Over ten days ago, I started a diet that allows neither sugar nor gluten - and with no sugar, I mean no fruit, no honey, no syrup, no sweeteners, nothing.
It all started with visiting an alternative doctor who specialises in the gut. He quickly identified a parasite in my liver and an unbalance in my gut bacteria. He recommended a two-week course of a sugar and gluten-free diet to cleanse out my entire gut.
have been privileged so far to not be encumbered by any allergies or intolerances - meaning I never had to watch what I eat. When faced with the challenge to forgo all my classics (my diet mainly consists of bread, pasta and something sweet in the afternoon), I felt faintly panicked, but also motivated to take it on.
While taking medicine to get rid of the parasite, I prepared for the coming weeks. And I noticed the following. Being gluten-free - at least in Austria - sucks. There is hardly anything to find in the normal stores - and that mostly has sugar in it. In the end, I had to go to specialised stores where I paid a small fortune for buckwheat and amaranth products to replace the usual corn I had.
However, going through my recipe rota (I have a three-week meal plan), I realised how many recipes I could still cook, or which I only had to alter slightly. Potato casserole, chicken steaks with potato wedges, salmon with spinach and rice, etc.
With lunch quickly sorted, I realised the biggest challenge was the breakfast. I am a sweet breakfaster. I have yogurt with honey and fruit, a honey or jam bread and usually a cup of cocoa. Figuring out what to eat in the morning was the biggest challenge - and it's what I am most looking forward to going back to normal! I made myself eggs on some days, but I'm not a huge fan of eggs, so having them every morning wasn't an option. I also ate avocado on rice cake or on the gluten-free bread I baked, that was surprisingly OK.
Despite facing some challenges and REALLY craving sugar at the moment, I have to say I found the experience very positive. So positive, in fact, that I've decided to add one gluten-free day to my week and two sugar-free ones. The doctor said it would be particularly hard in the beginning, but I found it a breeze in the first days. I was motivated, had freshly shopped and was eager to try out new recipes. I was especially happy with the lunches I came up with, as I cooked more rice than usual and had more salad. I will definitely keep these recipes in my book.
I also felt energised and less bloated. However, now towards the end, I feel tired of finding alternatives and can't wait for the chocolate croissant I'm going to have on Sunday morning to celebrate the end of these two weeks. I think if I'd been allowed fruit and honey, it would've been fine, but I love eating fruit, and I'll definitely enjoy a huge fruit platter on Sunday as well.
Yet, I can highly recommend doing such a cleanse for the gut, also because it makes you change your eating habits and realise you can do without many things you considered staples. Also, you realise how much "blind" sugar you consume every day (they even put sugar in soup cubes, can you believe it?!), and it made me a lot more aware of my sugar intake and what I put in my body. Something I will definitely continue in the future.
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