Food can be emotional; it definitely is for me. I couldn’t part ways with gluten without a proper send-off. Fortunately, I do not have any apparent gluten intolerance making a goodbye to gluten week possible. I am aware that a week is a large window of time, but that’s how long it will take me to eat just about all the gluten-y ingredients in my pantry. Maybe I’ll be so over gluten by the end of this week that I won’t crave it for a while.
I’m a fan of The Atlantic. Not long ago, I read their article about the effects gluten has on our brains which gave me idea to give the gluten-free diet a try. Many articles on the effects of gluten site studies in the 1920s where scientists link gluten intake to dementia and other neurological diseases. While many still dispute this finding, I think the FDA’s reaction is the real problem. Flour products have been “enriched” with essential nutrients. Any nutritionist or personal trainer will specifically tell you to steer clear of anything containing the word “enriched” on the box. My new age hippie-esque lifestyle already had me avoiding pretty much any food in a box anyway (win!).
I am a firm believer in natural products, but I wasn’t always. I grew up in a very rural area and really had no idea how good I had it until I went to college. I was so used to eating home-grown products that my stomach threw a fit my first semester in the dorms. I couldn’t understand the “freshman 15” as I was clearly losing weight while eating the garbage one would receive in any dining hall. After about a year, I adjusted. Over the next 6 years, I gained about 40-50 pounds from eating processed junk. It wasn’t until my late 20s that I really took control of what I put into my body. My first 10 pounds were shed simply by changing the food I ate and portion sizes. This gave me the confidence to join a gym and start counting calories. I needed the reassurance that weight loss was possible to gradually change my lifestyle. One reason diets never work for people is because they change everything at once. PEOPLE HATE CHANGE. That’s why I’m working with an end date in mind. If I have an end date, I’m more than likely to give this gluten-free kick the time it needs to take effect. After the time is up, I’ll make an informed decision about whether I can/want to do this long-term, all while keeping in mind that Summer is easier to be gluten-free because of all the fresh produce.
A lot is changing for me right now. Since I’m spending this week eating my homemade mac & cheese, breads, cookies, and mom’s dumplings, I’m working my ass off at the gym every single day. It’s my first week back to doing some real cardio at the gym after having to take a month off to recover from an injury. What I thought was a shin splint became much worse one day. After a tortuous week on crutches, I was advised to stick to low-impact cardio for a while. Low impact cardio is boring to me. I started running a few months ago in an effort to try something new. I made it a goal to run a 5k before I turned 30. I’m very competitive (to the point that people don’t like to play board games with me), and I set a realistic goal. I, however, went in guns blazing and did too much too fast. In a month I went from barely being able to maintain a “slow run” for 2 minutes to running 2 miles in 23 minutes. Slow, yes BUT I COULD DO IT! Even in my tip top shape as a dancer, I could never finish the mile in gym class. This was a milestone. Then the pain started. I was running about 3 times a week and tried powering through. Powering though worked for my shin splints when I danced, but the reality was that I wasn’t 16 anymore, and I was carrying a lot more weight. Now I run twice a week. I will run two ¼ mile intervals for now and gradually increase. This is very difficult for someone as competitive as me with very little patience, especially since I have a mud run scheduled for next weekend (I had registered prior to my injury). I still do not know my attack plan for that.
Between gym stints, I’ll be in my kitchen savoring the last of my pastas and flour. My first CSA box comes today, so mixing some greens and raw cheese (of course I opted to include a dairy share!) in with my gluten is on the agenda through the weekend. I’ll also be searching for some decent gluten-free recipes to get me started next week. After my little gluten party, I’m going to need some help getting started with my gluten-free menu. I’ve already purchased the ingredients for homemade hummus. It’s my fail safe breakfast/lunch/dinner food. Unfortunately, I used a big portion of my grocery budget to buy the ninja to make hummus. I guess I’ll be depending heavily on that CSA. Thanks a bunch, Groundwork Farm!