It is that time of the month for me at the moment. It used to be a time when I would prepare myself with water bottles, painkillers and get my “super-size clothes” out. You know the ones I mean—they are the slightly larger pair of pants or skirts which allow us to move and not feel the pain that we know will come on the days of our period. Certainly nothing tight and fitted and more than likely they are black!
Well, for the past 3 months I have not needed these bigger clothes so much because I am no longer getting the bloating. Though the pain is still there on day one and sometimes day two, the bloating and swollen abdomen thing is simply not there anymore. It is amazing! My abdomen is flat and looks totally normal. This was never the case! I used to swell up like a balloon and have heaps of pressure down there. I felt pregnant and incredibly fat and bloated. Now I have soreness but not that bloating or swollen feeling.
It got me thinking why this could be. I would have to say it relates back to gluten. I cut out gluten completely about 5 months ago and the transformation has been amazing.
Here are some of the symptoms I am no longer experiencing:
- Digestive issues
- Lethargy after meals
- Mushy brain syndrome—what I call it—forgetfulness or inability to think straight.
The bloating one was always a big one. I felt like a balloon that just needed to be popped!
So, for those of you, who are new to the whole thing of cutting out gluten or you want to get into cutting it out… here are my tips on how to do it:
1. Replace what you currently eat with the opposite, not the same
When we cut out foods from our diet, we feel a sense of loss or that we are missing out on something. The key is not to try and replace what you are losing with an often inferior replacement immediately. I noticed this with bread. Bread with gluten in it will always taste better. It is just inevitable! The reason it tastes better is simply because the gluten
allows it to be “light and fluffy”. Most of the gluten free bread is just not as good. Maybe you have better selections in your country but here the choices are limited and unfortunately just not close to the real thing.
The problem is, if you go straight from real bread to gluten free bread, it will taste nasty and you will just feel like “this is way too hard!” The trick I found is to not even try and replace or try and use a “gluten free” variety of any of the foods. Replace your bread with a better meal choice altogether—have a salad instead or a soup or something which doesn’t need any bread in it whatsoever. That way, you won’t even miss it… or compare it to the real thing!
Pasta was a big one for me too. I just don’t eat it now because the gluten free stuff is just not as good. I would rather eat rice or roasted vegetables.
2. Planning is important
Unfortunately, gluten is just everywhere. If you are going out and about and don’t think ahead on what you are going to eat for lunch/dinner beforehand, you will inevitably grab the sandwich, muffin or other wheat-filled meal. Sushi is my favorite when I am out and about but often I just pack some apples, carrots and some rice crackers and that usually ties me over until I can get home.
3. Get creative and really think about what you eat and when
It is easy to eat gluten. It is easy to grab toast for breakfast or have cereal. It is easy to have a bowl of pasta for lunch and it is easy to sneak a biscuit for morning tea. Thing is, not only do these contain gluten but they often don’t actually help your healing. Cereal and bread and most foods that contain gluten are nutrient-poor. When we have to get creative with our foods, we actually think about what we eat more and make better choices. Ideally we should be eating fruits and vegetables from the minute we wake until midday. This is the time when the body detoxifies. Fruit salad actually takes almost as long as waiting for the toaster to pop. It is a little bit more effort but it will give your healing a total boost! Replace with fruits and vegetables and you will feel a massive difference!
4. Keep track of what you are experiencing
It is important to keep a “body diary”. Make a note of everything you experience. Write down the day you had a headache, felt nauseous, felt “mushy in the brain” and how you felt. This will be your motivator to look back on in the future, so make it as accurate as you can.
5. Set a goal
I initially didn’t really think gluten could be doing that much to my body. After all, I didn’t feel terrible when I ate it. I said I would only do 2 months on it and see how I went. Set your own goal. Make it a month or more and see how you feel. Naturally, you have to go completely gluten free to prove or disprove this.