Ok, so first, I have not posted a blog or recipe in FOREVER, for that I apologize. Sick kids, being out of town a few weekends, it all got the best of me and I need to most definitely be better about scheduling my time. I have missed my blog and all of you. So, these last few months I have been getting tons and tons of questions about “being gluten free“. Anything from why did I go gluten free, to how bad is my allergy, why can’t I have beer, how do I eat out, what do we eat at home, why I made my whole family go gluten free in our home? The time has now come for me to start educating more people on being gluten free. I want to help as many as I can because over the last year and a half, this has certainly been the most challenging thing I have ever experienced (yes it has) and I want to help others that need to learn how to do this.
So first off, yes, I am 100% gluten free, from the foods I eat and drink, to the body products I use, the gum I chew, cleaning products I use, you name it, I am gluten free. I have touched upon this and told my story about how this all happened to me. About 3 months after I went gluten free I realized that there was a strong chance my youngest daughter Ella would need to go gluten free. After all that I began researching we tried it for her– thankfully we did. She grew 2 inches and her foot grew 2 sizes within a few months. All the times she thought her tummy was “just sensitive” like mine, well it was, but it was from gluten. As for how bad my allergy is, it is severe. I have an EPI pen that I carry at all times and have had unfortunately have had some bad reactions, even to a cross-contamination. Some of the reactions I tend to get are hives otherwise known as dermatitis hepatitis (an itchy rash of bumps and blisters), severe headache, whoozieness, itchy mouth, stomach pains, and severe joint pain. Yes, all of that can happen just from a cross contamination such as some form of wheat or gluten touching what I then eat. Severe— at this point actually eating something with gluten in it could be deadly to me. With that being said, there are many foods and products on the market that I cannot eat or use on my body EVER again; beer, pasta, breads, soy sauce, the list is quite large. Thankfully these days there are many amazing products out there for me to have and I will begin to start sharing all of this with you over the next few weeks.
Eating out, well this is a challenge and one that I do not take lightly. We don’t actually eat out all that often as a family, especially seeing as I am a personal chef, my girls would much prefer me to just cook at home. Now, we do have to eat out occasionally, especially when traveling. I have spent the last year trying to find places that I am comfortable eating at. This is hard, still to this day there are times I am out and just don’t eat. Try traveling and being in an airport, not always many choices if any, besides a piece of fruit and a Kind Bar.
Here are some of the restaurants/food places that I have found to be the most accommodating and with many choices, I always make sure to tell the waiter that I have a sever allergy so they can be aware and make note of it:
- Carrabba’s -yes, a restaurant with tons of pasta, but really, this may be one of the best gluten free menu’s. They even have gluten free pasta that they cook in separate water only used for the gluten free pasta; Chicken Bryan happens to be my favorite with the garlic mashed poatoes. They have 3 salads to choose from and the dressings are safe to eat, you can even get the Caesar salad without the croutons.
- Outback -they have many options from steak, to lobster, The best sweet potato ever, and my FAVORITE, Alice Springs Chicken, we have eaten at Outback in other cities and states and I have never had a problem.
- Five Guys– yes, this is a great place to eat because they ONLY fry the French fries, which means we can eat them. Most places fry chicken fingers or other foods in their fryers so unless they have a dedicated fryer then fries are a no go (try telling your 11 year old they cannot have French fries) at Five Guys, I just get a burger without the bun. They offer a list of allergens so you can see what you may have– be mindful, those of you who love malt vinegar and a hot French fry, leave it at the counter, it is not gluten free….sigh
- Bonefish Grill- this happens to be a favorite of ours. There are many fish options, salads, plus a gluten free brownie desert that is AWESOME!!!
- Chipotle– this is a go to if we need a quick meal. I get the chicken fajita burrito bowl and I am one happy girl. The flour tortillas are not safe obviously so make sure you ask them to change their gloves.
We rarely go out, but these are a few of the places that we will search for in order to make sure Ella and I have a good and safe meal.
I happen to love beer….I would say that has really been the biggest challenge for me is giving that up. Yes, there are gluten free beers on the market but I have yet to have found one that I like at all…so any suggestions if you have one you like, please share it with me. I have been sticking to wine and champagne- vodka also can be gluten free if you make sure it is made from corn or potatoes. Titos and Deep Eddy are the two that I prefer. Tequila is another liquor that is safe but make sure if you are a margarita lover that you watch the orange liquor they use. That is not ok for you to drink– guess I need to work on a gluten free margarita recipe (sounds like an awful task–NOT)
At home we EAT EVERYTHING WE USED TO (well for the most part). I have made gluten free flour tortillas, we make our own bread, donuts, chocolate molten lava cakes, chicken nuggets, onion rings, maccaroni and chese..the list goes on. We are not one bit deprived although Ella has been missing a good ole bagel with cream cheese— that’s on my list of I need to make and try it out (that list is long and always growing).
Now, my most asked question, why did I make my whole family go gluten free? To start off, my allergy is so bad that any trace of gluten can harm me, so our house is 99.9% gluten free (there is beer here for my hubby, that is all he drinks and I couldn’t ask him to give that up) but besides that, every snack and food items all are. My girls were amazing and still are amazing at being careful for my sake and now Ella’s. They know that this is not just some fad that I wanted to try. They realize that I have horrible reactions and once I have a trace amount of gluten in my body I have 5 or more days of severe joint pain and stomach issues. So, I thank them all of the time and yes, I do sometimes feel bad that they have to live like this. Gary, Sophie, and Grace do not tend to eat gluten free when we are out– again, I think if you asked them they would say they are pretty happy at home with how we eat. I think for me, it is hard knowing Ella will live like this for her whole life. Going to birthday parties and friends houses can be difficult and I do worry. Thankfully we are blessed beyond belief with amazing friends who support the both of us and always make sure they have food for Ella and take extra precautions with her…they always make sure the place we may want to go for girls night is ok for me too.
This way of life is certainly different, it has been challenging, is costly, and well it has changed me, not in a bad way, but at 40 years old I never imagined I would have a severe allergy like I do. Now, for me, I want to help others, educate them, and help others learn to live a gluten free life. Any more questions? I would love you to comment below and I would be happy to answer and share how I can.