Tower Bridge taken from in front of City Hall, Southwark, London, England, UK. Photo taken June 17, 2012.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Cabri Regional Park, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Seoul, South Korea. Arrive October 3, 2014!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Health update

Last October, I wrote a blog post about our health and our health care. You can read it here...

http://www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2013/10/our-health-and-health-care.html

I had said I would update you a month after that, but we were pretty busy telling you about our Southern Africa trip! So here's the update now...

So, at the time, I was getting these light headed moments along with a few other what I thought were less serious symptoms. A little bit of frequent urination, some numbness is my toes, thirst and hunger, minor joint pain, a little bit of diarrhea and gas, and some of you noticed my weight loss. It almost seemed like a blood sugar problem, and I'm almost positive now that had I gone to the doctor he would have told me I had diabetes.

At the time, most of these things were pretty minor, and I just figured these were symptoms of getting older!

But some of my research kept bringing me back to gluten, and I even had found references to people who had these similar symptoms and had gone on a gluten free diet.

And then, I found this article, where a doctor suggests that most diabetes is a lifestyle choice that can be virtually eliminated by going on a gluten free diet...

http://www.examiner.com/article/cardiologist-says-diabetes-can-easily-be-reversed-on-gluten-free-diet

And he might be right.

Your overall body health is directly dictated by your diet and the amount of exercise you get. Simple as that.

And guess what? Since being on a gluten free diet, all of the symptoms I was having are gone. Yep, all of them. I feel great. The only thing missing now is a little more exercise, but now that we're in one place for a while I'm going to get on that!

Not everyone has a gluten intolerance, but I'm convinced that most people have an intolerance to some extent. Diagnoses such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) minor stomach cramps and bloating, and a variety of other issues are definitely related. It's also interesting to note that an estimated 10% of people with confirmed diagnosis of type 1 diabetes also have celiac disease!

And most people who are confirmed as being gluten intolerant and continue to eat gluten will end up with celiac disease. So, is it possible that there's a relationship between gluten, celiac disease, and diabetes. Yup, I would say so.

One day in the future, we'll talk about our gluten free diet. It's interesting to note that we buy very few prepackaged items from the gluten free section of your nearby grocery or health food store. And you've all seen our grocery bills...it's not that expensive to eat gluten free

Note: Obviously I'm not a doctor. These are just my opinions. Obviously your doctor might have his own opinion, and you might have yours. All I know, is that I feel much better, and that's what counts. Your experience might be different!


23 comments:

  1. Thanks Kevin for the personal insight and updating us with your encouraging results. My diet definitely needs improvement, so I will endeavor to look for only gluten-free foods on my next few visits to the grocery, and see how it goes.

    I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the two of you for taking the time to not only write a blog post each and every morning---but to respond to most every individual comment as well. This is really exceptional! Most bloggers eventually lose touch with their readership, justifying it by proclaiming "they have lives". But you seem to have bucked that trend, fitting us all in, year after year. Thanks again!

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    1. I agree completely with Dugg. I like your blog and how you personalize it and coo next with your readers. Glad the gluten free diet is working. It worked for our daughter as well.

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    2. Thank for the kind words Dugg and Randy. We actually really like doing the blog and most of the time it doesn't feel like it is a chore, also seeing and reading our readers comments, both good and bad make it more fun and interesting. There are days when we seem to have too much to do in a day that it starts to get more difficult, partly because we want to tell everyone about it but we have too much to tell and we don't like to make our posts too long. Also trying to keep up with the comments can be difficult especially when we both don't have internet. I will often go back days later to try to catch up, even then I just have to say enough is enough.

      Dugg, good luck with the gluten free diet, we do find that if you really want to try it then you really have to go the whole way with it and it's not as hard as you might think. The internet is full information and good recipes too.

      Randy, we are glad to hear that the gluten free diet has worked for your daughter as well.

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  2. Our son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was 11 years old. Last year he was diagnosed with celiac disease. He has been maintaining a gluten free diet and feels better. Although, once in a while he allows himself a "treat". Although, we don't have any of the symptoms, I've been trying to be more gluten free as well. Unfortunately, food processing has turned flour into something bad for you. Glad it's working for you.

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    1. It is amazing the things that they are now finding out about gluten and how it affects some people's systems. We're with you on the food processing that has messed flour up so much although gluten is in many products that don't actually have flour in them.

      Since going gluten free three years ago I think there is only once or twice that I knowingly ate something with gluten, I totally avoid unless I accidentally eat something with it in it and I think that has been very rare, I am very careful about it. Glad to hear that your son feels better now that he is eating gluten free.

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  3. I find I take the opinion of my own doctor (whom we've had as a family doctor for some thirty plus years!) with a certain grain of salt. And he's OK with that, since he realizes that he can't possibly keep up on everything. Changing a diet takes a lot of discipline, and that's where I find that I do have issues. Thankfully none of my health issues are severe enough to warrant anything drastic. So far.
    Enjoy your day.

