Hello and Happy Friday to all you readers out there! I’ve enjoyed each new step we’ve taken together every Friday this month as part of the Step Into September series. We’ve talked about couponing, organizing our homes, working out with our children and now we’re finishing the month with our last step…going gluten free.
What is gluten? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. You will typically find it in breads, cereals and grains. There are also some sneaky places you will find it as well but we will get to that in a minute.
A friend of mine recently received a diagnosis of Celiac disease (a hypersensitivity to gluten leading to intestinal difficulties) for her young child. As many of you may know this means cutting gluten completely out of the child’s diet. It wasn’t until she began to explain just how many items we eat that contain gluten that it all sunk in for me just how different things would be. The way you shop for groceries, the way you stock your pantry, the recipes you use on a busy week, the way you cook..well they ALL have to change!! For the betterment of her child she of course jumped right in to this new way of doing things immediately.
What if you don’t have a diagnosis but want to cut out gluten for other reasons..a few of them could be:
* To improve cholesterol levels
* To increase your energy
* To eliminate unhealthy and processed foods from your diet (fried foods, oils)
* To reduce your risk of heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes
* To promote healthy weight loss
These are just a few of the reasons I learned why some are ditching gluten even if they aren’t sensitive to it. The question is though..whether you need to or you want to..where do you start?
Today I feel lucky to be talking to Danielle Shaub about her own journey. She is a very talented fellow blogger. Not only do we have a passion for writing in common but we also both mothers. She grew up in Florida, I now live in Florida. We basically flip flopped parts of the country (I grew up in Indiana, she now resides in Tennessee). There is much more to Danielle than her commonalities with me (although I’m happy to share these with her). She is an explorer and an adventurer. She has big dreams and a big heart. She is a thinker and a feeler. She is also open and giving with her readers and is now doing the same with mine.
Danielle has generously agreed to share her her story including her celiac journey with all of us. She has also agreed to share some tips, tricks, resources and even a few recipes. Please join me in a conversation with her now:
Tell me a little about yourself and your family:
“So a little about me: My husband and I have been married for six years and 11 months ago we added the sweetest little baby squish to the crew. Her name is Anna and we can’t get enough of her.
I was born and raised in Florida but we live in Nashville Tennessee. Living in a landlocked state is not my favorite but I’ve learned to make Nashville home…for now. We have dreams of moving to Europe one day.
My husband and I both work in the music industry. We love the work hard/play hard rhythm that comes with it. Also, the people you work with truly become part of your community and family. A couple of times over the course of my career I’ve tried to move out of the music industry but found that I miss it too much and happily return. It’s not the easiest industry to work in but it definitely is the best.
Travel and reading are my absolute favorites. Give me a good book on the beach and I’m set for a couple of days. There is something that is so life-giving about stepping off the plane into a new city. Navigating the streets, exploring new sites and trying the local favorites can all bring out the best parts of you. You’re pushed to grow, learn and love a little better.”
What has surprised you about motherhood? What are the joys and challenges for you?
“What has surprised me the most is how fast those mama instincts kicked in! From being able to read her little micro expressions to knowing when she need something.
It’s such a joy to watch her learn and explore. The moments when you see the light bulb come on are the best or when she explodes in the giggles and wiggles when I go in to pick her up in the morning.
The challenging part is it seems like everyone wants to give you an opinion on something anytime you leave the house. Learning how to simply smile and let it roll off your back is a constant challenge.”
What do enjoy the most about motherhood?
“Watching her take on and overcome challenges. And seeing how much joy she takes in the little things; doggies, slices of avocado, her stuffed zebra.”
Tell me about your website:
“You can find me online at danielleshaub.com (https://www.danielleshaub.com/blog/), where I blog about life, faith and travel. My heart is to provide an invitation for anyone who wants to live life deeper. It’s a safe space to ask scary questions about faith, a fresh take on loving your people well, and of course, I want to inspire my readers to see the world.
