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Gluten Free? MOI? Sí. For the moment.



fruit

I have never been one to want to restrict myself, food wise. I have loved considering myself an Omnivore (and still do). Yet recently, the arrival of my new awesome neighbor and her Gluten Free ways have caused me to reconsider. Reading her post on her GF life made me feel just a tad bit… curious.

She said that eating gluten-free made her feel better. And right AWAY. I thought, damn, I’d like to feel better right away. I’ve been having some aches and pains recently and I don’t know if it’s arthritis or what the heck, but I’d like to feel better. How soon right away I asked? Like a day? A week? She laughed.

So I thought, I’ll give it a try. See what happens.

I stopped with the gluten.

And guess what happened? On one hand, a bunch of nothing. And on the other hand, a LOT.

I have to say, I don’t feel appreciably different. There might be a 10% reduction (or am I imagining?) in my joint discomfort. I very much could be imagining this. So I don’t think I have any appreciable gluten sensitivity or allergy. I don’t think it harms my body. I mean, it doesn’t feel noticeably better or more awesome after 16 days. SIXTEEN DAYS straight!

But the very act of saying, This X thing is not for me, has had an unexpected effect on my mind and my behavior. And that’s always interesting.

A couple of weeks ago, Juniorette developed some very scary health issues which resulted in my taking an o-dark-hundred flight up to her college, and then spending countless hours in the hospital emergency room with her. I was as stressed and upset as I’d been at any time since the day she was born.

I’d say that if this had taken place before my GF pledge experiment, I would have probably eaten everything in sight at that hospital.  I would have ravaged the vending machines and prowled the fast food or basically anything I could get my hands on. All in order to tame the wild, hysterical terror that there was something seriously amiss with my child’s health.

But for some reason, this Decision I’d made to be gluten free was stronger than I had ever anticipated. I had promised myself. I had really not even told many people. But I didn’t want to break it for the sake of emotional eating.

After our sixth hour in the emergency room, they brought a tray in that was meant for her. She didn’t feel much like eating. You can have it, Mommy. There was an industrial hamburger on a puffy white bun. A week prior, I would have inhaled that thing faster than you could say JackSh*t. But that.. bun. I texted my friend. She answered: Just the burger no bun?

Well, duh.

I cut it in half. I gave half to Juniorette and I ate the other half. Without the bun. I think that little morsel of protein helped me not keel over wailing on that hospital floor. Through that and the many hours that followed.

When the crisis was over (and whewww her situation was not as serious as I’d feared, and her prognosis was good), I did not fall upon the neighborhood bakeries like a wild animal.

This was the first time in a very long time (ever?) that I did not face a very, very, very upsetting situation without the comfort of food.

I have learned a lot during this little Experiment. I learned:

  • I survived the Thing anyway, without the emotional eating. Maybe even stronger and better.
  • I don’t really need or miss Gluten. However, doing without it did not do miraculous and awesome things for how my body feels. (well, except for point #4 below)
  • Therefore, after my first month of GF is over, I will re-introduce it into my life for Very Special Occasions, like once a month. Pizza. The occasional beloved mac and cheese. That sort of thing.
  • Decreasing the gluten also helped me drop certain poundage I’ve been carrying around since – oh, how long? Since August of 2011. I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to coax this poundage off my body and the GF seems to have done the trick. So YAY.
  • I think it’s going to have a positive effect on my diabetes, just because of the sheer decrease in carbs consumed. And that can only be a good thing.

My Sixteen Days without Gluten have been very interesting. To say the least. It has been pretty effortless. I intend to continue. But I realize that gluten doesn’t really make me sick so I’m not gonna be all dogmatic about it. I don’t want to be rigid. I can pretty much avoid it most of the time. I have become a good friend of the brown rice and the sweet potato. Which I was anyway, but a little more so now.

dinner

I Just Wanted To Taste It Again

White rice, that is. I haven’t had white rice (other than half-bites of sushi) since I began this blog in January. It was a terrible drugged fatigue after a lunchtime rice bowl that led me to finally agree to get my blood tested and I got my (pre)diabetes diagnosis. So it’s been a long time. Ever since then, my live-in mother has cooked white rice virtually every night (she’s Asian, and that’s Just the Way It Is) and I have stayed away from it.

