I have been gluten free for over four years so I know my way around the diet (for the most part). I’m no longer a deer in the headlights at the grocery store, but I am still learning about new foods and recipes on a weekly basis. I don’t think I’ll ever have all of the answers about our lifestyle, but I do know one thing – I don’t hold a grudge against my intestines. It is what it is.
Let’s be honest, when you first go gluten free you don’t know your head from your you-know-what. You’re mad, sad, and most of all, HUNGRY. The good news is that after a few months you get the hang of what you can and cannot eat. If you’re like me, you start eating foods that you previously turned your nose up to only to find that you actually like them! You begin to feel healthy, something you thought you would never achieve. This is the point in time when you have physically come to terms with the gluten-free diet.
Emotionally Accepting the Diet
Now we get to the hard part – the emotional hurdle. This is something that I see people struggle with all over my social media feeds. Some people are happy-go-lucky g-free lovers (like me) that look for recipes, comment on how amazing new products are, and probably bug the heck out of the newly diagnosed/confused gluten-free folks. Then there’s the crowd of people that are just darn right angry. They’re mad that their intestines can’t be “normal” and they don’t understand how they will ever come to terms with this death sentence of a diet.
The cravings drive them crazy.
The lack of options at restaurants grinds their gears.
The food prices make them want to scream.
I’ll admit it; you have a right to be angry about the above things. Is it too much to ask to be able to order a pizza from any pizza place? Is it crazy that you want to eat the hot ham and cheese sandwich from the diner you’ve always gone to? And is it really that nuts to think that $5 for a loaf of bread is outrageous?
No, you’re totally right; it’s all annoying. But you don’t need that stuff.
Learning to be Happy
I know what you’re thinking – What do you mean I don’t need that stuff. Uh, yeah I do!
You get mad when you crave pizza, right? Well, start experimenting with new gluten-free alternatives. Try out different brands of gluten-free crusts, like Rudi’s! Find recipes for cauliflower pizza crust or quinoa pizza bites. I bet you’ll enjoy spreading your gluten-free wings without wheat holding you down. You can recreate tons of old favorites using new, gluten-free alternatives!
You also have the opportunity to break out of your shell! Download the Find Me Gluten Free App to find new restaurants that you can visit in your area. Instead of dwelling on the restaurants you can no longer dine at, take the opportunity to try new foods with your friends and family. Creating new memories can be more fun than remembering old ones!
If you’re going bonkers over the dent that the gluten-free aisle is making in your bank account, get your apron on and learn how to make gluten-free food yourself! It’s a heck of a lot cheaper that way! Break out the gluten-free oats (if you can) and make your own granola bars, or get a stockpile of flours and start to make homemade crusts, bread, and cookies. You don’t NEED to purchase the overpriced box items!
I’ll be honest, I never cooked before going gluten-free, and if I did, it was the same dish over and over again. Now I’ve got my recipe wheels turning all of the time and I have a new sense of accomplishment whenever I serve up dinner. Expanding your recipe arsenal and learning new ways to cook will only help you in life, allowing you to build new skills for the future. All I know is that I would have never come this far with my cooking and baking skills had I never went gluten free.
Take each challenge the gluten-free diet presents to you and turn it into a positive, learning experience. You won’t be sorry!
Have you gotten over the emotional hurdle yet, or are you still finding it to be a burden? Let me know what you’re struggling with…maybe I can help!
Laura Hanley, known as G-Free Laura, has been gluten-free since 2009 and reviews products,restaurants, and writes aboutgluten-free experiences on her blog, www.gfreelaura.com.Laura’s passion for spreading g-free love has led her to become a Guest Blogger for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, writing bi-weekly reviews on the Gluten-Free Hot Products Blog. Visit Laura on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, and Google +