5 Awesome Things About Being Gluten Free
Last year in celebration of 2.5 years being gluten free, I wrote about the myths that many people who are gluten free have to deal with all the time. And while that post was fun to write, for my 3.5 year anniversary I want to look at the positives about being gluten free. Because let’s be real, being gluten free can be pretty darn awesome.
Okay maybe not every meal…
1. You learn how to cook everything
Unless you happen to be pretty wealthy, I can guarantee that after buying gluten free replacement foods you’ll notice how much more expensive it all is. ‘Cheap’ gains a new definition, meaning you don’t look at the price tag and then begin an internal decision battle between your cravings and your wallet.
So what happens when you want something that is either too expensive or non-existent in your store’s gluten free selection? You get creative.
I make pizza with corn tortillas.
I’ve figured out how polenta works.
I’ve started eating more ethnic food that isn’t wheat based, which has definitely expanded my palette.
And from toying with all these weird, new, random or odd foods I’ve learned a lot about spices, flavors, ingredients and cooking techniques. Sure, my parents both cooked so I had a good foundation, but doing these things all the time and making my own mistakes has taught me so much.
Speaking of mistakes…
2. You learn how not to cook some things
In the same way that Edison learned 99 ways not to make a light bulb, there are certain recipes that took way too many tries to get right. Making baked goods that stay together AND don’t taste like baking soda has seemed impossible at times. Don’t even get me started on gnocchi. At least this is an area where mistakes are (generally) tasty!
3. The grocery store is much easier to manage.
Pre-celiac-diagnosis, grocery stores were a total pain. Everything is all over the place, and it’s nearly impossible to go in for a few items and leave with just those items. Grocery stores are literally set up to make you walk as far as possible for a few key items, so you walk by the chips and think “ooo I do like chips” and then walk by the condiments to see the sale on Sriracha, and before you know it you’ve got so many things in your basket you can’t even use the express checkout lane.
Then Celiac disease comes along and wipes out 80% of the choices in the store. Which seems upsetting until you realize 2 things:
1) Only the perimeter of the store is actually relevant anymore, so yay more fresh whole foods!
2) If you do need pantry items, they are all conveniently in 2-3 aisles off to the side.
See? Celiac disease is just a time-saving friend disguised as a life altering autoimmune disease.
4. Choosing a restaurant is less (okay, and more) of a challenge.
Back on the subject of choices, depending on your location it may be incredibly simple for you to decide where to go out to eat with friends. Why? Because only 2 or so places have food that is Celiac-safe. This was definitely my story through most of college.
On the flip side, finding those places nearby which have safe food is a bit of a challenge. So is realizing that people sometimes don’t invite you to go out because they are going somewhere you can’t eat. =(
But I still count this on my list of good things. Why? Because once you have your set list of places (and hopefully you have a bit of variety) it’s super easy to pick something out. And since cooking has now become a way of life, if you want something more you can just try to cook it! (Yes you can!!)