I have been blogging for about six years now, and danielleshaub.com is my third iteration of a blog. My first blog was an attempt to share creating my DIY wedding, recipes, DIY decorating, faith…pretty much anything and everything. My first blog was a free, blogger.com site and poorly designed. It provided me with the perfect kiddie pool to test out the waters, hone my voice and discover what I truly love to write about.
Long-term I’d love to foster a community of readers who cheer each other on to learn, grow and love well. Additionally I’m working on a book proposal that I would love to have traditionally published. This year I released an e-book and published independently. It was a fun adventure but it really drove home the importance of working with the team that can help you achieve goals and cheer you on.
In 2018, when it seems like everyone is sharing their story, it can be pretty intimidating to step out and say yours is one that should be heard too. Sharing my voice without adding to the noise is something I’m continually working towards.”
What made you decide to start blogging?
“Ever since I was a kid I have loved writing. My blog was an attempt to find an outlet for something I loved but at the time had no place in my life.”
Why are you passionate about blogging?
“The blogging world is a special one. It allows anyone who wants to share their story to do so authentically and find their people. Sharing vulnerably can be scary but the echo of “me too” that resounds back makes it all worth it.”
What advice would you give your daughter if she wanted to blog when she is older?
“Don’t worry about the negative opinions or judgments when people don’t like what you share. Those are not your people. They are not who you are writing for.”
What inspires you in your blogging?
“I believe that each of us is searching for a deeper connection authentically. When I share a piece of my heart or story, I push myself to be as honest as possible. Partially because honest is honoring to myself and second there’s probably someone out there who needs to hear it.”
Please share your Celiac story:
“In 2007, I was working in the music industry and went on tour with a band in South America for three months. Not only was it an incredible experience but a few weeks into the tour I noticed I felt AMAZING. Great energy, I was losing weight, sleeping better than ever…you name it. At the time I thought it was simply the lifestyle and the culture of traveling with an Argentinian crew agreeing with me.
A few weeks after returning home I began to feel sluggish and felt the weight coming back on, but chalked it up to the holidays and readjustment. Without over sharing, the big red flag but let me know something was wrong was when I started to have some scary symptoms when going to the bathroom.
After many doctors visits and a few mis-diagnosis’ we finally got the correct diagnosis of Celiac disease. Suddenly so many pieces of the puzzle came together. The depression I dealt with in my childhood and anxiety as a young adult, struggles to find a healthy weight instead of being over or under, hormones imbalances and years of digestive issues I thought of as normal. ALL of it was caused by Celiac’s.
In the US we treat wheat crops and the soil very differently then they do in most other places around the globe. So while in South America, my body essentially had a break from the level of toxins and it began to thrive. Upon reentering the US and eating as usual my body essentially began to grow sicker again. I didn’t know how sick I really was because I always felt that way, I had never felt any different.
Learning to live a gluten-free lifestyle has not been easy. Especially when you have friends or family who think it’s all in your head or are unwilling to help you accommodate your allergy. But the quality of life I live is absolutely worth the work to stay gluten-free.”
Did you have to research how to cook Gluten-Free after your diagnosis? What resources did you use?
“Yes and yes! So. Much. Research. Gluten is in just about everything we eat when it comes to a typical American diet. It’s in many processed foods, and hidden in places you would never expect. For instance-soy sauce? It has gluten, which means no ordering fried rice when out to eat.
Againstallgrain.com has been a huge resource for me. Each of her cookbooks has been instrumental in me consistently cooking and eating gluten free. Also looking for Paleo recipes has been a big help. These recipes are automatically gluten free and it’s easy to add cheese, potatoes or other foods that are not typically included in the Paleo diet.”
Do you have a favorite recipe?
“My gluten-free oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Let’s be honest, Celiac’s didn’t kill my love of cookies.” (Recipe below)
Do you meal plan ahead of time or go with the flow?
“A little bit of both but I tend to lean heavier on the planning side. The key is to feel the freedom to scrap the plan if it’s not working for you anymore.”
