For one week, I decided to go completely gluten-free. I avoided anything made of or containing wheat, barley and rye. Researching these food restrictions, I discovered I couldn’t have most soups, most salad dressings, most sodas and most snacks, because if they weren’t made with wheat products, they could be contaminated by them. I couldn’t have Starbucks either (unless I ordered a regular cup of coffee) because of their syrups; my beloved latte would have to be replaced by tea. Going gluten-free pretty much eliminated anything super processed, too, since a lot of foods contain binding agents made of wheat.
I had to completely clean out my cabinets. Let me tell you: I’m a pasta fiend. I love mac ‘n cheese and spaghetti and I just love just eating a French baguette straight out of the bag. If I could, I would eat bagels for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I bought a jumbo bag of Chex Mix a few days before which I sadly had to give away to an owner that could love it and cherish it more than I could. But I was ready. I could do this.
Before I go into the details of my week of dieting, I just want to say that I understand that choosing to eat gluten-free is a lifestyle, not a diet. 1 out of 133 people living in the US have celiac disease, a digestive condition that is triggered by the protein gluten (which is found in wheat, barley and rye products). I understand a lot of people don’t have the choice when it comes to food with gluten, and in no way am I making light of the situation.
With that said, I’ve also been reading Wheat Belly, by Dr. William Davis, who basically claims that America’s biggest problem (concerning their weight) is wheat. Wheat is the culprit that is making us fat because wheat is an evil crack-like substance that gets us hooked and contains more sugar than a candy bar. He also compares the USDA Food and Drug administration to the tobacco industry in that they are helping the “Big Food” companies like Kraft and General Mills stay rich by selling Americans unhealthy and addictive wheat products and labeling these as “heart healthy”.
“Just as the tobacco industry created and sustained its market with the addictive property of cigarettes, so does wheat in the diet make for helpless, hungry consumer. From the perspective of the seller of food products, wheat the perfect processed food ingredient: The more you eat, the more you want. The situation for the food industry has been made even better by the glowing endorsements provided by the US government urging Americans to eat more ‘healthy whole grains’.”
Do you buy it? For me, I don’t trust phenomenons and best-selling diet books, but the author claims that a lot of his patients feel more energetic after they expel wheat from their diet. They also lose weight and feel a lot healthier in general. So, let’s see how a week of no wheat has helped me.
- ¾ cup cottage cheese w/ cup of strawberries
- Three cucumbers with Tapatio
- Hard boiled egg
- Homemade green-blackberry tea
- Gluten free bread with almond butter
- Gluten free lentil chips
- Brown rice, kale, mushroom and chicken creamy casserole (made with mozzarella cheese, chicken broth, and low fat sour cream)
I didn’t really have anything to snack on, so I went to Trader Joe’s and found some gluten-free bread by Udi’s and lentil chips. I was totally surprised by the flavors. The bread tasted pretty similar to wheat bread and the lentil chips were a pretty good substitute for pita chips. However… I desperately wanted some veggie chips, but I looked at the label on the back and they were unfortunately manufactured in the same place as other wheat products, so I had to forgo them. Sad!
- Scrambled eggs with kale and shredded cheese
- Udi Gluten Free toast
- Handful of raspberries
- Smoothie with mixed berries, orange juice, banana, and kale
- Lentil chips with Jalapeno cilantro Hummus
- 2 gluten free cookies
- Salad with mixed greens, chickpeas, black olives, onion, turkey, marinated mozzarella balls with Italian/Balsamic vinaigrette(gluten free)
I checked the cheese package AFTER I already made breakfast and realized the cheese has corn and potato starch! Luckily no wheat, but still a little bit shocked. Also: gluten-free chocolate chip cookies from Trader Joe’s are SO GOOD.
- Trader Joe’s mango Greek yogurt
- Sandwich with GF bread, turkey, cheese, mustard, cucumbers and avocado
- 2 GF cookies
- Potato-cheddar soup
- Leftover salad from last night
Okay, so the potato-cheddar soup probably wasn’t the best way to go, since all it had in it was potato and cheese, but I had been feeling crummy all day and forgot to thaw out meat for a planned pot roast, so the fiancé made this amazing 1,000 calorie soup, but it definitely hit the spot. I’m definitely starting to realize “gluten-free” isn’t exactly the most lucrative diet. Gluten free foods, as William Davis states, are just as caloric as wheat products. So, treating this gluten-free diet as a diet is proving itself to be kind of futile.
Weight: 133 pounds
- scrambled eggs with spinach and mozzarella
- GF toast with almond butter
- ½ avocado
- orange juice
- 1 GF cookie
- 2 apricots
- Pot roast w/tomato-based sauce, carrots, fingerling potatoes
Despite my totally unhealthy potato heart-attack cheese soup last night, I managed to be down one pound. Also.. I REALLY want a chocolate cake. Or a cheesecake. So badly.
- 3 pieces of French toast with organic pure maple syrup
- 2 GF cookies (I know…I just didn’t have time to make myself actual food. I make up for this at dinner though, where I consume my body weight in gluten free fake pizza)
- Went to Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza and got the GF lebni Mediterranean cheese plate and GF prosciutto pizza
Verdict on GF restaurant food: expensive! Anything gluten-free was automatically at least two dollars more. The gluten-free crust tasted like super flat pita bread. Not bad, but not my normal fluffy, doughy pizza crust, either.
- Cottage cheese & apple sauce (I’m a grandma, I know)
- Apple slices with almond butter
- Steak with green beans, corn on the cobb, and my mom’s avocado/tomato/onion salad
- Cranberry juice watered down with mineral water
- Mexican hot chocolate and NY cheesecake frozen yogurt from Yogurtland
My mom specifically bought a Panera French baguette just for ME, and I had to politely decline. IT TOOK ALL THE STRENGTH I HAD – aren’t you guys proud of me??
- GF toast
- Lobster omelet w/home fries
So, I lost four pounds this week just by cutting gluten out of my diet. I didn’t exercise or starve myself. When I was hungry, I ate something. But I did notice that I was a lot more selective about what I was eating. Even though I had some gluten-free carb options, I tried not to eat too many in a day and still balanced it out with fruit, veggies and protein, I wasn’t as mindlessly hungry throughout the day, and I was more likely to stay satiated by not eating wheat. Something else that might contribute to my weight loss is just the lack of choice. When I went out to eat this week, I only had a few menu options. When I visited my parents for dinner, I couldn’t eat any of the bread. In some situations, I literally had no choice but to eat a lot healthier. Maybe Dr. William Davis is on to something, after all. I didn’t exactly experience “wheat withdrawals” as he predicted, although there were times I just wanted something fried and bad for me. I honestly didn’t feel more energetic, but I didn’t feel worse, either.
Did I go back to wheat once my week was over? HELL YES. But I will definitely eat it in moderation and treat it more like junk food.
Has anyone else tried going on a gluten-free diet? Thoughts?
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