Eat Like Crap. Feel Like Crap.


Life is supposed to be all about balance.

Work hard but play hard too.

Spend time with your family but make sure you get some “you” time.

Save money but enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Eat healthy but treat yourself once in awhile.

That’s the way it’s supposed to work…especially that last item.

I hear it all the time and heck I say it all the time. WE ALL DESERVE TREATS ONCE IN AWHILE.

But if you look at that more closely, what are we really saying? That we “deserve” to put crap into our bodies because it tastes good? Are we that brainwashed by the food companies and their marketing departments to really believe that?

I’m not preaching so please don’t take it as such.

I’m just struggling.

Struggling with my health. Struggling with my focus. Struggling with my stamina.

And why? Because I’ve been “treating” myself lately.

One of the benefits of being a gluten-free blogger with a decent-sized audience (besides of course the megabucks I make on advertising…sarcasm) is that I get samples sent my way. Lots of samples.

It’s like Christmas morning when a package comes in the mail.

The problem is that a lot of these samples come with food that while may be gluten-free, isn’t all that healthy.

Chocolate chip cookies, muffins, biscotti, chips.

Now true…I could just NOT eat them.

But I’m as human as the next guy and damn some of them taste real good. And once I get a taste of the sweetness, I’m sucked in.

And then because I’m eating more calories than I normally would, to “balance” things off (there’s that word again), I don’t eat nearly as much or as often. I’ll skip lunch and/or dinner.

And yet my weight creeps up and I feel like absolute crap.

Back in September 2012, I followed the Whole 30 program and the results were nothing short of amazing. I lost weight and felt great.

So if I felt great, why didn’t I stick with it? The truth is I did stick with it…about 90%.

But that 10% is just killing me…and yet I don’t want to give it all up.

I want that BALANCE!!

I wish giving up gluten was the simple answer to a celiac’s health.

For me…it’s just not the case.

What about you? Do you feel the effects when you “treat” yourself?

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49 thoughts on “Eat Like Crap. Feel Like Crap.”

  1. I follow the Paleo/Primal diet and I feel so much better than when I was just gluten free. I have found that when I would treat myself with gluten free grains (brown rice, corn, etc) I feel like crap but when I treat myself with grainless treats (root flours or coconut) I feel fine and am satisfied. It is a lot of work but it is worth it to me to feel this good.

    1. Even Gluten free grains like corn and rice are filled with sugars and carbohydrates that can trigger symptoms.
      Avoiding Gluten filled foods and sugars will not only increase your overall health and reduce symptoms, but also reduce cravings for such foods over time. Eventually you wont find the thought of a sugar filled treat appealing what so ever, instead you will opt for the healthier option by choice.

      1. Yes Jeff, I have also found this to be true~ the cravings for overly processed foods goes down when I fill myself with much less processed foods. It was a hard transition, but it was worth it. Now, if I eat processed food, it is things like hummus, I skip the cookie isle altogether now ๐Ÿ™‚ Plus my housemate has diabetes so that makes it easier to stay away from them, she and I like getting healthier.

  2. I don’t treat myself often, and that’s mostly because my pre-celiac guilty pleasure just isn’t available in a GF form (that’s baklava, for the curious). I think that one of the biggest problems we face in being celiac/NCGI is the “psychology of deprivation” – we crave some of that stuff primarily because we can’t have it normally. And then when we eat foods perceived as being “forbidden” that feeds the reward centers in our brains, starting a crazy feedback loop.

    And admittedly this is all my rational forebrain talking while my more basal instincts embedded in my limbic system are telling me it’s time to go make my vegan gluten free pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. C’est la vie…

      1. But seriouslyโ€”I notice this psychology of deprivation thing, too. The worst of it is that in order to stop treating yourself with things that you’re only eating because you feel deprived of other things, you have to deprive yourself of the new treats, too, so then of course you go looking for new things you can treat yourself to and it’s hard to break out of it. I’ve done the “eat way way too many free gluten-free snacks at an event” thing that Chris mentioned, too. It’s hard not to!

