The Body doesn’t Lie: Why I Choose a Gluten and Dairy-free Diet

by Rosie Bason, Mullumbimby, NSW

About 8 years ago I studied for a Diploma in Herbal Medicine, and part of that included two years studying Nutrition. I learned heaps, and I advised lots of clients to do this or try that, but I did not practise much of what I had learned. It’s amazing that we can gain all this knowledge, yet ignore it.

I thought I was healthy… but in truth I was often bloated, sometimes constipated, and almost always had a blocked nose to some extent. In fact, I had sinus issues my whole life. I thought it would be good to try to not eat too much cheese, but I loved it and couldn’t imagine life without it. I was never much of a milk drinker, but then again, I would have it in a cup of tea or coffee, although I never drank it on its own. So I just thought that a little bit couldn’t really be making a huge difference.

While I was studying I learned about gluten, gluten intolerance and coeliac disease, but I didn’t ever think it was an issue for me. I thought I could eat anything, and that is how I lived. I had never kept a food diary by writing down how I felt after eating certain foods, so I never even considered that the way I was feeling could be a result of what I had chosen to eat.

About 3 years ago, I was speaking with some friends who had chosen to not include dairy or gluten in their diet. I asked them why they had chosen to do this. They replied, because they felt better, and suggested I try it for a few months – if I did, then I would understand why it was worth it. Because you really needed to feel it in your own body – the effects of not eating dairy and gluten – to really understand and know it.

I had a moment where I thought, if I am preaching how they should eat to my clients, I should at least give it a go myself and see if eating gluten and dairy-free really makes a difference in how I feel, and if it’s worth the effort. I had tried giving up dairy in the past and failed terribly, so it was going to be a test for me. But this time I really made a commitment with myself to have absolutely none for 3 months.

At first it was a real challenge. What to snack on when you are used to having cheese and crackers? I had to change the way I cooked. I was used to eating 1kg of cheese between my daughter and myself in a week, so on the positive side of things I was saving money already. I used rice milk or soy milk in my tea and chose to drink herbal teas most of the time. I tried an olive oil substitute so I could cut out butter, and different rice pastas and flours so I wasn’t having the gluten. I found there are lots of alternatives in the supermarkets these days so it wasn’t as hard as I had expected – you just have to read labels, because milk products and gluten show up in the rarest of places.

Once I had adjusted to my new way of eating, I began to notice some changes. They didn’t all happen at once, but one thing I really noticed was not feeling so tired and heavy. My skin cleared up, I had less bloating and didn’t feel like I needed a cup of coffee to get me through the afternoon.

So I got to feel how the body never lies. What I identified was that I had not often stopped and listened to my body – then even when I did, I ignored what it was trying to tell me.

After my first 3 months I felt great so decided to stick with it for 6 months… then when I got to 6 months I carried on. Now it’s about two and a half years later and I feel that my body is really the healthiest it has ever been.

249 thoughts on “The Body doesn’t Lie: Why I Choose a Gluten and Dairy-free Diet

  1. It is really interesting how much more vital and energised we can feel when we take gluten and dairy out of our diets, the only way to know if this works is to try it for yourself and to notice the difference this makes to your health and well being.

  2. I very naturally stopped eating bread about 18 years ago when I was pregnant. It wasn’t like I thought about it, I just stopped wanting to eat anything bread-like. I now know that it was because it made me feel bloated and contributed towards an afternoon dip in my energy. Several years later I stopped eating all dairy except cheese on occasion. Again, it wasn’t like I thought about it, I just stopped wanting it. Although I didn’t have any obvious physical signs other than the two above, I now have a much deeper understanding of why I chose to cut dairy and gluten out of my diet. 18 years ago there was very little to substitute for gluten but like you have found, Rosie, there is so much available now that it makes it easy to maintain a gluten and dairy free diet.

  3. I find my body is incredibly precise in what it needs or doesn’t need or what works or doesn’t work, from different different food types, to different vegetables, to what exercise or rest it needs, to how you prepare for your day – it’s amazing how our bodies know how everything needs to be done down to the finest detail.

  4. When we eat what is nurturing to our body it responds by becoming more harmonious, which often brings to the surface an awareness of the symptoms we created in it in the past, but overrode them by the cravings from our mind. It is well worth befriending our body and heeding the wisdom it share as it has to digest what we feed it and knows exactly what agrees with it and what does not.

  5. I have come to appreciate how supportive it is that our body doesn’t lie in that it clearly communicates the effect of our choices and the impact of eating certain foods in particular. In valuing and nurturing ourselves and in building a more loving way of being we are able to keep refining our choices that deepens the love we hold and accept for ourselves which is reflected in the way we move and express our body.

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