Guest Post: “How a Gluten Free Lifestyle Saved My Kidneys”

Hippocrates F4T

I’m an avid believer in the medicinal power of whole foods and a healthy diet. Often our first inclination when confronted with disease and other health challenges, is to treat the problem with prescription drugs. We overlook our diet as an afterthought, when there are loads of benefits that can be reaped from a sound diet.

Please join me this week in welcoming my guest this week, Margaret Romero, an amazing lupus survivor,  nurse practitioner, and all-around champion for nutrition and it’s role in healing. Ms. Romero shares her story about suriving lupus and how adopting a gluten-free diet helped prevent transplant surgery and bring her back to good health. She’s also got some tips here, so read on for this incredible woman’s story! :-)

How a Gluten Free Lifestyle Saved My Kidneys

 As I lay in the medi-copter several years ago getting ready to be flown to another hospital, I thought back to the first day I had experienced wrist pain, which I had just ignored.  What I didn’t know at that time was how quickly this autoimmune disorder would progress.

What began as a single joint pain led to multiple painful joints. Next came the muscle pain and then almost immediately came the swelling in my feet and hands.  Although I’d never had any heart trouble, I was now experiencing a rapid heartbeat and bloody urine that morning.

I thought of all the things it could be: pericarditis, endocarditis, anemia, kidney/urine infection. That day in the medi-copter, I arrived in the ER ordering my own tests. It all came crashing down as I lay on the gurney bewildered at the sudden course of events.

After countless tests, ultrasounds, and CAT scans, I endured the most painful kidney biopsy.   My diagnosis: Stage 4 lupus nephritis.  The best prognosis my doctors could offer me was kidney transplant in 5 years.

(Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that afflicts 5 million individuals worldwide. It can affect all organs and causes widespread inflammation.)

For a long time, I struggled with my diagnosis. I had placed all my power in the hands of my specialists, and I had hit rock bottom.  Then I started to notice that my joint pain worsened after meals and I wondered about being celiac or having a gluten sensitivity.

I discussed this with my rheumatologist and she discouraged the test.  So I ordered a DNA test and performed it myself.  (When it comes to my own health, I have become quite the rebel.) It revealed a severe gluten sensitivity and 2 non-celiac gluten sensitive genes.

Then something magical happened.  Almost as quickly as I became gluten free, my joint pain and swelling finally started to disappear. I could finally start to walk up and down stairs without tearing up. That day changed my life.

5 years later, I practice hot yoga and have since lost 30 lbs from all the prednisone and water retention.

And I am NOT on the kidney transplant list.

Aside from my food choices, I also corrected my vitamin and hormone deficiencies.

In fact, I am healthier and more vibrant than before I became ill. Being gluten free literally saved my life.

If you too have been thinking about going gluten free, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Eliminate the pasta, bread, crackers and bread crumbs from your pantry and replace with gluten free products.  If you cannot find any in your supermarket, you can buy all products online. Trust me, your life is not over if you eat gluten free pasta compared to regular pasta.  This comes straight from a huge comfort food eater!
  • Replace your toaster. It’s difficult to clean every single crumb!
  • Check your seasonings and vitamin supplements for gluten.
  • Buy 1-2 gluten free cookbooks and/or a magazine to help with cooking at home. My first cookbook was by Carol Fenster. I also took cooking classes and began learning about different flours and thickeners.
  • Talk to your family about going gluten-free and teach them what that means. If you are going to a dinner party, bring your gluten free pasta. Trust me on this one. Bring your own bread, pizza, waffles and keep it in their freezer. They will get over it. And they will love to see you feeling and looking better!

If you’re not sure that going gluten free will work for you, ask your doctor to check a Food Panel IgG at your next blood draw or see an integrative or functional medicine practitioner. Both of these courses of action are a great way to determine whether you have food sensitivities.

If you are going through a health crisis as well, I hope I have inspired you.  Feel free to reach out by email and share your story with me.  Stay tuned for my next blog post and the launch of my cooking show at www.Margaret-Romero.com. Follow me on Twitter as @GlutenfreeHeals, or on Facebook at The Gluten Free Guide To Health.

Author Bio

Margaret Romero Nurse Practitioner From Lupus to LivingMargaret A. Romero NP-C is an Ivy League trained nurse practitioner specializing in women with lupus using integrative medicine, an approach that has kept her out of the hospital and off the kidney transplant list.  She loves hot yoga, farmers markets, and cooking in her NYC apartment.

About Maribel Marmol

Stay positive. Eat well. Travel consciously. Move yourself. Change the world.
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5 Responses to Guest Post: “How a Gluten Free Lifestyle Saved My Kidneys”

  1. What an inspiring story! I am GF (mostly) free too but not for reasons as serious as yours. I’m so glad you figured it out. Way to take charge of your own health!

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    • Thanks Jan! I’ve heard similar stories about gluten-free living and also plant-based diets, and I think anytime someone shares their story about how food can be a positive thing for health is a great thing. So often the emphasis is on the negative side of food, when really, these are the kinds of things we should be focusing on.

      Like

  2. Tamara says:

    REALLY amazing – thank you for sharing your story. I have heard similar accounts of gluten-free lifestyles making a huge impact.

    Like

    • Thank you and really thanks to Margaret for sharing her story with all of us. It’s incredible how much diet can improve our health if we make small changes to what we eat and stay committed. I absolutely love these kinds of stories and make it a point to share them here whenever possible. Thanks for stopping by Tamara!

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  3. dorioneill says:

    I could not agree more. While I did not have a major issue like your kidney challenge. I was clinically obese. So the quote about “let your food be your medicine” is the approach that I have taken. As a result I have lost over 52 pounds. I have added a green coffee extract which I get from the discount site dietsfaq.com

    The other major break through came from an unexpected source. I discovered an organic coffee that has the equivalent level of antioxidants as a pint of blueberries in every cup. 6 times more than other coffee.

    Coffee is a great source of antioxidants and coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the American diet. What is not known is that until recently coffee roasted using traditional methods only contained 1/6 of the antioxidants of the raw coffee bean. That is due to the high heat in the roasting process which destroys the antioxidants. There is a new Patented Roasting method that preserves the antioxidants right to the finished cup of coffee. In fact it does not alter the flavor or the taste. You can learn more about this breakthrough roasting method at http://superantioxidantcoffee.com There you will find scientific research about this break through roasting process. Super antioxidant coffee is made with organic coffee beans.

    Besides constantly seeking foods with higher nutritional value I have also found another little trick. I purchase virgin coconut oil from Costco. I add that to my coffee every morning instead of creamer. While it did take a few days to get use the the texture of the oil in my morning coffee I now could not have my morning Joe without Coconut oil.

    So two years later I have kept the weight off and feel great. Thank you for writing and mainting such an informative blog.

    Like

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