Cutting Down on Gluten. I Have To and I Hate It
I’m cutting down on my gluten intake and I hate it because I love bread, and cereal, and crackers, and bread. Did I mention bread twice? But here’s the thing – if I want to feel healthy I have to cut down or remove gluten from my diet.
For the sake of being transparent, I have no scientific or medical evidence that suggests I need to be on a gluten-free or gluten-restricted diet. I’m only sharing my experience because I’m listening to my body.
With rosacea, the skin on my face is inflamed, itchy, and irritated with an outbreak of what appears to be acne, rough skin patches, and dry peeling nose. My face is always red and it looks like I have a chronic blush. At nearly 50 years old, this is ridiculous!
Then there’s the heartburn; the prevailing acid burn in the middle of my chest, or worse, waking up in the middle of the night because I burped and threw up in my mouth. Yes, it’s gross!
And after years of listening to my body the common denominator for both the rosacea and heartburn is… You guessed it – gluten.
“If you know it, Meredith, why the hell do you keep eating that stuff?”
Why? WHY!? Because bread, and pizza, and pasta, cookies, cake, crackers and beer… Hell, even soy sauce has gluten in it. When I binge eat the gluten products, I eat until my face flares up and the heartburn punishes me further. Let me preface this with saying that I don’t mean ‘binge eating’ as the eating disorder but rather the addictive nature and unwillingness to stop eating gluten products once I’ve started.
Sometimes I feel really stupid because I know it’s bad for me. When my body recovers, the heartburn goes away, my face isn’t always red and irritated, and I’m tempted once more. I want a delicious grilled cheese sandwich or something, then BOOM, I’m on the hamster wheel of gluten cravings again. It’s a vicious cycle.
Did you know?
Gluten has been tied to compulsive overeating and gluten addiction. According to some studies found in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who eat gluten products average about 400 more calories per day. This is linked to the gluten “rush” that causes a euphoric feeling, which also stimulates one’s appetite.
I have noticed that once I eat bread products, I tend to snack on crackers or pretzels, which then leads to chocolates and ice cream. My logical brain tells me I’m not hungry but my addicted brain tells me I need to chew.
When my work life and home life gets stressful or really busy, I tend to let healthy eating fall to the wayside. Throwing together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a small bowl of Goldfish crackers is quick and I can eat and work at my desk.
Of course, gluten isn’t the only contributing factor to my rosacea but there are some things I will never give up – like coffee. You can take away the bread but you’ll be taking my coffee mug away from my cold dead hands before I give that up. Happily, coffee doesn’t bother my digestive system so there’s no heartburn. If so, I’d probably be a very sad and miserable person.
In Ann Louise Gittleman’s article “Got Problems with Gluten? You Are Not Alone!” , wheat seems to go hand in hand with bloating, fatigue and abdominal cramping. She also suggests that anyone removing gluten from their diet needs to get plenty of fiber. Because I have sensitivity to wheat and oats, I’ve been looking at substitutes that are healthier options for me. And if it provides gut health and rids me of my belly bloat, even better.
It’s been three days since I’ve significantly decreased my gluten consumption. I had a bacon cheeseburger with tomato and pickle on a lettuce “bun” and it was delicious! It will take a couple of weeks for my body to “detox” from the gluten. I’m already grumpy and tired but I’m not snacking as much and I’m already sleeping better.
What is your experience with gluten? Are you going through belly bloat, gluten addiction and cravings? I’d love to know! Connect with me and tell me your story.