A few weeks ago, the husband mentioned that he’d seen an article by a celebrity talking about a dietary switch that changed her life. I don’t put a lot of stock in these things normally, but I admired the actress and decided to take a peek at what she was talking about. She was clear: it wasn’t a change she’d made to lose weight, but one to feel better. That caught my attention, and now, long story short, I’m going gluten-free for a one month and I’m on day 11!
While going gluten-free is sometimes seen as a trendy thing, the original reason for eliminating gluten from your diet came from gluten intolerance symptoms. (Some people do have celiac disease, a serious disorder that requires the patient to eliminate all forms of gluten to prevent pain and health issues. I don’t know much about it so I can’t speak on that further.) Once people started realizing that there were potential health benefits in removing gluten from your diet, the trend took off.
Many people found that they felt better, and others lost weight. Further research showed that gluten intolerance, mild or severe, could be the cause of quite a few symptoms, such as bloating, intestinal pain, headaches, skin issues, fatigue and more, so if that’s true, it makes sense that some found success. Based on all of that, I decided to give it a shot.
I’m on day 11 now of being gluten-free. It’s entirely different from what I thought. I can honestly say I’ve not had a single issue with missing food. I am a carb-lover, so I thought I’d miss bread but the longer I go without it, the easier it gets. There are gluten-free options, so I’ll be purchasing some of the different types of flours to bake it on my own, but I’m in no hurry.
I’m also not missing pasta. I realize now that I’d used pasta more in our diet because it was easy. Prep it (pre-made usually) and throw it together with a quick sauce and some veggies or meat. That is actually the biggest difference now: I look more closely at what vegetables we have available and I use them in more creative ways.
Gluten hides in a lot of unusual places, like soy sauce and corn tortillas. If you’re a purist, you’ll want to avoid even trace amounts. For now, I’m going that route so I can get a legit baseline of how I feel after 30 days of no gluten. I’m reading labels even more thoroughly and I’m planning ahead.
Last weekend, I was at the D23 Expo in Anaheim at the convention center. I hadn’t really thought about food ahead of time, but I figured that in today’s world of varied diets, it’d be a piece of cake to choose gluten-free foods. Not. There were options, such as salad and protein bowls, but I did have to look around longer than usual. I ended up with french fries (not coated in any type of flour), a gluten-free rice krispy treat, and a Kala protein bowl. My favorite though? A coconut chia pudding parfait from the convention center’s coffee booths. So good!
How do I feel after being gluten-free for 10 full days?
I feel good! I don’t know that I feel a huge difference, but I have less tummy bloat, I’m not sluggish at 2pm and I have more energy. I also feel good in a general sense, with no food deprivation.
Even more important though, I have less food stress. Hungry? Eat protein. Still hungry? Eat more. I’m not counting calories because I’m filling up on fruits, vegetables and protein. Not being able to eat gluten has made it easy to turn down snacks, and after a few days, I stopped thinking about them. I feel like I’m fueling my body more nutritiously without having to put too much effort into it. I’m also making meals out of more healthy items in an effort to make them more filling in the absence of wheat items. That’s a win-win for everyone!
Going gluten-free for one month isn’t necessary nor appropriate for everyone. Check with your doctor before you make a dietary change, and do what is best for your body. For me, this is working but not everyone’s going to feel any difference from this type of eating. I am happy that I’ve done it, and I’m having zero mood swings or unhappiness that is associated with other type of elimination diets.
When I picked up groceries this week, I focused primarily on produce and protein. We don’t eat meat with every meal by a long shot, so I do spend some time looking at new recipes for inspiration. I’m a fan of roasting and sauteing produce, using various spices to flavor food, so I like to experiment. Not all experiments are as successful as others, but for the most part, happy, full people have walked away from the table at night. It hasn’t been nearly as hard as I expected!
I’ll let you know how I feel in a couple more weeks. I haven’t weighed myself yet, so I don’t know if I’ve lost any weight, but my pants/shorts are looser in the waist. That could just be lack of belly bloat, so we’ll see in a few weeks. I’m not doing this for weight loss, but if I combine it with my regular yoga and running, I’m hoping to tone up a couple of places, like my upper arms and of course, my abs. Cardio is great for my heart, but even running several days a week doesn’t take off the remaining 10 pounds since my body’s used to this activity.
If you’re considering going gluten-free, there are great websites and cookbooks out there. Pinterest is full of gluten-free recipes, and having an excuse to experiment in the kitchen is always a good thing. Get the family involved, inventory your produce drawer and start paying more attention to the sales at the grocer so you can plan around the in-season produce and on-sale foods. This helps YOU stay healthy along with your bank balance!