I recently cut gluten and dairy out of my diet. This may be a very controversial decision and there are a lot of loaded opinions for and against it, but it was a decision I made for myself, based on my own body. I am not a nutritionist or dietician or certified in anything, so I would never tell anyone what decisions to make about their eating habits or food choices, but I thought I would share the reasons why I made this decision and how I’ve implemented it into my super busy, soccer-mom lifestyle in case it might be beneficial to someone else.
Why I Chose to Cut Out Gluten and Dairy
For as long as I can remember, I’ve suffered from horrible digestive issues. Sometimes it can lead to excruciating pain and other times I’m just left very uncomfortable and grumpy. But most days, I was having some type of digestive issue.
My mom tells stories about me as a child at the dinner table, complaining about my stomach hurting to get out of eating. We know now I probably wasn’t making it up since I still have stomach pains pretty much daily!
In college, it got so bad that I finally decided to go to the doctor about it. They ran a few tests and found that I do, somehow, digest more quickly than most people, but didn’t find out much else. And since I was still young, in college, working a lot and had a life, I wasn’t good about following up with my doctor’s visits. Basically, I never really found out what the problem was, but just continued living with it.
Now that I’m a full-fledged adult, I really need to get to the doctor about all of this, and I’ve promised myself that I will. But until then, I decided to “test the water” myself a little so that I could have more information to give the doctor. So, several months ago, I decided to cut dairy and gluten from my diet completely for two weeks to see if anything would happen.
After two days I could already tell a difference. My stomach was less bloated, I wasn’t having quite as much pain, and I honestly felt more energetic. After a week, I was feeling amazing. My skin started clearing up — although not completely, but I’ll go into my acne problems in another post. I experienced little to no stomach pain throughout the day, and, let’s just say I was using the restroom less – more like a NORMAL person!
Another added bonus, after 2 weeks, I had lost about 3.5 pounds that I had been having trouble losing. You know those pesky last few pounds you just can’t get rid of, when you plateau with your workouts and diet? Well, this got me over that plateau. This isn’t to say it’s the ONLY reason I lost a few pounds/inches – I do workout 4-6 days a week – but it definitely helped me out!
How I’ve Incorporated This Diet Into My Life
I hate the word diet. I don’t like to “diet” because they are temporary fixes for long-term issues/goals. And as cliché as it is, as much as I hate to say it, this was much more of a lifestyle change for me. If I don’t think of something as a diet, as something temporary, I have much better chances of success. I don’t know about other people, but that’s just how I work. So, for the first two weeks, I knew I was just testing this out to see if there was any change. But after that, when I KNEW cutting gluten and dairy out of my diet made me feel better, I changed my mindset.
Making this a part of my regular life doesn’t make me one of those people who won’t eat anything at a party because it all has gluten or dairy in it. It doesn’t make me one of those people who won’t go anywhere or do anything because I just CAN’T have ANY gluten or dairy or I might implode. I don’t have celiac disease. Eating gluten or dairy won’t kill me – it might make me uncomfortable for a bit, but I’m not going to end up in the hospital.
Instead, I enjoy my life. I try to choose foods that don’t have gluten or dairy when I can. But sometimes, I want that freaking piece of cake or my family’s cheesy potatoes at a party, and I’m going to have some and I’m going to ENJOY it. And while I might feel a bit yucky later, since I don’t have these items on my every-day menu, I get through it and I move on.
We lead very busy lives. I am a single mom to an extremely active 7-year-old boy and if we don’t stay active, he could potentially implode – only kidding. But anyone with REALLY active kids definitely understands! Because of this, I often have to make quick meals, or even eat out (HEAVEN FORBID!) and that means not always having exactly what I want available. I’ve found there are gluten-free and dairy-free options at most places, as long as you’re willing to take a look at the menu and figure out how to adjust some things.
I have become a lover of lettuce-wraps instead of sandwiches and have even done burgers wrapped in lettuce instead of on a bun. I’ve also found one of my favorite meals to be sautéed spiralized zucchini with eggs scrambled in and some deli turkey cooked in the pan beside them. Something about this meal is so filling and leaves me feeling satisfied without that “too full” or bloated feeling.
Since I’ve started viewing eating as not only a way to nourish my body and give it what it needs, but also as something I’m allowed to actually ENJOY, I’ve really started having a better relationship with food and living a much happier life. I listen to my body. If I’m hungry, I eat. If I’m not hungry, I stop. Life is all about balance and sometimes it can be hard to find that right balance, but listening to your body and paying attention to what makes you feel bad is a great start.