  3. I think it depends what you mean, “treat yourself.” Because of the cost, and the fact that it requires shopping at Whole Foods in Austin, I don’t eat gluten free bread every week or even every other week. (In fact, in the quest to be healthy, I seem to be doing this vegan-paleo-veggie-occasional-bag-of-corn-chips thing.)

    However, I find that if I don’t eat enough carbohydrate, I start to feel bad. I talked to a doctor about that, and he said that women have lower serotonin levels, naturally, so eating really low-carb can have a negative effect on your mood if you are female. (The carbs help the amino-acid tryptophan cross the blood-brain barrier to create more serotonin.)

    So, if treating yourself is an occasional gluten-free baguette or pop tart, in order to have a better mood, I’d say that is a good thing.

  4. It’s both a curse and a gift to be overly sensitive to flavors and textures. Since I am that way, I find it easy to take a bite or two and then put the not-all-that-great food down. I’ve even been known to throw away cookies and other “treats” if they aren’t very good.

    If I were you I’d eat a single serving in order to write a review, but then I’d throw away the rest of the sample unless it was something I liked enough to buy for myself.

  5. As you know, GD… we are what we eat. So your headline is so perfect! I agree with you… when I veer back to convenience (more GF products), I start feeling worse. My focus and efficiency falters and I can’t get my day started to save my life. When I’m on track… nothing can stop me.

    I’ve recently removed beans from my diet and notice a big difference and barely eat grains these days. I do notice that I don’t feel as well when I opt for something with them. I’ve known about paleo for a long time, but am working my way toward that lifestyle. I started reading The Paleo Solution from Robb Wolf and am interested in doing the Whole30 because after consulting with someone on Robb’s staff, this could potentially hold a key to some issues for me that go well beyond gluten and have screwed up my life royally since I was a kid.

    If you need a buddy to do the Whole30, let me know. Perhaps that’s what I need to get my ass in gear.

  6. It depends on you. My health actually took its biggest turn for the worse when I more-or-less stopped grains. When I brought back starches and processed foods I happened to do better for a long while…something about fullness and short-chain fatty acids that fuel colon cells?

    Lots of people love paleo and if you do it, you have to just commit knowing that the first week is the worst. But it’s important to know that liking a food doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what’s causing your problems. Guilt is the least healthy thing of all. Always have on hand some foods that you can’t get enough of and are also healthy, like berries or granola or whatever it is that you like.

    Also might be worth looking at “Vegan before 6” program although admittedly I haven’t tried it.

  7. Try one and throw the rest into the freezer for another time. Be strict with yourself – only one on alternate days. You sound like you have one of my issues – the cumulative effect. You are fine if you are strictly limited on the “junk food” comsumption, but a little too much over a period of time and wham. Been there, done that. More than once, just like most of us I think. Our culture is so wrapped around food that there are times you just feel so deprived that you lose it. Does not mean getting glutened necessarily, but way overboard on the junk o meter ๐Ÿ™‚ Just trying to be “normal” whatever that is ๐Ÿ™‚ Someone I know just entered our wonderful world and is making herself horribly sick with the “oh, I will just have a little bit of “fill in the blank” and I will be fine and has a major attack every time. Every time. Hasn’t slowed her down yet, but she has ended up in the hospital due to the pain. We all bang our heads against that wall until we figure out that it feels sooooooo good to stop ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I get this cumulative effect too, a little is okay, but If I am eating too much gluten free bread, etc. I start to feel bad.

  8. I’m the same way. I went to Florida on vacation 2 wks ago and had quite a few sugary cocktails. I can’t stop the sugar cravings now.
    I’m going to be starting another whole30 on August 1.

  9. The other half cat

    I’m reading “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis. He explains the affect that grains (not just wheat) have on our brain chemistry any why we experience these cravings, ups and downs, among other physiological and psychological affects. Have you read it? Any thoughts?

