Dr. Peter Osborne is the clinical director of Town Center Wellness in Sugar Land, Texas. He is a doctor of chiropractic medicine and a Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist focused on the holistic natural treatment of chronic degenerative diseases with a primary focus on gluten sensitivity and food allergies. Dr. Osborne lectures nationally to doctors on gluten sensitivity/intolerance, celiac disease, and many other nutritionally related topics. He is the cofounder of Nutra-MD and the Gluten Free Society.
No Grain, No Pain CHAPTER 1
WHAT’S THE GRAIN-PAIN CONNECTION?
Why “Healthy” Foods Make Us Feel So Bad
All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
—Paraphrased from the writings of Arthur Schopenhauer, nineteenth-century German philosopher
The gluten-free diet has been all the rage these past few years. Lots of plans show you how to cut sugar, wheat, and other empty carbs out of your diet to lose weight—and those approaches generally work, very successfully. Other diet books argue that eliminating grain will improve your memory and brain function, both today and tomorrow. There is solid research backing this thesis: improved memory now, and memory protection in the future, is a clear side effect of a grain-free diet.
Many of the people who come to my clinic in Sugar Land, Texas, come through the doors because they are in pain: the kind of debilitating pain that infiltrates every aspect of life and makes each day a little darker and a lot more challenging. For them, changing their diet isn’t just a lifestyle choice; it’s the difference between relief and chronic pain. Sometimes it’s even the difference between life and death.
If you’re in such pain, you’ve probably tried many ways to deal with it, including physical therapy and massage, as well as the use of over-the-counter and prescription painkillers. None of these “solutions” likely worked for long. Quite possibly, you’ve experimented with some form of a so-called gluten-free diet, again without any lasting improvement. You may be at your wits’ end.
Hold on. Help is at hand.
In No Grain, No Pain, I’m going to offer you something revolutionary: a 30-day, step-by-step plan that will get at the real root cause of your pain. You’ll learn:
· Why foods you’ve always been told were “healthy” may actually be making and keeping you sick
· How painkillers and other drugs deplete your body of vitamins and minerals vital to healing, actually aggravating the root cause of the pain
· That just because you don’t test positive for celiac disease doesn’t mean you aren’t sensitive to gluten
· Because glutens are present in all grains, not just wheat, barley, and rye, why following a traditional gluten-free diet rarely results in a cure
· Why removing all grains (and often certain other foods) can eliminate chronic pain once and for all
· Why other health problems you may never have associated with grain may also be caused by gluten sensitivity
· How to detect hidden grains in processed foods and even personal care products
· How to replace the nutrients of which your body has been robbed with the right food and targeted supplementation
· How intermittent fasting can help speed your return to pain-free health and vitality
· Why eliminating grains can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight
Finally, you will receive reinforcement that your pain is not just in your head, but instead arises from a physical cause, one that you have the power to change.
SENT HOME TO DIE
A little girl I worked with once desperately needed just such help. Ginger was only 9 years old when her mother brought her to my office. She had been diagnosed with a debilitating disease called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and her doctors didn’t know if she would make it. In fact, her situation was so dire that the Make-A-Wish Foundation stepped in and granted Ginger her wish to go to Alaska to see whales off the coast with her family.
Ginger’s condition wracked her body with headaches, muscle pain, joint pain, indigestion, and stomach pain. She had been suffering since her introduction to normal foods at 20 months of age. She was in and out of the hospital so frequently that she had to have a permanent stent placed in her arm so that whenever she was hospitalized, it was easier to give her an IV.
Imagine going through years of hospital trips, doctors’ visits, and horrible pain all before you reach the age of 10. This was Ginger’s daily reality—until I saw her. After an extensive exam and laboratory testing, I identified Ginger as having non-celiac gluten sensitivity. We changed her diet—not just cutting out wheat, but overhauling even the hidden sources of gluten that I’ll tell you more about shortly. Today, Ginger is gluten free and very much alive. She no longer has a plastic stent in her arm. She is growing normally. She doesn’t need to take any medications. She plays on her school volleyball team and has a new lease on life. As long as she avoids all grains, Ginger is symptom free, but if she does eat food that contains gluten, her joints swell. Despite her youth, Ginger is able to stick with her diet because the correlation between what she eats and the swelling and pain is undeniable.
