The gluten free guest today is Genie. Here is her story:
Your name: Rogene (Genie) Robbins
A short bio: I am an artist. For me that is more about who I am than what I do. I bring my own unique way of seeing the world to every aspect of my personal and professional life. Whether helping individuals with developmental disabilities live full active lives, doing library or internet research, creating one of a kind works of fabric art, writing, or even cooking my way around various food restrictions I approach it all as an artist. I am the author of a book titled Creating a Successful Craft Business, 2003 Allworth Press, and currently editor of Special Food Groups Ezine a positive, solution focused online magazine for living well with food restrictions.
1.How long have you been eating gluten free? Almost 4 years
2. How did you discover that you were gluten intolerant? It’s a long story, but I’ll try to make it brief. My mother was diagnosed by her chiropractor many years ago as being “allergic to wheat.” I had “stomach trouble” all my life but never thought about there being a connection until I saw “The View” television program the day Elizabeth first talked about having celiac disease. As her doctor went through the symptoms most of them sounded very familiar. I called my mother and asked her questions about her “allergy” that I had never asked before. We read and did some more research. It all seemed to fit. So hubby and I decided to try eating gluten free and I saw positive results very quickly. There was even improvement in areas I didn’t think were related. I did have a few problems figuring out what was left to eat since I was already living with food restrictions trying to prevent heart disease and diabetes. One day I actually threatened to eat the tree in the front yard. Bob finally helped me by making a list of what I could still eat. I call this my refrigerator list because I keep it on the refrigerator door. By switching my focus to what I could eat I began to realize there were lots of things I could still eat. Since I was already eating lots of fresh, whole foods the changes weren’t as drastic as I thought.
3. What were your most prominent symptoms? abdominal bloating and pain, chronic diarrhea, tingling numbness in the hands and feet, fatigue, bone/joint pain, anxiety, mood swings, “brain fog.”
4. Do you have an official diagnosis of Celiac Disease? No. Two different doctors have said since the gluten free diet is working so well they don’t recommend going off the diet to be “officially” diagnosed.
5. How long did it take for your major symptoms to disappear when you started on a gluten free diet? Less than one week. There have been some minor adjustments and fine tuning along the way but the results when I first started eating gluten free were amazing.
6. Do you have allergies or intolerances to other foods? Shrimp and rye (rye also happens to be on the list of gluten containing grains). Both diagnosed as a child.
7. Are other members of your family gluten intolerant? My mother.
8. What do you miss the most since starting to eat gluten free? Being able to go wherever I want without having to worry if I will be able to eat once I get there. The actual foods I miss are more from the low fat, low carb, low sodium foods I eat to try to beat a family history of heart disease and diabetes. I never really cared for bread so I don’t miss that but some days I could really go for a nice piece of cheese or a big bowl of regular full sugar, full fat ice cream.
9. What is the hardest part for you about eating gluten free? The time and energy involved. Shopping, cooking at home from scratch, keeping all the beans, lentils, alternative grains and flours organized in a usable way and remembering to always take food anytime we leave home are just a few of the things that complicate my daily life.
10. What is your favorite restaurant? Waldo Pizza in Kansas City. The Waldo location reminds us of the locally owned pizza places we used to frequent in college — it has “atmosphere.” GF crusts come from a local bakery and you can order whatever pizza on the menu you want with gf crust. We do not live in Kansas City but whenever we are driving through to visit relatives we try to stop for pizza.
11. Do you have a favorite gluten free recipe to share?
Genie’s Gluten Free Greek Pizza
Copyright ã 2009 & 2010 by Rogene A. Robbins
Bob’s Red Millâ Pizza Crust Mix
1 teaspoon dried oregano
About ½ bunch of fresh spinach, cleaned and stems removed
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast baked and cut in bite sized pieces
1 small red onion sliced thin
1 can (14 ounce) artichoke hearts
1 small can whole black olives
6 ounces feta cheese crumbles
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray pizza pan with pan spray.
2. Make pizza crust according to package directions. Pour batter into pizza pan (you need a pan with an edge for this) and smooth out with hands dampened with a little water.
3. Sprinkle oregano over crust.
4. Cover crust with a layer of spinach leaves.
5. Separate red onion rings and scatter over spinach.
6. Add chicken, artichoke hearts and black olives in that order.
7. Finally cover pizza with feta cheese crumbles.
8. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes. If you have never used feta cheese before it does not “melt” like other cheeses.” You also do not want it to brown. When done the top will look much the same as when you put it in. Lift up a corner of the crust to check for doneness — the bottom should be lightly browned.
9. Cut pizza into slices and enjoy.
12. What are your hobbies? Hiking, bird watching, fabric art, science fiction.
13. Where did you go on your last gluten free vacation? We have not been on an extended vacation (a week or more) for several years. We do however take one or sometimes two day “mini vacations.” We get in the car and head to tourist attractions, historical areas, nature trails, festivals, etc. within driving distance of our home. The most important thing for us is to get out of the city. We pack enough food for snacks and meals so we can still eat well if we don’t find suitable food on the road. If we do find a good restaurant that is a bonus.
Our small BBQ grill is always in the trunk of the car so that is always an option when we travel. Another favorite travel food for us to take is salad. (A good cooler is a must for us). If we take good tasting and nourishing food with us we find that we feel less deprived. We also don’t have to spend as much time worrying about finding something we can eat because we can take care of ourselves if need be. Our next “mini vacation” will be to Kearney, Nebraska for the annual Sandhill Crane migration. Did I mention we are nature lovers?
14. How has eating gluten free changed your life for the better? Where do I start? Of course, not having to plan my life around the availability of a bathroom. Buying strawberries in the winter without feeling guilty. But I think for me the best thing has been finding my “calling.” All the research I did when first starting out led to the development of a website and monthly online magazine called Special Food Groups. As the editor I am finally able to use my creativity to help others. I also get to meet some very nice people who are equally passionate about living well with food restrictions. Life is good and by also living “heart healthy” and eating fresh, wholesome food I hope to be around for a very long time.