Thursday, March 29, 2012

One of my intentions for 2012 is to experiment a little more with my hair.  In the past, leaned towards wearing my hair the same way day after day.  This year has been a little different.  I've been rocking some new styles and so far I'm loving the experience.  One thing I need to consider as I try out these new looks is how to keep the momentum going even when I'm deep into a stretch.  If I want to do another five month stretch,  I won't be touching up until around July.  That means that I'll have tons of new growth during the highest humidity months.  One of the reasons why I normally break my stretch is because I find it hard to keep the hair looking presentable after a while.

Lately, I've been experimenting with various style ideas that I think will still look decent even when I have tons of new growth.  The side french braid is one idea. I think I may have found another.

This simple look took only a few moments to create.  All I did was use my head band in a different and new way.  This head band is the same one I'm sporting in the curly haired pic of me on the right side bar of the blog.  What I love about this headband is it's elastic band which allows it to fit neatly on my big 'ole head.  Although this headband has a textured feel to the design, the side touching my head is smooth so it doesn't cause snags.  I think I picked it up at H&M for under $5.00.  

What I appreciate most about this style is the way it draws attention from my roots. The cute headband is the perfect diversion.  And if I wear my hair is big waves or loose curls, then my hair will become the center of attention, not my new growth.


Right now it's just a theory, I actually don't know for sure how this style will look if I tried to rock it three months from now.  While I do have some new growth creeping in at the moment, it's no where near what it will be come July.  But for now, I'll keep this style in the books and continue to experiment.

Monday, March 26, 2012

My philosophy, throughout my hair journey, has always been to create healthy hair by systematically seeking out and identifying my hair's major concerns (one by one) and working feverishly to eradicate them. Over time, I've focused my attention on managing moisture levels, addressing breakage, creating a healthy scalp, avoiding shedding and promoting thicker hair. Now it's time to turn my attention to maintaining thicker, fuller ends.

Thin, weak ends are common place for those of us who relax our hair. In any given day, one doesn't have to look far to find someone who relaxes and struggles to maintain thickness from root to tip. Often, when I read emails from some of you asking about hair advice, one of the areas I'm asked about is regarding creating healthy ends. Currently I'm at point in my hair journey where my focus is shifting to the ends of my hair. If I'm able to overcome this issue then my hair will be the best it's ever been. Thick, healthy ends must happen. Since I don't do much protective styling, I was a bit stumped as to how I would get these results.

It was while writing an email that I came to the conclusion that the ends of our hair will thrive under only one condition. One thing (and one thing only) makes it possible for us to have strong thick ends. And that one thing ladies Before you dismiss my advice as something you've heard before, let me just say that this "protection" I speak of goes way beyond the typical protective styling mantra that you've heard over and over again. Sure, protective styling is obviously the holy grail of protection. It's also fastest way to promote beautiful ends. But I'm a woman who believes in a holistic approach to addressing any and all issues. With that said, let's talk about the other means that you can protect your precious ends beyond just protective styling.

So what are some of the things we have to protect our hair from?

AIR (Dryness)
The greatest strength of protective styling is it's ability to provide unparallelled protection from the drying effects of air. Having our ends tucked away for the duration of the day is ideal. I remember the days when I used to do lots of protective styling under a baggy. When I took down the bun at the end of the day, my ends felt (and looked) amazing. If I were disciplined enough to maintain that practice day after day for an extended period of time, I'm certain that dryness would not be a concern for me. Avoiding dryness is key because anything and everything that is dry is highly susceptible to breakage. Moisture gives the hair the ability bend and flex without the concern of damaging repercussions. If your ends are seriously dry, begin to incorporate protective styling into your regimen right away. Other options would be moisturizing and sealing the ends on a regular basis or misting the hair from time to time to amp up moisture levels. Whatever you decide to do, don't allow your ends to remain in a state of dryness.

Breakage (weakness)

This week, while I was doing my hair, I noticed that most of the hair I lost, while styling, were not the long strands with the bulbs at the end (shedding) they were the little short little hairs (breakage). One thing I DO NOT mess around with is breakage. If left alone to it's own devices, breakage will rob us of every inch of progress ever made. Immediately I reacted with a (needed) minor trim and some coconut oil to elevate protein levels. Now my ends are behaving again thanks to my quick action. On next wash day, I will conduct a light protein treatment to address any lingering concerns and prevent future excessive breakage. Protecting your ends from breakage is essential otherwise you are bound to have thin looking, even ends. Anytime you see excessive breakage, act. Don't ignore.....act.

