I’m now beyond 90 days, and I am really embracing the nutrition program in the YRG guide. In my first 90 days I gave up dairy pretty easily (I was already vegetarian, so I just made the leap to being a vegan). I added more vegetables to my diet. As I was calorie-tracking, having something cheap that I could eat cups and cups of for under 100 calories (grilled zucchini, squash and mushrooms) was a welcome addition. All-in-all, I was pretty darn close to nailing down the Phase III plan with minimal modifications to my diet. Except gluten.
I loved me some gluten. I loved eating pasta. I loved eating the 3/4 of a bagel my daughter never got through when we went around the grocery store. I especially loved chowing down on my daughter’s Earth’s Best Crunchin’ Crackers. And I did so with impunity. I know I am not one of the 40% of people who is wandering around with undiagnosed Celiac disease or gluten allergies. I had a blood test a couple of years ago.
But I am now celebrating 2 weeks of being gluten-free. Why am I bothering? My reasons are twofold:
- 100% of people shouldn’t be eating gluten. Like I said, I know I am not allergic to gluten in any way, shape or form, but that didn’t stop it from affecting me negatively. I figured this out when I used to eat gluten sausages (vegan sausages made from pure gluten). I would make large batches of them, and eat them like I was doing so competitively. After eating them for a number of meals in a row, I would become constipated for days on end, and I would have flatulence that could have been classified as weapons-grade! The problem with being constipated from a dieting perspective is that you’re not going to get thin if things aren’t moving through you in a prompt manner. When things get stuck, your body has a longer time to absorb calories and, if it’s stuck long enough, toxins start getting absorbed back too! That’s not good in many ways, and can slow your metabolism, and make you too fatigued to workout. Bad, bad, bad!
- Knees. I know; it sounds whacky. But I have knees damage from a mix of high-impact activities in my past, and bad genes. Gluten certainly didn’t cause it, but it certainly exacerbates the heck out of it! Here’s how: when you eat gluten, sugar, refined carbs, etc., it spikes your blood glucose level. That causes your body to be in a state of inflammation. In response, your body dumps insulin into your bloodstream which cause you too store all that bood sugar as fat, leaving you with a low blood sugar which makes you feel hungry even though you’re not. But back to the inflammation. First, when you hear inflammation, think cancer risk! But specific to knees, inflammation worsens pain and swelling around bad joints. That’s why taking anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen, and icing sore joints is a standard piece of advice for treating sore joints. But why induce the inflammation, and then stress your liver with medications to reduce it, when you can avoid it altogether with simple diet modifications?
So, I am a fortnight into riding gluten from my system, and I feel a lot better. My knees aren’t 100%, but I have seen an improvement there, and my digestive tract has never been happier!
Now to limit fruits to the morning… eek!