Sweet Deception: A Delicious Gluten Free Life

Years ago (2012 or so), I wrote this article to help those taking their first steps into the GF world. I am here to help! Read on for my musings and tips for beginning a gluten free life… It’s all about perspective!

Leaving the Gluten Behind

(rewind to 2012)

Going Gluten Free is not Just a fad.

Deciding to pursue a gluten free diet is actually saving lives. As of  2010, 1 out of every 133 Americans has full blown Celiac Disease, while 1 out of every 124 has either a gluten intolerance or allergy.
10 years ago, that statistic read 1 out of every 6,000.

Celiac Disease is the most common genetic disease in America today. It effects your duodenum. What the heck is that? It’s that space where your stomach ends and your small intestines begin. This part of your body is lined with feelers, sort of like hairs, that absorb nutrients. (those are called villi)

With Celiac, when you eat foods with gluten in them, your villi are stripped and can no longer absorb nutrients from your food. (Picture a new tire being rubbed raw, even becoming bald by rough terrain) That is where the problems begin.

Symptoms of Celiac (even intolerance) can show themselves in so many ways. Some people are suddenly and dangerously anemic. Many people suffer with Chronic Irritable Bowel issues (constipation or diarrhea or both!). Some get migraines while others are lactose intolerant. Still, some people even have itching, peeling skin. Symptoms can also cause victims to lash out with nutty mood swings or make you infertile. Few unlucky people may have all of these issues. Not everyone with Celiac has any of these issues (there are many more symptoms not mentioned here). That is why it can be very difficult to diagnose. Ultimately, it can lead people to diabetes and other life threatening complications.

So if Celiac specifically causes so many problems, how do you fix them? The sad news is, there is no cure for Celiac Disease. Following a strict GLUTEN FREE DIET is the proven way to mend your damaged body. So where do you begin?

If you are just starting out and basically all that you know is that you can never ever eat sour dough bread or sheet cake or Zaxby’s celebration special, or a chicken quesadilla from taco bell ever again, I want you to stop for a second. Take a deep breath. (exhale)

It’s going to be okay.

The best news of all is that there are alternatives for literally Any food that you can think of! I am here for you. You don’t have to “live without”. You just need to learn to substitute.
It’s been more than two years {presently, I’m in my 8th year of gluten free living} since I have dropped the gluten. I have never felt better in my life! No, I don’t eat those things anymore (although sometimes I do Dream that I accidentally eat gluten!), but I have learned to cook in a different way. It’s the same, but it’s different.

I’m here to tell you that eating gluten free food doesn’t have to be disgusting. Although, I consider myself a true optimist, I know that there are some pretty gross gluten free foods out. I’m also a very honest, picky eater. I have the right to be, and so do you!

With a little help, I feel confident that you can get a handle on making GF yummy too. Let’s do this!

My Celiac Story

I fell in love with the art of baking at the age of 20. I had just bought my first home when my amazing grandma (my Nini) called me up, asking if she could come over to teach me to bake bread. (uh, yes please!)
After she showed me the bread basics, I was hooked! (I found kneading therapeutic!)
From that delicious classic, I expanded to cinnamon swirl raisin breads, pumpkin breads, cupcakes, and so forth. It was my happy pleasure to bake delicious and inventive treats for my friends and family.

In early 2011, I had tea with a new friend named.  We met for a chat and I offered to bring something baked and wonderful along. She politely said that as much as she would love that, she did’t think there was any thing I could make that was safe enough for her to eat.
To me that seemed a bit extreme.
While we talked, we got on the subject of gluten. She shared with me her gluten free story and how Celiac Disease had effected the last decade of her life.  As she described some of her symptoms to me, my wheels started turning. 

Before this point, I sort of just considered myself a bit of a hypochondriac. I had all of these seemingly unrelated issues- pealing skin and scalp dismissed as eczema; migraines that would take me out for 3 days, tummy troubles, low iron, and other annoying things. Because of these issues (especially the skin and tummy stuff), I thought maybe I had a food allergy.
A month before this, I had started tracking what I ate and how it effected me, with a food diary. But I had no insight yet. Until that day, I didn’t realize that my health woes could actually be connected.

This friend had planted the idea in my head and encouraged me to be tested as well.In April of 2011, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

Although there is no cure for this disease, the solution to effectively treat it, is to follow a strict Gluten Free Diet. So on May 1, I began to be completely gluten free.
I found out quickly that there were Many things in my current diet that I could no longer eat. But I suddenly began to see things labeled as gluten free at almost every grocery store I went to!  These items, though a bit more expensive, gave me hope. The more research I did, I discovered that you can create or purchase a gluten free version of just about anything

What’s more, in just one short month of eating carefully, I felt like a brand new person! It was a long time until I had another headache. My skin cleared up, my tummy was happy, and the 
other symptoms I had remedied themselves!
It’s incredible how soon my body bounced back. After all, I wasn’t born with the full-blown disease. It lay dormant in me until I had a stressful situation surgery (for some people it’s a surgery, or a pregnancy; an emotional trauma, extreme weight loss or gain…a big change that your body/emotions go through to) wort of wake it up.

But now that I’m here, now that I know how to fix it, I do whatever it takes. 

I have an incredible husband.  We were still dating when I was diagnosed. Without his support and encouragement, without his willingness to taste test my trial and error creations, I highly doubt I could have made it this far!
fast-forward to the present:
It’s been several years since I first wrote down these thoughts. We now have 2 amazing kids… both of them follow gluten free diets. 
At first, it was a challenge; a big adjustment. But we adjusted. We found things that we love and things that make life easier. We found ways to save money and still eat the incredible foods we did before, only now, the recipes are tweaked a bit.
We live full, incredible (and delicious) lives. We eat well!
If you are just starting out gluten free and don’t have a clue where to begin, I am so glad you’re here. I am happy to help! Please feel encouraged to ask questions or give your experiences. I will continue to post recipes and reviews of our gluten free life along the way!
{Note: The first part of this post was written several years ago. Statistics were researched and pulled from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’ website. This is now called Beyond Celiac. Their website is a resource I highly recommend!}


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