Elana Amsterdam with her Boys

The Gluten Free Diet

For me, diet is a four letter word, I doubt you’ll find it very often on this website.  I don’t spend a lot of time discussing gluten free around here either.  That’s because I take it as a given that the food I eat will be gluten free, that’s just part of my life at this point, though it wasn’t always this way.

Lately, a number of people have asked me to share the story of my celiac diagnosis and personal transition to a gluten free eating plan and lifestyle.  So here it is.

I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1998 during my pregnancy (not uncommon since pregnancy is considered an immune event and celiac is an auto-immune disorder) with my older son.  I was 30 years old and sick as a dog –I could barely get out of bed –no exaggeration.  Things were very, very bad.  My father suggested that I get tested for celiac disease.  My mother had been sick for most of her adult life with various odd symptoms and had been recently diagnosed.  I was tested and low and behold, yes, I had celiac disease.

Unlike the usual process, where it can take people as many as 9 years and numerous doctors to get a diagnosis and find out what’s going on, my diagnosis came only a few months after the onset of acute symptoms.  In that way, I was very lucky.  However, when I look back, I had been having classic symptoms of celiac disease and malabsorption for most of my life.

What were these symptoms?  I was chronically anemic and whenever I was under stress would get angular chelitis, which is when the corners of your mouth crack and get a little rash.  This is also a symptom of nutritional deficiency.  So, maybe my diagnosis wasn’t so quick after all.  I had to get to the point of being severely ill and bedridden to finally get the diagnosis.  Still, I think I was lucky to get it so quickly once that did happen.

As many of you know, celiac disease is a genetic disorder –it runs in families and it has hit my family quite hard.  Not only do my mother and I have celiac, my sister and older son have it as well.  Incidentally, my mother-in-law also has celiac.  So, as you can imagine, the work that I do in creating gluten free recipes is very personal for me.

gluten free bread recipe

Anyway, when I received my diagnosis I was tremendously relieved.  I finally knew what was going on with my body.  I had already had a 3 year training in Ayurveda which included yoga asana, herbs and food, so I was fairly comfortable in the kitchen.  That doesn’t mean I could actually make tasty food –my husband disliked my Ayurvedic fare with a passion!  He was not a big fan of kichidi, or kichari, as some refer to it.

Of course after the diagnosis I went completely gluten free.  As I mentioned, the diagnosis wasn’t a big deal for me.  I cooked very simple gluten free foods –vegetables, quite a lot of grains and some proteins.  A few months later, I spent a lot of my time making baby food too, once my son finished nursing around a year old.

When that same son turned 3, I started to notice some digestive and behavioral issues in him.  I fed him a gluten free diet during the week; however, during the weekends, he went to birthday parties, and the food served at those parties was pizza and cake (gluten galore).  Let’s just say that Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were full of tantrums and mal-digestion.

I asked my son’s fabulous pediatrician (Mark Nesselson, he’s still in practice in NYC), to test my son for celiac and the test came back positive.

This diagnosis had quite an impact on me.

I wanted my son to grow up with all of the delicious treats that I had had in my childhood.  So, I made it my mission to turn all of my favorite recipes into gluten free classics.  For myself, all I really cared about was getting healthy.  For my son, this was a social issue and one that I did not want to color his childhood and experience of food.  Of course it did, though hopefully not in a bad way.

These gluten free brownies are my son’s favorite dessert; he makes them all by himself for his baseball team.  He is a fabulous chef, though says, “Mommy, I think desserts are my specialty.”

This site and my book, The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, are the result of my passion for providing my son with delicious gluten free food.  It’s been quite a journey and one that has really had a positive impact on my family.

It took a long time though, to heal my gut and my son’s as well.  Like some of you out there, the standard gluten free diet didn’t really do much for my son or myself.  Probably a lot of you are here for that exact reason.  Regular, plain old gluten free doesn’t always work.  There can be other food allergies (such as dairy) and issues of chronic malabsorption.

