Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Chattin' with The Gluten Free Gabber!

Talk to Me Tuesday is a Weekly feature where I chat up some of the coolest bloggers on the web!

Today I'm chatting with Michelle!

Hi, I'm Michelle, head chatter at the Gluten Free Gabber.  My blog is all about living a gluten free lifestyle.  I take everyday recipes, your family favorites and all those cookbook recipes you can't use any longer and convert them to delicious gluten free delights.  I have been blogging for about 2 years now and hope to continue to share my love of cooking/baking and blogging with all of you.

D: Hi Michelle, I start off of these chats with three questions. Where are you? What are you wearings? and What are you drinking?

M: Well, I'm at home in my office/guest bedroom. I'm wearing some comfy lounge pants and I'm drinking hot tea, of course, because I'm under the weather. Otherwise, I'd probably be having a glass of wine. Oh, and I have a sweatshirt on too!

D:  Haha, darn! Well, we're going to talk about what Gluten-Free means, and basically I'm going to get educated because I'm not very familiar with what that entails!

M: Well I can educate you!

D: I guess my first question would be, why gluten-free?

M: For me being G-Free wasn't a choice. I have Celiac disease, so it's the only way I can control my disease. There is no cure and no pill you can take. Only eliminating gluten from your diet. For others they choose to do it because not eating processed foods (which contain gluten) makes them feel better.

D: So, would it be too presumptuous to ask about Celiac Disease? I've never heard of it until I met you.

M: No not at all. There are lots of people out there that don't know about it. Basically it's an auto-immune disease. So when I eat anything that contains gluten, my body fights itself. Gluten destroys the villi (small hairs) in your small intestine which absorb and distribute the nutrients throughout your body. So I'm basically malnourished. Gluten is a small protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. So ANY products that have that in it, I cannot have.

D: Ok, so what are some staples that contain Gluten that you have to avoid?

M: Bread, pasta, soy sauce, cheese (if they used bread mold to make it), bascially anything that has flour in it to start with is OUT. And no donuts, pizza or pasta; all of my once favorite foods. But with my blog I have learned to convert things with regular flour to gluten free so I can enjoy them and so can others.

D: Wow, that's a HUGE life adjustment! How old were you when you were diagnosed?

M:  I only found out in 2006 - I was I was 37. Back then gluten free was just being recognized so there wasn't a lot of food that I could eat.

D: How about now? Are there a lot of alternatives available?

M: There are a ton more than there were back then that's for sure. But they have a long way to go before a GF doughnut tastes like a doughnut I remember. But they are making strides everyday with the taste. Basically what I can eat now is corn, and rice flour. Which doesn't make a light and fluffy cake.

D: I see. Well what are some of your favorite Gluten-free recipes?

M: My most recent favorite is the Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars. Super rich and gooey, but so yummy. I also just love to cook with natural ingredients like tomatoes and basil and make simple pasta sauces for dinner. I'm famous though for making the GF Holiday Pumpkin Pies for Thanksgiving and Christmas, No one can tell that they are GF.

D: That's great! My sister makes great pumpkin cheesecake, but I'm guessing that's not GF.
So, it's the Holidays and parents are sending treats to school with their kids. Do you have any GF suggestions in case their classmates are sensitive?

M: I have a fun recipe for a GF Reindeer Treats made with an almond joy mini candy bar, but my suggestion would be to not make things with store bought cookies or cakes that aren't specifically labeled GF. Every person's sensitivity is different, so while someone may really react and be sick another my not show any signs. But what I think it comes down to is that people need to respect this problem as if it were a peanut allergy. It can be very serious for children (and adults).

D: It sounds like it, and by bringing GF and peanut free items parents can ensure that no student is left out.

M: Exactly, and everyone is safe and has fun!

D: Well, I have really enjoyed chatting with you about this. I've heard people talk about Gluten-Free but I never knew there was a medical reason for it. I always assumed it was simply part of eating clean.

M:  I have enjoyed it too. Thank you so much for letting me be part of this great networking opportunity.

I'd like to sincerely thank Michelle for this chat. I learned a lot and I'm hoping some of you did too!

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