Friday

We Are Gluten Free


My cat, dog, husband and me!

See what I did there? Sorry, not sorry...

Okay. Real talk. We aren't following a gluten-free diet for 30 Days of Healthy Living bragging rights or because all the cool kids are doing it. Unfortunately my husband has no choice, and while I was hesitant to share that with the whole world via blog post, it's really not something we can keep to ourselves even if we tried. So, why not talk about it? The transition from a regular diet to a gluten-free diet can be very overwhelming and frustrating, so it's important to know that you're not alone and it's really not as scary and as bland as some make it seem. It takes time, but you learn. So, if you're a newly diagnosed Celiac or if you're living with someone who is, here are some things you may find as you search for your new normal. The best thing we've found so far? It's a piece of cake. A piece of delicious gluten-free cake.

You can't keep it a secret so get comfortable talking about it.
As much as you may hate being fussed over or given special treatment, your friends, family and the people serving you at restaurants need to know how important it is that you avoid eating gluten. You have an allergy. You have an autoimmune disease. What you don't know may kill you. They can't just pick the croutons off your salad. Don't be afraid to speak up and point out mistakes you see, and always stress the importance of avoiding cross contamination. It will help you and others in the long run.

Nobody wants to hear your shitty stories.
Pun intended. Guess what? Not everyone with Celiac Disease experiences cramps, urgency and explosive diarrhea when they eat gluten. Some people can't see or even feel the negative effects gluten has on their body, so let's not go there.


Some people just don't get it.



Ignoring comments like these can be a challenge. People! Our ancestors had allergies to gluten, too. They just didn't know it. They didn't know that with every bread crumb they ate they were destroying the lining of their stomachs leading to malabsorption of iron, protein, calcium and all the essential minerals and nutrients you need to be healthy. They didn't know that their possible gluten intolerance could be to blame for their Osteoarthritis, Anemia, Diabetes, liver dysfunction and more. It is certainly a disease on the rise but it's absolutely not popular, trendy, or anything new to the human race.

It's not a death sentence so don't feel bad.
Once I realized how easy it was to avoid gluten and I saw how quickly my husband began to look and feel better, I stopped feeling bad for him. There's no more upset over missing out on Thursday wing night specials or Mom's turkey stuffing. It could be much, much worse. Thankfully treatment is as simple as following a strict diet and maybe, just maybe having to take additional supplements.
You're already eating a lot of gluten free foods.
Once you become familiar with other names for gluten and where it's hiding you'll become comfortable shopping in all the aisles of your grocery store. You'll even find that some of the things you've been adding to your shopping cart for years are safe to continue buying. Smartfood Popcorn? Hells yes! Find comfort in knowing that what you throw out can easily be replaced with gluten free alternatives. We found some great sauces, breads, seasonings, condiments, pasta and flour blends that make all of our favorite dishes possible and surprisingly better than before. A post on GF Pantry Staples is soon to come!

Even YOU can change the way you eat.
If you're living with someone who has Celiac Disease you can buy two of everything and carefully watch that the wrong knife doesn't dip into the peanut butter, or you can scrap all the gluten contaminated items in your home and start fresh. With the exception of one small basket of snacks that only I would eat - gluten free or not - our pantry and fridge are fully stocked with gluten free foods therefor all of our meals can only be prepared that way. This is obviously not a diet I must follow but I choose to follow it at home to support my hubby. 
Gluten Free Beer is ACTUALLY really good.
As a beer drinker my husband was heartbroken to learn that he and Alexander Keith were never, ever, ever getting back together. It became very important that we found a gluten free beer he liked so we spent our life savings on a whole whack of gluten free beer and set up a tasting at home. The jury is still out on low PPM beer like Bud Light, Corona and Heineken. I won't be the one to tell you it's safe, but many Celiacs are confident that Bud Light has so little gluten that it is safe to consume. If anyone with experience would like to comment on this, I'd love the input.

From this lineup, "Leave Me Blue" by Good Robot Brewery came out on top. Check out Good Robot Brewery (Halifax, NS) here.
You'll learn new skills and become a better home cook.
Don't let anyone tell you that your days of eating comfort food are over. It took some experimenting, a little bit of trial and error, but there is absolutely nothing boring or tasteless coming out of our kitchen. We've had lots of fun trying out new ingredients and modifying our old favorite recipes - which I'll be soon be sharing on the blog, stay tuned!




This picture features GF Breton Herb & Garlic Crackers, President's Choice GF Bread Crumbs and Flour, Catelli GF Pasta, and homemade dipping sauces with GF ingredients.




GF "Big Mac" Salad with Epicure sauce and beef seasoning for kick.



Chocolate Chip Cookies made with President's Choice GF flour. (Recipe soon to come!)


You have to know where to go.
We're on the road a lot so I took it upon myself to search for restaurants that offer gluten free options in all of our nearby towns, on the highway and even in the cities we often visit. I downloaded and printed dozens, and I mean dozens of menus to keep in the car so when we're traveling we'll know exactly where to go to get our fix. No matter what we're craving this collection of menus has us covered and it's already come in handy several times.
* If you live in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island or New Brunswick - check out this list of restaurants with gluten free options.


You need support from family and friends.
We can't imagine it's been easy for friends and family to listen to us dissect menu items or make waitresses squirm, especially when there was a time we'd eat anything and everything put in front of us. Still, they've been so great. They have been asking questions, researching and learning the ropes and some have even been buying gluten free alternatives to cook with. To all of our amazing friends and family, thanks for your patience and support.


Rachel Emmilee
XO