Who I Am

          Hi, I'm Fiona and I live and work in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I am married, with two children. I have been living gluten free since 2013, when I first discovered that I have severe gluten intolerance. I also discovered other food allergies (potato and mushroom) and intolerances (dairy) which led me to completely overhaul my diet. Since starting on this journey, I have learned all sorts of tips and tricks to make it easier for myself, my family and my friends. A lot of what I’ve learned is by trial and error, so I am hoping to pass on some of my knowledge to help make it a little easier for other people going down this road. 

Is it Hard to Give Up Gluten?

People always ask me; “Didn’t you find it hard to give up gluten?”. The short answer is “No.” No, because for me, eating gluten makes me so sick that any desire I may have at any given time for a particular food is quickly quenched by the fear and memory of being really ill. You know how you feel about the last food you ate before you came down with the stomach flu? Well, that’s mostly how I feel about gluten. Rather than feeling deprived from eating foods with gluten, I feel thankful for being able to figure out that I could dramatically improve my health simply by not eating gluten.  

However, the long answer is “yes”. When I first cut gluten out of my diet, it took time to learn how to shop and cook and live gluten free. I had to re-think everything from snacks, to main courses, to desserts. I didn’t even try to eat in a restaurant for months because I was so unsure about how to talk to the servers to ask about options for me to eat. To begin with, I was preparing separate meals for myself and my husband and kids, so it was lot more work. Often, I tried a new recipe only to mark it down as a “not to be repeated” (although I generally eat everything I cook, regardless of taste because I can’t be bothered to have to do extra cooking!). Slowly, I gathered new recipes for myself and then I started building a collection of recipes that the whole family enjoyed. Again, lots of trial and error. During this time, there has also been an explosion of people being diagnosed with celiac or gluten intolerance and that has meant a lot more products in grocery stores and a lot more options in restaurants. Whereas I used to have to go to a health food store for many gluten free staples, I can now run out to my local Metro and get almost anything I may need. I am now at the point in this journey where I feel like living gluten free had been fully integrated into my life. It is easy, it is natural, it is just part of who I am.