Getting Back on Track: Leaky Gut Syndrome and Food Perception

Funny how food can conjure up fond memories and familiar feelings. It sure is cleaver to advertise to kids so that they’re hooked for life. To this day McDonalds sounds disgusting, but thinking of how a Big Mac would taste still reminds me of summer by the pool with my friends as a kid. I like Morgan Spurlock’s idea from Super Size Me: “Every time I drive by a McDonalds I’m gonna punch my kid in the head!” Well, maybe not that drastic, but you get the idea 🙂

So, I’ve been eating some pretty delicious food lately. And I’ve been enjoying it very much. Maybe a little too much. I thought I’d be ok cheating on my do-not-eat list (more details to follow), but now I’ve been getting headaches, my face has been breaking out, and I’ve been feeling way more tired than usual.

So what have I been cheating on? Don’t worry, I haven’t even thought about going near gluten. However, there is a common condition to those who suffer from Celiac Disease called Leaky Gut Syndrome (I’m not particularly endorsing their products, but this site had the most straight forward description of LGS). In short, this syndrome (until the gut is healed from the damage all the gluten has done to you over the years) causes your body to form an intolerance towards other foods besides gluten. Usually whatever you eat the most of. Sucks, right? So since my gut (a.k.a. intestine) hasn’t healed yet, here’s the list of things I reacted to on an allergen panel and should therefore avoid eating:

  • Yogurt
  • Whey
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Goat’s Milk Cheese
  • Casein
  • Flax
  • Honey
  • Lemon
  • Pineapple
  • Egg White
  • Egg Yolk
  • Coconut
  • Brewers Yeast
  • Almond
  • Walnut
  • Broccoli
  • Wheat Gluten (duh)

So now you kind of get an idea why I’m a vegan by default. It’s kind of a blessing in disguise, because I have definitely learned the benefits of eating a vegan diet. And I certainly would not be as strict as I should be were it not for the side effects that follow. And it’s those very side effects that have reminded me how much better I used to be at only eating pure, “clean” foods. Where did I start slipping?

Unfortunately, I think most of the problem started when I got a job at an amazing gluten free market. So many tastes I hadn’t experienced in so long that were now available to me. As I began to explore all the possibilities, I slowly fell back into my default view of food: comfort and pleasure. Though it is healthy to take some form of pleasure and comfort in food, it’s not so healthy to rely on food for those things entirely.

When I first went gluten free, I started out with the Master Cleanser (unfortunately, that lead to my intolerance of lemons 🙁  ). It totally changed my perception of food from what I rely on to be happy to what I rely on to be healthy. When you view food simply as an energy source, you make much better decisions for yourself and your body. So should we never again take pleasure in food? I should hope not! But I’m hoping I can learn to get back to the place where pleasure is food’s happy side effect instead of its main purpose.

So here we go. Back to the basics. Time to eat close to the earth, avoid what’s hurting my body, and start healing my gut. Then maybe I can start eating some of my favorite things again 🙂 Wait, but I shouldn’t. Food is just an energy source. But it makes me so happy inside! Gah! I’m working on it.



  1. “But I’m hoping I can learn to get back to the place where pleasure is food’s happy side effect instead of its main purpose.”
    Love that. Perfectly stated.
    And good fuel can taste good too 🙂

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