Going Gluten-Free

Every year more and more people are choosing a gluten-free lifestyle. For many, it is a health-conscious decision and is considered to be an energy boosting diet. For some it is due to a wheat or gluten intolerance, the cause and legitimacy of which are still hotly debated by many (but not me! After going to bajillions of doctors I know firsthand how much it sucks to be told symptoms are “all in your head”). And for a lucky, select few (actually estimated at 1% of the American population) that gluten-free lifestyle is a must to keep their evil autoimmune disease – also known as Celiac disease – at bay and all systems functioning.

I wish I could say this dietary change was presented to me as a choice and I accepted it graciously and with an open mind… However neither of these statements are true. After being sick for nearly a year and visiting more doctors than I care to remember, I was diagnosed with Celiac disease at age 21. It was a bittersweet diagnosis that both confirmed my worst fears and filled me with no small amount of relief at knowing I would one day be healthy again. Tears of happiness and despair flowed for days as I mourned this monumental loss. On one hand, I felt foolish for lamenting the loss of a measly food group, but then thoughts of buttery, chocolate-filled croissants from the bakery I worked at would enter my mind and disrupt all positive thinking. This was the biggest break up of my life after all, and you better believe I went through those Ben & Jerry’s pints like the freezer was broken and they had to be saved.

The entirety of my last year of high school was spent in the kitchen toiling away, and the love of all things baked and sugary that began as a hobby to combat senioritis became a lifelong love. To me, the only thing more horrendous than the thought of never eating gluten again was the thought of missing out on all the homemade desserts I had spent years concocting and sortofkindaperfecting. And I simply could not let that happen.

Armed with a new bright pink silicone spatula that advises me to “Keep Calm and Bake On” and some brand new cutting boards to keep that icky-sticky-gluten out of my goodies, I forged ahead…. Then I came to a screeching halt as I stood in the baking aisle of the grocery store puzzling over the weird new flours that varied in texture, weight, fat content, and basically everything else. I bought just about one of everything and by the time I got all that Bob’s Red Mill brand flour into my house, the pantry looked more like it belonged in an apothecary and/or meth lab than a kitchen.

Ever since that first fateful day baking with gluten-free flours, I’ve been on a mission to create yummy things that will make myself and others go “What?! I can’t believe this is gluten free!” because no matter what you tell me, I will not adjust to this lifestyle without kicking and screaming the whole way to acceptance. I’ll live with it, but I will make it more enjoyable on my terms. And this blog will help me do that, hopefully. Have fun reading this, you gluten-free and/or normal-eater-people out there!

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2 thoughts on “Going Gluten-Free

  1. Love your attitude about it! I also just started eating gluten-free because after much experimenting, it’s the only thing that’s been able to keep my chronic migraines at bay…and I completely agree – mourning the loss of baking is one of the hardest parts!

    • Thanks so much! It is definitely a rocky road and I still catch myself drooling sometimes when I see bread, pretzels, etc, etc. Being able to experiment in the kitchen is a hugely cathartic experience while I’m still adjusting though! Good luck to you, too.

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