Beating Wheat

Jan 19-27 036It’s Monday morning, January 27. I’m on day 8 of a no-wheat diet.

To clarify, I use the word “diet” the way it’s truly intended, as in the foods one eats, rather than as a plan designed for weight-loss.

I’ve tried a week of gluten-free (essentially, no wheat) eating before and it was hard. I knew at the end of that week that there was no way this was going to become a lifestyle change. Life is too short, you know?

But then last year, I gave up sugar. I ate less sugar over the course of the entire year last year than I have most weeks of my lifetime. It was hard at first, but then it was easy. People asked me all year long: “How do you do that? I could never do that.” Truth is, I never thought I could do it either. But then I did. And I discovered that sugar-free was much better for me. I gave up sugar because I want to avoid diabetes, because I linked it to mood swings, because I felt like it was poisoning me and keeping me from losing weight.

I’m giving up wheat for basically the same reasons. Plus, it’s linked to joint pain and body aches and I’ve had plenty of those lately.

Honestly, there are a lot of studies lately about the nutritional uselessness of wheat, and studies about how it affects blood sugar, and studies about how it’s packing weight on our mid-sections and inflaming our insides. I’ve been studying that for awhile, but still felt there was no way I could stop eating bread and pasta and breaded things (remember, I already gave up cakes and cookies and pies, so that didn’t figure into my decision).

On Monday morning of last week, I woke up very early, as I did this Monday morning. I wasn’t ready to get out of the warm bed just yet, so I flipped through my Stitcher podcast list and remembered that Monday mornings mean a new “A Decided Difference” podcast. Honestly, right now, I can’t remember the exact words LouAnn said that specifically caused me to get out of bed with a resolve to kick my wheat habit, but you can listen to the excellent episode here.

I got out of bed and, aside from the mid-week headaches, I have not had any trouble avoiding wheat. The process is really similar to avoiding sugar, actually.

The first step to wheat avoidance is label reading. Well, I’ve been a label reader since middle school, when my best friend Maggie taught me how to do that. Wheat is listed as an allergen now, so it’s even easier to spot.

The second step is planning ahead. My lunch for today was packed last night and includes snack foods. It’s full of fruit and veggies and a bowl of the potato soup I made in the crock pot yesterday.

The third step was telling people that I’m doing it. I kept my mouth shut until Thursday when the headache was really bad. I realized at that point that I could forget about this insanity and go get a foot-long veggie delite at Subway and the only person who would know I quit was Jason. And seriously, if Jason ever starts judging me for the food choices I make…(have you seen that guy eat?) So I posted on Facebook. I can’t quit now–everyone knows I’m giving up wheat and if I quit, they’ll all know I couldn’t hack it in the no-wheat world.

Other things I’m doing aren’t really steps, but are important to the process for me: reading about other people giving up wheat (blogs and websites), exercise, lots of water, prayer and self-pep talks.

I’ve made it to Day 8. The only physical change I’ve noticed so far is that my legs hurt a lot less and I am able to move more “lightly.” That may only make sense to me. I’ll try again: It feels less like my feet are glued to the floor when I’m doing Zumba or walking–less resistance, I guess.

I do appreciate your support! Let me know if you’re embarking on any new endeavors so I can support you as well!

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