This might be an unexpected piece from me…
I accidentally ate gluten. That’s nothing interesting if you’re a lucky, “normal” human fellow. But if you live with Celiacs disease it can eff up your whole body for weeks. As it does for me.
For this occasion it was enough that someone used my butter instead of the communal butter (meaning the butter for non Celiacs in our household) and didn’t care about leaving the crumbles of his gluten-containing bread in it. That was enough for me to get sick, a single (or maybe a few more) crumbles which I didn’t even notice. (And that’s why keeping your own products is important, to avoid cross contamination.)
My usual symptoms came quick. Terrible belly ache that lasts for days as the food gets digested. This includes bloating, nausea, brain fog, dizziness, over all sickness feeling, fever, rashes and acne, joint pain, just to name a few. And they last from several days to weeks.
I was suffering the last consequences of my accidental gluten consumption when I came across an article in a magazine I read out of boredom while going through my apheresis in the plasma donation center. I normally don’t read fashion magazines but my phone battery was so low, I had to save it for my trip home.
This particular article that caught my eye was talking about the diet and fitness regimen of Victoria’s Secret angel and supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whitely. I got curious (and had some not-so-nice pre-judgments) but I had to admit that her diet isn’t much different from mine: gluten-free, dairy-free and largely sugar-free. While I don’t eat meat, I consume quite a lot of sugar. Rosie’s diet seemed more do-able than most of the fad diets I know of because surprisingly, she allows herself foods like ice cream and French fries. So I thought, since I’m kinda back to my old life for a few months anyways, and I was already feeling sick from the gluten I ate, why not try and implement those little changes I’d need to follow Rosie’s diet and see how it works out for me?
Every morning, first things first: Rosie drinks one liter of water before eating or drinking anything else. Then, throughout the day, she tries to drink an additional two liter of water (a minimum of 3 L a day). Now this was a bit more challenging than I imagined. My body is just not used to drinking so much water right after waking up, so it took me a good 3 or 4 days to be able to empty the entire water bottle out before I’d consume anything else. I had to experiment here because I’m taking an hour-and-forty-minute bus to the city almost every morning, and I didn’t want to end up in an awkward situation… Throughout the day I made sure to drink at least 2 more liter of water, and I also drank green tea with lemon.
Rosie attributes her radiant skin to being strict about her water intake and I noticed the same. My skin look brighter and better hydrated. The rashes that came out from the gluten healed much faster than usual and even my digestion improved. I was taking care of my water intake before, but never really drank before I ate my breakfast. Hydration does a huge difference in the way I feel generally and after eating.
Supermodels make their living from looking good in anything (or nothing at all), so understandably they are super strict about their diets. No different with Rosie here. Though I couldn’t figure her portion sizes, I managed to get a lot of info about what she eats: lots of lean protein and fresh vegetables. For me that was the easiest. To make sure I have the amount of protein I need, I eat lots of tofu and beans with fresh salads and mainly Mediterranean dishes. Just like me, Rosie steers clear of dairy, but coffee still has a green sign in her diet, so if I need a caffeine fix in the mornings I can reach for my almond latte.
Rosie mentions in several interviews that her go-to breakfast is boiled or scrambled eggs with spinach, strictly no bread, which I replaced with a lovely, veggie packed tofu scramble. And if she needs more fuel between meals, she reaches for veggie juice. Her favorite recipe uses kale, more spinach, celery, cucumber, apple, and a touch of lemon juice.
So I had my packed tofu scramble every morning (you can’t get tired of it because it’s so versatile), and I took my green juice with me and either drank it on the bus or later while running errands before my driving classes. I have to admit, it made me feel much more energized and I had less cravings in the morning for sugary snacks or syrupy coffees.
For lunch, Rosie usually enjoys a fresh, filling salad. She spruces it up with lean proteins and of course adds plenty of green veggies. When preparing her salads at home, Rosie avoids using ingredients that are processed or high in sodium. This helps her avoid that feeling of belly bloat and makes it easier to get through the rest of the day without feeling sluggish.
My lunch wasn’t as versatile. I didn’t want to carry so much food with me, so I either mixed up something in the supermarkets salad bar. Or I went for a warm Vietnamese vegan pho soup which was packed with cabbage, carrots, garlic, tofu, fresh sprouts and rice noodles. Other days, I grabbed a veggie sushi roll without soy sauce from the Japanese place around the corner. Both filled me up but I got hungry way earlier in the afternoon. I noticed that normally I’d feel pretty full after lunch, this time I didn’t have that “rocks in the belly” feeling that made me sleepy, too.
For dinner, Rosie sticks to lean proteins and fresh veggies. If she has a big shoot or a show coming up, she reduces her carb intake. But if she’s between shoots, she’ll add some rice or potato to her dinner. One of her favorite recipes is lemon roasted chicken served with a side of brown rice and sautéed kale.
As for me, there’s no chicken but I made sure to have protein in some form. If it was not on my plate, I made a vegan protein shake to accompany my meal. I usually had rice with steamed or charred and spiced veggies like broccoli or cauliflower, or baked potatoes with beans or mushrooms, peas with baby carrots or homemade pasta sauce with spiraled veggies to replace spaghetti.
Eating in Restaurants
Rosie tries to make healthy choices when she dines out when she picks a menu item but still allows herself to enjoy some small (and delicious) indulgences.
“I’m certainly not going to chow down on a massive bowl of pasta the night before a lingerie shoot—but I never want to be the girl looking miserable pushing a salad around my plate or nibbling on a celery stalk,” she said.
After 2 weeks of eating more like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, I certainly felt pretty good about myself. Frankly, I wouldn’t keep paying so much attention to my protein intake as I did then, but it really helped. I cut back on carbs and sugar too which resulted in some weight loss and the flat belly the diet promises. Though it isn’t the most important win—my gluten rushes healed faster, my skin got more glowing, my digestion felt lighter and quicker, I had more energy and overall I felt way better. I think drinking a litre of water before breakfast helped to break down the food I consumed after. I received a lot of compliments on my glowing skin, and that I look good and “well-rested” and happier than a few weeks ago.
Despite the fact I got hungry earlier, I didn’t feel hungry during the day or like I was starving myself. In fact I felt the opposite. I tried not to eat later than 6pm per Rosie’s rules, but I had my breakfast before 8am (unlike her). I snacked way less and noticed that instead of craving dark chocolate, I started to dream about fruits as treats (especially grapes for some reason).
I definitely wasn’t nearly as strict with my diet as Rosie and probably ate bigger portions too, but her motto of eating more protein, drinking a litre of water first thing and allowing small indulgences (I had a homemade gluten-free pesto pizza one day) is certainly something I will stick to in the long term.
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Photo: Rosie Huntington-Whitely/ Rose Inc via Facebook