Three Years Gluten Free and Still Baking

Right about now it is three years since I first felt the wonderful moment when my tummy made its happiness known to me.  I had been totally gluten free for about two weeks.  It came to me that something was missing and that something was the pain in my gut that never ever went away.  It was a revelation.  So I am mostly pain free, still some issues.  I do get glutened by accident upon occasion, usually rarely. Once, several times in a month: which left me in a state of nearly constant nausea.   Thankfully that hasn’t happened in over a year. In fact, my blood work in October 2015 was totally normal for my liver levels and celiac markers.  That doesn’t mean I don’t have celiac, just that I am eating very safely. Yay!

I was a baker since my childhood; stirring up batches of Christmas cookies.  I’ve cooked meals since I was 14 or so and have been a lover of good food all my life.  So I had a good foundation of cooking skills and knowledge before having to change my lifestyle to totally gluten free. I thought it was like a death sentence being denied my bread and pasta.  I hear that sentiment sometimes from acquaintances who blurt it out upon hearing what I can’t eat anymore. I make no response most of the time to such negativity.  Occasionally I do respond with something to the effect that, Nope, it’s okay: I am doing great and enjoying eating tasty food.  And that, my friends, is the honest truth.  I am doing great and I really do eat a lot of delicious food, all gluten free. pretzels 011I can honestly say I have not knowingly eaten gluten, not more than a scrap of cheese ball (3 Christmases ago) which had a tiny amount of blue cheese that was possibly a tiny bit wheat. It did teach me a lesson and I am very careful on my blue cheese; FYI: most American blue cheese is safe.

I have learned to be a more careful baker; I follow recipes for baking much closer with consistent results. I blend up my own gf flour mixes, saves a lot of cash.  I actually enjoy the self sufficiency of baking my own cookies, muffins, pies and quick breads.  I have enjoyed adventures in making my own gf foods including pasta, soft pretzels, breads, muffins and healthy things like raw sauerkraut,

my own kefir and I have just started creating kombucha tea starter. These last three items are specifically for gut health and they can be pricey so I make my own which is very satisfying and is about a quarter the cost of readi-made.  DIY is fun and saves cash.  It helps me avoid saturated and hydrogenated fats as well as a heap of sugar and salt.  Processed gf foods are full of such and I am glad to avoid most of it. My focus is more and more on seasonal produce and fresh meats in small portions with the addition of grains like quinoa or rice.  I especially love stir fries which combine lots of veggies, great flavors like ginger and toasted sesame with small servings of meat or fish.  Served over rice they are perfect suppers.  Sometimes I make rice noodles to stir into the dish for a light touch that soaks up the flavor of the stir fry.

skinny quinoa sticksDon’t get me wrong, I eat snacks, even store gf cookies and chips at times but they are limited to occasional, even rare treats.  I am not depriving myself, lots of homemade cookies and muffins in the freezer keeping fresh and tasty.  I love baking pies and tarts – this is my year of pie on this blog and it is heartfelt love.  My dad, gone 15 years adored pies, so did my sister Margie, gone almost 3 years.  Actually, she urged me to start this blog to get over the trauma of my diagnosis and the loss of my dear friend Wheat.  She would be pleased at my success at baking and cooking gluten free and would be smiling as she read these words.  My blog is almost three years old and it has been so much fun.  I plan to continue sharing recipes, restaurant experiences, gf products and advice to help those who must live gluten free and for their families and friends who want to bake/cook for them.

I wish you much happiness in your gluten free life style.  To be sure that is what I have found as well as peace in knowing how to take good care of my body.  I am so glad to have been diagnosed in less than a year; many folks with celiac struggle for years to figure out what is wrong inside them.  I am happy to eat healthy, yummy food.  I am not the least deprived when I cook. When I visit family they cook gluten free for me or select restaurants with a gluten free menu so I never get glutened when I am with them. I am very thankful that they seem to understand and do their best to keep me safe in what they serve for meals. They ask for seconds of my gf breads and desserts which makes my heart happy. My guy is just as careful as my family to keep my food safe when we eat out. He gets my need for totally gluten free foods and that makes it less stressful for choosing where to eat out and what to cook.

bella signbigbites

It is still tough to eat out but I have enjoyed some wonderful meals, particularly at Bellas right here in town. I also love Big Bite’s in Quakertown for their gf BBQ foods; eaten there many times; yummy and safe for celiacs. Food is a bit difficult at functions and parties. I tend to not go as it is just easier sometimes.  When I do attend, I eat only the fresh fruit at dessert tables and I bring a gf sandwich to luncheons at church so I know I am eating safely. Maybe someday, the places we get the catering from will  provide safe gluten free choices for people like me.  I hope so!  Peace and happy healthy eating to all who read my blog. Three happy gluten free years and counting…

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