Going Gluten-FreeDecember 12, 2012

Family Awakening

I see a nice a change developing in my family this holiday season. Two people on my gift list are getting a collection of special-diet products for Christmas. These are relatives who don’t “officially” have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. (At least they’re not admitting to them—one definitely shows symptoms of gluten sensitivity but that’s another story). 

My nephew Tommy, 11, is a budding chef who loves to bake. Every time he visits me, we pull out the gluten-free mixes and we make cookies, pancakes or muffins. Although he’s not gluten free, he’s delighted to try the gluten-free mixes and report how they taste. Tommy and his two siblings are some of our best taste-testers for the new product brands reviewed in the pages of Living Without. Kids don’t beat around the bush. They tell you straight-up when they don’t like something. When Tommy and his siblings gobble up a product and don’t leave leftovers, chances are excellent we’ve got a winner.

This Christmas, I’m putting together a special basket of baking items for Tommy—gluten-free flour blends, baking mixes and dairy-free ingredients like coconut oil, coconut spread and allergy-friendly chocolate chips. I’m also including Hallie Klecker’s new cookbook, Super Healthy Cookies, because Tommy loves cookies and he’s game about trying new things. Klecker does a great job of reworking cookie recipes and making them gluten free, allergy friendly and great tasting—PLUS not-so-bad-for-you—by using nutrient-dense ingredients and no refined sugar.

My son-in-law Matt has asked for a sampling of natural sweeteners. He wants to start using something other than aspartame in his morning coffee. (Yay!) So I’m putting together a box of coconut sap sugars, Sucanat (dried, granulated juice from whole cane sugar) and stevia products for him. His dad has type 1 diabetes and Matt himself shows all the signs of gluten sensitivity. After his celiac panel came back negative, he decided to go gluten free on a trial basis just to see if he felt a difference. He did—a big one. But he’s not willing to commit to the gluten-free lifestyle…yet.

At family get-togethers, I hear myself harping about gluten-free substitutes and wholesome foods and my relatives make fun of me. Last week, my sister admitted to calling me a “health freak” behind my back. Guilty as charged. (I guess it’s pretty bad: My husband sneaks junk food into the house.)

So I am delighted that these two family members are open to improving their diets. It’s a start, right?

Comments (1)

Dear Alicia, I read your blog and it brought back memories. Back in the late 70's I tried my hand at making bread. I'll never forget the Thanksgiving I first made it. My siblings tossed it around the room laughing at how well it substituted for a football. It didn't rise and it WAS Hard. After a series of health issues, I got on the band wagon for "natural Foods". I read everything I could get my hands on about nutrition and health. I carried my soapbox everywhere. (Soapbox= something to stand on while you spew your opinion for all to hear) I was committed, and took all of the ribbing with nonchalance. Twenty five years later my younger sister (now the organic eating nurse) says I was right. Being a vegetarian, and now gluten free, I have learned to never care how other people view my eating habits. Thirty three years later, I still ride my bike and do yoga, I am relatively healthy, on no medications, and keep an open mind to how I should alter my diet for the greater advantage. I know I won't live forever, but living a healthy,active and independent life is my goal. I meet people all the time eating gluten free and when I ask why, most say they just feel better. Fad diets come and go, but eating for maximum health is worth any and all ridicule. I'll end now, because my gluten free bagel is calling my name,and I have to ride my bike down to the health food store to buy sunflower sprouts for my spinach, arugula and baby green salad. Keep your soapbox handy, and good health to ya !

Posted by: Madalene R | December 14, 2012 1:36 PM    Report this comment

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