Eating gluten-free is hard.

gluten free donut

In order to have donuts, I need to make them. Or drive 30-40 miles.

I am not talking about a gluten-free diet, where you avoid gluten. I am talking about eating 100% gluten free. No, “it’s ok, I can have this bread just this one time”. No, “even though the fries are cooked in the same oil as the flour coated chicken I can still have them”. I mean truly no gluten.

People have told me gluten-free is easy, but they are looking at it from the diet point of view, where it is ok if you slip up or cheat or if you don’t realize that salad dressing contains some form of gluten. If I slip up or cheat my insides feel like they are on fire. I want to rip out my digestive system. I want to throw up my insides to stop the pain. If I slip up, there’s bloating, migraines and fatigue.

I want to issue a seven-day gluten-free challenge. Seven days, that’s it. I have to do this for life and am only asking you for seven days. One week. But it has to be truly gluten-free, no slip-ups and no cheating. You will have to read labels. If you eat out, better do some research or ask some questions.

It may be hard and it will probably be more expensive unless you stick to naturally gluten-free foods. Fruits, vegetables, most dairy products (watch those flavored yogurts and cheap cheeses) and most meats (be careful with sausages and processed meats) should be gluten-free.

Baked goods, fast foods, and a lot of packaged foods will be off limits. Want to bring bagels to the office? Good luck finding some on a moments notice and be ready to spend a pretty penny! I have to order my bagels or travel 30-40 miles out of my way to get them.

Maybe a challenge like this will make you think next time you bring food to the office or a party. Maybe there is someone in your office or at the party that would love to feel included but can’t because of celiac, or a peanut allergy, or any number of other allergies. We want to feel a part of the office or the party and our society revolves around food. Not being able to eat can make one feel left out.

Try a gluten free challenge next week. It may just open your eyes.

Here are some guidelines:
Read labels – gluten hides in a lot of things you wouldn’t expect.

Here are some links:
7 day meal plan from Celiac Disease Foundation
Dining out guide from Celiac Disease Foundation
Eating at restaurants from Gluten Free Living
Meal plans & shopping List from $5 Dinners

Feel free to ask me questions in the comments or on twitter and facebook.

Try the challenge and then come back and let me know in the comments how you did. Did you make it all seven days? What was easiest for you? What was most difficult?


Categories: Gluten Free


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.