How long have you been gluten free? (if you can still remember!) I’ve managed to rack up 7 years since I was 19, so I thought I’d share my experience of how those years have been so far.
Things in the free from world have evolved so much in the last few years. The aisles have more than doubled in size and so has the vast amount of different products out there! But waaaaay before I started my blog all the way back in 2010, it was a very different matter.
Cue the sad music.
These days you’ve got awesome brands like Schär showing the free from world how it’s done with their incredibly expansive gluten free range. But 7 years ago, things were very different in the free from aisle.
Beyond what was pretty much just ‘the essentials’ (bread, a few cakes and pasta), there was very little to get excited about. Plus, what was on offer often definitely wasn’t the level of quality you’d expect from the gluten free products of today.
It’s only when I think back on this all, I realise how grateful I am for the free from aisle we’ve come to know and love in 2017. I’m going to showcase a few photos of Schär products throughout this post to show you exactly what I mean!
But don’t even get me started on eating out. This was back before allergen information was mandatory for restaurants and cafes and I’d often just have to bring my own food everywhere with me.
I remember going to Paris with Mark back in 2010 and I really struggled to find things that I could eat. Luckily Mark was prepared and surprised me with some gluten free goodies that he’d packed and brought all the way from the free from aisle at home. But still, I felt torn.
I was so grateful that he had thought of me, but I couldn’t help fight the ungratefulness which constantly seeing/smelling fresh croissants and French baguettes brings! It was then that I realised: I was just eating to eat, I wasn’t enjoying food any more. Luckily, Mark understood exactly what I was going through.
I never realised (until then) how a huge part of being on holiday is all about enjoying the food and local cuisine. So how was I supposed to enjoy myself with stamp-sized chocolate shortbread from the free from aisle as my lunch? Trés mauvais!
Being gluten free got me down a lot back then as I felt very excluded from anything that involved food. Holidays involved endless ‘hangry’ walks, looking for any place I could eat (which Mark will testify to). Going out to eat involved interrogating the waiting staff about ingredients, then likely still leaving with a stomach ache.
I’ll never forget the time I asked for my meal to be gluten free to which they replied ‘what is that?’ and then proceeded to serve me food with gluten in it anyway. Just wow.
Eating at home always involved eating the same old gluten free products which were so much more inferior than the real deal. But what could you really do? You just didn’t have much of a choice back then… so I just sort of begrudgingly got on with it.
Keep calm and carry on.
Fast forward to now and how the free from world has evolved. We now nearly have an entire aisle to ourselves in supermarkets and the selection is positively awesome!
Whether or not it was because of the gluten free diet being seen as ‘cool’ or some sort of celebrity approved miracle cure, things improved quickly since 2014.
There’s now sooo many products outside what you would expect as ‘the essentials’. I hope the photos throughout this post of Schär’s amazing gluten free range has demonstrated this. I never dreamt I’d be able to buy gluten free waffles off the shelf… just like a normal person!
I guess if I had to look back on my gluten free experience as a whole, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I started my blog simply out of trying to help others find new gluten free products which didn’t totally suck.
Trust me, it was hard back then! If things weren’t so tough back then, perhaps I would never have started my blog and you wouldn’t be here reading this post? Isn’t that a crazy thought?
But I wouldn’t change it also, because the whole experience only makes me appreciate what the free from world has become today. I will forever also remember sitting in a cafe at the Louvre eating the most dense, dry gluten free croissant I’ve ever tasted. It was sad then, but now it makes me laugh!
Someone pass me the Chocolate O’s!
Thanks so much for stopping by to read about my experience on being gluten free. Hopefully things will only continue to improve and in another 7 years, I’ll give you another update 🙂
Thanks for reading,
This is a sponsored post with Schär UK. To discover the Schär range for yourself, click here.