Friday, March 01, 2013

free eating

Our decision to go gluten free started a year ago.  To be honest, it really started years ago, before me and the hub were even married.  Brad has always been sensitive to wheat, so we've never really been wheat fiends.  And we still eat wheat on occasion.  No, we do not have celiac disease.  But we are all gluten intolerant.  It not only bothers our tummies when eaten in large amounts, but it also effects our moods and behavior.

Will was really struggling in school.  Not academically, but socially and emotionally.  He was starting to have some serious breakdowns that were beginning to affect his work.  And then one day, he got this crazy rash around his eyes.  We hadn't switched laundry soap and it wasn't seasonal allergies.  So my thoughts turned to food, as usual ;)

I'd like to think we eat pretty healthy.  We're wary of food dyes, high fructose corn syrup, and MSG.  And now I've added wheat and dairy to our watch list.  The rash cleared up and has never returned.  We made a few other changes at home (like limiting screen time), and Will's behavior has improved.  He stopped acting out and shutting down.  He's always been an intense child, has a hard time focusing, and gets distracted easily.  But he's a boy, and instead of labeling him as something he's not (ADHD), we've worked on improving our diet and I've seen a noticeable change.

We still limit our wheat and dairy intake, and anytime I get lax on it Will reacts almost immediately.  It's usually after a difficult week at home/school that I'll start to look back on what we've been eating.  That slice of birthday cake, the cookie at church, and the crackers at school start to add up and it shows.  I've also noticed that the kids are more tired, ornery and have dark circles under their eyes whenever we eat too much wheat/dairy.

Actually, we're all sick and tired after a wheat/dairy binge.  So it's best to just save it for special occasions.  Besides, I think most people can afford to eat less wheat.  I love the challenge going gluten free has presented me with.  Did you know that there are 19 whole grains?  NINETEEN!!!  If anything, eat less wheat so you can eat more (other) grains.  Think of all the nutrients and flavors you might be missing out on!

I understand how intimidating it might be to change your eating habits.  But it is entirely possible and not nearly as impossible as you might think!  I know that going gluten free is viewed as the latest food fad, but feel free to use that to your advantage.  There are so many more foods readily available.  It's never been easier to experiment with more grains than it is today.  Just remember that the less processed you eat, the better.

Also, going gluten free is not necessarily a weight-loss miracle cure. Some people can, and do, lose weight by going gluten free because they start eating a more whole-food diet.  It's great that you can find so many gluten free snacks and treats nowadays, but again, save those for special occasions.  Instead, eat more fruits and vegetables.  And please, eat more grains.  Experiment, and have fun.  And enjoy food again.

Because it's not about what you can't eat, it's about what you can eat!  *B

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