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Diet as medicine. Go gluten-free or not?

Lyme Disease and the autoimmune condition which is refer to as Chronic, or Post- Lyme share some iagnosing Lyme Symptoms">symptoms with Celiac Disease (CD), which is at the heart of the current shift in the US towards gluten-free foods. In about one percent of the population worldwide, gluten causes damage to the walls of the small intestine, resulting in gastrointestinal problems, malnutrition, and manifesting in various symptoms, including skin rashes, serious fatigue and weight loss.

Very little is known about CD, however but there is a growing awareness, which is why, over the past five years, we are seeing more gluten-free (GF) choices in the grocery stores. To a person with Lyme disease, this scenario, an autoimmune disease with vast, murky symptoms and not a lot of clarity about
treatment, probably seems vaguely familiar.

The leading US specialist in CD, Peter Green, MD at Columbia University, recommends that people suspected of having gluten-sensitivities not quit eating foods containing gluten until they are properly tested and diagnosed. This is because withdrawing from foods with gluten will change the test results. However, as there is currently no other treatment available for people with CD or non-Celiac gluten sensitivity, the
treatment consists of eliminating all sources of gluten-containing foods from the diet.

But there's a catch-22 in that logic. Do you feel better when you don't eat foods containing gluten? I do, I don't feel as puffy, which I guess is the way inflammation in the gut feels. Would you go back to including gluten in your diet just so your intestinal biopsy proves that you have a definite sensitivity to it? I'm not sure I'd do that. And if you did go back to eating it, and you were diagnosed with CD, then you'd be put on a treatment that consists of not eating gluten.

Evidently, the US is behind the UK and Italy and other countries in its knowledge of CD.  According to a 2011 interview with Dr. Green published on
Delight Gluten Free Magazine online, in England, people with CD are part of a program that enables them to have gluten-free foods delivered to their home. This “food as medicine” is also a tax write-off because it is part of a subscribed treatment for their illness.

I write about nutrition and a healthy, whole foods, Lyme disease diet, and whenever I pay for my fresh organic groceries I often think how nice it would be if I could write off a meaty percentage of that food, since it is a central element of my ongoing treatment.

What do you think? Let's talk about it.

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