If my friend, Susan, ingests even a trace of gluten, she’ll likely need to make a mad dash to the bathroom or she’ll double over in pain for hours. Susan has celiac disease. If my daughter, Emma, ingests gluten, she hears voices.

But what about the rest of us? Those of us who don’t have a celiac diagnosis or gluten psychosis? Can we still “carb out” on fresh bread, cake, cookies, and pizza? We don’t have to give up these mouth-watering, heavenly foods, do we?

Gluten’s Reach is Far and Wide

Of course we don’t have to give up our crusty, glutinous treats, but we may want to. The Gluten Intolerance School says “We’ve gathered some eye-opening statistics about gluten intolerance. What stands out most clearly is that celiac disease and gluten sensitivity are fairly widespread conditions, yet a very small percentage of those afflicted even realize it. ”

How do you know? Here are just a few of the conditions that can be linked to gluten consumption:

  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Joint pain
  • Mental health issues
  • Skin conditions
  • Brain fog
  • Allergies
  • Asthma
  • Constipation

These are inflammatory responses in the body, and when it comes to inflammatory foods, gluten is at the top of the list.

Why are Gluten Sensitivities on the Rise?

Since humans have been consuming and tolerating bread around the globe for more than 10,000 years, why have gluten sensitivities been skyrocketing more recently, as in the past 60 years?

I once heard another health coach explain it this way: the answer is multifactorial. Preparation, frequency, and quantity are factors, but so are conditions that are non-food related. Exposure to chemicals, vaccines, antibiotics, rancid oils, blue lights, sugar, and EMFs have all risen astronomically over the last 100 years, all of which cause stress and damage on the body. The terrains of our bodies have shifted.

These days, our bodies are forced to spend a fair amount of time and resources healing themselves. In a body that doesn’t have 101 other things to deal with, it might be able to quickly content with the inflammation caused by gluten. However, in a body that is struggling to keep up with a multitude of daily attacks, the chances are much greater that it cannot repair the inflammation as quickly, especially when we consume it daily, or several times a day.

How Do You Know if You’re Gluten Sensitive?

The simplest way to test your gluten sensitivity is with an elimination diet.  Here’s what you do: stop eating gluten for a period of time—I recommend 3 weeks—then reintroduce it. Pay attention to any changes or signs in your body. Are you breathing easier? Is your thinking clearer? Has your skin stopped breaking out?

When you re-introduce gluten, again, pay attention. Did your joint pain return? Did your anxiety kick in again? Are you having trouble breathing?

Your Gluten Response is Unique to You

There is no single response to how a body responds to gluten; it will be as unique as you are. You may tolerate it just fine, or it may cause asthma for you and a skin eruption for someone else. The best way to know for sure is to experiment!

To learn more about gluten and how to do an elimination diet, check out these resources: