"Life Without Bread"


FOTCM Member
The following seems to be the step that everyone has been missing - at least probably those who are having problems transitioning. There are some things in this bit that surprised me.

Healing the Gluten-Ravaged Gut

Even when gluten has been removed from the diet completely, this alone is not necessarily sufficient unto itself toward restoring intestinal integrity. Less than half of the patients with celiac disease on a gluten-free diet for an average of 9.7 years have complete normalization, as shown by intestinal biopsy test results (Euerksen et al. 2010)

A systematic regimen of reducing inflammation and healing the existing damage must be implemented for long-term optimal results and true healing; this is a process that is likely to take at least one year of dedicated effort, although significant tangible benefits are typically seen much sooner---some within days of eliminating all exposure to gluten, in fact.

The daily addition of omega-3 fat (EPA), the fatty acid GLA, vitamin D, glutathione-enhancing nutrients, and botanicals such as turmeric (curcumen) can help battle inflammation, while the use of other botanicals (marshnlallow root extract, slippery elm bark extract, deglycyrrhizinated licorice extract, and aloe leaf extract can all be helpful) as well as additional substances such as L-glutamine and methylsulfonylnrethane (MSM) can help serve to support the healing of the existing damage.

Proline-rich polypeptides from bovine colostrum and whole, minimally processed, grass-fed, organic bovine colostrurn can also be of tremendous benefit in restoring heaithy gastrointestinal integrity and immune function over time. There are more than nine thousand studies showing grass-fed bovine colostrum's potentially key role in restoring gastrointestinal integrity.

Other food sensitivities must also be addressed. The good news is that other food sensitivities often diminish over rime once the aggravating factor of gluten (the granddaddy of them all) is finally out of the picture and intestinal integrity is restored. In an article in Nature Reviews Gastroenterology and Hepatology the authors wrote, "This new paradigm subverts traditional theories underlying the development of autoimmunity, which are based on molecular mimicry and/or the bystander effect. . . and suggests that the autoimmune process can be arrested if the interplay between genes and environmental triggers is prevented by re-establishing intestinal barrier function" (Fasano and Shea-Donohue 2005).

This is amazing news. The potential for healing is extraordinary once gluten is eliminated and the gut is repaired.

Also, a potent cross-reactivity to casein (the protein found in milk products) has additionally been demonstrated to be similar to an immunologic reactivity to gluten. In the journal Clinical and Experimental Immunology, the authors stated, "A mucosal inflammatory response similar to that elicited by gluten was produced by CM protein in about 50% of the patients with coeliac disease. Casein, in particular, seems to be involved in this reaction" (Kristjansson et al. 2007).

Casein is among the most common cosensitive agents with gluten, but the immune system can come to react to almost anything if gluten consumption persists.

Cross-reactivity, which is the tendency to react to substances either genetically or structurally similar to gluten or that our immune system has merely learned to associate with gluten, is an added concern for many. This can be a very real and frustrating problem. Once multiple food sensitivities take over, they can cause a very vicious cycle that only worsens with time and becomes extremely difficult to correct. Living with this can be miserable at best. Autoimmune processes-often multiple ones-can be a very common result. Identifying cross-reactive substances may be necessary to identify other guilty culprits that are stalling or thwarting your healing process.

Among the most common true potentially cross-reactive compounds are:

casein (milk protein and cheese included)
oats (including the supposedly "gluten-free" kind)
kamut (also known as Polish wheat, Egyptian wheat, or camel's wheat)
coffee (so sorry!)
milk chocolate (don't hit me)

Additional compounds (frequently substituted for gluten) that may cause problems and food sensitivity issues of their own include:

corn (very common food sensitivity and almost always a GMO food)
buckwheat (note that most buckwheat and soy flour, apart from being potential sensitivities in and of themselves are most commonly contaminated with gluten due to processing methods)
rice (yes, rice-increasingly, believe it or not)

Celiac Disease: More Common Than Ever?

A study published in the peer-reviewed journal Gastroenterology compared ten thousand available blood samples taken from individuals fifty years ago to samples taken from ten thousand people today and found that there has been a 400 percent increase in the incidence of full-blown celiac disease (Rubio-Tapia et al. 2009)!

Changes made to American strains of wheat, giving them much higher gluten content, are likely a significant part of the problem. Increased genetic susceptibility due to a variety of causes is likely another. Additional reasons for this increased susceptibility also reasonably include modern gluten-processing methods (something called deamidation in processed foods); prolonged storage of gluten-containing grains, leading to enterotoxin contamination; chronic stress issues, leading to cortisol-related breakdown of immune barriers; digestive enzyme and hydrochloric acid insufficiency; and generally poor nutritional habits due to an increasingly processed and nutrient-depleted food supply.

According to the same article, fully 30-50 percent of all people carry the gene for celiac disease (known as HLA-DQ8 or HLA-DQ2) and eight times more people with celiac disease have no gastrointestinal symptoms than do. Gluten-sensitivity genes are significantly more common (HLA-DQBl, alleles 1 and 2). Fully 99 percent of those people who have this entirely curable and potentially lethal condition are completely unaware of the dangerous vulnerability within themselves.

Although a biopsy of the small intestine is commonly used to diagnose celiac disease, the actual diagnostic criteria are so restrictive as to be inherently untrustworthy as a final determinant. gasirointestinal symptoms are, in fact, barely the tip of the iceberg. An article in the British Medical Journal stated, "The iceberg is a common model used to explain the epidemiology of celiac disease. The majority of patients have what is termed silent celiac disease, which may remain undiagnosed because the condition has no (gastrointestinal) symptoms" (Feighery 1999).

In the journal Gastroenterology, an article stated, "For every symptomatic patient with celiac disease there are 8 patients with celiac disease and no gastrointestinal symptoms" (Fasano and Catassi 2001). In fact, an article in the journal Neurology stated, "Gluten sensitivity can be primarily and at times exclusively a neurological disease, affecting not only the brain and nervous system directly, but also cognitive and psychiatric illness" (Hadjivassiliou 2001).

