My name's Pat Yarbrough and I have celiac disease, maybe just like you or someone you care about. Most people know about the disease by its more common name... gluten intolerance... maybe even by the somewhat inaccurate names of gluten sensitivity or wheat allergy.
I know how painful the social aspects of the disease can be and how frustrating it is. I've learned about living gluten-free the hard way... By living it...
... By living it for the past 11 years...
... Living gluten-free is more than just cooking gluten-free...
... It's a lot more than gluten-free cooking or telling waiters and waitresses that you can't eat anything with wheat, barley or rye (and maybe oats) in it...
... lt's a lot more than reading a book called "Living Gluten-Free for Dummies" or "Gluten-Free Cooking for Dummies"...
It's a way of life... And, your well being and maybe even your life may depend upon it (Yes, it's true. To find out more about gluten-free living get the free report near the top of the right-hand column on the Elegantly, Gluten-Free Website).
Iíve gone through a lot to learn what I know about living with the disease in a gluten-filled world. If you are willing, I'd like to share some
of what I have learned with you.
Here's my story...
... I'm a homemaker, so I've been the cook in my family for most of my adult life. It's a job I love but cooking gluten-y and non-gluten-y meals at the same time presents some very unique challenges.
I want to share some of what I know with you. Perhaps it will make it a little easier for you to cope with the disease than it was for me.
To do that, I've written 6 articles about how to go about preparing food for both gluten intolerant and non-gluten disease afflicted individuals in your home at the same time.
I'll share with you what you can do to make a meal that is both tasty and healthy and which, hopefully, everyone in your family will enjoy... no matter what their gluten status might be.
It really isn't too hard to do that if you go about it the right way. And, that's what I'm going to be talking about.
In the 11 years since I was diagnosed with celiac disease/gluten intolerance, I've discovered a lot of things that many celiac-challenged people aren't aware of that will help to make meals the enjoyable and close sharing times they are meant to be... not complaint sessions to whine about the food.
Here's the titles and what I will be covering in the 6 articles:
1. Get into your right mind... Your mindset isn't everything but it's a lot.
2. Food selection.................. How to identify and avoid foods that are likely to be contaminated with gluten substances.
3. Storage............................. How to store your foods so that you don't accidentally contaminate the gluten-free items.
4. Planning............................ How to plan great meals that are easy to make.
5. Preparation........................ How to prepare your meals without contaminating the gluten-free portion of what you are serving.
6. Dealing with leftovers........ How to manage leftovers so accidents don't happen.
Getting The Right Mindset
The first thing that you will need to deal with is getting the right mind set. When I first started to try to deal with my gluten intolerance problem I was discouraged that my family wasn't willing to "hang-in there with me" and share my pain. Don't let that happen to you...
... It will get better. Your family members will grow and so will you!
My first few attempts to serve gluten-free food to my family didn't turn out very well. It wasn't too long before the "H" word (hate) was being freely expressed about the gluten-free food I was preparing.
They wanted nothing to do with my gluten-free cooking and weren't afraid to announce that sentiment. It was an especially hard time for me because one of my biggest pleasures in life has always been the sharing... sharing good times... sharing togetherness... sharing food.
Even if I werenít the cook, Iíd still miss being able to share a plate of our favorite cookies with my kids, or split a pizza with my husband, or chat over coffee and donuts with my friends.
But being the cook just made it that much harder. Now, not only did I have to cook for myself... I still had to cook for them, too... without contaminating my food with "their" gluten.
You need to recognize that some of the things that you will eat will not be particularly appetizing to your family or friends. And, sometimes they will not pull any punches when they tell you about it, either.
Don't take it personally...
... Remember, you are in a wheat-based culture, where they don't have your problem and have very little understanding of what you go through when you eat food with gluten in it.
Never forget that you are avoiding pain and discomfort... your family and friends aren't.
They aren't motivated to learn to like the things which don't contain wheat, barley or rye. I suggest that you let them try a taste, and when they discover they actually like some of the things that you fix for yourself, take note and keep on going!
In the next article, I'm going to talk about how to identify and avoid foods that are likely to be contaminated with gluten.
Until then, have a tremendous, gluten-free day!
All the Best,