Since moving to Chicago (and shortly before), I have loosened up on my stringent gluten-free lifestyle. I have plastered these posts with pictures of sandwiches, pizza, and donuts. If you have been reading for awhile you know that I did an elimination diet some months ago to see if gluten was the culprit behind my randomly distended stomach issues. After 4 weeks, I didn’t notice a huge difference, but stuck with it just to be safe. When I reintroduced it to see how I reacted, I came to the conclusion that gluten didn’t have a huge effect on me, but when I didn’t have it I also was free from a puffy stomach.
Briefly, gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (a newer grain). It acts as a binder that helps foods maintain their shape and elasticity. Before jumping into the why of my decision to devour gluten in all its forms, I want to clarify the difference between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. The following table also illustrates some facts about wheat allergy, which is even less prevalent.
I do not have celiac disease, or my decision to eat gluten again would prove idiotic, but I did suspect that I had some type of gluten sensitivity. I had had this stomach issue for years and I couldn’t pin point what was causing it. There never seemed to be a common denominator between when I would eat something and when it would look like I was a few months pregnant. I had seen pictures of people who were sensitive to gluten and after eating it, they looked like me. I think I wanted gluten to be the culprit so I found ways to convince myself that it was. I didn’t experience any of the other symptoms of gluten sensitivity such as balance issues, brain fogginess, or headaches.
I felt that the less I ate gluten, the less puffy I felt, but what I now attribute that to is finally eating the way that my body wanted me to. I ate a lot of quinoa, salads, fish, eggs, and very little carbs such as bread and pasta. After eating gluten-free for a few months, I realized that my body simply performed better without so many carbohydrates. It wasn’t particularly about the gluten in them. If I wanted to have some pizza, I would have pizza. If I had an occasional sandwich, I was fine. After awhile it seemed like too much work when I didn’t medically need to avoid it.
Since being here I have had my fair share of bread products in all their delicious forms and my stomach has not revolted. The only thing that I know to cause it is milk, especially raw milk, and I have the pictures to prove it. So my game plan is just to limit the amount of carbs I have in general. No, I’m not going all Atkins crazy, just shifting my proportions. Fueling during race training was interesting, but I made it through with a lot of baked potatoes and rice. Maybe this time around I can grab some more pizza at Blaze.
Thanks for reading! I’m also linking up with Amanda for Thursday’s Thinking Out Loud.
Update: I raised all of the money I needed for my personal training certification in 2 days! I will be signing up soon and barraging you with all sorts of information during the process 🙂
Question of the day: Are you gluten free? Have you stopped being gluten free? Tell me your stories!