In the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, an article stated, "Our finding ... implies that immune response triggered by sensitivity to gluten may find expression in organs other than the gut; and the central and peripheral nervous systems are particularly susceptible" (Hadjivassiliou et al. 1997).

In an article in Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, the authors wrote, "Celiac Disease (CD) has also been termed Gluten Sensitive Enteropathy because the small intestine is the main target of injury; however, the clinical manifestations are extremely diverse, suggesting the disorder is in fact a multi-system disorder" (Green et al. 2005).

A review paper in The New England Journal of Medicine found that fully fifty-five diseases are known to be caused by gluten (Farrell and Kelly 2002). Among these are heart disease, cancer, nearly all autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal disorders, gallbladder disease, Hashimoto's disease (an autoimmune thyroid disorder responsible for up to 90 percent of all low-functioning thyroid issues), migraines, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, amyotrophiC lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease), neuropathies (having normal EMG readings), and most other degenerative neurological disorders as well as autism, which is technically an autoimmune brain disorder.

Gluten can also cause many common psychiatric illnesses, including anxiety issues, ADD/ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression, dementia, and schizophrenia.

In my opinion, it is always safest to simply assume the presence of gluten sensitivity in these populations, or, frankly, wherever significantly compromised health is an issue. Even where avoidance of gluten may not solve the problem, one has at least removed a potentially enormous obstacle from the path toward improvement.

{Skipping technical discussion of testing for gluten sensitivity}

Cross-reactivity is a sticky conundrum that needs to be addressed whenever a gluten-free diet is insufficient to ameliorate the symptoms associated with it. Cross-reactive substances can comprise other, supposedly gluten-free grains, similar enough in molecular structure or genetics to cause reactivity in those particularly sensitive. Somewhat more mysteriously, they can also include entirely unrelated compounds that may have an immunologically associative relationship to gluten, such as casein (actually, surprisingly similar molecularly to gluten) and even coffee in some people. Coffee, in fact,... may be the single most cross-reactive substance of them all. (How many people have done things like have coffee with their toast, cereal, croissant, danish, or doughnut for years on end?)

... People often think that the symptoms to watch for when it comes to gluten issues are typically gastrointestinal, when gluten sensitivity can, in fact, profoundly impact your brain, nervous system, emotional states, endocrine functioning, neurotransmitters, immune system, bones, joints, skeletal system, and any possible aspect of your mental or physical physiological functioning. {...}

The standard blood tests for gluten sensitivity have an accuracy rate of no more than about 30 percent (with false-negatives being the most common issue).
Otherwise, elimination diets or testing for multiple markers using blood sampling are probably the next best bets.

Elimination diets can be an effective means of determining the potential for gluten sensitivity, but they must be strictly adhered to for at least six to eight months to make a genuinely clear determination. Avoidance of gluten must be no less than 100 percent from all (even hidden) sources, and not so much as even a single crumb of bread can be eaten.

Beware, too, of many medications containing hidden gluten (crazy, but true; watch out for cornstarch). Also, beware of cross contamination issues, where nongluten foods may come into contact with gluten-containing foods via cooking or preparation surfaces and utensils in restaurants or at home. (Yes, this matters.)

{People think I'm nuts when I say I do NOT want anyone even bringing that stuff in my house... but it seems I'm not so crazy after all.}

The inflammatory effects in the brain especially and throughout the body from even trace gluten exposure can reverberate for fully six months in sensitive individuals.

Any exposure of any kind (even seemingly innocuous and unintentional slipups) means you must basically start over on the elimination diet. Sorry to sound so fussy, but this is an issue that needs to be taken extremely seriously.

There are some helpful products on the market that can help curb excess inflammatory response to trace gluten exposure, but do not mistake these for being the equivalent of a gluten "morning-after pill" that can cancel out that birthday cake you wanted to indulge in.

An article in Gastroenterology stated, "During a 45 year follow up, undiagnosed celiac disease was associated with a nearly 4-fold increased risk of death. The prevalence of undiagnosed CD seems to have increased dramatically in the United States during the last 50 years" (Rubio-Tapia et al. 2009).

In an individual with either full-blown celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, the risk of death from all causes, according to the journal The Lancet, was dramatically greater: "Death was most significantly affected by diagnostic delay, pattern of presentation, and adherence to the gluten free diet. ... Non adherence to the gluten free diet, defined as eating gluten once-per-month, increased the relative risk of death 600%" (Corrao et al. 2001).

Next time you want to rationalize that one little cookie, slice of birthday cake, or piece of bread, think twice. Being "mostly gluten-free" or eating gluten containing foods "only occasionally" just doesn't cut it. There are times where the saying (or perhaps rationalization) "all things in moderation" simply does not apply.

Brain and mood disorders, migraines, osteoporosis, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, bowel diseases, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory disorders, and cancer are rampant.
Grains are rarely suspected as the original culprit, though every one of these disorders, among many more, can potentially be traced to often insidious gluten intolerance.

Gluten sensitivity is only rarely obvious to the afflicted, and many people are even entirely surprised to learn they have this sensitivity.


The Living Force
I think gluten can "leak" into meat too, if it's cooked with it. I went to a fish fry, and I scraped off all the "breading" it was fried in, and just ate the meat inside. Didn't help, I was cramping for DAYS.


FOTCM Member
There are some important clues here for those who have not been having good results.

The Nitty-Gritty of Going Gluten-Free

The gluten-containing grains most associated with celiac disease are wheat (e.g., durum, graham, semolina, kamut, triticale, and spelt) as well as rye, barley, and most oats. Although oats technically are not part of the most problematic gliadin-containing family of grains, modern methods of processing nearly always ensure gluten contamination of oat products, and the presence of actual gluten should always be assumed unless a product is labeled "IOO-percent gluten-free." The prolamin (avenin) content of oats, however, still makes them at least potentially suspect for inherent crossreactivity issues, even where they may be sold as gluten-free products. The very same can be said for many products containing corn and cornstarch. Buckwheat and soy flours are almost always contaminated with gluten due to processing and storage methods.

