So, some folks have asked how the whole "Gluten Free" for Lent is going. Before I share that, I have some confessions to make.
First, I thought Gluten Free would help me lose weight. And Lent is a good time (for me) to choose to sacrifice something that is supposed to make me healthier. Last year, it was Facebook and I ended up believing there is nothing wrong with Facebook, so using it is healthy for me. This year, I started by thinking this I could lose a few ellbees, see if it has any effect on me, and, really, to see what life is like for many of my gluten free friends. In all honesty, except for those with celiac disease, I was not convinced that gluten free was all that healthy. It seemed like a fad to me. Wheat has been around for 6000 years, longer even than the beer and yogurt Dave and I are now making from scratch.
So the results, as we fast approach Easter. No weight loss from gluten free. But Holy Frijole, the other changes!! Now remember, I'm going into this as a skeptic! And while I do feel less tired, I'm not really sure I can attribute that to gluten free. But my digestive system. WOW! N=1 design which provides a strong causal claim: have a baseline, remove something, add it back, remove it again. If you see consistent changes, you can make a decent causal claim that what you removed made the difference.
I've had over 40 some years of eating gluten, even though, in all honesty, I've really never eaten a lot of bread for health and caloric reasons (bread is not the bearer of great nutrients). But once I stopped eating all the hidden sources of gluten, WOW. I've been thinking of how to say this politely, so let's go with this: without gluten, there are fewer rumblies in my tumbly. Which is akin to saying "the sun decided to sleep in this morning." There is more, but let's just leave it at that and say that while I don't have celiac, I am now convinced I have gluten sensitivities. In fact, one day when things went back to normal, I tried to figure out what I ate to cause this. That's when I realized that deli meats have lots of gluten and I'd eaten quite a bit of them the day before. No more gluten, no more problems of that nature.
So am I going back to gluten after Lent? I don't know. I don't think I'm going to purposefully eat gluten willy nilly. And Dave is BUMMED that he just started brewing delicious, yummy home brew and now I'm not going to drink it. (Actually, more for him!) But he'd like to try gluten free and see how it works for him.
But if I go to someone's house for dinner and they serve pasta, I will eat it. I'd rather not, but I do not have an allergy, just a sensitivity (at most). It's just amazing that I can see such a huge difference for something I didn't expect to have an effect.
So here's the other thing that has shocked the crap out of me. (Except, not) I've started this new fad diet called the 5:2. I hate fad diets. They are stupid and they don't last. The cabbage soup diet, the bananas/hot dogs/some other food diet? Bullshit. So, this thing I'm doing now is also a fad diet. Except 1) I think this could very well be a lifestyle for me and 2) I am FINALLY losing weight. FINALLY! After counting calories and getting nowhere since Christmas, I've been doing the 5:2 fast for the last 3 weeks, and I've lost 5 pounds.
The crazier part? I'm *NOT* dieting and I'm *NOT* counting calories. Every morning when I wake up and find out I've lost another ellbee, I spend 2 hours talking to Dave trying to figure out how I did it. I still don't know how I'm doing it. It doesn't make any sense to me based on 20 years of watching my calories.
So what is this magic elixir of weight loss? It's called the 5:2 Fast Diet. But "Fast" doesn't mean quickly. Fast means you don't eat. So 5 days a week, I eat everything I want. And I mean everything: potato chips, french fries, wine, whatever. And on 2 nonconsecutive days a week, I eat 500 calories (200 for breakfast and 300 for dinner). And I lose weight.
What. The. Truck. Yes, I get hungry on the fasting days. But I end up drinking a ton of herbal teas. I also look at the food I really, really want and I say "I am going to eat the hell out of you tomorrow." And after the first fasting day, I probably did eat quite a bit more. But now, I just eat on my non-fasting days. I'm supposed to eat 2100 calories on my non-fasting days which is so much food, I don't even keep track of what I eat.
Both the gluten free and the fasting have made me very aware of how frequently I snack on unhealthy tidbits off the children's plate or from the cupboard while I'm preparing dinner. There's nothing quite like cooking while you're really hungry and NOT eating to teach you that you can do it. Also, dinner on fasting days is some of the best food I've ever eaten.
So maybe I'm not eating as much as I used to on my non-fasting days? I don't think so. I'm eating everything I want although I do have in the back of my mind that I don't want to blow all the hard work from my fasting day. But I still eat. Everything I want. So I don't know if that's it. Maybe the fasting days quick change my metabolism? I do know that there's some evidence for the health of fasting, but I don't know if intermittent fasting as this is called does the same thing. And when I've lost the weight I want, I apparently only fast one day a week for maintenance. (I can already tell that's going to be on Mondays after a weekend of indulgence)
All I know is that this is the craziest thing I've ever done and lost weight. I honestly and truly do not know how this is happening, because I am NOT dieting. And I know from my calorie counts that fasting on 500 calories a day two times a week and eating 2100 calories the rest should not be enough for me to lose 1 lb a week much less 2, but that is what is happening. That is CRAZINESS!!
I'd love to hear if anyone else is doing this 5:2 thing and how they are responding to it. I'd love to hear if other folks start it how it works for them. (I'm fasting Monday and Thursday) I bought the book and just started.
Truly, two shocking food changes for me this Lent. It's throwing everything I thought I knew about eating up in the air. And fortunately, not landing back on my butt.