Can a Gluten free diet cure your abdominal pain?

Gluten free diet for Celiac disease, IBS and more

With an ever growing awareness of the negative effect our diet can have on our health, mood and energy, more people than ever are cutting allergens out of their diet. And this time it's not to lose weight, but to gain health.

One common allergen is gluten, which is a protein found in grains that makes them sticky like ‘glue', handy in bread making. Although all grains contain a binding protein, it is the gluten found in wheat (all varieties - kamut, triticale, spelt etc), barley and rye that often cause reactions.

This protein, in people with gluten sensitivity, causes a reaction of the immune system. In severe gluten intolerance, the system attacks the gluten as well as the tissue transglutaminase in the digestive tract itself. This causes discomfort and pain after eating anything containing gluten, and often this suffering goes undiagnosed and untreated for years as gluten is found in many ‘daily' foods.

Symptoms & Diagnosis

It's estimated that 1% of the population have celiac disease, with some lacking the characteristic painful abdominal symptoms. 80% are not aware of their condition. Lack of awareness in doctors and the public mean most remain unaware that they have celiac disease or the solution of a gluten free diet.

Diagnosis is tricky as symptoms of celiac disease often are seen as other health issues, IBS and Chrone's disease. You can get blood tests to check response to gluten and if positive, a biopsy of the small intestine can confirm the results.

Many people have some gluten sensitivity or intolerance and would feel better, less bloated, gassy and more energy, with less constipation, pain in joints and acne on a gluten free diet.

People who cannot tolerate any gluten have celiac disease (link: and can experience more serious diseases, degeneration of the intestinal wall leading to nutritional deficiency, fatigue, anemia, severe pain and more. The only solution is to commit to a gluten free diet for life.

Personal Story - Be proactive!

Nicolas, of our recent detoxers on Karuna Detox Retreats told me how he suffered from severe abdominal pain after eating the same foods that everyone else was eating, and not knowing why. His visits to his GP didn't help either, as the doctor didn't believe him and gave no advice or clue on how to end the pain, and instead suggested it may just be ‘in his head'! unhelpful : (

It was only when Nicolas decided to go gluten-free, removing all gluten from his diet, that he found gluten was the culprit of his abdominal pain, and without it he was totally pain-free. This is the only treatment for celiac disease and it works!

Gluten to avoid

Wheat, Rye, Barley - in all their forms bread, pasta, crackers, cakes, cookies etc...

Gluten can be also found in some surprising places:
In ingredients (unlisted), in medication, stamps, glue...
In gluten free grains processed in same plant as gluten grains (cross contamination)
In all Mock (vegetarian) ‘meat'
Beer, Soy sauce, Ice cream, Ketchup, medication tablets

The only way to know if you would benefit from a gluten free diet is to first eliminate gluten foods and then reintroduce them, and see if you feel better and then worse again.

And the only way to treat celiac disease is to commit to a lifetime of gluten free diet.

Gluten free grains

Luckily, gluten free products and recipes are easy to find and delicious - pasta may be easier to buy, but bread, cakes & cookies are easy enough to make yourself. Replace any processed sugar in the recipes with healthier alternatives though! If you have ceoliac disease, remember gluten free grains like oats, can be contaminated by being processed in the same plant as wheat.

Gluten free grains include:

  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat
  • Corn
  • Oat
  • Milet
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Wild Rice
  • Sorghum (delicious!)
A cool approach is to focus your diet on raw and cooked vegetables,
green leaves, sprouts, nuts and protein.

Some awesome approaches to gluten free food:

- Mouth watering cooked gluten free recipes from Jamie Oliver

- Raw & delicious gluten free recipes from The Rawtarian here

- Paleo recipes - gluten free breads, snack and meals from Elana's Pantry.

Food diary:

After all our Karuna Detox Retreat people go home, inspired with information and lots of live food, well combined, gluten free recipes.

We suggest to take as many days as you fasted to slowly introduce new foods, one at a time.

Plus, If you have any health issues at all, this is a great opportunity to start a food diary, essentially a record of what you eat, and how you feel 30 min. later.

After a fast, your taste buds are clean and clear and you are feeling great, and you will easily notice if any food makes you feel 'down', groggy, mucousy or fuzzy. This is how you get a clue of intollerances for food, which at other times is like searching for a needle in a haystack!

Indigestion can occur for many reasons, and it's good to keep an open mind, list your foods and pay attention to your physical sensations. You are supposed to feel comfortable, energised and at ease after eating any food...

If you notice that you're not feeling great, you just look back to what you last ate. Use intuition to guess which part may be the culprit (common allergens are gluten, milk, yeast, egg, nuts, fat, meat).

Test your tolerance by eating the same meal minus this food again, and see if you feel better, then eat it again and see - Did you feel worse again? If yes - congratulations! You just found out something important.

Creative Solutions: Try to replace this food with another source of nutrition, or add a digestive enzyme and support for digestion of fats, if this was the culprit. Supporting our digestion is all about paying attention to our body's messages and responding kindly and appropriately.

A cool approach is to focus your diet on raw and cooked vegetables,
green leaves, sprouts, nuts and protein.

And trying out new awesome foods that make you feel great, as well as being delicious!

Like mouth watering cooked gluten free recipes from Jamie OliverRaw & delicious gluten free recipes from The Rawtarian herePaleo recipes - gluten free breads, snack and meals from Elana's Pantry...


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Disclaimer*: Any health benefits expressed in testimonials may vary from person to person.