There is no question that Ginger is alive today because she is grain free. Does this sound like a fad diet?
GETTING TO THE ROOT
This youngster was an extreme case, but she is only one of the thousands of success stories I’ve treated in my practice in the past fifteen years. You’ll meet lots more of them throughout this book—people who have suffered from ailments as diverse as depression, vertigo, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), osteoarthritis, and eczema. Some of them have overcome debilitating pain and illness. Others have improved their lives in more subtle ways, exchanging discomfort after every meal and sore joints after every physical exertion with energy and exuberance. All of them share one thing in common: by identifying and eliminating the root cause of their pain, they have been able to get on with their (pain-free) lives.
So what is the root cause of their pain? As you’ll soon see, so often it’s the hidden sources of gluten in our diets. Many of us think that if we cut out bread and pasta and buy the official “gluten-free” bread, pasta, cookies, crackers, and other products available at every major health-food store (and increasingly in every supermarket), we’re eating a gluten-free diet. That’s just not the case. I’m going to show you why those so-called gluten-free processed foods (usually made with rice, corn, sorghum, or other grains—as well as soy) can be just as much of a trigger to gluten-sensitive people as a bowl of Wheaties or an English muffin. And you’ll learn how to make smarter choices, ones that will utterly revolutionize the way you feel every day.
Yes, many of my patients lose some weight on a grain-free diet, sometimes a substantial amount. Meanwhile, those who are malnourished as a result of intestinal issues stemming from the grain in their diet are able to add crucially needed pounds. And yes, many of them also report feeling “sharper,” more mentally clear, and more able to focus. But when I see a patient whose joints have bothered her for years enjoy walking again, then resume jogging, and then finally run a 5K, I know I’ve made a measurable difference in her quality of life. When I see another patient who was in too much agony to get off the couch unassisted now able to plop down on the carpet and roughhouse with his grandkids without wincing, that’s a real measure of success.
In addition to their remarkable physical transformations, I like to think that I also offer my patients something else: hope. Hope that there is a solution to their physical and emotional suffering. This book will offer you the same. Follow my Grain-Free, Pain-Free program, and you’ll feel dramatically better within 30 days.
Did You Know?
The suffix itis, derived from Greek and Latin, means “inflammation.” So arthritis is inflammation of a joint; colitis is inflammation of the colon; bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchial tubes; hepatitis is inflammation of the liver. When you see any word ending in itis, it’s describing inflammation. We tend to think of inflammation as swelling, a blister, or redness. However, it can also occur internally without symptoms and, over time, lead to painful diseases. And guess which is one of the common causes? Right, grain consumption.
WHAT DOES GLUTEN HAVE TO DO WITH PAIN?
This book focuses on chronic pain in the joints, muscles, and nerves, appearing as hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia, arthritis, hormonal changes that lead to pain, and migraine headaches. And that’s just for starters. Pain can also take the form of emotional pain—depression, for example. When you get used to living with constant pain, you may fool yourself into thinking that it’s normal to get headaches, feel joint pain, or have a persistent backache, even though you may regard yourself as perfectly healthy.
It is vital that you understand that pain is never normal; rather, it is a signal from your body that something is wrong. Likewise, the older you get, the more likely you are to assume that aches and pains are a normal part of aging. Your doctor probably tells you to just accept the discomfort. In my experience, most doctors prescribe a pain pill, espousing the old “it’s just normal arthritis” line. But that’s crazy! This lie has only become “truth” because most doctors reinforce it over and over again. Having seen thousands of people escape the prison of pain—at any age—when they change their eating habits, I refuse to accept this as true—and so should you.1 I can assure you that a pain-free future awaits you.
As we’re now learning, there’s a clear connection between the inflammation caused by certain foods containing gluten (and similar substances) and the pain that manifests itself in our joints and other parts of our body. We’ll talk more about inflammation later, but first: what exactly is gluten, anyway?
The traditional use of the word gluten implies that it is a single protein found in wheat, barley, and rye—and sometimes oats. (All four are grains, which are the seeds of a grass.) End of story. But as you’ll soon see, that definition is overly simplistic. The true definition of gluten is that it is a large family of storage proteins found in all forms of grain, including rice, corn, and many others.2 The word comes from the Latin for glue. Each grain contains different forms of gluten. (The primary gluten in wheat, for example, is gliadin—see “How Much Gluten Is in Different Grains?”.) But for the sake of simplicity, I’ll use the singular gluten when talking about the family or the glutens in more than one grain.
