Matty Burger '23
I still remember coming home from the doctor’s office and having to completely restock my pantry because of this new gluten free diet. Since I was ten years old, I didn’t even understand what gluten was, so I had to get a lot of help from my parents and other adults. I have now been on a gluten free diet for five years and it has been very hard. Throughout these five years, I have had to change the type of food I eat as well as limit my options when it comes to food choices. It is also more expensive to buy gluten free foods. However, it has all been worth it, because a gluten free diet has helped me feel a lot better and has helped me minimize other symptoms.
Gluten, according to Oxford Languages, is “a substance present in cereal grains, especially wheat, that is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. A mixture of two proteins, it causes illness in people with celiac disease.” From this definition, one can tell that a gluten free diet can really restrict food options.
In simpler terms, gluten can be in anything from bread to pasta, and even some milkshakes. So, many companies have made gluten free replacements of these items. Some of my favorite gluten free foods include gluten free pretzels, Tate’s cookies and Udi’s bread, with these, and a few other gluten free foods that I enjoy, I can put together completely gluten free meals. Even though I listed some brands that I particularly enjoy, there are also many brands I didn’t list that are good too, so explore different brands, and see what you like.
When I first got on a gluten free diet, it was extremely hard as a little kid to be told that I can’t eat something, because it would make me sick. Moving forward it did get easier; but even now, five years later, I still haven’t fully embraced the change. Every time I see someone with food I want, but can’t have, I miss it as much as I did five years ago. For these reasons, it has made it very difficult to move forward and cope with this diet.
In the past five years, I have had my fair share of bad gluten free food and actually skipping meals because of the limited selection. So, I know how hard a gluten free diet can be depending on your previous diet. One tip I have, to help this problem, is to really expand your taste in food. This has helped me a lot when eating at a restaurant with limited gluten free options. One example I have of this is sushi, before my gluten free diet, I never really ate seafood. But, after I found out that I couldn’t eat gluten, I tried some seafood, and it turned out to be one of my favorite snacks, so this has expanded my options when looking for food.
Recently, the gluten free diet has become increasingly popular. According to verywellfit.com, there are many pros and cons to a gluten free diet. Pros are: helping your digestive system, reducing inflammation, and helping you focus on whole grain. Some cons include, the high cost for food and gluten free products typically have less fiber. This sudden interest in gluten has made finding gluten free options a lot easier for people with any allergies, especially gluten. With everyone switching to this supposedly healthier diet, people have become more aware of incorporating gluten free items in their facilities, restaurants, and stores. I am still hoping people become even more aware of how to better serve people with various kinds of allergies.
If you don’t have any allergies, I would highly recommend learning more about allergies. The information you learn will not only deepen your knowledge with the different ingredients in your food, it also really raises empathy awareness for people who have allergies. From my personal experience, a gluten free diet has been extremely hard. There have been many hardships along the way, including having to completely change the types of food that I eat.
As a high school student, it is hard to be on a gluten free diet with friends who usually eat fast food that almost always has gluten. But, it doesn’t need to be hard, if more people learn about allergies and how to help, it would be very beneficial, and would help people with allergies have an easier time moving on.