My search for better health lead me to research, lots of research, and my son and I ended up on the introductory phase of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  We stayed on that (the intro phase) for about a year.

If you don’t know what that is, let’s just say that we didn’t eat sweets for quite some time, and when I say sweets, I’m talking about fruit, dessert, etc.  This was a huge challenge, though it really worked for us.  My son is now merely gluten free, which for him is fairly easy compared to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet introductory phase.

I personally am fairly Paleo, I find that works really well for my body since I cannot digest any grains whatsoever.  I’ve been grain free for more than 9 years now.

Is there a one size fits all solution when it comes to diet and healing?  I don’t think so.  I believe we are all different, in fact, completely different bio-chemical individuals.  Given that, what works for you?  Do you have a specific eating plan that you follow? Do you eat things that you know will make you feel yucky?  I do.

My biggest challenge these days is dairy.  As you can see from my Month O’ Cupcakes, I like dairy, a lot!  I know that cow dairy probably isn’t the best for me, as when I have some cheese or whipped cream, the next morning when I wake up, my right elbow hurts a bit.  That’s an allergic/addiction that I’m dealing with right now.  Nobody’s perfect!  I also find it challenging to stay on my ideal eating plan when I’m baking tons of desserts for this website or my books.  During those times (which seems like all the time) I knowingly take in more sweets than is best for my body.

apricot salad dressing

So there you have it.  My perfect fare is protein and greens with a little bit of fruit –make that low glycemic fruit such as berries.  When I eat that way, I feel like a million bucks.  Although I have great discipline, I’m also like everyone else.  If it’s there, I’ll eat it –to a point, I still draw the line at many, many foods such as gluten, grains, etc.

What do you like to eat?  How did you find out you had celiac or were gluten intolerant?

I’m certainly going to go into more detail in future posts and provide specific information about how I like to eat and other tools that I have used to help heal myself.  And some of that information might work for you, and some, you might just want to toss out the window!  Take what works and leave the rest behind.  For me, all of life is simply the process of self-discovery and continual refining and adjustment.


  1. Psyletta Gilroy says

    I have suffered for a very long time with “tummy issues” and skin rashes. The lifestyle that is promoted here helps me. I have only been diagnosed with “irritable bowel” and interstitial cystitis, but even those are primarily managed through proper nutrition. Thanks for posting all of your healthful recipes.

  2. Eve says

    Hi Elena,

    What a great website and tasty recipes, thanks so much for doing this! Your story about how you came to do this and follow a Paleo lifestyle is very inspiring.

    Although I have not been diagnosed with any digestive issues as serious as yours or your son’s, I have been mostly gluten-free for the last 2 years and have noticed a significant difference in my energy levels as well as less skin hives (I’ve had what doctors call “chronic hives” for about 7 years, no known cause could be detected apart from stress… which I dont think was accurate at all). I have recently tried the more strict Paleo lifestyle and I have to say, my skin is looking even better; hives are practically almost gone. After many, many years of allergy testing, nowhere did grains or dairy ever come up as the possible source of my chronic hives… But there it is – Paleo is working quite well for me. Now, I just have to work on my discipline!!

    It is not always easy for me to follow Paleo though as I am allergic to tree nuts, and as you know, many Paleo or gluten free recipes contain either nuts or nut flour. So here is my request/comment for you… When you publish recipes containing nuts or nut flours, could you also list out “alternatives” on how to modify the recipe to make it nut-free?

    Thank you very much :) And keep up the great work!!

  3. Y. Arthur says

    Thank you for all that you have done. I was diagnosed last year with Colitis and other issues and was just recently put on a very strict diet. They suggested the Paleo diet. I was told no wheat, no citrus fruits, no white potatoes, no legumes including peanuts, limited dairy products, no/limited raw vegetables. This leaves me having to learn to cook all over again. Although I have to say that by following this diet I feel so much better. I have not been able to eat several things basically done without, so therefore, I do so greatly appreciate all the work you do to make it easier for me to find recipes so I can try to eat more normal.
    I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet have just begun purchases all the new supplies for the new lifestyle change. Diet suggests short term, this is something I have to do the rest of my life if I want to be pain free & not sick all the time.
    Again, thank you.

