PP 062: Going Gluten-free and Changing Lives with Connie Curtis

Quick Show Notes: Connie Curtis

Connie and I have a fascinating discussion about the symptoms of gluten intolerance and how it can affect our personal and professional life.

.@allerspecialist & @thekimsutton have a fascinating discussion about the symptoms and affects of gluten intolerance. https://www.thekimsutton.com/pp062 #positiveproductivity #podcast #glutenfree #glutenintoleranceClick To Tweet

Episode Transcription

KIM: Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity! This is your host, Kim Sutton. And today, I’m thrilled to have guest Connie Curtis, who is a gluten intolerance coach, speaker, expert, and educator with GlutenAndFoodAllergySpecialist.com with us. Welcome, Connie!

CONNIE CURTIS: Thanks, Kim. Thanks for having me on, I’m excited to be here.

KIM: Oh, I’m excited to have you here. Especially – I mean, we just had a few minute pre-chat and loved every second of it, so I’m excited to share your knowledge with the listeners.

So could you give listeners a brief background – or maybe not too brief – on what you do now, and how you got here, what what your journey’s been?

CONNIE CURTIS: Sure. What I do is, I’m a coach – and I specifically call myself a “gluten intolerance coach” – and I coach people that are newly diagnosed with gluten or are told to go on a gluten-free diet. Because a lot of people don’t realize that it’s more than taking the food out of it.

And when you really start digging in, it’s more than just like -people are always amazed that they get their energy back. They lose weight. Their sugar cravings go down. All these amazing things, which are very are great benefits, but there’s a lot of myths out there, a lot of hidden sources of gluten, and a lot of mindset work that goes into it – and most people don’t realize that or even think about it.

And most people, a lot of times, are just like, “Oh, it can’t be that hard.” And then once they start doing it, it can seem hard to them, which makes it harder, right? Because they already had that mindset of it being hard. And they had to give all their foods up, and then all these other stories, and other people come in to play with that.

And one of the biggest reasons I created that, Kim, was for my own experience. I found out nine years ago, just strictly by guess by my partner, that I was – he thought I might have some kind of reaction to gluten because I had… We ate pizza, pasta, and crab cakes one weekend, and then I came home Monday night just feeling miserable. I was foggy-headed, abdominal pain, nausea, a headache. And I just lay down, because that’s all I really felt like doing.

And the next day, he suggested I take gluten out, and I had no idea what that was, even. But I figured, “Sure, why not?” Right after feeling as bad as I did the night before. And it was a hunch on his part, because one of his friends had just found out he had gluten sensitivity.

So about two weeks later, I ate a cinnamon roll, just sort of test our theory out, and I was sick in 30 minutes. So I was very clear: Gluten was something I should not eat.

KIM: Wow.

CONNIE CURTIS: Yeah. And I didn’t think I need go to any kind of doctor, right? I figured it was just taking out the food. So I would say, for about six months, I was just learning all the sources of gluten, and taking it out of my diet.

And that was all based on the traditional gluten-free diet, because that’s all we know. I mean, that’s what most people know, right? Because we’ve been taught that – the media, doctors, food companies, everywhere you look.

Then when I wasn’t starting to get better, I actually started going backwards. I started getting chronic fatigue, I went to bed tired, I got up feeling the same way. I was even more foggy-headed than I was before, which I didn’t really think was possible. I started getting nausea. I just really didn’t feel like eating, I was losing weight, and I was just not feeling good at all. It was probably worse than it was in the beginning.

So I knew I had to do something different, because I just felt like I couldn’t even function. And I was very lucky to have a guy that helped me to do the things you need to do. He cooked a lot for us, and just the basic things. And he has his own business online, so it gave him a little more flexibility in doing that – but still, it was a really a lot of work for him. But I’m very grateful he was patient and was there for me during that time period.

