I feel overall.

So what else can you do to alleviate leaky gut?

  • Avoid dairy, sugar, gluten and soy
  • avoid processed foods
  • avoid nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers or any fruit with seeds)

Sugar is definitely my downfall.  I love tomatoes and potatoes.  Could I give all of this up?  I don’t know if I could.  I am starting slow.  I am also going to try to cut back on my sugar intake.  Avoiding rice is almost impossible.

You have to pick your battles.  Giving up gluten and dairy was a big step, and one with definite benefits.  But I still get IBS symptoms, and it’s not just from being “glutened”.  It will be a journey.  And hopefully, one worth taking.