The most challenging part of my gluten-free life has been the second half!
My Gluten-Free Life Continues
I was diagnosed as gluten intolerant at the end of November 2009. This meant I changed to a gluten free diet during December – my baking month! I always spend the entire month baking gifts for family and friends. A normal person might have just went out and bought cookies or candies as gifts, but not me. I baked for a whole month and I could not sample anything! I was an emotional mess. I was afraid I would never be able to sample what I cooked or baked again.
A few months later, I was feeling great but dying to bake! After multiple visits to the grocery store, I broke down and bought a seven dollar gluten free cake mix and it felt so good to bake. Eating it though was another story. One bite of this cake had me making some of the most horrible faces.
This “cake” mix made something that came out looking much like a muffin and it tasted like a mouthful of sand. I felt disappointment, then guilt, and then worry. Seven dollars for a sand-like muffin is absurdly expensive, not in our budget, and worse than that, it made me believe my new gluten free life was destined to be a future of expensive, horrible tasting experiments.
So Many Tried (and Failed) Cooking Experiments!
Still, the positive-pea side of me kept thinking that there had to be an easier, cheaper, and tastier way to eat gluten free. I went on a search to educate myself on gluten free baking and cooking. I discovered our local grocery carried gluten-free flours. I could buy a four pound bag of almond blend flour for a little over the price of two gluten- free cake mixes. Score! Combined with a bag of xanthan gum that lasts almost forever in the refrigerator, I was on my way to living gluten-free.
While I did not earn “spouse of the year award” for this next part of the story, my wonderful husband certainly did. Unbeknown to him, he was my guinea pig for my baking experiments. I created everything from cookies to cakes to pies. While he was sampling my latest “project”, I would hide out in the kitchen to sample mine. Most of the time he would guess it was gluten-free.
After many, many failed recipes, I finally dialed in the right ratios for most of what I was baking. My husband even began having difficulty distinguishing my gluten-free cooking from regular gluten made. I knew I was on the right path when he would say things like, “This is not absolutely horrible.” And later, “This is actually edible.” Those somewhat less than stellar compliments were music to my ears. Now, many baking tweaks and years later, he prefers my gluten-free to gluten made. He insists it’s not conditioning because he still finds off the shelf gluten-free products to be pretty horrible.
Celebrating a Healthy, Gluten-Free Life
In a few months I will turn 56 and I feel like I am 30! Having control of my health through a healthy diet is a wonderful blessing. I eat totally gluten-free and mostly, processed food free. Yes, I still eat mushy foods but will occasionally splurge on a yummy salad. For the first time, I am healthy. I look and feel great!
Friends and neighbors have complimented how delicious my cakes, cookies and pies are and have said they would have never know they were gluten free unless I told them. What a great compliment!!! I have converted many family recipes to accommodate my new lifestyle!
When I started out on my gluten-free life, I never imagined where it would take me. Creating Baking with Bridget is a dream come true. I love that I can share my life’s struggles and successes with you. It is my mission to help, encourage, and inspire you on your journey to gluten freedom!