contributed by sgcrone12
When I was diagnosed 5 years ago with Celiac’s disease, I was shocked and very confused. First off, I had no idea what that meant. I instantly jumped on my computer and I googled, yahoo searched, bing’d it and so on. Well, I actually ended up more confused than educated. So, I took a deep breath and I had a long discussion with my Physician about my future of food.
Not only was I to be Gluten Free, I also was allergic to Shrimp, Sweet Potato, Green #3 Fast Green, Sodium Sulfite, black eyed peas, cashew, cow’s milk, cranberry, duck, fig, fructose, halibut, mint, Artichoke, baker’s yeast, buckwheat, caffeine, caraway, cayenne pepper, cherry, chicken, chick pea, haddock, kiwi, navy bean, onion, oregano, thyme, oyster, papaya, peach, peanut, plum, salmon, soybean, spinach, tilapia, trout, tuna, vanilla, watermelon, wheat, acid orange #8, aspartame, benzoic acid, red #1 crystal ponceau, sorbic acid, yellow #5 tartrazine, yellow #6 Sunset yellow
Before I could get my arms around the idea, you have to realize that I am a Georgia girl and we love to eat in the South!! My mother and grandmother are two of the most amazing cooks I have EVER encountered. So, the thought of changing my diet was a nightmare. No more flour battered chicken, no more triple grilled cheese sandwiches, no more pancakes. WHAT??? How was I going to survive? Can one really survive off lettuce and carrots alone? I THINK NOT!! I knew that it would be a long process, but what I did not expect was the emotional side of changing my lifestyle to meet these needs. Unfortunately, our society revolves around food. “Want to grab a bite to eat after work?”, “Want to meet at Starbucks for coffe and breakfast?”, Trust me, I was one of those people. I actually owned my own coffee shop. Yep! I loved it!! It was a dream come true for me. Until I realized that the flour from our homemade muffins were causing nosebleeds, and the kneading of our homemade scones caused my fingers to swell and breakout, the caffeine that I was consuming was the cause of my acne condition, the list goes on and on. But bottom line, I had to sell the shop in order to save my health. A VERY difficult decision, but being the mom and wife to an amazing family, the decision was pretty clear for me. I became a bit of a hermit, I did not want to be “that” friend that had to have a her meals prepared special for her in a restaurant. I would rather stay home and not draw attention to myself. I also began to feel my frequent invitations to dinner with friends begin to diminish. My friends were afraid of “poisoning” me, so some of them chose to stop inviting me to events. As I said, the emotional side of this was something that I was not prepared for. After many, many days of praying and researching my options. I finally decided that I was not a freak show or alone in this situation. I began to run into more and more people that had some type of food allergy. I found myself almost ‘enthusiastic’ to share my knowledge with others. However, I have had a hard time giving up the Drive Through windows of most restaurants. This simply is not an option anymore. I have had to learn patience (NOT an easy task for me), I have had to get creative in the kitchen, I have learned to try new things and laugh if they fail.
My greatest joy right now is taking a typical cookbook recipe and challenging myself to convert it to a GF, DF, SF, YF recipe. Most folks go ahead and insert ‘Taste Free’ at this point. WRONG!!!! I have made a believer out of many family members and neighbors. I am becoming pretty well known for my Double Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes. YUMMY!! And they are dairy free!!
I guess my biggest point is to not give up on eating. Yes, it is frustrating, and yes it is not an ideal situation. But, who said that life was easy? Right? I have dealt with many things in my life, I simply made the decision that this Southern girl still wants her fried chicken, and grilled cheese sandwiches and I will do whatever it takes to make these a part of my life. Instead of depression, it has shown me that I truly LOVE to be in the kitchen creating new entrees and deserts.
Step up to the challenges in your life. Never let them ruin who you are. I can’t wait to share my recipes with you in the hopes that it will change your life as well.