I cannot believe that I am finally at the point of being able to make my first post (I honestly cannot stop smiling right now)! The past six months have been such a labor of love in order to get here. And now this week, not only did I finally submit my iPhone app to Apple for approval, but my Blog is finally UP and RUNNING! I honestly think that I am more excited about the latter!
I imagine I should start off by telling you why I am so passionate about what I am doing.
Food has always been at the center of our family. It has been what has brought our family and close friends together. When I was growing up, holidays and celebrations would focus around cooking in every way. There would be hours spent in the kitchen with mothers, sisters, grandmas, aunts, cousins, and friends preparing every dish with love, laughter, and comfortable companionship. The culmination of it all would be when everyone would gather around the table to enjoy, not only an amazing meal, but a sense of togetherness. No one rushed through meals – bites lingered on the palates while stories were told and jokes were made. We sat at the table for hours, until yawns ensued and bellies were over-capacity. Yes, food was the “gluten” in our family. It was what bound us together.
I remember as I was pregnant with my first son thinking of, and even writing down (yes..I am an over-organized Virgo) all of the wonderful traditions that marked wonderful memories for me from my own childhood. As I was going over my list, it became clear that every one of the traditions that I held most dear centered around family meals and gatherings. I decided then that there would be no other option in raising my own children than to create that same sense of belonging, love, and appreciation of each other and food that I had grown up with.
Everything started out with this plan in mind, until my oldest son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. As I plunged into this new world of gluten free cooking, I wondered just how I was going to be able to make my son feel the unity of our family gatherings when he was eating something totally different than everyone else. I feared that the “gluten” that was the basis of our gatherings was “crumbling” as we plunged into the gluten-free world. I decided to embrace this challenge and made the decision to teach myself everything there was to know about this new way of eating - I soon began work on my Master’s Degree in Nutrition (with a focus on Holistic Nutrition) and discovered something incredible! Eating gluten free is actually healthier for everyone. By trading out refined, processed and enriched flours and replacing them with whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, millet, teff, sorghum, and buckwheat, and also embracing grain-free flours such as nut flours, bean flours, and coconut flour, we are doing our digestive tracts an enormous favor! We are nourishing ourselves with nutrition that our ancestors body’s would recognize and therefore we are aiding in an easier digestion process. I am such a believer in healing the intestines to allow for amazing health benefits (and will soon do a post dedicated to leaky guts, food allergies/sensitivities, and autoimmune diseases) but I will not bore anyone quite yet on that topic. For now just know that eating gluten free, and allergy free, is a great step towards healing and a blessing to our health.
Upon the realization of such health benefits, I converted our entire house to being gluten free (which ended up being most appropriate since my husband was also diagnosed with Celiac Disease shortly after my son). Thus, we began to “bind” our family together in a new way. Now our “glue” came in the form of fresh foods made with brown rice, quinoa, millet, teff, sorghum, almond flour (i could go on and on) with a little xanthan gum thrown in sometimes to keep it all together. The result… we all began to feel better, have more energy, and still feel the joy of coming together around the table over a meal made with pure, unprocessed, whole food ingredients.
And so we cook…together. My boys are involved in many of the creations that come from our kitchen. They are learning what it is like to create wonderful meals from fresh and organic ingredients (and my five year old already has a strangely accurate understanding of the benefits of fresh organic foods). We have had some major successes. We have had some major fun. We have had some MAJOR disasters. It does not matter. We are doing it together. We are reminiscing about the day, getting our hands dirty, and laughing (thanks to my oldest sons’ new discovery that he actually has an uncanny knack for telling silly jokes).
And through this all, my children are learning some amazing things. They are learning about where their food comes from, about home gardens and farmers markets, about composting, and about respecting our Earth. And the other day, as we were cleaning out some glass bottles for recycling, my 5 year old son turned to me and said “Mom, we have to respect Mother Earth. If we do not take care of her she is not going to want to help us. She will make more storms and really hot and really cold weather. Our food will not grow the way it is supposed to and it will make everyone sad.” Ahhh… such wonderful words from a 5 year old. I need nothing else.
As I embark on this journey, I so look forward to joining some of the great gluten free blogging crusaders that I feel like I have grown to know personally over the last few years (funny how cyberspace does that, haha). Through their posts they have opened up a window into a part of their world that they are most passionate about. I only hope that I can follow in some of their footsteps to be able to show as wonderfully as they all do how amazing it can be to LIVE a gluten free and allergy free life.
As a final note, I must say that when I initially envisioned what my first post would entail, I pictured myself posting some amazing recipe with hopes of hookin’ a few of you to come back for more :). However, because this became more about telling you who I am and why I am doing this, I decided that I would make a separate recipe post. This path to health has really been inspired by my boys, so, thus, I have even decided to let them choose the first recipe. I make absolutely no guarantees as to what culinary talents that the recipe may showcase, but they will be proud to choose – of that I am sure. Stay tuned . . . .