Lately I’ve been getting a lot of comments and e-mails asking about my gluten-free lifestyle, so today I thought I’d take the time to talk a little bit about what it’s like day-to-day.
For starters, living gluten-free was not a choice I made in an effort to eat healthier, clean, etc., but a choice I was forced to make for health reasons. In fact, I’m the first person to tell you that eating bread and pasta all day is, in fact, my idea of heaven. Apparently, that was not my body’s same idea, thus a gluten allergy is what I’m working with.
Eating gluten-free is a lifestyle, not an eating habit. When I tell people this, they are caught kind of off guard. I say this because an allergy dictates a lot more than what you eat. You have to check labels for medicines and worry about cross contamination in restaurants (which means planning date nights or eating out–no spur of the moment here). Cosmetics are another area of concern for people with gluten allergies as some lipsticks and chapsticks contain wheat-based ingredients.
Did you know: The glue on envelopes has also been known to contain gluten?
The number one question I get is “Oh my gosh, what do you even eat?”. Shockingly, people survived off food before wheat was ever introduced into our diets. I know, hard concept to digest–literally–but it happened. My diet consists largely of fresh vegetables and lean proteins. I focus on eating fresh meat and vegetable dishes 6 days of the week, while the other day I treat myself to gluten-free pasta or a meal out.
I have a major sweet tooth, so when I was first diagnosed, I pretty much thought it was the end of the world. Thankfully, my mom and I are bakers by nature and we knew this silly thing wasn’t going to keep us down. Most of my favorite baking recipes are easily replicated using Cup-4-Cup Flour, which can be found at your local Williams-Sonoma. Sometimes I find that gluten-free baked goods tend to dry out a lot more quickly than regular ones. No harm, no foul, just add an extra egg or some applesauce.
Do I ever miss the ease in which most people can pick up a boxed cake mix and call it a day? Of course, but everyone likes homemade cake better anyhow 😉
Someone once said to me, you’ll never have to ask someone if they’re vegan–they will tell you outright. At first I just kind of laughed, because I wasn’t vegan and a food allergy didn’t apply to me. But now I see things in a different light.
And not the “Hi my name is Kait and I have a gluten allergy and that’s all I know how to talk about” type of light.
The light where, if it comes up, I talk about it, because when I was first starting down this path, I knew very few people who could relate. I felt like no one understood what it was like to have to completely alter your life for reasons beyond your control. I wished I could find more people who had tips, tricks, and ideas for making this type of allergy more, well, tolerable.
These are just a few of my favorite items, though there are certainly more. I’ve found that modifying my old favorite recipes to a gluten-free version isn’t even that hard.
Recently I’ve found that more and more grocers and restaurants offer gluten-free options, but it is still
1. way more expensive and 2. still very small in comparison to the amount of gluten-rich food offered.
I am hoping this post gives a little more insight to the sometimes confusing world of gluten-free eating and living, but I know I didn’t cover anything. If you’ve got specific questions, don’t hesitate to reach out! I am, in no way, an expert on this topic, but I love meeting new people and discovering new things about being GF–plus I’ve done a lot of trial-and-error kitchen experiments trying to perfect recipes without sacrificing flavor. A girl’s gotta eat, right?