Why I Stopped Being Gluten-Free

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.

OB-NA555_GRAIN0_NS_20110314203603

(source)

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!

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18 Comments

  1. December 4, 2014 / 10:19 am

    I have experimented with gluten-free and including gluten in my diet, as well as various gluten-free grains, dairy, etc. While I find that dairy is OK, it does make my chin break out. And my digestion is very sluggish from most wheats and grains resulting in that poofy stomach. But who knows? One of those things to keep exploring. Thanks for the post!
    Lora recently posted…National Cookie Day: Christmas Sugar CookiesMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 4, 2014 / 12:07 pm

      Thanks for reading! Yeah it would be nice if there was just a clear cut answer!

  2. December 4, 2014 / 11:33 am

    I am probably about 90% gluten free. I started out with going grain free about 6 months ago to see if I could put a halt to my eat-all-the-things mentality. I dropped 5 pounds pretty quickly, I think because when you limit carbs your body (kidneys in particular) release a ton of fluid. About a month in, I binged on 2 beers and I’ve never been sicker in my life, but since then, none of it really seems to bother me other than a histamine response I get from beer and wine (I get really stuffed up, not sure why). I’ve reintroduced corn products and other gluten-free packaged products, most of which are rice flour, and I still have real beer. I avoid real breads and pastas mostly because I just don’t need the extra calories. My weight has crept back up but I’m also not marathon training right now. Going paleo-ish while marathon training made fueling runs very challenging so if I’m training for a distance event again, I’m going to eat grains. I’m trying to decide if I need to go grain free again for awhile to get back on track.
    Bari recently posted…WIAW: an apparently all the things weigh-inMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 4, 2014 / 12:09 pm

      I think i rememebr you commenting about GF fueling during my half marathon training. I see we both jumped back on the grain wagon for those long races!

  3. December 4, 2014 / 1:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing this!! I had the same thing happen a few months ago. I thought gluten was the culprit, but after doing the Advocare challenge (which is essentially low carb, with a focus on more complex carbs) I realized that like you, I just seem to do better when I include fewer carbs in my diet. Gluten isn’t so evil after all!!
    Stephanie @ My Freckled Life recently posted…FAQ about Baby FreckleMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 4, 2014 / 2:25 pm

      Especially in donut form!

  4. December 4, 2014 / 3:21 pm

    I’m not gluten-free, but definitely think that we don’t need as much of it as people are consuming (myself included) :). Desserts and bread are just so yummy!
    Jess @hellotofit recently posted…Take a break and do a side-plankMy Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 4, 2014 / 3:22 pm

      I know! I just have to be careful to not have them all the time. Good thing my donut quest is done!

  5. December 4, 2014 / 3:42 pm

    I feel like gluten is being so vilified these days that -everyone- is starting to think they might be sensitive to it. I definitely think that society as a whole eats too much wheat based products in general, and that that could lead to sensitivities, but I do think that the whole gluten free trend is going a little overboard… especially if people are only doing it to lose weight.
    Amanda @ .running with spoons. recently posted…. thinking out loud #107 .My Profile

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 4, 2014 / 3:45 pm

      Yeah me too. The funny thing is that people end up eating all the packaged GF foods that are sometimes even worse for you!

  6. Lauren
    December 4, 2014 / 5:13 pm

    HI!
    Loved reading this—but I am in a different boat. I did an elimination diet 3 years ago this month—-and added everything back BUT gluten–it changed my life–no more tummy aches…no more prego looking belly. I wasn’t ever officially tested bc I would have had to start eating gluten again. That just wasn’t worth it. At first I jumped on the GF product bandwagon–but then realized how bad that stuff is too–I eat it in very limited quantities.

    Love hearing about your Chicago life–we lived there for 10 years….Visit every summer:)

    Lauren

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 4, 2014 / 5:22 pm

      Im glad you at least figured out what the culprit was! Its great when youre able to figure out how to improve your life. Youll have to let me know if you have any chicagao advice!

      • Lauren
        December 4, 2014 / 7:13 pm

        I have lots insight and answers and TONS of friends still in the city–so if I can’t help, they definitely could! If you think of anything specific, ask away:)))

        LK

        • erinsinsidejob
          December 4, 2014 / 7:16 pm

          Thanks! I definitely will do!

  7. December 4, 2014 / 5:37 pm

    I’m not gluten free but I do eat far less than I used to. Our eating styles evolve and vary all the time. Good for you on getting your cert!

    • erinsinsidejob
      December 4, 2014 / 5:38 pm

      Well i can pay for it now at least…let the studying begin!

  8. December 4, 2014 / 6:47 pm

    I didn’t realize you went through an elimination diet, glad it’s moderately helpful without being restricting. It’s good to have the flexibility to eat what you’d like in moderation. Thankfully, I have no restriction to my diet, yet, hopefully I won’t have to because I really love food – especially cheese. Lol. 🙂 Have a great one and congrats on being able to register for your personal training certification! Have a great one and take care Erin! -Iva
    AwesomelyOZ recently posted…Happy Thanksgiving! What Americans Are Thankful ForMy Profile

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