You stick to me like glue (part 2)

Hey guys! This week marks the halfway point in my Gluten Free challenge, so I just wanted to share my experience so far. I hope you all enjoy reading about it, everyone is driven mad by me constantly going on about being gluten free but sure, what can you do.

Photo of some extra chocolatey, extra sugary, gluten free brownies.

Starting the challenge on New Years Day maybe wasn’t the best idea, particularly after being out the night before! I was good though and didn’t even have toast when I rolled home after celebrating the new year. The next day, I did really want to eat pizza and toast and the likes but stayed strong and enjoyed a hearty roast (minus the gravy 😦 ). Also, there was a box of Thornton’s chocolates lying around the house which turned out to be gluten free so I wasn’t too bad at all!

The next day was more challenging. I find challenging and gluten free and two words can come to mind very quickly once you leave your own house. There is just so little variety in terms of snacks for when you’re on the go! As I was embarking on a 5 hour bus journey, you would think I would have been better prepared. As it turns out, I did find a gluten free snack in the form of an O’briens sandwich. They gave me some gluten free bread, one slice of ham, cheese and a small bit of onion and charged €5.30! It cost extra because it was gluten free. I know gluten free bread isn’t the norm and all but really feel that there are just no cheap options for snacks (don’t you dare suggest rice cakes) or light bites at all for coeliacs or people who choose a gluten free lifestyle. It’s kind of crazy that you have to pay less not to be sick? 

Once I got back into my own house, I settled into a good enough routine. Lots of baked potatoes, baked beans, eggs, rice dishes and rice noodles are now frequent visitors in my belly. I have bought some gluten free bread and I actually don’t hate it! I was expecting it to taste a bit like..paper? But, it really doesn’t. If you like seeded bread, it’s really not that much of a leap. I do miss real bread though, and have been caught sniffing an ordinary loaf downstairs in a moment of weakness. Don’t judge. It’s hard! I’ve cut down a good bit on eating bread, but mostly because gluten free bread is so expensive for the size you get. I feel if I were to eat it every day, I’d have to buy a new loaf every morning which just isn’t practical. Porridge is also a snack I go to when I’m hungry and want to snack. I’ve found some good, gluten free oats in Tesco. They’re Tesco brand and as much as I hate to say it, it’s the best porridge I’ve ever had (not including porridge at the Farmgate Cafe). If any of the rest of you eat these, soak them over night in milk! Makes SUCH a difference, so good.

Another day which I found really annoying was a take-away night. I was stupidly under the impression that gluten free pizza is this common and great option now a days. Wrong. Most of the pizza places (in Cork anyways) which I rung, only offered a 9″ pizza on a gluten free base and when I asked why this is, I was told that they buy them pre-made! Very disappointing. I ordered one anyway and it did really lack in taste and texture. Now, yes it could be that I just went to a bad place. I’ve heard from friends that good gluten free pizza does exist but the one I had was very expensive for the  size, very dry and awfully salty. I was so disappointed by it and just really saw a niche in the  market for someone who can really make gluten free food taste amazing. Other than that, I don’t find eating out much of an issue. A lot of the time I do bring fruit and stuff with me in case nothing in a restaurant suits but mostly I’ve found that there is at least one option on menus that can be made gluten free, even if it comes down to saying “no bread please”. The only slip I have had since starting the challenge has been while out in a restaurant though. I tasted a stew which I think may have had flour in it, but it was only a bite so am not too worried. Have managed to stay off all major sources of gluten. Which, believe me, isn’t easy when all your friends eat lovely muffins every day in college. 

Photo of my ordered gluten free pizza – mehh.

So far I’ve found that the best thing to do is focus on what you can eat, rather than on what you can’t. I wasn’t sure if I would feel any difference after going gluten free but I’m oh so glad to say I have! Even after massive meals with rice of potatoes, I never feel bloated since turning gluten free. Digestion just seems easier? Has anyone else found this? Also, I have a lot more energy in the late afternoons (after lunch time). I used to always hit a slump in college where I just couldn’t pay attention of focus on my classes. Now I feel I have a lot more energy and am more engaged. I just hope this ins’t a sort of placebo effect or that I’m just imagining it. To be honest, the main drawback to being gluten free is the price. It’s actually really annoying to pay more for a salad without bread or gluten than it is for a dinner including gluten. And, although I have successfully began baking gluten free ( see here and here), it is hard to constantly have my own gluten free muffins with me all the time for a sweet snack. Though some chocolate is still fine, thank goodness.

Gluten free muffins. 

I am excited to continue the challenge and am enjoying the results so far. Will keep you updated though.

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