Got Celiac? Wanna Feel Better? Stop. Eating. Crap.

celiac? stop eating processed foods

I finished my second Whole30 last week, but before I begin to tell you about how amazing it was (again!), let me get a few things out of the way.

1) I wrote a similar post a few years ago called Stop Eating Gluten-Free Foods that got tons of comments, both good and bad. Feel free to revisit.

2) I’m not food-shaming anybody here. Just giving some friendly advice as to what worked for me.

3) If you eat poorly and have no desire to change, this post is not for you.

4) If you’re struggling with your health but will absolutely not give up [insert treat here] for 30 days, this post is not for you.

5) But if you are low on energy and feeling generally blah, read on and prepare to be transformed (a tad dramatic…I know.)

Winter can be a lot of fun, but man is it tough on my body. Thanksgiving leads into our winter vacation, which leads into Christmas, which leads into New Years, which leads into…well…the party continues. By the end of January, my body was begging me to stop. I was tired. Beyond tired. I had trouble focusing at work. I was a beaten man.

And mostly, I got into bad habits (feel free to spank me.) I would have a drink or two a few times during the week. I would grab a gluten-free cookie (or two) here and there. I would have a Hershey bar simply because they were in the fridge. I’d overeat at meals. Individually, none of these things would kill me. But put them all together, and it’s a recipe for disaster for this celiac.

At the end of January, Mrs. Dude, who was also feeling the effects of a fun winter, said she was going to do the Whole30. She knows what it did for me the first time I did it. Without even asking me to join her, I jumped at the chance. “I’m in!” And so our 30 day journey began. We toasted ourselves with a gin & tonic and a bag of chips. Just kidding.

In case you are wondering “what the hell is the Whole30?”, let me summarize. It’s a way to cleanse and kick-start your body and also an opportunity to change the way you think about food and why you eat the way you eat. For 30 days, you give up all sugar (real or artificial), alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy and obviously gluten. What can you eat? Plenty. Meat, fish, veggies, fruit (in moderation), sweet potatoes, eggs and tequila (just seeing if you’re paying attention.)

The next day, Mrs. Dude took out a second mortgage on our home and went grocery shopping to prepare for our month. We were ready to go.

And now here I am 30+ some days later and I’m telling you, the program is nothing short of amazing. I’m sure you’ve got questions, so I’ll ask them myself.

How hard is it? (that’s what she said)
You can do anything for 30 days.

Spare us the sound bytes. Seriously, how hard is it?
I honestly think it depends on your relationship with food and your desire to change. Since I already gave up gluten and dairy, the switch isn’t so tough for me. It’s more a mental thing because 30 days does seem like a long time when you are just starting it. “Oh my god…I’m only on day 5??” But eventually, I stopped counting the days.

How did Mrs. Dude do?
I won’t speak for her, but she was AWESOME!!!!! It was so much more enjoyable doing it with somebody else this time around. And I was so proud of her.

Didn’t you miss eating ‘normal’ food?
Does this look like I was missing out on anything?

Got celiac? Don't eat processed foods.

If you are asking me if I missed eating cookies, chips and other treats, the answer is no. It’s when those types of foods become part of my daily routine, when they become my normal, I feel like sh*t. Plain and simple.

What did you miss eating?
Sushi. Sashimi is good but just not quite the same for me.

Did you cheat at all?
Food-wise. Not one bit. Beverage-wise? We went to see a friend for a weekend and had a couple of cocktails. No judging please.

How long did it take you to see/feel the results?
By day 3, I felt the best I had in months. I had a clarity about me. I had a lot more energy and focus. I didn’t nap for the entire 30 days. I know that sounds ridiculous because what kind of grown man takes naps? But I have a couch in my home office. And on many days, I’d be so tired by the afternoon, that I would literally HAVE TO lie down. For 30 days? Not once!

Did you lose weight?
It wasn’t my goal and it shouldn’t be your goal, but yes…I lost 6 pounds, mostly the first 12 days.

