A Twenty Somethings Guide To Gluten Free

If you find yourself having to go gluten free in your 20's it adds a certain.. twist to your life. You may have been sick for many years before going gluten free so your 20's may have looked a little more like laying on the couch then out partying. As you transition to the hustle and bustle of adulthood, adding gluten free living to the mix can make "adulting" that much harder to navigate. Here are a few tips and tricks to embrace the gluten free lifestyle without letting it stop you from achieving all of your dreams and enjoying every aspect of your life. 

Gluten Free Dating


Unless you're dating someone who is also gluten free you will have to tell them about your gluten free diet and what comes along with it. It can feel awkward bringing up a disease or disorder, that more then likely involves digestive troubles, when you're trying to present yourself in the best light. I have to mention that there is a gluten free dating site (I couldn't believe it!) called glutenfreesingles.com.

Best tips

  • Keep it positive! While discussing your diet and focus on what you can do instead of what you can't. If your date sees that you are positive then they will be to.
  • Be patient but tough. It's a learning curve dating anyone who's gluten free so mistakes may be made. It's important they know the seriousness of your condition, but be forgiving when they make a mistake.
  • Find someone who loves you for you. Find someone who's more then willing to be your partner though all the ups and downs of a gluten free lifestyle. Someone who is supportive of your condition and does their best to keep you gluten free and happy.
  • At the beginning plan the dates so you don't find yourself at an unsafe restaurant.
  • Cook together (super romantic)
  • Go out with someone else on a gluten free diet (if we were all only so lucky)
  • Do non food dates like movies, museums, aquariums, walks, or concerts

Kissing
You wouldn't lick the bottom of a bread basket so don't kiss someone who has just eaten a sandwich or any gluten filled meal. Remember, if you're particularly sensitive (like having celiac disease) then something as small as a crumb can make you sick. It can be a bit awkward talking about kissing and gluten so try not to bring it up as they are about to kiss you.

Best tips

  • Have your date wash out their mouth before kissing you
  • If your dates going poorly have them eat gluten so you can use that as an excuse not to kiss them (Jk.. sort of)
  • Convince your date to eat gluten free meals
  • Remember that lipstick and chap stick can have gluten

A Roll in the Gluten Free Hay
Without getting graphic I wanted to cover the some of the common questions about love making and the gluten free diet. Believe it or not in this situation you still need to be thinking about gluten. Here are the common questions and answers:

  • Are birth control pills gluten free?
    Maybe, wheat starch can be used as a filler in some medications. Contact the manufacturer to see as pharmaceutical companies don't have to label gluten in their ingredient lists.
  • Are.. bodily functions gluten free?
    Yes (Believe it or not this is a common question)
  • What other "love making" things could contain gluten?
    Lubricants, body oils and anything of those sorts may have gluten so be careful

Work
Finding your first job and getting settled in comes with it's own set of challenges but adding a gluten free diet can make it even more difficult. Sometimes at work you may find yourself at a meeting filled with doughnuts, mandatory work restaurant outings or dealing with rude coworkers.

Best tips

  • Arrange to have your own gluten free snacks brought in
  • Be on the committee that plans the staff events so you can choose safe places to eat
  • Have a dedicated area in the staff room to prepare your food
  • Own it! Be confident and don't let anyone put you down about your diet
  • On work trips make sure you have a safe place to prepare foods like a kitchenette or safe restaurants.

Socializing
Food and friends go hand-in-hand. You meet friends for a bite to eat, grab drinks to celebrate, and throw dinner parties to catch up. When you're on a gluten free diet eating outside of your house can feel daunting. It's hard to think of a celebration or social outing that doesn't revolve around eating and drinking. Try not to let your diet keep your from socializing, there are things you can do to make your gluten free diet no big deal in social situations. 

Best tips

  • BYOF (Bring your own food)- Bringing your own food places is a great way to feel more included. People seem to ask less questions and feel more comfortable when you're eating with them.
  • Host the meals- If you have the celebrations and meals at your house you can cook gluten free meals and eat with everyone without a problem.
  • Find some gluten free friends- Even though your friends are hopefully supportive of your gluten free diet it can feel so nice to talk to someone who you can relate to. Look for a support group in your area and make some connections.
  • Research restaurants- Eating out on a gluten free diet requires a bit of homework. You can do it safely but planning is a must. Use apps like findmeglutenfree or allergyeats to find safe restaurants.
  • Careful with alcohol- As i'm sure you know by now beer isn't gluten free, but what about everything else? Potato vodka, rum, and tequila are made from ingredients that do not contain gluten and are accepted as safe to drink by those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. Wine is typically gluten free but the barrels where the wine is aged can be lined with wheat paste. When tested they are usually under 10 ppm, but check with the wine manufacturer to be safe.  

Not going broke
It's no secret that a gluten free diet is more expensive. The cost of gluten free products is often double or triple the cost of regular gluten filled products. Why are they more expensive? Many facilities test their products before shipping them, making the process more expensive. Ingredients may also have have to be sourced from gluten free manufacturers making them more expensive. Plus of course gluten free is a huge trend and they know they can charge more and still get buyers. If you're on a limited budget, which many people in their twenties are, here are some ways to save money on a gluten free diet:

Best Tips

  • Buy in bulk- I don't mean out of a bulk bin, those things are usually full of sneaky gluten. Online they have deals where you can buy your gluten free items in bulk to save a bit of money.
  • Buy natural foods- I'm a firm believer in eating a naturally gluten free diet and avoiding most packaged foods. Gluten free packaged foods are more often then not more unhealthy then their gluten counterparts. So save money and be healthier by sticking to whole unprocessed foods.
  • Shop in season- By buying foods that are in season you can get a good discount because they're readily available. 
  • Coupons & Sales- Keep you eye out every week for deals and coupons and stock up of the foods you eat the most.
  • Make from scratch- Instead of buying pre made foods, which you're paying a premium for, make your meals from scratch.

Traveling


Traveling on a gluten free diet takes some planning ahead. It's common to go exploring around the world in your twenties so here are my best tips for traveling safely on a gluten free diet. Just because you have a restricted diet doesn't mean you can't travel around the world! It's common to do a lot of traveling in your twenties so here are my best tips for doing it safely on a gluten free diet.

Best tips

  • If you are traveling abroad, get dining cards that outline your ­gluten-­free needs in
    the language of the countries you will be visiting. Free cards you can print or get as an app for your iPhone are available at ­celiactravel.com.
  • Pack ­non-­perishable, ­easy-­to-­carry, nutritious items, such as nuts, small bags of dried fruit or granola, or crackers for those times when there really is nothing else to ­eat.
  • Call your hotel to ask if a refrigerator and microwave are available. Check the Internet to find nearby restaurants that can accommodate the GF diet and stores that carry ­gluten-­free ­foods.

How has being gluten free changed your life?