Switching to gluten-free foods was surprisingly easy!
One of the best things I did for my delicate, dyspeptic stomach was to go gluten-free. While I still have some indigestion and problems every now and then, I’m a couple weeks into a [mostly] gluten-free diet. I do not exhibit symptoms of celiac disease, but I fear I’ve long had a sensitivity to gluten products.
I make mistakes and/or cheat a little bit here and there (why is it that every office on campus offered free donuts when I started going gluten-free!), but I’ve been trying to eliminate it all. Surprisingly, transitioning to this diet was easy — all I needed to do was buy some food at the supermarket.
What do others ask about going gluten-free?
Every now and then I mention my new dietary regimen and people provide entertaining commentary. The biggest question is: “Why go gluten-free?” If I’m honest — and I try to be — I tell them that I had pretty awful stomach problems (and occasionally still do), but after reducing/removing gluten from my diet, I feel better. My energy levels are bit more normal and I’m not endlessly sitting on a toilet.
But the financial questions are the funniest and most intriguing: “Sam, how do you afford that diet? Isn’t that expensive? Aren’t you trying to be frugal?” Somehow, someway, there’s a scary myth that’s propagated society, which says that going gluten-free is for wealthy, privileged individuals. In fact, merely mentioning the diet can get sarcastic scoff out of some. Comically, the diet and those following it seem to be highly miscategorized.
The reality is far more basic and frugal! When you remove most all bread products, wheat-based pastas, etc., the store shelves appear less busy. Snacks and carbs no longer beckon your attention with a gluten-free diet. You may still yearn for some nostalgic food like mac & cheese in its original, wheat form. But largely, the grocery store is simpler — that’s where the savings begin.
Financial consequences of going gluten-free
Nowadays, I pack more lunches than ever and tend to cook at home. This way I know the exact ingredients of the meals I’m making and preparing for a long day out of the apartment. I’m on the go most of the day — 10-13 hour days are sort of normal. Going gluten-free resulted in terrific benefits — both directly and indirectly. Here are some of my favorite reasons:
- Packed more lunches than ever ($7-10 savings per day)
- Made healthier food choices — solid, unprocessed foods (i.e., apples, veggies, nuts, etc.; removed pizzas; $—– Unknown future medical bills)
- Removed gluten-based snack foods when out and about ($1-3 per snack)
- Learned to cook more dishes and vary seasonings (my happiness = priceless)
- Lastly, friends supported and egged me on, which is fun and entertaining (a nice social surprise and bonus to being open and talking about it)
Switching to a gluten-free diet is not synonymous with wealth. Instead, its one of the cheapest diets I know. Think about it: Most of the world eats rice. The most disenfranchised and displaced and burdened still eat rice. It’s a gluten-free food source and it has nothing to do with privilege. Rice is a staple food for the world and it’s just become one of the highlights of my diet — yum!