So I'm 5.5 days into my gluten-free trial period. Is it coincidence that for the last 5.5 days...
1. I have not had a single incident of "intestinal distress" and all associated bloated/gassy/murky feelings are GONE. I suppose I should feel like I'm deprived by not being able to eat most of my usual filler foods. But before I almost always felt like I was riding the edge of a miserable intestinal flu with no idea why, so every food choice felt like a gamble. Now, even though I've ruled out a large food group, I feel like I can eat anything else and not be sick. That's completely 100% worth it.
2. My energy levels are amazing. You know those commercials for over-active bladder where they're like "afraid to go anywhere for fear you'll need a bathroom? Enjoy freedom!" Yes. YES. The idea of a bike ride or run or long day out and about no longer feels like asking for trouble.
3. I feel clear headed in a way that I haven't in years. And, no, we're not getting any better sleep than usual.
4. My skin. Oh my goodness. I've had acne for 20+ years. Sometimes it's the typical and temporary tiny-little-blister kind I bitterly roll my eyes at when people demonstrate a pimple on a commercial, but usually it's cystic. Cystic acne feels more like a wart--a hard nodule under the skin that feels like coral or something. It generally takes weeks or months for one to clear even with consistent (aggressive) chemical and physical warfare. If I pester them too much they spread into a dime or even nickel sized wound very quickly. I've had one on my chin and one on my left cheek since late December. The one on my forehead has been there since mid-January. On the morning of day 4 they all completely flattened out, all the under-skin swelling and soreness was gone, and my skin was soft. At day 5.5 the left cheek one is gone, the chin one is just a small dry patch that will surely be gone after another day of Neosporin, and the forehead one would be gone if I hadn't accidentally scrubbed it raw earlier last week. I couldn't begin to imagine how my first-time-ever moment of simultaneous clear skin was related, so Dr. Google and I had a chat. Turns out gluten sensitivity can lead to general inflammation and that swelling and shift in white blood cells (or something like that) leads to cystic acne. Ta da!
And, seriously, not feeling deprived in the least. I do want to get some corn or rice chex or something since my usual cold cereals are all wheat or oat based. And bread and crackers are out as snacks, but corn chips, potato chips, dried fruits and nuts, are fine. So are all fruits and vegetables, rice and potatoes, all meats (as long as they're not breaded in a flour or cracker mixture), dairy, etc are all fine. I usually like yogurt with some granola, but today I added toasted coconut and that was fantastic. Pasta is out unless it's bean or rice based but that's fine. I may miss desserts a bit since in general cakes, cookies, puddings, etc are out. But fresh fruit, whipped cream, cheesecake without the crust (as long as it's "real" and not made with boxed pudding which may have flour), jello, ice cream, and all kinds of flour-less cakes are in. And there's no shortage of pre-made gluten-free desserts in stores--even our tiny local mom-and-pop store has a small section in the bakery/deli area with GF cakes, muffins, and such. Pretty much anything made from scratch is easy to identify as GF or not; pretty much anything processed is in question but easy to check.
If going GF had given me a break from the intestinal trauma or the acne, I would have gladly agreed to it. Getting both is like winning the lottery. Yay!!!