So I started looking on the Internet. First, we asked a friend for a doctor, because she had just gone gluten-free. So she recommended this functional doctor where we live at in Austin. And I went to him, and I didn’t really know enough and I don’t think I was feeling well enough to really gauge. But I went to him, he gave me some herbs, and things like that. And he did things by muscle testing.

And if your audience doesn’t know what that is: Some practitioners have a method of – they’ll gauge by your muscles what you react. And they can Google for more details, but basically, that’s the gist of it.

And he helped me figure out I was allergic to a few more things like milk and corn. But I started to feeling a little bit better, but I actually started rolling back again.

So I started getting online, finding all the information I could that there was around gluten. Anything around gluten, I found it out – and I was soaking up, basically.

So I found this functional doctor’s blog online, and he suggested that if you aren’t really feeling great, take these questions and ask for these particular tests from whatever doctor you’re going to. So I went asked the current functional doctor I had about taking these tests to get more accurate, because I told him I wasn’t feeling better. And he said, “You know, we don’t really need to do those tests, Connie. We’ll get this figured out.”

KIM: Wow.

CONNIE CURTIS: And I was sort of like, “No, thank you.” So I was like, “I’m going to somebody else. I’m out of here.” Pretty much, right?

KIM: That blows my mind. Isn’t it your right as a patient to request tests?

CONNIE CURTIS: It is, but it happens quite a bit. It happens with Western and functional. So all functional doctors are not created equal – which I didn’t really know that in the beginning. You really have to find someone that really knows their stuff around what you think – or in my case, I knew it was gluten, I didn’t know what else there was. But you really want to be…

And if your doctor doesn’t want to give you the test you’re asking for – because it is your right as a patient to ask for more tests, if you want to – if they tell you “no”, then I highly recommend to your listeners: Find someone else. Find someone else, because that’s exactly what I did on my part.

KIM: Connie, could I interrupt you for a second?


KIM: Could you explain functional doctor?

CONNIE CURTIS: Sure, no problem. A functional doctor is different than a Western medical doctor in the sense that they’ve been trained to look for the root of why you’re sick, and not just the symptoms of it. And most of the Western education has just taught our doctors to treat the symptom of whatever is showing up for us. So if you have a sore throat, they’ll treat the sore throat.

But a functional doctor, if you go in and you have a sore throat, and you say, “Oh, it’s probably just a cold,” most of them – however they handle it, test or you know. They will dig to make sure it is just a cold, and not a symptom of something else maybe going wrong in your body.

KIM: Wow. Okay, I didn’t even know that there was a difference there. So would a functional doctor – I mean, would that replace a primary care physician? Are they the same thing?

CONNIE CURTIS: They’re not necessarily – I mean, their terms aren’t like what you’re talking: “primary” and “functional”. Since they’re trained differently and they have different titles, I guess you would say, you can’t necessarily – I mean, it’s really up to a person.

If they can find a functional that covers – that they can generally go to for their health? Because some functional doctors do primarily like specialized in different areas, and some are more in general areas. So it’s just really the functional doctor you would have to talk to and find out more about what they do and don’t do.

KIM: Okay. So sorry to take you off the gluten! But I know I’m not alone in wondering. But now I’m very intrigued, and I’m going to have to – I really want to look in my area. So, thank you.

CONNIE CURTIS: You’re welcome. And my doctor has a great resource for functional doctors or doctors in your area, because he actually gives courses around this to help other doctors get really certified around gluten intolerance and that sort of thing.

KIM: That’s fabulous. So you got the list of tests that you should go take, and then what did you do? So you went and found a new doctor?

CONNIE CURTIS: I went and found a naturopath that another friend of ours – because we just sort of saw a “ripple effect”. Once I found out, everyone else started finding out. There was just massive people around us that had gluten intolerance or food allergies. So it was really interesting.

And so we asked someone else, and we went to a naturopath here. And she did a little bit more – she actually gave me a food allergy test. And I bring this up for your listeners, just so they know, that all food allergy tests are not created equal. And there’s certain IgEs that you want to be tested. And I don’t want to go in that, because it can get very confusing for people, but does so that they know: All food allergy tests are not created equal.

