What Happened After I Gave Up Gluten For 10 Years? It’s Not What You Think
The author of this article learned that chicken nuggets were made from actual chickens, and since then she became a vegetarian. Being insanely picky, she ate only pasta, bagels, and pizza. Sadly whole grains, vegetables and fruit hardly made it on to her plate, especially when she started college. Going vegan wasn’t a big thing for her, because she stopped eating meat a long before that, and she found that giving up dairy eased her ongoing digestive issues. She still wasn’t 100 percent though, until she gave up gluten.
It is not a joke, the first day she stopped consuming gluten, she felt instantly better. Without all those bowls of pasta, crackers, cereal and weighing down my digestive tract, her stomach felt more at ease. She ate foods she knew were gluten-free like veggies and fruits, since she was new to the whole gluten-free scene. So for the first few weeks, she had no constipation, no bloating and no gas. She felt like a new person, which almost made it easy for her to give up on all herfavorite foods.
But after the first two weeks, she felt very sad, because she didn’t realize she has been obsessed with gluten until she had to give it up. She found herself daydreaming about swimming in bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios and stealing muffins from the bakery. She became utterly upset and completely focused on all the foods she couldn’t have. She mourned for all the times she was hanging with friends and couldn’t grab a slice of pizza, enjoy someone’s adorable birthday cupcakes or sling back a beer. It seemd silly to her to get depressed over missing out on her Gramma’s baked ziti, but that was all very real for her.
Before sinking into a deep, dark, gluten-free hole, she went to the health food store for the first time and discovered all the gluten-free alternatives to her favorite foods. She bought it all and ate it all. She had even bought foods she never ate like gluten-free waffles and mini pecan pies, just because she could eat them. These foods uplifted her spirit tremendously, but she was shocked when she felt her stomach once again waging a war. And to make things worse, after 2 months of eating this way, she found her need for elastic waistbands has been increasing. Isn’t going gluten-free supposed to help with weight loss? Uh, not if you eat gluten-free junk food full of empty calories.
Then she realized she needed to cut back on all the gluten-free crap if she wanted to fit into her old jeans again – a woman cannot live on French fries and gluten-free cookies alone! It forced her to really review her diet, and she slowly started eating fewer gluten-free alternatives and more actual food. She began branching out, enjoying such a huge variety of healthy foods that she began feeling as good as she did in the first couple of gluten-free weeks. And it wasn’t because she wasn’t eating gluten – it was because she started consuming real food and less processed junk.
After 10 years of eating a super healthy diet and living without gluten, she felt amazing. Her new boyfriend at the time (her husband now) suggested her to try eating gluten, just to see if her body had changed. She had never thought about that before, but love makes you do crazy things. On an apple-picking trip in the Fall of 2005, a freshly baked cider donut was calling her name. That’s her in the photo above, taking her first magical bite, and she was amazed, because she felt totally fine. No stomach issues whatsoever. Even after going back to pasta, whole-grain bread and crackers – gluten didn’t bother her anymore. It took her 10 years to realize that gluten wasn’t her enemy. This might be TMI, but constipation caused by a crappy diet was. Giving up gluten forced her to get out of the habit of eating bread 24/7, to start eating more nutritious foods, and to get more fiber into her diet. Now she is able to enjoy gluten without going overboard, and because her dairy-free and vegetarian diet is so much healthier than it was 10 years ago, she is also able to maintain a healthy weight. Hooray for whole foods! And hooray for gluten!
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