Do you protect your hair from heat? Or are you one of those people the pass the flat iron over the ends three or four times to makes sure your ends look super straights and perfect? If you find yourself grabbing for the flat iron day after day and exposing your ends to heat, then you are asking, no begging, for damaged ends. As the protector of your ends, your job is to do everything you can to keep your ends from succumbing to the damaging effects of heat. If that means investing money on an ultra-high end heat protectant, then consider it. If that means putting the flat iron away for a while, so be it! A while back I wrote a post discussing what happens when we actually comb our hair. Each time we do it, we are chipping away at the protective layers that cover the hair shaft. One practice that I've incorporated in my regimen is avoid combing on an every day basis. I'm happy to say that I've mastered the art of finger styling. Pretty much the only time I truly use the comb is on wash days when I'm trying to remove shed hairs. Even then, I make sure I'm using some specialized tools to help me with this process. Laying off the comb has helped me preserve thickness overall and I'm sure it's benefiting my ends as well.

One thing I pay close attention to is the type of material my hair brushes up against on a regular basis. On long flights and car rides, my hair is almost always tied up in a cute scarf. Even when laying on the couch to watch a movie, I'm aware that I need to tie my hair up. There's no difference, to me, between laying on the couch and when I go to bed at night. In both cases where I know that my ends will be rubbing back and forth against material, I make sure I use protection. Another way I manage the friction that occurs from just my normal practice of wearing my hair down is by reapplying a light layer of oil on my ends from time to time throughout the day. I've gone as far as to tie a scarf around my car's headrest for those times when I'm wearing my hair down. Whatever it takes to get the job done.

Every time I stretch my relaxer application, I'm protecting my hair (and my ends). But I know that stretching is not enough. I also have to ensure that I'm taking major precautions to protect the length of my hair every time I relax. So that means that I'm taking the time to apply some sort of product that acts like a barrier between my previously processed hair and the relaxer run-off. Protecting your ends everyday is important but one must never forget to elevate the protection levels on relaxer day. It's critical if you are serious about healthy hair.

I save this one for last because, for me, this is THEE most damaging influence on my hair. My constant (mindless) hair fondling has cost me big time in the past. There was a point in time where I would play with the back of my hair non-stop. Guess what happened....just guess. Yep, my nape quickly became short, broken and fragile. It was all my fault. A few times in my life I've seen women with 4b/c hair with serious length. Most often, they wore their hair in a simple pony tail. From my observation, I'm pretty certain those women wore the same style almost daily without much manipulation or touching. If I were one of those women who wasn't so obsessed with my hair, I guarantee you that I'd have way more length. More than anything, I need to protect my hair from myself. There are certain areas that I tend to go for whenever I wanna play in my hair. Wouldn't you know it, those are the same areas that seem to always struggle the most. So I've decided to take some of my own advice and allow myself the chance to truly benefit from all the my hard work without sabotaging it.

Remember that our ends are the senior citizens of our hair. They are fragile and require much more care and attention then our new growth. Yes, our hair needs moisture and strength but even moreso, it requires our protection. That is what allows our hair to thrive. I saw a sign once at a local park. The sign was located in a heavy populated area where pedestrians enjoy playing Frisbee. The sign said "please use the sidewalk, the grass is resting." It had several brown spots from being trampled by park goers. What would happen if no one were allowed to walk over that grass for months? That area would be so green, lush and thick. That's what I'm doing with my hair, I'm officially "resting" my ends for a while and soon I'll be able to enjoy full, thick hair from root to tip.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

From time to time I get an email that sounds something like this: "I need some advice. I recently took out my weave but my hair is thin, tangled and damaged." I don't know what happened, I've been protective styling for months, why does my hair look so bad?"
As a matter of fact, I had the exact same conversation the other day with a woman I met at a social event the other day.

Normally, when we decide to hide our hair with extensions or braids, our end goal is to retain length and promote thickness. So let's talk a little bit about how we can make sure that happens. I'll first start off by saying that protective styling with weave isn't something I normally do so technically, I'm not an expert on this subject. I have worn sewed in extensions once but it was a horrible experience that I would never forget. Looking back, if I could get the chance to make that decision again, there's a lot I would do differently.

