Well, I quit.
(This was uttered last week on Wednesday afternoon as I drove home from school in a complete fog with no energy.)
Couple that with a sore throat and the anticipation of upcoming weekend travel and festivities (we flew to Louisiana for my cousin’s wedding), I decided it was best to just throw in the towel. I wasn’t giving up wheat for any ‘important’ reason, such as an allergy, and I didn’t want to experience any sort of GI distress should I begin eating wheat while out of town.
So, I promptly ate a cookie.
I’m back to eating (somewhat) normally, although being out of town always seems to wreck havoc on my diet.
Here are my observations from the second week:
-Last Sunday was the first day I felt almost totally fine eating wheat free. While a bit fatigued on my morning run, otherwise I felt fine. Upbeat, energy and no cravings for anything.
-Still no weight-loss.
-Limited energy. This was to be expected and it seemed like my energy level was on the upswing, until…
-I got a cold. While I can’t say for certainty that my going wheat-free caused me to come down with a cold, I can say that a lack of wheat in the diet probably didn’t help. Wheat germ is known for its immune-boosting properties, so I wasn’t doing myself any favors by skipping it. It started with a slight sore throat on Wednesday, which progressed into a worse sore throat and then to full-on drainage and constant nose-blowing to present. Let’s just say that flying with a head cold is NO FUN. I may have been worried that incorporating wheat back into my diet would ruin my weekend with family; instead my head cold just about did. (Disclaimer: I do tend to get sick around this time each semester from being worn-down, but the timing couldn’t have been worse on this one.)
All in all, I learned a lot from this ‘experiment.’ First of all, any diet that excludes an entire food/food group should be approached with EXTREME caution. Removing wheat from my diet (whether I made it through the withdrawal phase or not), only brought negative side effects, such as:
-decreased regularity, energy, brain function and immunity
-zero weight loss
-decreased workout quality
On the positive side, I now have a personal experience from which to draw on when I counsel patients/clients about wheat-free and no/low-carb diets, as well as a greater understanding of what it’s like to be on a special diet for bona-fide allergies or intolerance, such as a gluten-free diet for those with Celiac’s.
I also have a desire to make sure the grains I am consuming are WHOLE grains, not just ’empty calories’ like those found in pretzels or some crackers and things. I’m looking forward to getting back on track with a normal diet and exercise once this cold passes.