The good news is that the devastating symptoms of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease can often be entirely eliminated.

The treatment solution?

You must eliminate 100 percent-not just most-of the gluten from your diet, and that means not just gluten-containing dietary grains, but all hidden sources as well, which can include (but are not limited to) commercial soups, broths, processed food mixes, soy sauce, teriyaki and other sauces, corn products and cornstarch, and salad dressings.

Gluten can be listed as vegetable protein, seitan, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, modified food starch, and other names. Gluten is additionally hidden on food labels as other food starches, artificial food coloring, food stabilizers, malt extract (syrup or flavoring), dextrins, and food emulsifiers. Gluten is even an ingredient in many shampoos, cosmetics, and lipsticks (which can potentially be absorbed transdermally, which means through the skin), children's Play-Doh, medications, vitamins (unless specifically labeled "gluten-free"), and even non-self-adhesive stamps and envelopes.

Although I realize all this need for ultrastrict avoidance sounds rather tedious and inconvenient, an article in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry stated clearly, "Even minute traces of gliadin (gluten) are capable of triggering a state of heightened immunological activity in gluten sensitive people," meaning prolonged inflammation and other symptoms (Hadjivassiliou et al. 1997).

Saying you've eliminated "most" of the gluten from your diet because you are gluten sensitive is a bit like saying you're just "a little bit pregnant." Either you are or you're not. There are no in-betweens. Avoidance must be strict and total.

I know you're thinking, "Wait just a minute, back up; did she just say 'personal-care products'? What?" It's crazy-sounding but true. You need to examine your shampoos, conditioners, and other hair-care and skin-care products for the presence of wheat protein, sometimes listed as hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Look for corn-related additives, also.

Of the roughly 126 chemicals consumers regularly apply to their skin, 90 percent have never, ever been tested for their safety. Most people think nothing of the products they apply to their hair or skin, and the cosmetics industry readily capitalizes on this ignorance at tremendous potential cost to your health for considerable profit.

Why is this important? I mean, we're just talking about skin, right? It's not like you're drinking the stuff....

In fact, it's probably worse.

Keep in mind that your skin is your largest organ and that it is exceedingly thin (less than one-tenth of an inch in thickness) and permeable. If you were to eat or drink these products, you'd have several things come into play to help protect you from direct bloodstream exposure, such as your gut lining, hydrochloric acid, and enzymes. In a hot shower, however, with your pores open wide, there is very little between you and the direct absorption of anything you are applying to your scalp and skin right into your bloodstream, where it is all free to travel throughout your body to your brain and all your other organs.

Many people will claim they have been adhering to a strict gluten-free diet when, in fact, they have been avoiding only the obvious sources and really haven't been paying enough attention to potentially hidden sources, including their personal-care products. They will eventually rationalize their lack of positive health results to the idea that they weren't gluten sensitive after all, and they will simply go back to eating whatever they want. This is a huge mistake! I have worked with clients who were gluten sensitive and were unable to make substantial progress until they addressed the issue of gluten in their personal-care products.

Even when adherence to a genuinely gluten-free diet doesn't seem to generate the expected turnaround in health and well-being, you have at least removed one very major hurdle to improvement. There can always be other hurdles yet to conquer. Gluten in personal-care products, medications, and even stamps and envelopes (the kind you have to lick) can be a problem. Cross-reactivity to other substances is another important possibility to consider when going gluten-free does not yield the expected improvements. ...

Gluten is, however, not the only modern substance challenging the health of the masses. Restoring health can be like peeling back the layers of an onion. It is a process. Often enough, by simply removing this one major dietary antigen, the turnaround in some people can seem nothing short of miraculous. It can also make a massive difference where seemingly
more benign issues like resistance to weight loss are concerned.

So what about gluten-free substitutes?

Seeking out gluten-free substitutes is certainly an option, as there are scores of gluten-free products of all kinds available today. It's big business for food manufacturers these days, in fact. Clearly, gluten-free shampoos and cosmetics are a good and necessary idea. Unfortunately, even though other grains, such as quinoa, corn, millet, rice, and buckwheat (or soy), do not technically contain gluten, gluten contamination in many of these foods and cross-reactivity are extremely common. They are also more a source of starch than of protein, regardless, and the majority of gluten free substitutes are highly, highly processed foods. Many are soy based as well (don't get me started on that). Just because something is gluten free does not mean it is actually healthy for you, anymore than the word organic does. Beware of the plethora of junk food masquerading as a "healthy gluten-free option" or "substitute."

Gluten intolerance and carbohydrate intolerance, in general, are far more the rule than the exception in today's world. It is logical to conclude that grain consumption of any kind, especially gluten-containing grains, just isn't worth the dietary risk, given our culture's innumerable health challenges and vulnerabilities.

Why play Russian roulette? Why add to the unnecessary glycating, fattening, and neurotransmitter-and hormone-dysregulating carbohydrate load? In my view, it's better to take processed food off the radar screen entirely-period-and to stick to the foods that don't need a label you have to read every time. Truthfully, it's for less complicated and confusing to do so.

In short, there is no one alive for whom grains of any type are essential for health, and gluten, in particular, is a health food for no one.

It further stands to reason that the more symptoms a person has physically, cognitively, or psychologically, the more primitive a diet (in other words, pre-agricultural or "primal") he or she ought to consider adopting to reclaim rightful health. The commonality of degenerative diseases does not make these diseases a normal part of aging, or even remotely inevitable.

The choice is mostly ours.

Now, notice this last thing she has said, that the more symptoms a person has, the more primitive their diet should be, and then at the end of the book (I skipped ahead earlier), she just goes off on that "moderate protein/lots of veggies for fiber" routine that totally contradicts everything she has been saying up to this point.

Anyway, the next thing to get to is the digestive problems because that is where so many of us have been having issues.


