For over 15 years, I was a personal trainer. Clients came to me with all sorts of issues. My work involved creating programs tailored to each person. I always challenged my clients to experiment and experience for themselves. How do you know until you try something?
So, I suggested my clients go gluten-free for 30 days and notice any changes. One of my clients was a middle-aged woman married to an Italian man. She had chronic pain and stiffness, hot flashes and disturbed sleep. She complied with my demands, I mean request (I might have had a reputation of being a tough trainer), and went gluten-free for 30 days. What did she notice?
Clearly, enough benefits to continue avoiding gluten after the 30 days. She told me how, during a family dinner at an expensive Italian restaurant, she ordered gluten-free pasta. The benefits of reduced joint pain and improved sleep outweighed the ribbing she received from her family that evening.
So, why go gluten-free with lichen sclerosus?
I’m not here to label a food as bad. My food philosophy is one of nourishing yourself. And that changes depending on what’s happening in your life, your stage of life, your personal constitution and even the seasons.
What I and many of my personal training clients discovered over the years was that eliminating gluten reduced inflammation in our bodies and allowed our guts to heal.
We need to reconnect to nature: outside and within. It’s time to get into gut health and nourish ourselves. I know it feels like a lot. Trust me, it’s not. One step at a time. That’s it.
According to the Gluten Free Society:
There are a number of triggers for autoimmunity… a simple overview of these triggers:
- Foods (gluten, dairy, processed sugar are common)
- Chemicals (pesticides, heavy metals, plastics, etc)
- Nutritional Deficiencies (vitamin and mineral inadequacy)
- Microbes (viral, bacterial, fungal, parasitic)
- Intense prolonged stress
- Genetic predisposition 1
The list above sounds familiar. (What causes lichen sclerosus?)
I’m not going to get into the gluten debate. It makes no sense to make something our enemy. The goal is to remove any foods that may be adding to your burden of inflammation, then heal your body with nourishing additions.
For years, I facilitated seasonal detox. In order to support more people than I could in person, I published the program in the book Nourish: Ayurveda-inspired 21-day Detox. The main foods to go during the 21 days are gluten, dairy and sugar. It’s not about focusing on what you can’t have, it’s about adding more nutrient-dense foods that nourish your unique needs. The program focuses on holistic self-care practices and how to easily add them into your day. There are many practices in the book that I’ve since found nourishing for LS.
What the book doesn’t include, however, are recipes. So, I asked my lovely colleague, Red Seal Chef and Holistic Nutritionist, Christina Acevedo, if she would provide us with a favourite gluten-free recipe. Christina is the author of Two Little F Words: Feasting & Fasting Your Way to Optimal Health. I’ll be talking more about fasting in an upcoming post. I had the great pleasure of co-facilitating a peri/menopause program with Christina last year.
Here is the recipe she selected for us: gluten-free, sugar-free raspberry muffins.
Before my diagnosis of LS, my spidey senses told me to eliminate gluten, not just for 30 days, but for 6 months to a year and see what happens. After the first 3 months, I could hardly believe how flat my belly felt. No bloating or sluggishness. Oh, and I stopped snoring, which had become a thing during menopause. As hormones decline, inflammation can increase.
Note: Don’t rely on packaged gluten-free products. Replace gluten with whole foods: vegetables, fruits, meats and healthy fats. Christina has lots of inspiration on her website.
I’ll tell you what I told my clients all of those years:
Try it and see for yourself. Reestablish your relationship with nature through your body, starting with your gut. Get curious about the foods that truly nourish you. Commit to 30 days (and beyond) gluten-free. Try new recipes and reignite your love affair with vibrant food!
Read the next post in the series: Lichen sclerosus and dairy-free
If you find value in my content, thank you for supporting me by purchasing one of my books.
**This blog is meant to inform, not diagnose or treat specific health conditions. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Always consult your doctor or health care practitioner.