So a few weeks ago, I embarked on a quest to discover if my continuous sinus and breathing issues are due to a gluten allergy. I have no way of self diagnosing this stuff, though I am familiar with elimination diets and cleanses when it comes to ruling out food sensitivities so I figured it couldn’t hurt, and maybe I could use the reduction of wheat, namely the monstrous amount of bread-like food I consume as a bit of a diet/calorie cut as well. My initial goal was to log each day’s menu and how I felt throughout the project. Not super ambitious. Not a ridiculous goal.
I logged four days. Four.
This is not a new thing for me, as I’ve set out and abandoned a million and a half diet changes in a relatively short amount of time. I am a creature of habit, if by habit you mean the “bad” kind. Diets, or the newly coined buzz phrase “lifestyle changes” have always eluded me. I cave to all sorts of creature comforts very, very easily; I enjoy leisure and indulgence immensely. So we come to this idea: What feels better? Pleasure and deliciousness or feeling healthy? Immediate satisfaction or eventual enlightenment via a clean and enriched diet and physical routine? I honestly could not tell you. While I fancy myself mostly in good health, I am keenly aware of the practices I partake in that probably lend to me feeling not so super from time to time. Truly I believe there are a vast population of people out there who are not completely ‘healthy’ but who know a LOT about what health requires and looks like. If you’re like me, you have studied nutrition, believe in eating organic and fresh and local food, you have pored over exercise routines and fads, you could probably coach someone ELSE through pretty much any health crisis, yet when it comes to yourself there are just so many allowances and excuses that no matter where you start from, you always return to the same habitual behavior that ends in eating rich foods, drinking awesome booze and promising that tomorrow (or Monday, or the 1st) you’ll start that exercise routine that is going to change everything!
So my most recent conquest, the gluten free approach had a nearly zero chance at being successful. This doesn’t mean I was not convinced at the start this time would be different, just that with my lack of conviction, I also knew it was likely that I would screw up somewhere along the line. I am really skilled at enabling myself and catering to the less strict life module.
I believe the young people are using the phrase YOLO …I suppose I am more in the YOLO: Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die camp rather than YOLO: Stop being a lop and take care of yourself since your body is your temple and you don’t want to squander what health you’ve been given camp. I’d settle for somewhere in between and most times, I feel like I’m there.
Anyways, as for the gluten fail, I can share with you days 1-4 and then start up again here on day 21.
Day 1 ( 6/25/12) (goal weight + 36/ CD2) : Today is a Monday. It always feels better/easier to make a Big Lifestyle Change on a Monday. I spent the better part of yesterday hoovering all things bread-like. It was pretty awesome. I usually start the day with a piece of toast, English muffin or a bagel, some coffee, maybe an egg or two…but always something toasted with butter or cheese or avocado on it (or all three, gulp.)…so today since I had no idea what to eat on the quick other than those items, I skipped breakfast all together. Just had coffee with half and half and rode it out until I could get to the store. For lunch, I bought some rice cakes and ate one with peanut butter on it, alongside a few grapes and a couple dark chocolate toffee almonds from Trader Joe’s (he so loves me)…I’m aiming at drinking a crapton of water as well and just kind of winging it. I actually find that I didn’t and do not feel as hungry as I normally would if I’d eaten my toasty breakfast, whereas normally I would get extremely light headed and shaky a few hours after eating that and NEED to eat lunch, stat. Coincidence? I have no effing clue. For dinner, I bought some chicken sausages that I plan to eat with veggies and what not. Not sure if quinoa is gluten free, not sure if I should give into the enormous mashed potato craving I feel brewing. Not sure of much…but intrigued, for sure. The night ended with a few vodka cocktails and some take out Indian. Not too much different than what I normally order, just skipped the samosas and naan…I realized that I ate a LOT though to make up for how little I ate during the day and got super full and uncomfortable. ugh.
