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Tuesday, February 19, 2013



Growing up, I was much like any other kid. I loved hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza, pancakes, sandwiches and cakes.  What I didn't realize at that time, was that all that gluten would one day wage war against me. I can't remember a time where I didn't have stomach issues. From the constant constipation to massive cramping and volatile diarrhea. I had it all. Yet, no medical professional ever once mentioned that 'gluten' could be the culprit to my gaseous gut. 

As I got older, my love of gluten filled products continued on. I indulged in all things flour, with never a second thought. Loving that short stack of pancakes on a Sunday morning. Who knew my passion for food would someday bite back? 

After being diagnosed with a myriad of diseases (from Osteoarthritis to Fibromyalgia and more), I became very cognisant of food and its impact on my aging body. It seemed like pain would become unbearable after eating a sandwich or cookie. I would double over in anguish and spend countless hours in various bathrooms.  Still, never put the two together. That was until last year. 

A friend suggested to me that I try taking 'gluten' out of my diet to see if my symptoms would ease up.  'Omg, you can't be serious?' How could I possibly give up everything that gave me comfort growing up?  How the hell was I going to bake gluten free? I knew nothing about gluten free flours or products. Hell, I didn't even know what gluten was. 

So, I tried it. Slowly at first. Being a Taurus/Gemini really doesn't help facilitate change easily. I'm just too stubborn.  I digress.  The first few experiences in tasting gluten free were not pretty. In fact, they were down right disgusting. 

In hindsight, it was likely my abhorrence to change. But, I started to notice a difference.  I wasn't spending hours in the bathroom puking and other assorted bodily functions that are nasty.  My stomach wasn't in a permanent state of cramping and I was losing weight. 

Really? Weight loss? This was cool. So, I started doing research and reading everything I could get my hands on with regards to gluten free.  I found an amazing bakery in Maple Ridge (Zena's Gluten Free on Dewdney Trunk Rd & 223rd).  They had fresh baked goodies (including my weakness towards brownies), breads and pizza shells. As if that wasn't enough for me to jump for joy, Zena's also had their magical mix called 'Zap'.  A pre-mixed gluten free flour base that I could substitute one for one with regular flour.  I thought I died and went to 'foodie heaven'.  

It has taken a year, but I'm finally happy with cooking gluten free. Sure, I still crave those pancakes, but now I can enjoy them without the pain.  (although, honestly I haven't found a gluten free pancake batter I like yet)

I have been able to alter some of my favorite recipes using that aforementioned 'Zap' along with other gluten free products that are on the market.  I have also managed to drop from a size 22 to a 15.  

If someone was to tell me five years ago that I would be enjoying a gluten free  lifestyle, I would've laughed my ass off.  Now, I am encouraging others to take the step to better health.

My passion for food hasn't changed much since my early years. What has changed is how I see food. It isn't just something to shove in my body for fuel anymore. Food is a pleasure of life and shouldn't cause you grief, pain or discomfort. My foods now are healthier, fresher (thanks to local Merchants) and flavorful.  

Going gluten free isn't a challenge, it's a reward.  I am free to be me! I may never be pain free but at least I can control the extra impact from food.

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