From V to VGF

Dear Friend,

why I suggest you try going gluten-free at least for two weeks…

As a vegetarian & vegan for thirty years I thought I had arrived at a high, comfortable and often quite blissful healthy nutritional plateau. I didn’t expect changing much for the rest of my life. One and a half years ago I experienced a few symptoms, which I thought were related to menopause and I consulted with Audrey Fontaine a nutrition expert living in Sonoma, California.
I asked her how I could sail through menopause without the symptoms I was experiencing and if she had any advice or supplements she would recommend. She looked at me and said ‘I don’t think these symptoms have anything to do with menopause. This sounds like a gluten intolerance. Why don’t you try going gluten-free for six weeks.’

Well I did…
From excruciating wrist-pain to mobility after ten days, still stable
From bloating to normally extended tummy after ten days, still stable
From traffic anxiety to calmness and trust after two weeks, still stable
From 7 hours of sleep average to 6 after four weeks, still my average
From 4 pounds lighter after six weeks, same
From 4 rounds on the tracks to a 10k six months later, still able to do it

But the most amazing experience, the one that will keep me on a gluten free path for the rest of my life happened after two months.
One day I literally felt as if a spider web was pulled out of my brain. I picked up an old Sudoko game book which I still had from a few years ago. I started to fill out the very tough extreme ones and for the first time I was able to solve them. Now 18 months later I have moved on to even more difficult ones, and my interest in math which was quite strong when I was young got rekindled.
The other big improvement for me is that I remember names again. Before I thought of an actor, like George Clooney and saw his face in my mind and couldn’t connect a name to him. That was scary.

And one more story about the anxiety symptom. A couple of times I made exceptions and the next day I felt more anxious. Ok, could have been self-fulfilling prophecy. But the most convincing one happened recently. I woke up and felt anxiety about going out into my day. But I hadn’t eaten any gluten. I went through my day not feeling great. When I came back at night, my boy-friend said ‘well the only thing we ate that was new was that vegan cheese.’ I dug through the plastic recycling bin and sure enough, it contained wheat.
I hadn’t checked the label of this vegan cheese sold here in Germany as the vegan cheese in the US I bought never had wheat in it.

It hasn’t been difficult to feed myself. There is enough out there for me to eat. And I learned to bake vegan-glutenfree cookies and cakes, pizza and pancakes for special occasions, and once a week I bake a seed heavy bread.

Gluten intolerance can cause over hundred different symptoms. In my case the intolerance was caused by a slow build-up over years and I would have never connected the dots. Perhaps trying gluten-free for at least a couple of weeks might help you if you have anything that bothers you. I would be interested in your experiences. And if you are already eating gluten-free I would love to know what changed for you.

Happy Eating,


Forget 100%

at least 99% of the time. At one point I realized that living consciously or subconsciously chasing after the 100% experience or providing it is detrimental to my self-worth and quality of life. It can be hard to let go though. The promise of the 100% lurks everywhere, mainly in advertising, where everything is made to look perfect.

When I look at some of the vegan Insta posts of incredibly sculptured dishes, beautiful cakes and scrumptious desserts I say to myself this is art. This requires a lot of time, talent and effort. That way I don’t feel intimidated and still can enjoy it. Real life is just so much messier. Same with hair, clothing and looks. Same with everything.

When asked if I am completely vegan, I answer that I strive towards eating and living 100% vegan but in regards to food I am probably at 95% simply because of uncontrollable factors and my few times a year changing to vegetarian for hospitality, travel and other circumstances exception. As far as living concerns I only wish it were over 80%, which is my golden numeric gate into the zone. But if I think of the flying I did over the years, which clearly contributes to the destruction of the rainforest and its wild life… much less than animal farming but still…or the thousands of critters killed for my clothing, household items and electronics. And yes I wear leather shoes and currently own three purses, recycled and certified as leather obtained from fair trade/meat industry waste sources.

When I cut a person’s hair  I know how it feels if the result is 100% visually, kinesthetically and energetically. It is incredible, magical, unforgettable and it is rare. So I set my standard to providing 90%+ haircut experiences, which translates into very good. And I share this with my students. Don’t get lost in trying and perfecting when there are things, which you cannot influence. Know when to stop.

Sometimes we wait before doing something because we imagine the experience to feel a 100% right.  But how can it feel already 100% right, if it hasn’t happened? The decision to do something definitely needs to feel good and strong but since everything can be different right after it can’t be a guarantee.  Or if we wait before we loose some weight, before we get a photo taken, before we design a business care before we step out and share our gifts.

I conclude. 100% can be a carrot dangling in front of us. It can be a false promise or an illusion. It ultimately is a gift. And we just don’t receive or create gifts 100% of the time.