Five years ago, I tried a gluten-free diet in solidarity with my then-boyfriend, who had been having digestive issues for over 15 years. We both discovered we had increased energy, better immunity against colds and flu, and fewer seasonal allergies.
At the time, I was training to be a health care provider, and I felt I was acting in according with the first premise of medicine, “do no harm,” as I've heard of anyone suffering from a bread or pasta deficiency.
As the holidays approach, I find it more important than ever to stick to my gluten-free ways to keep my energy consistent, avoid cravings and keep those Monday morning blahs away.
So why go gluten-free? Here are 5 reasons why it works for me:
1. I eat home-cooked meals more frequently.
When avoiding something as ubiquitous as gluten, it's less convenient to eat out, and so I often choose meals that I've prepared myself. This way I know what’s in them. It also means less added salt, fat, MSG, and genetically modified ingredients.
2. I snack less.
A cookie here, a couple crackers there ... all those calories add up. I find it easier to maintain a healthy weight when I cut out gluten.
3. I like discipline.
The challenge of a gluten free lifestyle works for me. I like the creativity that comes from cooking gluten-free foods, especially baked goods, and knowing that I can decide to eat a certain way and follow through with it.
4. I'm eating less junk food.
Being out in the world and trying to find gluten-free treats is not easy. I've tracked down my share of gluten-free cupcakes, but good ones are few and far between so I have to make my cake if I want to eat it, too.
5. I feel my best.
Healthy living is about feeling great, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I’m not talking about the buzz of a strong cup of coffee, I’m talking about freedom from the ups and downs, cravings, mood-swings, and chronic ailments that can come from a less-than-ideal state of physical being. I’m not perfect when it comes to healthful eating, but I definitely feel my best when I ditch the wheat.
My then boyfriend is my now husband and we recently celebrated a gluten-free Thanksgiving just for the fun of it.
If you suspect that gluten makes you groggy, why not try eliminating all gluten-containing foods for three weeks and see if anything changes?
Sometimes change is a good thing!