Today is the 9th day of my 3-week gluten-free (GF) trial. Last Monday’s post outlined my reasons for this experiment and discussed my doubt that this diet will make any difference in my health status.
Has it been hard to do?: So far the diet has been easy to follow. Because I have been eating low-carb for quite a while, bread has had a small role in my life: just an occasional piece of peanut butter toast. Cereal has been completely banned except for an infrequent handful of Honey Nut Cheerios for a needed junk food fix. I haven’t bought crackers in months except for six-packs of Ritz peanut butter crackers. Ice cream is our usual household fix for sweet and chocolate.
The food plan that I’ve followed in the last 9 days has been a non-cheating version of my normal diet. I believe that if I’m going to bother giving GF a try, then I must stay completely GF for the 21 days. A trial with cheating or even one cracker becomes invalid and means that I’ve wasted my time.
Any goofs?: The closest that I have come to eating a wheat product came when I was fixing lunch for my 1-year old granddaughter on Wednesday. As every parent/grandparent knows, it is easy to nibble when fixing meals for children. I was putting small pasta shells on her tray and twice caught myself grabbing one for a taste. What a bummer it would have been to accidentally go off the diet with mindless eating.
Blood sugar effects?: There was nothing about this change in diet that noticeably affected my blood sugar. I had many good days and a few mornings with unexpected highs. As always, the problems were related to activity levels more than diet. I walk the dog for 45-60 minutes almost every morning. This moderate but sustained activity works miracles in preventing post-breakfast spikes. One would think that the hour and a half I spent bailing water out of the sump on Thursday morning (the pump couldn’t keep up with our massive rainfall) would have had kept my blood sugar in range. But my reward was a dry basement accompanied by highs approaching 200. On Friday morning the grandchildren were with me and made a long walk impossible. I increased my insulin but obviously not enough to tame my BG. Nighttime blood glucose levels were much better than normal all week because of minimal snacking after dinner.
Do I feel different?: After 9 days I feel the same and there has been no change in my granuloma annulare. It would be naive to expect anything different. I didn’t do this trial because of digestive problems or feelings of illness or fatigue and those are the things that sometimes see immediate improvement. Granuloma annulare tends to be a constantly morphing condition with no rhyme nor reason. If diet were to have an impact, I would expect it to be a change that would be many months in the making. Even then it would be difficult to prove that diet was responsible for any improvement.
Any special foods?: The only special GF product that I purchased is a loaf of bread from Trader Joe’s. Right out of the package it is totally rude. Toasted with peanut butter it is okay. One piece of bread is approximately the same carb count as my usual bread, but it is half the size (very small). Although I understand the arguments for avoiding wheat, I look at the list of ingredients in this Rye-less “Rye” and am askance at the leading ingredients of water, tapioca flour, white rice flour, and rice starch. IMO these are neither nutritious nor blood sugar-friendly foods.
What now?: I am committed to finishing my gluten-free experiment. Because it is not a substantial change to my diet, I believe that the only way this diet can help me is if I have a wheat sensitivity. I don’t think that I do. Because I am eating a lot of fruit and vegetables and not a lot of processed food, this should be great for my diabetes and maybe help me lose a pound or two.
Summary: Unlike people who hope to see improvements in their health from a gluten-free lifestyle, I don’t want to deal with this diet for the rest of my life. I’m actually keeping my fingers crossed that I see no benefits. But what if it does help my granuloma annulare? Less unsightly skin versus pizza? Interesting choice. I guess I would have to learn to make cauliflower crust pizza. Then I would have to look in the mirror and seriously weigh the benefits of a life without pizza at Costco.