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GLUTEN FREE: Better Skin But You Need To Deal With Constipation

The two staples of any Indian household are roti and rice. Without these two, our diet is incomplete. And if you are from a typical north Indian family, roti, parantha, poori and bread are a common part of your everyday life (read: diet).

The same was the case with me. I have never been able to resist paranthas and pooris my entire life. No matter what diet I followed, I would eat parantha at least once a week. Pooris are still a part of special occasions and my brother’s homecoming. Therefore, to think that I may be gluten intolerant was completely out of question.

Gluten is a protein which is formed when a dough from barley, wheat and rye is kneaded with water. A person who is intolerant to gluten suffer from digestion issues after consuming it, because his body is unable to break down gluten, release its juices and give energy to the body.

Now there are two categories of people that exist: One who are actually gluten intolerant (or suffer from celiac disease). And the other who have aped the concept of ‘gluten-free’ from the West and have tried his hand at going gluten-free to lose weight.

Me? I fall in the second category. Somehow, this journey of being ‘gluten-free’ started with this Navratri. I wasn’t having any roti, parantha or poori in this period and in a short span of eight days I noticed a difference in my skin and digestion.

This got me curious if it had anything to do with the elimination of gluten and more inclusion of fruits, vegetables and yoghurt – or was it just another diet fad? I decided to follow the same diet for the next 22 days.

One major issue with being on a gluten-free diet is constipation. And another big problem is not feeling full after a meal. You can think it’s easy just being on rice and fruit-grain rotis, but it is not as simple as it sounds – especially if you have spent most part of your life eating rotis and paranthas for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

However, to resolve this issue, I opted for homemade digestive powders which included saunf, cardamom, mishri (sugar) and cinnamon. Other than this, I also got custom-made attas from the local chakki vendors. If you have one near you, you can ask them to make a mixture of soya and chana atta. This may not be like your normal roti, but trust me it serves the purpose of satiation like no other.

In 15 days, I saw that the pores on my acne-prone skin had started to diminish visibly. Not only this, I was delighted to see that my skin was glowing as well. I started to feel lighter in the morning. Prior to my gluten-free extravaganza, I used to get up groggy in the morning. But now, I felt more active whenever I got up in the morning.

Moreover, my constipation was now completely under control. Earlier after my meals, I’d feel extremely heavy, wanting to doze off on my table. But after eating chana roti and rice for 15 days, I felt active through the day and not only in the mornings.

It has been a month now and I feel that leaving gluten, even by chance, has affected me in a positive way. It is not true that being gluten-free is only for the wealthy. There are plenty of Indian grains, pulses and lentils which you can include in your diet along with fruits and vegetables.

Three major changes I saw in myself after turning gluten-free for 30 days:

  1. Skin became better. My skin was glowing, acne was reduced and my skin felt softer.
  2. Digestion was sorted. I felt lighter after my meals and even after waking up in the morning
  3. I felt happier. It is a common saying that if your stomach is right, your brain works fine. I felt this even more after being on a gluten-free diet.

Pro-tip: Do not be rigid on yourself and make your family go crazy because of your diet schedule. If you just CANNOT avoid eating roti, parantha or poori, have one and stick to eating more veggies, dal, salad and yoghurt.

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