wheat-free re-cap: week 1.5

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.





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