But tonight, I weakened. I’d say it was a perfect storm of many things: it’s the highest intensity work week of my entire year, so mega stress; I didn’t have time to exercise; my husband is away for five days and I miss him; I have too much to do (did I say that already??); oh, and I’ve been doing really well with my maintenance (so hey! what a great time to sabotage myself); I did great at my doctors’ appointments last week (ditto) AND I’ve been focusing a lot more on weight loss stuff and less on my diabetes. In fact, I had not tested my blood since my medical visit. LAST WEEK.

I had been religiously testing myself like 5 times a day, and then 3, and then once, and then… oops, where’s my meter? I think once I got a good A1C test, (average of past 3 months of blood glucose levels) I felt like, HEY, I’ve got this down! I know what I’m doing! What a good time to blow it!

I didn’t have time to shop or cook tonight. I was semi-frantic from my brain working super overdrive. I got Indian food takeout. Now, I’ve done this a DOZEN times since January, and have done so well with a bit of grilled tandoori chicken, and some spinach and yogurt raita, but this time…  😦

It wasn’t the world’s biggest pigout, but compared to the way I’ve been eating since January, it was. I had two scoops of rice, probably about a cup total. AND a half piece of naan. AND several trips back to the chicken tikka masala and the vegi creamy stuff. It was all really good. But a combination of too much quantity, and too many white carbs.

After dinner, I had that falling-asleep drugged feeling again. I knew this was not good. I tested my blood. It was not disastrous by any means, but it wasn’t the lovely stellar numbers I’d been seeing for months.

So, it wasn’t a huge crash. It could’ve been the first step down a slippery slope. But I’m not going to let it. I tasted the rice. It was really delicious. But that feeling afterward? And the number on my meter? And the number that’s going to show up on the scale? None of that was worth it.

I think it was almost necessary to have this happen. I’ve been so “good.” For so long. I had to do a little experiment. The results were what I could’ve expected. Now I know that’s not going to happen again for a long while.

My body still can’t deal with carbs, can’t deal with that quantity of food. Sigh. Oh well. (but this is probably a good thing)

NEXT MORNING: Blood glucose STILL up. Weight up. OK, where’s that wagon? I am jumping back on and QUICK…!

When Everyone is Not On Board: The White Rice Wars

So there are five people in my family: myself, husband, two daughters (one away at college) and my mother. She is Japanese-American, in her 80s, and quite attached to her white rice.  For a long while, my husband was the only one who generally didn’t eat the rice (he’s been doing South Beach for almost 2 years, more or less). Then in January, after a big lunch with white rice almost threw me into a postprandial coma, and I started this New Lifestyle, I stopped.  Every night at dinner, my mother would cook up a big pot of rice and then ask, with an undertone of shock in her voice, “You’re not having any?” But my younger daughter loves her rice and would always keep my mom company on the white-rice bus.

But younger daughter appears to be changing her food habits as well. I have not wanted to pressure her in the least, but she is entering the competitive season with her novice rowing team, and I notice she has begun preparing and making salads, and believe me, this is new for her. She’s eating differently overall.

So last night my mom made the usual pot of rice.  My daughter declined, because I had also made pureed cauliflower which is our new stand-in for mashed potatoes. And suddenly my mother was alone with the rice. She BANGED the metal pot lid down on the counter and made us all jump. She was so mad. I think that this new diet is so so threatening and upsetting to her. People who don’t eat rice don’t deserve to be called Japanese, in her mind. The whole thing is intensely disturbing to her. She considers brown rice to be highly suspect and inferior (“hippy food”).

I was reading a profile somewhere (on the WW site, I think?) and a Latina woman was talking about how hard it is to deal with many traditional (Mexican I think) foods because to say no to certain things is like turning one’s back on one’s culture. I think that is what’s going on in our house.

It’s really hard when not everyone in a household is on the same page.

My mom is 86 years old. She doesn’t have diabetes. It’s totally fine if she has her white rice. But it isn’t totally fine with HER if we do not.

Sigh.

PS. If you ask me, the best rice these days is Free Rice, where you get smarter while feeding hungry people who really NEED the rice.

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