Perks of the Gluten-Free Life
Let’s switch things up a bit. If you’ve had to go gluten-free, you know how tough it is. I talked about my struggles with it in my diagnosis story and tips for starting a gluten-free diet. But something else happened in the years since my diagnosis — I’ve discovered the positive impact celiac disease had on my life. So today I’m going to share the Perks of the Gluten-Free Life!
I can’t tell you how many times people have told me they couldn’t go gluten-free if they had to. And when people say that, it’s easy to start a “woe is me” train of thought. Life is a lot more fun though if you can find the positives.
Perks of the Gluten-Free Life
- Homemade food! From the second I moved into an apartment with a kitchen about a year after my diagnosis, I started cooking the majority of my meals. There was a lot of trial and error, and tons of Googling. But, hey — now this blog exists! I now know how much fun cooking is, and how satisfying it is to eat food you’ve made. Without celiac disease, I bet I’d still look for any excuse to eat out, and I’d eat a million frozen pizzas. Which leads me to #2 …
- I eat so much healthier. Now, I am not condoning the “fad gluten-free diet,” because all the store-bought gluten-free foods are usually worse than their real counterparts, since they need a ton of sugar to make it taste better. But since Tyler and I try to make the majority of our meals with ingredients that are naturally gluten-free, I consume far more veggies and nutritious grains than I used to. And all those delicious desserts and appetizers at gatherings and parties aren’t an option, so my sweet intake is considerably lower. (But I still find ways to make my own ice cream and pizza from scratch, because those will always be my favorites!)
- Freedom from having too many options. Have you ever heard of the idea of the paradox of choice? The concept is that having too many options can actually decrease our happiness, because it leaves room for second-guessing. That used to be my struggle at any restaurant. So many things sounded good, and I was always afraid I’d make the wrong choice and miss out on something better. Now, my options at restaurants are quite limited. Once you cross-reference the gluten-free list with the dairy-free list, then remove the things I don’t like (I’m looking at you, fish), I’m usually only left with two or three choices. And it’s easy for me to pick from those. Plus, I tend to go to the same restaurants I’ve come to trust, and I’ll get the exact same thing every time I go. No second-guessing, no overwhelming number of choices. It’s wonderful!
- I’m not in constant pain! This should probably be #1, but it’s easy to forget sometimes. I’ve tried to push those never-ending days of pain out of my mind. But pain is the main reason I’m able to laugh off the “I could never give up gluten” comments. If you were in that much pain, and you knew how to stop it, you wouldn’t hesitate for a second. It’s also the reason I’ve never been tempted to cheat and eat a bite of cake. Gluten-free isn’t a choice for me, it’s just life. And giving up gluten is precisely what gave me my life back.
How about you? What are the perks of the gluten-free life you’ve discovered? Let’s focus on the positives for a bit 🙂