Gluten Free School
Gluten-free is how more and more people are tweaking their diet nowadays. I remember seven years ago when my husband and I first went gluten-free, few people knew what it meant. My guest, Jennifer Fugo, apparently went through a similar path. And because being gluten-free made her so much healthier, she established the Gluten Free School to help people get their health back.
Life Before Being Gluten-Free
Jennifer Fugo’s journey was similar to most people who have gotten sick. Way back in 2006, she was so much into working out and being healthy. But despite how Jennifer Fugo was restrictive with her diet, she was still gaining weight, felt tired most of the time and very sickly.
She initially thought she was exercising too much. She cut down her workouts but she still didn’t feel right. Even doctors couldn’t diagnose appropriately because Jennifer Fugo’s lab tests all came out normal.
Then one day in 2008, Jennifer Fugo’s friend recommended seeing a nutritionist. Upon seeing that Jennifer Fugo’s diet mainly consisted of bread, pasta, and pizza, the nutritionist advised her to go gluten-free for two weeks.
It didn’t take long before Jennifer Fugo saw results. Within just three days of being gluten-free, she felt more clear headed. Apparently, brain fog was associated with gluten sensitivity, and it turned out that Jennifer Fugo was gluten sensitive to eggs, dairy, cashews, and pistachios.
“Gluten sensitivity implies that there is an immune reaction that is happening as a result of a specific food like gluten coming into the body. If you are gluten sensitive, you do need to avoid things like oats that are not certified gluten-free,” said Jennifer Fugo.
What Is Gluten?
Many people have heard this term, but very few know what gluten is. Gluten is derived from the Latin word ‘gluten’ which means glue. And like glue, it binds things together. Final products that contain gluten usually have a chewy texture.
“It is a spongy protein that is found in specific grains. Most notably, wheat, barley, and rye. It is also in other ancient forms of wheat,” Jennifer Fugo said. “Gluten binds together ingredients, and it may be hard for some people to digest.”
Advocating A Gluten-Free Diet
Even outside of Philadelphia where Jennifer Fugo lives, she attests that things have changed so much as far as diet is concerned. She says many people in her area are advocates of a gluten-free diet, so it wasn’t hard to find restaurants that offered a gluten-free menu.
However, that was not always the case. When Jennifer Fugo first tried practicing a gluten-free diet, her father, who happened to be a medical doctor, was very skeptical. It was only when her health significantly improved that her father understood how a gluten-free diet plays a significant role in overall health.
“People noticed a big change in me. Because it seemed like I lost weight when in fact, it’s not fat, but inflammation. I lost inflammation weight,” explained Jennifer Fugo. “When it comes to food sensitivity or autoimmune diseases, the symptoms are all over the place. That is why it is hard for doctors to pinpoint the correct diagnosis.”
The Gluten Free School
Her personal experience drove Jennifer Fugo to put up Gluten Free School in 2011. Her mission is to empower and inspire gluten sensitive women to get back to living a healthy, joy-filled life.
A program at the Gluten Free School typically lasts six to eight weeks. The school helps women identify root causes, implement diet and lifestyle changes based on their unique health history, and resolve chronic health issues.
“A lot of people don’t understand that you can’t do it halfway. You have to be gluten-free all the way,” said Jennifer Fugo. “If you don’t allow yourself to tune in and go on this journey of figuring out what the imbalances are, they don’t just miraculously disappear. Things build slowly with time.”
Importance Of A Good Digestion
Most people take digestion problems for granted. We often either just shrug it off to something we ate, thinking that it will pass sooner or later. This is what Jennifer Fugo seeks to educate people on.
Jennifer Fugo says that when our body kicks food out, we apparently lose the opportunity to be nourished by that food. Just because we digested our food, doesn’t mean that the vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats were actually absorbed by our body.
“When that essential toilet flush happens in the digestive system, you’re also flushing out the bacterial diversity which is the microbiome that’s in the colon. It becomes very difficult for good bacteria to re-establish itself in a timely fashion,” explains Jennifer Fugo. “The flipside is constipation. Because you’re slowing down your body’s ability to release toxins and wastes.”
Effects Of Constipation In Women
Jennifer Fugo says that women must be particularly concerned when they have constipation. When a woman is chronically constipated, estrogen that is processed through the liver must be deactivated.
“Estrogen is deactivated when it is released into the bile. And the bile is dumped into the digestive system. Then you poop out deactivated estrogen. That’s how it’s supposed to leave your body,” Jennifer Fugo said. “But if your poop is not moving at a normal rate, your body can end up reabsorbing it. When that happens, toxins are stuck in the large intestine.”
Because of this, Jennifer Fugo advises to poop at least once a day. Going gluten-free for two to three weeks can also help address constipation. To keep your food intake in check, it is likewise essential to keep a food journal to track what you are eating.
Transitioning To A Gluten-Free Diet
First of all, if you experience having blurry visions or feel intoxicated, Jennifer Fugo says these are sure signs that food and gluten are causing problem. Ultimately, she advises women not to blow off their symptoms, especially those with autoimmune diseases.
“Going on a gluten-free diet is the first place to start. With most autoimmune diseases, the trigger is in the gut. To reduce the trigger, and slow down the autoimmune process, cut out gluten from your diet,” advises Jennifer Fugo. “Also drink 60 to 80 ounces of water daily. Eat fiber and be active. Try magnesium citrate once or twice a day to facilitate bowel movement.”
Jennifer Fugo likewise clarifies that elimination diet is not the same as a gluten-free diet. People usually confuse the two. She says people typically go too far eliminating too many things only to end up not completing the diet program.
This is because when people go on restrictive diets, Jennifer Fugo says people often eliminate foods that may trigger a problem, but they’re just removing the food triggers. In effect, they are not solving what is causing their leaky gut.
“Start with being gluten-free and see how that goes. Take something out for two or three weeks and try adding it back to your diet,” Jennifer Fugo said. “Observe yourself for mood swings, emotional outbursts, anxiety or depression.”
Essentially, what Jennifer Fugo is trying to do is encourage people to embrace the natural ways of eating, like consuming whole foods. Most of all, it is also important to keep in mind that because everyone is built differently, everyone’s diet should be unique.
The Savvy Gluten-Free Shopper Book
If you want to know more about eating gluten-free foods, you have to check out Jennifer Fugo’s book. She thoroughly explains why you should learn to love yourself by taking care of your health. And the first step in taking care of yourself is getting on the road to health through a gluten-free diet.
Her book details everything you need to know about gluten and how to shop for gluten-free foods. Top it off; the book has mouth-watering recipes that are easy to make; you’ll forget it’s gluten-free!
“Care for yourself. Focus on you. Start paying attention to yourself so that you can be more present, patient and loving to those around you. Because ultimately at the end of the day, that’s what life is all about,” said Jennifer Fugo.
Jennifer Fugo is the founder of Gluten Free School, a website dedicated to teaching gluten-sensitive individuals simple, savvy and empowering steps to get healthy.
She’s a certified Health Coach named a “Gluten Free Guru” by Philadelphia Magazine who hosts the popular “Gluten-Free Sugar Cleanse” to empower gluten-free women to take control of their diet, feel great and kick their sugar habit.
Jennifer Fugo is a sought-after expert on healthy, gluten-free living as well as a speaker who has been featured on Doctor Oz, Yahoo! News, eHow, CNN, Huffington Post and Philadelphia Magazine. She hosts the popular “Gluten Free School Podcast” to share eye-opening health information vital to living a gluten-free life. Her first book, “The Savvy Gluten-Free Shopper: How to Eat Healthy without Breaking the Bank” is now available.