How important is sitting down for meals together as a family in your home?
“It is very important. My husband and I both have very demanding jobs, so setting the precedent of eating together with no distractions has become pinnacle to our relationship. It’s not about simply sitting at a table and eating food, when we sit together at the table we are making space for one another.
I want to teach our daughter that food is for nourishment of the body and the time you spend sharing a meal with those you love is nourishment for the soul.”
What item is always on your grocery list, what can you not do without in your home?
“Avocado! Between me and the baby we go through so much of it. It’s so versatile. From everyone’s favorite guacamole to making up a Paleo chocolate mousse, the options are endless.”
DANIELLE’S TIPS FOR GOING GLUTEN FREE:
* Breakfast for me is usually some plain Greek yogurt, fruit, a little bit of honey and maybe some chopped pecans all in a bowl together. This really hits the “cereal” spot for me 95% of the time and doesn’t require much effort in the morning. Feel free to experiment with combos. Bacon and eggs or fruits are usually good go to’s. Below I will include a recipe for some egg cups you can make at the beginning of the week and warm up in the microwave each morning. Don’t buy the individually packaged Greek yogurt, they are full of sugar and way more expensive than the larger tub. Unfortunately cutting out gluten usually means spending more money on groceries so any little way you can say will eventually add up.
* For lunch I love a big flavorful salad. When ordering out make sure to ask for no croutons. I also love the Amy’s brand organic frozen meals in the freezer section of your supermarket. A lot of them are gluten-free and taste amazing. Five minutes in the microwave and boom, delicious food. When ordering a burger, if the place does not have gluten-free buns you can always ask for your burger to just be wrapped in lettuce. In N Out Burger does this, so you know it’s a common practice.
* Hummus is delicious with veggies instead of pita bread. Yellow squash, bell pepper and carrots are some of my favorite veggies.
* If you can, try to avoid just substituting what you normally eat for gluten-free version. First off you’ll be disappointed when the gluten-free bagel doesn’t have the same texture as a regular bagel. Also a lot of gluten-free baked goods (bread, cake, etc) are higher in calories because they are made with potato and rice starches. And some are just gross, and it can be tricky to find the right brand. I would say let the gluten free versions of these foods be a special treat and work towards cutting them out for the most part.
* There are gluten-free grains out there like couscous and quinoa but be careful. I have a grain sensitivity so I have bad reactions to these (I know Jesus really doesn’t love me..laughs) but many people can eat them just fine. Also you will see things labeled as gluten-free but also “whole-grain” (like Cheerios cereal) I would say avoid these until you know whether or not you see a difference.
* Paleo recipes are automatically gluten-free, so when searching Google or Pinterest for recipes I will usually just type in “paleo” to make life easy. (You can also sprinkle some cheese onto a recipe if you’d like).
* Beware of hidden gluten. A good rule of thumb is, if the label does not say gluten-free it’s probably not gluten-free. Some typical hiding places are:
Barbecue sauce (or really any sauce or dip like ketchup, hummus, marinara sauce etc. )
The good news is it’s getting easier to spot labels that say gluten-free.
* Never be afraid to ask the waiter “Is this gluten-free?”. It’s not a pain, your health is important and you’ll probably never see them again 😊.
* Let your friends know you are going gluten-free. You’ll be surprised at how supportive they can be.
* Swap out beer for cider when out having drinks with friends. Or have a glass of wine, you’re usually pretty safe.
* Try and drink a gallon of water a day. Most of us are severely dehydrated and don’t even know it.
* Try and save sweets for the weekend. Sugar can be a big source of swelling so saving it for a weekend treat can help bring the swelling down. This means sodas, desserts, sweet tea, etc.
* Take a probiotic and a pro-flora. These will help rebuild your gut and populate it with the good bacteria it needs to help heal your body. Look for the ones that need to be refrigerated. Take one of each, each night with dinner.
