A few years ago, I didn't even know what gluten-free meant. I sure never imagined I would be blogging about it! If asked, I would have said it was some kind of healthy eating trend. In reality, gluten-free is a way of life. It becomes your way of life when you realize your body cannot properly digest gluten, the protein in wheat.
For us, it all started when my oldest daughter had some health issues. She seemed to get sick more and more often, until her hair began to fall out. Seriously. I vaccuumed enough hair off her bedroom floor to make a wig. To the doctor we went. Supplements were suggested, and did seem to help some. Our breakthrough, though, came by word of mouth. Another mom I knew who had been very sick told me she finally figured out (also by talking with someone who had been through it) that she had a gluten problem. I wondered if maybe, just maybe, this could be my daughter's problem. We looked it up and were astonished to realized how many of the symptoms applied to my daughter. I said, "We're gonna try it." Long story short, we did. We removed gluten from her diet. And it worked. We saw immediate results. Later, we realized it was a problem for one of my other children, as well. It is so amazing to see what a difference a dietary change can make. I am so thankful that we found out what the culprit was for us.
So now, I try to tell people about it just in case it's the answer they have been searching for. It's such a simple thing, and yet, so many people are like we were, completely unaware that it may be making them sick. The really tricky part is, every person does not have every symptom. My oldest daughter and my younger daughter do not have the exact same reaction to gluten, but one thing's for sure- they both have a reaction. For one of them, it causes digestive issues, skin issues, joint pain,etc., and for the other, it causes mainly joint pain. If you think it might be a problem for you, RESEARCH the symptoms of gluten intolerance and celiac disease. You may have one symptom or half a dozen or more, and not all at the same time.
As I said, the solution to this problem is simple. It is not, however, easy. What in the world do you do, for example when you can't eat a sandwich along with everyone else at lunch? (My younger daughter's all-time favorite lunch was a pbj.) Then you discover there is wheat in SO many other things, like most canned soups and the seasoning on many chips. What you do is, you adapt. You find out that there are still plenty of things to eat. (Rice!) You find out about gluten-free bread and pancake mix and all the other gluten-free boxed mixes, some of which are really good, and others...not so much. They all have one thing in common, though: they are expensive. So, then you begin the adventure of gluten-free baking and recipe-making. And that is where we are in our journey.
I will be sharing gluten-free recipes that I find, tweak, or create that are tasty, easy, and especially cheap. We are a family of seven, and I try to cook the same meal for the whole family. I would also love to hear your favorite gluten-free recipes and advice. We are always learning! I am especially on the lookout for easy-to-pack-quick-to-eat-gluten-free lunch ideas for my husband. Any ideas?