A week and a half ago I shared fifteen reasons I hate gluten. Or, more precisely, why I hated having to give it up. So I figured I should give equal time to some of the good things about my new lifestyle.
1. Health issues that scared me have gone away. Unless I get ‘glutened,’ usually from cross-contamination, but sometimes because I got stupid and just assumed something was safe. Like the store brand no-stick spray I was using. But seriously…who would expect wheat to be used in an oil spray?
2. It’s opened my eyes to exactly how many chemicals and preservatives are allowed to be pumped into our food supply by a government who is perfectly okay with it. Before going gluten-free, my biggest complaint was that many processed foods were too salty. A couple of months into this, I actually did find a prepared T.V. dinner kind of meal. I was so excited because it was ‘normal’ food I could just heat and eat, but I could only get two or three bites down before I had to throw it away. The taste of chemicals was so strong I couldn’t detect a hint of chicken or veggie flavors. None at all.
3. I’ve found a GMO-free/gluten-free corn pasta (Sam Mills) that tastes like ‘real’ pasta. At least in most recipes. I’ve yet to find a mac and cheese recipe using any GF pasta that I love as much as I loved Velveeta Shells and Cheese. This pasta is so good I’ve stopped buying the real stuff – and even my picky son likes it. So that’s one genetically modified food I’ve been able to get out of my house.
4. Being gluten-free has put an end to mindless eating. Instead of getting bored and running out to the kitchen to grab a snack, I have to consider whether I’m actually hungry enough to put forth the effort to prepare something. More often than not, I decide I’d rather wait.
5. Instead of buying a bunch of prepared foods, I’ve gone back to cooking most meals from scratch – win/win for me and my family. Even my son – my autistic son – is getting a little more health conscious in his food choices. Not that he’s ready to give up all bad foods, but he’s making better choices a good part of the time now.
6. It makes me feel good when I see someone in the gluten-free aisle who can’t make up their mind about which product to get. I’ve been able to help some of them by saying, “I buy (insert product name here) because I’ve found it to be most like (whatever it was I used to eat). So I’m saving them both money and disappointment…and keeping more nasty foods out of landfills.
7. Because gluten-free products are so much more expensive, I find that I limit my consumption of pastas and baked goods more than I used to. I never went too far overboard with them, but now that I’m eating even fewer, the carb crashes that happen like clockwork – about thirty minutes after a meal – aren’t as much of a problem as they were.
8. No worries about overeating cakes or cookies anymore. I flatly refuse to bake a whole cake for myself. Even though the mixes only make one round single-layer cake, that’s still too much just for me.
9. It sometimes forces me out of an eating rut. I’ve tried a few new things, and have really liked some of them.
Okay. So I could only come up with nine reasons, and it wasn’t easy either. But you know what? It’s eight more than I could have come up with six months ago.
I’ve learned that as long as I accept what can’t be changed, it’s easier to embrace the gluten-free life. It doesn’t mean I don’t still wish I could have old favorites, and it doesn’t mean I don’t have moments where I resent having to give them up. What it does mean is that I’ve decided my health is worth the sacrifice.