We’re unaware of how many people this actually affects because the body becomes tolerant to gluten over time. It’s only through doing an elimination diet that most people understand the effects of gluten.
If you’re on the fence about gluten, this paper (link) may change your mind. It showed that a protein in gluten called Gliadin triggers the production of Zonulin. Zonulin opens up spaces between the cells of the intentional lining. We know this as a leaky gut. Gluten pokes holes in the gut.
A leaky gut allows toxins to enter the bloodstream and creates an immunological response. If you’re like most people who are unaware of gluten sensitivity and continue to eat it, you’ll create chronic inflammation.
Inflammation is a root cause of nearly every psychiatric disorder including anxiety (link).
A New Concept of Anxiety
Understanding is everything. When I wrapped my head around what anxiety actually was, I made a commitment to lifestyle changes and within 9 months I had healed my life long anxiety.
I’m no longer on medication and have a sense of inner peace and groundedness that I never thought was possible.
Here is what I did to heal my anxiety
1. A Complete Diet Overhaul
I ate a ton of junk growing up, but as an adult, I started eating a vegetarian diet because I believed it was healthy. I was hearing all kinds of demonizing things about meat and pretty much all animal products in general.
Discovering ancestral nutrition and bringing back fats into my diet helped to heal my brain and body. Though I’ve never gotten my levels tested, I believe my mostly plant-based diet left me deficient in several nutrients.
The re-introduction of meat and animal products while also lowering my intake of carbs regulated my blood sugar and my moods. The brain fog I was suffering from constantly lifted. I had a lot more energy in my body and greater concentration in my mind.
2. Breathwork and Yoga
If you follow me on Instagram (link) you know that breathwork is an important part of my daily routine.
Anxiety is closely tied to the nervous system, and breathwork allows us to activate the parasympathetic or “rest and digest” part nervous system. This lowers cortisol and heals the gut while helping to re-wire neural pathways. Anxiety changes the brain physically, so breathwork is the ultimate hack in creating new connections.
I got serious about sleep hygiene.
For years, sleep was just not a priority for me. I would stay up to midnight (sometimes later) every night and hit snooze 2 or 3 times before waking up.
I could go on and on about the role sleep plays in the repair of the body. The main magic that happens during sleep is something called autophagy. Autophagy is the body’s version of spring cleaning. It’s when all of the damaged cells and toxins are cleaned up and new healthy cells and connections are made.
I highly suggest reading “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker. It’s a fascinating read that will make you motivated to prioritize sleep (link). I am now in bed by 9:30 pm every night. It feels weird at first, but the energy payoff is worth it. With time I realized I wasn’t accomplishing much during those hours anyway.
4. Intermittent Fasting
Fasting is popular right now for many reasons. It has healing benefits for both the mind and the body. I don’t like to get particular with fasting windows because everyone is different. Fasting can stress some women’s bodies so it’s important to experiment on your own with this one.
I started with not eating before 12 pm and after 6 pm. I stuck with that for months and was amazed at how much energy I had and how much my mood changed. In about 6 months I had zero sugar cravings (huge for a sugar addict like myself) and also completely stopped snacking. My meals were high-fat meals that satiated me.
I’m no longer strict with exact times of eating, but I only eat twice a day and have no desire to snack. Since my blood sugar is regulated, I have food freedom. If I’m flying or find myself in a place where the food isn’t what I would normally eat I can pass. No more shakiness or angry sensations. This one is a major game-changer.
I spent years afraid of the sun. I’d wear sunblock, hats, sunglasses, and run for cover if I thought I was getting too much sun.
It’s obvious to me that the sun isn’t a villain. Our ancestors spent all day outside, and as we’re spending more and more time in offices avoiding the sun, skin cancer rates are going up. I believe this has more to do with blue light exposure and nutritional deficiencies.