Gluten is For the Birds

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my new experiment with going gluten-free and how I was afraid of being a whiny, annoying hypochondriac.

This week I started to wonder if maybe I was less of an abnormally ill person and more of a canary in a coal mine.

What if?

What if I’m actually advanced and in 100 years everybody will be following a diet like mine? What if in 100 years people regard processed foods, gluten, and animal products the way we do. . .well, not cigarettes. I don’t think those forms of food are as lethal as tobacco. Perhaps more like alcohol–something that in small amounts is okay and even beneficial, but if it were all or most of what we consumed, is not good news. There is already a lot of talk about the SAD (Standard American Diet) and how it’s causing everything from asthma to obesity.

Defining “Good for you”

It’s easy to see how too much sugar or fat or even meat is bad for you, but too much whole grain bread? Or chicken? Or broccoli? Okay, so broccoli is only a concern for those of us with thyroid issues, but that’s actually quite a lot of people.

I look back at what I grew up eating and while it was pretty nutritionally sound according to the FDA, there’s a lot of it I wouldn’t touch now. Things like lunchmeat, hot pockets, instant mashed potatoes, bagels, roast beef, etc. While I don’t think my diet caused any of my health issues, I know changing my diet for the better has helped them.

After I (mostly) gave up meat, my energy improved and I felt lighter (until my thyroid went hypo, anyway). Giving up sugary sodas and simple carbs helped stabilize my moods. Eating more vegetables and especially juicing them really increased my overall feeling of well-being.

Fist-shaking and Curses!

I’m thankful for all this but when is enough enough? Why can’t my body say “wow, look how good you’re being, you deserve some yummy bread to go with that cheese” instead of “oh, good, you’re paying attention, now here’s some even more stringent requests I have.”

To which I shake my fists and scream “Curses!”

Even if I am tired of being painfully bloated and sluggish and ready to do what it takes to feel better, I hate finding another thing wrong with me and kind of want to throw a pity party for all of the “normal” things I won’t be able to eat anymore.

I will miss pizza from my favorite pizza joints; I will miss homemade cookies, especially the sugar cookies at Christmas time that are one of my favorite rituals; I will miss pumpkin scones, garlic bread, gourmet bread with cheese and wine.

I know there are substitutes for all of this out there but I’ve tried them and they just aren’t the same. I’m sure I will “cheat” every now and then, which wouldn’t be a big deal except for that the reaction caused by gluten isn’t just a one-hour or one-day thing; it can take a couple of weeks or more to fully recover!

Mindset is Key

As I go about my life now, I notice that when I have the chance to eat something containing gluten I usually pass. It’s gone from “I really shouldn’t” to “I really can’t.”

I am feeling better but I don’t want to believe that indulging in a “normal” cookie now and then is going to haunt me for weeks. So we’ll see. After I’ve been gluten-free for a month, I’ll experiment. Is it okay to indulge once a day? Week? Month? Or does it really affect my quality of life to eat gluten at all? Away I go to take notes. . .

* * *

Any other canaries out there? Trill with me!


    • That’s okay. Supporting canaries counts too!

  1. We have some friends that have celiac disease and are gluten free. They are a little over-zealous about it at times, but I guess it makes them feel better. Good luck with it. Cassidy and his gf are experimenting with vegan. They do have their cheat days (esp. if there isn’t anything else to eat), but it’s healthier. I wish there was a “patch” to prevent sugar cravings!


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