Ever since I can remember I’ve been a slave to carbs, particularly wheat. My go-to breakfast for most of my life centered around cinnamon rolls (the kind that come in the tube, until I was old enough to make them from scratch) bagels, or english muffins. I’ve always had a soft-spot for breakfast meats, but they never had the hold on me (addiction much?) that wheat did. I was a vegetarian for much of college, and while it was difficult to pass up a burger or bacon when I was out with my friends, I never felt SICK from not having it on my plate.
This week was the start of Meghan Telpner’s guided Gluten Free Cleanse. Along with dozens of others I cut gluten from my diet. Day one I was happy, motivated, and anxious to see some changes. I quickly came to several realizations:
1. Gluten was EVERYWHERE in my diet. In every meal I was eating and in almost every snack, condiment and unassuming addition to my plate. So it was back to basics for me.
2. In gluten’s absence (the first 4 days) I felt physically and emotionally ill. Can you say that of any food that’s good for you? I don’t have mood swings, brain fog, and headaches when I go a few days without spinach or a banana.
3. I was eating past the point of full. Louis C.K. has a joke about his eating habits, about how it’s not a matter of eating until he’s full. “The meal is not over when I’m full. The meal is over when I hate myself.” Sadly, I always found that joke hilarious because I could relate to it.
By yesterday, day 5, the physical and mental side effects of detoxing from wheat were pretty much gone. No brain fog, my cranky-pants are off, I’m sleeping through the night (and well), I have more energy in the mornings and don’t crash or feel slumps at various points in the day. I’ve been much more focused and motivated at work. Although cutting gluten from my diet has meant far more ktichen-prep time, I’m comforted knowing exactly what is going into every meal. I also tend to be more present while eating. I chew slower, I savor what I’m eating, and I take pride in the fact that I had a part in making it. I don’t eat to the point where I feel like I might explode. I eat until I don’t feel hungry anymore, which to be honest with you, is nothing compared to what I was stuffing my face with before. I don’t feel like I have a rock in my stomach or like I need a nap after every meal. I’m excited to see how I’m feeling over the next few weeks.
I’m pretty sure it will only get better. I’m looking forward to playing around in the kitchen and creating some of my own recipes, not just following Meghan and Sondi’s recipes. If any of my fellow gluten free cleansers are reading this, how are you feeling? What are some of the realizations you’ve come to this week?