Wednesday, May 16, 2012

On Eating Gluten Free...

It is National Food Allergy Awareness Week in the states, and although we are in Canada, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a bit of my experience with food allergies on the blog. I don’t want to get TOO personal. Ultimately, this blog is just about pretty pictures of yummy food. But I can’t ignore the fact that this food goes into my body. And I need to treat my body well.

I have had stomach and digestion issues since I was a teenager, but up until recently I was more about band-aids and quick fixes than looking for solutions. Don’t ask me why… I can be slow to catch on sometimes! Anyway, over the past couple of years – through elimination diets, many doctors’ visits, plus a lot of trial and error, denial and frustration – I have come to the likelihood that the culprit is, sadly, wheat.

Gluten.Wheat. Flour. The main ingredient in all those delightfully light and fluffy pastries I love soooo much.

Lord, no.

Does being healthy really have to mean living without cakes and brownies and profiteroles? I have searched high and low for a solution that doesn’t point to wheat, but it just isn’t happening.  Since the first time I ruled out wheat, I have fallen off the wagon more than once. And once it was for like… half a year. The consequences of that were not fun. Denial doesn’t make this any easier. Many of you know the feeling. That sinking, hopeless sensation that comes with discovering a food allergy…

You mean I can’t eat that for HOW LONG?! 

Oh, just the rest of your life. No big deal.

Yeeeaaah... right. No big deal at all.

It begins to look like you will never enjoy food again... But then there is the over-the-top joy that comes with finding something amazingly delicious that is also gluten free. It is pretty much the best feeling ever.   And let me tell you, those brownies pictured above? They were a god send.

They were made with a mix from Trader Joe's (sorry, can't find a link), and were the first thing I baked after going gluten free. They were nothing fancy. But they saved me. To be perfectly honest, I have been a bit scared to start baking gluten free.

OK, not scared… terrified.

See, you give me flour, butter, eggs, and sugar and I KNOW I can throw it all together into something freaking delicious. But take away any one of those variables, and I am lost. Baking is something I consider myself GOOD at. I am so scared that being gluten free will take that away from me. But I have far too big a sweet tooth to give it up that easily. So I will come back fighting, with an arsenal of gluten free flours, and give it another try.

I want to be clear that I am not Celiac (as far as I know) and this is not a gluten free blog. I still bake for friends and family using wheat flour. And although its a slippery slope, I do sample a bite here and there myself. However, I will be giving lots of gluten free recipes a try, so stay tuned for those. When a recipe is gluten free, it will be clearly stated.

Be back soon, with mmmmuffins! 


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