Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Gluten-Free Girl

I just finished re-reading Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back & How You Can Too by Shauna James Ahern.


I initially read this book simultaneously with Gluten-Free for a Healthy Life. Shauna's book is a conversational invitation into her world and experiences with Celiac disease and moving towards a life full of "yes" rather than depriving herself of foods when she went gluten-free. I have already recommended this book to a few people who are looking to know more about Celiac disease and gluten-intolerance.

Shauna recommends shopping from local butchers and at farmer's markets. The last time I went to a butcher shop was when I was a very little girl and accompanied my mom to buy meat for a party. I'm sure I could find a butcher in one of Chicago's ethnic neighborhoods (I'm surrounded by chains in my neighborhood.) Almost religiously, I go to the downtown farmer's market on my Thursday lunch hours. Being able to buy fresh food from a market is so great. Seeing the abundance of foods in season help navigate food choices for upcoming meals.
***The next day***

Two of Shauna's tips are to "Make as much as you can from scratch" and "Only use a packaged product if it says it's gluten-free."

When I initially read that, I was congratulating myself on finding so many incidentally gluten-free products. Even with a list of dozens names gluten can go by, I paid the price by having incidentally gluten-free chicken broth. It was manufactured in the same facility that processes milk and wheat. I used the broth earlier and felt a little sick. I made quinoa with the broth (to give the food some more nutrition) and felt sick when I had about half a cup. Last night, I had about a cup and absolutely crashed. The pain returned in my chest, I had trouble breathing, I lost all energy and could barely string together some coherent thoughts and even went to bed two hours earlier than normal. Well, I think my incidentally-gluten-free broth is the trouble-maker. (And I bought three more boxes of the broth - oops!)

Moral of the story:
Use the chicken broth I already made from scratch myself.
Avoid packaged foods that are surprisingly gluten-free.

When I first found out that I was going to be gluten-free for the rest of my life, I was disappointed because my taste buds were finally maturing and coming alive. My body wanted to be a foodie but my lifestyle was forcing me into a grab-and-go way of eating. I learned to cook foods that I could easily freeze when I was not able to cook more than once a week for a few hours (2 or 3 total). Now, I AM a foodie. Every closed door in my diet means that a few new doors open with foods I have never tried. Nothing seems daunting any more. Reading Gluten-Free Girl has been such an encouragement to me. Here is someone who is a few years into her gluten-free life and what a life it is! She is truly living and loving her food. If you are gluten-free or simply want to better appreciate food or live better, please read her book! It is a guidebook and an uplifting testament from someone who really knows food and the dangers that gluten can cause some people!

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