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Can a Healthy Plant-Based Diet Reverse Celiac Disease?

Dr. Brooke Goldner is a trusted source in the plant-based community, and her excellent book, Goodbye Autoimmune Disease, provides readers with a roadmap for reversing disease through diet and lifestyle changes. I have lost multiple family members and friends to both chronic and autoimmune diseases, and I have been gluten free for over 17 years too (before it became fashionable). As a result, I was eager to learn more about the science, and the stories of those whose lives have been transformed by Dr. Goldner’s work. 

The book outlines the following 6 dietary steps for reversing autoimmune diseases:
Step 1: Eliminate Animal Products
Animal Products include all types of meat like beef, pork, lamb, fish, and chicken. It also includes eggs and dairy products. The reason we must avoid these foods is they contain massive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, which create inflammation in the body. Eating meat has been shown to increase your risk of all causes of mortality, or death, by 50%! (see the link below for more details on the study).
Step 2: Eliminate Added Oils
Omega-6 fatty acids are also found in high levels in vegetable oils so they must also be avoided. One of the fastest ways to minimize inflammation and jump-start the healing process, is to eliminate the excess sources of omega-6 fatty acids…The more you avoid added oils, the better your cells, organs, and immune system will function. 
Step 3: Eliminate Processed Foods

Processed foods are products containing ingredients that do not occur in nature. People call them foods but they’re more like synthesized food-like products. So, what exactly are processed foods? These will often be the items that don’t need refrigeration, like chips, processed breads, candy, and sodas. One quick way to find out is to grab a can or box from your kitchen and read the label. If it has a long list of ingredients you cannot pronounce or cannot produce without a lab, it is processed…

Step 4: Hyper-Nourish Yourself with Raw Plant Foods                                                                                                                                    Did you know that all of the original medication came from plants? The key to getting the maximal nourishment from plants is eating them raw…Eat as much greens, raw fruits, and vegetables as you like. The most potent vegetables in terms of nutrient density are dark leafy greens like spinach and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale. Most of your food intake should come from these raw vegetables.

Step 5: Consume Omega-3s Every Day
Omega-3s contain potent anti-inflammatory properties on the cellular level. They are the primary ingredients in the production of your anti-inflammatory immune system…Omega-3 fatty acids not only reduce inflammation, they help lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. They also regulate blood pressure, blood clotting, glucose tolerance, and nervous system development and functions. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids are an important part of your brain and nervous system and are beneficial for memory, attention, and mood…The imbalance in omega-3s versus the inflammatory omega-6s is likely one of the main health conditions that causes and perpetuates inflammatory diseases like autoimmune diseases. *Please note that according to Dr. Michael Greger, the best sources for omega-3 are ground flaxseeds (1 tablespoon per day), or an algae supplement that is not sourced from the ocean (no pollutant contamination). 

Step 6. Water, Water, Water!

Water is essential for most chemical reactions in the body to take place. This means you can have all of the essential ingredients for your health to improve, but without enough water the reactions will not take place or it will be sluggish.
The FDA recommends eight glasses of water a day (eight ounces each), which equals sixty-four ounces a day, regardless of body size. In my opinion, that is enough to maintain health, but not enough to improve health…(end)

Whitney Lee’s remarkable success is one of the many inspiring patient stories that are shared in Dr. Goldner’s book too. Ms. Lee was diagnosed with both Type 1 diabetes, and Celiac Disease, before she started following the book’s plant-based diet. In addition to dealing with the issues of multiple illnesses, Whitney also had chronic stomach pain. Although it was difficult for her to eat a mostly raw plant-based diet (she was a high school student surrounded by other students eating cooked food, and junk food), Whitney stuck with the 4 week Rapid Recovery Program. After eating fruit everyday in her smoothies, she discovered that her blood sugars were significantly lower, and that she could use a lot less insulin (carbohydrates and sugar do not cause diabetes btw, as the most recent studies point to the saturated fat from eating meat as a root cause). Whitney also noticed that her stomach pain went away and that she had more energy too. After 4 weeks of being on Dr. Goldner’s program (a raw vegan diet), she no longer tested positive for celiac. Whitney slowly reintroduced gluten foods and no longer had a negative reaction.
Click here for Whitney’s Youtube video.

This is exciting news, and reminded me of Dr. Zachary Bush’s take on gluten and glyphosate (from an interview with John Robbins). Glyphosate is a biocide that is used on GMO crops by agrochemical companies like Monsanto. Glyphosate is not only linked with cancer, but it also destroys our microbiome, which negatively impacts our health in countless ways. Dr. Bush explains that when patients who are non Celiac, but still have typical gluten sensitive symptoms (bloating, poor digestion, irregular bowel movements, diarrhea and constipation cycles, brain fog, and other gut issues), are put on gluten free diets, over 85% still report symptoms. So, even though gluten keeps being blamed for the whole gluten sensitivity phenomenon and everything else, the deeper story is that glyphosate is the likely trigger for the population phenomenon to have occurred in the first place. And by eliminating gluten, we are only dealing with one of the many exposures that we’re going to have to glyphosate. As a result, Dr. Bush believes that 85% of the people who are suffering with gut issues that have been attributed to gluten sensitivity, are really showing that they’re sensitive to glyphosate. And so, even if we decrease the gluten in our diet, and possibly experience fewer symptoms, we are still going to be exposed to glyphosate due to its high prevalence in our food system. According to Dr. Bush, “the United States needs to come to terms with the fact that it doesn’t have a gluten problem, it has a glyphosate problem. If we get rid of glyphosate, not only can we tolerate gluten better, we’re gonna tolerate the vast array of dietary sensitivities and allergies that now afflict our children. Our children are sensitive to just about every food they put in their body, because the leak across their gut is so profound.”
Click here to learn more from Dr. Zach Bush.

So, where does this leave people with celiac disease, or gluten sensitivity issues? Armed with this knowledge, I started eating small amounts of organic and non-GMO gluten foods a couple of months ago, and so far, so good. I will keep you posted. 

Thank you Dr. Goldner & Dr. Bush!  

*Update: I have continued eating organic and non-GMO gluten foods (as part of a mostly whole food plant-based diet) for the last two years, and I am happy to report that I am still not experiencing any gluten related issues. Thank you again to the good doctors mentioned above! 🙂

Click here for the study on red and processed meat and all-cause mortality.
Click here for a study that links meat consumption with diabetes risk. 
Click here for a link to Dr. Brook Goldner’s book, Goodbye Autoimmune Disease.
Click here to learn more from Dr. Brooke Goldner. 
Click here for Dr. Brooke Goldner’s website.
Click here for a link to the Dr. Zach Bush blog entry.
Click here for Dr. Michael Greger’s article on Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Click here for Dr. Michael Greger’s Daily Dozen Checklist.
Click here for Dr. Zach Bush’s website. 
Click here for the Food Revolution Network website. 
Click here to learn more about glyphosate from EWG (Environmental Working Group).
Click here to learn more about how glyphosate is linked to severe depression and cognitive decline. 

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