For me I think there are a few kinds of “gluten blues” and they seem to come at different junctures in your journey.
When you are first learning to go gluten free it is a very daunting task understanding all the nuances that go into changing every thing that you eat. Learning to navigate your kitchen, your old favorite foods, baking, cooking, eating out, dealing with friends, family and special occasions all of these take some time to learn how to survive, let alone to relax and enjoy your meals.
Often while retraining your brain and your palate there are lots of peaks and valleys. Sometimes lots and lots of valleys when things don’t go well in the kitchen and your meal turns out inedible or your just so exhausted and are there no real shortcuts that you can take when cooking from scratch things seem impossible. In time you will learn several skills and prep tips but that doesn’t help on a bad night. And truly nothing helps when your family doesn’t support you. It will take some time for them to understand how eating just a little bit of gluten will harm your health short term as well as long term. There is a learning curve for everyone in your family. (Should you’d like more support on how to do this, please check out my book Gluten Free Guide to a Healthy-Do-Over).
Often during all of these changes comes a bit or a whole lot of overwhelm, a little bit of a funk and what is often referred to as the “gluten blues”. And, this is completely normal, the key here is to not focus on all the things that use to be. I know it’s way easier said then done; but, your health now has to come first. You have to come first and this too takes time to learn how to do. Far to often people get stuck in the “gluten blues” and feel like they are drowning in all that they can’t have to eat, in the loss of it all. And lets face it, it really is a loss that you will come to terms with but just like changing any habit, it takes time. It takes consistent and better choices at every meal, every fork-full.
The other kind of “gluten blues” often comes when you have not made a safe or good choice and you get glutened or slimed as I sometimes refer to this. Knowingly or unknowingly your body pays the price and some people have restroom issues, some people have skin issues and some people have brain issues to name a few of the most common. Brain issues can range from brain fog to a bit of depression to neurological damage over time. I have found that for me, depending on how much gluten I have eaten will determine the severity of my symptoms. The “gluten blues” often kick in when you don’t feel well for the next several days. When you have to cancel appointments, call in sick, miss special dates all because your body is rebelling and truthfully sometimes it's so bad, you can barely lift your head off your pillow.
We are all so busy that no one has time to get glutened and feel horrible for the next week, life is way to short for that. Get glutened a few times and I guarantee you, you will take your health a whole lot more seriously. No I’m not telling anyone to get glutened on purpose, my only point here is that when you have some nasty side-effects, you will learn really quickly that you can’t keep doing this to your body. The bigger challenge comes for people who don’t suffer side-effects that they can immediately feel for a few days, where they actually fool themselves into thinking they can eat some gluten sometimes (but that truly is for another blog post, getting into the dangers of that to your health).
“Gluten blues” in either scenario is when you have super low energy and you feel like your life and the days are just passing you by - as you stay in your pjs not wanting to see of do anything. It is extremely important to stay positive and to be grateful that the gunk is coming out and that you will be feeling better soon. This too shall pass, becomes your mantra as well as tomorrow will be a better day.
This crapy feeling is your body’s way of forcing you to take care of yourself. Sleep as much as you can, eat lightly during this time, drink plenty of water and support your body as much as you can. Read a good book, listen to some music, do some exercises (rebounding, qi gong and light yoga are great when detoxing or getting rid of the gunk), meditate, color, write in a journal and think positive thoughts all help pull you out of this state as soon as your body recovers. You will feel a difference when your body has recovered. You will have a bit more energy, you will bounce back it is just crucial to not beat yourself up over it, during this time. Mistakes happen and you will certainly learn from them quickly and do your best to not repeat them. The more positive you can be the easier this whole process becomes.
Self care is something we all need to do a better job with but for me getting glutened is forced self care and much harder because we haven’t scheduled it, we haven’t planned it but our bodies are demanding it … now.
Please note that the “gluten blues” are a temporary feeling, it is a temporary state that you can pull yourself out of. This is completely different when this lasts for more than a few weeks. Should it last more than a few weeks, than it is time to see your doctor and have yourself checked out. It has been found that serotonin levels can drop quite low when having gut issues and you may need some additional assistance here while you are healing. So I encourage you to go get yourself checked out if you are having trouble or get stuck here.
Remember to put your health first, make you a priority. It’s the only way for you to really heal.
Hope this helps answer your question, dear reader. Feel free to share your thoughts and feelings on this below. And if you have a question of your own, click the ask a question button and I’ll do my best to answer soon.