For my June Challenge I wanted to try some self exploration and gave up gluten. No beer, no pizza, no pretzels, no sammiches, it started out just as terrible as it sounds. For the first few days I just wanted all of the glutens, like right then and there. For the first few days I would wake up wanting a pizza made out of cornbread and topped with spaghetti-Os, which is an idea that I am thinking about pitching to Pizza Hut, they will probably be interested. As with any changes in diet the first 3 days are the hardest and then the cravings start to wane. By the second week I had found a lot of replacements and had started to move on.
The hardest thing about trying a gluten free lifestyle is not knowing what things you can and can’t eat. While many products are now marketing themselves at GF (like Twizzlers do) you actually need to know what is in your food before you consume it, which is a big change from how I normally consume things. I am lucky that I have no dietary allergies, so I may look over the nutrition label but I don’t pay much attention to the ingredients. I found that scouring the ingredients lead me to spend more time looking at the label and estimating portion sizes and being more mindful about the things that I put in my body. While I found a lot of very good snacks I found that most of them contained a lot of the same processed crap that most other snacks contain. I found myself drawn to more natural and unprocessed things, and since I cook most of my own meals and follow a standard meat+veg=yum plan I didn’t really have to adjust as much as I thought. Giving up beer was a bit of a challenge, but luckily I live in the land of Citizen Cider and was able to make that swap, and I also had the chance to try some new whiskeys.
The biggest change that I had versus previous challenges is that I programmed in a cheat day. My friends were getting married and I didn’t want to cheapen the experience by having to avoid things. I started things off the night before with some light beers, then had pizza on the way out, and had pasta salad, croutons, and cake at the wedding. I also slipped up and had a sandwich when I went to my parents’ place for lunch the following day, it was easier to break my gluten vow than to explain to my mother why I was just eating plain cold cuts. As expected having this cheat day nearly derailed me for a few days afterwards. I had tasted the gluten and I wanted more. Eventually I was able to get over it and get back on track.
This month’s challenge made me open my eyes a bit and take in more information about food than I normally would. I suppose that I was secretly hoping that taking a gluten out of my diet would make me feel awesome and immediately solve some problems that I didn’t even know about. I did find that without gluten in my diet I was losing weight at a pretty rapid pace despite not changing my activity level. I am not sure if it was the food that I was consuming was healthier, or that I wasn’t drinking as much, or the fact that I wasn’t snacking as much, or that my go to unhealthy meals like subs and pizza were out of the picture. I am glad that I had the chance to try something new, and even though I no longer have to I think that I will be checking more nutrition labels in the future.
The Challenge: Write at least 500 words every single day. It doesn’t have to be great, in fact it doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be something on paper. If something isn’t good then either edit it or delete it completely, but get some words on a page and create something
- Why: This blog was supposed to be an outlet for me, a way to express my feelings and put some things out there. I had planned on writing at least one post each week, but shortly after I started the blog my comedy schedule picked right up and now I find myself with a method of expression and less free time than I expected.
- The Benefits: I really enjoy writing but it is hard to do and rather time consuming. I was thinking recently about what I would do if I ever won the lottery, because I would have to do something to keep myself busy or else I would go insane, and I came up with becoming a writer. I enjoy writing and am able to do it pretty well, plus I can do it anywhere and on my own time table, it is basically the perfect job. But in order to become a writer you need to write, and like anything the more you do it the better you get at it. I find writing to be extremely cathartic and whenever something big goes on in my life I enjoy being able to put it down on paper or on a computer screen before literally turning the page and moving on with my life.
- The System: The system is pretty straightforward with this one, just sit down and do it. I prefer not to write at home, but when I get home from work it will probably be a good way to switch out of professional mode to home mode. I recently bought a new computer so I will be dedicating to writing, comedy materials, and the website so it should be easy not to fall into netflix or facebook when working on writing. If what I come up with is crap then I will just delete it, which will help me to let go of other things in my life that are not up to par.
I think that this month’s challenge will help to push me as a writer and maybe help me think through some of the things going on in my life. I have a few ideas that I have been kicking around, and it should be a decent month for introspection, but worst case scenario it is an opportunity for me to seek out new muses and inspiration.