MY FAVORITE RESOURCES:
Against All Grain https://againstallgrain.com/. Love this girl! We love all of her recipes. Her second cookbook “meals made simple” was a game changer for me. If you want to invest in a cookbook I 100% percent recommend that one. But there are TONS of great recipes on her blog as well.
The Wheat Belly Book https://www.wheatbellyblog.com/– This guy is actually a cardiologist who started recommending to his patients to go gluten-free and began seeing amazing results. This book is a little dry and medical but still good. The about me section has a short version of the story and the blog has some good posts with science to back it up
Paleo Running Mamahttps://www.paleorunningmomma.com/: Also a great go-to for recipes and lots of desserts! Yum!
Watch the documentary on Netflix called “What’s with Wheat”, it’s a good eye-opener on why so many people have wheat issues these days.
Two cans of fire roasted tomatoes
One can of black beans
One can of white cannoli beans or whatever you have in the pantry
One white sweet onion chopped (medium to large)
One Parmesan cheese rind. If you have a new cheese wedge you can chop the rind of the end
One green pepper chopped
One red bell pepper chopped
One cup poblano pepper chopped, seeds removed
Two cups of vegetable or chicken stock (whatever you have on hand)
Two carrots (diced small to medium)
Four cloves of garlic
Salt, pepper, cumin, paprika , Cayenne pepper
Grab a large pot or your cast-iron Dutch oven (which is what I used) and heat to medium high. Mince the garlic and sauté in some oil in the bottom of the pan.
Add the onion and sauté until they start to sweat and then add the bell peppers and poblano pepper. Sauté for a few minutes then add the canned tomatoes.
* Note- poblano peppers are not hot. They mostly just add a really nice depth in flavor
Add the rest of the ingredients. Not sure how much of the seasonings I used, feel free to taste as you go along.
Bring everything to a boil. Cover and allow to simmer for 2 to 3 hours. Stir and taste along the way.
Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1 1/2 cups Almond flour
1 1/4 teaspoons Tapioca starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
16 ounces milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3 cups certified gluten-free old fashion oats or quick oats
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature (loosely measured)
2 eggs beaten
1 heaping teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* The chocolate chips can be replaced by an equal amount (by weight) of raisins for a more traditional cookie
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
In a large bowl, place the flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, and salt and whisk to combine well. Add the granulated and light brown sugars to the large bowl of dry ingredients, and whisk again to combine well, breaking up any lumps in the brown sugar. Add the oats, and stir to combine well. Add the butter, and mix until combined. The butter will just moisten all the other ingredients but the dough won’t hold together just yet. I had to use my hands to really get the butter incorporated. Add the beaten eggs and vanilla, and mix until the dough comes together. It will be very thick, and a bit difficult to stir. Add the chocolate chips to the dough, and mix to distribute the chips evenly throughout the cookie dough.
*Form the dough into tablespoon sized balls and set on the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Place the baking sheets in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes. Once chilled, place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven, and bake for about 12 minutes, or until lightly golden brown all over. The cookies will still be soft to the touch and might not look done but trust me on this one. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet until firm (about 10 minutes). Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Other Recipe Ideas That Danielle Has Found From Various Websites-
Baked Herb Pistachio Falafel:
Paleo Egg Muffins:
Ina Garten Parmesan Chicken Recipe:
Korean Beef Bowl:
Black Bean & Goat Cheese Enchiladas:
Crock Pot Carne Asada Lettuce Wraps:
I want to say a big thank you to Danielle for talking to me today. She has given us literal food for thought! You can find Danielle on her website (listed above) or on Instagram @danielle.shaub.
If you’re interested in going gluten free either by diagnosis or by choice it’s beneficial to consult with a physician to make sure they give you the thumbs up to take this path. As Danielle stated above there is a lot of research that goes into this new change in your daily life.
I’ve learned a lot this September and I hope you have too. Whether you found one subject that interested you or enjoyed all of the ideas presented I’m glad you stopped by the blog this month! What will October bring? Janet