On November 15, 2010, I went gluten free. For over 3 months I never consciously ate anything containing gluten. (That’s not to say that I didn’t ingest any, but I never did it knowingly.)
I felt better almost immediately. Frankly, I think it was lowering my overall carb intake more than getting the gluten out that made me feel better right away, but I wanted to really give gluten-free a chance to heal my gut so I focused on how good I felt to keep myself motivated to stay gluten-free. For the most part, it wasn’t too hard, even through the holidays.
There are very few things that tempt me to cheat, and one of them is the smell of homemade bread baking in the oven.
Even though I am gluten free, my family is not, and I still bake sandwich bread every week for their lunches. Every time I make a batch, the smell of it baking is *almost* too much to handle. I spend the entire time it is in the oven thinking about how good it would be to butter a slice and take a huge bite — just. one. bite.
Surely one bite wouldn’t hurt.
But I am afraid that once I make an exception and take a bite, it will be the beginning of the end. If there are not immediate consequences that convince me that being gluten free is absolutely necessary, I fear that one indulgence will likely lead to another. So I stand firm.
I did, however, make one concession to myself. If there comes a day when I decide to intentionally eat gluten to see how it affects me – a test to see if eating gluten makes me sick or causes any other undesirable symptoms – I will eat a slice of fresh homemade bread. I won’t waste the opportunity on something unworthy.
A few days ago, the smell of homemade bread was too much. I snoozed while it baked, the enticing aroma becoming part of my dreams. When the timer buzzed, I got up, feeling groggy and lacking in self control. In the back of my mind, I had that caveat – I could try the bread to see how it affected me. It would be an experiment. An experiment is allowable, yes?
The kids had been waiting for the bread to come out of the oven so they could have a fresh, warm slice. We’d had a light dinner, and they needed a little extra sustenance before bed. So not only did I have to remove the bread from the oven, but I had to cut into it.
My husband was doing dishes nearby, and after I cut slices and buttered them and placed them on plates for the kids, I looked at that lone slice of heel – the kids don’t like the heel so I usually throw it away or freeze it and make bread crumbs when I get enough. Before I could think better of it, I quickly buttered it, turned my back to my husband and took a bite.
Now, if this was a valid experiment, I would have let my family know what I was doing. I was obviously cheating, even though I had convinced myself it was an experiment. Isn’t it ridiculous how we lie to ourselves? Or is that just me? ANYWAY.
It was good, but not as good as I’d imagined.
I took another bite.
I looked at the rest of the slice, decided it wasn’t worth it, and quickly threw it in the trash before anyone saw me.
The next morning was a snow day, and I made waffles – not the hearty whole grain waffles I often make – I made the old fashioned kind with white flour and fluffy egg whites folded in at the last minute. They. Are. DIVINE.
As they cooked, they smelled so good. I put them on plates and topped them with butter and syrup, and I was sooooo tempted to have some. If homemade bread is my biggest temptation, homemade Belgian Waffles might be the 2nd biggest.
The devil on my shoulder started in again, I already had gluten last night, and I didn’t feel bad. What’s one more bite?
As I predicted, one lapse in self discipline tends to lead to another. I felt myself slowly sliding down the side of the wagon.
But this time, I looked at that waffle, remembered how the homemade bread hadn’t tasted as delicious as it looked, and decided to shimmy back up onto the wagon before I completely fell off.
I’m happy to say that I haven’t had gluten since, and my resolve is firm.
So, what’s the verdict? Did those two bites of bread affect me?
It’s hard to say. I did have some rumblies in my tumbly as I laid in bed trying to fall asleep that night, but I felt fine the next day (waffle day). It was actually 2 days later (yesterday) that I woke with my stomach in knots. All day I had cramping and felt gassy (TMI, sorry!)
I find it hard to believe that those 2 bites of bread I snuck 36 hours before could have had that affect on me, but I don’t know what else it would be. I haven’t felt like that in many months, but it could still have been something else I ate, I suppose.
As I talked it over with a friend, she suggested that I stick to the gluten-free diet for a month and then do the experiment again. (Oh darn!) LOL. But seriously, that makes sense.
So that is the plan. I’ve taken notes about exactly how I felt and when so I can compare.
I’d be interested to hear from some of you who are gluten-free. Have you ever had some gluten, either intentionally or unintentionally? How did it affect you?
Today is day 3, and so far I feel about 50% better but not 100%. I won’t go into details, but there are some lingering effects.
I wasn’t going to share this. I guess I was ashamed, although frankly, I’m surprised I lasted three months before caving! But then I read all the comments on Monday’s post (and please know, I read and treasured every. single. one. I never expected that kind of response.) And I realized that I needed to write this post.
I’m happy to say that I’m firmly seated on the wagon once again, and hopefully any lasting effects of my little indiscretion will soon be a thing of the past — that is, until I do a REAL experiment in a month or so.
Next time, I will do it right. No hiding.
And maybe I’ll try the waffle…