The first time my best friend/roommate told me she had celiac disease, I totally freaked out. I thought it was some sort of deadly skin disease. Of course, she laughed at me and then informed me it only meant that she could not eat wheat, barley, or rye. As a fellow food lover, I think hearing that was more devastating than having some skin disease. 

The definition of gluten-free in my mind is: goodbye bread, goodbye pasta, goodbye carbs. Living in a world without breads and pastas sounds terrifying. However, there are multiple substitutes to fulfill your carb-loaded cravings. I would like to thank my roommate for opening my eyes (and my stomach) to a whole new food world I never knew about.

1. All I do is eat snacks, snacks, and more snacks.

Yes, put away the Cheez-Its and your Chex Mix. Nothing compares to the Glutino honey mustard pretzels. My roommate keeps these stocked in our pantry so we never ever run out. The crunch is incredible, and surprisingly, it is packed with way more flavor then your average pretzel.

2. I can finally taste the food I'm eating.

Although I do love my bread, getting sandwiches without it tingles my taste buds. My roommate is the one who informed me about the unwhich’s at Jimmy John's. Let me tell you, they are delicious. I would highly recommend the #9 Italian Night Club unwich, packed with provolone, salami, and ham. Nothing can go wrong there.

3. Yes, I'll take a salad too.

vegetable, lettuce, meat, salad, chicken
Michelle Miller

Who really wants a salad when they go to a greasy, fried lovin’ restaurant? Me! When going out with my roomie, it became a habit to order whatever she gets. I found a new love for buffalo chicken salad. Even though it has boring lettuce, the buffalo chicken and cheese strike a punch. This is one of my favorite things to order when I’m out.

4. “Wow! Have you lost weight?”

Oh yes girl, I have. Choosing to follow in the footsteps of my roommate was probably the best decision of my life. Her tips to being gluten-free have been spectacular at helping me make generally healthier choices in my diet. A lot of processed foods contain gluten, so they're hardly ever around. Instead, I choose whole foods that fuel my body right. 

5. I’ve discovered substitutes are just as good as the real thing.

Whoever said being gluten-free sucks is wrong. You can still enjoy your everyday foods including pasta and bread. Instead of wheat, you can make your pasta with rice and add whatever flavor/sauce you want to make it even better. Same goes with bread. There are so many companies out there including Udi’s who have delicious gluten-free products.

6. We order Dominos a lot more… 

Nothing is as mouth watering as a gluten-free pizza from Dominos. Friday pizza night calls for some red wine, gluten-free pizza, and Netflix. You’ll may be surprised, but I enjoy the gluten-free pizza at Dominos more than their regular pizza. I think their regular pizza tastes like cardboard, but the gluten-free crust gives it an actual taste. And the thin crust makes the pizza have a crunch, which I love.

7. My friends don’t try to steal my food now.

sweet, chicken
Lucy Harper

Probably THE best perk ever. No need to watch your food like a hawk. No need to guard your food when eating it, hoping someone doesn’t ask you for a bite. I still love buying real bread, Goldfish, and of course, fried chicken fingers. And the best part is, I don’t have to worry about my roomie eating my food, because she’s allergic to it!

Of course, my roommate just being an awesome friend is a huge perk. But her gluten-free diet also opened my eyes to a whole new world of eating, and understanding of food, and for that, I'm pretty grateful.