Staying Gluten Free
Short version: It's both super difficult, and pretty easy at the same time. But it's so worth it! If you are sticking with this, well then let me give you the long version!
It's been almost a year, and I'm fully switched over to being gluten free. I almost never cheat! Maybe once a month I will steal a gluten filled bite of deliciousness, usually when out with friends for drinks. Alex is really good at watching me to make sure I don't slip up. But even he can't keep me from a pumpkin cookie around the holidays or soft pretzels with beer cheese at our favorite happy hour bar every once and a while. Eating out is still difficult, even in Seattle, so I really try to pre-screen restaurants if we haven't been there before. I have no problems feeing myself at home though!
There are a lot of substitutions I can make to still eat just about "normal." It's incredibly easy to find gluten free pasta made of corn or rice and Franz makes an amazing loaf of gluten free bread that can pass as gluten filled bread! Of course there is a few things I'll never be able to have again, like farrow and other ancient grains, but so far I'm handling that o.k.
Just like with history, I can divide my life now into Pre Gluten Free and Post Gluten Free. Pre Gluten Free, I had bloating issues, eczema, pimple break outs, joint pain, swollen joints, a useless immune system and super moody moments. Post Gluten Free...a lot of the issues have fallen away in severity.
My eczema started right after college while working as a styling assistant, I thought it was the steam and the chemicals coming off the clothes, but it was apparently also aided by the stress plus all the gluten. But with staying gluten free, I've stopped having huge flair ups that require steroid lotion.
Acne and pimples have always been in my life and my skin has always been finicky, I was prone to cystic pimples and they are so painful! No amount of topical acne meds would help those. Now that I'm off the gluten, my skin has calmed down so much! It's like I'm an adult, and not a teenager. Awesome.
As for my joint pain and swelling, I was taking Tylenol designed for arthritis almost every other day, icing every night and taking Tylenol PM to help me sleep. But since cutting out gluten, that has gone down to maybe twice a month! Since Tylenol is hard on the liver, my body is pretty thankful for that as well. I still have some pain issues, but that can be attributed to other things. Like the weather and my love of wedges and heels.
Another plus! I haven't had a real cold at all this winter. I am usually the one that is ALWAYS sick with something or getting over something and just miserable. I'm also much less bloated, generally happy and positive this winter, better then when I was eating gluten. I've even been sleeping much better because I don't have knee pain keeping me up, so I have felt more energetic!
As I mentioned in my post about Philly. I fell off the gluten free wagon and I paid for it. Pimples, pain, and a pissy mood. I saw just how it affected me, I felt different! How weird and scary to think that a protein in food can do that to us. Sucks, because it's not a bad thing, gluten. It can be great for you and do great stuff and it's important to have. Just some people's bodies do not want to put up with it. So, if you have issues that you can't really explain or you have other digestive issues (which is what led to my diet change), talk to your doctor, nutritionalist, whomever. Going gluten free may help, but don't just do it to loose weight!
Pro Tip: you can still have junk food and be gluten free. Kettle brand potato chips are gluten free, as are Reese's peanut butter cups. I've also found pre-made cookie dough that is gluten free! So don't think you have to be uber healthy when you are gluten free...you can still treat yourself.