I really love Chipotle. Like really love it. I have been known to eat it multiple days in a row, and I don’t often grow tired of it. Prior to my g-free days, I’d typically split my orders between burritos and burrito bowls, depending on my mood. I never ordered tacos because a burrito was so much easier.
Fast forward to my new gluten free lifestyle, and I ordered burrito bowl after burrito bowl. Sometimes I’d mix up the meat or the veggies or the salsa, but the base was always the same. A few months ago, I hit my breaking point – one of my favorites was quickly growing mundane. My Chipotle order was quickly becoming a symbol for the rest of my culinary life: I can only eat a few things over and over again because of my gluten intolerance. I was feeling sorry for myself, and I was frustrated with how limiting every meal felt. In my frustration, I pulled up Chipotle’s allergen menu to see if I had missed anything.
Spoiler alert – I had.
Do you know there are only two items on the whole Chipotle menu that contain gluten? Two. The burrito tortilla, and the soft flour taco tortilla. That’s it. Everything else is free of gluten containing ingredients. Now, this doesn’t address cross contamination (although, in my experience, most Chipotle workers will honor requests to change gloves and use new ingredient containers), but I could walk into the restaurant and order all but two items on the menu and follow my g-free diet.
This definitely opened my eyes to my tempter tantrum and how unfounded it was. I spent so much time focusing on the one menu item I was missing (the burrito), instead of trying anything new. To be honest, this whole scenario is pretty representative of my early gluten free days. In fact, it still spills into today. When you have something you’re really craving or you’re trying to prepare a traditional holiday meal, it is so easy to get hung up on what you can’t eat. But in the end, the vast majority of food on this earth is gluten free. And if I focus on only what I can’t eat, I’m not learning to give my body new and healthy food. I’m also not educating others on how to prepare food for their newly gluten free family members or helping my friends see that it’s not really that difficult to go out to eat together.
Yes, I still struggle with the smell of Chick-Fil-A chicken biscuits, and I have yet to find any gluten free pizza that I enjoy as much as Pizza Hut hand tossed, extra cheesy goodness. But I can eat so much, and, most of all, I can prepare delicious, safe food in my own home.
So how did I handle my Chipotle debacle? I ordered the corn tortilla soft tacos. And I loaded them up. I swear to you that the workers sigh when I walk up, because I’m going to try to fill those taco shells like they’re burritos. In true corn tortilla fashion, they usually fall apart within a few minutes of digging in, and I end up covered in sofritas and sour cream. But I love every delicious bite!