It’s been over a year since I stopped eating gluten and dairy. Or really, it’s been over a year since I “stopped eating” gluten and dairy. I’m the first to admit that I’m not perfect at it.
When I “cheat,” it’s usually because I haven’t planned well enough to have gluten-free snacks in the house. Or because I’m out in the world and taking a stand against every scrap of gluten seems extreme, inconvenient, or even a little bit rude. I know that there are people who feel terrible if they have even a whiff of flour, but I’m not one of those, so if I’m at a friend’s house, I don’t always want to make a fuss about it. And sometimes I just have a breakdown of will power: I want a cookie. Or a beer.
I stopped eating gluten and dairy because, based on what I’ve read, there is a chance that it’s better for my brain for me not to eat them. But I wasn’t having symptoms that I could clearly tie to those foods and after I stopped eating them, I didn’t really feel any different. It might actually be easier to stick with this effort if I did feel terrible every time I ate a piece of toast. But for me, it’s really just about trying to cover all the bases. I’d hate to look back later and wish I’d done more.
Last week, I fell off the wagon pretty hard. I wasn’t just nibbling a cracker, I was full on eating like a regular person. It was great! So delicious, so satisfying. There are some decent gluten-free food options out there, but they’re never quite the same. Once I start eating bread and butter and cheese, it was only too easy to say, “I’ll get back on the wagon tomorrow.” And tomorrow is always the next day.
By the weekend, I actually could tell the difference. On Saturday afternoon I was out with John for a while and when I came home I was completely exhausted. Same thing on Sunday. I think this was the first time that I actually could tell what a difference changes in diet can make. I’m disappointed. I prefer pizza and good beer to rice crackers and fake beer, but I can’t deny that I didn’t feel great when I was eating them.
So, tomorrow finally came today and I am back on the wagon. People ask me all the time if I feel better eating this way, and for a year, I’ve been saying no. Now I suppose I have a different story to tell. After a very gluten-ous week last week, I can start to more clearly see the point of being free of it.