5 surprising things I wish I knew before I went gluten-free

5 surprising things I wish I knew before I went gluten-free
Being gluten-free hasn't always been easy.Sarah Fielding
  • After being diagnosed with celiac disease years ago, I was told to avoid gluten completely.
  • Following a gluten-free diet can be expensive when it comes to groceries and restaurants.
  • Traveling can also be difficult if you don't speak the language of the country you're visiting and are unable to check for gluten in the ingredients.

Over eight years ago I was diagnosed with celiac disease and told I must avoid gluten completely.

Considering gluten encompasses wheat, rye, and barley, this was a lofty task. Although today it feels like there are signs for gluten-free products everywhere, the world of many years ago did not have as many conveniences as it does today.

Because of this, I had to learn a few hard lessons. Read on for what I wish I knew before adopting this diet.
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Editor's Note: This article was originally published in January 2018.

Being gluten-free can be very expensive

5 surprising things I wish I knew before I went gluten-free
Most gluten-free groceries cost extra.Jon Elswick/AP

As most specialty items are, gluten-free products are much more expensive than traditional versions. At the grocery store, I may pay six dollars for a small loaf of bread, while a large wheat bread is two dollars.
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When I eat out, while many restaurants now have gluten-free substitutions, they almost always cost a few dollars to change it.

People aren't always understanding of my dietary restrictions

When all your friends want to order a pizza or try out this new sandwich shop it's hard to be the reason they have to change their plans. Usually, people are very accommodating but, especially when with people you don't know as well, they may become agitated. Unfair yes, but true nonetheless.
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A lot of people don't know what gluten is

If I had a nickel for how many times I've been asked if being gluten-free means I can't eat fruit, I'd have enough money to make better tasting gluten-free bread.

Traveling to countries that don't speak English is all the more difficult

5 surprising things I wish I knew before I went gluten-free
It was hard to avoid rice in Japan.Sritakoset/Getty Images

When I went to Japan a few years ago I had read all over the internet that it was a celiac's nightmare. While there I ate some version of rice for basically every meal.

As I do this on the regular, it wasn't a big deal, for others it would be.
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Asking what has gluten in it or even being able to read ingredients on store-bought food can be impossible when you don't have a handle on the country's language.

It's hard not to cheat a little

Sometimes you have to let yourself eat a bit of something "bad."

While being gluten-free has been a challenge, feeling infinitely better every time I eat makes it all worth it. Discovering good gluten-free cinnamon buns also helped.
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