Confession: While I've been known to poke fun at Gwyneth Paltrow now and again (come on, it's like shooting fish(mongers) in a barrel!), I find myself hesitating to criticize her latest cookbook craze/crazy cookbook. It's All Good is all about how getting rid of gluten, sugar, meat, eggs and dairy has revolutionized her health -- not to mention the health of her unwittingly-along-for-the-ride family. Most of the flack Paltrow is fielding has to do with her admission that occasionally, yes, her kids get really hungry. And while, as a mom, I'm not so sure what I think about whether elimination diets are appropriate for kids, I have to admit ... I lived the gluten/dairy/egg/meat-free way for a while myself, and I felt ... mostly ... all good.
I wasn't trying to be cool or anything -- my doctor at the time suggested the diet as a remedy for what he suspected was celiac disease, a digestive disorder triggered by gluten intolerance.
I happened to be in a vegan phase anyway, so there I was, living the Gwyneth Paltrow way years before she made it hip (okay, I never gave up sugar entirely). Still, pretty close.
Anyway, while it was definitely tricky to make the transition, there were enough vegan/gluten-free versions at the health food store (this was BEFORE Whole Foods, guys) of my favorite things to satisfy my habitual cravings, and eventually, I got hooked on new things I probably wouldn't have tried otherwise, like "energy chunks" made with spirulina and sunflower seeds and cocoa and almond milk and "graham crackers" made with cashew flour. In the meantime, my digestive troubles improved dramatically. So why did I end up putting everything I'd eliminated back into my diet?
Honestly? Because avoiding all that stuff was a pain in the ass. Sticking to the regime required endless planning ahead and scrutinizing of labels and, worst of all, explaining to people over and over again why I wouldn't like a piece of cake or a slice of pizza or a pretzel or whatever else. Plus, around the same time I was getting fed up with the food restrictions, I got pregnant -- and the only things I could eat without gagging were, oddly, greasy deli tuna melts and macaroni and cheese.
But now that my kids are older and my stomach is starting to bug me in a very familiar way, I find myself tempted to go Gwynnie again. At least for a little while, maybe, to see how I feel.
But make no mistake, Paltrow -- I was riding this train before you even got to the station.
Have you ever tried an elimination diet?
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