Our guest today is Cathy from The Life and Adventures of Catiepoo. She homeschools her children and teaches English As A Second Language.
Your name: Cathy
A short bio: I am a homeschooling mom to a 13 year old son and 11 year old daughter as well as a wife of 21 years, an adult ESL teacher, a border collie momma, friend and so much more. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2004 and began working with a naturopath who opened my mind to the possibilities of how food can affect our body. Being gluten free hasn’t removed rheumatoid arthritis from my life, but it has definitely made it easier.
1.How long have you been eating gluten free? Since November 2004
2. How did you discover that you were gluten intolerant? I removed it from my diet for an extended period of time and then tried it out again. Each time I have tried gluten my joints and digestion are both soon inflamed.
3. What were your most prominent symptoms? Joint inflammation
4. Do you have an official diagnosis of Celiac Disease? No.
5. How long did it take for your major symptoms to disappear when you started on a gluten free diet? It took about a year for the symptoms to settle down.
6. Do you have allergies or intolerances to other foods? Sugar and dairy.
7. Are other members of your family gluten intolerant? My son and daughter went 100% gluten free for two years kind of as an experiment. My daughter’s eczema that she has dealt with since she was six weeks old disappeared. When she brought some gluten back into her diet, the eczema returned. She is now gluten free and eczema free again.
8. What do you miss the most since starting to eat gluten free?
Pizza. No, really it isn’t actually the food that I miss eating because I have found so many yummy gluten free foods (even homemade pizza crust) I can make myself, but what I miss is the convenience of not worrying about whether gluten is in the food I don’t prepare myself. I miss just going to a restaurant and ordering whatever I want.
9. What is the hardest part for you about eating gluten free? Being prepared. If I know I am going to be out of the house for any extended amount of time, I always pack a meal or bring snacks.
10. What is your favorite restaurant? The first time I went to Da Lucianos I got tears in my eyes when I saw the menu. They offer a complete gluten free menu. Just seeing the menu so full of gluten free foods was a treat. I don’t go often since it is a 45 minute drive and the foods contain dairy, but for my birthday it is a wonderful gift. This Italian restaurant is small and our first visit the owner came to our table to hear my gluten free story and had me sign in on her gluten free guest book. One visit we were there late and they gave us free gluten free tiramisu to take home. A lovely, lovely place that should be visited if ever in the Chicago area.
*How have family/friends/strangers reacted to being gluten free? My family has been extremely supportive, even if they don’t always understand the road I am traveling. In fact, after my success on a gluten free diet, two family members also tried a gluten free diet with success! When I visit my dad and stepmom, they lay out all the ingredients for me to check before they start cooking. When family visits and we go out to eat, they make sure there is something on the menu for me or we don’t go. We have experienced the same thing with friends. We offer to bring our own food to their homes ,but they read and find out what we can eat and provide for us. We have been very fortunate. Having support makes this road so much easier.
Although we have never been harassed about being gluten free as I know some friends have experienced, we are always surprised that some acquaintances and strangers act as if we are depriving our children by not feeding them gluten. Many people seem to believe it is a rite of passage for children to fill up on junk foods and they are being deprived without. I disagree. There are many choices for healthier options for our children that will nourish them and provide them with healthy adulthoods. I believe my family is worth the time, energy, and money that goes into providing snacks and meals that don’t include preservatives, artificial colorings, gluten and high amounts of sugar.
Advice for someone new to a gluten free diet: Realize that the more you learn about a gluten free diet the healthier your choices will become. First it will be all about gluten and then you will find yourself learning so much more about the foods you eat and how they affect your body.
*Favorite gluten free recipe: Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Muffins. This recipe has been adapted from the Basic Chocolate Cake recipe found in Special Diet Celebrations by Carol Fenster. This is a recipe that is asked for at our home by gluten free and gluten eating friends.
Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Muffins
½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup potato starch (I use ½ cup quinoa flour)
¼ cup tapioca flour
½ cup cocoa powder (not dutch)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
1 cup brown sugar (I use 2/3 cup maple syrup and add ¼ tsp baking soda)
2 teaspoons gf vanilla extract
½ cup milk (I use coconut milk)
½ cup butter (sometimes I use coconut oil instead)
1 large egg
¾ cup hot water
Large handful of gf chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. Spray or oil a muffin tin. Place all ingredients except hot water in a large bowl and blend. Add hot water and blend. Add chocolate chips. Pour into prepared muffin tin (12 muffins).
Bake for 20-25 minutes.
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