  4. Julie says

    Hi Elana,
    I just want to thank you for your amazing blog. I don’t know how I found it, but it’s awesome! I have just switched to a gluten free diet in college because I can’t eat it without getting very sick. I noticed I also get stomach pain when I eat dairy and other symptoms, I probably shouldn’t eat it but I really love dairy too! I am making my own meals this semester in college cause I can’t really eat in the cafeteria, so this is a great resource for me. It’s hard when people don’t really understand that you can’t eat gluten (I fainted due to a fever and had to go to the ER this week, and the nurse at the ER still gave me a sandwich with bread even though i told her). You end up not being able to depend on anyone for food, so it’s more prep work.
    Anyways, I was so happy when I found this blog. :D

    Thanks !

  5. Laura K says

    Elana – I just want to thank you so much for all of your recipes. I have multiple food intolerances on top of being a very picky eater. I was also not blessed with the cooking gene. I don’t know what I would do without your quick, easy and delicious recipes. Your work has made a huge difference in my life and my family’s life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  6. says

    I’m so grateful for the work you have put into your website/blog. I’ve only recently (not by tests, but food elimination) discovered my sensitivity to gluten after a 30 days body detox. Because of your labors of love and determination, you have been a God send to me in that I want to try all of your recipes as time allows in my life. I just got your almond flour cookbook and am enjoying it a lot. You have been an wonderful inspiration through your story and your cooking works. Again, I just have to say “Thank You”, Elana :D God bless!

  7. Sue says

    I’m just wondering if you’ve ever considered raw milk and raw milk products. My understanding is that many people who have a problem with milk are fine with raw milk. Just like with all other foods, the more we tamper with it the less nutritious and healthy it becomes. My family and I have been drinking raw milk and eating raw milk cheese for a while and we love it. I am fortunate to have found a farmer that delivers to my city every two weeks. Raw milk must pass 3 test in order to be sold, they do 10 test on theirs.

  8. Jeevan says

    I’m still unsure as to whether I’m allergic to wheat or not, but I’ve been avoiding it for three months now. It was a bit depressing because I wondered how I’d be able to deal with all the compromises on taste, but your website has given me faith. Thanks!

  9. MAIRBUNNY says

    I JUST FOUND THIS AREA and wanted to tell my story to . todays date is 8/22/12. about 30 years ago i started getting alot of pain in my right side so they took out my appendix after healing i started having pain in the right side again that would come and go. i was diagnosed with cysts on the ovaries. in 1997 i had a surgery on my fallopian tubes because of right side pain.the pain returned so in 2004 i had gall bladder removed a few months later i had a complete hysterectomy. still the pain returned. i went to many docters the last one a gasto guy. had all the major test ect. he thought ibs. still no relief. i was really sick at this point had been in bed for 2 months lost 40 lbs. i thought i was going to die. then one day i was watching dr. oz and elizabeth hasselback was on his show talking about her new book the g free diet this was in 2010. she was talking about alot of the symtoms that i was having. i called my gastro guy and they had me come in for a blood test. i tested off the charts for celiacs!! the reason i was missed by my gastro guy was because i had celiacs with constapation. which i guess is not as common. after talking to my mom she said when i was a baby i was really sick and had to have blood transfusions. now its 2 years later and i am feeling better but the celiacs had left me with osteo arthritis in most of my joints,fybomyalgia,8 shoulder surgeries for calcified tendonitis,and disabled at age 58. i dont usually talk about this but i thought i was important to be toid here. your web site and cookbooks have been a saving grace for me because i was really lost before i found you. and i did go out and buy elizabeths book and it was helpfull too. i am grateful to have a wonderful husband and life is looking up for me. we are both gluten free and happy. i have a garden every year and enjoy all the bounty from it. what we cant use we make sure to share with others. i cant wait for a new cookbook from you. it would be great it if had all your recepies in it!! i have the fybo in my hands and it is hard to type so a cookbook would be wonderful!!! and as the kids in this age say “I THINK YOU ARE A ROCK STAR”!!!

