I Ate Gluten…..On Purpose!

Well, I said I was going to do it…..and, I did. I ate gluten! Actually, I ate a slice of Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted 100% Whole Grain Bread.

I Ate Gluten...On Purpose by Tara Perillo
I Ate Gluten….On Purpose!

I think the part that’s so surprising to me is not that I suffered no ill symptoms after eating gluten, but that it took me three weeks to do it.  After years on a gluten free, mostly AIP paleo diet, putting a piece of gluten-filled bread in my mouth was horrifying to me. I don’t think I even realized how hard it would be. For weeks, I put off even buying the package of bread. Interestingly, the needed bread would be left off my grocery list each week.  Finally, feeling brave earlier this week, I purchased the loaf of bread.  As I stood at my kitchen counter, staring at a slice, mortified, I realized how disordered my eating had become.

In my defense, although I had tested negative for celiac, I had been diagnosed with Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS), by my gastroenterologist.  Remembering the symptoms of bloating, headaches, and intestinal distress that plagued me daily, only three years ago, made taking a bite of this bread frightening.  Knowing that if I ate this bread while stressed out, would probably end in a bad response, I decided to take some time to do yoga and meditate beforehand.

After about an hour and a half, I returned to the bread. I had decided to toast it, and serve it alongside a couple of beautiful, farm fresh, fried eggs and bacon.  I set about cooking my breakfast, concentrating on only positive thoughts.  It turned out to be a lovely meal.

I Ate Gluten...On Purpose by Tara Perillo
I Ate Gluten! Fried Eggs, Toast & Bacon

Once I had taken my first bite of bread, which I had dipped into the egg yolk, I sat back, and waited for something to happen. Nothing happened. Slowly, I finished the entire slice of bread. Again, I waited for something to happen. As I was washing my breakfast dishes, I felt a rumble in my belly. Here we go, I thought. But, it was just a rumble.

All day, I waited for doom to come. I thought of all the other times I had reintroduced a food, and the dread that came with it. I thought of all the different diets, macro counting, and food eliminations I had done over the past three years.  All of those things had given me control, at a time when I needed it the most.  When I was diagnosed with lupus, I’d felt out of control.  I jumped into paleo, and then the AIP, wholeheartedly.  It gave me control over something.  Immediately, I was surrounded by community, others who were looking for the same answers I was.  We all wanted our health back.

But, something happened as time went on.  The better I felt, the better I wanted to feel. Every time I would stumble with a flare, I blamed it on me doing something wrong. I would eliminate some of the foods I had reintroduced, slow down my workouts, or make whatever restriction I thought had caused my flare. When I finally reached remission with my lupus, I kept the restrictions going by trying a ketogenic diet, or keeping strict control over my macros.  Since I was no longer on the elimination phase of the AIP, or on the still restrictive and controlled reintroduction phase, I needed to maintain some limits to my eating. Without that, I was sure I was going to become sick again.

Then, I did get sick again anyway.  Luckily, my lupus was still in remission. With the help of a new, fantastic doctor, I was able to get the help I needed.  Something she told me really stuck with me.  She told me to enjoy my life because I was never going to feel as good as I expected to feel.  I needed to be realistic, with my health, and not try to control it so much.

Little did I know it would be so difficult.

When I first saw Dr. John Douillard’s book, Eat Wheat, I reflected on what my doctor had said.  Once I’d read the description, I bought it immediately.  After reading it, I was blown away.  The science was intriguing.  Now, this book is not for those with medically diagnosed celiac disease. You have to be wheat and gluten free, without a doubt. But, for those of you who have diagnosed yourselves, or like me, have been diagnosed with NCGS, you may want to give it a read.

For those of you who are interested, I am giving away a copy of Eat Wheat. It is open to all US residents, 18 years or older.  The giveaway runs from 12:00AM Friday, January 13, 2017, to 12:00AM Friday, January 20.  All you have to do is enter your information in the entry form below.  If you don’t mind, please answer the question I’ve provided. It’s simply to satisfy my curiosity.  I will contact the winner, by email, within 48 hours of the giveaway closing. The winner will have 48 hours to get their shipping address to me.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As you can tell, I didn’t die after I ate gluten. It is going to take me awhile to get through the entire loaf.  I tossed it into the freezer, until I’m ready to have more.  This is going to be a slow process. At least I know I’m not going to go all gluten crazy or anything.  I won’t be shoving donuts and cake down my gullet.  I’m going to move slowly, until I reach a comfort level with gluten.