First, I would think about my goals. Am I protective styling to give my hair a break or promote growth? Do I want to create thicker hair when it's all said and done? How will I do it?

Start by addressing any current issues
Normally, when we opt for extensions, we come to a place where we no longer want to deal with our hair and so we seek out a way escape our current situation. Here's the problem with that logic, if your hair was damaged or weak prior to the install, chances are you might find the same issues staring you in the face when the extensions come out. Now let's talk about what to do before your weave install. Putting first things first, the absolute best thing to do (weeks) before your weave install is to identify and address all hair issues. Simply putting your hair in a weave won't suddenly make spilt ends disappear. Prior to protective styling with weave, see if your hair requires any of the following:

-A thorough detangle
-Deep conditioning/hot oil or steam treatment
- A protein treatment
-A trim or a mini-cut
-A clarifying scalp treatment

Opt for weave styles that work with your goals

Once you've got some of the hair issues under control, then you can focus on and decide what type of weave you will be wearing. All extensions are not created equal. There are various methods of installing from using glue, crochet needles, sewing in, braiding, twisting, etc. If your end in mind is to create health and thickness, go with an option where the installation method works with your goals not against them. You don't want glue in tracks if your intention is to create healthier hair. You also want to avoid weave styles that add a bunch of tension on the hair strand. Styles that require beaucoup bags of weave that add 25 lbs of extra weight on your head will do you no favors. If your edges are a concern, getting micro braids isn't an option. There are a multitude of hairstyles available to you so take time to learn about the pros and cons of your hair styling options.
Don't forget about your hair
I'll never forget the time I wore braids back in the day, my morning preparation time was cut in half. I didn't have to do anything to my hair before walking out the door. Luckily for me, 6 weeks was probably the longest I could stand to wear a weave. I can't imagine what the condition of my hair would be if I went 3-5 months or longer without having any access to my hair. When we get extensions, we tend to do things that we normally wouldn't do like go swimming everyday in a chlorine filled pool or start gelling edges down to match the weave texture or go longer without washing, etc. These actions are out of the ordinary us. We sometime use extensions as an excuse opportunity to do things that are not so good for the health of our hair. Even leaving the hair alone and not moisturizing or washing for 2 months is cruel and unusual punishment for your hair. Before choosing your protective weave style, think about how you will care for it during the time when your hair is hidden. That way you avoid any surprises when the weave comes out.

Feed your hair and scalp
Often, when we protective style with weave. We just leave our hair alone and let it do it's thing. I think this is a huge mistake. To me, this is the perfect time to proactively focus on promoting growth. Knowing that every inch of hair will be retained is even more motivation to focus on our growth. If I were to protective style with extensions, I would make certain that I maintained my habit of taking vitamins or continued with healthy scalp massages and so on. The weave will take care of preserving your ends, now you've gotta make sure you are ramping up the growth to maximize your experience. Also, don't forget to do things like moisturizing and sealing whenever possible. Everything will dry out if left along including the hair that is protected under the extensions. Sometimes moisturizing and sealing will be easy, like when you are wearing braids. Other times, it might get a little tricky and you may have to find creative ways to get to your hair (like using a spray mister to moisturize your cornrows). Either way, make sure you still do it from time to time.

Start the healthy hair process again as soon as you have access to your hair
So after hiding your hair for months, you've finally decided to see how your hard work paid off. You take the weave out and "ta-da" you've gained and retained some length. The biggest mistake you can make at this point is start (excessively) playing with your hair, using heat constantly to show off your newfound length, etc. Yes, I understand how exciting it is to enjoy your hair, especially, when you are seeing some viable growth. One thing you must remember is that a seed is most vulnerable when it first sprouts. The same thing goes for the length achieved after weave styling. This type of retention is a bit "un-natural" because it occurred under special circumstances. Your hair thrived under an ideal environment so your job is to continue to create the ideal environment even after the weave is gone.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I was inspired to write this post today from an email question I received. This young lady and I have something very much in common. We both have a terminal case of hands in hair disease. For those of you who aren't familiar, hands in hair disease is the uncontrollable desire need to fondle, touch, and play with your hair. Most often, this man-handling occurs several times throughout the day. Sometimes our actions are subconscious and we don't even notice that we're inadvertently repeating this behavior. You may be asking yourself "what's so wrong about playing with my hair? I love doing it!" The problem with disease is that it's a silent killer, slowly threatening the health and thickness of your hair without you even knowing it. Trust me, I know the devastating effects of this monster first hand.

