I’ve been gluten-free off and on (BECAUSE I’M HUMAN AND BREAD IS THE STAFF OF LIFE STOP JUDGING ME OKAY) for about two years now. This has given me incredible amounts of time to drown in the tears that result from saying goodbye to the delight that is bread (positive thoughts, Rachel, positive thoughts) thanks to finding out I’m gluten-intolerant and borderline Celiac’s disease (i.e. extremely, deathly intolerant). I will say, though, that I’ve managed to find a few things that help keep me afloat.
If you find yourself sinking, know that you are not alone. The depths of the puddle of tears I’m swimming in could rival the depth of the ocean (*cough* exaggeration *cough*)! Here are five tips to living gluten-free. May they sort of help you swim upwards, then onwards.
Some are obvious, all are sardonic (a sort of darkly humorous, ironic statement).
1. Pay attention!
Always read the ingredients for new foods. If you’re too lazy to do that (like I am), at least do a Google search or ask a gluten-free friend. I used to be terrible about this, and I paid the price. It was pretty much a daily occurrence to find myself eating something that soon people were telling me had gluten in it. Okay, but like, couldn’t they have said something before I ate half that bar of chocolate? Which reminds me! Chocolates often have wheat in them as a filler substance. Goodbye, Valentine’s Day box of chocolates. Goodbye, giant chocolate Easter bunny.
See? It pays to pay attention! It’s easier to be miserable that way.
2. Know your restaurants.
Most places have a gluten-free option, but that option is usually just meat and veggies. There’s only so much breadless living one can take (or maybe that’s just me), so it’s always a good idea to be aware of restaurants that have an entire gluten-free menu. Red Robin, for instance, can make any of their burgers gluten-free and you get a bun. It’s the real deal, fake bread meal! Jason’s Deli has gluten-free sandwiches, Chipotle has corn tortillas, you get the drift. If you have a Sunny Street Cafe near you, they offer gluten-free french toast and English muffins- both are so tasty! My mouth is watering just thinking of it.
A friend recently made me aware of an app called Find Me GF (available to both Android and Apple phones) that will give you a list of nearby restaurants with gluten-free options. This App is a life saver.
Oh, don’t eat lifesavers. Uhm, not because they’re glutenified. Are they? They probably are poison. That would make sense.. They are definitely gross, though.
3. Resign yourself.
This may sound depressing, but it’s the reality of the situation. I won’t color coat this. You’re going to have to sit out on a lot of delightful food moments. Cake at birthdays and weddings, pigs in a blanket at baby showers.. You’ll have to turn down Debbie snacks at school, donuts at work… it gets ugly fast, folks. But it’s okay. You have to decide to be okay with it. Because if you’re not, you’ll be caving into Big Mac’s every week (sigh… I miss those things) and you’ll be bloated, in pain, nauseated and plain old miserable.
4. You have an excuse, use it!
Some days it just isn’t easy. Like the day I found out Twizzlers are poison (AKA they have gluten in them). That was a world shattering day, friends. Those were my crutch, my strength in time of weakness, my delight in times of.. movie watching. Yup. They were my go to movie candy. *sniffle*
Er, um, back to the point. Luckily, some days it will be easy to be gluten-free. It comes in handy when you don’t want to “risk” trying that freaky concoction your relative brought to a family dinner. “Oh, you didn’t hear? I have to avoid wheat like the plague.. That even includes stuff that may have, might have touched wheat infused substances. Better not risk it. Too bad, though- your dish looks fascinating!”
Just don’t lie, guys. Lying is never okay.
5. If you mess up, don’t just throw in the towel.
My doctor said that each bite of gluten I eat is like smoking a cigarette. It’s toxic to my body. It’s poisonous to my livelihood. It’s.. it’s.. it’s delicious. But it’s bad for me. Incidentally, I have no clue what cigarettes taste like. I never want to learn, either. I imagine eating smoke is anything but delicious. The “it’s delicious” was merely a reference to all of the breads that I now mourn.
Oi, I’ve rabbit trailed again. Okay, where was I? Oh yeah. The next time you find yourself messing up your diet, don’t keep going with that delightful slide down into the depths of a bread filled heaven. You gotta die to get there.
One cigarette is terrible, a whole pack is lethal. That’s a slight exaggeration, but stop judging me- life sucks without bread in it, so I have to do what I can to keep from caving.
Well now. I hope these tips helped and didn’t leave you feeling terribly hopeless about your situation. If they did… success! Misery loves company, and now you are mine!