Struggles of Going Gluten Free

With all of the fad diets and such going around, you’ve probably heard the term “gluten” at least once. Or maybe you seen gluten free items in the grocery store. Regardless, even though it is kind of a “trend diet,” there are people who are actually allergic to it. Yes. Allergic. Not for diet purposes whatsoever.


So what is gluten? It’s a pesky little protein found in different grass-related grains. Some people have celiac disease while some are just intolerant. Symptoms vary from a headache/upset stomach to getting violently sick, and pretty much anything in between. I am only intolerant - so I can still ~kind of~ indulge in foods containing gluten, but it can make my throat swell, give me a migraine and upset my stomach if I eat too much.



So do you like bread? Pasta? Mac n cheese? Pizza? Fried foods? Soups? Baked goods? Gravy? Stuffing? Noodles? Sandwiches? Subs? Burgers? Salad dressings? Mayo? Tacos?



Well, now you find modified versions of each of these foods if you want to eat them.


So with a little background information, these are the top 5 struggles that I (and probably many others) have encountered while attempting to go gluten free.


1. Always hungry

This may be a personal opinion, but I feel like I’m always hungry. The pasta (and all other food pretty much) just doesn’t seem as fulfilling as normal pasta. Salads, fruits and veggies are easy go-tos, but we can all say that they aren’t the most fulfilling foods. You typically have to eat many, many times a day to be satisfied. In the end, it is supposedly healthier, but if you have a hectic schedule it can be a nuisance. Goodbye fulfilling carbs.



2. Eating out gets harder - especially fast food

It’s not just “oh let’s get a quick sandwich somewhere” anymore. You have to take the time to throughly think about what your ordering and whether or not any of the ingredients will cause a reaction. Wendy’s has become my personal lifesaver because I can just go through the drive through and grab a baked potato and chili and call it a day. Other places, which consist of mostly wraps, sandwiches or fried foods, make it extremely hard to order. Restaurants are getting better at providing gluten-feee menus, and many popular chains have nutrition facts available in store and online. But still, they are very limited and typically contain a majority is side dishes.



3. Most of the foods aren’t the same

If you’ve eaten regular bread and bagels and pasta for a majority of your life, then switching to gluten-free alternatives will be a hard adjustment. Any bread product just isn’t the same. It’s dry and not the same taste and it’s just weird. Bagels (who doesn’t love a great, delicious, warm or toasted bagel for breakfast?) are either frozen or found on shelves... and I personally haven’t found one that’s good yet at all. It’s very dry and it kind of tastes like cardboard…. along with most gluten-free baked goods.



4. It’s SO expensive

In general, having any kind of a restricted diet is expensive. Most gluten free products are expensive compared to their gluten counterparts. For reference, most frozen pizzas that you can buy are roughly $1-5 depending on the brand. The lowest gluten-free frozen pizza I’ve found is $8-9 and even more. And I personally don’t think they’re that good. Most snack items range from $5 and up depending on the amount you get. Pasta is more expensive, flour is very expensive and it is a real inconvenience to your bank account. Especially being a college student.



5. It’s a lot of cooking

If you want decent alternatives to classic foods, it often takes some tinkering with recipes to make it gluten free. Or, you have to make things from scratch if your grocery store doesn’t carry any alternatives. It can be a hassle to make these, but if you have celiac or are extremely intolerant, you don’t really have an option.


So these are just a few of the struggles that I have faced but I am sure there are so many more. Since I’m not deathly allergic, I don’t have to worry about cross-contamination (which is a real issue in gluten products) or accidentally eating something. This is becoming a larger issue that more people are becoming more aware of (thankfully). Since it is becoming so mainstream and popular, hopefully it will become an easier feat for those who have to go gluten-free.


So, happy eating to all of my fellow gluten-free friends!