I started having “stomach issues” my freshman year of high school. They caused me to go through spells where any food that entered my body suddenly turned into my worst enemy and started attacking my insides like a character from Game of Thrones. Sadly, my endless attempts of finding literal inner peace had come up short. This past summer I decided enough was enough and adopted an entirely gluten-free diet to see if it would help my tummy troubles. Guess what?! It didn’t. However, I did learn some interesting things about living the gluten-free life.

1. I missed bread. A lot.

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Considering the fact that carbs are my favorite food group, giving up every member of that wonderfully bready family was the hardest thing I’ve ever faced. I tried to fill the void in my stomach by snacking on rice crackers, but my body knew I was filling it with lies. Rice crackers would never be a warm baguette. Please realize this.

2. I missed baked goods even more.

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Yes, I realize that bread is technically a baked good, but you know what I mean. What is life without homemade snickerdoodles and Reese’s brownie cupcakes? Misery. Of course I tried to make gluten-free goodies, and honestly they weren’t too bad (I recommend Pillsbury Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies), but they just weren’t the same sans wheat flour.

3. Going gluten-free wasn’t “cool” or “healthy”, it was a necessary evil.

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With the health craze higher than ever, people have developed this idea that “gluten-free” items are healthy. I’m sorry to be the one to burst your bubble, but this idea is a complete fallacy. Gluten-free products simply omit wheat flour and add an alternative, like rice flour. The fat and sugar content usually remain about the same.

4. Gluten-free products are really pricey.

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My first gluten-free shopping spree racked up a pretty steep bill. On average, gluten-free products cost over 200% more than their gluten-containing counterparts! Do you want to pay $6 for a small loaf of really dry bread? I didn’t think so.

5. Going gluten-free actually did make me feel better.

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Okay, maybe I lied a little bit earlier. Although giving up gluten-filled foods didn’t cure my problems, it did make me feel lighter and healthier. Because I couldn’t snack on Goldfish and Oreos every afternoon, I was forced to choose much healthier options, like carrots and hummus or almonds. One point for gluten-free! I guess.