Coping without Gluten

I’ve cut down gluten as much as possible for several months now, and it’s still a struggle. I’m feeling better than I have in years, but I spent 23 years basing my diet heavily around gluten products, cutting out such a major part of your diet is not easy. Gluten-free pasta/breads/etc, the easiest way to cut out gluten- just replace it while basically keeping the meals the same- are very expensive. My diet also wasn’t very good, it was incredibly gluten heavy and really lacked vegetables, eating fruit still makes me sick, which makes it all the harder.

In terms of day-to-day, lunch is the hardest. Breakfast can be hard as well, but I’ve had gluten-free breakfasts more often even beforehand. Oatmeal, egg dishes, and lately I’ve been in the habit of making mini-quiches that are very handy. Lunch, unfortunately, tended to be gluten-heavy. Gluten-based lunches can be quick and easy. Two slices of bread and some fillings and you’ve got a sandwich. (again- gluten free bread is very expensive, you can bake it yourself, but it’s not always easy to find the time) Pasta, bagels, etc. I have the hardest time figuring out what to do for lunch because I’m just not used to it. Especially with a toddler in the house, lunch really needs to be easy to prepare.

My biggest problem with lunch is re-orienting my brain to think of gluten-free options. It’s just not happening.

Eating out, of course, is also rough, because something may sound gluten free but not be, or can be contaminated, or sometimes the gluten-free options just such (gluten free pizza, sorry, cannot stand it). And remembering to read labels. It’s a little scary what they shove wheat or even just gluten into. I remember reading the ingredients list for some corn-based bread, it was all gluten free, until I got to “gluten”. Oy.

The next biggest challenge, which is much more situational, is high stress times. During stress, you want comfort foods, and all of my comfort foods are gluten. I re-introduced gluten to my diet at the start of the semester becaue it was just a really stressful time when falling back on old comforts was easiest, and it knocked me on my butt. I did the same thing with caffeine recently, kiddo was having a really bad string of nights, so I went back to caffeine- which only made things worse. Lesson learned. I think I’ve basically managed to kick the caffeine habit now, but the gluten thing is a little harder.

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