Why We’re No Longer Going Gluten-free
Short version: Some improvements. Not a panacea. Not following it closely this year. (You can read part 1 of this post here.)
I want to preface this by very clearly stating that we did not follow the diet exactly, or even close to exactly.
We started out being “good” even when eating out or eating at other people’s houses. But that fell by the wayside real fast. And even when eating at home, we had some weeks where we fell off the wagon completely.
But for the most part, I followed the Perfect Health Diet for the meals and snacks I prepared at home for Pat and me, which make up 80- 90% of our food consumption every week.
My main reason for trying this in the first place was to help tame my sugar cravings and food addiction tendencies.
- Result: Improved.
- Not surprisingly, the less I eat sugar and processed foods, the less I crave them. But the problem has not gone away completely, not by a long shot.
- If I eat balanced meals (protein and carbs), I experience fewer cravings.
- Not enough protein –> hungry between meals;
- Not enough carbohydrate –> sugar cravings between meals.
- I did seem to experience less hunger and fewer cravings when taking all the supplements that the PHD recommends, but I haven’t been doing this long or consistently enough to tell for sure. Taking all the supplements recommended–plus a few that I’ve added for various reasons–is just too much for me to keep up.
- Energy/ overall sense of wellbeing: Honestly, not a huge difference.
- Weight: Pat lost ~ 12 pounds but has started to gain it back. I did not lose any.
- Plan going forward: Keep following most of the general principles but not the Perfect Health Diet per se, particularly, because . . .
We’re just not gluten intolerant.
(Double negatives . . . hmmm. “We’re gluten tolerant.” Is that better?)
We eat a lot of meat and rice and potatoes and vegetables, and that’s all well and good. But often enough I made pizza or pancakes or pasta or muffins, and used gluten-free ingredients for them. This requires additional expense and effort. I found myself thinking, “Why am I bothering with this when we tolerate gluten just fine?” I can’t come up with a good enough answer here.
(For a while I thought Girl 2’s eczema was caused my wheat, but I’ve since concluded that it isn’t. Also, Pat’s weight loss seemed possibly due to cutting out gluten. But given that he shows no other signs of gluten intolerance, I’m not so sure.)
The Perfect Health Diet book is insistent that all grains and legumes, other than rice and a few less common ones, are bad for all of us, in general. I found this one of the least convincing sections. But then, I don’t have a scientific background, nor did I do much additional research on the issue.
Regardless, it’s a lot of effort to avoid grains without a specific health problem as motivation. Going forward, I’m going to direct my energies elsewhere.
I want to keep up the following:
- Avoiding processed sugar as much as possible, and using honey, maple syrup, etc. only sparingly.
- Avoiding processed foods (chips, crackers, breakfast cereal, etc.)
- Avoiding vegetable oils (corn, soybean, etc.) and instead using butter, coconut oil, and olive oil.
- Keeping most of our meals meat-and-vegetable based, and not making many meals based on pasta, bread, or other grains.
- Continuing to take supplements, but just the ones that most directly address my specific nutritional needs/concerns, rather the full panoply recommended by the PHD.
This past year brought into focus one issue very clearly: my food issues (and mood and energy levels and overall well-being) are influenced very strongly by hormones. I can be “good” for several weeks and then it comes to be that time of the month before that other time of the month and *bam*
So my priority for the coming year is to address this issue, and I’ll be blogging about it more in the coming weeks.