When I was encouraged to try a gluten-free diet for 4-6 weeks on the last day of my Daniel Fast, I was bummed. For 21 days, I was looking forward to being able to eat whatever I wanted. While I had seen improvements, and I wanted some kind of healthy eating to become the “new normal”, I was more interested in going back to my old ways. Those cravings I had early on, for Wendy’s, Stripes tacos, and beer, had not subsided. My physical therapist suggested taking a week off before committing to the gluten-free diet.
I asked my Facebook friends about their experiences with gluten-free and several of them recommended the Whole30. One of my close friends had been doing it since the beginning of the year, and it seemed to be going well, so I looked into it. It was essentially as restrictive as the Daniel Fast, but I was allowed meat, so I thought it would be easier. However, I couldn’t have whole grains, and all alcohol would remain off-limits.
January 24th was the day that I returned to “freedom”. It was a Tuesday – taco Tuesday it turned out. On my way to work, I stopped at the Stripes for my favorite breakfast, the Laredo Taco Company chorizo, bean, and cheese taco. I add fresh jalapeños and salsa verde and it’s delish!! I thoroughly enjoyed my taco while eating it, but it didn’t take long before it upset my stomach and give me serious gas (TMI, I suppose)!
Mid-morning, a colleague had brought in a Randazzo’s king cake and being a New Orleans girl, I had to enjoy a small piece. It definitely hit the spot!! Unfortunately, it met my stomach like a ton of bricks and I felt really blah after eating it.
My discomfort did not slow me down, however, as I proceeded with my Wendy’s lunch in full stride. I had that double stack (with no cheese, onions or mayo), a small fries, a four-piece spicy nuggets, and a diet Coke. Again, my stomach pain returned shortly after I ate, but this time, it brought two new effects: a burning in my throat from my aspartame-laced phosphoric acid and now I had gas in the form of burping. I wasn’t quite sure what to think of this, but again, I didn’t slow down on my quest for “normal” eating.
That evening I had beer and the beer was good. I had a Peach Rotundone by Buffalo Bayou Brewing, and I was in heaven. It was a bomber bottle and I drank the majority of it. Oh how I had missed my malty brew. This was probably the best thing I consumed all day, but part of that may have been that I wanted it to badly.
That evening, I started to worry about doing the Whole30, my fear being that I would never be able to enjoy beer again. It’s not that I drink a lot at any one sitting, I just love beer, and the bigger and more complex, the better. The panic of gluten causing my problems (inflammation as the physical therapist suggested) was more than I wanted to accept responsibility for. How could someone as into beer as I am ever have to consider a life without it? Is this a punishment for God? Has beer become an idol in my life and God is now trying to obliterate it? All of these thoughts polluted my mind.
During my time of doubt, I also considered what could happen if I ate “normally” for a week. I assumed my body would get used to the “crap food” again after feeling sick for several days and then a week later, when I started the Whole30, I would have withdrawals again. I really didn’t want two weeks of feeling bad, so I made the decision to embark on the Whole30 on Wednesday, January 25. I figured it’s only 30 days, and if I could do 21 days on the Daniel Fast, how hard could it be? It wasn’t like I was making a permanent commitment or anything…