So we need to talk about frozen pizzas. Specifically gluten-free ones because…well…
I can’t eat regular ones anymore….
Before my celiac diagnosis, Devon and I were always people that had a store-bought pizza in the freezer for nights when we didn’t feel like cooking anything because they’re easy to just throw in the oven and because we both have a great appreciation for pizza.
We were also typically people who tried out all the different ones; different crust varieties, all the toppings, stuffed crust, etc. As long as it doesn’t have mushrooms or anchovies on it, we’ve likely tried it.
Enter my disappointment when I was diagnosed with celiac and sentenced to a life of “alternatives” to all of my favorites including the lack of frozen pizza options. Typically, if a brand makes a gluten-free version it’s a cheese pizza. If you’re lucky you’ve found a pepperoni pizza option.
And we’re not even going to talk about the fact that the pizzas are twice the price for half the size of a normal pizza. We know this is a thing….let’s just skate past that.
But there’s never been any variety, at all. It’s all the same and while I know I could be creative and add toppings to it, it’s part of that mindset that so many people with celiac have of, “because I’m different I can’t have the ease of making of dinner like everyone else has”.
I try really hard to not get in that mindset, but when I’m walking an entire aisle of frozen pizza, picking up something for Devon, and I get to the gluten-free “section” and I have two options….it’s hard to not be annoyed by it.
But lately, there’s this random insurgence of options. Maybe where I live gluten-free items are just becoming more popular so stores are stocking more, I don’t know but there’s suddenly so much that I didn’t see before.
California Pizza Kitchen’s frozen gluten-free line was the first that I noticed in stores near me that was more than just cheese and/or pepperoni. When I saw this BBQ chicken pizza, I literally yelled “WHAT!” in the store (and then awkwardly apologized to the random stranger a few feet away from me that I startled….#sociallyawkward) and grabbed it.
FTR, it’s delicious…despite the fact that it has cilantro on it. But, in all fairness, I barely I noticed it so it didn’t offend me as cilantro typically does.
If I wanted to be particularly picky, I could say that the crust could be a bit easier to cut through, but I’ll get over it because the pizza was delicious. And I got to feel like I had a “normal” meal that didn’t have to be prepared differently or even actually prepared at all.
It felt normal. And as much as I still hate that I don’t “feel normal” anymore and am trying really hard to get past it, it’s still a factor. I was diagnosed with celiac two years ago, this week, and I still struggle with the fact that “normal” food is a thing of the past for me.
But having companies actually acknowledge that people who can’t eat gluten probably still want the same flavors and varieties of things they had before their diagnosis is extremely helpful in trying to get past that.
Freschetta is another brand that has recently (at least to my knowledge) expanded their gluten-free pizza selections as has Udi’s. Udi’s is already a well-known gluten-free brand, but typically when I saw their pizzas it was only a cheese and pepperoni variety, so they’re also expanding to include different options.
I realize if you are someone who doesn’t eat gluten-free this post is likely of little consequence to you, but if you are someone who is destined to miss the deliciousness that regular flour has to offer, my hope is that this makes you feel a little more “normal”, too. It can be hard having dietary restrictions and it’s nice to feel like there are strides being made to make us all feel included.
If you are a gluten-free follower, have you found anything new recently that you’ve enjoyed?