“Gluten! What the heck is that?”
That was my reaction when I was watching a TV show on PBS, killing time with my husband on a lazy Saturday afternoon during the summer of 2006. It was “Ultra-Metabolism” with Dr. Mark Hyman. He was talking about a woman he had been working with for three years to help her lose weight. He said he finally gave up and told her to stop eating gluten to see if that would help. He was just shooting in the dark. It worked. The woman started losing weight after years of struggling. But what was really amazing was that all of these other problems that she had disappeared, too. As Dr. Hyman listed off this woman’s issues, I kept telling my husband, “That’s me. That’s me.”
The next day, I went to the store and bought everything gluten free that I could find. I decided I was going to try it for a couple of weeks to see if anything changed. Well, I had been having insomnia for almost 2 years before this. Couldn’t fall asleep until at least 5-6am. Then I would have to be up at 7am to get ready for school. (I was finishing my bachelor’s degree.) It made getting through classes rather difficult. Anyway, this first night after not eating gluten that day, I fell asleep at 10pm. I slept like a rock through the night. I have avoided gluten ever since.
The reason I bring this up is because I didn’t find out that I had to be eating gluten to get tested for Celiac Disease. They call it the gluten challenge. I call it torture. You have to eat the equivalent of 1-2 slices of bread per day for 1-3 months. Considering, I decided to eat gluten when I went to Italy and thought I was going to die from the horrible stomach cramps, I’m not eating gluten again for as long as I live.
Well, this is a very long intro to tell you about the Gluten-Free Challenge. It’s much different and much more fun. The Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) and Pamela’s Products (Yum!) are sponsoring it. You go the sign-up page here: http://www.gogfchallenge.com/index.html. You sign up and pledge to go gluten-free for the weekend of May 22nd & 23rd. They chose this weekend since May is Gluten-Free Awareness Month.
For those of us already living gluten-free, this isn’t much of a challenge, but it is designed to encourage friends and loved ones to try it out. See what it’s like to be in our shoes. Maybe they’ll find out they do much better without it. But they are also having product giveaways, so you could win something really cool; like gluten-free food. They also have a Facebook page to become a fan on: www.facebook.com/The-Gluten-Free-Challenge.
So let’s all take The Gluten-Free Challenge!
BTW, just as an aside. Dr. Hyman now advocates just about everyone going off of gluten. He had a new PBS special on a couple of weeks ago for “The Ultra-Mind Solution.”