About Stuffed Pepper
I went gluten-free in 2001 and have learned so much between now and then. See, going gluten-free is like peeling off layers of an onion… It isn’t as simple as just removing wheat, barley and rye from your diet. Which is difficult enough as it is. I did remove wheat, barely, rye (and oats) from my diet, and I started to feel better. But I never could get rid of that little Buddha-belly bloat along my beltline. My digestion was never 100%, and I was still getting colds, flus and other illnesses way more often than I should have.
Then, after several years of a not very careful gluten-free diet, because no doctor gave me a definitive diagnosis of gluten intolerance, and thus no one indoctrinated me on the right way to go gluten-free, my thyroid (already troubled) got worse to the point of adrenal fatigue. I developed terrible brain fogs, debilitating insomnia, and began reacting to other foods beyond gluten, putting my digestive system in a constant state of distress. I took dairy and soy out of my diet, and worked on getting my thyroid back to normal, but it turned out I was reacting to everything under the sun, meaning I had developed intestinal permeability (also known as ‘leaky gut’), as well as candida (excess yeast in the gut), and I was missing the proper enzymes to digest fats. My “normal” doctor didn’t buy into any of it. Not gluten sensitivity. Not food allergies. Not adrenal fatigue. Not yeast overgrowth.
Twelve years after going gluten-free the traditional way, I feel that I am finally getting back to a feeling of normalcy. Much of this is due to listening to my own body, conducting my own medical and nutritional research, and through anecdotal stories of others who have reversed autoimmune diseases or found health again through diet. While I still have some healing to do, I have finally found the right doctor, the right diet and the right path to optimized health. I didn’t want others to have to go through 12 years of research before you starting to feel well again. So I started Stuffed Pepper as a community website, and more recently the program, 30 Days to a Whole, New Gluten-Free You.
No doctor could ever produce a positive diagnosis for celiac disease for me. And I am not alone in my story. It turns out that you don’t have to have Celiac Disease (CD) for gluten to severely affect you. While CD accounts for less than 1% of the world’s population, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity may account for 8 – 15% of the world’s population (some experts believe its even much higher), and experts in the field take it just as seriously as CD. Gluten Sensitivity can show up in many different ways, from skin disorders to rheumatoid arthritis to neurological disorders and much more. And some people never even complain about digestive distress, even though gluten is causing them serious harm.
In the end, it doesn’t matter how we got to the gluten-free diet. Its what do we do now that we’re here, that is the question.
And I have a lot of questions. Why are gluten intolerance, celiac disease and food allergies on the rise? Is it excessive use of processed foods (which I’ve never really eaten much of, so I don’t know how that could have affected me so severely)? Is it the introduction of GMOs into diets not accustomed to them? Is it that the human body was never really meant to digest gluten, but it’s taken us generations to realize that many of our health conditions are being caused by the same culprit? Is it over-prescribing antibiotics and excessive use of antibacterial soap that leads us to be more sensitive to our environment and our foods? Is it environmental toxins and higher loads of stress? Some combination of all of the above? And aside from avoiding gluten and other foods that offend us, what else can we do to heal ourselves and live comfortably again in this fast-paced, high pressure society?
I don’t have all the answers, but I’m working on them every day. In the meantime, I started Stuffed Pepper so we can all help each other. Our community members share everything from delicious gluten-free/paleo recipes, to interpretations of the latest medical research relating to gluten. You are welcome to share your experiences and knowledge, too. And if you’re new to the diet, here’s your place to ask questions and find resources. Together we will navigate a new gluten-free world, and hopefully start answering some of these questions.
Why BEYOND gluten-free?
In August 2013, the FDA declared that it will finalize its law for labeling gluten-free products, and that as long as a food product contains less than 20 ppm of gluten, it can be labeled gluten-free. At Stuffed Pepper, we believe no amount of gluten is safe. We also believe that the current definition of gluten is a somewhat loosely applied term and may not be looking at the bigger picture of gluten and wheat and how it affects us (see why a gluten-free diet? why not wheat free?).
But even beyond the nuances of what gluten is or isn’t, there is a staggering statistic that many gluten-free food manufacturers overlook: 74 – 92% of celiacs never heal on the traditional gluten-free diet.,  We believe in order for anyone to truly heal, you must go grain-free. You must also wean yourself off of processed foods, too much sugar/carbs, and the Standard American Diet (SAD). You need to take control of your diet, and the best way to do this is to learn to cook for yourself, using fresh, wholesome foods. We also don’t believe that GMOs are safe, as evidence now shows they can wreak havoc on our guts, just like gluten.
If gluten has been making you sick, then you need to go beyond today’s barely acceptable definition of a gluten-free diet, and conquer health head on. We can show you how.
 Intestinal Damage from Celiac Disease Persists in Adults, Even with Gluten-free Diet. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. September 2011. http://celiac.nih.gov/TissueDamage.aspx
 A Lanzini, F Lanzarotto, V Villanacci, A Mora, S Bertolazzi, D Turini, G Carella, A Malagoli, G Ferrante, B Cesana, C Ricci. Complete recovery of intestinal mucosa occurs very rarely in adult coeliac patients despite adherence to gluten-free diet. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Jun 15;29(12):1299-308.