5 Non-Gluten-Free Foods That We Still Really Miss
Around here, we try to keep things optimistic. Chin up, kid – everything’s going to be alright. And most of the time it is. These days, being gluten-free isn’t the struggle that it used to be. If you’re craving a hearty bowl of pasta, there’s a box of GF pasta in the pantry that’ll do the trick. In the mood for delivery pizza? Most neighborhoods have at least one pizza place with a decent GF pizza on the menu.
We’re eternally grateful for the dedicated companies out there that have filled the marketplace with awesome, 100% gluten-free alternatives (full disclosure: we happen to make some pretty good gluten-free snacks ourselves – use coupon code “dontcry” for 15% off). We love you guys. But still, there are those dark days. We’ve all attended the same pity party at one point or another, and it’s worth taking a moment (or an entire article) to mourn the loss of some of our most beloved non-gluten-free food or drink. We’ve kept it cheery in the past, but today, we pour one out for the inevitable loss of convenience, peace of mind, and simple pleasures that comes along with the gluten-free diet. Here’s the top 5 non-gluten-free foods we just can’t seem to get over.
1. Cheap beer, craft beer…beer, beer, beer.
For some of us lifers, it’s been so long since we last had a traditional beer that its difficult to remember how a Bud Light even tastes. Even worse, some of us were underage when diagnosed and have never even experienced the glory of a barley-rich beer – but that’s a story for another time.
Maybe you’re still able to close your eyes and practically taste your last Two-Hearted Ale, or maybe it’s a distant memory. Either way, there’s no getting past the lack of variety, the hike in price, and the sheer inconvenience of showing up to a bar, concert, or wedding while gluten-free. By now, you’re probably totally used to badgering the bartender to scrounge up the six-pack of cider he keeps in the back for people like you. Why bother asking about the specials when you know that the $2 PBR happy hour doesn’t apply to you? I’ll take the $6 Gin and Tonic, thank you very much. Sigh.
2. Real bread (the ultimate non-gluten-free food).
Let’s make one thing clear – the gluten-free industry has worked miracles in the bread department. From Bob’s Red Mill to Pamela’s to Three Bakers, there are GF-bread solutions abound in today’s market. That said, we’ve seen how the other side lives. Baguettes, croissants, homemade banana bread, fresh bagels, warm donuts – we could go on, but we won’t. It’s totally okay to mourn the loss of walking into any bakery, coffee shop, or sandwich place and ordering whatever you want. Pancakes, waffles, pastries, donuts, toast, we really miss you.
3. Flour tortillas.
Chipotle, what have you done? Burritos have always ranked high on our Most Missed non-gluten-free foods, but you really took things to another level. It’s true that your burrito bowls are an excellent GF option and we applaud your efforts to accommodate gluten-free diets in your restaurants. However, we’re green with envy over your 1 lb. burritos, lovingly wrapped in the folds of the arch nemesis: flour tortillas. You’ve done nothing wrong, but a cardboard bowl will never trump a whole-wheat, burrito-sized flour tortilla. For now, we’re just thanking our lucky stars to have a stake in the corn tortilla taco market. They can’t take that away from us, unless they happen to have a cross-contaminated grill.
4. International food.
Can you say “gluten-free” in Greek? How about in Mandarin? One of the great tragedies of the gluten-free diet is the crimp it puts in your international style. Whether you’re trying to order some Drunken Fried Noodles from a local spot or planning a trip to Thailand, your gluten-free diet presents some serious challenges in world foods. Restaurants in the United States are just barely keeping up with the prevalence of gluten intolerance and Celiac Disease, and things aren’t looking much better abroad. With so many international cultures steeped in gluten-rich cuisine, you’re just going to have to study up before putting that passport to good use.
5. Fast food.
We support a healthy diet. In many ways, the gluten-free diet forces you to rediscover a healthier lifestyle. Suddenly, fruits, vegetables, and many other whole foods are your new best friends. No need to ask if a carrot or a carton of strawberries are gluten-free – they come from the abundantly gluten-free Earth. However, we were brought up in the modern world, and we’re not rabbits. The wild world of fast food is all around us, and convenience is a real and valuable thing. On the gluten-free diet, you’re forced to wistfully pass by a cornucopia of fast-food glory on road trips, on the way home from work, and after leaving the bar. To date, there’s no cheap, satisfying gluten-free equivalent to McNuggets, a Whopper, or french fries (we’re hard-pressed to believe the GF claims made by fast food chains). What we wouldn’t do for the occasional Big Mac or Taco Supreme. But for now, eat your vegetables. That works, too.
A little commiseration never hurt anybody. In fact, it’s healthy to send off your old stand-bys with a bittersweet tribute. We want to know – what’s your biggest loss since starting a gluten-free diet? What’s the one non-gluten-free food or non-gluten-free drink that still shows up in your wildest dreams? Let us know in the comments below!