My Gluten-Free Story

My path to discovering a gluten-free lifestyle was a long one. Here’s how it played out:

I went 34 years without reacting to gluten, but my second pregnancy stirred up trouble. The pregnancy itself included multiple hospitalizations and an inability to eat any food at all for about six months. A few days before my daughter’s birth I started having dull, tingling pelvic pain that persisted for almost three years after the delivery.

As I searched for answers, the pelvic pain grew to include bladder symptoms, such as pain and numbness. One savvy doc finally pieced together the numbness and tingling as peripheral neuropathy and started me on a medication that relieved a bit of the pain.

No sooner had these initial nerve-related symptoms been labeled than I started experiencing numbness on the left side of my face and head. Sometimes it traveled down the entire left side of my body, head to ...

Ingredients

The following ingredients are essentials in the gluten-free kitchen. You’ll often hear many of them referred to as “gluten-free grains”, even though some are technically considered seeds, cereals, grasses, etc. I will continue using the term “grain” for sake of consistency. It’s worth playing around with these ingredients and introducing some new favorites into your diet. Once you’re used to the heartiness of whole grains, anything overly refined (“white bread”) just tastes insipid. And from a nutritional standpoint, many of these items are absolute powerhouses—high in protein, fiber, iron, and calcium.

In order to achieve this higher level of nutrition, outer layers of the grain, such as the bran, often remain intact. Consequently, whole grains have a tendency to turn rancid faster. Store them in an airtight container in a dark, cool location or in the refrigerator. (The flours even do well in the freezer.) Always give them a sniff before ...

Why Go Gluten Free

“Gluten free” is big news these days. Some folks choose a gluten-free lifestyle, others (such as myself) were tossed into the pool and left to sink or swim. I’ve listed some of the reasons for adopting a gluten-free diet below, along with a brief summary of each. Since I’m a cook, not a doctor, please refer to the links and resources, or (better yet) your own physician, for actual medical information.

CELIAC DISEASE

Celiac disease, also known as nontropical sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is a hereditary condition caused by an immune response to gluten. (Gluten is a ubiquitous protein in our diets, primarily found in wheat, barley, and rye.) In those with Celiac disease, this immune response can damage the lining of the small bowel and lead to malabsorption. Symptoms can stem from the gastrointestinal tract, like diarrhea, excessive gas, bloating, and abdominal pain. They can also emerge from inadequate absorption of ...

Eat This/Don’t Eat That

Finding out you need to follow a gluten-free diet can be heart wrenching at first. It’s a hard adjustment. Luckily, it’s much easier now than ever before to eat gluten free. The market is expanding rapidly, resulting in many options for consumers. Becoming a master of gluten-free grocery shopping requires one thing: you must become a habitual label reader. Avoid foods that contain any form of wheat, barley, or rye. It sounds easy, but gluten can appear in even the most minimally processed foods. Sometimes it even pops up in unexpected places like chips (ever read a Pringles label?), gum, or mints. Natural foods are always the best choice, but occasionally packaged products are a quick and easy solution. The market for such products is constantly growing and changing. New brands appear frequently, but existing brands can change their ingredients. Remain diligent when it comes to label reading and contact ...