I thought it would be a great idea to go wheat free for a month or two to see if I am sensitive to gluten, a protein found in wheat and its ilk.
Why? Good question. Perhaps it’s because I thought it would be character-building to avoid ALL THE FOODS I LOVE DEARLY for the better part of the summer.
Ultimately, I thought it was worth a try. I got the idea from a list of gluten sensitivity symptoms. Some of the ones that caught my attention: foggy mind, chronic fatigue, and chicken skin arms from keratosis pilaris. (Don’t ask me to pronounce that, because I can barely spell it. Hence the name “chicken skin” which I can say under most conditions with the exception of early in the morning, pre-coffee.)
I started my official wheat cleanse Monday. I began a little early last week by cutting out gluten 95% of the time, but refused to start until Monday because of a family get-together that involved both chocolate AND carrot cake. Not a great way to begin the whole “gluten free” thing.
I bought all the gluten free supplies I would need to survive my month, including a variety of flours that apparently cannot be substituted for regular ol’ flour. (Complication No. 1)
I even picked up a package of xanthan gum, which does not taste anything like Trident. Also, it was not cheap. (Complication No. 2)
Thankfully, most of the grocery stores have oodles of gluten free products, including white bread. I took a gluten free sandwich to work Tuesday, though, and discovered the texture was so repulsive, I had to eat the meat and cheese of the sandwich sans carbs. I threw the bread into the garbage. Apparently, finding the right texture in gluten free food is nearly impossible and will take a journey on the par with finding the Holy Grail or a suitable mate. (Complication No. 3)
Undaunted, I picked up some all purpose gluten free flour to make my own breads and pizzas. All purpose flour takes all the guesswork out of mixing different flours and starches, according the websites and blogs I’ve been reading. The mix even includes guar gum so I don’t have to measure out xanthan gum (the gums hold the bread together in the absence of gluten). However, one downside to these gums: intestinal upset. Translation: the other day I was late for work because my irritable bowel was very unhappy. (Complication No. 4)
In other words, even if you have a moderately sophisticated understanding of nutrition, going gluten free is one heck of an experiment.
I’m thankful I’m doing this voluntarily, and not in response to a diagnosis of celiac disease—otherwise, I’d be going bat $#!^ crazy.
Today, I had to resist Timbits AND homemade cookies with frosting. And already, I’m jonesing for crusty, fluffy bread. (Celiacs, you have my empathy.)
So why am I still doing this?
Well, I have noticed slight differences in my energy level. It’s not definitive yet. Definitely not definitive enough for me to give up wheaty things forever.
But last Saturday, I woke up at 8, ready to go. Yes, 8. I NEVER wake up at 8 on weekends. I can *maybe* drag my sorry self out from 11 onwards, and once or twice, I’ve even made it to 1:30 or 2. These shenanigans are only cool if you’re 17, not 32. I’d much prefer to be awake for most of the day.
For the longest time, I’ve blamed my chronic laziness on medication I take. I’m sincerely curious to see if tweaking my diet will improve my overall health, even if it means giving up glorious pasta! heavenly brushetta! greasy pizza topped with pineapple!
I’m also hoping to lose some weight, which is entirely possible since I am no longer eating Timbits.
Thank goodness I can still eat nachos or I would give up completely.