FOTCM Member
Digestion and Nutrient Assimilation

A North-to-South Journey

A person can consume the most-expensive, best-quality-source foods there are and still experience illness or marginal health. How can this be? One possible and critically important key is digestion. If you can't break down and appropriately assimilate what you eat, at best you are wasting your money on grocery bills. At worst, you are generating rancid, fermented, putrefied, and toxic compounds that can wreak havoc on every organ and system in your body. Quality digestion cannot be overrated, and it is a subject commonly overlooked when discussing a healthy diet. Every part of the body and mind depends to the extreme on proper digestion to supply it with nutrients necessary for functioning.

Poor digestion is an epidemic problem, as soaring sales of acid blocking or neutralizing medications, gallbladder removals, and appendectomies neatly illustrate. Jonathon Wright, M.D., after using Heidelberg gastric telemetry equipment to examine the stomach pH values of thousands of his patients, estimated that approximately 90 percent of Americans produce too little hydrochloric acid. The implications of this are staggering.

A lack of adequate hydrochloric acid results in several rather major problems.

1. Poor digestion and absorption of the proteins or amino acids necessary for more than fifty thousand functions in the body, such as neurotransmitter production for regulation of mood; maintenance and repair of cells, organs, bone, and tissues; and many other indispensable functions.

2. Poor absorption of key minerals, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, boron, iron, and zinc. (The double jeopardy here is that it actually also takes zinc to make hydrochloric acid, leading to potentially severe deficiencies of these incredibly important minerals and all that this implies.)

3. Poor hydrochloric acid production by parietal cells in the stomach also impairs the proper vitamin Bi2 digestion essential for neurological health. This impairment can also lead to undersecretion of the intrinsic factor essential to vitamin Biz's absorption in the gut.
Vitamin B12 is a key methyl donor, which is necessary for cardiovascular and brain health. We also use it to make red blood cells. Prolonged deficiencies of vitamin B12 can result in irreversible neurological damages, severe mood dysregulation, impaired cognitive functioning, and dementia as well as macrocytic anemia and heart
disease. Not pretty.

4. The poorly digested mass of rotting chyme in the stomach (sorry to be so graphic) goes on to wreak havoc elsewhere in the digestive tract, fermenting and being partially expelled as reflux symptoms, gas, and bloating. It generates irritation and inflammation in the small intestine. This can eventually lead to mucosal and microvillous erosion and what can be termed leaky gut syndrome, a hyperporosity of the otherwise selectively permeable membrane of the small intestine, where poorly digested proteins can then enter the bloodstream and be treated as antigens or foreign invaders by the immune system, initially resulting in allergies or food sensitivities and possibly leading to autoimmune disorders.

5. Enhanced vulnerability to parasites and other food-borne illness.

Going from Bad to Worse

There is one more unpleasant possibility here: If hydrochloric acid deficiency is allowed to become chronic, overgrowth of a normally benign denizen of our gastrointestinal tract, Helicobacter pylori (H. Pylori), can occur. In an under-acidic environment in the stomach, H. pylori can begin undesirably proliferating, leading to infiltration of the gut lining, suppression
of parietal cells (making hydrochloric acid production even more difficult), and inflammation, thinning, or even ulceration of endothelial tissue. This can potentially generate gastritis and ulcers. Additionally, H. pylori can even spread to other endothelial tissue, infiltrating and inflaming arterial endothelium as a now known vector for vascular disease.

We do need some H. pylori, however. It plays a complex role in the regulation of leptin, so fully eradicating it with antibiotics is not the answer. Managing excess overgrowth with certain nutrients and restoring normal hydrochloric acid levels is the better alternative to total eradication.

The more difficult to digest a particular protein is, the more excessive the amount of food in a meal; the more overcooked and denatured the protein in that meal is, then the more ineffectual or strained hydrochloric acid production will be and the more likely it will be to cause problems.

Gluten in wheat, rye, spelt, and oats; casein, especially in pasteurized milk and milk products; albumen in chicken eggs; heavily processed soy protein; and overly cooked, denatured proteins in general are all potentially problematic for many people and make hydrochloric acid's job much harder. Overeating is also a setup for inadequate digestion. Combining starches and protein in the same meal can also adversely impact hydrochloric
acid secretion.
Addresing these issues alone can often correct digestive problems and hydrochloric acid insufficiency.

So, Why Don't I Have Enough Hydrochloric Acid?

There are many possible reasons for hydrochloric acid insufficiency. Hydrochloric acid is produced only in the presence of proteins and is inhibited by the presence of sugars and starches.

High-carbohydrate diets, particularly when combined with inadequate intake of dietary protein, such as in vegetarian and vegan diets, are an extremely common cause of hydrochloric acid insufficiency. Thyroid hypofunction (a low-functioning thyroid) suppresses the production of gastrin, a hormone necessary for signaling hydrochloric acid production. Certain nutrient deficiencies can also be culprits (vitamin B1, zinc, and vitamin C are needed for hydrochloric acid production), as can overeating at meals; inappropriate food combination; excess alcohol consumption; and chronic stress, anxiety, and over-arousal, particularly at mealtime.

Proper hydrochloric acid production is key to the rest of the digestive process, so it's an extremely important issue to address and among the most common deficiencies impacting health.

How It's All Supposed to Work: Digestion 101

Bear with me here; understanding how digestion naturally works is hugely important!
Remember that digestion begins in the brain and that it is a parasympathetic
process, meaning that the body and mind must be in a relaxed, calm state for digestion to properly occur
. Eating while rushed, otherwise preoccupied, or stressed paralyzes normal digestive function and inhibits necessary secretions. It's a great setup for reflux and indigestion.

Always wait to eat until you have time to relax and focus on the meal, take in the aroma of the food, and take the time to chew. ... Poorly chewed food creates far more work for the stomach and requires more hydrochloric acid to do the same job of breaking down the protein. Chew, chew, chew! (Sorry to say, you're mother was right ... about that, anyway.)

From there, the chewed food, or chyme, travels down the esophagus, enters the stomach (where it secretes self-protective mucus), and mixes with pepsin and hydrochloric acid to break down complex proteins into shorter chains, or peptides. The peptides are then further refined by pancreatic enzymes into dipeptide and tripeptide complexes and amino acids for absorption in the small intestine.

