How do you start a blog? That was my first question when people suggested I started "a blog". Whenever I meet a fellow celiac that is what they all say - you have so much great information why don't you start a blog! Then you could just tell people your blog name! My intent is to try to centrally locate what I have learned about celiac disease to help others. I am not a chef, nor a nutritionist. I am, however, a veritable encyclopedia of information on how to live a happy tasty life enjoying gluten free foods! I have looked at many other gluten free blogs. While every one I found had some good information on it, most talked about foods and terms I had never heard of. What is a "slurry"? What is "teff"? What, is "leaf lard"? I have no culinary training other than what my mother and grandmother have shown me. I am a regular housewife trying to make foods like every other housewife does - just without gluten!!
I was trying to think of what to write as my first entry on "my blog", and thought well maybe I should introduce myself. What do I say to define myself? Thoughts came pouring in - I am a proud mother, a good wife, a strong calm person, and I suffer from celiac disease.
Then I thought do I really "suffer"? I don't! I truly enjoy being me! Every day I smile about something my twins do, about who my older son has become. I smile because my hubby loves me. I smile because I have great friends and family! The difference between my life before and after being diagnosed with celiac disease is like comparing night and day. Of course, I loved being a mom from the moment I conceived. What I didn't love were all the repeat illnesses and nasty things that came with being sick, the pain my arthritis caused me, looking sickly at times from being so thin... and I thought that was just how my life would be. I learned to ignore the roaring pain in my stomach, because it was a constant. I moved away from the cold north weather which helped my fingers feel better. I lived, which is what everyone does right? Wrong. I started becoming "symptomatic" when I had my first child. For the next seven years I dealt with a myriad of health concerns, personal issues I kept mostly to myself until they became unbearable. When I couldn't stand feeling bad I would head to a doctor, and they would all test me for HIV and when that was negative I would be repeatedly diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome. I never ate anything spicy, stayed away from all the foods they said to, and I still felt no better. After finally being diagnosed with celiac disease the change in the quality of my life was shocking. I hadn't realized just how much my stomach hurt until it suddenly felt better! I felt "good" for the first time in years! My arthritis was gone within a week. However, I was only eating fresh fruit and plain cooked meat. I didn't know what else to eat!
At that point I found a dietitian. She suggested I start with mild foods like crackers and toast. I sat there amazed. I asked her if she knew what celiac disease was and she said yes of course she did! I knew I wasn't supposed to have anything with wheat, oats, barley or rye and this woman was telling me crackers and toast? So I joined the forum on celiac.com. The people there had stories of their health histories that had tears streaming down my face. I quickly realized I hadn't suffered at all in comparison to so many others with celiac disease. If the only lasting effect I suffered from celiac disease was eating bland food I thought I got off easy!
I started to ask around at natural food stores about gluten, and I wrote to as many food manufacturers I could find addresses for. I learned I could eat some Frito Lay products and that day ate an entire bag of potato chips! I realized it had been months since I had really tasted anything! Now don't get me wrong, fruit is good and sometimes a plain cooked breast of chicken is ok, but man did I miss tasting things! One day I made a list of what I missed most, and it was a long one. So I decided I would try to find a gluten free version of everything on that list, and if I couldn't I would learn how to make it myself gluten free.
I discovered a number of "pre-made" products that were gluten free but the majority still lacked any taste. Bread - people take sandwiches for granted until you can't eat one. I was salivating at the loaf of bread in my kitchen, knowing what it would make me feel like! However, bread was a bit scary for me at first so I concentrated on things like teriyaki chicken, cookies, beef stew, and coffee cake. I am no chef! The teriyaki chicken was easy once I learned la choy soy sauce is gluten free. Cookies and cake… not so easy. Every time I tried to make any type of baked goods they all tasted like hummus! I had gone out and bought six cookbooks all about cooking gluten free, and they called for so many ingredients I had never heard of that I ended up buying bag after bag of flour and xanthan gum, etc. So $150 later I had the myriad of flours these books called for, and even then the cookies still tasted like something birds should eat. Should I mention now that I don't like "health food"? Talk about a waste of money!
I started writing down recipes as I perfected them, and ended up with a large three ring binder full of recipes I wrote. So now I am trying to organize that into a cookbook. I don't know if anyone will be interested in it, but if it helps one person find food again like I did it will be worth it. I send cookie packages to one of hubby's coworkers whenever I bake gluten free cookies for their son who also must eat gluten free, and one of their comments was "it tastes too good to be gluten free, are you sure this is ok to eat?" and that made me laugh! Why does gluten free food have to taste so bad?! It doesn't and shouldn't.
I hope to open people's eyes to the world of tasty easy-to-make foods that all are gluten free. In the process I also want to help people on their journey of becoming gluten free! My hopes are to make it easier for others than it was for me to find out about gluten content and help others live a happy gluten free life :)
- Gluten Free Mom
- I am mom to a 15 year old boy and identical twin 6 year old boys. I am the wife of a wonderful man. I have had celiac disease for 15 years. Those things define me in that order, everything else falls in line! I homeschool because the public school system was just letting my smart child slip through not learning a thing, on the honor roll no less. While I eat a completely gluten free diet I don't keep a gluten free household. No reason to make the kids suffer with me! I am writing a gluten free cookbook (slowly!) because I can't stand all the gluten free recipes out there that use five hundred flours, and I want to eat normal food like non-celiacs do. Just like I used to, I use one all purpose flour that ROCKS, The Gluten Free Pantry's All Purpose Flour. No, I do not get paid to say that ;) Every recipe on my blog can also be made with regular flour, use it just like I use my gf flour!