My Gluten-Free Experiment

Over the last weekend of February I read Wheat Belly by William Davis. The basic premise of this book is that we consume way too much grain, and grain contributes to our health problems in ways we don’t even realize.

I decided I had nothing to lose by going gluten-free during my IVF cycle, and it may even help, so I dove in.

It was both easy and hard.

The hard part was eating out and social occasions. The first challenge came when we went to an Italian restaurant for my mom’s birthday. The menu was full of pastas and pizzas, and literally the only gluten-free item was eggplant. Luckily, it was drowned in cheese and pasta sauce so it was delicious! But it seriously limited my options.

I also had difficulties when we ate other people’s houses. For example, we went to Tom’s mother’s house for a family birthday celebration and everyone else was having pizza. Tom and I brought our own steaks and spinach to cook. Our meal was perfectly fine, but that pizza smelled so good!

It was easy in the sense that I found I really didn’t miss bread or other grains all that much. I was replacing them mostly with dairy (which some people don’t recommend, but full fat dairy is recommend for women trying to conceive), so I didn’t feel hungry.

Did it help with the IVF? I don’t know, but I do know felt a lot better physically! Despite the insane amount of drugs I was injecting myself with every day, I didn’t feel the same fatigue I usually did. Yes, I would get tired, but I no longer had that almost-overwhelming urge to take a nap after lunch. I didn’t feel like I was about to fall over from sleepiness like I normally would. That disappeared within 2 days of going gluten-free.

I lost about 5 pounds, which I wasn’t trying to do, but it showed me just how many calories I was getting from things like crackers, pasta, and bread.

Finally, I broke my gluten fast last weekend when I ordered grilled cheese for lunch at Chili’s. I was already feeling horrible due to the fact I had just gone off all my medications, cold turkey. I figured a little gluten couldn’t make it much worse.

I don’t know if it was the gluten, or the meds withdrawal, or a combination of both, but I basically spent the next 8 hours on the couch. I felt terrible the worst I had in a long time, both mentally and physically. While I don’t think I’ll be gluten-free, 100% of the time, forever (because it’s just not always practical or polite), I haven’t had anymore gluten since, and I’m planning on going gluten-free again during out next IVF cycle.

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Just a Spoonful of Sugar…

For 2012, I’ve decided not to make resolutions or goals.  I want to create habits instead.  I’ve decided to focus on one habit each month, and to share my progress on the blog for the purpose of accountability.

January Focus:  Reduce Added Sugar Intake

I feel like I eat less sugar than the average person, but there’s still room for improvement.  There’s a lot of evidence that supports reducing our intake of added sugar (and artificial sweeteners).

New Habits I’d Like to Form

  • Eat unsweetened yogurt.  I eat a lot of yogurt. I already made the switch last year from regular yogurt to Greek yogurt.  But I’ve been putting honey the Greek yogurt to sweeten it.  I want to wean myself off the honey and eat the yogurt plain or with berries.
  • Dilute juice.  I love apple juice and I’m not ready to give it up.  So I’m going to start diluting it (and any other juice I drink) with sparking water.
  • Eat more at work.  This may sound counter-intuitive, but eating more (healthy foods) at work during the day will help me avoid the temptation to scarf down whatever sugar-laden treat that happens to be available in the teacher’s room. I bring my lunch every day, but never I never seem to pack enough to get me through the 12-hour (commute included) day.

Does anyone have any ideas or tips on creating habits or reducing added sugar intake?

Scared Green

Today I threw out everything in my makeup drawer and medicine cabinet, except for two things. I switched to green cleaning products about a year ago, but today I finally made the leap to cosmetics. I’ve been very conscious of evaluating the credibility of the websites and books I’ve been reading, trying to determine if they’re legit or just based on paranoid tree-huggers.

There is some controversy, but it appears that many ingredients in lotions, creams, fragrances, hair products and other cosmetics have been linked to some pretty scary health conditions. Many of the ingredients are banned in other countries and controlled substances in cleaning products- so why would I slather them on my body? It was really hard to throw stuff away, since some things were new, and some things I’ve been using since I was 12. It’s also pretty scary to try to find alternatives, as many natural cosmetics are more expensive. The worst offenders in my medicine cabinet for the hair products- a particularly painful discovery for me since I’ve spent the last several years trying in vain to straighten my God-given perm.

Anyways, if you’re interested in learning more, check out this website: Skin Deep.

Also, here are some of the books/websites that have informed my thinking.