An extremely low pH value-roughly 0.8, almost pure acid-signals to the pyloric valve (the gateway to the stomach) that preliminary healthy digestion is complete, and like a key, the proper pH value opens the valve and allows the happily digested contents to empty into the duodenum. Improper pH signaling (i.e., inadequate hydrochloric acid pH values) can delay this gastric emptying, sometimes for hours, resulting in the fermentation of stomach contents and potentially generating reflux symptoms.


Improperly digested chyme becomes rancid, putrefies, and ferments to become a mass of toxic compounds that the body, via the wise gatekeeper the pyloric valve-is reluctant to allow through. When the pyloric valve (between the stomach and small intestine) is locked tight and won't let the food continue down, sometimes the contents will simply back UP.


The stomach is an acid organ. It thrives in the presence of extreme acid when healthy, and its contents mast be acidic enough!

Even less than adequately acidic gastric pH values can feel extremely acidic to the delicate esophagus, which has zero protection from acid during reflux.

But just think of what you're doing when you use an acid blocker or neutralizer to treat this symptom. Acid reflux is nearly always a consequence of not enough stomach acid, rather than too much!

Short-term relief of symptoms by chronically using something that neutralizes stomach acid
can lead to long-term disaster! These drugs were never meant to be used long term, yet many people today linger on them for years. Adequate hydrochloric acid is essential for the proper digestion of proteins, at least fourteen different minerals, vitamin Bi2, and to some degree foiic acid. It's also essential to the proper execution of the rest of the entire digestive process.

Having inadequate hydrochloric acid can be a real problem. Gas, bloating, belching, and a feeling of heaviness in the stomach after meals are all classic symptoms of inadequate hydrochloric acid production, as is reflux. Weak or brittle nails and, in some cases, excessive hair loss can also be common symptoms. These symptoms represent only the tip of the much bigger iceberg, This is also a wide-open gateway to developing multiple food-sensitivity issues.

Meanwhile Farther South

At the same time that the appropriately acidic chyme enters the duodenum, the proper pH value signals the production of mucus to protect the vulnerable duodenum from stomach acids. The hormone secretin then signals the pancreas to release both bicarbonate to neutralize the stomach acid so the next phase of digestion can occur and pancreatic
enzymes to further digest the food particles.

Another hormone, cholecystokinin, which senses the presence of fats, stimulates the gallbladder to release a sufficient bolus of bile into the bile duct, which then empties into the duodenum, where the bile can emulsify the fats there into smaller globules for easier assimilation. Bile function is also influenced by gastric pH signaling. In addition, gluten sensitivity can also markedly suppress cholecystokinin production and bile flow. The journal Hepatology stated, "Celiac Disease is associated with increased fasting gallbladder volume and reduced gallbladder emptying in response to meals" (Rubio-Tapia and Murray 2007). This, of course, can lead to biliary stagnation (sluggish bile) and the eventual precipitation of biliary calculi (gallstones). The article went on to say, "This is likely due to impaired meal-induced release of gut hormones (for example, cholecystokinin) secondary to the loss of enterocytes mass (villous atrophy) and increased somatostatin levels." Additionally, in an article in the journal Gut, the authors wrote, "Gall bladder emptying was measured on a minute-by-minute basis using ssniTc-HIDA scans. In the patients with celiac disease, gall bladder emptying was greatly decreased (34.6 ± 9.9 v 615 + 7 ± 5% at 60 minutes)" (Brown et al. 1987).

Poor bile function by any cause (including having no gallbladder at all) can seriously thwart the digestive process, leading to incomplete digestion of fats, poor fat-soluble-nutrient assimilation, and ultimately deficiencies of these vital nutrients. Trust me when I say this is a bad, bad thing.

Bile can become stagnant and unhealthy for many reasons, though among the most common culprits are poor hydrochloric acid production; gluten sensitivity; over-consumption of processed fats, rancid fats, or trans fats; an excess of estrogens; and an excessively low-fat diet.

You see, bile is normally very watery in its consistency and is composed mainly of cholesterol
(yes ... eeevil cholesterol), bile salts, phospholipids, certain minerals, other nutrients, bile pigments, and taurine. Bad (i.e., processed, rancid, or artificial) fats or bile that is stagnating from disuse, as via low-fat diets, can alter bile's consistency, thickening it and making its expulsion from the gallbladder sluggish, painful, or almost impossible. Stagnant bile can then begin to precipitate out cholesterol, pigments, or calcium as small, or not-so-small, stones.

Heaven forbid one of these stones should attempt to traverse through or occlude the bile duct and then you eat a bucket of the Colonel's "Secret Recipe." This can trigger a nasty gallbladder attack and send you unceremoniously to the hospital, where doctors will be only too eager to surgically part you from your gallbladder forever. Sometimes doctors recommend
removing a gallbladder preemptively or even (as insane as this is) "preventively," even when there is nothing wrong with it ... "yet."

Don't be fooled into thinking you don't really need your gallbladder, though they may try to convince you that you don't. Living without a gallbladder can lead to lifelong issues with inadequate fat and fat-soluble nutrient digestion, deficiencies of minerals and critical fat-soluble nutrients, fatigue, hormonal imbalances, and other problems. Carefully and systematically restoring biliary health should be a first choice whenever reasonably possible. Once you're in the middle of a full-blown gallbladder attack with a stone painfully lodged in your cystic duct, though, it's usually too late.

Taking bile salts (commonly sold as ox bile in health-food stores) with every fat-containing meal is a must in the absence of having a functional gallbladder. Additionally, care must be taken that one does not develop deficiencies of essential fatty acids and vitamins A, D, E, and K.

Inappropriate pH values in the stomach or biliary problems farther north along the digestive tract set the stage for irritable bowel syndrome, duodenal ulcers, yeast overgrowth, vulnerability to parasites and other food-borne illness, dysbiosis (imbalances of healthy gastrointestinal flora, or "healthy bacteria"), the "Big C" (constipation), and, ultimately, worse problems.

