It’s been a long four years and some months since my diet changed over night. One day I literally woke up and wheat and gluten were long gone. But along with the sad disappearance of my once happy diet were the horrible symptoms that seemed to plague me for years on end. I can definitely say that every single day since day 1 has been a challenge; I have to choose every day to live this healthier lifestyle for myself, and that’s where will power comes in handy. Thankfully, I guess I have a ton of it because I’ve never cheated once since the big change many moons ago.
Changing your diet though for medical reasons, either your diagnosis told you to do it or your symptoms did, is totally different motivation to stay strong than just following a new diet fad. Once I saw the huge change in my quality of life I knew that living wheat and gluten free for me was a change for forever, not for a few months. Accepting that from my early twenties until eternity I’d be a little different and have to live a life that’s a little bit harder was always the hardest concept to accept and still is, but nothing beats feeling healthier inside and out.
Even though the rewards have been huge for me it doesn’t mean that there haven’t been certain life instances that make living wheat and gluten free more frustrating and difficult. Many a social situation has been a source of slight frustration, mainly weddings and dinner parties where you always feel like the world just isn’t made for you. But I have to say the hardest times that have challenged my different lifestyle the most are my pregnancies. Living gluten free without worrying about nutrition for you and a baby, without feeling tremendously more hungry than you normally would, and without pregnancy cravings that will drive you mad if you don’t get something that tastes similar is a challenge that was completely new to me a few years ago.
Having a healthy and happy gluten free pregnancy is 100% possible but it doesn’t mean that you’re not frustrated from time to time and that your will power is truly put to the test. Faced with already an extremely picky palette, daily sickness, and other appetite suppressing feelings, on many occasions during both of my pregnancies I looked at my diet with more frustration than I had in years. I’d never wanted to cheat my diet more than I had during my pregnancies partly to just survive the really sick days and on the opposite side to enjoy filling foods that I couldn’t stop craving that I knew would fill my always hungry belly. Being alone in feeling this way was the most difficult part of all and hence the birth of my blog, I wanted to create a place for other mom’s and mom-to-be’s to share their triumphs and tribulations about gluten free living, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
So today I wanted to share my biggest gluten cravings this pregnancy, you know the ones that make me wish I wasn’t gluten free for just a day so baby and mommy could eat safely and happily. Yes, yes I know this is a nightmare to even think about the what ifs but this is pregnancy, not every craving can be so easily gluten free, and this is a real gluten free life where thins aren’t always easy.
Donuts. Ah, my arch nemesis. I never frequented Dunkin Donuts on a daily basis but donuts popped up here and there often enough during my gluten days. Since going gluten free, I’ve certainly found a substitution that makes me more than happy when I really need it but there are times when we get our little girl a special holiday donut or when I saw a gigantic chocolate frosted donut with sprinkles at Epcot that makes things so much harder for me. Gluten free donuts are all cake donuts which certainly come close to pre-packaged varieties in the grocery store but they don’t hold a candle to the light and airy ones at Dunkin Donuts. Maybe one day I’ll be seeing those light and airy pastries again outside of my dreams, but for now, Katz gluten free donuts will fill that craving just fine.
Hoagies. This is a toughie. Yes, I can certainly make myself a lunch meat sandwich on a gluten free roll or baguette but I miss so much being able to go to our local Italian hoagie place and order a delicious thick roll stuffed with all of the hoagie fixings. It’s not the convenience that I miss so much, though it is definitely nice to not have to make everything yourself, but let’s face it, I’ve yet to meet a gluten free hoagie roll or even gluten free rolls that even come close to those delectable rolls that hold a hoagie so well. This has been a huge craving this pregnancy and while my husband has been great getting me gluten free lunch meats from time to time, they’re nothing like the hoagies from my memory.
Pizza. There are certainly plenty of gluten free pizza options out there, homemade, store bought, and restaurant take out included, but can any of us honestly say that we don’t look at the massive pies that come out of the pizza ovens and back at our gluten free individual, thin crust pies with disappoint, I was a pizza crust lover, I loved getting to the edge of the pizza and nibbling at the doughy crust. I’ve never met a gluten free pizza that offers that same feeling but I have to say I’ve been fortunate to come across a few good substitutions that although don’t offer that doughy pizza feel do come pretty close in look and taste. While I make pizzas often myself, I do enjoy a store bought Freschetta Gluten Free Pizza and a take out pie from Mama Mia Trattoria.
I’d be lying if I said that gluten free living is easy peasy; while the rewards and benefits always outweigh any of the challenges and obstacles, it certainly doesn’t mean that it’s an easy road. Living a lifestyle that’s different from the majority of everyone around us is tough and only gets tougher when you’re going through life changing events like a pregnancy. Life gets tougher, true, but it doesn’t become impossible. I many a time this pregnancy, more so than my last, have talked about this with my husband and he is a good reminder of why I’m on this path to begin with. Living this way is the best thing for me and my baby and no matter how difficult, challenging, and lonely it may feel, it’s to hard to always see it but it is completely worth it. My husband is a great calming influence for me and always lets me vent my frustrations but sharing all of these feelings with you is what’s most important. Hopefully my steps down this path can help you now or later in life. Like I’ve always said, pregnancy is a tough time for many of us but when you’re gluten free it’s even tougher so let other mommy-to-bes and seasoned moms out there be a support for you and that little one.
Lindsay (25 weeks)