  10. I am right where you are now, Dude. I have no problem not eating gluten, unless some loved ones accidentally poison me on occasion. They don’t read this so I can say that out loud. Lately though I have been having a few jalapeno chips here, a mojito there, more than one or two glasses of wine, chips and salsa. My brain rationalizes…”HEY! It’s summer!!” I’m leaving for Maui in a few days for a week and I am heavier than I was before I began my “going to Maui and people are going to see me in a bathing suit-OMG-regime.” Vague allergies are showing up, and I am grumpy. I am ready to do Whole30. I first read about it when you wrote my favorite piece about Cave Dude. I bought it right then on my Kindle so……………..AFTER Maui and my sugary cocktails like Jennifer, I’m in! Maybe a few of us could all do it together.

  11. As with lots of people, I thought it’d be simply cutting out all food that contained gluten along with the foods that I’m allergic to (dairy, eggs to mention a couple). I follow a largely whole food diet. Yes, there was a HUGE improvement but for no apparent reason, I had a tough six months over last fall and winter. Nothing had changed in my eating patterns. I continued to workout on the same schedule but I had the additional demands of a northern winter. With the help of my ND, I amped up my supplements and eliminated some foods that were causing problems – apples being one of them.
    This is by no means a recommendation as much as I completely
    get where you’re coming from. I really find I can’t digress much or at all from what I eat or how much sleep I get. I’ve amped up my running distances and I am yet again amazed at how freaking careful I have to be about what and how much I’m eating. Lack of sleep leads to poor digestion. An errant cookie could mean nausea and crashing….I’m running with middle-aged women who ate pizza and several beer the night before and are running the same distance as me on 5 hours sleep, when I’ve eaten a bowl of buckwheat “gluck”, fruit and coconut milk at 10:30pm (partay!) on 7 hours.
    I have no answers for you, GD. Just when I think I have it figured out, I am reminded that I don’t. I do know that paring it right down to the cleanest food keeps it much simpler.

    1. “Iโ€™m running with middle-aged women who ate pizza and several beer the night before and are running the same distance as me on 5 hours sleep, when Iโ€™ve eaten a bowl of buckwheat โ€œgluckโ€, fruit and coconut milk at 10:30pm (partay!) on 7 hours.”

      Seriously…that is ungodly frustrating.

  12. I notice a huge difference in my kids when they get “treats” Now we are going with chips being an occasional treat and fresh berries as a daily treat. Nothing sweeter than berries or carrots for my family. For my daughter’s recent 14th birthday, she didn’t want a cake or any sweet things because she knows she gets sick. She asked for bacon for lunch and bacon wrap sirloin for supper. She’s carnivorous apparently and that was enough of a treat for her! Kids are so much better at self-regulating.

  13. It’s funny. Most of the GF goodies out there just don’t appeal to me. There are, of course, certain things that I love. I was a pretzel addict (Pennsylvanian here!) before going GF and when Snyders of Hanover came out with GF pretzels that are actually good, I found while I was able to indulge my addiction, However, at that point, self discipline had to kick in.
    My other self discipline strategy is that I know what I bake myself is so much better than the commercial GF stuff (hello, Vanilla/Maple almond biscotti!) that I have to get over my laziness in order to have it!
    Its weird but works for me! Hey dude, bad time to ask but, would you like a biscotti sample?

  14. Michele Richard

    I find the same thing. MAYBe once on a while I can have a gluten free double chocolate cookie or two, but only once in a while. My substitute right now for when I get a sugar craving is strawberries and blueberries and I might drizzle honey over them if i am really desperate for extra sweet. NO sugar in my house anymore. I call it white death ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. I am a complete SUGAR-holic. Once I have a bite of anything, I go into a deep downward spiral. I love macaroons ( the two almond cookies with iciing in the middle) I can eat one after another all day long!! I am either on or off. Moderation seems difficult for me. I do the whiny ” I can’t eat gluten so I should get to eat the GF fresh bakery made cupcake!” I try to see how many days I can go without sugar and I have more “today is day one” entries than I care to admit.

