Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Gluten-free is Good!

Hi everyone

I have been following a gluten-free diet for about two weeks now.  The only time I deviated was for a home made sausage roll, and I wouldn't even have eaten that had it not been the only thing available.  Paul and I were with the children at a party and I hate them to see me not eating, or not eating enough - I think it sets such a bad example. 

For about a month previously I had been trying to go gluten-free, but I found it hard.  On social occasions when I am offered a biscuit or a cake, for example, I hate to be rude and say no, so I would make an exception for these occasions - which seem to happen very often in my life.  So I had not really got it into my head that these things, as well as bread, contain gluten and thus should not be eaten at all.  I have finally arrived there - I automatically discount eating cakes, biscuits, and bread as well as any wheat based cereal and so on, and it is quite easy to do now. 

I didn't really get on with gluten-free bread, partly because of the ridiculous cost of the stuff and partly because it is so insubstantial.  So I tried rye bread, and that was a lot better - tasty and filling, but without the bloating and stomach pains that I get from wheat based products.

The reason I decided to go gluten-free is because I have read so much about it on the net recently.  In particular, people with nervous problems are said to be allergic to gluten - problems with the gut and symptoms such as anxiety have strong links.  I also have a friend who is a nutritionist who suggested to me twice recently that I should try a gluten-free diet - this woman is wise and I decided that I should respect her advice.

I am astonished at the results!  Really, amazed.  I am just so much calmer that I would not have believed it - and this is taking into account the fact that I had already come a long way in conquering my nerves over the last year or so.  I love it - it is just a revelation not feeling the twang of nerves all the time.  In the last week or so I have been in several social situations that would have floored me a year ago - and I have sailed through them without thinking twice. 

I was diagnosed with IBS some years ago, and have tried various strategies to combat it.  I had worked out that if I ate small meals, and avoided trigggers like chocolate, things were better.  I have also been taking probiotics on and off for several years.  But nothing has improved my life like cutting out gluten.  I knew all about the links between mind and body; I have been saying for a long time that we should look at the whole person.  But I had no idea that by removing one type of foodstuff from my diet, such a huge difference would be made, not just to my body, but to my mind too.

To be fair, I have also been seeing a counsellor for CBT, and I am sure that is part of the picture.  I am also re-reading my book on the Alexander technique.  Maybe I am just finally in the place to see some proper improvements in my life.  And of course, everything is not always perfect - sometimes I still feel slightly stressed.  Like this afternoon, for example, when the children had friends over and for some reason the only game they wanted to play was fighting.  But I seem to have finally found a more solid foundation - the sense of self that I have been lacking.  Long may it last!

Louise x 

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