So let's discuss some obvious symptoms of the dreaded hands in hair disease. You may be a sufferer of hands in hair disease if you exhibit the following behaviors:

  • You catch yourself playing with parts of your hair throughout the day. Including your ends, nape, edges, or any other exposed area.
  • You take your hair down several times a day to redo your bun, ponytail for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
  • You're aware that you are constantly playing with your hair but you can't make yourself stop no matter what you do.
If any of the above sounds familiar to you. You may have a severe case of the infamous hands in hair disease. In the past, this condition was terminal (for your hair), but I think I may have found some effective treatments that may cure you of your ailment once an for all.

Remedy #1: Know your triggers

My hands in hair disease has cost me dearly. I knew I reached a breaking point when I realized that the left side of my hair was suffering dearly at the hands of my every own..........hands. Triggers are the situations that cause you to start playing with your hair. Sometimes a trigger might be boredom or stress. For me, stress was the main trigger. Everyday when I drove home from work, I would take my hair down and start playing with the left side of my hair while my other hand was on the wheel. Looking back at those days, I realized that my hair was shedding like crazy and playing with it only made the situation worse. So day after day, I would drive home and spend nearly an hour over-manipulating my hair. As a result, the left side of my hair thinned out tremendously. Turns out I was doing this unconsciously. Once I became hip to what I was doing, I decided that playing with my hair while driving could no longer be an option for me. Today, I no longer use a long car ride as an excuse to zone out and cause damage to my hair. As a result, my hair is much happier overall.

Remedy #2: Pre-occupy yourself

One of the ways, I avoid messing with my hair is by putting my hands to work doing something else. When I want to avoid boredom hair fondling, I tend to engage in other activities that keep my hands pre-occupied. Most notably, I like to rub my fingernails together. You might remember from my previous posts that rubbing fingernails together is thought to help promote hair growth by stimulating the scalp through nerve endings located near our fingernail beds. Not only am I promoting healthy hair growth, I'm also creating strong beautiful nails when I rub them together. So now I have a choice, I can either run my hands through my hair and pose more harm to it or I can rub my fingernails and improve both my nails and hair at the same time. Every time I make the right choice, I reap the benefits.

Rubbing your fingernails isn't the only option, you can substitute hair playing by picking up a pen and start writing that book you've always wanted to publish. You can also update your calendar, repaint your nails, do 10 jumping jacks or whatever. Basically, you have a million other options of what you can do with the time you use to play with your hair. You might even set up a little challenge for yourself. Anytime you catch yourself playing with your hair, you have to do 10 sit-ups. That way, you have a flat stomach and thicker hair by summer.

Remedy #3: Try new hairstyles

If my hair is down all day, there's a 100% chance I will play with it. If I wear a bun, I'm likely to take it down and fondle every couple of hours. However, if I wear my hair in curls, I turn into a good girl and suddenly I have the ability to keep my hands in check. For some reason, the need to have defined, beautiful curls overtakes my obsession with hair touching. Don't get me wrong, I still touch my hair, but I don't do it in the way that is as destructive as when my hair is in a straight style. I also noticed that when I wore that cute single braid, I would still play with it but the braid kept my hair protected while I fondled. Styles like the one below also work well for me. A clean polished look is key to this style and I can't afford to let my roaming hands get in the way of the intended look.

Remedy #4: Use your hands for good

Sometimes, keeping my hands out of my hair is impossible so instead of trying to avoid it, I use my hands to benefit my tresses. If my hands are gonna be in my hair several times a day, might as well take the opportunity to re-moisturize and seal throughout the day. This gives you the opportunity to satisfy your urge for a mid-day feel all while re-freshing the look and feel of your hair.
My all time favorite thing to do with my hair now is to use my hands (that once use to cause damage to my hair) to give me a scalp massage. Whenever I want to play with my hair, my tendency is to reach for my ends. The result of doing this long-term has contributed to thinning ends. Now I try to focus my hands on giving me scalp massages that promote growth and a healthy scalp. Now, if I want to play with my ends, I vow to utilize that time to add moisturizer or Gleau Argan oil blend to nourish my ends.

I hope these suggestions will give you hope in knowing that you don't have to suffer through living with hands in hair disease for the rest of your life. You can live a normal life again. One where you can go through the day without the embarrassment of uncontrollable hands in hair syndrome.