So the one I was given basically showed I was sensitive to everything. And I literally went home in tears saying, asking my partner, going, “What am I supposed to eat now?” So it was really stressful and frustrating.

And they put me on what they call a rotation diet. And that’s something, if your listeners want to get details about it, I would recommend Googling it. Because the theory behind it is, you eat a family of foods, and that they should work through body in a 48-hour time period. So that if you are allergic to them, you shouldn’t have like a big reaction to them, and they should build up your sensitivity over time where you don’t react to it. Which I really haven’t met anyone yet that I really know that that’s worked for, but that’s just my experience.

So I really wasn’t getting better. I mean, there was a few things – I really wasn’t getting better. So I really just went back to blog of the functional doctor I had found before.

Because by this time, through all my research to find a doctor and around gluten itself, I had hours and hours on the Internet itself. And I just knew – I probably know a lot more than some Western medical doctors, actually, around gluten and things like that. And even some functionals, just because I took on learning everything I could because it was about my health. And I was not going to be stopped.

So I finally went back to this blog I’d found before, and I called this functional doctor – he’s in Sugar Land – and made an appointment with him. And he actually does appointments over the phone, so you don’t necessarily – he treats people all over the world and countries.

So finally with all the knowledge and experience I had already built up to this point – because this was over about a three-and-a-half-year period – I finally went to him. And then with his medical protocol, which I would say is out-of-the-box, and most people don’t necessarily know to – what he tells them to do, and how he educates people on how to eat. So it’s a bit shocking at first, because he basically – there’s scientific research showing that gluten is in all grains, so you take out all the grains, and then anything else you’re allergic to – which can vary from people to people.

So he gives a very specific test, and once I went to him, I started learning how he advocated for people to eat and things like that. But then I also learned little processes and just little questions that came up. You can’t ask your doctor stuff 24/7, so it takes them – even a great doctor, a functional doctor, it can take a couple of days to get back to an e-mail depending on their workload.

So there was a lot of things I just still had to figure out for myself, because it’s different than when you’re a doctor and you’re the one going through it. So I just learned a lot of things through my experience and journey, and I’m out now to educate people around that with my book, and speaking, and also coaching them.

One of my biggest things is, I spent a lot of time and money, and I’m in the minority. I spent about $10,000 getting healthy – because I didn’t realize there were things like “leaky gut”, which affects everything in your body. Because if you have a leaky gut – and the odds are, the majority of people do, in the United States, at least – is your food is not staying in your gut and getting digested in your stomach. It’s actually going out into your bloodstream, which is not a good thing. So that can cause some health issues.

KIM: What would be causing that?

CONNIE CURTIS: To get leaky gut?

KIM: Right.

CONNIE CURTIS: If you’re allergic to a food – so, for example, if someone finds out they’re gluten intolerant, but they mainly think it’s only gluten and if they only do it based off the traditional gluten-free diet. So they keep eating gluten indirectly with corn, and rice, and all these things we’ve been told that are “gluten-free” for us to eat, but they’re really not.

Those will keep irritating your gut, and it causes your gut to get little holes, and the small intestine gets – I don’t know better, I’m sorry, since I’m not medical.

KIM: That’s okay. No, that explains it, though.

CONNIE CURTIS: Little holes, because of the membranes, and the food is reacting to your gut. So it starts getting compromised, basically. So the food particles start going outside of that wall, basically – which is your small intestine. So it’s there so that food can’t go out into your body, so that your body just goes straight through that, and then go to your stomach, and get digested. So if it starts getting compromised, that allows the walls of the small intestine and food particles to go out of it if you keep eating things over and over.

And then, if you’re already allergic to something, like I was probably for years – because I’m also celiac – but if you’re gluten sensitive for years and you don’t know that, you can develop other food sensitivities. Which also cause your wall of your small intestine to become a compromised, which can affect other parts of your body, your organs, things like that. So yeah.