    I actually have this same discussion with one of my best friends. We read all of the information and the studies, but yet we still can’t stick to 100% whole foods. I feel much better when I cut out the junk but I always get sucked back in. It may not be heroin but it sure feels good for the 15 seconds I am eating it!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    For the record, today is day 2! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. i can relate to your comments Camille. i have such a hard time cutting out/down sugar. my sugar cravings have greatly increased since going GF. my doc said that’s normal for about the first 6 months but they seemed to have continued and like you i can’t seem to get very far into a sugar free diet (although today is day 3 !). I also fall pray to “i can’t have the G version so i should get 2 of the GF”. and also, i have trouble with moderation. i am not one of those people who can buy a bag of chips and not eat the whole thing. i had a doc tell me once to buy a bar of good quality dark choc and eat one square a night. SERIOUSLY ? i would rather not have it than have that piddly little piece and then have to stuff it WAY in the back of a top cupboard and then think about it for an hour, climb my @$$ up on the counter and pull it from the depths of the cupboard to finish it ! i recently read The 100 book because i have this feeling that grains (even GF ones) are doing me in weigth wise. once i figured out what GF pasta/quinoa/etc that i liked i gained weight. slowly but its still there. i think grain free or “low grain” migth work for me. again i’m always sort of surprised but not at how different we all are and there is no one size fits all diet.

      1. Tara –
        congrats on day 3 – it is defintely a better day when I stick to the diet. AND I am laughing as I sit here at my desk staring at a good quality dark dark chocolate bar and thinking this is not even tempting, a caramel milky way is SO MUCH more satisfying.

        YES – GD, I think the food companies have hooked us and turned us into fat, sugar and salt junkies… I hope you get back on track soon but I understand your struggles. My energy level goes down the drain and I am in bed reading and watching tv by 7:00pm on the days when I have let processed food win the batttle…

          1. Hi thetxlady,

            Agree on Milky way ( regular ) but I think caramel milky way OK. Let me know if you have read differently… and agree on Snickers too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. GD-

    Can definately tell that you have been “off” recently. It’s like watching Cole Hamels before the July 4th game. You are in a slump. Sorry to be blunt. You can get it back. Donate most of the samples to a food bank or anywhere and just give yourself a day a week to enjoy. I find that if i don’t have it around i will be forced to eat something better.


    Jersey Girl

  17. Sue in Alberta

    Bingo to Carol and Jersey Girl. If it’s not around, you do eat something better.
    Free yourself from perhaps feeling obligated to try samples.

  18. Yep, same struggle goes on with me. I have trouble with just tasting a little. Once I start I keep telling myself “you should stop now, you’re gonna feel lousy about yourself later”. I swear sometimes I feel like that just makes me even more rebellious against myself. Like I’m two different people, a sugar “Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. It recently got worse for me because I now have to take pills (pancreatic insufficiency) before any food goes in my mouth. So, all I can think about is here’s my chance to eat, I can’t eat again because I don’t want to take too many of these stupid pills. Its now or never takes over and then I’m digusted with myself later.
    What is this 30 day thing? I wanna do it too.

  19. I was attending a Gluten-Free expo with my daughter, you know one of those ones where you pay $20 and get to go to lectures and walk around a big banquet hall where everyone is giving out samples. My wife texted me “How’s it going?”, my response was “Nothing like a Gluten Free expo to make you feel nauseous.” Seriously, after the 5th table I was done. (For the record, my daughter has Celiac, but I don’t. We are Gluten Free in the house, I just eat too much lousy food, GF or non-GF.)

    If it’s hard enough being an adult that *knows* better than to eat junk, it’s entirely different being with a kid who *needs* a cookie/treat/smorable, or her sister (non-celiac) who also needs them. For the sake of convenience and sanity, we do keep a lot of snacks around. Luckily, she doesn’t seem to have any sensitivity to any other grains. As long as we stay away from Gluten, everything seems fine.

    In the category of high class problems/observations, we just got back from Europe, and the packaged food/snacks/treats just seem better over there. True, there was some junk and stuff that didn’t taste very good, but we did find cookies and treats and crackers and toasts that were good, convenient and filled you up without making you feel nauseous. I feel here we have the same 3 companies making the 3 different brands of the same cookie, and they all make me feel bad. It would be great to have a little more variety, as well as crackers that tasted like crackers.