Good day.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

I received a really great question not too long ago from a reader who contacted me inquiring about a serous subject matter. You see, she's on a mission to find a suitable stylist. One she can entrust the care of her hair. My heart goes out to her because I remember the days of going from salon to salon disappointed from my experiences. Worst of all, my hair suffered while I was going through this dreaded trial and error period.

Although I don't have dedicated stylist, I will never forget my experience I had recently while visiting the Prive Salon for my MicroMist treatment. While there, I had the pleasure of having my hair done by Marie. By far, my experience with her was thee best I've ever had with a stylist. If I were one of those people who regularly visited a stylist, Marie would definitely the chosen one. And because of this, I will use Marie as archetype of what you should be looking for in a stylist that will move you forward in your hair journey.

Again, let me reiterate that I've visited many salons in my day. Some of the most memorable (and dreadful) memories I have include:
  • One stylist postponed rinsing out my relaxer even when I repeatedly told her the my scalp was burning. When she finally did rinse out, she proceeded to use her long acrylic fingernails (not her finger tips) to scratch the relaxer out of my hair as she rinsed. I'd never experienced so much pain in my life. Even though I was a first time client, I silently asked myself what I could have done to make this woman hate me so much.
  • After chatting it up with a woman who had mid back length hair at the Dominican salon. I learned that she made special requests to her stylist with regards to how they rolled her hair so that less heat was required to create the finished product. When I asked my stylist to use this technique on my hair, she looked me in the eye and flat out said "NO" without so much as an explanation and proceeded to do what she wanted with my hair.
  • One time, I visited a salon asking for my bangs and my ends trimmed. Knowing there was risk of this stylist over-trimming, I came with a picture in hand of the results I wanted. Needless to say, she kept me out of the mirror the entire time and, hours later, I walked out of the salon with a bob cut and super short bangs (which looked nothing like the picture I showed her).
  • There was a stylist who was so ruff with my hair during the blow dry, that she literally caught my earring during one of her strokes with the hair brush, causing my earring to fly across the salon. Honestly, when she showed me the mirror at the end of the blow, I was in shock that I still had hair on my head.
  • One stylist finished my blow out and as I stood up to leave the seat, she quickly whipped out the scissors and began cutting. By the time I noticed and said something, she was already doing her thing. She then proceeded to tell me to "shhhhhh" as I expressed discontent for what she had done.
These were my worst accounts but there were many more mediocre experiences that really turned me off to salons and stylists in general. Needless to say, these scenarios were exactly why I decided to self-manage my healthy hair journey. But one thing I can give credit for is although the process these stylists used were some of the most unhealthy one could imagine, the end results were pretty much always on point. Even the lady who tried to claw my scalp off gave me nice flowing hair that lasted for weeks.

So what's a girl to do? On one hand, I want gorgeous looking hair. One the other hand, I want healthy, thick, long hair. I can say from experience that my hair never flourished while under the care of a stylist. My length retention was almost non-existent and thickness was something I could only dream about. So is there a way to merge healthy hair with great looking results that only a stylist could create? Yes. But you have to find the right person. So let's talk about what the right person could look like by using my experience with Marie as an example.

Marie listened:
One thing I made sure I did before I made my appointment with Marie was to meet her for a brief conversation. I showed up randomly yet she still took the time to chat with me about my hair. I talked about what I wanted and what I didn't want. What my hair liked and what it hated. And all Marie did was listen. When I finally stopped talking, she reassured me that my hair's concerns were her priority. From that very moment, I knew I had found the one.

Marie was flexible:
During my initial conversation with Marie, I made a host of "demands" that were meant to save both my hair and her time. For instance, stylists tend to wash my hair by massaging it vigorously like in an Herbal Essence commercial. Little do they know that doing so creates tangles that are almost impossible to manage. So I let Marie know that I would be washing my hair at home first and all I'd need her to do was deep condition and style. She was open to everything I suggested and gladly accommodated my numerous special requests. At one point during my blow out, I was uncomfortable with the brush she was using. I politely told her that I didn't like the brush and she immediately started using another tool after asking for my o.k. first. Needless to say, Marie's blow out was the most gentle I had ever experienced. Even at 5 months post, she still didn't feel the need to use excessive force with my hair.

