The beginning of my gluten-free journey was marred with often out of stock and usually overpriced product. I endured frustrating travel throughout the GTA (greater Toronto area) just to obtain a variety of items. Sometimes I would snap up new products by the dozen for fear of never seeing them again. This was a very real possibility back then.
Living a few hours from the United States gave new meaning to cross-border shopping. Instead of getting excited about deals on clothing and electronics, I focused solely on gluten-free food. I would visit 4 or 5 American grocery stores every trip. Each visit to the US brought home a haul of food that just wasn't (and sometimes still isn't) available in Canada.
And so began a gluten-free hoarding problem
Sale? I'll take 7
New product? Give me 3
Not many left? I'll take the rest
Out of town shopping? Fills a suitcase
Believe it or not, there is a certain kind of stress that comes with gluten-free food hoarding. Products sometimes expired before I could use them. I would get bored of eating the same things repeatedly. Sometimes I ended up not enjoying something which I bought in bulk. Not wanting to be wasteful, I would try finding a new owner for these items. A difficult task which usually resulted in food being tossed in the bin.
I have a petite kitchen at best. Putting an excessive amount of groceries away was like playing a well-organized game of Tetris. I got so creative with my storage that I often forgot about these items. Other times, I would grab a box of gluten-free cereal and half the pantry would tumble onto the floor. It was like these poor boxes were screaming to be acknowledged.
Another drawback was that I lost sight of what is naturally gluten-free, like fruits and vegetables. I developed a need for pre-packaged food and lost sight of food prep. Super unhealthy. It was also questionable financially as the gluten-free label goes hand in hand with an often inflated price.
Over time, I eventually realised that gluten-free isn't going anywhere and have thus drawn a line between stocking up and hoarding. In fact, it's getting better. Almost every supermarket has a decent gluten-free selection. Stores are also far better at consistently ensuring these items are on shelves. Companies are also clearly labeling their gluten-free goods so that they are easy to spot. This is such a win!
As things are different now. I no longer stock up en masse. I feel healthier, happier and no longer stressed out.