I’ve never tried any type of diet before. Ever.
Which is why my friends and family almost instantly launched an investigation into identity theft when I told them about what I planned on doing for the next month.
I first got the idea when my colleagues at the health food store told me it would help with my acne. My acne is something they’ve heard me moan about since the beginning of time.
They would always reply with ridiculous suggestions such as ‘Maybe if you didn’t eat KFC every day’ or ‘Have tried being mindful what you eat?’. But I never mustered the bravery to encroach on my lifestyle choices of total convenience and pleasure.
After speaking in depth with a naturopath about the symptoms of someone who is gluten sensitive and coeliacs, it dawned on me how similar they were to how I felt each day.
With the promise of clearer skin and more wellbeing, I decided to take the leap and eat gluten-free for a month.
During my journey, I vlogged and interviewed a naturopath along the way.
Shania Haddon is a naturopath at Mr Vitamins who recently earned her degree in health science. She told me all about gluten and how it can affect people of all levels of gluten intolerance.
She shed some light on a couple of very surprising facts about coeliacs.
With numbers like these, I was totally surprised that working at a health food store, I’d never come across this information. It also made me think about how many people are going about their day unaware of their symptoms simply because they don’t know any better.
If you’ve been eating gluten your whole life and are one of the many who is a coeliac, how are you meant to know what ‘healthy’ or ‘symptom-free’ feels like?
Even more shockingly, these numbers don’t apply to people who are sensitive but not intolerant to gluten. In fact, gluten sensitivity is a relatively new term that has only recently been accepted by doctors – and it’s still contentious.
Dr Ford, a paediatrician in New Zealand and author of The Gluten Syndrome, believes that up to half the population has some level of gluten intolerance.
Dr Fine, a gastroenterologist, also agrees with this estimation. He is currently the director and founder of the gluten sensitivity testing service at Enterolab in Texas.
After learning this, it dawned on me just how much it related to me. That’s why I decided to take this challenge head-on.
To be completely transparent, my diet before was definitely not the healthiest. It was solely based on what I felt like in the moment.
That meant I was eating out for lunch every day, skipping breakfast and eating anything in the freezer for dinner that could be reheated. Oh and I’m also a smoker and drinker…
Yes, my job is the epitome of irony.
My excuse was ‘I’m only 20 with a lifetime ahead of me for healthy choices’. Besides, I even recently made the conscious decision to change my cappuccinos to having only two sugars instead of three.
After my lunch breaks, at both uni and work, I would almost always have a heaviness in my stomach and would fight drowsiness a mental fog for the rest of the day. My face also didn’t have severe acne but there were always red bumps and breakouts.
After my month of living gluten-free (apart from the enormous failures), I had noticed huge differences in these areas of my health.
Eating (mostly) gluten-free is something I’m definitely going to continue in my daily life.