Marie cared:
Seriously, I've never had anyone apply conditioner to my hair like Marie did. She parted my hair in tiny sections (like I do at home) and applied $60.00 Kerastase Conditioner like it was a cheapie pre-poo product. She didn't care that my hair would take up most of her day, she didn't care that she probably applied an entire jar's worth of product on my hair. SHE ONLY CARED ABOUT THE HEALTH OF MY HAIR. Just thinking about it almost brings tears to my eyes. This woman was so self less in her actions that I couldn't believe what I was experiencing. Other stylists would put some conditioner in their palms, rub between their hands and run their hands through my hair. This woman was willing to handle my texlaxed hair at 5 months post like it wasn't nothin'. I love her for that.

So maybe your stylist doesn't currently take the time to apply conditioner evenly throughout the hair, a sign of a great stylist is someone who is willing to do so if you request it.

Marie was knowledgeable:
Even though I gave tons of input both before and during the process, Marie was still able to teach this old dog a few new tricks when she showed me how to create straighter results at home even when I'm knee deep in a relaxer stretch. The difference between the good stylists I came in contact with and the horrible ones were obvious. The good ones talked about healthy hair. Aside from Marie, I could think of one other stylist that enjoyed visiting.Both of them shared their love for healthy hair as a premise for doing what they do. When you visit a new salon, listen to his/her conversation. Really listen and discern what they are saying. All stylist will use the words "healthy hair" in their vocabulary but do they mean "healthy looking hair", or hair that is truly healthy and thriving. If a stylist talks about healthy hair, ask them how they go about achieving it. You'll know because you may hear them say things that are familiar to you from reading hair blogs and forums. A knowledgeable stylist should be aware of natural products, minimizing heat, etc. The stylist should understand when the hair needs moisture or when it requires protein. You shouldn't need a deep protein treatment every single week. That may be a sign that your stylist might be a one trick pony. A good stylist should try to analyze your hair and use the treatment option that works best for your current situation.

Marie listened (and didn't judge):
I put listening down twice because of how important it is. Looking back at the examples above of bad stylists, one thing they all had in common was they didn't listen. Another reason why I didn't like going to the salon was because I was always judged on how long I waited to get a touch up or how thick my hair was or whatever. With Marie, I walked in with inches of virgin new growth, texlaxed hair, and relaxed ends. Although she made a comment about the textures, she didn't try to get me to go natural, or convince me to relax all of my hair bone straight to make it easier. She just worked her magic, with what I had, and made it all work out.

When she finally finished her masterpiece, the moment I had been dreading had finally arrived. That awkward moment when the stylist finishes her work and feels compelled to cut off inches of my hair. I knew that I would have to face this moment with Marie and I honestly didn't know how it would go. On the one hand, I was dead set against having a trim, on the other, I knew my ends weren't in the best of shape and a slight trim was exactly what I needed. Although I didn't want to, Marie assured me that she would trim only the minimal amount and held the mirror in a way where I could see exactly what was going on. Although I knew she wanted to take off a little more, in true Marie fashion, she restrained herself and only trimmed the bare minimum which made us both happy.

I'm sharing this experience so hopefully you will get to know the traits that great "healthy hair" stylists share. If I moved to another state and had to find someone like Marie all over again, the one thing I would do differently would be to have that initial conversation with each stylist before I schedule my appointment so I get a better understanding of his/her philosophy on hair care and their definition of healthy hair and how to create it. Are they willing to listen to me and work with, not against me, to further my hair journey? Is their advice sound and does it makes sense? Are they willing to invest their time to create amazing results? If the answer to these questions is yes, then congratulations you may have found your very own "Marie."

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I thought I'd be waiting a little longer to provide an update on my recent post on eliminating gluten but the changes have been so powerful that I thought, "why wait?" So I decided not to do the low carb thing after all but instead I would focus my energies on seeing if I had any sensitivities to gluten. So far things are going much better than I expected! I really hope this new way of eating allows me to experience these benefits long term.

I will say that even though my diet isn't one where I count carbs, I have minimized the amount of processed rice from my meals. Before, rice was an every night thing. Now I have it maybe once or twice a week. Although, eliminating gluten has shrunk my options even more than before, I find myself finding new foods in incorporate into my diet and so far I'm having a blast enjoying the newfound variety. Check out this video update where I'm explaining not only the benefits I'm getting from being gluten free but also the lesson I'm learning from going through this experience.

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