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Frame: One Month Gluten Free

February 25, 2013

I’ve been gluten free for one whole month, and while I’ve seen some great benefits, I’m really starting to crave my old favorite foods. This past week I slipped and had what I knew to be a particularly good dinner roll. I loved every bite of it, but I knew it was just going to make my cravings worse. Oddly enough, it’s not my beloved pasta that I’m missing the most – it’s pizza. All I want is an enormous, cheesy, doughy pizza, followed by a sugary, frosting slathered cupcake. I imagine that at this point that combination of carbs and sugar would actually stop my heart. I don’t care, it would be worth it.

I initially pledged to do this for at least one month. I’m going to keep it up for 9 more days, and I’m even having some blood tests done on March 6th (last day!) to see if this experiment has had any effect on my health, good or bad.

I’ve also been diligently tracking my calories on my Lose It! App, but this recent  NPR article – Calorie Counts: Fatally Flawed, Or Our Best Defense Against Pudge – has me wondering just how accurate they are. Some of the main points against using calories as a weight loss tool:

  • It’s much easier for the body to extract nutrients from cooked and processed foods than from whole or raw foods. People get more energy per ounce out of cooked hamburger than they would from a raw steak.
  • Some foods, like almonds, deliver a lot fewer calories than they contain, probably because we don’t chew them enough to fracture all the cell walls and release fats.
  • Calorie counts don’t account for the 5 to 30 percent of energy used up in digesting and absorbing a meal.
  • Refined carbohydrates – foods with a high glycemic index — make people hungrier sooner than an equivalent calorie amount of whole grains, encouraging overeating.

The last point, about refined carbohydrates and whole grains (both of which are discouraged/forbidden on the Wheat Belly diet), is interesting, but I wish they were comparing carbohydrates to more calorie dense vegetables. One thing I’ve re-learned on this diet is that veggies are my friend. I can fill my belly to my heart’s content with cucumbers and carrots and actually feel full without gaining weight. Common sense stuff, but easy to forget when all you crave is a bowl of pasta.

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