Roughly three years ago, I learned that I am intolerant to gluten. This in itself was unfortunate enough, however, to further add to my pain, I was informed that I am also intolerant to dairy and egg.
Yes, you read that correctly. I am intolerant to the three most popular food ingredients, and yes, it sucks as much as you would think it does. Despite this unfortunate discovery, a discovery I made by having myself tested for food sensitivities, I am grateful that I am intolerant to these foods and not allergic. For example, if I eat gluten, dairy, or egg, I make frequent visits to the bathroom and I am in a significant amount of abdominal discomfort, but my health is not significantly jeopardized. For individuals who are allergic to these foods or any foods, for that matter, having to exercise extreme caution when cooking, eating out, or even being in contact with someone who has consumed the food(s) they are allergic to is tricky and very challenging.
Focusing on my intolerance to gluten, in particular, I will be completely honest in stating that the transition to a gluten-free diet was and remains to be incredibly challenging. I was completely oblivious to the number of foods gluten resides in, some examples being salad dressings, spices, even meats. I had to be stringent in my dietary planning and began reading the ingredients in foods in detail to ensure I had not missed any gluten that may have snuck in.
My diet changed completely, transforming from basic loaves of bread, muffins, and cookies to spelt or rice-based baking, and in the process of my diet change, my grocery bills fluctuated drastically. Abiding by a gluten-free diet is not cheap, especially once you fill your cart with items that are further dairy and egg free. I was a student at university when I first learned of my food intolerances, and my groceries bills that were once $50.00 a week jumped to around $125.00-$150.00 a week. My wallet took a major beating, and while I have learned that shopping for certain grocery items at cheaper outlets is the key to saving a buck, my food bills have become a major expense.
An additional thing to consider when transitioning to a gluten-free diet is hygiene products and cosmetics. Yes, gluten does exist in some hair products, body products, and makeup items, therefore it is crucial to do some research of your own prior to switching to a gluten-free diet. One example of a fantastic cosmetic company that offers gluten-free products is Cover FX, but again, it is not cheap. Following a gluten-free diet is a necessary choice for some and a preference for others, but regardless of the context this choice occurs in, it is undoubtedly expensive.
I personally survived the transition to a gluten-free diet, and if I can, anyone can. The key is patience and further acceptance, and learning how to be money-conscious in the process is a definite bonus.