If you are gluten sensitive, you will likely react to any form of gluten in a similar way, regardless of its source. Individual responses can vary greatly, although inflammation and pain are common denominators. Gluten may trigger migraines and gut pain in one person, for example, while another presents with psoriasis and arthritis. I created the term glutenology, meaning the science of gluten, to help people understand that the effect of this family of proteins is more comprehensive than the one currently held by the mainstream gluten community. The celiac disease support network, patients, most doctors, and the food industry still narrowly define gluten and its impact on health.
THE HIDDEN SOURCES OF GLUTEN IN OUR DIETS
Some people—an estimated 1 in 133 people—suffer from celiac disease, a chronic intestinal condition resulting from a genetic predisposition (meaning it is inherited) in combination with exposure to forms of gluten found in wheat, barley, and rye. Consuming any of these foods triggers an immune response in celiac patients, which damages the mucosal lining of the intestine. Celiac disease causes pain, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation, as well as bone loss, anemia, and malabsorption of minerals and vitamins. If not diagnosed early, celiac disease can be life threatening. The ancients described the symptoms of celiac disease more than two thousand years ago, but its cause was unknown until the 1950s. A few years ago, when an archeological excavation of a site that dated back to the first century BCE in what is now Tuscany, Italy, unearthed the skeleton of a young woman, it revealed typical damage from celiac disease: failure to thrive and malnutrition.3 Her remains also contained the positive gene marker for gluten sensitivity. Writing about a hundred and fifty years after her death in a treatise on disease, the Greek physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia described the symptoms (“suffering in the bowels”) now known as celiac disease. It has been around a long time.
During World War II, wheat, barley, and rye were rationed in Europe. Dr. Willem Dicke, a Dutch pediatrician who cared for children hospitalized with celiac disease, noticed that the change in their diet (no bread) had eliminated or alleviated their painful symptoms.4 He also observed that after the war ended and the three grains were once again available, the kids relapsed. Bingo! This was the first conclusive evidence that grains trigger celiac disease. But which component in grains was to blame? Initially, researchers targeted the carbohydrates in the grains,5 but soon after, another study concluded that the protein components, the glutens,6 were the culprit.
An unintended consequence of finding the cause of celiac disease was that it mistakenly established the “truth” that these three grains—wheat, barley, and rye—were the sole sources of gluten. (Later oats were added to the list.7 Some studies have found that the gluten in oats does provoke a gluten reaction; others have not.8 For this reason, most celiac centers warn of the potential for a reaction without declaring, “go oat free.”) But here’s the thing: these kids lived in the Netherlands, where wheat, barley, and rye are staple grains. Rice and corn weren’t really a part of the traditional diet in that part of the world, so no one thought to remove them or test their bodies’ reaction to these foods. And for decades after, conventional wisdom said that rice and corn were “safer” grains to consume for people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.
Fact is, rice and corn have both been shown to provoke inflammatory responses.9 But sixty years later this flawed assumption still holds among many physicians. According to Mintel, a market research company, annual sales of “gluten-free” processed foods are expected to hit $15 billion in 2016.10 Products such as crackers, breakfast cereals, and bread made with corn or rice are purported to be acceptable for people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity to consume. In fact, the (supposedly) gluten-free industry is largely responsible for the persistent suffering of the vast proportion of people eating these products. Yes, read that sentence again. The very products being hawked as gluten free are contributing to the poor health of those trying to avoid all gluten.
How do we know that there is gluten in many “gluten-free” products? In one study, 82 percent of patients who had previously strictly followed a traditional gluten-free diet without relief of their symptoms were put on a three-to-six-month diet of whole, unprocessed foods. This meant no so-called gluten-free processed foods. The gluten contamination elimination diet succeeded in eliminating symptoms for most of the subjects.11 In another study, eating such products and avoiding only wheat, barley, rye, and oats did not result in complete recovery (meaning reversal of intestinal damage) for 92 percent of adults with celiac disease.12
The bottom line is this: the majority of gluten-sensitive people who eliminate only wheat, barley, rye, and oats but continue to consume other grains don’t get better!
Discovering the cause of celiac disease was a huge medic...