I love food, but food does not love me back. I guess, if I had to describe my relationship with food, I’d say it is tempestuous at best.
Over the last few years, I’ve developed intolerances that make it harder for me to digest dairy and eggs. While losing the ability to eat these foods has not been fun, I’ve been able to deal with the loss using substitutes while cooking or digestive aids when having a “cheat” day (when eating out). As of the last few weeks, it seems that gluten is causing me problems – although I have not yet been tested for any sensitivities or any known stomach issues.
Over the past month and a half, I’ve been testing myself; in other words, I’ve removed gluten from my diet to see if my stomach problems lessen. So far, my pains have eased since starting my self-test. Additionally, to keep the test “clean,” I’ve been very strict with my dairy and egg intake, in order to prevent any confusion between what is being caused by gluten and what is being caused by other known sensitivities. During my test, I tried, on two occasions, to incorporate small amounts of bread into my diet… my stomach was in an uproar on both days.
While I’m happy to have found a way to avoid stomach pain, I can’t help but mourn the loss of gluten in my diet. I keep hoping that this is just temporary (which is possible) because as I’ve learned very quickly, gluten is in so much more than bread. It’s found in pasta, rice seasonings, salad dressings, soy sauce, etc. Moreover, my sensitivity seems to be so high right now, that food that is prepared (and potentially contaminated with gluten) can cause stomach aches – so this eliminates a whole slew of otherwise gluten-free food. (Certified gluten-free food must be prepared in factories where there is no risk of cross-contamination with wheat.)
What I find even more depressing, however, is that many gluten-free foods sold at major retailers or in restaurants contain dairy. If any restaurants have any “alternative” food options, these are often gluten-free OR vegan but are rarely both. Furthermore, watching friends and family eat foods that I used to love still causes grief.
Dietary restrictions have caused me to spend far more time meal prepping and significantly more money buying alternative foods/ingredients at the grocery stores. I have much less free time during a given week now that I have to thoughtfully meal prep and cook homemade food. Am I eating healthier? Yes. But do I miss the convenience of being able to buy certain foods pre-made or with pre-packaged ingredients? Yes.
Nevertheless, my week was made a little brighter by Dunkin’ Donuts’ new gluten-free fudge brownie. This is the brand’s first gluten-free offering. Upon ingredient investigation, the brownie does not appear to contain a dairy, but it does contain eggs. (Between my various food intolerances, an egg is something that I can sometimes get away with eating.)
Although I wish this were a donut instead of a brownie, Dunkin’ Donuts new brownie item makes me feel seen. I am thrilled that a global chain is starting to offer items to people that otherwise could not enjoy their foods. Hopefully, this will just be the first of many offerings from Dunkin’ Donuts and hopefully, other brands will follow suit.
P.S. I tried the brownie on Tuesday and it was delicious. It is super soft and chewy and it’s only $2.00!!
Are any of you gluten-free, dairy-free, or egg-free? If you are gluten-free, do you think you’ll try DD’s new brownie? I’d love to learn more about resources you use to meal-prep during the week!