Over the last weeks and months , I have been sharing information from the speakers at the Gluten Summit. Today I would like to share the interview with Dr. Deanna Minich.
A Grain of Truth: The Gluten Summit
Dr. Deanna Minich, PhD, FACN, CNS
Nutrition For the Soul: Moving Beyond a Gluten-Free Diet
- Gluten can penetrate through the skin through various household and personal care products
We eat with our skin. And, I’ve developed a lot of passion around personal care products and gluten because I was seeing in the clinic that some people were getting well and having raving success. And, then, others seem to have about 60 to 80% success, a lot of women. And, I noticed that these women were also consumers and users of a lot of personal care products.
So, we would start talking about household products. What are they inhaling? What are they slathering on their skin? What shampoo are they using? Of course, many times you see hydrolyzed wheat protein as one of the main ingredients, even in lotions. And, so, that stuff sits on our skin. And, the way that it works is by penetrating the skin. So, we can set off that autoimmune cascade even at that level.
- Skin is similar to tissues in the intestinal tract
The goal of how those products work is by at least getting into perhaps the epidermis, the upper layer of the skin. Whether or not it gets into the systemic circulation, there can still be a process that is offset in the skin. And, keep in mind, as you know, the skin is very similar in tissue to the gastrointestinal tract. So, if we’re having a reaction at the skin level, and people are observant of that and they start to notice even changes in their skin…But, more notably, even if they have changes in their health when their omitting gluten in the diet, and they’re still seeing something happen. …
The experts can say that these things don’t penetrate the skin. But, in my clinical experience–and that’s all I can speak from; I haven’t done research on this–in my clinical experience, I have seen that people respond very well when they start to omit personal care products that contain gluten. They stop losing hair. They stop having skin symptoms.
- Dr. Minich wrote a book on food additives that can be very helpful to people working on maintaining a healthy diet free from gluten.
And, I wrote a little book and published that back a couple of years ago. It’s called An A-Z Guide to Food Additives: Never Eat What You Can’t Pronounce. And, in that book, I give a whole list of different ingredients that you would find in a label that would contain gluten.
- Lots of gluten free food products include unhealthy ingredients like fat and sugar which can be just as bad for us as the gluten!
So, the way that I can say that gluten-free diets could be, perhaps, not as beneficial for our health is when we start to substitute the gluten-containing items that are not as healthy, that are processed, with gluten-free options that contain high amounts of sugar, high amounts of fat. They’re just as bad as their gluten-containing counterparts. So, the only thing that changed with that food was the omission of the gluten, but not necessarily the quality of the food.
- Our relationship with food says lots about how we live.
… our relationship with food and eating says so much about how we live. And, how we live, says so much about how we’re eating. So, the more aware we are and the more conscious we are about our eating behaviors, it’s almost like that can ripple through and change how we live.
So, I find it fascinating when I’m asking patients, “Just tell me, give me some adjectives that describe how you eat?” And, I might get words like, “fast.” I might get things like, “chaotic,” “rushed,” “processed.” And, so, then I have them draw a correlate with their lives and I say, “Well, are your lives fast? Are your lives chaotic? Are they processed. Do they feel fast? Do they feel just like they’re zooming past you, your daily moments?” And, typically you’ll see that people see the connection. That, “Wow, if I slow down and I’m more conscious about my food, does that mean that everything around me starts to slow down?”
- Going gluten free involves every part of us.
Going gluten-free is going to involve every piece of who we are. Even if we take those different aspects. The body, we’re going to see changes in the immune system and how we function. The emotions, I spoke to that. Our sense of power and self-esteem. We have to be really rock solid within ourselves to really take on something new in a completely…We have to have a lot of will-power. And, we have to forge forward. We also have to have self-love. So, the whole aspect of love, really caring for ourselves and nurturing for ourselves and making that commitment because really and truly, in order for us to love others, we need to love ourselves.