Going gluten-free, and giving up

I’ve struggled with allergies my entire life. It all started with an Advil that made my throat swell as a kid.

As I got older, I developed more and more allergies. Mosquito bites. Detergents. The list goes on. In adulthood, I began developing food allergies – and some pretty hardcore ones, at that, like a severe shellfish allergy. Now, I carry an EpiPen with me wherever I go.

Flash-forward to a few months ago, when I gave up on my body. Inexplicable weight gain, skin problems, and other health issues ruled my life. I went to see a doctor.

What I learned was that all of my health problems could be tied to gluten intolerance.

And thus, the grand experiment began. And it lasted almost three months, until I gave in to naan bread at my favorite Indian restaurant. That’s where I learned something, and continued to learn more, about my body:

  1. Eating gluten makes you crave gluten. That order of naan led to a quesadilla the next day, a pizza with friends the day after that, and since then, I haven’t been able to hold myself back.
  2. Gluten slows you down. In the past two weeks, I have never felt more exhausted. I’ve had to take naps just to make it through days. When I was off gluten, I’m convinced I could have run a marathon.
  3. Which leads to my next observation, which is that, while I was off gluten, I was a machine at the gym. I had so much energy that I was burning 400-500 more calories a workout (according to my Fitbit Charge HR), AND, I was still excited to walk the dogs when I got home from the gym.
  4. My other allergies weren’t as extreme. While normally if I were in a room with someone eating shellfish I would have a reaction, while I was off gluten I was able to hang out with friends eating seafood comfortably. I didn’t take any chances trying any, though.
  5. Gluten makes it impossible to lose weight. In my first week off gluten, I lost almost 10 pounds. All together during that timeframe, I lost close to 20. In the past weeks that I’ve given in…I’ve gained it all back.

Reason number five alone should be enough for anyone to consider cutting gluten out of their diet. In a way, this post might be my way of convincing myself to make the cut again.

 

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