Suffice it to say, it is not a happy ending. (No pun intended.)

{It is too bad that here, she did not discuss the negative effect of fiber on the colon and the role it clearly plays in constipation.}

Yikes! What Do I Do?

So much can be accomplished toward optimizing proper digestion by following
a few simple guidelines:

• Take time out and focus on being relaxed and calmly present at mealtime.
• Chew, chew, chew!
• Minimize fluid intake at meals. Stick to only small sips of water and avoid other beverages.

{We've discussed this and some have experimented and it seems that one should drink what feels natural. (Unless one is drinking large amounts.)}

• Consume high-quality protein, not soy, cooked as minimally as possible (except, of course, chicken and pork) in small to moderate quantities at mealtime.

Avoid combining proteins with starches and sugars, even fruit, at mealtime. Stick to fibrous, nonstarchy vegetables and greens.

• Test for gluten sensitivity if you know you have any digestive or gallbladder issues.

• Consider the incorporation of quality lacto-fermented foods and raw cultured vegetables with meals. These can help restore healthy bacteria and provide many enzymes that can assist in the digestive process. They are especially helpful when one is eating a lot of otherwise
cooked and denatured foods. They are also delicious.

{In very small quantities, this should be okay, but she is already contradicting her own case.}

• Do not fear naturally occurring fat or get suckered into following a low-fat diet. Remember, we are designed to eat fat, and a significant amount of it. This is why we have a gallbladder in the first place. We're creatures of the ice age-remember? Use it or lose it.

{She says "significant amount" but doesn't go into this in the detail that others have.}

Important note: The one notable exception here is a person who may be experiencing gallbladder symptoms (gallbladder attacks, including aching pain under the right side of the rib cage, especially pain to the touch, or nausea at meals), in which case this should be dealt with cautiously, and a low-fat diet may be entirely appropriate until the issue is resolved. Consult with a qualified health care provider. Remember, don't be a hero and don't push it. Listen to your body.

• Avoid nonfermented soy (soy is a topic covered more exhaustively in chapter 4, So What about Soy?). Soy contains enzyme inhibitors that can, over time, ruin your ability to digest and absorb protein.

• Be sure to consume enough full-spectrum, unrefined sea salt (such as Celtic or Himalayan sea salt) as low-carbohydrate diets tend to result in sodium losses that can commonly contribute to constipation issues.

For some, taking hydrochloric acid as a supplement at mealtime may be appropriate and necessary for a time, until the stomach is able to resume its own production.

If you experience gas, bloating, or excessive fullness after meals, the rule is start with one capsule of hydrochloric acid with a meal. If you do not experience a slight warming sensation with that, take two with your next meal and so on until a sensation of warming
is achieved. Then back off by one capsule, and that is your dose. The amount of protein in the meal should be used as a gauge with dosing. (In other words, don't take a handful of hydrochloric acid capsules if all you're having is one or two lonely shrimp on your salad.) This process tends to be self-weaning, and your stomach will usually tell you when you need to start backing off.

Eventually, your stomach should be able to restore appropriate hydrochloric acid production on its own. If it doesn't, there may be some other underlying problem, such as H pylori overgrowth, a poorly functioning thyroid, or some other issue. Seek out a natural, qualified, and knowledgeable health care provider for evaluation.

The exceptions to undertaking hydrochloric acid supplementation are people with ulcers, gastritis, or a current, acute reflux problem. The inflamed gastric and esophageal tissue needs to heal before people with these conditions should start taking hydrochloric acid supplements. This can be accomplished with supplements containing deglycyrrhizinated (DGL) licorice, vitamin U (or lots of very fresh raw cabbage juice, as long as you don't have a thyroid problem), vitamins A and D, high-strength and mucopolysaccharide-rich organic aloe vera, and L-glutamine.

Pancreatic enzymes, taken on an empty stomach, can further assist in digestion for people who lack adequate natural production. Consuming smaller, more easily digested meals, avoiding soy foods as well as other legumes and grains, and increasing the normalization of hydrochloric acid and gastric pH can also contribute to the normalization of pancreatic

Some individuals have a deficiency of an important pancreatic fat digesting enzyme called lipase. Lipase deficiency may be more prevalent in people who are prone to diabetes and glucose dysregulation. {People who are carb sensitive.}

Taking lipase as part of a pancreatic enzyme supplement on an empty stomach throughout the day can help restore healthy fat digestion for some and make eliminating the dependence on sugar as the primary source of fuel much easier.

Those people who are experiencing biliary stasis or who may have cholesterol-type gallstones often benefit from taking a couple of tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar with their meals. The malic acid in the vinegar (also sold as a supplement) can help soften the stones and thin the bile over time. Other biliary support can be provided by beet juice (of mainly tops and stems), taurine, and phosphatidyl choline supplementation to help thin bile and restore better biliary function. Phosphoric acid supplements can be helpful with dissolving calcium-type gallstones.

The use of bile salts may be necessary temporarily to help with digestion of fats until gallbladder function is more fully restored. Note: It is always recommended that a qualified and knowledgeable (preferably naturaloriented) health care provider be consulted before undertaking any regimen designed to address the issue of gallstones.

Remember, everything begins and ends with proper digestion. Improving this alone can result in what feels like a miraculous improvement in the way you feel and function!


FOTCM Member
Laura said:
Here's one of the first very important things that I think everyone should know. Well, we've written about some of this a number of times, but I'm sure that not everyone can keep up with all the threads. The issue of gluten and how removing it from the diet is the first and most important thing to do is primary and this book has an excellent chapter on that. Some additional information is given here that should really drive this home for everyone. So, I've scanned it and here it is with some emphases from me.

Really thanks for that information Laura, I ordered the book right away.

