When I was diagnosed with Celiac, the most difficult thing was finding processed food that tasted good.  I am an admitted junk food addict but most stores didn’t carry gluten free foods and the ones that did, didn’t taste very good.    The food either contained a ton of sugar, was rock hard (cookies), very bland.  Enjoying something as simple as a sandwich wasn’t easy; the few breads available 8 years ago weren’t very appealing and they easily fell apart.   

Grocery shopping was difficult, you had to search the aisles because sometimes the gluten free items would be with similar food items and other times they were off in another section of the store.   And the stores kept moving the Gluten Free items, it was like a treasure hunt shopping each week.

 The only bakery in my area was Gluteny in Squirrel Hill; their bake goods are delicious but price.  And finding a pizza shop that made gluten free pizza was impossible! L 

I am fortunate to have a sister Linda who not only loves to bake but is a wonderful baker!  She often bakes my favorite chocolate chip cookies and has perfected many recipes  to find some that are appealing to me.   Her husband is her taste tester, if he says it doesn’t taste gluten free, she knows it’s a hit!

Most restaurants serve salads so that became my “go to” lunch and dinner.   It was frustrating to go out with friends or family or even on a “date night” with my honey only to realize that I wasn’t going to be able to eat much.   Countless restaurants served meats and potatoes that were prepackaged and  contained wheat so they couldn’t be prepared fresh and gluten free.  Always make sure you ask and if you aren’t sure, don’t order that item.

I am very grateful that somewhere along the way eating gluten free became the “in” thing to do.   Most grocery stores now have a wide variety of gluten free foods to try – check in the freezer section and along the aisles.

Aldi’s is my “go to” grocer, they carry wide variety of gluten free items including;  breads including buns, frozen pizzas, pretzels, cookies, rice cakes, snack bars, cereals, and pastas including frozen spinach ravioli, one of my favorites! 

I found repeatedly asking grocers, restaurants, and pizza shops about gluten free options has helped, many will try to carry specific GF foods if asked enough times J.

Be your own advocate, keep asking for gluten free options when you go out to eat or shop.    Despite what many people think, eating wheat doesn’t just cause a stomach ache, it has long-term repercussions that just aren’t worth taking the risk!   More on this next time, till then, happy gluten free eating!   Take care of your body and it will last a lifetime!

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