Last time I did a post about losing weight and going wheat-free, there were several comments saying what I was doing wasn’t healthy. However, over six months later, I am still wheat-free (other than my mum’s mince pies.. I’m NEVER going to refuse one of those but luckily they only come round once a year!) and maintaining a weight that I’m happy with.
I’ve noticed that I do get quite strong sugar cravings; sometimes I give in, and other times I can just move on from them, but the benefits of not eating wheat have been surprising. Before I go on, I don’t recommend giving up any food group to anyone.. it’s just what I’m doing right now..I’m not a nutritionist.
The biggest surprise has been that a weird condition that I have called Cold Urticaria (literally an allergy to cold that can bring out hives and shortness of breath as well as a burning feeling in various parts of the body) has decreased dramatically. Last year I really struggled with it; when every single time I got cold my ears would swell and parts of my face, and my feet burned so badly I’d have to rip my boots off no matter where I was to rub them, any improvement would be good. So I’d estimate my symptoms have decreased by about 80% this year. I couldn’t be more delighted. Cold Urticaria has been totally manageable this year.
The second surprise is that I’ve had almost no SAD symptoms either this winter; my energy levels are great, I don’t get massive dips and anyone who has ever had SAD will know those days when you can barely get out of bed. It just hasn’t happened at all this winter. I’ve been tired, certainly, but not that can-barely-move level of tired.
So all of these things indicate to me that I am better without wheat than I am with it. Put up against the reduction of two conditions that were pretty hard to live with, the weight loss seems rather insignificant. But, although I put on a little bit in January, I’ve stayed a tidy size 10 which is right for my height and build. Oddly, I don’t even miss wheat. Salad and chips is a major favourite treat, I’ve discovered so many ways with rice it’s almost indecent and I have also discovered a few delicious almond cake and macaroon recipes. I don’t replace with ‘wheat free’ other than for cheesecake bottoms and then I use wheat-free digestives (don’t put rice near my cheesecake!). Other than that, it’s just a food that doesn’t really exist for me any more.
I feel better for it and look better for it, I think. Someone commented that healthy eating is eating five small meals a day – I really don’t know what space they have in their day to a) prepare that or b) consume that. I don’t have it and I don’t want to eat five times a day. Two or three times is fine for me. There were also some comments about exercise – before I do anything, I walk my dogs fast for an hour plus every single day without fail. That’s plenty for me, not to mention incidental exercise, rushing from place to place in London – and believe me, I am always rushing!
I really think there is no set rule for any one person; you just have to do what suits you best. But, for me, giving up wheat has had bonus after bonus that I never expected at all.