  20. What root flours are available? I have not heard of those.

    First I was trying to be on a raw diet. It was Vitamix and leafy greens, and I soon learned which fruits were low glycemic. Going gluten free for me was mostly cleaning out the fridge condiments and such because I didn’t eat much bread anyway. I tried gluten free spaghetti and it was so awful I ate the meat sauce and not the spaghetti. Paleo is not easy either – so much meat and eggs! when I am used to green smoothies, but now I am drinking my bone broth in the mornings to heal my gut. It’s trying to add gluten free for the rest of the family that is the pain. I would rather do without. I think.

  21. I am looking for recommendations on some good books and recipe books on paleo. After looking at the comments on amazon for the paleo diet book
    ( written by the “founder”) I’m not impressed. I’ve read he says diet sodas/ drinks are ok. If this is true, that book is off my list. I’ve been gluten free for about 5 mos bc of celiac. My blood tests are in normal range but I feel like crap most of the time. As I’ve posted before I’ve made quite a few mistakes and glutened myself. Of course going out to eat leads to contamination most of the time. My reaction is fairly severe. Some of u recommended paleo to truely heal. I’ve also developed many food allergies which makes my life even harder. Thanks so much for the support and any recommendations would be much appreciated.

  22. I hear you! Yesterday on my way home from work I was hungry and stopped at Kwik Trip. They’ve got plenty of nice apples and oranges there but what did I pick up? A rice krispy bar and choc milk. I planned on just “treating” myself with part of it, but after finishing off the whole thing, I just felt shaky all afternoon. Yeah, that was some treat.
    I get these cravings…
    No amount of meat, vegies or fruit satisfies them.

  23. I’ve noticed too that eating sugary stuff just makes me feel sick. So, while I used to crave it I’m starting not to because I associate it with feeling nauseated. Same thing happened with alcohol. I guess the upside is that my body is forcing me to avoid the bad stuff. I love apples, so that kinda helps if I need a “sweet” pick-me up. If I bake, I usually put in about 1/3 of the sugar they recommend. No-one else has noticed and it tastes much better without making me want to hurl.

    Someone else mentioned macaroonsโ€ฆ so hard to eat just one!

  24. Yes, we feel better when we eliminate sugar, dairy, grains, starch, caffeine, etc. but frankly it it hard to be that disciplined and limiting and it just SUCKS! Sometimes we just want to be normal and go out to eat and have a treat like everyone else. I hate having to think about every single thing I eat! It iOS nice to know I am not the only one who struggles with following such a at it diet. ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. This is a good deal of my life Gluten Dude. I go along fine and I’m normally okay with others in the family having their treats. But even if I eat frozen green grapes (my crack) I pack on some lbs. I really don’t do well with grains at all and stay away from rice of all kinds, quinoa etc But sometimes man, ya just gotta.
    So my food choices are just protein, veggies and low glycemic fruit 90% of the time. But I am always feeling deprived. So when I cheat now it’s usually wine or tequila. I admit since finding you I have discovered Canyon Bakehouse and their rye bread is so good. (and no holes – imagine that!) So last week I had a GF Ruben. It was wonderful, but I didn’t feel great later.
    Then I beat myself up for doing that to myself and the loaf went back into the freezer from which it came. Some days I feel like, “hey I’m an adult and would like SOME fun” said with a whine. Other days I am proud of how I handle it. If you find that balance, please share!! Thx for all you do.

      1. I’m a chiropractor, and work with patients to figure all of this stuff out. I also have a gluten and dairy allergy.
        I use Repairvite from Apex Energetics – that helps to repair the gut and lower the sensitivity of the gut to foods. That’s been helpful.
        Another thing I see is adrenal exhaustion causing intense cravings of sugar and caffeine.
        Apex has a great supplement called Adaptocrine, which helps keep the cortisol and blood sugar stable, and that keeps the cravings at bay.
        Those 2 are staples that my patients lean on when things are bumpy and difficult.

        Great job on the whole 30, it’s a spectacular diet, but not for sissies.
        It’s hard work.
        Hope things improve

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didnโ€™t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, Iโ€™ve done my job.

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