Can't I have just one bite?!
You eat a piece of cake even though you know that you have gluten sensitivity, gut dysbiosis, or systemic inflammation. You rationalize: it's one piece. But shortly afterward, your belly swells. Maybe hours later you experience a cramping sensation, painful diarrhea, or constipation. Or maybe that old back injury flares up, or your autoimmunity goes haywire.
Your body's reaction to eating something bad may be longer than you think.
Stop!Before you reach for that slice of bread, remember that even a small portion of gluten can cause chronic inflammation in your body for up to six months if you are gluten-sensitive.
Each of these responses indicates inflammation. And each of these symptoms is more significant to your overall health than you may realize. If there is pain anywhere in the body, such as joint pain or an exacerbation of a pre-existing autoimmune condition, you know that the food-induced inflammation originating in the gut is systemic. If you experience fatigue or brain fog after eating a piece of cake, you know the inflammation is systemic and that your blood-brain barrier (BBB) is likely compromised.
After a couple days or maybe a couple weeks, the outward manifestations of the cake you ingested have disappeared. You mega-dose probiotics to try to create balance. Everything seems like it is back to normal. Well, guess what?
Studies have shown that the smallest amount of gluten, say a cracker the size of 1/8 of your thumbnail, will have a prolonged inflammatory effect in the body for up to 6 months after ingestion if you are gluten sensitive. (1)
That's right: A cracker 1/8 the size of your thumbnail can wreak inflammatory havoc in your body for 6 months. This is an extreme ratio and more relevant than you may think.
If you pick an occasional crouton from your spouse's salad or ingest hidden gluten in certain processed foods, you are not gluten-free, and you have just excited your immune system for another 6 months. If you have "pretty much" been gluten-free for several months and wonder why you still have symptoms, this may be why.
It doesn't have to be cake. Maybe it's a glass of wine at a dinner party with friends. Maybe it is some other food that your body reacts to, similar to gluten. Any food that elicits an inflammatory response from the body needs to be on your list of foods to avoid.
Studies have actually shown that coffee is one of the most cross-reactive foods in gluten sensitive individuals. (2) This means that coffee not only triggers the same extended inflammation and autoimmune response as glutinous grains but actually has more deleterious effects. While coffee is acidic, affects your stomach pH, and leaches minerals from bones, it also triggers excess stress hormones to be released, increasing the inflammation. You will know inflammation by signs of heat, swelling, redness, and pain.
While the findings may be disheartening to those who find themselves eating things that may not support their constitution, they do help people understand the seriousness of gluten-sensitivity and the importance of experimenting with gluten-free recipes. There are many delicious Body Ecology recipes, so you can finally have your cake and digest it too!
The latest research shows that the smallest amount of gluten can trigger inflammation and autoimmune reactions lasting for up to six months in gluten sensitive individuals. Coffee has also been found to be the most harmful food for those with gluten intolerance.