Connecting the celiac disease and food allergy/intolerance community together by sharing our stories to food freedom. From our beginning struggles to striving after a diagnosis, we can all relate and help each other out by sharing what we’ve learned and our unique personal journeys.
Today's Freedom Feature is with a blogger friend of mine, Celeste Noland from "There Is Life After Wheat". She has an interesting story as she is not the one with the allergies, but her family is! With 2 little boys placed on a restricted diet due to a rare kidney disease, this may have been prep for finding out about her husband's food allergies that changed everything even more. Celeste has such a great outlook on life with allergies and restricted eating. She has not let her family down and keeps trying her best to provide all the care they need (while keeping the laughs and smiles ever-present)!
background: who are you?
I'm a 30-something mom of 4 who loves PiYo, spending time in the kitchen (especially if it involves chocolate!), trying new gluten free restaurants with my hubby, playing with the kiddos, soaking up sunshine, going out with friends, and finding new ways to enjoy life!
what was life like before your diagnosis?
You know, I wish we would have spent a lot more time enjoying carefree crumbs all over the kitchen and eating out wherever we pleased! Joking aside, we were a fairly typical, healthy family with no history or knowledge of food allergies. Because of the sudden onset of symptoms, we lived blissfully unaware that our entire lifestyle was about to change. One thing that prepared us was our two rowdy boys who have a rare kidney disease that requires them to be on a low sodium/high potassium diet. Label reading 101? Check!
how did you find the right doctor and end up getting properly tested and diagnosed?
When I was pregnant with our 3rd, My husband started having intense heartburn and his esophagus gradually closed off until he could hardly even drink water. We talked to family and friends, found a doctor, and made an appointment. Before his first appointment with a gastroenterologist, he had been unable to eat for almost 2 days because he just couldn't get anything down. They did a scope and found that his esophagus had almost completely closed and it was due to an allergic reaction to food. We soon found out those foods were wheat, barley, oats, and soy. over 4 years later, I still vividly remember the phone call I received when he was on his way out of the allergy clinic. I think we both felt overwhelmed and unsure of what to do. Neither of us had family members or close friends with food allergies, so it was new territory. ( <--- that is a scary way to find out!)
how did life change after diagnosis?
That same afternoon, I left our 2 boys with my hubby and went shopping. I went to a few different stores and browsed Every. Single. Aisle. to figure out what he could and could not eat. When I got home, we cleaned out the kitchen and gave away everything he couldn't eat. Goodbye, Campbell's cream of mushroom! Living with food allergies has been a huge learning opportunity. We have learned so much about eating healthy, making meals out of real, natural ingredients, and most importantly, that life is good and you can find ways to be happy and enjoy every day no matter what happens. ( <--- Agreed! It all gets better!)
why did you start your blog? what did you hope to achieve out of doing so?
Life with food allergies or any other dietary restrictions/health problems is a learning process and we have learned A LOT along the way! Life After Wheat was started to share what we've learned and the recipes we create. I'm often surprised at how many people have given up on bread, or pancakes, or (fill in the blank), and it doesn't have to be that way! People living a gluten free lifestyle don't have to miss out, there is a way to make all the old favorites gluten free and have them taste great. I blog to show people how to do just that. ( <--- Yes! Never deprive yourself of pancakes!)
I take a common sense approach to gluten free living that is very relatable. You'll find lots of quick and easy recipes because I'm a (happily!) busy mom of 4 and a blogger to boot. You'll also find some fresh new ideas and a plethora of chocolate recipes 😉 But on top of that, there are links to other great bloggers, gluten free product lists, and a review page of all the products we've tried, including our favorites and those we wouldn't recommend (check that out before your next shopping trip!)
do you have a celiac/food allergy tip to give?
Don't give up! I made many a batch of gluten free dinner rolls that were tossed in the trash (ask my hubby!). But you know what? We now have an amazing recipe that we all love and the kids always fight over who gets the last crescent roll even though they regularly eat wheat products. So if your first (several) batches of gluten free goods aren't worthy of human consumption, feed it to the dog, hop on Pinterest, and keep trying. You got this!
have any favorite gluten-free foods or brands to share?
can you share your favorite recipe with us?
Hands down, our favorite recipe is gluten free sandwich bread. After my husband was diagnosed and we tasted store bought gluten free bread, I knew that was one thing I was going to have to make at home. And it's amazing. Our gluten eating kids beg me to make it because it's soft and bendable and tastes just like homemade bread should taste. Plus it's easier to make than wheat bread-BONUS!
what do you hope to see in the future; for yourself and the gluten-free/food allergy community?
I'm so excited about the direction the gluten free community is taking! More and more people are becoming aware of food allergies, celiac, and gluten intolerance and that is opening so many doors. I hope to be a part of that by bringing great-tasting recipes and information to help newbies and veterans alike live their gluten free lifestyle to the fullest.
Celeste knows how to take care of her family! It's crazy how we all end up finding out about our allergies in such shocking "never would have though" ways! But like Celeste said, things get better and you keep trying, then one day, your lifestyle isn't a struggle or "new", but programmed in and just becomes LIFE! You know..."There is Life After Wheat!"
So tell me:
+ Do/did you get frustrated with the new difficulties of first navigating your food allergies?
+ Have any questions for Celeste?
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