So you’re diagnosed with Celiac Disease or a Gluten Sensitivity and you’re all like, “It’s the end of the world,” and you proceed to rant about how a life without gluten is not a life worth living. Even though you might want to listen to R.E.M. on repeat and binge over your last plate of fried chicken wings, you just need to get over it.
This all might sound a bit harsh to the newbie, but you need to cope, and once you do, you’re going to realize that eating gluten-free is quite possibly the best thing that could have happened to you. Here are three reasons why eating gluten-free doesn’t ruin your life:
Reason #1 – You actually know what it’s like to feel “regular”
Gluten affects different people in different ways. But, for a lot of people, it causes major digestion issues. Before going gluten-free, I’m going to venture to say that you weren’t exactly “regular”. Until recently, you may have thought that you were, and that other people suffered the same consequences after the class pizza parties growing up, but now you know it was all a lie.
Would you ever want to go back to having the heightened public restroom radar? I’m sure the answer to that is a big NO. I’m going to guess that you actually enjoy not having attacks when you leave the house to run errands. I know that after I went gluten-free, it was absolutely amazing not having to scope out the restroom locations on my college campus, or to go shopping with my friends without having to jet out of the store every time my stomach did another toss or turn.
Just thinking about all of that pain and inconvenience makes no chicken nugget worth tasting.
Reason #2 – You’re not constantly “dead”
You know that feeling after you’ve had a long day and you just need to crash? When every part of your body is screaming, “Couch, couch…we want the couch!” and you can’t fathom doing anything besides lying down all night. Who cares about the social gathering or the movie night with friends? You seriously don’t want to be around anything besides a cushion that consumes you.
Imagine a world where this isn’t your life. Sure, we all feel that way once in a while. There have been many Fridays when I chose a night full of Shark Tank and 20/20, and told my friends that I’m staying in. We all need that. BUT, some people that eat gluten when they are intolerant or sensitive to it feel fatigue on an entire different level. If you’re one of those people, imagine actually feeling energized and able to make it through the day without a constant longing for your bed? Imagine living your life to the fullest, instead of just thinking that’s some saying that an overly energetic person made up. Sounds pretty rad, doesn’t it?
Reason #3 – You feel healthy
To me, feeling healthy is the most important reason. Going gluten-free means a lot of things, like giving up your favorite beer, or your favorite sandwich at the sub shop. It also means replacing your favorite foods with new ones. Sure, you’re probably going to replace pizza with gluten-free pizza, and beer with gluten-free beer or hard cider, but you’re also going to introduce new food into your diet.
Before I went gluten-free vegetables didn’t exist in my diet. I was all like, “Ewww, get that green stuff away from me!” and I’d go grab another dinner roll. Now vegetables, and dare I say “real” food, are a major part of my life. I made kale chips last week for gosh sake! If I told myself a few years ago that I would willingly be making myself kale chips, I would have called BS.
Going gluten-free can help you to re-educate your body on what it needs and what it doesn’t. It opens you up to a new genre of food. I’m in no way saying that you’re never going to have a piece of bread again or a platter of nachos (I have both on the regular), but what I am saying is that you will try new things because you can (or at least I hope you will). This also translates into other aspects of your life. This diet can help you grow as an individual and reinvent yourself in more ways than one.
I’ve always said that I am happy with the fact that I eat gluten-free. I never feel like I’m missing out, and I always fulfill my cravings. But, my cravings have become a bit more mature. I might crave a plate of grilled chicken with a side of mixed vegetables and baked potato fingerlings now (something that fills me up and gives me fuel) whereas in the pre-gfree days it was a 10-piece chicken nugget and a large fry.
Author Information: Laura Hanley
Laura Hanley, known as G-Free Laura, has been gluten-free since 2009. She reviews gluten-free products, restaurants, posts simple recipes, and writes about gluten-free experiences onwww.gfreelaura.com. Laura also blogs for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery. You can follow Laura’s young, wild, and [gluten] free updates by finding her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+.