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True story: Doctor says "don't eat wheat ever again".

gluten free tabbouli
gluten free tabbouli

home-made gluten free challah bread
challah_.jpg

This is a quote that a lot of people are hearing these days.  What happens after your doctor says these words?  Here is a synopsis of my journey;  if any of this sounds familiar, give it some serious thought...there may be a very simple answer.

I first heard these words while I was barely concious, in a bed at Methodist Hospital in Houston.  I had become so weak and debilitated by my undiagnosed and untreated celiac disease that my life was in danger.   The symptoms over twenty years included gastrointestinal problems, fibromyalgia, irritability, bone pain and more.  The good news was that I finally found out what was wrong with me; the better news was finding out that the disease is completely manageable through dietary changes alone.--no medications, no surgeries, none of that stuff.  Just don't eat grains that contain the gluten protein, mainly wheat, barley and rye.  That sounded really good to me. 

Not so fast.  While still in the hospital, I was really still very sick, and not really able to process the information.  After a couple of days (in which I was already improving), it dawned on me that no wheat meant no baked goods, no pizza, no pasta, etc.  Surely there is some excellent replacement!  It didn't take me too long to figure out that the pre-packaged and frozen gluten-free items that we all have to rely on in the grocery store are truly awful to eat.  There.  I said it.  To quote Jay Leno, after receiving a gift basket of gluten-free goodies from Elizabeth Hasselbeck, "I don't know what gluten is, but I can tell you that I really like it alot!"

Thus started my journey, seven years ago, to not rely on gluten-free foods that taste terrible.  Yes, it can be time consuming, and yes, not everyone wants to bake bread, but this is so important to me, that I have made it a priority.  The good news is that I have become a much better cook (the outliers theory?), and I can tell you that it can be done without gluten.  The additional good news is that I get to cook gluten-free for other people, and it makes me very happy to know that they like what they are eating.  My motto is "there's a lot more that you can eat, than things you can't eat".

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