Confession time: I love to treat myself. Whenever I go out, I look for little things to make my trip even more fun. Most of the time, that means food. Like millions of people the world over, however, I am also severely gluten intolerant, which can put a damper on things. In spite of that, I firmly believe that life is meant to be enjoyed, and that doesn’t have to change just because I can’t eat like a “normal” person.
Here are a few things I do to treat myself, no matter where I am or what I’m doing.
Need a break while shopping? Skip the food court and put your feet up at a coffee shop — even if it’s just the Starbucks in Barnes & Noble. In fact, most of Starbucks’ beverages are naturally gluten-free, and they provide both comfort and a kick of energy to keep you on your feet. You can also skip the pastry case (duh) and pick up a KIND fruit and nut bar at the register.
One of my favorite treats at the mall is a chocolate-dipped banana from Gertrude Hawk. I’ve read the ingredients on their chocolate, and everything checks out as far as I can tell. Plus, the fact that there’s a banana in there makes me feel healthy (in my mind).
At the Bar
You can almost never go wrong with wine or distilled alcohols like vodka and non-malted whiskey. Throw your bartender for a loop and ask for a a Vodka Collins or a Brandy Alexander. I dare you.
For the beer drinkers, many bars (including my local dive bar- I kid you not) have started stocking Redbridge, a gluten-free beer from Anheuser-Busch. If you’re lucky, your brew house might also carry gluten-free craft beers like Dogfish Head’s Tweason’ale or Lakefront Brewery’s New Grist — and some might even be on tap.
At the Party
Grab a glass of champagne and start hob-nobbing — almost all wines, including bubblies, are gluten-free and look great with a little black dress (or suit).
If you’re hungry, nosh on fruit, vegetables, olives, and cheeses such as cheddar, Swiss, and brie; stay away from the marbled “blue” cheeses as they may not be safe. Keep your eyes open for things like polenta, risotto, and crustless quiche.
On the Road
Traveling can be tough on anyone, but it’s an extra chore if you have a special diet. Fortunately, three of my favorite fast food spots are gluten-free-friendly — and somewhat healthy, too.
Almost everything on Chipotle’s menu is gluten free, except for the flour tortillas. This means that burrito bowls and crispy tacos are on the menu!
If you’re in the mood for a burger, you can pop into Five Guys Burgers and Fries. They toast their buns on separate grills, so as long as you ask them to change their gloves, there shouldn’t be cross contamination if you order a bunless burger. Their fries are also done in a dedicated fryer, so eat ‘em up.
Another of my go-to travel stops is Chick-fil-A. Their grilled nuggets and waffle fries satisfy more traditional fast food cravings. Double check that your location has a dedicated fryer for the fries, but most of them do.
It Doesn’t Have to be Food
There are plenty of other ways to treat yourself (ask me how I know). Instead of food, buy yourself a book or magazine, or try a new lipstick from Honeybee Gardens. Take yourself to a movie or enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the spa.
Whatever you do, luxuriate in life – just because you’re gluten intolerant doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself!
Photo Credits: thepinkpeppercorn, justmakeit, author, and lainetrees.