Have you ever taken the plunge? I mean really, truly given up 100% of the gluten in your life? We are talking every last thing, even the glue on the back of the stamps. Okay, that’s a myth. Stamp glue and envelope glue are in fact gluten-free. Breathe! You can correspond safely!
I took the plunge, right into the bottom of gluten-free living. I didn’t sign up for camp or anything, but I made a conscious decision to no longer put anything in my mouth or on my body that was obviously wheat, barley or rye. To answer your first question, no I don’t have to do this. I chose it. Why? Gluten makes my belly bloat, and I suspect much more than that. When I eat bread, pizza, pasta or any regular, red-blooded American food that is essentially empty carbs, I feel, well, essentially empty. I am never satisfied, but always bloated. Is that a good enough reason? Not for more than 20 years, but 18 days ago I reached the tipping point. To continue to eat gluten no longer felt better than the feeling of relief.
So, 16 days in and feeling good, I saw Pizza. At first, I just glanced. Then my glance turned a bit more prolonged and before you know it was lusting after the cheesy, greasy, gooey slice of heaven at the table next to mine. It wasn’t pretty. I think I may have even asked Pizza if it came there often. A shameful pick up line in any situation!
Day 17 went something like this:
Hmm, nothing in the kitchen I want to eat.
“Kids, get your shoes on. We’re running to the store.”
“Of course you can get a treat! We should have a pizza and movie night!”
And I did it. And I didn’t even do it well! I mean if I was going to eat pizza after 17 days, how about at my favorite pizza place with the almost Philadelphia quality pizza I had come to enjoy two Thursday a month after the kids’ activities. I dreamed about that pizza!
Nope. I bought an organic, frozen pizza. Really? Yes, really. Pretty pathetic. And very disappointing. Even as I devoured it, I thought that it wasn’t very good. And yet, I finished every bite.
I teach my clients to never be ashamed of their food choices. And to make mindful decisions about their food. I was mindful, and I was only ashamed that I wasted my jump off the wagon on such a pitiful pizza.
Three hours after I ate, pain in my right side. No big deal, but definitely not normal.
I woke up the morning feeling a bit disappointed in the world. Again, not a big deal. We all have days like that. For me, definitely not normal.
The day progressed and I found myself irritated, frustrated, and feeling like a hamster in a wheel. What the heck? Then I remembered, this was how I always felt when I ate my pizza (and bread and pasta) regularly. This was the gluten brain that I disliked so much!
Each and every person has a different genetic make-up, different life experience, different reaction to various foods. For me, gluten makes me grouchy, pessimistic, and seriously bloated. I’m sure if I spent some time on the research, I could explain in very boring detail why these reactions occur. The truth is, I don’t care! I just want to feel happy and clear! I want to feel like Me.
I called it a gluten-free fail, but I don’t really mean it. For me it was a huge success. I was clearly reminded of why I stay off of gluten. It was a day that plunged me back into the muck and mire of wheat brain and an Eeyore-like mindset. No thanks!
So will I eat pizza again? I’m sure I will. I don’t believe in the false religion of perfectionism. It promises everything and delivers only failure. Each and every day, I do my best. Some days that looks like two slices of pizza and a gluten hangover, other days it looks like a quinoa salad filled with fresh herbs and veggies.
Have you given up anything lately? Did you end up eating it again and feeling like a failure? If so, I offer you a perspective shift. How about instead of beating yourself up, you look at it as a lesson? And an experience? More proof of why things work or don’t work for your body. How about, for just this once, you practice self-love and acceptance. Maybe you were supposed to ‘fail’ so you could have more evidence for next time. Maybe you haven’t quite reached your tipping point. It’s all okay. Love yourself exactly where you are.
I often use the early morning to organize my thoughts into paragraphs. And sometimes into recipes.