a life without bread, with all the weeping & gnashing of teeth.

New normals.

As most of you know, the HBH (Hot Black Husband) and I, along with a handful of friends, participated in the Whole 30 elimination diet back in May. I knew I could stand to lose a little weight, but more than that, I wanted to get some middle of the night back issues figured out.

Could all this back pain, that’s led to me rarely sleeping through the night for the past two years actually be related to the food I eat? 

I hoped not.

But hope is merely a thing with feathers, for hope proved itself fallible when the reintroduction phase emerged.

If you’re familiar with the diet, you rid your body of alcohol, sugar, dairy, legumes and gluten. Then, after 30 days, you slowly reintroduce all that goodness back into your body (with improved eating habits to boot).

And I should say a couple of things: halfway through the month, I began sleeping through the night (exclamation point), with the help of a little friend I call Advil PM. I’d tried Advil PM, Ibuprofen PM, Tylenol PM, melatonin, Give Me Everything You’ve Got PM before, but my body had never taken to it.

Until it did.

I should also say that I’ve considered bread and cheese a staple food group in and of themselves for the past, uh, lot of years. Some of you may remember this food pyramid from the mid-80’s:

1992foodpyramidBread, cereal, rice and pasta should be the base of what we eat, making up 6-11 servings per day. This is how I’ve always eaten. This is what I’ve always eaten. You probably know where I’m going here.

As soon as I reintroduced gluten back into my diet, my middle of the night back pain returned. Half an Advil PM failed to do what it’d been doing for almost a month by that point.

I’d only had one serving of bread products per day, over a four-day period, but it was enough to bring about the strongest weeping and gnashing of teeth: I have a gluten intolerance. This is what my body’s been trying to tell me all along.

And this is the new normal.

If I want to sleep through the night (which I do, I so badly do), then I can’t have bread products. So, I’m abstaining from the thing I all but lived on for a good portion of my life.

I mean, wouldn’t you?

Interestingly enough, joint inflammation is a common side effect of gluten. I’d never put two and two together, believing stomach issues gluten’s main culprit. But as I’ve begun to read more about it and talk to friends who have a gluten sensitivity, I’ve learned that I’m not the only one.

It just took me a couple of years to figure it out.

So, what about you? Is there a food your body craves that you can’t physically have anymore? For women in particular, how did the food you put into your body change as you’ve gotten older, or as you’ve birthed children? 

I’m not wholly out of luck, though: I hear if I go to Europe it might be a different deal. I’ll be able to order a baguette! straight out of a vending machine in Paris because wheat is grown and processed differently there. (Anyone want to chip in for a plane ticket?)

Take me down to the paradise city, man.
Take me down to the paradise city, man.

Realizing and stepping into a new normal isn’t always the easiest or the most wanted thing – but it can be the best decision we’ll ever make.

So, I’m saying no to the usual assortment of bread and cookies and crackers. But I’m saying yes to sleep, and that is a most glorious thing.


Cara “Gluten-free, that’s me!” Meredith

So, gluten-free: is that your normal? What have you eliminated from your diet that’s made all the difference in the world? Any favorite recipes you can pass on? 

11 thoughts on “a life without bread, with all the weeping & gnashing of teeth.

  1. It’s funny that I was just thinking about the concept of a new normal, but for me it’s like a renewed normal. I had been without a doctor for almost 10 years. When I finally had one and saw her, she put me on a daily control asthma inhaler. I haven’t had to use a daily control since I was a teen! My asthma got better and then worse, I didn’t even realize it. It’s not easy, like you said, but ultimately better for my health.

  2. I seriously limit the gluten in my diet along with dairy, and sugar. I just feel better when I do even though I too love bread, cheese, and dessert – even though sugar is in just about everything. I am also high allergic to mangos and peanuts. Avoid those at all costs! It can make socializing tricky, but I value feeling good so I stick to it! 🙂 They call me the Queen of Substitutions!

  3. When I was in college, I’d stop at my neighborhood boulangerie for a demi-baguette and eat it with half a wheel of camembert and soup for dinner. All without gaining an ounce! Ah, those were the days… 😉 I still view bread & cheese as a staple but definitely more in moderation. It’s hard listening to our bodies, isn’t it? PS- We’ve bought the Whole30 cookbook and have been dabbling in the recipes since we don’t have 40 days to commit this summer. Yummy stuff!

    1. Ah, the days of demo-baguettes and hunks of camembert (with or without the soup for me). I’m really not mourning it as much as I sometimes come across as doing – for dramatic effect, of course – but am embracing the new way of thinking and eating. And the cookbook definitely taught me how to cook differently, and better!

  4. I diagnosed my partner’s lactose intolerance and have no idea why no doctor had done this…a single Lactaid tablet each day has put an end to 50 years of bloating and stomach aches…..

    His back pain decreased dramatically (and permanently) when he stopped drinking almond milk…….

    Don’t be afraid to experiment and find out why your body responds to food the way it does…it can mean a huge boost to your health and the way you feel..

    1. So interesting, Jane. I’m learning that experimentation is the key, AND that our bodies have a message to send, for sure!

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