KIM: Wow. So I know you’ve already covered this a little bit, but for people who may be struggling and dealing with gluten intolerance and don’t know it, what again some of the symptoms that you were experiencing? Or what are the most common?

CONNIE CURTIS: These are the most common symptoms, from what I can tell – because one of the reasons it’s so hard to diagnose is because a lot of symptoms can mimic when other things are not working right. So that makes one of the things so hard for it to be diagnosed.

So some of the most common symptoms are foggy-headedness, bloating, constipation, diarrhea. You can have specific kinds, a lot of people will have a skin reaction like eczema or rosacea, just to name a few. But a lot of times, if you have a skin problem, it can be connected to gluten.

And let’s see, what else there is… Nausea, a lot of times if someone’s super-thin and they just can’t gain weight, that could be another outward symptom that a lot of people won’t pick up on. Like I never did, because my body wasn’t getting all the nutrients it needed, because my gut was compromised, so it couldn’t absorb things.

And let’s see here… Just things like not having great balance, and things like that, that you don’t ever think of. We’ve sort of been taught in our society, you’re just being klutzy or something like that. But it could be because gluten’s throwing off your whole system, and that could be one of the symptoms.

Depression is actually one of the really big ones, but it’s not well known. So most people think when they’re depressed that – it could be because of circumstances, but it also could be combined with the effect of having gluten. So those are some of the most common ones I can think of right now.

KIM: Wow. Well, considering – is inability to talk one of those? I’m just kidding! I was going to say, considering we are talking to a large number of entrepreneurs in the Positive Productivity listener community. I mean, a lot of these symptoms are what we really could be facing in everyday life – minus the nausea, and the constipation, and the diarrhea. But who knows? And a lot of us could be assuming that that’s because of poor diet, not necessarily gluten-related, because we’re eating on the fly.

CONNIE CURTIS: Absolutely, absolutely. And bloating another really common one – I don’t know if I said that or not.

KIM: Yeah.

CONNIE CURTIS: So yeah, I can totally relate to that. And this was before I even started my own business. I worked in corporate world for over 10 years, and I did sales, but I didn’t enjoy it. So I just equated to how I was feeling – like if you get really stressed out, it can make you feel really crappy – so I just assumed that I felt so bad because of the stress in my life. And at that particular time, I was going through a divorce and my dad had passed away. So I just thought it was a combination of all those things, because that is very stressful on your body.

But I’m very clear that some of the symptoms I’d just sort of racked up to stress really weren’t… We all consider these things just normal, from stress or from even owning our own business, being busy, especially – and you can relate to this, having kids, and juggling your business and, juggling family. And putting the fun things in there, too, right?

So I think a lot of times, people just equate when they feel bad to stress, or the food didn’t land right in our stomach. I mean, how often do you hear people say that? “It just didn’t digest right,” or something like that.

And there’s becoming a lot more information out there, which is helpful. But on the flip side, just like with everything else, there’s so much misinformation as well. It’s sort of confusing for people, and they don’t even know where to start.

KIM: Oh, absolutely. And then I want to ask: So, I’m in Ohio. I’m married to a man who loves meat and potatoes. So we do a lot of, well – yeah, potatoes, rice, and that type of meal. But I know you’ve already said that there are myths and misconceptions about where gluten is.

So can you explain that a little bit further? Because I’ve never really researched gluten intolerance for myself, but I have seen reports that you could switch to – like brown rice would be better. And you’ve already even discussed how corn has it, so…

CONNIE CURTIS: So it can be very controversial and a “gray area”, because some people are going to tell you the traditional gluten-free diet works, and it’s great, and they don’t have any other problems.

And what I say to that is they may not think they have any other problems, but they are dealing with their thyroid not working right, or their hormones are imbalanced – which does occur with age, but gluten can actually affect that as well.

So it’s like these little things I think that people just chalk up to age. We’ve been told, “You’re getting older, so just deal with it, and these are things you have to deal with,” which aren’t necessarily because of age. It’s because of what we’re eating.

