Observations on the First Gluten-Free Week

So, my weight has been all over the place this last week. The exact weight impact was something that I wanted to check out, because (as I mentioned) when I did a month gluten-free last year I lost 16 pounds. That time also happened to correspond with when I started a powerful amphetamine medication. I’ve blamed the amphetamines for the weight loss in its entirely, but I’m partially testing if the gluten-free thing had any impact. So the answer is: maybe?

My average weight during the week was almost 2.5 pounds less than the average of the week prior. But it also bounced between extremes, with 282.4 as a high and 289.4 as a high. Such a wide spread is unusual, and not all of the highs were congregating at the beginning of the week. In conclusion, then, I have no damn idea. I’ll get a better sense as I see the average progress.

How about energy? Here, I think I’m doing better than average, though this is again difficult to say for certain. Having more fresh, non-processed foods — especially in the fruit and vegg category — seems to have given my energy a notable boost. I’m also massively caffeine dependent right now, so it’s hard to separate out what the exact caffeine dose is doing and what is due to other elements. But in contrast with a similar dependency on caffeine in the week prior, my energy did seem to be up.

Another category I want to touch on is related, and for the moment I’ll call it “proclivity for physical activity.” I’ve noted previously that I’ve used cardio as my fulcrum point, and part of what I mean by that is that it starts an upward spiral: cardio leads to better eating leads to more desire to continue feeling good and thus exercising more. Some nourishment routines leave me feeling drained or heavy (no way in hell I’ll want to exercise after eating a plate of brookies), while others make exercise sound more enjoyable. Much to my surprise, I’ve been craving exercise more over this last week.

And then there’s my mood. I’ve been a bit less depressed, to my surprise. Again, perhaps just the increase in fruits and vegg and other solid foods, or the way foods that feed into vicious depression cycles have been eliminated. Or, I guess it’s possible, something about the gluten itself. I’ve known people who had their celiac’s identified partially because of emotional issues associated with eating wheat. (I did look it up just now: It looks like depression and celiac’s do have a link. So that remains a “could be.”)

And then the inconvenience. So far, it’s actually been only minor frustrations. This may be a “honeymoon phase” of sorts, where I’m getting to feel good about meeting the challenge and about the exploration of new cooking ideas. Eating with others has been a bit of an inconvenience. I choose not to let norms or the choices of others bother me — I won’t feel bad about taking care of myself because I’m using an approach that makes me less convenient in some circumstances — but there’s no denying that a choice has to be made at mealtime. If I’m cooking, do I impose the gluten-free thing on other eaters or do I cook two meals? If someone else is cooking, do I let them take on this difficulty or do I make every meal for myself despite the usual rotation of the duty? It’s probably the single most significant cost.

Oh, and then there’s the spiralizer. I just want to mention it. So far, I’ve just made a few things: zoodles (zucchini noodles), spoodles (sweet potato noodles), and spiral fries. All were surprisingly good, and left me feeling more energized.

And on this whole topic, I will also mention that while the gluten-free thing pushed me away from many unhealthy meals and snacks, it didn’t cut them off completely. No bake chocolate cookies were my response to the cookies I couldn’t have that others had made, and then I just wanted fries so I made a huge amount of spiral fries. Each of those served as a meal, and certainly didn’t leave me feeling super healthy and energetic. (Not too terrible, honestly, but still not a “boy how, I feel great” sensation.) So as I proceed, I may want to keep an eye on what within the gluten-free realm makes me feel less awesome. Again, for my own sake, a simple “does it have gluten” equation is way better than a more complicated set of restrictions (that may be more moderate / reasonable). But perhaps there are other things — certain amounts of oil being a common denominator in the two mentioned meals, as one example — that I can also veer away from, or at least be very conscious about.

So, in short: It’s going pretty well. Lots left to examine and think through, but the first week has left me curious and optimistic.