Now that the program is over, are you back to eating the way you used to?
Not even close.

Isn’t moderation the key?
Absolutely. But even some moderation for me affects the way I feel. I’m really trying to be in tune with my body. Those with an autoimmune disease should do the same.

You mean you are never having a cookie again???
Of course I’ll have a cookie again. Occasionally. But they will not be a normal staple in our house anymore.

Should I do the Whole30?
I can’t answer that for you. Ah hell…sure I can…YES!!

I am always amazed at the power of food and the effect it has on me, both internally and externally. I know what poor eating habits do to my compromised system and I know what it can do to yours too. It’s why I cringe when people celebrate the fact that Lucky Charms are now gluten-free. And I cringe even more when some of my fellow celiacs promote it. And it’s why I’m disgusted that the Celiac Disease Foundation actually puts their logo on the boxes of Lucky Charms (and Cheerios). When our community “leaders” are promoting crap like this, it makes you wonder whose best interest they have in mind.

gluten free lucky charms

See how big the leprechaun’s eyes are? That’s cause he’s on a huge sugar rush. About 30 minutes later, he’ll be fast asleep.

Look…I know this will fall on a lot of deaf ears. Change is hard. Yes…even when it comes to our health. But I know so many in our community continue to suffer even though we are eating “gluten-free”. And I’m telling you, after 30 days of clean eating, it ain’t just the gluten that’s our issue. It’s our food. So stop eating crap if you want to feel good.


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19 thoughts on “Got Celiac? Wanna Feel Better? Stop. Eating. Crap.”

  1. Thank you!! It falls on deaf ears alot of the time. Aldi is great for whole foods at a good price, but read the ingredients in Live Gfree products and that includes their wraps and breads. It’s nothing but sugar and starch, starch and more starch. That’s not food. That’s frankenfood. Faux food. I can’t eat that stuff.
    Your message is getting through to some.

  2. You are what you eat. I had IBS and SIBO when I was diagnosed as a Celaic in Oct 2014. I went on two diets which really restricted my food for about 10 months along with going gluten free. I went on the low FODMAP diet and the paleo autoimmune diet. I never ate out at restaurants so I could control all ingredients in my food and and have zero risk of cross contamination. By the end of the 10 months my energy level was way up and I was putting on weight again. I had lost a lot of weight before and was looking sickly. I went for blood tests and an endoscopy. Both showed amazing results. My antibodies that respond to gluten were super low and my duodenum showed no signs of Celiac damage. I had fully healed, at least in the area the doctor could see. My doctor and nutritionist were surprised how quickly I healed and I know that is due to my diet. Also IBS and SIBO are now gone. So yes. Eating mostly things that are naturally gluten free really helps.

  3. Just my thinking today !! With your first post on Whole 30, I started researching, which led me to AIP. I started AIP last summer and was feeling great. And then came the holidays…When you give in to sugars and starches, it’s soooo difficult to focus to get back on track. When you said you went Whole30 again, that got me thinking I should start over again, too. I did !Since last week, I’ve been strict on AIP again and I’m feeling 90 % my old self again. YESSSS ! I’ve been working for 8 hours today already and I still have a few more good hours in me. Still loaded up on energy while sipping chicken soup with veggies from time to time all day long, and nothing else. That would have been unthinkable last month, when I barely got to 4-5 hours a day before brain fog took over.

  4. I finished my first Whole30 about 10 days ago and although I could start the reintroduction plan, I’m honestly not in a huge hurry. I like how I am feeling right now and I like the control I have over my cravings. At this current time, food no longer controls me! Sure, I finally had a cocktail the other day, but then a massive stomachache followed, so need to think about that. I am actually not missing legums or any grains, and although I wouldn’t mind some cheese, I have a feeling dairy is my enemy, so I haven’t been keen on adding it in. As for sugar, I haven’t pursued anything on purpose, but I did want some ketchup with some fries one day and ran out of my sugar-free salad dressing, so using what I have, but for the most part, I am sticking to clean eating in a very paleo-esque way. I feel great and I am so glad I took your advice! Thanks again for sharing this world with me!