The Nitty-Gritty of Going Gluten-Free

Gluten can be listed as vegetable protein, seitan, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, modified food starch, and other names. Gluten is additionally hidden on food labels as other food starches, artificial food coloring, food stabilizers, malt extract (syrup or flavoring), dextrins, and food emulsifiers. Gluten is even an ingredient in many shampoos, cosmetics, and lipsticks (which can potentially be absorbed transdermally, which means through the skin), children's Play-Doh, medications, vitamins (unless specifically labeled "gluten-free"), and even non-self-adhesive stamps and envelopes.

Well, I didn't know that yet (gluten in shampoo/cosmetics) it sounds like this poison is everywhere. The question that comes up: is it or has it to be labeled on shampoo, also when it contains traces?

Here is one page I found:

Gluten Hides in the Scientific Names for Wheat, Barley, Rye, and Oats

Generally, you can look at a list of ingredients on shampoo products and find wheat, barley, rye, or oats clearly listed as part of an ingredient, such as hydrolyzed wheat protein. These obvious ingredient names are easy to spot. Other times, manufacturers do not list common names. They use scientific names like triticum vulgare (wheat), hordeum vulgare (barley), secale cereale (rye), or avena sativa (oats).

There are also other forms of gluten listed on the label that are not easily discernible. These include:

stearyldimoniumhydroxypropyl (hydrolyzed wheat protein)
hydroxypropyltrimonium (hydrolyzed wheat protein)
amino peptide complex
hydrolyzed malt extract
phytosphingosine extract
samino peptide complex
beta glucan
dextrin palmitate
hydrolyzed vegetable protein
maltodextrin (can be from barley)


On some other pages it is also mentioned that gluten could be in skin-cream as well.


Jedi Master
Gandalf said:
Kniall said:
So here's a conundrum: the last two nights in a row I've had major leg cramps in my calves. The first night it was my right calf and was a brutal cramp that was sore all day. Last night, or actually this morning, it was in my left calf, but not as bad (I may just have caught it before it progressed to far).

I don't get it :huh: I'm taking lots of magnesium and potassium, have recently increased the amount of salt I'm eating, including it in my water. I also rubbed magnesium oil on both calves yesterday morning and this morning. I can't figure out why this happened to me. Anyone have any ideas? Can leg cramps happen from low calcium? I haven't been taking any calcium, although I did powder some egg shells recently and started putting a pinch in my water. Maybe it's time to start supplementing it more earnestly?

Supplementing with L-carnitine worked for me on this score.

I have the same problem too and I am still very low in energy. if I can make a comparaison i would say that I am at 40% to the level of energy that I used to have on a carb diet. And I do take some electrolytes

I take also L-carnitine that i bought when I went to the USA since it is illegal in Canada and I don't see that much difference.

So still in the dark why my energy is not coming back but it is quite frustrating.

FWIW, I have really benefited from introducing more foundation vegetables in my diet. During my first month of the low-carb diet, I had 2 days of feeling great and 28 days of being lethargic, fatigued and plain tired to varying degrees. For a long time, my goal was to stick to 20 or less carbs per day, not paying a lot of attention to where the carbs came from. As a consequence I have had a lot of constipation and some diarrhea and bowel movement has been a real issue for me.

I fully understand your frustration and the thought has crossed my mind many times, that maybe this low-carb diet just won't work for me - I'm doing all the right things and not experiencing the expected results. Foundation vegetables have pushed me in the right direction and although there's still a long way to the promised land, I now feel like I'm on the right path.

It's only been four days since I starting paying attention to foundation vegetables but so far the results are quite positive. I would say that my energy level is at least the same as when on the high-carb diet and maybe even a little higher. My mental alertness has also improved a little bit. My bowels movements are becoming normalized so for me, the recommendation from TNAFANY to have at least 12-15 g of carbs from foundation vegetables in order to aid bowel movement has definitely been good advice. I now have foundation vegetables with every meal - either a salad or stir fried vegetables that can be dipped in oil, ghee or lard.

I know Laura and other people have experienced very strong negative reactions to salads and other vegetables so this is not meant to be generally applicable advice.

For me, it is also hugely important that I don't have dinner too late. If I do, my sleep is terrible and I am exhausted the entire next day. Also, I have found out that the texture of meat I eat for dinner plays a role. If I have minced meat there is no problem but if I have. for instance, steak it is as if it is too heavy for the digestive system to handle during the night. Therefore, I try to only have "solid" meat in the morning where I can digest it all during the day and to have either minced meat or more easily digestible meat, such as chicken at night.

Edit: added comment


Jedi Master
Trevrizent said:
dugdeep said:
One thing I remembered today - the night before I had the first cramp I had a lot of green tea. It's not something I usually drink, but I was at a staff party and wasn't drinking alcohol like everyone else. I wonder if the tannins or caffeine in the tea lead to some sort of mineral excretion, or something like that. It might have been something that wasn't corrected by my usual supplement routine during the day, and so I got another cramp the next night.

Just a theory, but I think I'm done with green tea until I can get this figured out :)

I think what happened is that you overdosed on thiamine in the green tea. I read somewhere (here?) that a maximum of two cups of green tea a day is OK (which is what I stick to), and avoids any less that healthy effect of taking thiamine.

This may help, or not.

I'm not sure if this is the source, but, fwiw, in USD, Mark Hyman acknowledges the beneficial properties of green tea and allows up to two cups a day.


FOTCM Member
Gluten can be listed as vegetable protein, seitan, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, modified food starch, and other names. Gluten is additionally hidden on food labels as other food starches, artificial food coloring, food stabilizers, malt extract (syrup or flavoring), dextrins, and food emulsifiers. Gluten is even an ingredient in many shampoos, cosmetics, and lipsticks (which can potentially be absorbed transdermally, which means through the skin), children's Play-Doh, medications, vitamins (unless specifically labeled "gluten-free"), and even non-self-adhesive stamps and envelopes.

Although I realize all this need for ultrastrict avoidance sounds rather tedious and inconvenient, an article in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry stated clearly, "Even minute traces of gliadin (gluten) are capable of triggering a state of heightened immunological activity in gluten sensitive people," meaning prolonged inflammation and other symptoms (Hadjivassiliou et al. 1997).