Day 2 (6/26/2012): We went to Disneyland’s California Adventure today to see the new Cars Land. Disneyland is an amazing bubble of yummy food and I went with the best of intentions, I promise! Before we left, I made a lovely stovetop fritatta with eggs, spinach, mushrooms and some of the chicken sausage that we didn’t eat the day before alongside some coffee. I stayed satisfied for much longer than when I would eat grains/carbs for breakfast, but when we got to the park, I drank a few beers (definitely Not gluten free) and while I left the bun off my sandwich, I did have a few bites of the fritto misto during cocktail hour and called it a wash by finishing the night with a midnight Jumbo Jack. In other words, Day 2…total fail. I wasn’t too hard on myself since we were technically ‘on vacation’ and planned to start fresh again the next day.
Day 3 (6/27/2012) (goal weight + 35): Up and ready for another go at this. Rice cakes and PB for breakfast, some coffee, lots of water and surprisingly no shakiness or low blood sugar attacks, even more than 4 hours later. Lunch was sauteed kale and the leftover vegetable curry from Indian. Shopped at TJ’s and really didn’t have to pass over much of the stuff we usually buy. Bought some quinoa and contemplated some rice noodles, but thought better of it thinking I could do without on pasta night by using a low carb dieting trick of pouring marinara sauce over raw spinach and eating it that way. It’s really good! Late night date night dinner with Hubs. I cooked flank steak, mashed potatoes and asparagus. We also drank some champagne. It’s weird to think that because I’m eating GF, that I’m also low-carbing. The mashed potatoes seemed like a cheat…So far, no real difference in how I feel, though I know it’s very early.
Day 4 (6/28/2012) (goal weight + 34.5): Morning started slow. Late brunch with hubs at a restaurant. Ordered an omelet and some potatoes. Instead of toast, corn tortillas. Think about how much corn is subbed for wheat and worry about Monsanto and GMO. Eating out is such a risk anymore. Ate my ENTIRE omelet and wonder what is up with my gigantic appetite. Upside is that I am not hungry until dinner time. Like not even a tummy growl. I really think this is related to me not eating bread. I usually get hungry every two hours like clockwork, like ravished. Sushi with hubs and I just use ponzu sauce instead of soy (soy sauce contains wheat) then I realize that ponzu also has soy sauce in it. Instead of beer, I drink some sake. I feel really REALLY sleepy after dinner. According to this page, I committed another gluten FAIL.
***You can consider days 5-20 sort of like the missing tale of Jesus’ life in the bible. Me having a bunch of fun cavorting and consorting with publicly known unsavory types and eventually coming to terms with the truth of my purpose and sacrificing myself for the wrongs of all things gluten…or something like that. During the break between logging, I really tried to limit my intake of wheat products, occasionally faltering, but really doing OK as far as avoiding bread and it’s family members. By last weekend, however, I was pretty much out of that mindset and enjoyed many a wheat laden treat, including beer, buffalo wings, bread and flour tortillas…
Day 21 (7/16/2012): Another Monday. Another realization after a weekend RIFE with floury delights. Probably not a coincidence that I woke up so incredibly stuffy and dizzy and weirded out feeling…so I’m definitely going back to limiting as much as possible and being happy for at least that. Started the morning with my trusty PB and rice cake. Quinoa and veggies with feta for lunch and some corn chips with salsa for a bite in between. Upped the water intake and just doing my best.
Day 22 (7/17/2012) (I’ve stopped weighing myself as it’s the last portion of the ‘month’ and I always end up freaked out): Lots of corn today. Tofu chilaquiles for breakfast, tortilla soup. We had a small gathering catered entirely by store bought snacks: Trader Joe’s mini tacos with guac., potstickers with my homemade Asian-inspired glaze, lots of fruit and some chickpea flour pakoras. I avoided the wheatful munchies like mushroom turnovers and spanikopita with very little regret. I can do this. I drank an enormous amount of water today as well and did some working out while watching Madmen. Contemplate diet that consists solely of beef, milk, whiskey, cigarettes and sex. I become convinced Don Draper possesses the secret of life.
Maybe I’ll succeed this week? We have a trip to SF coming up, would be interesting to stick it even while out of town and eating at lots of delicious restaurants. I’m so super excited for this trip, though, I doubt the absence of wheat will make it any less awesome.