So it seems more and more people are finding out they are gluten intolerant and I’ve had no reason to believe I am but my little brother is a Health Coach and after confessing to him that I fell off the wagon and into “let me eat sugary death all night, every night so that my yoga pants don’t fit anymore” phase for the past 3 months, he recommended this new, hot off the press cleanse to get me back on track.
The cleanse has holistic elements, incorporating breathwork, mindfulness, self-massage and journaling so it was right up my alley. And I was already ahead of the game because I don’t eat meat or dairy and have given up alcohol and caffeine, all items prohibited on the cleanse. The only big changes I had to make were cutting out sugar and gluten - no big deal right? That means wheat, oats, corn, soy, potato, crackers and snacky stuff like Cliff and Luna bars that I love are a no-go but my yoga pants were tight and that’s never good, so I agreed.
At first I was like why do I have to cut out gluten?? And then I remembered that my friend Madeline used to suffer from debilitating back pain...cured after going gluten free. My friend Rob after dealing with super stiff hips most his life, told he’d need surgery before 40, went gluten free and has been skipping about ever since. I was pumped then, who knows what I might heal in myself!
Days 1-4 were totally fine. I got rice crackers to replace my snacky stuff, fruit to replace my processed sugars and carbonated water because that’s the new health craze I guess. Psychologically I was doing great and physically I felt amazing...my tummy had slimmed down and my thighs stopped rubbing together just like that! Even my skin was looking tighter and brighter after only 4 days! I was so pleased I actually considered giving up gluten forever and I am a carb lover, that is a bold statement I just made.
Then I got my period...
Ha ha ha, just kidding but it almost was. (Note to my male readers: I know I mentioned menstruation but stay with me because insulating emotions with food applies to all genders).
My past conditioning and hormones were telling me to go straight for the chocolate and every carb thing possible but I stuck to my guns. That morning I ate my brown rice bread toast w/ avocado and was still craving carbs...did an hour of yoga, still craved carbs...ate a non-carb snack and did a half hour of meditation bathing myself in sage, wanted carbs more than ever... took a shower with essential bath oils to cleanse the carb-craving energy from my aura, still needed carbs... got into the kitchen and nearly cried as I grazed around all the sugar and gluten-filled goodness for about an hour... then I made the empowered choice to crack.
My bro doesn’t get periods so I knew I’d have to make my case when breaking the news that I had to give up temporarily for my mental health. This was for my mental health afterall, I was being tortured! He asked me if I was being true to myself, reminding me that I could eat as much as I wanted off the food list and that I am an all-things-mindfulness guru. I said, "I know mindfulness is my mantra but I've tried everything this morning and yes, I promise I'm being true to myself." He then gently asked my mother to validate my position..."mom, is she being legit?"
I let them both know in that moment that the Mayo clinic...yes, the Mayo clinic, the world-renowned medical research facility, once produced a study concluding that complex carbs are good for women before and during their periods, even recommended them. Boom - that’s all.
And so I went nuts that day - cookies, caramels, pizza, cake, ice cream, in that order. It happened swiftly and I never felt more amazing. I was super bloated but super happy, elated even, defo felt like my mind was altered and it was - I was on a high and felt just like you do when you are a little high or drunk, I felt really, really good!
I'm back on the cleanse again and it's going okay, I miss normal bread and sweet tasting health bars but my body feels amazing so I'm going to continue.
I'm not sure if the intense need for carbs and sugar would have shown up minus my period arriving but it's a possibility. Any big event can derail us from our good intentions, a disagreement with a loved one, problems at work, insane traffic, etc. and I think it is important to be KIND TO OURSELVES when these events happen so long as we are TRUE TO OURSELVES and get back on that health horse.
All in all going gluten free, has been a personal growth opportunity. I have a new appreciation for food and just how strong a pull our emotions can have on our food choices. I’d definitely recommend switching up your diet because sometimes we don't know what's good for us until we experiment...just a little change can have a big impact.
Let me know in the comments if you have any cleanse/diet experience/tips!
Peace, love and carbs,