Monday, January 24, 2011

My new food adventure: Gluten Free!

I love adventures! If you plan correctly, they can be extremely satisfying. If you leave just enough of spontaneity, they can be exciting and unpredictable. And then you have the adventures that take a little education to really get kicked off right.

That's where I am right now!

Several years ago our youngest daughter developed a casein allergy. It was so severe that it took us quite some time (and quite a few specialists) to uncover. It also took months and months to recover from the effects of it. It was heartbreaking to watch her suffer through headaches, sores and rashes, gastrointestinal issues, and a slew of other symptoms. However, I'll gladly take the casein allergy over what it could have been! We learned quickly to be thankful for our health.

One thing that she has struggled with was a weakened immune system. She caught everything! Dairy - casein protein in particular - puts such a stress on her immune system that she spent the majority of the month each month fighting something... colds, flus, viruses. We were blessed with a fabulous family physician and a wonderful naturopath that worked together to get her in top shape. However, one thing that was always on the back burner was that we may need to consider transitioning to a gluten-free diet as well. (Soy-free diets are typically followed by those that are CF from what I've been told, but we do partake in soy in limited amounts. We try to keep our use limited to tofu and occasionally tempeh.)

Due to some additional issues with illness and questionable sensitivities (plus a continued battle with catching bugs and viruses!) we've decided to move forward with their suggestion to remove gluten from our diet. I say "our diet" because we are a team. We're in this together! When she goes GF/CF we all go GF/CF! I am still putting together our lists for shopping, baking basics, replacements, and additions, but we are on our way down this new road. Thankfully I was blessed to find a few good blogs and articles early on in my reading last week. It isn't that we are losing food that we can eat. We are introducing fruits, vegetables, and grains that we may not have tried or might not have given a starring role in our kitchen productions. We are focusing on the foods that we can enjoy.

Am I scared? No, not really. I know that we'll have great nutrition. It will benefit us all.

Am I intimidated? You could say that! I fought my battle with turning my meat-gnawing husband into a vegetarian/vegan meal eating man (who still gnaws on meat in a limited amount.) I went from having my dear spouse say that I was an awesome cook that rocked anything I touched to hearing two to three times a week that something wasn't his favorite or that it was "just ok." Talk about an arrow through the heart. I'm a southern girl. Food is love. So, I'm concerned that he will be the same way about this new food adventure. What does that leave me? One or two times a week that he likes something? Talk about a wavering "food-esteem." (I know it isn't a real word. Self-esteem with food = food-esteem. Just smile and nod.) So far so good though... two things have gotten a thumbs up: chocolate chip cookies and banana bread!

Am I confused? You betcha! The transition from "whole grain goodness" in my breads to "whole grain means other things than wheat" is blowing my silly little mind. My husband - who took two years to transition to whole wheat bread - told me that my GF bread was too soft. Well if that don't beat all! ;)

But... am I excited? You don't know how much! This is a new adventure for me. I'll plan, and I'll be spontaneous (as soon as I learn how new flours and additions react.) But first, I'll be reading and living on blogs like the following:

Adventures of a Gluten-free Mom
Extraordinary Life
Gluten Free and Thrifty

Have a good GF blog to share? I'd love it! Please pop it into a comment.

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