I stopped eating grains this week. It was a hard decision to make, but once made, felt oh, so right. As you are probably well aware, I am allergic to gluten, so have to avoid foods with wheat, rye, barley, triticale and some oats. And though I know full well how to avoid those foods and make amazing food without them, my addictive tendency somehow makes it 'ok' for me to slip and eat them. Of course, I feel after-shocks from eating these allergens, sometimes for days after ingesting them. You'd think that would stop me, but no, my addictive side is much too strong for that. I have found that I have to face my addictions head on. Either I allow the allergens and addictions to roam freely and control my world, making me feel crappy all the time, or I put my foot down and stop. Completely. No negotiations. Well, obviously, I chose the latter approach. In the past, I have found this helpful with any dieting or shift in lifestyle - for a bit of time. It typically lasts a few weeks or months at best. Well, to be true to my all-or-nothing nature, I did go completely and strictly gluten free for over 2 years.
I decided to stop eating grains this week as I really wanted to see 1) how hard could it be?, 2) how would I feel, and 3) would I actually see a shift in my weight? I was really curious yesterday to see if my weight had shifted at all, so I slipped onto the scale 2 days early. I gained a pound - WHAT???? But then, my monthly visitor came today, which makes complete sense that I would be retaining fluid. I learned way back in my heavy dieting days that at ovulation and menstruation, our bodies have a tendency to retain and gain or at least not lose weight. So I'm ok with the pound that decided to hang out with me a little longer. I get the feeling that it will be packing and leaving soon. A second thing I noticed is that my blood sugar, which I watch each morning for pre-diabetes, has been on the high side. This has surprised me without grains in my diet. Adding greens and more meat usually brings the sugars down, so I have to watch how I am balancing the meals themselves. A funny thing happens with blood sugar - it has to do with lifestyle as well as food intake. There are several guidelines to follow - eat small meals often, exercise, learn how to balance carbs with protein and fats, and get enough sleep. I have definitely been falling short on the sleep category this week, and just came down with a cold, so I could be reacting to that. Apparently, a tired liver makes it harder to get the pancreas to deliver enough insulin. Not enough insulin means too much sugar in the blood. Not a good feeling - makes me feel like I got hit by a mack truck.
On the other side, I do not miss grains. I don't miss bread, cookies, cakes, pizza, nothing. Shocking, I know. That is a real surprise to me, as this was one reason why I held off cutting out grains to begin with. I did, however, have a small pang of sadness when I found my favorite Pamela's bread mix again at the store, and realized that I couldn't enjoy it. That's a bummer, but at least my family can have it, and I can enjoy the "yum's" coming from their mouths!
Another experience I have had this week is my mood has shifted. We have had a challenging week with some school issues with our youngest, and I have been overwhelmed, but not completely blown away by them. I find less brain fog now that my body is without grains. I am teaching at night and took on another job on top of all my other work, and I'm still running mostly smoothly, able to keep my moods up and focused, even with the lack of sleep. My memory is not yet strong, but hey - it's only been a week!
I started this last weekend thinking I would try a week. I think I will go for another week and see how I feel. I would like to add green smoothies this week, to really up my fiber and calcium.
I found this poem that resonated with me since I was trying something new and challenging this week, and really living with intention. I hope you enjoy it as I did:
Live with intention
Walk to the edge
Play with abandon
Choose with no regret
Continue to learn
Appreciate your friends
Do what you love
Live as if
This is all there is.
by Mary Ann MLB Rademacher
May you be well and enjoy your weekend in peace.