  5. Thankful for Whole Foods

    Great post! I am thinking of Whole 30ing It….soon… maybe. Love reading your experience!

    I have a question regarding the Lucky Charms. NEVER, EVER, EVER would that be part of my regular diet. But I work with kids and some of them can’t eat gluten like me. And St. Patty’s Day is coming up and it would be a fun thing for this ONE TIME during the year. But, are the Lucy Charms gluten free (actually not gluten free) like Cheerios are gluten free (actually NOT gluten free)? Are they using the same sorting process for the oats as they do for the Cheerios?

    1. They are using the exact same sorting process as Cheerios. I highly recommend finding a company that does it right and that has the celiac community in their best interest.

      1. thankful for whole foods

        Thank you Dude! I will NEVER buy ANY product from a company which uses that sorting process for oats. So we will have our St. Patrick’s Day fun with stickers and be all the healthier for it…no gluten, no sugar, no artificial colors… .. : )
        P.s. I love the GD blog!🍀

  6. For about 3 months I have stopped eating dairy, soda, and alcohol( only had 1 drink since November) and I feel much more energetic. The winter kills me too. I barely have energy. I’ve noticed too that if I eat too much gluten free junk/ pre-packaged food that I feel crappy. Glad this works for you!!!!!!

  7. I have been seriously cutting back on the GF store bought foods for my diabetic celiac husband. The GF foods were causing his blood sugar to rise too high because of too much sugar and starch. We have been doing a Whole30 approach and his weight and blood sugar numbers have dropped. Thanks for sharing your journey and validating our food choices.

  8. Needed this today. Desperately needed to hear this today. Feeling tired and miserable and the reminder was perfect timing to get up and do something about it. Thank you GD!

  9. Gluten dude, can you share the recipes you posted for you 30 day cleanse, specifically the salmon with zoodles and the chicken with roasted vegetables? I feel sick and have moderate to severe celiac symptoms when I try to eat gluten free foods or eat in restaurants, the same diet for 25 years gets old! thanks for the reminder I recommit today!

  10. I am coming out of a vicious accidental glutening. Destroyed me for a month darn near. Today, before I even read this great commentary I decided to try cutting out sugar. But I have a wicked sweet tooth. No chocolate, though. Milk hurts just as bad if not worse these days. Thanks for encouraging me!

  11. Did you ever cook for Mrs. Dude on this diet? Would Mrs. Dude mind sharing recipes? Or is there a website you can point us to that has good recipes? Been on a road trip since November and feeling like road kill. Will be off the road and in a house without wheels, with a real kitchen, next week. New home, new state, new diet. Hopefully new me. Thanks for the reminder that most gf food is just empty calories.

  12. HA HA! I never thought about the leprechaun’s big eyes! So funny.

    On a more serious note, the only thing on that list I haven’t already given up due to allergies, etc. is legumes. They are a protein source for me because too much meat has negative repercussions in my system. And I would seriously miss Kettle Brand Backyard BBQ chips. The tougher part is getting the mister to join in but I will share your results with him and see…

    Thanks for sharing!

  13. This is an interesting post. I actually kind of eat like this too – I am not consciously doing a whole30 diet or anything, I just make all my food starting from basic ingredients, as I did before I was diagnosed with celiac. But I have a question: do you avoid rice/millet/quinoa/legumes? Why? I feel they’re good for a gluten free diet. Also, I am a recovering vegetarian (means: I was vegetarian but now I am not anymore because without gluten it is too difficult to eat vegetarian), but even if I eat fish and meat I had various doctors saying that you shouldn’t eat it too often because it is not that great for you, especially red meat. I know you’re not a doctor but suggestions are welcome because I really want to feel good and even if I am eating gluten-free I definitely don’t feel super well… Thanks!

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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 didn’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, I’ve done my job.

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