A Gluten Free Life:
The First Step in de-Jonesing Your Body

When I started living a gluten free life, I immediately shifted my my overweight, lethargic, sad, and de-energized self to a more engaged and healthy person. Whoa what a difference this made in my life. I lost over 40 pounds in, like, 3 months. This weight has stayed off and my energy has continued to soar.


It has not only affected my body in such an awesome way, but it has affected my mood and vitality. I have a lot more happiness and a lot more energy.


When before all I could do is get out of bed and survive, I now have energy for all kinds of things including a quick fitness routine.


Now I am not suggesting for a second that a gluten-free diet is the only way to go, however, I can say that it worked like gangbusters for me. 


When I decided to try living a gluten free life (which includes wheat free), a good friend gave me some really really good advice. He advised me to treat eating gluten like an addiction.


What he meant by that was, don’t cheat. Ever. So, just like the person with an addiction to alcohol (and wow, do I ever know that one) where it is not an option to “cut back” or “use moderation” or “just drink on Saturdays,” the same is true for gluten or wheat containing foods.


When you treat it like something to stay away from no matter what, the results are amazing and profound in terms of weight loss, energy, and a feeling of well-being. The cravings for gluten-laden items go away and do so almost immediately.


Like my friend, a lot of people believe that wheat, for many, is an addiction. To be clear, I am not suggesting that an addiction to gluten-based foods is at all the same to being addicted to such substances as alcohol or cocaine.


I don’t think there are any situations where families stage interventions for their loved one who they believe to have a wheat addiction, or that there are groups such as Wheat Eaters Anonymous. I am not, by any means, attempting or meaning to belittle the profound impact and devastation some addictive behaviors and substances have on people, their loved ones, and their lives.


I am, however, making a simple case for giving up gluten in its entirety and how thinking about it as an addiction can be helpful. You will have way more success in giving up wheat and gluten if you treat wheat and gluten the same way as you would a substance you are addicted to.  You know to avoid it at all costs and you know it is not an option to eat it. Period. It just makes things a whole lot easier.


What is a gluten free diet anyways?  A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein, gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and triticale (a cross between wheat and rye), among others. 

Initially, following a gluten free life may be frustrating. But with time, patience, and creativity, you'll find there are many foods that you already eat that are gluten-free and you will find substitutes for gluten-containing foods that you can enjoy.

Switching to a gluten free life is a big change and, like anything new, it takes some getting used to. You may initially feel deprived by the diet's restrictions. Eating gluten-free is so popular these days, however, that you will be surprised as to how many gluten-free products such as bread or pasta are now on the market.

On top of living gluten-free there is exercise to think about. You don't have to kill yourself doing it though.  The minimum effective dose is a way of doing exercise that takes into account that more is not necessarily better.  


Written by Val Hemminger, the nonconforming professional

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