The Reality of Having a Gluten Allergy {as a food writer}

By Amanda Paa – Updated January 12, 2021

This post is sponsored by Lorissa’s Kitchen, a year long partner of Heartbeet Kitchen. 

“So I understand you like to be gluten-free”, said the event waiter as he kneeled beside my chair.

He had successfully pushed one of my buttons with one sentence and an assumption.

“No. Actually I don’t like to, but I have to be in order to live without nerve pain, rashes, and scabs on my head (my symptoms). But thank you for doing your due diligence in making sure I won’t be served something that would me sick.”

I’ll admit, it was not my most cordial moment. But his comment stung. The result of one too many times where people had approached the issue as it being a fad or diet strategy. Or that I was some pretentious health nut. Yet they wouldn’t think twice had it been a seafood or peanut allergy, or anything else for that matter.

The reality of having a gluten-allergy changes things, for better and for worse.

Without it, I likely wouldn’t have discovered my passion for cooking and the beauty of real food. Many of my now favorite foods, well, I didn’t even know they existed until forced to look outside the world of all-purpose flour, American food, and overly processed ingredients. Because of that, I started going to the farmers market and having conversations with those who grew my food, which was very inspiring. As a way to journal about this new way of cooking and eating, I decided to start writing this blog.

The worse isn’t terrible, but the reality is I miss things. And want things. From a slice of my mom’s carrot cake to my grandma’s German dumplings. An Oreo blizzard. A buttery, French croissant. Cheesy, cheesy pizza.

I wish I didn’t have to check every restaurant menu before we went. Or pack a boatload of snacks when traveling in case there’s nothing I can eat. Or buy/eat whatever I wanted without having to read every ingredient list. (Even though I don’t buy a lot of packaged food, it would still be nice.)

But such is life. And the improvement in my health is one hundred percent worth it.

People often ask how I manage to be a food writer while having a gluten-allergy. And to their surprise, I actually turn down more jobs because the product has preservatives or ingredients I don’t feel comfortable with. Occasionally I’m not able to take on a job because of it, but I also receive opportunities I might not otherwise have.

The Reality of Having a Gluten Allergy {as a food writer} -- Heartbeet Kitchen

This year I’m happy to be partnering with Lorissa’s Kitchen to talk more about different gluten-free topics, like this one, and share a little more about their responsibly raised protein snacks. They’re part of my life because I can trust the ingredient list, taste wonderful, and are helpful in times where I need a substantial snack that’s not a protein bar. Like long photography days and writing, as well as when I’m traveling. Unlike many of the other products on the market, they are gluten-free, and there are no nitrates or preservatives used.

I was especially drawn to Lorissa’s story when I spent some time with her last year. Her need to juggle a busy, on-the-go family and healthy lifestyle sparked a desire for a snack she could take anywhere, without sacrificing the quality and responsible ingredients she cared about. Lorissa worked with her husband and the family business to provide inspiration and creative consultation to create the four unique flavors. They work with farmers to source 100% grass-fed beef. The chickens are American Humane Certified, meaning they’re antibiotic-free and raised without added growth hormones. And the pork is also responsibly raised. She’s so inspiring as a businesswoman changing the food world!

If you’re wondering where you can get yourself some Lorissa’s Kitchen, I get mine from Target, but they also sell on Amazon. My favorite flavors are the Sweet Chili and Szechuan Peppercorn, but honestly all four flavors are great.

photos by Annie D’Souza

The Reality of Having a Gluten Allergy {as a food writer} -- Heartbeet Kitchen

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June 24, 2017


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  1. Sandy

    I’ll have to let my husband know about Lorissa’s Kitchen. After a year of going to the doctor because of digestive issues it was finally discovered he can’t have gluten anymore. It’s been a tough adjustment for him (especially now around Thanksgiving) but we are slowly getting there and gluten free products like Lorissa’s Kitchen definitely make things easier.

  2. Sadie Morgan

    Amen and amen – I am a food and wine lover and it is so hard to be taken seriously at so many fine restaurants and/or explain time after time that it is not worth it to get sick!

    • amandapaa

      Yes! I totally hear you. Thanks for reading. xo

  3. Mary

    Also. LOVE Lorissa’s kitchen. So thankful more companies like this are sprouting up, making life on the go a little more convenient.

  4. Mary

    Going gluten free is definitely life changing, especially when the future of your h e a l t h depends on it. Every single one of our kids have problems with it- including me; skin, digestion and tummy issues, with tests to prove it. It makes leaving the house a struggle sometimes, as our every day food requires careful planning. I’m like you and don’t do much of the packaged stuff, but thankfully I love being in the kitchen and all of us are SO grateful for the opportunities this lifestyle has brought, including connections at the farmers markets! It’s a different way of living for sure, sometimes it can feel lonely, but the benefits far outweigh the limitations. Love you and your pretty gluten free self. ;-) xo

    • amandapaa

      As a mama, you have so much to think about each day with the allergies. Kudos to you, I don’t know how you do it. The beauty is you create such wonderful, wholesome, comforting meals despite that. So inspiring! All the love to you.

  5. Amanda

    Thank you so much for this! As a lifelong foodie, it tortures me to give up my favorite glutinous foods, and the embarrassing questions and assumptions definitely make it worse!

    • amandapaa

      I know how you feel! Thanks for reading. xo

  6. Casey the College Celiac

    I would’ve had a VERY hard time not saying something even worse to the waiter! I have celiac disease and my mom is gluten intolerant, so I definitely know what it feels like for people to assume you’re eating gluten free because it’s a fad when, in fact, it’s a medical necessity! Thanks for spreading awareness. I def need to check out Lorissa’s Kitchen.