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The Great (G-free) Experiment: Officially Off, But Lessons Learned

October 14, 2009

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Well, it’s officially been a week since I hopped off the gluten-free bandwagon, and I have to say: I am thrilled to back among the wheat-eaters.

I tried to start slow, eating a piece of toast, enjoying a beer or two. But after a couple days, I answered the siren song of a big bowl of whole wheat penne – and I felt fine! As much as I felt that gluten-free wasn’t working for me, I was still surprised that the transition back was as simple as it was. I figured I’d feel some sort of shift in my body, but I honestly didn’t.

My stomach continued in its usual pattern of being bothered by certain things and not by others, with no discernable pattern. My mood was actually better the first couple days back on gluten than it had been the previous few days, when I was still gluten-free.

So I think it’s safe to say that being gluten-free is not a solution for me. And as much I’ve enjoyed being able to drink beer again, and enjoy a bowl of pasta or a deli sandwich, I’m also a bit disappointed.

I really enjoyed throwing myself into this way of eating, connecting with fellow g-free people through food blogs, and trying their recipes. I really came to admire those people, who have to stick to the gluten-free diet to survive and fearlessly uncover delicious gluten-free alternatives to their old favorite foods. When I was seriously considering that this might be a solution for me, I was encouraged by the gluten-free community – they made it seem not only doable, but enjoyable.

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But it seems it’s not the answer for me. I’m frustrated to still not have found a solution to the stomach problems that have plagued me for years – the search continues. But while it turns out that I didn’t figure out a way to make my stomach better, I do come away from this with a newfound respect for people who do have to eat this way, and the careful attention they have to pay to everything they put in their bodies.

And that is a fantastic lesson that I will most definitely be taking with me. I became much more conscious of strange ingredients, additives, preservatives, and so many other unnecessary things put into the foods I would unthinkingly eat every day. Thanks to my raised awareness, I now scour all ingredients panels, and if I can’t pronounce something in the list, I put it down.

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So this experiment was definitely not a waste of time. It may not have given me the health solutions I had hoped for, but I learned some important lessons about food that can benefit everyone, regardless of diet. My main take-away mantra: always know what’s in your food!

Bon (g-free no more) appetit,

Molli

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