Everyone will have a different answer to this, and the situation I have been placed in is made luxurious by the support I receive from my family. When I was first diagnosed, I missed a lot of what I saw pre-scope as a “regular diet”. The first three or four weeks were definitely the toughest, but as it turns out, gluten-free substitutes really aren’t that bad.
I have heard a hundred horror stories of every meal tasting like cardboard, but I really haven’t experienced much of that in the year I’ve been gluten-free. Honestly, some food is just terrible, a kind of terrible that adding wheat would not fix. Everyone has had an awful, I-can’t-swallow-this meal probably more than once in their life. The problems eating celiac safe are largely rooted in sneaky ingredients like oats, natural flavoring, soy sauce, etc, not substitutes.
Unfortunately, because of this most fast food places are out of the question. If you’re getting ready to take on a celiac diet, assume speedy dinners from Edo, Dairy Queen, Tim Hortons – and the like- is no longer on the table (pun intended). However, others like McDonald’s, A&W, and Harveys are surprisingly equipped for celiac diets, separating friers, and offering safe no bun options.
Most meals will be at home or packed. A surprising number of dinner options are naturally gluten-free, and usually, include fruits & vegetables that you normally wouldn’t take a second look at. Eating gluten-free will help heal your intestinal tract, but it will also politely force you into consuming an ungodly amount of -really good- salads. If you’re into pasta for every meal, this will be more of a challenge. However, there are plenty of super good gf pasta brands, the only drawback being it doesn’t keep very long.
Being at restaurants also poses an issue, but I’ve collected some tips and tricks on how to eat out with non-celiac people. Unfortunately, gluten-free food isn’t cheap, but celiac people actually have the ability to get a government-issued return at the end of each year. It takes some work, but I’d say it’s worth it. So, how hard is it really to follow a celiac diet? Genuinely, it goes through stages. Before you start, it’s impossible. First few weeks are 7/10, and past that it levels to about 4/10 for a few months. Every day it gets a little bit easier. I’ve been eating gluten-free for less than a year, and I have very little issue with it now.
You subconsciously memorize gluten-containing oddities like soy sauce, rice Krispies, and a fair amount of ice cream. You also get used to asking for clean instruments and about clean kitchens. The “ugh” moment realizing a food you thought was clean in fact isn’t really always bother you, but as you lose food options, you gain people around you that see you go through all of this, and support you through leaving all the restaurants that aren’t as safe as they advertise, dealing with judgmental waiters as you ask all about their kitchen, and a thousand other scenarios you’ll find yourself in as you keep yourself healthy.