In an effort to combat vitiligo holistically, my husband decided to go gluten free. That means that I have also gone gluten free by default. We didn’t make this decision lightly; we did a fair amount of research. I am really embarrassed to admit that at one time, I didn’t care where my food came from. As long as it was pleasing to my taste buds, I was happy. I never gave much thought to the impact this approach would have on my health.
After watching the documentary “Food Inc”, I knew I needed to be more mindful of where my meat came from. If you haven’t seen it yet, I strongly urge you to watch it. It will change the way you look at food forever. Even after watching the documentary, I didn’t give much thought to something as simple as grains. As long as I stick to whole grains and avoid highly processed foods, I should be good to go, right? Not necessarily. Thanks to scientists fiddling around with the properties of wheat for the sake of increasing yield and durability, we are left with a product that our body isn’t quite able to translate.
I can’t speak for everyone when I mention the benefits of going wheat-free; I can only share my own experiences. Now if you have been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I am a hypochondriac. I’ve successfully diagnosed myself without needing any input from medical professionals. You can laugh if you want, but I know my own body. One of the disorders I believe I have is Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS. I should warn you that I am about to take a left turn into the land of TMI, so you may want to leave this page if you are squeamish about that sort of thing. If not, grab a cup of coffee and let me tell you all about my bathroom habits.
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with gallstones. Yes, actually diagnosed by a medical professional after a bout of biliary colic put me in the hospital. Gallstones are calcified or hardened bile. I have so many of these stones that my gallbladder is pretty much nonfunctioning. You may wonder why that’s such a big deal. That’s where the TMI comes in. Bile is necessary for digesting fat. If your gallbladder can’t release bile to digest all the fat in that monster grilled cheese sandwich you had at lunch, guess what happens to the fat? It leaves the body indigested. And its exit is not a pleasant one. The fat is apparently disgruntled at having been told to leave the club after having just arrived not long ago, so it decides to wreak havoc on its way out. This means the unsuspecting consumer of a monster grilled cheese sandwich is going to experience some really nasty gastro intestinal effects. Diarrhea is the most prevalent. And of course, Diarrhea is a coward who can’t show up without his posse. His homeboys Gas, Cramps, Cold Sweat, and Goosebumps act as emcees announcing his arrival. And they don’t wait until for a convenient opening. Whether you are in the checkout line at the grocery store or in a meeting with a group of executives, Diarrhea and his crew are coming through with live entertainment at your expense.
You may wonder what one issue has to do with the other. Well, one of the symptoms of gluten intolerance just so happens to be the body’s inability to absorb fat. I usually keep tablets of Pepto Bismol in my purse to avoid public humiliation when I am eating away from home. Now I am not going to tell you that eliminating wheat will change your life, but it changed mine. At a potluck recently, I indulged in some foods containing moderate amounts of fat. And I had no side effects. Guacamole was tolerated without as much as a whimper from my lower half. Considering the amount of fat in avocadoes, I never would have expected to eat guacamole without the accompaniment of pink bismuth. I also managed to eat sautéed veggies without embarrassment. Clearly, fat is not the culprit here.
I’m not sure if I’m ready to diagnose myself with Celiac Disease, but I am claiming gluten intolerance for now. I miss bread, but more for its convenience than flavor. Avoiding gluten seems to have reduced my cravings for carbs, which leads me to believe that crack is a real component of gluten. I’m not kidding; there is something suspiciously addictive about the food we are eating.
Since giving gluten the boot, I’ve actually dropped a little more weight. As of today, I am down a total of 43 pounds. I put my hands on my waist today and it dawned on me that I actually have a waist again.
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