There are many people in this world who choose to maintain certain diets like gluten-freevegan, or paleo. While I admire their valiant efforts, I am definitely, and never will be, one of those people. Personally, I've always thought that diets suck.

As someone who aspires to be a chef, I see all of these diets as a way that people close themselves off to different flavors that they "can't" experience.

 But unfortunately, my stomach doesn't agree with my adventurous taste buds. After a year of ulcers, hyper acidity, and pains for no reason, I thought I'd try something a little bit different than being on antibiotics all the time. I decided to take a Food Intolerance test to see if it was maybe something I was eating. I got the results back and I almost regretted taking it in the first place.

smoothie, tea
Serina Levin

Amongst the common allergens and irritants like wheat, dairy and eggs, I also found out that I can't eat very specific types of foods like beans, scallops, potatoes, almonds (goodbye almond butter!), curry and cauliflower to name a few. As someone who regularly uses chocolate as the primary source of caffeine, I honestly felt like the rug was being pulled out from under me. Here I was, wanting nothing more than to make cinnamon rolls and eat cheese plates to my heart's desire. But all I was left with, or so I thought, were rice, meat and (un-buttered) vegetables. It sucked.

chocolate, sweet, cream, cake, pastry
Danielle Cahoon

The first few weeks were rough. My ice cream cravings wouldn't let up, and all I wanted for breakfast was scrambled eggs. After the food turned tiresome I kind of knocked some sense into myself. I just spent two months working in the kitchen of an Iron Chef, why the hell am I doing moping around like this? It was time to get creative.

steak, barbecue, meat, beef, pork, sirloin, pepper, lamb, fillet, tenderloin
Alex Vu

Flank steak, grilled asparagus and mushrooms became my new go-to meal. And though I will keep Justin's Vanilla Almond Butter in my heart forever, I re-discovered my love for peanut butter. Other meals I eventually came up with were seafood fried rice, roast chicken and garlic sweet potato mash.

sweet, pastry, cake, bread
Lauren D'Amore

Shopping proved to be a challenge. Stores such as Trader Joe's and Whole Foods had gluten and dairy-free options, but asking for both was a tall order. Even then, gluten-free options usually had potato starch, and I couldn't have that. Coconut turned out to be my best friend. Coconut flour and coconut milk is an amazing substitute for everything. I was even able to bake this amazing coconut flour banana bread.

bread, sweet, pastry, cake, wheat
Hailey Maher
As for eating out, Yelp and Google were my best friends. I found out that Blaze Pizza had gluten-free crusts and vegan cheese. I am at peace knowing I don't have to stray from KBBQ. And Pluto's, a restaurant in downtown Davis, has proved to be my favorite restaurant.

This diet isn't forever for me (I get off it 3 months after I started), however I did get a little bit of a taste of how different it is for people with say, Celiac's or even severe eczema. I'm slowly starting to introduce some foods back in, and I discovered that almonds don't hurt me as much as ice cream does. These last few weeks were a test to my creativity, and I realize now that it's not the end of the world when you can't have something--it just means that you'll have to start doing things a little bit differently.