Also, I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about what I’m saying about disordered eating.  I’m not blaming the AIP, paleo, keto, or gluten free diets. It was all me. However, I will warn that is an easy trap to fall into with any restrictive eating plan.  Once you start eliminating certain foods, or food groups from your diet, you definitely increase your risk for going overboard. If you’re a bit of a control freak, like me, you can take it to new levels of constraint. And, if you’re on the other end of the spectrum, you could end up rebelling against restriction, and bingeing on disallowed foods (according to the diet, not me), which are not healthy for you.  Either way, it’s a problem you should be aware of.  Just be careful.

By the way, I hope you like the new look of the blog.  I’ll be making several changes over the next few months. One of the upcoming changes is the removal of the AIP Foods Lists.  Because of the direction the blog is taking, I no longer feel it’s relevant to my subject matter.  If you haven’t printed out or downloaded your copy, please do so. I will be removing it at the end of this month. Although I’ve said it previously, I will repeat that I will no longer be answering questions or comments relating to the AIP. I ask that you please refer your questions to Sarah Ballantyne at The Paleo Mom, or Eileen Laird at Phoenix Helix. I know they would be happy to help you with your inquiries.  Thank you.


Breaking The Chains of Restrictive Diets

So, those of you who have followed me for awhile know I’ve been rebelling against restrictive diets over the last couple of months. You just may not know the full reason for my change of direction. And, for those of you new to my blog, I’m afraid you’ve found me during a time of transition. I’m now going to take some time to explain myself, because I’m breaking the chains of restrictive diets.

After almost two years on strict AIP paleo, I was successful in putting my lupus into remission. I went through both the elimination phase and the reintroduction phase of the AIP, over the course of 31 months. Upon reaching remission, I remained on a paleo diet. During this time, I did still experience some psoriasis symptoms and many food intolerances and allergies (or what I was told were allergies). Although I was in remission of my lupus, I still struggled with lots of food reintroduction issues. It was annoying to say the least.

Breaking The Chains of Restrictive Diets by Tara Perillo
Breaking The Chains of Restrictive Diets

Earlier this year, I decided to try a ketogenic diet. For the first few months, everything was wonderful. I lost fat, had extra energy, and successfully added some dairy into my diet. Then, I crashed. I was unable to put on more muscle, no matter how much weight I lifted. I was exhausted, and my hormones tanked. I removed dairy from my diet, to see if it would help. It didn’t. I tried a different, more balanced approach to keto. Still no improvement. I was fatigued, itchy, and suffering from indigestion. I tried a couple of other low carb diets, with no success. To say I was fed up was an understatement.

Breaking The Chains of Restrictive Diets by Tara Perillo
Breaking The Chains of Restrictive Diets

The next step was to visit my doctor. I was fearful that not only had I knocked myself out of remission, but had put myself in worse condition. Thankfully, my results showed no change in my inflammation markers. However, my hormones and reproductive system was a disaster. I also showed several vitamin and mineral deficiencies. My doctor, although impressed by my real food diet, was concerned with the restrictive nature of my diet, over the past three years. I promised to research it further, and make some changes.

The week after my doctor visit, my husband and I went on vacation to Las Vegas and California. I decided to try a variety of foods I had previously been unsuccessful with. I kept it gluten free, though. None of the foods made me ill, or added any nasty symptoms. I had gluten free bread, chickpeas, eggs, bell peppers, jalapeños, GMO-free corn chips, gelato, and rum, just to name a few. LOL! Why was I now suddenly able to reintroduce, and not even the right way, foods I was unsuccessful with before?

Breaking The Chains of Restrictive Diets by Tara Perillo
Healthy Foods

Once home, I went right into finding some answers. I read every scientific study, book, research paper, article, and post, I could get my paws on. I also went back to some of my old studies about herbal medicine, homeopathy, and ayurveda. In homeopathy, we learn to treat like with like. Often, we use minute amounts of poisons, toxins, and venoms to heal specific symptoms. I wondered if I had actually been causing an intolerance to certain foods by eliminating them from my diet.

I thought about all of the people I had talked to, whether in person or online, who either suffered from an obnoxious amount of food allergies or intolerances, or were diagnosed with a second or third autoimmune disorder, or still had many symptoms after years of restrictive diets. I’m not talking about a couple of people here. The majority of the people I talked and talk to are in this group. That’s a lot of people. So why the heck are they all still eating this way?

