I may not make many friends with the gluten-free food industry with this post, but here goes nothing.
And in no way am I telling you what you should do or how you should eat.
I just know the pain many celiacs continue to suffer through and I am trying to help the community in any way possible.
I am coming up on my five year anniversary of having celiac disease.
In those five years, I can count on one hand the number of stretches where I truly felt healthy.
I have suffered stomach pain, severe exhaustion, brain fog, back pain…all of the classic celiac symptoms that I know many in our community continue to deal with.
And in that time, how many times have I eaten gluten? A big fat zero.
So I thought that maybe something else is going on…it can’t just be the celiac making me feel this crappy.
Multiple doctor visits and test after test came up empty.
So then it must be the celiac disease.
But if I’m completely gluten-free, why am I still suffering??
Then in late September, my good friend InspiredRd said she was doing something called the Whole30.
It’s a program where you eat nothing but whole foods for 30 days; the idea being your body can cleanse itself a bit instead of constantly being in fighting mode as it tries to digest processed foods.
The results for me were nothing less than shocking.
First of all, I lost 12 pounds. My main goal was not to lose weight, as I was only 163 pounds to begin with, but I did want to come down in the 150’s. It is absolutely amazing to me that my body shed that much weight simply from eating whole foods.
Second, my energy level is much better than it was. Heck, I don’t even nap anymore.
And lastly, my stomach, while not perfect, is much improved.
Based on these results, I am now convinced that celiacs seriously need to rethink about the products they are buying and putting in their bodies.
We need to get off “eating gluten-free” and replace it with “eating healthy”.
That will give our bodies the best chance at healing and give us the best opportunity at a normal life.
Here is what my average eating day used to look like:
Early Morning: Coffee with Splenda and a Kind Bar
Breakfast: A bowl of Honey Chex with Almond Milk
Lunch: Brown rice, fish and veggies, cooked with a gluten-free sauce
Snack: Kind Bar (or some other gluten-free snack)
Dinner: Gluten-free pasta with chicken, etc.
To me, that looks like a pretty healthy day. But why then did I always feel like crap? Why couldn’t I lose any weight at all?
Take a good look at the Honey Nut Chex ingredients to the right. 6 of the first 7 ingredients are pure crap. Is this the stuff celiacs should be putting in their bodies??
Now compare it to an average eating day now:
Early Morning: Black coffee (no sugar)
Breakfast: 3 organic eggs with sausage, asparagus, onion and mushroom
Lunch: Fish and veggies, seasoned with olive oil and spices
Snack: Almonds or a piece of fruit
Dinner: A piece of organic chicken or steak with veggies
Two things to take note of:
One…I’m not exactly starving myself.
Two…I’m not eating “gluten-free” anymore.
Let me ask you a question: When you were first diagnosed with celiac disease, what is one of the first things you did?
If you’re like me, you went to the grocery store and cleaned the shelves of all of the gluten-free items you could find.
“I can’t give up pizza!” Phew…I can buy gluten-free pizza.
“I can’t give up pasta!” Phew…I can buy gluten-free pasta.
“I can’t give up cookies!” Phew…I can buy gluten-free cookies.
You get the point.
The problem is, a large majority of the gluten-free food is absolute garbage.
And many (not all) of the gluten-free food manufacturers are more than happy to feed us this crap because they know the emotional attachment people have with eating.
And they know the intense fear celiacs have of losing their lifestyle as they know it.
And they know the enormous profit they can make off of us.
They don’t give a shit about our health.
I’ve been to a few celiac awareness functions.
But you know what? It’s not about celiac awareness.
It’s a damn gluten-free food orgy.
It’s table after table of foods that celiacs should not be putting in their bodies.
But because it’s “gluten-free”, it must be good for us!
Who cares if it’s twice as fattening and three times as expensive?
Look…we all deserve treats once in awhile and I am not saying you should never eat processed food again.
As a matter of fact, I went out yesterday and bought some Udi’s Chocolate Chip Cookies to keep in the house.
All I’m saying is to give your body a rest…even for 30 days…and see if it makes a difference.
And if you are like me, you will never go back to the way you used to eat.
There is no reason we should be walking around in pain and simply accepting that’s the life of a celiac.
We all deserve to feel good inside.