Happy-U Bloggity Blog

Holistic Approach to Positive Psychology & Yoga

“So you’re saying I can eat quinoa & air”: An update on my attempt to be vegan AND gluten free

on September 14, 2012

I have had SO many interesting conversations this last week since my post, Vegan AND Gluten-Free?!?! All I’ve Eaten Today is a Carrot. People coming up to me who “feel my pain”, peeps with straight-up SICK intestinal issues who had no choice but to go gluten-free, some who “COULD NEVER cut out bread, are you frickin’ crazy!?!”, and others who are simply authentically curious about making some changes themselves. It seemed that everyone I spoke with was in a different place in the conversation, but there was one opinion we all had in common… Choosing your diet is all about finding what’s right for you. You. Just you, no one other that you.

So let me start the update by saying that it’s gotten easier since that carrot-eating day when I couldn’t find a damn thing in my house to eat.


I’ve found that Trader Joes, Sprouts, and OB People’s Market have very clearly marked GF items, and I was able to buy a considerable amount of delicious food when I was willing to spend 2 hours at the grocery store checking if things were both GF AND Vegan (newsflash: most things are not), and cook them in my home like the hippie-skinny-younger-more American version of Julia Child. It’s the easy, grab-n-go things I’ve been missing… Yeah, yeah, fruits and veggies are very clearly GF and vegan, but come on… how many vegetables and a girl really eat before she NEEEEEEEDS something else? (The answer is 4) But I have made do.

And I’m proud to say, that for exactly 2 weeks, I was entirely vegan AND gluten-free… and I didn’t starve to death.

I guess I say this because I don’t want anyone to think I gave up or quit just because it was hard. (Can you see where this is going?)

Dun dun DUN….

Yesterday, I had my annual check-up at the lady doctor, and upon discussing my current health and diet, I told her of my GF experiment.

“Why?”, she snarled. “Do you have GI issues?” Her expression was as if I had told her I was trying a diet of dogfood and hair.

“No,” I defended, “I wanted to try it because I have terrible allergies, and my sist–”

“Well, don’t do that.” She cut me off mid-sentence. “It’s not going to help your allergies, so if you don’t have GI issues there’s no point. If you’re going to be vegan, it’s just too restrictive to be gluten-free too. Don’t do it to yourself.”

I could practically taste the bagel I’d be downing in 20 minutes.

Upon further discussion, I realized a key element that I had been missing in this whole GF trial… There’s a difference between NEEDING to restrict my diet and just being curious about what I’m eating. Guess what, SOME people are really sick in their bellies, and going GF isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity. Lucky for me, I am not one of those people. I poop like a champ. My sister, on the other hand, WAS one of those sick peeps who HAD to go GF just to feel like a normal human being. And THAT’S why she looked and felt so radiant after switching to GF. It’s not a kitschy fad diet that will help you lose a few pounds. It’s a remedy to a medical condition that should absolutely be followed if it’s necessary for your wellbeing.

Welcome back, my dear friend… I’ve missed you so…

One more thing I learned that was crucial to this process. In reading and researching about gluten, the scientists and doctors say that if you’re going GF, you should AVOID food that’s “gluten-free”. What-the-what?!

The reason is, when some food is made to be like something else, i.e. gluten-free bread, veggie sausage patties, fake cheese, the stuff it’s using in place of what you’re trying to avoid is usually as bad or WORSE for you in some way. The stuff they put in gluten-free crackers, for example, raises your blood sugar just as much as regular crackers would. So if you don’t HAVE to eliminate the gluten, you’re not really doing anything other than make a major inconvenience for yourself. Hmmm… The research continues… I find this stuff fascinating.

So now, as my next adventure, I’m heading to a Nutritionist next week to find out more and get to the bottom of what’s right for ME.

Keepin’ on the journey…

I went vegetarian almost 4 years ago, and have been varying degrees of vegan for most of that time. I have found that that is right for me. But sometimes, wine and a fine cheese is right for me too. And that’s okay. And sometimes a bagel is necessary to keep me in balance (hey, I’m a New Yorker, after all), so I’m gonna enjoy it. I know where I draw my lines, and I know where I’d like to be flexible. I’m not attached to the labels of “vegan” or “vegetarian” (yeah, Aparigraha!), and am open to the possibility that I’m gonna be pregnant at some point and the baby may just decide she wants a dorito-shelled beef taco from Taco Bell. I’m going to do what’s right for ME (slash whoever’s growing inside of me), and therefore I owe it to my dorito-loving future child to figure it out as I go and be flexible. To listen to my body, and be mindful to my OWN needs, regardless of what anyone tells me.

So I’m heading to the nutritionist, eating my good-ol’ peanut butter on toast (oh, how I’ve missed you!), and patting myself on the back for doing something that was hard in honor of learning something new. Of course, I’ll keep you posted. Let’s keep the conversation going, and see what happens, because after all, it’s ALL really an experiment in feeling good, isn’t it?


12 responses to ““So you’re saying I can eat quinoa & air”: An update on my attempt to be vegan AND gluten free

  1. juella says:

    Pirates Booty is the best snack every and covers all the above.

  2. Nicole says:

    Love love love this post, Karson. And yep, 4 is exactly how many servings of fruits/veggies you can eat before needing to put something else in your mouth.

  3. M says:

    Extremely well written and thoughtful article.

  4. m says:

    glad to hear you are taking good care of YOURSELF!!

  5. MaMaFlimFlam says:

    K~Coming to visit you will be ever sooooooo much more fun now. You had the most disappointing refridgerator innards that I ever saw. xo

  6. tierneystjohn says:

    Good on ya sis! Glad to know you are doing well and taking charge of your health. Yesterday I went to a a farmers market in Sydney and with a nice little hangover, and all I wanted was a bacon cheese and tomato sandwhich. I went to one of the vendors who sold me a loaf of GF bread (that weighed about 25 pounds) and then went over the the bagel place and had them whip me up a hangover cure sammy. But as suspected eating the GF bread seems to be just as bad FOR ME as eating gluten products. I got so miserable in my tummy that the carrot diet had me praising it’s name. The moral of the story is try things, be honest with your body and listen to what it is telling you. All I know is that I do the best I can today get a happy healthy poo tomorrow! Love you! Miss you!

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