And to touch on – one of the biggest things is there actually is scientific research backing up, showing that all grains have gluten in them. So contrary to what we’ve all been told by the powers of the food industry, and our government, and everyone else – and a lot of people just don’t know, and a lot of doctors don’t know either – all grains do have gluten.

And I know there’s probably going to be people screaming out there – and I mean, I’m used to this. This is my strong point of view. But if just go the traditional gluten-free diet, you’re going to keep eating grains, and you’re still going to have gluten. It’s just that there’s different types of gluten in each grain. Like barley, wheat, and rye have a specific type of gluten in them, and then corn has another type. But it’s all gluten, and it all causes inflammation in your gut.

And I’ve even heard now that: Yes, there is all gluten in all the grains, but it’s okay to eat the ones in corn, and rice, and all the other grains. Which is like – wow, no I’ve never read that anywhere that’s okay, because it all causes inflammation in your gut. And that causes inflammation in your body. It could be anywhere – there’s brain inflammation, muscle inflammation.

I mean, inflammation crops up everywhere in your body. That’s why there’s so many autoimmune diseases that are cropping up now. Because there’s inflammation in all our bodies, somehow, someway. And granted, some of it, we can’t control – but there is things we can control, and food is one of those.

KIM: Oh, definitely. And I know on my behalf – it might be late in the interview to be asking this – but for those who don’t know what gluten is, can you explain that?

CONNIE CURTIS: Gluten – I don’t know if I can explain it scientifically – so gluten is a protein found in all grains, basically. And there’s a different type in all the grains.

And another thing that I think is really disconnected – since we seem to be all very disconnected from our food, and just the source of our food, and nature in general nowadays – is that grains come from grass. So grasses grow up to be grains, is what I say, just to sort of make it simple. So there’s not a safe grain out there that doesn’t have gluten.

And if you continue eating gluten, the results I’ve seen is people just keep getting sicker and sicker – even if they don’t even realize that. And I consider myself very fortunate that I just took responsibility for my health, and I found out all this information.

But my friends, or people I know, have said that I was like a “special case” – because I’m celiac. And granted, people that are celiac – and I’ll explain this to your listeners as well – celiac is an autoimmune disease caused by being gluten sensitive. And everyone doesn’t have it. It’s all dependent on if you have a specific gene that got triggered in your body. And I’ve always said, “Well, that’s not really true.”

And I’ve met people that asked me, “Well, I’m just gluten sensitive. So I can eat it every once in a while.” Or if I eat little – if I get hit every once in a while by sources I’m not aware of, it’s not a big deal. And I always tell them, “No, because those little sources that you keep getting hit over and over again – that’s how, eventually, your body’s going to manifest it in a big way that it’s affecting it because you’re not paying attention to it.”

And that could be different for everybody, but usually it shows up as an autoimmune disease. Or there’s the symptoms that we talked about, really, that your body’s saying, “Hey, I need some help over here” – but then we don’t listen, so it just sort of morphs into something bigger.

KIM: I mean, that would be comparable to a diabetic saying that just eating another Snickers bar wouldn’t really hurt.

CONNIE CURTIS: Exactly. And, I mean, diabetes is actually one of the autoimmune diseases that gluten has – there’s research showing it’s a source of causing it. Because if you do eat a lot of grains, they have a lot of sugar in them, which raises your insulin level.

And if you look at how many – like we’ve all been raised – I mean, I used to eat just like everybody else. Like we have all these carbs in the morning, like a bagel, and I don’t even know – most people don’t have an egg with it, right? Or they eat cereal or something like that. And then you have a sandwich at lunch. And then at dinner, you have bread, or pasta, or whatever it is.

So I mean, that’s a lot of sugar if you really start looking at it – besides the grains and the gluten part – I mean, that’s two pieces right there.

And it can be a lot of information to throw at people.

KIM: No, but that’s a lot of awesome information. So how did your journey progress from learning about being gluten intolerant, and later celiac, to building your business helping others?

