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.

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

  1. You do adjust to such a diet and it becomes normal. I get a lot of comments of disbelief, that it would be hard (at the start yes it is) and that they feel sorry that I can’t just go wherever and eat anything available, that my life is restricted. Far from it, I now feel less restricted in how I feel and what I can do in a healthier body than weighted down by the effects from my food choices that are unsupportive or careless.

  2. I feel there is a lot of sense in what you say Rosie that you have to try something to see if you like it or not and what affects the ‘something’ has on our bodies. I have found to feel something is to know something based on an experience not on what my mind tells me. My mind has led me astray so much that getting back to what makes sense to me has taken quite a few years. You know that thought you had when first tasting alcohol it tastes disgusting but our minds over ride this initial disgust by all sort of subtle trickery.

  3. Many of us accept bloating and blocked sinuses as pretty much part of our normal, but it so doesn’t have to be that way.

  4. It was funny how I tried to hang onto dairy as I went from organic milk, to A1, to goats and then sheep’s milks and cheeses to find they all had a similar effect on my body.

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