Let's Talk About Going Gluten Free
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Health and Wellness

Let's Talk About Going Gluten Free

Confessions of a Celiac, and things they want you to know.

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Let's Talk About Going Gluten Free

Did you read the title to this and roll your eyes? 'Cause up until a few weeks ago I probably would've done the same thing.

I am surrounded by very conscious forward-thinking people, so it is not uncommon to hear about people who try hopping on the fad diet train. Here's my thing though- it always made me laugh and roll my eyes because I never really understood their reasoning - it's more expensive, and if you're healthy and just going along with it to say you've gone gluten free (or dairy free or vegan or soy free, whatever), what's the point?

The twist: fad diets are all fun to laugh at until you have to commit to one, and that's why we're talking about this.

A little less than two months ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease (yup, that mean's I'm one of these gluten free hipsters now, too).

This means that eating any foods that contain wheat, rye, or barley, make me sick because my body can't break gluten down how it's normally supposed to be able to. Now, let's not be dramatic here, I'm not going to die from this disease and I could be sick with something much much worse (thank heavens I'm not), but to tell you that going gluten-free is a fun, non-irritating, life style change would be for me to lie to you.

The problem that I am faced with now, is that I love food (yeah, I know this doesn't seem like a problem, but let me explain). So much so, I think I proclaim how much of a foodie I am almost everyday. I am probably one of the least pickiest eaters you will ever meet, and most of my social life is centered around going out with friends for food and drinks - which is completely normal for someone my age. I get endless joy (okay, maybe not endless but I'm trying to make a point here) from watching The Food Network and daydreaming about all of the food I want to cook and go out to eat (yup, hardcore foodie).

So, here a few things you should know about Celiac Disease and going gluten free (or GF as I like to say):

- Gluten sensitivity and Celiac disease are real, first off, for all you nonbelievers out there.

- Gluten is in almost everything we eat, and it is very difficult to avoid. That means bread, cereal, birthday cake, even soy sauce (among a gazillion other things) are all foods I actively have to try to avoid now. Granted that this has become a trendy diet over the past few years, finding GF alternatives to foods at the grocery store isn't as hard as it would've been years ago.

However, finding GF alternatives that you actually like is another story (let me tell you). You just have to be open to trying different versions of foods you love until you find one you're happy enough to eat. I can totally eat bowls and bowls of corn rice pasta, but I despise brown rice pasta to no end (it's a texture and taste thing for me), and there is nothing, nothing that compares to a regular Oreo, but I would've never found something I liked to snack on if I wasn't open to the idea of at least trying.

- GF foods are more expensive then regular versions of foods. There is no getting around that. Some foods by a little bit of money, and others by a lot. You have to remember that you're paying for a higher quality of food though, one that's not processed, where you can actually read and understand all of the ingredients on the food label (where things actually go bad in a reasonable amount of time).

- It's frustrating to go out and not have food readily available and accessible to you. When it's one AM and all your friends want to go out for chicken nuggets and french fries and you want to too, it's a bummer. When you're out at a festival and there's nothing you crave more than your favorite snack, and you can't have it, it sucks. But eventually, it will suck less, and you will get used to it. You have to remember your GF options are healthier, and aren't going to make you feel like absolute garbage after you eat them. So, even if it means packing food to bring with you, you do whatcha gotta do.

- Beer is literally (basically) liquid gluten. Let that sink in for a second.

Getting this diagnoses has been one that has been hard for me to swallow (no food pun intended). I am a pretty average healthy 21-year old. I go to the gym, I'm active, I eat right, and this is just the way my system is.

I've learned that sometimes our bodies are doing things we can't even see, and we should all be a little more aware of that around people we don't know. I've become more understanding of people with diet restrictions and illnesses we can't see because now I'm one of those people.

I know that once this becomes more of a regular part of my life that I won't miss the foods I can't eat anymore, but for right now, it's still annoying, to tell you the truth.

Let me leave you with this analogy: having celiac disease and eating gluten is like staying in a relationship you just can't seem to get out of. It's familiar, but it's starting to make you uncomfortable, and it doesn't really do anything for you anymore, other than cause you extreme discomfort. But you know once you get out of that relationship, it's going to be so much better from then on out.

So, cheers to two months without gluten, and a lifetime to go.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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