CONNIE CURTIS: Well, all along on my journey – I mean, I spent tons and tons of time on the Internet. We figured out over 10000 hours. So just for a little things, I would have to figure out. Even after I had found the right medical protocol, there were still things that came up – because with food, it’s like an always endless request . Because things change, and if you want to stay healthy, you have to be your own advocate for it.

So I, just a lot of times – in the beginning, I researched a lot of products, because it wasn’t clear to me if they were gluten-free or not a lot of times. And when a product says “gluten-free” now, it’s sort of like, well it’s “gluten-free” on the traditional standard, but usually it has corn or rice in it. And that’s another thing I have – that I watch out for. So I eat grain-free.

And gradually, I just got known around our circles, and just from people that knew me, that I was like “the gluten-free girl”. I was like “the gluten person”. So people just – the more prevalent, the more people started finding out that they were gluten sensitive or gluten intolerant – and just for your listeners, they mean the same thing – I was the person that they got funneled back to, to ask questions of, and things like that.

My partner was just sort of like, “Well, you have all these people coming to you asking you for stuff and for information,” and it was just sort of like, “Why don’t you start a business around it?” So that’s what I decided to do. And it’s one of the things I’m really passionate about, too, and just health in general. So that’s my “Why”.

KIM: That’s amazing, and I love that you have your “Why”. So you just wrote and published a book called “21 Days to Gluten Free”. What did the book-writing process look like to you?

CONNIE CURTIS: I had no idea what I was doing at first!

KIM: I don’t think many authors do know what they’re doing at first!

CONNIE CURTIS: I actually – I knew I wanted to put something down from what I had learned, and I also wanted to steer it to what would help other people that were newly diagnosed or just told to go on “the gluten-free diet”. So I talked to people, and I actually asked my functional doctor as well – because he has patients coming out of his office every day, that they’re fielding questions that they don’t really have time to field.

So between all those, I came up with it, and I basically just – I created, really, a starter guide for people. Because a lot of times, I know when I first found out, I had no idea where to really start. Like I had all this information coming at me, and I just felt so overwhelmed. So I just really wanted to condense it into something that people follow at least as a guide and get them started.

By all means, it doesn’t have everything in it, because I don’t know – it would have been too long for people. I mean, it would been such a big book if I would put everything I know in it. I had to break it down so people get little pieces of information at once, was my thought.

So it’s really just, how to get started, and sort of the step-by-step process I would say that I’ve used to get myself sick – “myself sick”, sorry myself well! Sorry about that, guys – myself well. And to sort of cover a lot of those things that might accidentally happen to you, or to help prevent things accidentally happening to you, like cross-contamination with family or roommates.

And just really – and giving suggestions of what you could restock your pantry with, and then a meal plan that’s really flexible but just sort of gives you an idea of where you can start. And a few recipes to go with that. Just to get people started, and then after that – it doesn’t by any means replace coaching, but it is a good place for people to start, I think.

KIM: Yeah, that’s huge. So now that you’ve got your book written – and you are still doing coaching, right?


KIM: So what does a daily look – yeah, let me try that again. (This is a Positive Productivity Podcast, not perfection!) What does a life- One more time, take three! (The blooper reel will be out soon, listeners.)

What does a day in the life of your business look like? There we go!

CONNIE CURTIS: Well, I mean, different days are – I wouldn’t say every day’s the same, right? Because that’s one of the things about having flexibility in your own business. Like I have specific days for coaching, and then I set aside specific days for doing more things, like for looking for podcasts, or ways to get my visibility out there so that I can help and support more people around this area, and just get more education out around gluten itself.

Because really, as a community – everyone that’s involved in my community, the gluten-free bloggers, and other people that coach and do something similar in this area – we’re really just wanting to help people get help. And it’s all based off – it’s from our experiences, is why we’re here. Because we don’t want other people to struggle as much as we had to, and get healthier faster.

