I gave up gluten nearly two years ago. This turns out to be no big deal once you get your head around it, except for the french fries, which I really missed.
(French fries are a no go because they are mostly cooked in oil that has also cooked breaded things) (but I don't have celiac disease, so sometimes I eat them anyway)
And trying to figure out what to put stuff on - jam, cheese, peanut butter - now that you don't have crackers any more. I went big on the rice tortillas for a while, but a lot of the GF flours are pretty starchy and I'm not really into replacing a nutritionally meh food with something even less wholesome and so now I am making things like buckwheat pecan loaf, which is so unbelievably good. I would show you, but I ate the one I made Wednesday already.
So now I'm a person who looks at food and goes - it is whole grain? Which is hilarious, given my history with processed foods. I ate a turkey sandwich for lunch every day for at least 5 years and now a turkey sandwich - commercial rye bread, cold cuts, mayo, a sub-par tomato and iceberg, kettle chips on the side - doesn't even look like food to me. In a way that doesn't feel wretched.
Unexpected side effect is that I'm now hyper aware of eating in a way divorced from the normal - or "normal" - lady-type food issues. There's so much I can't eat in the world it's completely changed the questions I ask myself and the decisions I make. I carry protein bars. Chipotle is the only place I ever get take out. I cook so much more. I buy all the vegetables. I drink green smoothies. I miss my blender when I travel. A real lot. I could give a crap about not being able to eat pastry anymore, I absolutely do not miss it. There are one or two commercial GF bread-things that don;t entirely suck, but I find I'm eating them less and less.
And it keeps evolving. Like the rice tortillas, which I consider a transitional step to away from bread, and I would still pack if I were on the road, but am not buying at home anymore because rice is pretty starchy and if I eat the tortilla I probably put cheddar on it and then I'm eating a quesadilla for lunch instead of - turkey salad, baked white sweet potato chips with herbed goat cheese, and some of that buckwheat bread. Which sounds better to you?
Or protein shakes, I made them dutifully for a year with greens powder and from the same oddly flavored recipe, before it occurred to me to put actual vegetables in them, or herbs or flavor and now 6 months after that I'm making these incredibly green beverages that taste amazing, that are a thing that you would choose for pleasure. It's like..I started making changes in a mechanical way, for my health and because I had to and gradually it's animating into something else. It's expensive, for sure, and that's an astonishing thing too.
If you say to someone - you can't eat chicken, or eggs or gluten or dairy or whatever it is - that seems like being sentenced to misery and you can approach it like that for sure. When I started the anti-inflammatory diet I went on a trip and there was one night when I looked at the menu for the event and just burst into tears. There was nothing I could eat and it was so hard, and I felt broken, and like I was a drag on joy. It's such a basic thing, feeding yourself, and there was nothing I could eat. And that's still hard because in so many places they take away gluten without adding in creativity - this is what it's like for vegetarians a lot of the time, a plate of sadness and defeat.
And a lot of commercial gluten free foods are desperately bad, because they are trying to replicate unreplicable things. They make me sad and I've stopped buying them.
But it's getting a little better. Last month, my favorite brew pub brought me my bunless burger with the fries barricaded behind a pickle so that if cross contamination was a concern they wouldn't touch my burger, and the waitress double checked before she put the plate down. A year ago this same place brought me breaded fries after a 10 minute conversation about whether they were or not, piled ON the vegetables. So change happens for them and for me.
I might tell you you should try gluten free, especially if I you have any trouble with pain or inflammation. I mean, I think you should but I know it's obnoxious, so I try not to. But you should. There's a whole world out there.