Did you know that all Girlfriday designs are gluten-free? They are! And so am I. I’m not celiac, but I have IBD. Both IBD and celiac disease are autoimmune disorders that each come with their own set of challenges. Celiac makes no bones about it: you can’t eat gluten. Ever. Or anything that’s been touched by gluten. It makes you sick. With IBD, things can also get awful in a snap; sometimes you get sick and you have no idea why. After a lot of thought, research and advice, four years ago I decided to go gluten-free. This was a personal choice – if you have IBD or any other chronic condition, you know from experience that you just have to do what works for you in order to stay healthy.
On the one hand, it’s easier than being celiac because it doesn’t matter if my food has been contaminated or if I eat a bit of gluten by accident. On the other hand, I wish IBD was as “black and white” as celiac is: don’t eat this stuff, and you’ll be healthy. IBD has so many triggers and unpredictable behaviours, you never know how you’re going to feel, no matter how valiant your efforts. Needless to say, I have a lot of strategies in my daily arsenal to help keep me healthy – but that’s for another post.
Back to being gluten-free. At first I just didn’t eat anything with gluten in it and didn’t try too hard to figure out how to replace it. It wasn’t so bad, but I missed some of the amazing foods I used to enjoy. Being a Montrealer made it even harder – a city full of good eats!! Once I wrapped my head around keeping my fridge and pantry stocked with a variety of flours and other ingredients, the rest came relatively easily. Armed with the amazing power of the internet, I discovered an entire world of gluten-free bloggers that not only saw the joy in baking gluten-free, they posted recipes, advice, personal stories, and gorgeous photographs. I learned that perseverance was key: it took me no less than six disappointing attempts before discovering the perfect pancake recipe I now make almost every weekend. Trying, and sometimes-to-often succeeding, was better than just dreaming and longing.
No, I can’t indulge in a slice of pizza when I’m out (some cities are incredibly gluten-free-friendly, sadly Montreal is not), but I can go home and make the most gorgeous homemade pizza you’ve ever eaten. Ditto for cookies, cakes and any number of other foods. I seek out and adore naturally gluten-free dishes even more now. It’s amazing really, the power you feel once you know that you are in control of what you eat and that you are now, in fact, eating way better than you ever thought you could. It costs more and it takes more time, but my body thanks me every day. Going gluten-free has helped me maintain my remissions for longer periods of time, and has also helped me identify other foods that don’t work for me – and that’s worth a lot.
So one day on Twitter I was reading Gluten-Free Girl’s tweets about a new initiative she was working on with other gluten-free bloggers. Do you know Gluten-Free Girl? She’s amazing. She writes with a joy that is contagious. She makes me long even more to go to Italy. And to live on an island (oh wait! Montreal IS an island. Done! ;) I was curious. So I wrote to her. And she wrote back. And we hatched a plan. For a name. And a logo. And oh, how much fun it was, knowing that I was collaborating with one of my favourite bloggers – the days were filled with fangirl moments.
So here is the result. The logo for The Gluten-Free Ratio Rally. Go read about it. It’s about baking by ratios, and weight, and collaborating with others. Try a recipe or three, even if you don’t have to eat gluten-free. Your tastebuds will thank you. The best part? The inaugural Rally is for my favourite – pancakes!!