This upcoming summer I will have officially been gluten free for four long, rollercoaster years. If you would have told me that I would be where I am today four years ago, I don’t think I would have believed you. I was about to be a junior in college, had gone through some major life changes outside of my diet, and now I was supposed to give up pizza rolls? I was in a rage of teenage angst and had no idea where to start.
Here are the 10 things I wish I would have known when I first went gluten free:
- You are going to have to build a high tolerance for nay-sayers. There are always going to be people out there who tell you that they learned from South Park that being gluten free isn’t real (yes this actually happened to me).
- It is okay to be sad, angry, and at times completely and utterly defeated. I can’t tell you the number of times I have gotten mad at myself for crying about being gluten free, which only makes things worse. See #7 and cry your damn eyes out with your support group then wipe your tears up and eat a pint of GF So Delicious Cookie Dough Ice Cream. (self-care, yo)
- Get your own toaster. I’m serious. Peep my toaster that I bought when I lived in my sorority house in college. The smallest amounts of cross-contamination can ruin your day, night, week.
- On the topic of CC, also, get your own jar of peanut butter/spreadable butter/etc. Basically anything that someone would touch a knife/spoon/utensil to something with gluten on it then stick it back into the jar. I found this one out the hard way. 💩
- The CC Struggle is Real: Part 3…. Don’t kiss anyone who has just drank beer or eaten gluten. I, again, learned this the hard way. (Sorry Mom & Dad 😬)
- Be your own advocate. You can’t expect anyone to fight for you except you. Stand up to the waiter who thinks you’re on a fad diet, drill your fears about cross contamination into your boyfriends head until he finally understands (@Sam sorry I cried that one time while you were cooking).
- After you advocate for yourself, gain a support group. This could be your family, friends, facebook groups dedicated to being gluten free, or some random person you’ve connected with on Instagram. It is not always going to be easy to stand on the sidelines of meals, parties, nights out. S/O to these beautiful humans below, thanks for always dealing with my gluten free craziness.
- Find your favorite gluten free alcoholic beverage (if you’re 21 or older, of course) and always keep it in stock for days when you are feeling like #2. I love trying out new hard ciders so if you have any suggestions please send them my way. And if you don’t drink, find that perfect tea that makes everything in the world feel right.
- Take control of your health and do what makes YOU feel healthy. Still feeling sick after years of being gluten free? Join the world of probiotics and vitamins or take a holistic approach. Being healthy is the number one goal.
- It’s going to be okay. Seriously, you now know what has been hurting you. Embrace this new knowledge and make the best of your new life.