The call from the doctor was short but devastating: “We think you have cancer, we just can’t find it.” My soon-to-be husband was getting sicker and sicker and no one could figure out the cause.
Months passed and he continued to lose weight, becoming weaker and more anemic. Finally, a simple test revealed that he had Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disorder where gluten attacks the lining of the stomach. It would soon be discovered that the thing that was so hard to diagnose was the simplest to treat: Eliminate gluten – a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye – and you’ll get better.
The idea was simple, but this was 14-years-ago and there were so few gluten free products on the market that finding something to eat was difficult. Crackers tasted like cardboard, cookies crumbled, and it was almost impossible to find cereal or bread.
I’m Mexican American and my way of solving problems and making people happy is to feed them. After my husband was diagnosed, I bought up all the flour I could find that had no gluten and started experimenting with recipes. (This also works well now that I have 2 boys who are very picky eaters). The first dessert I ever made was a gluten free raspberry cheesecake with those crumbly cookies soaked in butter as the crust. It was delicious, but didn’t taste quite right. I tried a few more versions until it was perfect then started making cookies, cakes, pies, and bread.
Baking became my favorite hobby and after having kids I even made it into a business (short lived) and incorporated gluten free living into my blogs. One thing that has been amazing is to see the many tasty and great quality products that have come on the market since I sat at my booth at the Farmers’ Market explaining what it means to be gluten free.
Now, even products that have been around for years are becoming gluten free including one of our favorites. Cheerios – Yellow Box, Honey Nut, Apple Cinnamon, Frosted, and Multigrain – are now gluten free. We’ve had the Honey Nut and Yellow Box Cheerios and they taste just as good always. They were mostly gluten free before. General Mills simply used a new process to remove stray wheat, barley, and rye from the oats (there’s no gluten in oats, FYI). They’ve also added sorghum and millet to Multigrain Cheerios, which are gluten free.
We have such an active lifestyle in our family that it’s important that we have products we can trust. There have been times when there’s just nothing for my husband to eat. He has another autoimmune disease so not eating or risking gluten contamination isn’t an option. When we’re out hiking for hours or just out of town, it’s good to know there’s food that’s safe to eat. And also food that you grew up with, want to eat, and that’s easily found in a grocery store.
So much has changed since that call from the doctor. And short of a cure, it’s great to know that companies are seeing the value in offering good quality, flavorful gluten free food.
This sponsored post also appeared on MomsLA. My story was also included in a mailer called Gluten Free Cheerios Matter to Us that came with a personalized box of Gluten Free Cheerios.