Gluten-Free: Deal With It

Am I the only one that doesn’t totally love being gluten-free?

Back in 2010, I was diagnosed with celiac disease and had to change my diet, eliminating all gluten. It totally changed my life. I was a stranger to diets. I didn’t even know what gluten was. For those who don’t know, it’s a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, rye and sometimes oats.

Here’s the thing: I never had stomach issues, so when I went on this diet, I never thought of it as a solution to a problem (even though it was/is). People ask, “Don’t you feel better.” I usually say, “I never really felt bad in the first place.” (Maybe I just don’t pay attention to my body.)

I’m not here to complain. Just want to tell you that being gluten-free is not all that glamorous. If I were you and didn’t have any health issues, I wouldn’t bother with this diet. I guess if you want to challenge yourself, then totally go for it!

When people find out I’m gluten-free or allergic to gluten, they either feel bad for me, don’t know what gluten is or think it’s super lame. The convo usually goes something like this, “Yeah, I can’t have wheat.” “You can’t have meat? So like a vegan?” Also, they make a face, like I’m part of this fad – which yeah, I guess it just so happens to be trendy right now. Besides the looks, the trendy part kind of makes the whole thing better.  More and more restaurants, stores and brands are coming out with gluten free items. Thanks, trend setters for making my life a bit easier!

I made a list of things that are good and things that are… ehh, not so good:

Some ehh, not so good:

  • Beer. Beer used to be my go-to alcoholic beverage. (Guys, I even wrote my college thesis on beer companies. Who am I? I don’t even know.) I guess I’ve now expanded my horizons to other alcoholic beverages. This definitely would have been way harder in college. I would’ve missed some memorable keggers and dollar beer nights. There are gluten-free beers, but you can’t find them everywhere just yet.
  • Real New York pizza. Don’t get me wrong, gluten-free pizza can be great, but sometimes I miss real pizza. Living in New York City and not being able to just grab a slice of pizza when I’m hungry is pretty lame. When I want pizza, I need to buy a whole pie for around $20 or just go home and make it myself.
  • Guys, gluten is in, like, everything. The most surprising to me was Twizzlers and soy sauce. And sometimes it’s in shampoo and conditioner. Yeah, not joking.
  • Restaurants. NYC is a city full of amazing restaurants and I would love to try all the amazing foods. The gluten thing kind of gets in the way.
  • Falling in love with a GF item and then suddenly it disappears from the grocery store shelves/freezers. The choices are limited, so when I find something I like, I hope it stays forever and sometimes it doesn’t.

Some good things:

  • I’ve tried probably every GF pasta brand and I finally found the best – usually made with corn or quinoa. My great aunt from Italy even liked it, which is saying something. I mean, she can make her own pasta.
  • Sorry Eggo, but my frozen waffles are SO much better. They even smell delicious. Shout out to Nature’s Path Homestyle Waffles!
  • Friends and family always say they’re thinking of me when they see something that is gluten-free. I guess there should just be a floating picture of me next to anything that has “gluten-free” on it.
  • Restaurants. (Yep, this is on both lists.) NYC is also a great place to live because of all the places that offer gluten-free meals. I have a whole list on Foursquare. Also, there are plenty of gluten-free bakeries, which is awesome when I’m craving a red velvet cupcake.
  • By bringing my own GF lunch to work most of the time, I’ve saved a lot of money. Plus, I get to try all these delicious looking HelloGiggles recipes.

So I still don’t love it, but little by little it’s getting better. I guess the slogan “it gets better” also works for gluten-free-ness. What I’m looking forward to next: gluten-free goldfish. C’mon, Pepperidge Farms!

Also, May just happens to be Celiac Awareness Month, so go have some tacos or umm… something gluten-free to celebrate.

Featured Image via here. (P.S. I had no idea there were GF Gos memes.) Other image via tumblr.