My Story

I was diagnosed with celiac disease in June of 2007.  Two days later, my husband of 11 years walked out the door.  I was faced with needing to change my whole life to eat gluten free on the new budget of a single mom.  It was rough.  And it was the most amazing, life-changing, transforming thing that had ever happened to me!

I had been sick my whole life.  The first symptoms I remember having that I can now trace to gluten happened when I was 7 or 8 years old.  After I started having children, my illnesses got much worse, it was hard to even function on a basic level.  I gained weight as my body stored every morsel I ate because I was starving.  I struggled with fertility problems and depression and chronic fatigue, migraines and joint pain, and brain fog.  I went to doctor after doctor, and no one had an answer.  I was often treated like a hypochondriac.  “Oh, I’m sorry you are so miserable, you are tired and in pain and can’t eat anything, here are some anti-depressants, loose weight and you will be happier.”  Eventually, my stomach problems got so bad I could hardly swallow anymore.  My Doctor sent me for an EGD and they found celiac disease! I was 29 at the time.  I was sick for more than 20 years before they found out by accident that I have celiac!

When the Doctor called to let me know they had found evidence of Celiac, I was devastated.  I owned my own grain mill and made fresh whole wheat bread almost every week in my new Bosch mixer.  I LOVE food and I didn’t know how I would live without bread.  At that time there was not much gluten free food available at the stores and what was there was HORRIBLE!  I had 2 weeks between the phone call and my first visit with the gastroenterologist.  I spent those 2 weeks doing the classic death march of all my favorite foods and restaurants.  I thought I would never be able to eat out again (and I love to eat out).  I went to Outback with my sister and the waitress asked me what we were celebrating.  Trying not to cry I told her, It’s my last time here because I have celiac disease and can’t ever eat any more!  She said to me, “didn’t you know, we have a gluten free menu?”  She went and got the menu for me, and showed me that everything I had ordered was gluten free except the Croutons!  Suddenly, I knew it was going to be okay.  There was something I loved that I could still eat!  It was like the sun breaking through the hurricane and making a rainbow.  I still wish I knew that waitress’ name so I could tell her what her simple act of thoughtfulness meant to me.

Going gluten free was a struggle.  I had a hard time finding information and products, but I felt SO much better.  My health problems disappeared in just a few weeks.  I can’t imagine ever going back to gluten.  I was lucky though, I already knew about food.  How to cook from basic ingredients, how to bake, how to make substitutions.  But as I talk to other people with celiac disease, I have learned I’m in the minority.  Most people my age did not grow up learning how to cook. Pre-made mixes, box dinners, frozen dinners, fast food, even sandwich bread disappeared over night from our tables, and if you don’t know how to replace them, what on earth are you going to have for dinner?

A year after my diagnosis, my youngest son was also diagnosed with celiac.  I was surprised how much having a child with celiac changed the game for me.  He was only 2 years old at the time.  I was working, so now I had to provide gluten free foods for daycare and  family parties and educate and protect my celiac child.

Add to the mix the fact that we are all so busy in our lives.  I’m a single mom, I need to work full time and get the kids to and from school, make sure the homework is done, we have piano lessons and baseball practice.  Now I have to do all the yard work and all the housework and so many things I didn’t do before and I have to follow this diet where I need to cook everything from scratch?!!?  I love food, but some days, I’m just so dang tired!  Now there are many wonderful gluten free foods on the market, even my local Wal-Mart carries a few, but they are still very expensive.  I have found ways over the years to make living gluten free on a tight budget and little time more functional for me.

I’m on a mission to make like better, easier and more nutritious for other people with celiac disease.  I don’t think you should have to learn it the hard way if I’ve already figured it out! This is my passion and drive in life.  As part of this mission, I went back to school in 2009 and got a BS in Food Science and Nutrition.  In 2011 I started Goodness Gluten Free with a friend of mine.  We make frozen roll dough and cinnamon roll dough that is sold to stores.  Currently they are only available in Utah, but hopefully they will be in more places soon.  I wanted to combine the fresh bread you bake yourself taste with the convenience of something already made and felt that frozen dough was the best place to do that.  But I have so many recipes and ideas to share that are not part of my bakery, so I decided to share them here.