Saying you've eliminated "most" of the gluten from your diet because you are gluten sensitive is a bit like saying you're just "a little bit pregnant." Either you are or you're not. There are no in-betweens. Avoidance must be strict and total.

I know you're thinking, "Wait just a minute, back up; did she just say 'personal-care products'? What?" It's crazy-sounding but true. You need to examine your shampoos, conditioners, and other hair-care and skin-care products for the presence of wheat protein, sometimes listed as hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Look for corn-related additives, also.

Yikes, Ecover 'green' cleaning products contain gluten!


The Living Force
Laura said:
I know you're thinking, "Wait just a minute, back up; did she just say 'personal-care products'? What?" It's crazy-sounding but true. You need to examine your shampoos, conditioners, and other hair-care and skin-care products for the presence of wheat protein, sometimes listed as hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Look for corn-related additives, also.

Oh no!!! My shampoo has some of this stuff in it!
They really put that stuff everywhere :(. Soon they'll find a way to put it in the air that we breathe.

Edit: quote


The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Mrs.Tigersoap said:
Laura said:
I know you're thinking, "Wait just a minute, back up; did she just say 'personal-care products'? What?" It's crazy-sounding but true. You need to examine your shampoos, conditioners, and other hair-care and skin-care products for the presence of wheat protein, sometimes listed as hydrolyzed vegetable protein. Look for corn-related additives, also.

Oh no!!! My shampoo has some of this stuff in it!

My shampoo has gluten in it, too. Didn't even think of checking that, although I did read about it previously.

I've looked around a bit and there are online stores which sell gluten-free shampoos, e.g. this one: _https://morroccomethod.com/ They ship to Europe as well.

In Germany there is one company called "Weleda" which also seems to produce gluten-free shampoos, for all I could find out presently.


The Living Force
Enaid said:
In Germany there is one company called "Weleda" which also seems to produce gluten-free shampoos, for all I could find out presently.

Yes, we have it here in Belgium as well. In fact, I used to buy Weleda shampoos before recently switching to the gluten-full one... :rolleyes:


The Living Force
Those worried about shampoos, etc. might want to consider this simple alternative. (also this thread linked in there)

One quote from the latter-mentioned thread to give a general idea:

shellycheval said:
Shampoo and the idea that one "needs" to shampoo hair daily is another billion dollar, environment polluting, capitalist consumer cultural conditioned scam foisted on us. All the things most people hate about their hair are CAUSED BY SHAMPOO/SLS compounds: dry, thin, weak, "flyaway," split-ends, tangles, too straight, too frizzy, itchy flaky scalp, breaks off, won't grow--STOP using shampoo and these will all go away.

There is about a month-6 week period of greasy oily hair before your scalp will stop over-producing the oils it has been disparately pumping out to compensate for the industrial strength stripping it has been receiving every day or two. Using a good conditioner every other day will minimize the oily greasy period and help you psychologically transition to a shampoo-less world. It is interesting to observe how programmed we are when you try to convince someone that unshampooed hair is better and hear all the reasons they will come up with as to why they can't/won't even try going without shampooing their hair.

About twice a week I clean my hair using an organic (as organic as I can find) conditioner, and the rest of the time I rinse it with water and/or a vinegar or baking soda rinse. (NOTE: Mixing vinegar and baking soda causes some sort of chemical reaction that creates a sizzling sound, "smoke", and cleans drains well--I don't know how dangerous this would be on my head so I don't mix the vinegar and soda rinses.)

Honestly, you believe 911 was an inside job, so challenge your programming and join the shampoo-less for better hair! ;)


FOTCM Member
Kniall said:
I don't get it :huh: I'm taking lots of magnesium and potassium, have recently increased the amount of salt I'm eating, including it in my water. I also rubbed magnesium oil on both calves yesterday morning and this morning. I can't figure out why this happened to me. Anyone have any ideas? Can leg cramps happen from low calcium? I haven't been taking any calcium, although I did powder some egg shells recently and started putting a pinch in my water. Maybe it's time to start supplementing it more earnestly?

For the past two weeks there has been this constant very intense discomfort and pain in my right shoulder, neck and upper back. It felt like a pulled muscle in that area so I increased my magnesium intake and rubbed some DMSO (50/50 with distilled water) into that area and that did help to take away the muscle pain but the nagging sensation and discomfort of a pulled muscle still remained. Hardly got any sleep for two weeks and going to work was a nightmare! Then yesterday the pain and discomfort just suddenly disappeared. Not sure what was causing the muscle pain but for the past six months or so I have been experiencing pulled muscles in different parts of my body.

I've pretty much given up all carbs and NO fruit or fruit juice. Actually, I can eat a very little bit of fruit, maybe a few slices of pineapple or some grapes but not much at all. If I eat an amount beyond a certain threshold (which is a small amount) then I'll feel very physically uncomfortable (and any physical problems along with that will just feel worse) along with feeling very lethargic for most of the day. The same applies with carbs although I can eat a little more carbs then fruit but, again, once a certain threshold amount is exceeded with the carbs then it'll have the same physical effects on me as with eating fruit.

I find it best just eating fatty meats, mainly bacon, spare ribs, pork chops, maybe a little bit of scrambled eggs with that in the morning, a little bit more later in the day with very little carbs (10 grams or less) or none at all, no fruit and that seems to work best for me. My energy level has definitely improved from eating smaller amounts of high quality nutrition (fatty meats) with very little or no bulk (carbs) but no sooner did I start to feel better from the diet with more energy then I started to experience these nagging muscle cramps along with the loss of sleep and energy that goes with that!


FOTCM Member
I want to testify that I haven't used shampoo or soap on my hair in about 4 months after Shelleycheval told me her regimen. It really works. My hair stopped falling out in handfuls. I just use a conditioner and a plastic head scrubbie to loosen anything on the scalp, rinse copiously, and voila!

I was just checking my conditioners (I try to rotate them) and sure enough, found one with "wheat protein" in it. Into the trash it went. I've got the magnifying glass in the bathroom now and will be reading labels carefully from now on!
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