40 days off the “White Stuff”
by Guest Blogger, Jenna Cassoli
I’m generally healthy—especially for an over-stressed, working grad-student! But even with reasonable nutrition and regular activity, I was tired a lot, heavy, and felt crappy. So I tried giving up white flour 6 days a week for 7 weeks. Here’s what happened…
Day 1: I worked 12 hours, which meant no time to eat out of boredom! Obstacles at work: crazy-looking pastry, ziti, brownies, corn muffins, cupcakes, pizza…Seriously, workplace? As a student I’m programmed to accept all free food, but I didn’t today. I ate just the fruit. Also: apparently Twizzlers have flour in them???
Day 5: Day off: pizza/cake at my cousin’s birthday party = NOT worth it. Could I have adjusted to a gluten-free diet this quickly? Did my body then stage a coup because I reintroduced it?
Day 8: It’s amazing the foods that come through my 2 workplaces. Yesterday there were donuts. Then a coworker brought in his mother’s famous homemade cookies. There were also veggie wraps (healthier, but flour tortillas!), more cookies, and crackers. Today, it’s lemon cake. This is ridiculous! Still avoiding it.
Day 11: Experimenting with being out to eat and gluten-free is new for me… Having to get creative about food choices is giving me a more open mind about trying new things. Lately it’s been less frustrating-challenge, and more delicious-experiment.
Day 18: At cocktail hour yesterday, I ate cheese. ONLY cheese. I couldn’t have the bread that it came with. The cheese was lovely, but I felt I was missing out. I’ve been feeling really hungry lately. I haven’t strayed from my plan…but I just want calzone!
Day 19: “Day off” = BAD. My friend had a birthday party, during which I gave myself no restrictions. In general I think it’s good to have days where you’re not worried about restrictions. But I had crostini, pizza, and THREE (count ‘em, three) types of cake. Ugh.
Day 28: Tonight I had a work event, with a huge spread of food. My self-imposed restrictions led me to better options. My coworker ate this delicious apple crumble thing I’ve had before and know to be amazing. She ate it next to me, and I didn’t even crave it. Woohoo!
Day 34: This morning I went to a catered breakfast event for school. I could have eaten French toast (it looked really yummy), muffins, danish, and bagels. But I easily walked by. Instead, I enjoyed scrambled eggs with chive, breakfast potatoes, and fruit. After passing up 4 flour-filled options, I still had plenty to eat AND felt satisfied. And, as I was sitting at the table, I noticed that I needed a belt! I’m getting too small not to wear one!
Post-Experiment: For 4 days after the experiment, I allowed myself to eat anything. It was ugly–pasta, dinner rolls, my mom’s homemade cookies. I promptly gained 5 pounds, looked really puffy, and felt tired—literally the whole 40 days reversed in a tenth of the time.
Now: I’m looking for balance. I’m sticking with mostly gluten-free, having 100% whole wheat when I eat wheat, and allowing myself occasional indulgences. I changed my habits overall (I may never eat another Twizzler!). When I saw donuts at work today, I was more aware that they’re not a “special treat”—there’salways something deliciously unhealthy around! I steer clear of that now. Balance today meant skipping the donuts, but having a sandwich (bread, but 100% whole wheat!). Wonder what balance will look like tomorrow…
Jenna is a part-time graduate student, studying clinical social work with a health concentration. Currently a career counselor and an alcohol counselor, she studied psychology and public health in undergrad. At her university, Jenna is currently involved in a Latin American immersion learning program, the graduate dance group, and Arts Festival. In the future, she is interested in doing health-related counseling, school social work, or art therapy. Jenna also makes handmade jewelry, which can be seen at jennijewelry.blogspot.com!