Why am I Gluten Free?
How do I say this? I have no choice anymore. Well, technically, that’s a lie. No matter what the issue, everyone has a choice. I just choose not to feel like I have the flu and be married to my bathroom for several days after eating gluten. You get that right? I’m not some hip yogi or some hot soccer mom seeking a newer and healthier diet that can enter or leave a gluten free lifestyle at will. I’m someone who lives in Hoboken, likes to workout, eat out at restaurants with friends and drink at a rowdy bar on the weekends.
Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with celiac disease about 7 years ago in my early 20’s and it took me about a year and 10 different doctors to figure it out. Celiacs disease tossed a convenient lifestyle in the trash. For me, that means no new york pizza, jersey bagels, pasta, whiskey or bud lights on NFL Sunday – you know – the fun stuff in life. I’m not complaining though as I’ve learned to thrive regardless. My goal is to bring convenience back while still being gluten free, one product and restaurant review at a time.
If you want to learn more about the inner workings of celiac disease, look it up. This blog will be science free. Just
Choice Means Power
I’m not putting down either of the audiences that I mentioned before. More power to anyone for having choice in their dietary life in this day and age and thank you for choosing to be gluten free. I don’t want anyone to have celiacs either. However, the more people that choose to be gluten free means more restaurants will accommodate this diet. It also means more companies will develop tasty gluten free products. Win for everyone, right? Just don’t hold up your nose and act like you’re better then everyone while telling your waiter/waitress that you are gluten free, especially if it is a diet choice. I see that all too often now a days. Not cool. Let gluten be the pain in the rear, not the attitude.
Being Social and Practical
I am making the assumption that you are a social person who likes to go out to eat and drink, just like I do. My guess is you lost a big element of convenience in your life, just like I did. The kind of convenience that came with freely eating out or going to a restaurant on a whim and not having to interrogate your server. My mother was anything but a chef growing up so I learned to love eating out at restaurants. In college, I was educated in the fun of going out to bars with friends. I still utilize that undocumented degree. Finding out I had celiac disease changed those things pretty drastically and sucked convenience right out of the room. Even if total convenience is still just a memory I’ve learned to manage and thrive with this problem. Being gluten free in a pinch is not easy while maintaining a decent social life but there is a balance hiding in plain sight that you have to really search for. I will help you find that with my product and restaurant reviews that are based on criteria that really matter to gluten free eaters.
The GF Restaurant Experience
Many restaurants today will label half their menu to be gluten free, just because it is trendy. Sometimes it ends up being false advertising. My gut has a funny way of knowing which items are truthfully GF and which are lies before my mouth realizes it. This is tough when you are out with friends. I’m not embarrassed about being celiac but I definitely don’t want to be difficult about it. I’m easy going by nature. But do I have to present myself as the special person who needs special treatment? Should I just bite the bullet and take a risk? Should I force my friends to dine near a hospital? Maybe just having an ambulance on call will do? There are ways to manage this but the easiest is by conducting the big bad ugly time consuming RESEARCH.
On the second date with my long-time girlfriend, I called our restaurant of choice ahead of time (Grand Vin in Hoboken) and I pulled the waiter aside twice to confirm my app and entree choice was safe. I didn’t want her knowing I was gluten free as you never know how someone will perceive it nowadays. But it backfired. My shady efforts ended up just looking weird AF. She thought I was getting her a birthday cake when her birthday wasn’t for 10 more months. FAIL. I obviously had to tell her I was celiac to save face. We’re still together so you can assume how it turned out (hint: she was very cool and understanding about it).
Preparation like this takes a special degree in food investigation and persistence that not many colleges offer. It can be tiring but I’ve done a lot of it over the years. I want to share my experiences and research with you so that your gluten free eating life can be much more convenient. That is why I want to focus on quick, easy to read and entertaining restaurant and product reviews conducted entirely from the gluten free standpoint.
All About Convenience
This blog is meant to be different and focus on something that other gluten free blogs don’t typically cover. I will not try and cover every single facet of the gluten free lifestyle. There won’t be any long recipes, cooking instructions or food pictures overlooking cliche sunsets. Restaurant architecture is interesting but has nothing to do with gluten free eating. You won’t find any scientific research on food or talk about new healthy diets. I’m focusing on what was lost with my celiac diagnosis – convenience. Something I’m guessing you want back in your life also.
Remember the good old days of going out to eat with friends on a whim and not caring where you ate? Or going to the food store and buying something new without taking a magnifying glass out to read the label? Eating conveniently is kind of a memory, at least for me. Going food shopping takes longer, eating out is more stressful and having fun in general takes time and research. The internet is saturated with random gluten free product lists and paid promotions. It can be tough to navigate but I’ve done a lot of work in this arena already and am continuously on the hunt. I’ll try just about anything that is gluten free.
With all of that said, I want to share that research and experience with you. With restaurants, I’m going to start with Hoboken, Jersey City and New York City first. Eventually I’ll start expanding restaurant reviews but I’ll always provide reviews on universally available gluten free products. Just to get things moving, here is my list of restaurants that I plan to visit. I will rate them with a score from 0-10 and provide a full review from the gluten free standpoint. I’ll only score places based on critical criteria that gluten free eaters care about. I might get sick occasionally and I might gain a million pounds but I’m happy to be your guinea pig. Especially if it means making things more convenient for gluten free eaters. Stay tuned.
What you WILL find in this blog:
- Restaurant reviews in the Hoboken, Jersey City, NYC and other destinations from the gluten free standpoint
- Ratings for those restaurants with criteria that really matters to gluten free eaters
- Gluten free food product reviews
- Tips and tricks for being gluten free and convenient, but not conveniently gluten free
What you WON’T find here:
- Mention of other allergies
- Talk about healthy diet fads
- Talk about food science and/or biology