My story is like many others. After years of wondering why I consistently felt terrible after eating (and looking around the room wondering if everyone truly felt good after eating the exact same meal that was causing my insides to churn), I did enough research on the internet to find out what gluten intolerance is. My primary care physician, as well as other specialists over the years, had told me my stomach-related problems were due to stress, or didn’t exist; that it was all in my head. So when a genetic test confirmed that I have one of the two prime HLA DQ genes for celiac disease, I breathed a huge sigh of RELIEF. Since May 2008, I have been completely gluten- and dairy-free, and feeling like a new person. Amazingly, when I gave up gluten, many other health problems I had been struggling with - chronic fatigue, inability to concentrate or focus, frequent migraines, skin problems, and joint pain - also disappeared, almost as if by magic. Gluten is one powerful protein.
My dietary restrictions have spurred me to experiment with some old recipes and a lot of new ones; this blog is a chronicle of these attempts. I have always loved to cook and bake, and I saw my diagnosis simply as a new challenge in the kitchen. I also never appreciated just how social a purpose food serves until now, and how easy it is to feel like an outcast if you can't eat what everyone else can. You can only endure so many pitying looks, or exclamations of, "Oh, but there's just a little gluten in this; you can have a little, can't you?" before you start to feel like screaming. And there are only so many huge social gatherings you can get through, feeling slightly panicked and crazed the whole time because you don't know if someone might have dipped a pretzel or pita chip into the dip while you weren't watching. But I promise you that having dietary restrictions can be a delicious experience and open you up to foods you never thought you'd try before. And you'll finally be eating food that loves you back.
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