Gluten Free February: In the Bag

March 2, 2015 Leave your thoughts

I did it! I went Gluten-free for a full month and I’m still here.

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, welcome to Nicole & Tim’s Year of Eating Experimentation. Our Challenge: try a new eating philosophy every other month in 2015. You see, I woke up on January 1, 2015 and realized that in my 43rd year of life, I still eat like I did when I was 23. Because my 43 year old body is certainly not the same as my 23 year old body, it made sense to drag my husband into a family eating affair. We are identifying six different eating programs and incorporating them into our lives, with an easy month in between each one. It’s like a year-long training plan for food.

Here’s how Gluten-free February stacked up.
•    I was slightly intimidated to start. I had this vision of clearing out our entire fridge and cabinet, but as it turns out, going GF is easier than you think, at least if you live in Colorado (Boulder to be more precise), home to three Whole Foods Markets, Sprouts, Sunflower Market, Alfalfas, Luckys and more. Basically every grocery store is a natural market or at least has a huge natural foods section. The main foods we replaced were bread, cereal, pasta and frozen pizza. We replaced them with alternative foods (rice or quinoa for pasta) or GF versions of the same foods (GF bread and GF granola). Here’s a simple list of GF foods. hyperlink
•    It didn’t put us too far over the edge financially. GF products are more expensive than their cheaper gluten-filled alternatives. But since our main substitutions were in the form of breads, cereals and snacks, we probably spent an extra $10/week. That’s not too bad to assure that you will have a healthy poo every day (more on that below!).
•    I was disciplined. I was 99% perfect. Maybe even 99.5% perfect. I cheated twice accidentally and twice on purpose. Accidental cheats involved Ben & Jerry’s (damn you Speculoos gluten cookies!) and eating a chicken nugget to convince Wilder of their deliciousness (she still refused). I purposely chose to eat squash-filled ravioli and cheesecake crust during Tim’s induction as a Triathlon Legend at the Tri-Palooza Endurance Sports awards. There were no other options, so I was happy to enjoy the night as-is.
•    For the first time since I had a baby, I went to the bathroom every single day. Yes, I’m talking poop on a public forum! I can’t say this was due to eliminating gluten, but that’s the only thing I changed, so I think it was. Tim’s philosophy is that it may have been the addition of the non-gluten alternatives (i.e. breads with rice and amaranth flours) that kept things loose in February.
•    My hands are still really dry. Our President, Sarah Vernon (who’s about to go into labor any minute), had pretty bad eczema on her hands, and after eliminating gluten for a week or so, the eczema completely went away. I did not experience this immediate return to baby-soft hands. In fact, my toddler recently told me to stop touching her face because my hands “hurt” her…
•    I was much more conscious of what I ate. I almost snacked on goldfish, animal crackers, pretzels and many other devilish gluten-filled foods, but caught myself at the last minute.
•    Possibly due to the lower snacking levels, my body seems leaner than normal which could also contribute to the next point.
•    I had pretty good energy this month. In general, I had more energy than normal. On a scale of 1 to 10, I probably increased a full point and the only possible factor is that I eliminated gluten. That’s pretty huge!
•    Finally, and very importantly, thanks to my friends at Kim & Jake’s, I was able to eat copious amounts of birthday cake for a week. I can honestly say that their cakes are LITERALLY better than gluten cakes. And I don’t take my cakes lightly!

In summary, I definitely don’t have a gluten-intolerance and I probably don’t have a high level of gluten sensitivity, or I think I would have experienced more dramatic effects, but eating less gluten in general seems to be a good direction for me. Gluten-lovers: don’t worry, we can still be friends.

We have 30 days to plan April. Does anyone want to join Nicole & Tim’s Year of Eating Experimentation? Even if you don’t want to join us, feel free to suggest some eating philosophies. I’ll let you know what we choose in a few weeks!

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