Adhering to the strict guidelines of any diet is challenging, and the gluten-free diet is no exception, it can be considered in many regards as one of the more challenging of them all. However, one of the secrets to meeting and overcoming challenges is knowing what they are in advance so they’re not as surprising, and you can even turn some in your favor. You will encounter hundreds of challenges along the way, but just some of them include:
• Limited options. One look at a restaurant menu will very quickly drive home everything you can’t have. The same scenario goes for grocery shopping. There’s no reason to go down every aisle anymore.
• Saying no. Having to say “Sorry … none for me, thanks” when your server brings a basket of fresh bread to your table is a tough hurdle to get over, not to mention saying no to many other types of food you may be very accustomed to eating.
• Going cold turkey. No longer eating the foods you knew and loved. Missing some of those foods for which there are currently no gluten-free counterparts.
• Shopping cart envy. You can no longer put any food in the shopping cart just because it looks good. If it’s not gluten-free, it stays on the shelf. Don’t look at the other carts passing you by!
• Playing the game of “In Search Of.” Finding stores in your area that carry a wide variety of gluten-free products you can eat. The smaller the city, the more difficult this can be.
• Dining out gluten-freely. Always carefully navigating restaurant menus and sometimes leaving a restaurant with virtually no options and having to find another. Avoiding cross-contamination with gluten will always be on your mind.
• Lack of spontaneity. Living gluten-free requires a great deal of thinking ahead and strategic planning so you don’t go hungry or get sick. This constant mode of preparedness does not leave much room for spontaneity and letting the chips fall where they may when it comes to eating.
• Traveling. Finding restaurants that cater to you in even the strangest of places, and not always being able to eat the cuisine for which a country is well-known. Making space in already crowded suitcases to bring food with you.
• Schools. Figuring out how to live gluten-free in college dormitories or making sure your child has a quality gluten-free school lunch.