I wanted out!But, how does one go from eating this way to experimenting with new foods? It’s scary! I mean, I was scared to death at first. The first time I tried beans, I thought I would have a panic attack. To put that first bean in my mouth was a struggle. But, after I did, and it tasted so good, I managed to eat the whole bowlful. Afterwards, I sat around, just waiting for the horrible fallout. It never came.

Over the next few weeks, I added some dairy, tomatoes (raw & cooked), brown rice, several once taboo herbs and spices, quinoa, and most nuts and seeds. As of today, I have not experienced any negative symptoms.

Now, there is a key to doing this mass reintroduction. I only buy and eat the best organic foods available. It has surprised me that so much of gluten free foods have terrible ingredients and processing practices. You must read the labels. Just because something is labeled gluten free, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. If you’re still eating highly processed crap food, you’ll still feel like crap. You can also still up your chances of getting diabetes, heart disease and cancer. What the companies that peddle this gluten free and paleo junk food are doing is capitalizing on what they consider to be the hot diets of the moment. If there is one thing restrictive diets have taught me, it’s how to spot junk foods.

Breaking The Chains of Restrictive Diets by Tara Perillo
Healthy Vegetables And Fruit

I want you to understand, I’m not saying that restrictive diets are necessarily bad. I believe there is a time, and a duration for some of them. There are a couple of things you should keep in mind when following any restrictive diet. One, should you start to notice any disordered eating patterns, it may not be a good diet for you. Two, if you have been on a restrictive diet for awhile, with very little improvement in your symptoms, it may not be a fit for you. If you notice a worsening of symptoms, you may want to make a change. Three, should you find yourself developing a large number of food intolerances or allergies, while reintroducing foods, it may be time to venture off your restrictive diet. And four, if you’re diagnosed with any secondary women’s health issues, gut issues, bone loss, vitamin or mineral deficiencies, autoimmune disease, or any other major health problem, it may be necessary to make a change.

For those of you who do not suffer from medically diagnosed celiac, I wanted to introduce you to Dr. John Douillard, and his book, Eat Wheat. During my research, I came across the doctor and his book. After reading it, I was fascinated by his technique and philosophy, not to mention his scientific research. As I delved further into his website and videos, I begin implementing many of his gut healing strategies, to prepare myself to reintroduce wheat and gluten. I haven’t gotten to the level where I’m 100% ready; but, I plan to get there in the new year. This week, I will be trying sourdough bread, for the first time in years. If you’re interested in the truth about wheat and gluten, and how you may be able to enjoy these foods safely, I highly suggest reading Eat Wheat. Dr. Douillard’s scientific evidence was enough to convince me to toss out years of restrictive eating.
All I can tell you is, I’m much happier since freeing myself from restrictive diets. My health continues to improve. In fact, I haven’t had a psoriasis flare in weeks. My hormones have regulated. It’s going to take awhile for me to notice any real changes in my blood tests. I’ll definitely be writing all about it for you. In the meanwhile, I will not be answering any questions about the AIP, keto, or paleo diets. It is not my intention to cause anyone harm by promoting a particular protocol. While I still have unanswered questions on the effect these diets may have had on my body, I simply don’t feel comfortable advancing them. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.

The reason I wanted to explain myself now, is because this blog will look much different in the new year. As more information comes to light, I will always let you know the facts. Many people do find help and health through restrictive diets. More power to them. Some people find restrictive diets a necessity due to true food allergies. But, there are many people out there selling you snake oil cures. For those people, be warned, I’m watching you. I will expose you for the frauds you are.

Knowledge is power. Power is strength. Ask yourself, do you want to be weak….or, do you want to be Strong?

Stronger In….Mind, Body & Soul

Happy New Year!

Instant Pot Spiced Meatball Vegetable Soup Recipe

ip spiced meatball vegetable soup

Today is the first day of winter! I don’t know about you; but, the first food I reach for, when it’s cold outside, is a big bowl of soup. This year, I’ve been giving my Instant Pot a workout, with tons of new soup and stew recipes I’ve created for you. My first recipe was Instant Pot Spiced Meatball Vegetable Soup!

Instant Pot Spiced Meatball Vegetable Soup Recipe by Tara Perillo
Instant Pot Spiced Meatball Vegetable Soup

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