The importance of food in our lives is immeasurable. It brings pleasure and has the power to heal. But food can also have negative effects, wreaking havoc on our health.
I’m all too familiar with what food can do to the body. As a neuroscience and natural products research scientist, I observed firsthand the link between nutrition and quality of life. In fact, it was my job to discover how what we put into the body (drugs, natural products and supplements, and even food) affects overall health.
In 2007 when I was diagnosed with celiac disease and multiple food allergies (soy, peanuts, tree nuts), the science became personal. I used my expertise to completely transform my health in a matter of months with food alone.
For more than 25 years before my diagnosis, I suffered numerous (mysterious) illnesses and misdiagnoses. What I didn’t know then was celiac disease was the underlying cause. Gluten rendered me weak, in chronic pain, nutritionally depleted and anemic. I suffered 15 transient ischemic attacks (TIAs or “warning strokes”) in a six month period and found myself on the cusp of cardiac arrest due to severe anemia.
Diagnosis came as a huge relief. Finally, I knew what was wrong with my health and how to heal my body from the inside out, with food.
Faced with the challenge of eliminating many foods I loved and figuring out how to feed a family without having to cook multiple meals each day, I went to the place I always turn when I need to sort out life – my kitchen.
As a lifelong cook and professional recipe developer and baker, experimenting in the kitchen has always been my therapy. Creating delicious new recipes along with gluten and allergen-free twists on old favorites seemed the only action to take. Along the way, I paid careful attention to what worked for me on a holistic level: the foods that nourished both my body and my soul and left me feeling and looking my best.
I knew I could help others with what I was learning, and in 2009, I launched Gluten Free Gigi as a hub for holistic healing. It’s a judgement-free zone where my two passions – food and science – come together.
Here, you’ll find many gluten and allergen-free recipes along with Smart Nutrition Backed by Science articles that explore transforming our health through food from a positive perspective. Going gluten-free was a liberating experience for me – liberating my body from the negative symptoms that had plagued me for years just by changing the foods I ate.
But there’s more to the story, and as we journey together, you’ll discover morsels of my belief that food goes far beyond its mere face value property of fueling the body.
Food is an emotion, a place, a memory.
In fact, I often say each one of us has a unique Life Menu; a treasury of recipes we turn to time and again to bring us home and soothe our souls. My Life Menu was written by the women of my family, a formidable circle of Southern Belles. These women taught me how to crimp a pie crust and fashion flowers from buttercream–all while doling out lessons of life, etiquette and love.
My goal is to help you find your special Life Menu: the recipes and food choices that will nurture a healthy lifestyle while tantalizing your palate. Some dishes will bring you right back home.
I’ve developed some guideposts to help get you started. In 2012, I founded Food Solutions Magazine. In May 2014 when the magazine was acquired by a new publisher, I became Editor-in-Chief. This free monthly digital publication is designed for people who want to explore further the empowering world of a gluten and allergen-free lifestyle. To further share my knowledge to empower others, I introduced my first book: The Gluten-Free Solution: Your Ultimate Guide to Positive Gluten-Free Living in December 2014. If you’re looking for a 360-view of how to live a positive gluten-free lifestyle, this book is for you!
Whether or not you have an autoimmune diagnosis, my mission is to lead you to lifestyle choices that are joyful and life-affirming instead of restricting.
We’ll have fun, but trust that this gluten-free gal is firmly rooted in science–no trendy fads or guilt-laden proclamations from high. I’m dedicated to dissecting and researching what works and what’s real.
Finding my gluten-free Life Menu not only transformed my health–but gave me the confidence to do it in style and with a smile. I know it will for you too!
Let’s get started, y’all!