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    1. We agree it is hard for doctors to understand everything. It probably took at least 20 years before I finally got a doctor who suggested that this could be problem and that was after many doctors ignored the issue or tried several different tests, x-rays and ultrasounds to try and see what the problem was but all came back clear. Within a month of going gluten free a number of my issues had disappeared or at least improved and probably within six months I didn't notice any more issues. I guess when you really have to make a change to your diet to make your body and life better it is worth it and just make it part of your "new" life. We enjoy the food I make and find that it hasn't affected our life much different by eating it other than making us feel much better that is

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  4. I've been eating what is described as 'paleo' for a while. I won't post any direct links but Robb Wolf has a great book and website as well as Mark Sisson if you're interested in the science behind how grains affect our system. Glad to hear you're feeling better!

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    1. Thanks Janis, I was just looking at the "paleo" diet and it sounds interesting. I am not sure that it is one that we would follow but I do agree with some of it. I will have to take some more time to read about it more closely.

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  5. I do believe you are what you eat. And we mostly avoid prepare foods, portion control and try for some excercise on a daily basis, not as much as you but a little is better than none.

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  6. Good post, definitely agree. Cutting down on gluten over here too and noticed my stomach cramps lessened and my energy level is really good. Might have to cut gluten out entirely and see what happens.
    Interested in that Paleo diet Janis is referring to, going to look into that as well.

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    1. If you notice that you still have some issues then you really should try going gluten free entirely, at least for a month or two and if you haven't noticed a change in that time then gluten probably isn't the problem. You need to go to the Celiac website to find out what you can and can't have as there are many items that have gluten in them that you would never have thought of.

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  7. This is very interesting Kevin. I'm glad this diet has eliminated your symptoms and I'm really looking forward to some talk about what you guys eat. I think this might be very good for me but I don't know how I would get along without toast in the morning.

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    1. You can still have toast every morning Sherry, it just needs to be gluten free. I make my own bread and it tastes really good, we prefer it to any store bought bread.

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  8. 1st off I have to take issue with your statement about needing more exercise. Good Lord boy you do more walking and hiking than most Olympic athletes, so dont that lack of exercise is a real problem in your world. With Ruth on gluten free will probably be easier as no separate foods or grocery shopping. hope this clears up your problems

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    1. Yes, we do get a lot of exercise walking and hiking but we don't get enough exercise that works on our muscles and that is important to good health too. Kevin has been eating entirely gluten free since November, so grocery shopping hasn't been an issue and yes, his problems have cleared up since then.

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  9. I just wanted to add that ever since you surfed with us (over a year ago?!) Ruth you had mentioned your gluten free diet and how much it helped clear up some of the symptoms you were having and I related to most of those symptoms. I was diagnosed with IBS and fibromyalgia because the doctor truly couldn't figure out what was wrong and didn't want to try to figure it out. I started cutting out gluten from diet and almost entirely cut out meat and saw a difference, but for the past three and a half months Kevin and I have taken out meat, oils, sugars, salt, and any refined grain and boy what a difference! All symptoms are completely gone, we both feel much more energized, and of course the weight loss (Kevin has lost over 30 lbs!). Thank you for telling me your story and inspiring me to take things into my own hands! Glad to hear Kevin that you were able to find out what was wrong!

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    1. Wow, I am so happy that you are both doing so well. I remembering talking to you about it while I was making the gluten free pancakes that we all had for breakfast and I remember that you were already interested in the gluten free diet then. Glad that it has made a difference. It's truly amazing how foods can affect our bodies in so many different ways. It was nice to hear from you and hope that everyone is doing well. Say hi to the children and give the dogs a pet for us. :-)

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  10. We've never had a doubt that diet and exercise are a direct relation to good health. We have friends who once diagnosed with diabetes begin with insulin but also start exercise and diet programs only to drop the insulin after time. Americans are the worst with diet and exercise. We are also big believers in mega-doses of Vitamin C, but that's another topic. We have found that cutting way back on carbs has made a big improvement in weight reduction as well as overall alertness, energy, etc. I can personally say that we have enjoyed ever gluten-free meal or snack that Ruth has prepared and we are looking forward to some of her great granola snack bars when we meet up next month (hint, hint). Not a believer in doctors either. My cardiologist, whose opinion I trust in terms of exams and testing, recommended blood pressure medicine. Didn't give me any noticeable side effects, but I found that my pressure was worry and stress related. I stopped the medicine and got my act together about worry and stress and my blood pressure is fine. No one knows the long-effects of these medications on your liver and other vital organs. JMHO

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    1. We know diet and exercise won't cure everything or make you immune to everything but it certainly will help in the long run.

      I will have to remember to have some granola bars made up for when you guys arrive. Do you have any idea about when you will arrive here? I know you said sometime in June but didn't know when in June.

      Looking forward to seeing you both.

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  11. I began the gluten free plan almost 3 years ago and turned to a plant based diet two years ago. Within the last 7-9 months have totally regressed from the gluten free and am dearly paying for it. Ruth, I sure hope that you will share some of your bread recipes. Also, do you make gluten free pasta? I feel that you have given me the kick in the tush that I need to be a better eater. Vegan / vegetarian is just not enough.

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    1. We shared the bread recipe in a post last summer, here is the link to it www.travelwithkevinandruth.com/2013/08/ruths-best-gluten-free-bread-recipe.html.

      No, I don't make my own pasta, normally I buy rice pasta, corn pasta or try to look for one with a combination of flax or quinoa in it.

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