People ask me all the time if it’s been hard to give up gluten, or what I miss, or how I do it. Even though I used to wonder the same thing about others back before I’d done it, now I find these questions so strange. It’s not hard, because I feel so much better. There’s no question of how I do it, because I feel so much better; willpower isn’t necessary because there’s no temptation. There’s one thing I really miss, but it’s not what most people think.
I don’t miss the gluten-filled pastas or breads at all. I don’t miss the cookies or cakes, either. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of these things. It’s just that the gluten-free versions are just as good, and I’ve realized that having them less often is fine. In fact, I now only have sweet desserts about once a month, and that’s plenty for me. I stopped eating pizza many years ago because it made me sick, so I don’t miss that. Gluten-free soy sauce is just as good for cooking as the gluten kind. Gluten-free chicken broth tastes as good to me as the gluten type. I know it’s not easy for everyone to find substitutes, and I’m glad that I have these options. I can’t substitute everything easily, of course, but for the most part I don’t care. Some things I have just stopped eating altogether, and I don’t mind. I don’t miss them. And there are plenty of foods that are naturally gluten-free, too. The truth is, my diet is better now, and I’m happy about that.
There’s one thing I miss a lot, though: convenience. I miss being able to leave my house without thinking about what I’ll be able to eat while I’m out and if I need to bring food. I miss being able to go to a friend’s house for dinner without having to bring my own meal. I miss running errands without packing snacks. I miss being out longer than I expected without worrying about what I’ll eat. I miss grabbing a cider donut with my friends while we’re apple picking. I hear that the gluten-free bakery has them but now, weeks later, it’s just not the same. I miss eating Chinese food in Chinatown; now I can only go to certain restaurants that have gluten-free items. Mostly, I miss not having to worry about it what, when, or where I’ll eat.
But I don’t miss feeling sick every single day and that makes the inconvenience completely worthwhile. I do not have any desire to “cheat” on my gluten-free diet and I doubt I ever will. The benefits are just too great to give it up for a bit of cookie.