So, I mean – I coach certain days of the week, and then other days of the week, I do more PR stuff, and fun stuff. And one of the things, I’ve really found in my business, is: You don’t want to be glued to your computer or whatever it is 24 hours a day. You also want to have a balance of life. So I’m very big on that for myself, because that’s how I keep myself healthy, so that I can help other people get healthy and stay healthy as well.

Like I have a self-care routine that I do every morning in some variation, depending if I’m traveling or whatever it is. And just always make sure that you’re getting out there, and having fun, and enjoying life, too, as well.

So those are key implements that I implement into my own life, because that is part of – growing your business is actually like enjoying life. So it’s not sitting at the computer all the time – or being on the phone all the time, either. You’ve got to find your balance so that you can help other people.

KIM: Oh, absolutely. And you’re in Austin, right?


KIM: So going to South by Southwest is something that’s on my bucket list. I would love to do that someday.

CONNIE CURTIS: That’s cool. I can say I’ve never been, so!

KIM: Well, but I was about to say, I’m sure that could be a challenge for people with gluten intolerance. Because I know it’s great music and great events, but I mean, the food and the alcohol, I mean – gluten, gluten, gluten right there.

CONNIE CURTIS: It can be very challenging. One thing that has come out of at least people, and restaurants, and products are – I mean, people are aware of the traditional gluten-free diet, which is helpful in a way. Because at least you can go to a restaurant and they have a gluten-free menu – what they call a “gluten-free menu”.

But some other things – that I’m looking at creating a course around, possibly – and this is something I coach people on as well, is how to go in and eat truly gluten-free, not just the traditional gluten-free. Because it can be scary for some people, and I know many, many people that don’t eat out now because of their food allergies, and just how they’ve been treated at restaurants, and the whole atmosphere for them has not been fun. So it can be quite challenging.

So just to give your listeners a few tips around that – I’ve actually gone to South by Southwest Eco, which is different – which is more like sustainable, but it’s the same concept as South by Southwest. Just not as big, Kim! Always take your own food, like snack bars, jerky, fruit, almond butter, things like this with you. And the thing in Austin, there are a couple places that are really great about eating grain-free. So I don’t know if your listeners are familiar with why everyone calls a “paleo diet” – and I’m not really big on labels.

KIM: I’m sure some are.

CONNIE CURTIS: Paleo is actually – they eat grain-free. So it’s basically eating truly gluten-free, but a lot of people don’t realize that. So we actually do have a paleo restaurant here, which is very helpful and nice. And you still have to watch out there, because they still have a few things like rice and stuff like that.

But it’s really just learning – this is one reason I started my coaching, Kim – because it’s really just learning your basis of how you’re eating and how to navigate around it. Like even at the grocery store, at restaurants, when you’re at some kind of event like South by Southwest. Because literally, I know people that won’t go do things because they don’t know how to eat while they’re there, or when they’re traveling, which I think is really just – it’s not right.

KIM: Right. No, it’s not right, and it’s sad.

CONNIE CURTIS: Yeah, it is sad. But no matter how you eat, I’m just saying everybody has the freedom to live their life how they want to. Because I know that I’m going to travel more – even internationally. And it is hard sometimes to get exactly what you want, and so you may not get exactly what you want, but you are able to easily navigate enough to get where you can eat.

And it is becoming easier. It is shifting more, because people are putting their money where their food is. So like it is becoming easier to eat even grain-free, which is what truly free is. So it’s becoming easier, and if you have a mindset of just eating whole, real food wherever you’re at. I mean, you can much do that now. And it’s a lot easier than it was nine years ago, for me.

So, yeah.

KIM: I find that really interesting, because – and I guess it was eight years ago. In a networking group, I met a woman for the very first time – it was my first exposure to celiac. And she had actually just opened – she had another business, it was a networking group – she opened a bar with her husband. And they had gluten-free ales and gluten-free pizza. But based upon what you’re saying, it’s not truly “gluten-free”.

