In the spring, a cousin and her spouse had been on the Brown Rice Diet. Laura also happens to be a naturopathic doctor, so I had asked her about it at the time and got her to send me the info. It's not a diet in the weight loss sense of the word but more of an elimination of all potential allergens. For three weeks, the only grain I ate was brown rice. I ate chicken, fish and a bit of lamb but no other red meat and no shellfish. Alcohol, dairy, sugar and all processed food were also verboten - but I could eat as much of anything as I wanted.
At the end of the first week, I was ready to chew off a limb. Despite consuming lots of food, I was hungry and irritable. I almost gave up. Instead, I increased my protein intake and two days later I felt flat out amazing. I had tons of energy, no cravings at all (I sat in front of a table full of wine, chocolate and cheese at book club and sipped sparkling water, not minding at all). I lost 10lbs, which I'm told was water weight, as I let go of sugar induced inflammation.
At the end of three weeks, I reintroduced grains, like quinoa that don't contain gluten. I was fine.
I introduced bread and got sick. My son was also ill, so I decided it might be a coincidence, and that I should take gluten out of my diet and reintroduce it later.
I had no reaction when I reintroduced yogurt. Or cheese. I re-introduced gluten and got sick again.
Over the holidays (Chanukah, Christmas, New Year's...) I ate pretty much whatever I wanted. I felt sluggish, bloated and irritable and by the new year, was ready to eliminate gluten again.
After a couple of weeks, I didn't feel fantastic but I didn't feel terrible. Mostly, I was irritated that I couldn't eat gluten. I missed Tim's home-made bread. I missed the chocolate cookies from the Wild Oat. I missed beer. I started to wonder if there was a point to all the deprivation.
Then came Tim's birthday and I decided to make Too Much Chocolate Cake. And, after three weeks without gluten, I had a giant slice. Then I had another one the next day. And the day after that, I was a mess. My distress was not so much gastrointestinal as emotional. I was
So the gluten is gone for good (Tim says that the scientist in him would love to give me a slice of chocolate cake, just to see what happens but, out of self-preservation, he thinks that would be a bad idea).
I'm still figuring out what it means to be gluten free. Sometimes, I'm surprised by how easy it is. Other times, I feel frustrated that it feels complicated.
I don't feel amazing.. To do that, I guess I'd have to cut out the alcohol, sugar and processed stuff. Maybe that's next but for now, I'll just try and keep it to a minimum.