celiac · Food · Gluten Free · Health

Losing My Dietary Skepticism

The idea of a following a particular diet always seemed stupid to me so I didn’t try them. This isn’t to say I’ve never been on diets. I have. But I always just did that practical plan that every Diet Skeptic knows, and that’s to eat less and move more. I’ve done that with and without calorie counting. Nobody told me what to do or how much to eat, or what exercise to do, I decided that myself. It seemed obvious to me that I know myself better than anyone I could pay to tell me or any book I could buy to follow, plus I could read a whole bunch of advice online for free (and ignore most of it.) With so much conflicting dietary advice floating around, I just figured it was all bollocks. Nonsense. Noise.

I have, however, been vegetarian or vegan at various times, for other reasons. I guess the closest I ever came to following a rigid diet plan was when I did a month long experiment to see if I could eat no packaged foods- so only things I could buy at the farmers market supplemented with bulk bin grains/beans. I made my own almond milk! It was delicious, but very expensive and time-consuming to make. I was glad to go back to eating a variety of whole and pre-made foods when the month ended.

Then I found out I have Celiac disease. I have to say that even, what is it, nine? months into it, I still have a hard time reconciling that this is my life now. I’m not complaining, to be clear, I accept the situation and see benefits from it that are well worth the hassle. But it is strange to be this person now, this person who rigidly follows a diet, the most rigid diet of them all. There is no cheating on this diet.

I have found an interesting side effect of this change is that I am no longer so skeptical of various ideas about ways of eating, aka nutritionism, aka diets. Hey, what do I know? I was super skeptical of the gluten free diet. I mean come on, Diet Fad Number One, right? Silly fad dieters, will they never learn?

So of course, I never tried it. I can’t help but wonder now if I had tried it, what would have happened? Maybe I would have noticed the difference before my diagnosis, and maybe I would have investigated that sooner. Maybe I wouldn’t have had to deal with a bunch of unpleasant and sometimes painful symptoms for as long. And what would the harm have been in trying it? No harm really, as far as I can tell. I could have stopped doing it at any time if I noticed any problems or didn’t notice any benefits.

I was so skeptical, except that I now realize I was doing skepticism wrong.

Skeptical: not easily convinced; having doubts or reservations

The problem with that definition is that the way it really played out for me, and many others I have observed, is that the self-declared “skeptic” is not easily convinced of anything except what she already believes. I had doubts about every dietary idea except the ones I had already accepted, which I now think really required more scrutiny. I forgot to be skeptical of my own ensconced beliefs.

It’s been a process for me figuring out what to eat now. It goes beyond Don’t Eat Gluten. That’s pretty straight forward, if tedious at times. But turns out I am now quite sensitive to a lot of other things I used to eat regularly. I get very uncomfortable indigestion or heartburn if I eat tomato sauce, spicy foods, too much pasta or rice. I’m not totally sure but I think the one tasty gluten free bread I found doesn’t agree with me either. I react to fruit eaten alone in a strange way. Really anything that’s made of grain seems to not be my friend. It goes on. I’m still working on it.

While figuring it out I have done various periods of food logging, either on My Fitness Pal or in a paper diary. Currently, I am apparently on a “diet” I never thought I would be on. A grain free, low carb diet. Ha! I laugh at myself because I used to be so extremely derisive of this idea. I’m still working on it and figuring out whether it works for me, but so far it seems to make a lot of sense given what I can and can’t eat comfortably, and my stomach seems pleased with it. I’m not used to being at the mercy of my digestive system, but stomach pain sucks and I don’t deal well with feeling bad in my tummy. I would do pretty much any diet that would make my stomach happy.

I guess because this post contains the word “diet” so many times, I should say that my primary motivation is not weight-related, I just want to feel as good as possible. A side effect of this is that I have lost weight. Since I started the GF diet late last year, I have lost over 30 lb. I really hesitated to write this in here because I don’t want that to be the focus of what I’m saying, yet I know it will be for some people. But it’s part of what’s going on and I do feel a lot better, so I’m reporting it. It’s not an obvious cause and effect though. Do I feel better because I lost weight or did I lose weight because I feel better? I think the answer is both. Also, it’s pretty easy to lose weight (for me) when I can’t really eat out any more and there’s nothing I can mindlessly snack on around the office and eating too much of most things makes me feel like crap. I’m basically eating what I plan to eat and nothing else, which is the very definition of a diet.

Rest in peace, diet skepticism. I’m not sure you really ever did me much good.

5 thoughts on “Losing My Dietary Skepticism

    1. I tried those and didn’t like the texture. The one I found that I like is a local one called Bread Srsly, which is seriously delicious and tastes like real sourdough. But I think it’s probably not the best thing for me to eat, except occasionally.

  1. Good for you! We all have different bodies, and therefore, differing needs. I am eating and doing things for my own life and body that I swore I never would. Members of my family didnt know how to communicate in a positive, accepting, tolerant way, so I formed some “beliefs” about healthy eating that now I am eating crow about….not literally! I have lost over 70 pounds in the last few years and kept off every pound because of it. Do I love myself more? No. I love myself the same, but I do like being able to tug up my pants because they are much more comfortable than tugging them because they are biting into my stomach. So its a win-win any way I look at it, I guess. Wishing you the best in your newest transition!

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