Almost everyone out there knows what gluten-free means by now. Sometimes maybe not for the right reasons but at least they know what it means. I'm not hear to single us out as a gluten-free community or make you feel different. I'm here to spread positivity because there really is so much relatable things for us to be positive about! You and I both know that eating gluten-free is a lot more than just a diet. It's a lifestyle change and only those of us who go gluten-free for medical reasons can understand that. Here are 5 things that I've learned as a teen that make being gluten-free more than just a diet.
1. You're changing your entire lifestyle: What you eat is not the only thing that changes while going gluten-free. How you eat, where you eat, and who you eat with may change too. Family get togethers, events, or anything involving food completely changes. Even your friends may change as well to have people in your life who understand. Many people who go gluten-free won't fully understand what this feels like until they have been gluten-free for a few months. Either way it's nothing to be sad about! You just have to be realistic and realize that food is not the only thing that's changing in the picture.
2. You're doing it to feel better and live normal again: A lot of people go on a "diet" to feel better either internally or about themselves. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that! However, most of us that go gluten-free do it because we have to. Whether it be Celiac Disease, gluten intolerances, or another disorder removing gluten improves, we go gluten-free because we have to. I wouldn't even categorize being gluten-free as a diet for us who have to eat this way. Eating gluten-free can be a blessing in my eyes because it allows us to solve most of our problems with food, which is pretty amazing.
3. Not everyone loses weight: The 2 words, "diet" and "weight loss", usually go hand in hand. Most uneducated people hear "gluten-free" and automatically think it's meant to lose weight. Sure it can be true that a lot of you do lose weight after going gluten-free. However, this isn't for everyone. Some people are underweight, malnourished, and desperately need to gain some back. Some people go gluten-free and actually gain more due to all the unhealthy sweets. Either way, going gluten-free doesn't automatically mean we will lose wight which is why it shouldn't be called a diet at all.
4. A lot of people still enjoy the sweets and "bad" food: When you think of a diet you usually think of healthy and natural foods. I'm pretty sure there's no diet I've heard of where cookies, pizza, and sweets were considered ok. But the thing is, while being gluten-free this can be ok! Gluten-free versions of these foods can be eaten whenever we want while being gluten-free. If you like the way you eat and feel ok doing it, then there's nothing that should stop you for enjoying these "bad" foods every once in a while. Not everyone eats the same way but at least we all have the option of enjoying gluten-free sweets on our so called "diet".
5. There are 1000's of people and a whole community here to support us: The South Beach Diet, Nutrisystem, the Atkins Diet. Name one diet that has the supportive community and following that we have in ours. Not one. Being gluten-free is not just a diet change because it changes our entire lifestyle. We can't have cheat days and enjoy glutenous foods every once in a while. It can be very hard and with that we need support to help us get through it. Be grateful for the gluten-free community and support we all have. It's not an easy thing to do being gluten-free, but with the help of each other supporting each other along the way, it can be made a little bit easier each day.
What's one reason you think being gluten-free is more than just a diet? Comment below!