I vowed to be gluten-free for the entire month of January. Now that January is officially over, I wanted to share my thoughts about the diet, its impact on me and -being a non-celiac– whether I’ll stay on it.
I will say in some ways it was a challenge. My birthday was right in the middle of all this. It could have been very easy to cheat. But I persevered… in fact it has been a great experience.
A Newbie Managing the Diet
Okay “newbie” may not be the absolutely correct word to describe me with this diet. I have been cooking it for 8 ½ years but eating gluten. But I have never eaten 100% gluten-free ever. There’s a reason: Cereal. It’s my one big weakness. I love it! But I was worried, would I be able to find a suitable replacement? When the time came I loaded up the grocery cart. I ate Rice Chex for cold cereal and Cream of Rice and Arrowhead Mills “Rice ‘n Shine” hot cereal. I preferred the Arrowhead Mills, but I’ll be honest, good ol’ Cream of Rice cereal was much more available to me at my local store.
Not just that, I was forced to come up with another snack idea other than carbs. On Saturday you heard about my masterful combination of sunflower seeds, glutino pretzels and sesame seeds. That was my handy snack.
I also had around a box of French Meadow Gluten Free Brownies. They are awesome, premade and individually wrapped brownies. Yum! Good for a chocolate fix when you need it. I buy them for $5.99 at my local SuperTarget.
One big question I had during this experiment, would the diet make my migraines better? I have been treated for tension headache/migraines for the last two years or so. While I am now off all of my medication because they are improving, I still get some. So did the diet help? Nope. I still got the headaches. In fact during one week that was particularly stressful I had one of my migraines that came back for 3 days. I haven’t had that in a while.
I did have one interesting event though. So I told you about Bella being a place I educated and got a great gluten free meal when I brought in my pasta. Well it might all depend on the education of your server-in this early stage. I should have been much more diligent when I went back last weekend with my girlfriends.
I brought my own pasta and they started the water right away, I told the server I wanted my pasta with alfredo. The alfredo sauce that was on my noodles the second time was very different than the creamier sauce I had the first time. So I’m virtually positive the alfredo sauce during visit #2 had flour in it. You could see how much thicker I was. But I ate it. – Dumb right? This is what I complain about, people not sticking up for their gluten-free diet. I figured since I don’t have celiac disease it wouldn’t hurt me. And wasn’t worth raising a stink over, especially since they had ruined all the noodles I brought in.
I ended up waking up at about 3:00 a.m. the next morning with stomach cramps and had to sit on the toilet for about 20 minutes. My husband has a theory that any time you take something like that out from your diet for a while, you’re going to react to it when you put it back in your system again. So my theory about Bella: give them time, but be very particular about what they’re putting on your noodles. I really hope the restaurant blossoms into being a very celiac-friendly restaurant -I love it.
Will I stay on the diet?
Just as an aside, I was also hoping for some weight loss on the diet. I don’t think that’s happened, but I am considering staying on the diet in part for that reason to see if it will eventually help me.
The other reason I think I will stay on it, has to do with me and my food choices. If I go hog wild on wheat again, I will quickly resume my crappy carby snacks, which I know are not good for me.
Plus there is this little part of me that wonders about that “reaction” I had the night I had the floury alfredo sauce. What will happen if I just go back to wheat all together? Feel crappy for a few days. And if it’s going to make me feel gross, maybe I shouldn’t be putting that junk in my body?
It really is making me rethink the role of wheat in my diet and having it take only more of a “featured” role instead of a primary role. I will stick with gluten-free noodles and cereal for sure. If I go out for a cocktail, I think I’ll not worry about whether the raspberry liqueur is gluten-free, and I won’t be worried about cross-contamination at a restaurant.
It has been a very good test for me, my sanity and my gut. It probably would be tough for someone who is unfamiliar or very new to the diet to do the same thing with the same “ease”. I know which things taste good and which don’t; making it easy for me to not waste money and just eat what we have. I would recommend for people to do this test on your own to see if you feel any different at all. Maybe not today, but some day. Then let me know how it goes!