Right. It’s a traditional gluten-free. So I mean, that’s where we’re at with gluten. A lot of people talk about – my doctor’s a huge advocate of getting out there: “All grains have gluten.” And there’s scientific research studies in these scientific journals, and things like that. They’re very small studies, but they are showing that this is.

But on the other flip side, I mean, we’ve been told Western medicine doesn’t have a lot of knowledge around this area, just because they’re not trained in nutrition very much in their medical school. And then you have the big food companies and the traditional gluten-free diet is like – oh, God, I don’t even know – like over a $2 billion industry now. So they’re not going to – I don’t see them changing that, because they’re all about the dollars and not our health. In all ways, like organic, GMO.

So it’s really just getting educated, and I think it’s going to shift just like everything else has. And then you have – coming at it, too, is like these people that maybe… A lot of people that go paleo actually do it because they are having reactions to gluten and other food allergies, but even they don’t necessarily know all the hidden sources of gluten, which is really one of my areas. Like I know it where people don’t even think about it.

So I think it’s really just getting the education out there, and with the paleo move, it’s helping a lot for people that need to eat completely gluten-free. Because it’s started some restaurants, actually, in some areas – and they may not be perfect, but they are a lot more easier to go in and eat in than your regular restaurant that has just traditional gluten-free.

And because of that, there is a little more variety of foods, like what you’re talking about. I don’t advocate using them on a daily basis, because I try not to, because they’re still processed – but they’re grain-free, healthy foods that are processed, but they’re great for travelling. And if you’re at the South by Southwest, they are great things to have with you. Because the odds are, it’s going to be really hard to eat at some of the places. It might be hard to navigate there.

But in Austin, you might have a little more flexibility, too, with some of the things like that, because it’s just sort of how it is in Austin. So it’s not perfect, but it’s shifting a little bit more than other places. But I’m creating that it shifts just all over. Right. Since this is a global – it’s a global way. I mean, people do struggle with this all over the world. It’s not just here.

KIM: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I’m near Dayton, Ohio. And I know there’s been times when I really want ethnic food, and I know there are places, but it’s not as common. And I know that the gluten-free – I mean, I haven’t had to look for it personally as far as I know, but it’s out there. I apologize for the background noise – I’ve got my older son helpers here in the office with me right now.

So, Connie, where can listeners find you online and find out more about your coaching, and your book, and everything that you’re working on? Because I think it’s definitely something that – well, I’m going to be looking, first off.

CONNIE CURTIS: Well, thanks! My website is GlutenAndFoodAllergySpecialist.com. And the most common places to find me on social media are Instagram (which is glutenandfoodallergyspecialist), and then Facebook (which is GlutenAndFoodAllergySpecialist). And if you leave me messages on Facebook or Instagram, or comments, or questions like that – that I will get back to you, and those are my two favorite sources of social media.

KIM: Fabulous. So, Instagram and Facebook. Great. And those links, listeners, will be in the show notes for you all to visit and click through. And your book – can that be found on your website then, or on Amazon?

CONNIE CURTIS: It’s on Amazon. And there is also a button and a tab on my website, as well, for the book.

KIM: Great. Well, thank you so much, Connie for being here! It’s definitely been very educational for me, in actually going through some things right now. I’m going to be looking into it. (Listeners, we had a quick pre-chat chat, and I was talking about how when I’m eating grains or a lot of carbs, I’m actually getting hot feet. If any of you listeners out there experience hot feet after eating pasta, I’d love to know if you know a reason why.)

You can visit TheKimSutton.com/Podcast and leave your comments on this podcast with that – and also with any comments for Connie as well! But yeah, thank you Connie.

CONNIE CURTIS: And thank you for having me on, Kim. It’s been great.

KIM: Yeah, definitely. And thank you listeners for being here. If you know somebody who could benefit from the information that Connie’s just shared, I ask you to please share this episode on your social media. Share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest – you know. All the standards. And we’d love your ratings and reviews on Stitcher and iTunes.

With that said, please go forth and have a positively productive day and week.