My Story as The Gluten-Free Guru
My name is Peggy Hedgren, and I am The Gluten-Free Guru. I was born and raised on the North Side of Chicago, in a family of Swedish and German descent. Sharing food was always a big part of our family gatherings, but after many years of suffering from unexplained health ailments, I was diagnosed with celiac disease; a condition that attacks the immune system. To learn more about how to heal myself, I went back to school to study nutrition and discovered that there were links between the gluten-containing foods I was consuming and my symptoms. In the simplest terms, gluten is a combination of two proteins that are responsible for giving the dough its texture. Where it gets challenging is that gluten is found in most grains, and that means it is also found in most comfort foods, like pasta, bread, rolls, cookies, and cakes. I knew I had to rethink the way I ate and eliminate gluten, while also finding satisfying alternatives that I could still enjoy. By accepting the changes I needed to make in my diet, educating myself, and learning how to heal my autoimmune disorder, I am now able to successfully maintain my good health and well-being, while embracing the foods that are best for me.
To be honest, it has not always been easy. I have had some difficult times trying to adjust to having celiac disease and accepting the fact that it takes daily vigilance and dedication to keep myself free from gluten. I visited many doctors who did not understand my symptoms and ended up very frustrated in my quest to feel better. Once I got a diagnosis, I realized how hard it was for me to learn all the different nuances of a gluten-free diet. If you are feeling the same way, I would suggest speaking to a nutritionist, who can help guide you with meal planning, and answer any questions you may have. I can assure you that once you make the adjustment and remove gluten, you will heal your digestive system, and start to process foods normally. You will feel better than you have in years!
If you also find it challenging to accept and understand your gluten sensitivities, it may be helpful to join a support group. Surrounding yourself with people who share your condition will help you let go of the stigma and pain associated with having an illness that not everybody understands. It is often difficult to explain to others what it is like to have eating restrictions, and how much it affects your life in different ways on a day-to-day basis. So talk about your hurdles with your family and friends, ask for their support, and share what’s safe and what’s not safe for you to eat. Explain to others that all it takes is a small amount of food containing gluten, about the size of a grain of rice, to cause a negative reaction in your body. Help them understand that over time, your digestive track gets weaker due to ingesting gluten, and this weakness can lead to a whole host of other ailments. Emphasize that fighting celiac disease and gluten sensitivity is a very serious matter and that you must be vigilant about the foods you consume, for the rest of your life.
Because I had so many questions, I wanted to find a way to help others suffering from gluten-related issues and the family members who support them. I have learned that when you have celiac disease, it is best to create a safe environment, where you have control over your food and don’t have to worry about cross-contamination or hidden forms of gluten. In the end, the safest place is definitely in your own kitchen! With that in mind, I decided to create an easy to follow cookbook to help guide others who are also dealing with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity or food allergies. I have learned to look for the silver lining on my journey to good health. I found that being diagnosed with celiac disease has reminded me of my strength and resiliency. I have also come to appreciate that there is something very special about being able to create delicious meals from my own recipes, knowing that they are extremely healthy and healing for my body. I feel privileged to share my recipes with others, hoping that I can make their gluten-free journey easier.
The cookbook that I created features delicious recipes for all meals, including meat, fish, side dishes, salads, salad dressings, desserts, and beverages, which are all gluten, dairy, and soy-free. Give my cookbook a try, and buy the freshest, most non-processed food and ingredients that you can afford. Get comfortable in the kitchen and teach yourself how to cook in a new way. I guarantee you that preparing and enjoying gluten-free foods will make your health and your life so much better! I wrote my cookbook in a simple to understand style and suggest gluten-free products to use that are definitely safe choices, to help take the guesswork out of gluten-free cooking. If you don’t have celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity, you don’t realize how hard it is to watch others enjoy foods that are completely off limits to you, especially at social gatherings, where food is a big part of every celebration. Once you learn how to cook tasty, gluten-free meals for yourself, you can bring your dishes to gatherings and share them with others. In fact, it gives me great pleasure to serve gluten-free meals to unsuspecting guests, who enjoy them so much that they end up asking me for my recipes!
If you would like to purchase my cookbook, it is available on Amazon.com, listed as “The Gluten-Free Guru Cookbook“. If you need to eat gluten-free, or just want to eat healthier, then my cookbook will be a great addition to your library. It also makes a great gift! Thanks for visiting my website and checking out my cookbook!