  10. Dana says

    I am so happy to find your site! This week I was diagnosed as being allergic to gluten, wheat, eggs and yeast. Being a vegetarian, I felt doomed until I found your recipes…Yeah!!!!!

  11. Grace Marie Crummer says

    Thank you so much Elana for all your wonderful information and your story of your diagnosis. I was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance 3 years ago, im from the UK and had the symptoms all my life too.They became unbarable when i moved to the states (maybe because gluten in present in a lot more foods here) and that was when i went to get diagnosed.I’ve been a transition for me (like your son,it was more of a social issue for me,like being at parties and your the only one that cant have the cake) But your story has really given me hope. Im very interested in not just finding more gluten free foods,but finding the foods that make me thrive just like you said.Im excited to learn more,thank you again!

  12. Amy says

    Wow, Elana! Thank you so much for sharing your story! I was tested for celiac’s about 4 years ago, and was negative. I have since learned that it’s possible the test was negative simply because I had already stopped eating gluten, and my doc didn’t know enough to not test me since that was the case. I have struggled with intestinal issues related to gluten and simply thought it was intolerance. However, your post taught me something new. I also have suffered from angular chelitis for years and no one, not primary care docs or dermatologists, ever told me it could be related to celiac’s! Amazing! I have been mostly gluten free for several years, but am going full paleo now for training purposes (I’m a runner). So grateful for your recipes!
    Thank you, Amy

  13. Jessica says

    I have never been diagnosed with any food allergies or intolerance. I have, however, had unexplained pain in my right side for 2 years now. It started in my face and temple and has spread into my shoulder, arm, hand, and leg. I am on medication that helps but does not completely make my pain disappear. It has been diagnosed as neurological but beyond that nothing is known. It is very frustrating and affects my mood to a great degree at times.

    I started looking into a paleo/wheat free diet recently. I started the Whole30 diet but did not complete the 30 days (and am a little ashamed of myself LOL). I stumbled upon your site while looking for paleo recipes and it gives me hope. I have always been a great pasta/bread/sweets lover. I am happy to see that there are ways to enjoy food and still keep within the paleo lifestyle.

    I have read alot in the past few weeks about the benefits of going wheat/gluten free. I know that I need to give this a try for my health and sanity. I know that there have been quite a few people that have had great success in reducing pain, fibromyalgia, and neurological issues. I want to say thank you for making me have hope that I can really stick to it this time and not feel deprived of food.

    I am only on day two but I am determined to make this change. And even if you don’t know it…you will be along for the ride thanks to all of your wonderful recipes.


  14. Dana says

    Dear Elana,
    I stumbled upon your website by chance when searching for a gluten free matzo ball soup recipe and what a great find. I have Celiac and have eaten gluten free for years, but since my two teenagers were recently diagnosed as gluten intolerant, I have been trying many new recipes, especially breads and muffins, in an attempt to make their transition to a gf diet seem as normal as possible. At the same time, I have been moving toward a more paleo lifestyle for myself as I have found I have much more energy when I eliminate grains and fruit. Trying to move away from grains when my teens live on bread, cereal, etc. has added a huge challenge and instead I found myself going back to eating grains when I couldn’t deal with making multiple meal variations. Now my problem is solved thanks to you! The first recipe I tried is your paleo breakfast bread. It was loved by all including my non-gf husband. I knew I had struck gold when my picky, 16 year-old, no time for breakfast, daughter, grabbed a second (and last) slice of the bread on her way out the door in the morning. It is a huge relief to find your simple, delicious sounding recipes to feed my family that rely on non-grain flours. A new door has opened up for me and I can’t decide what to try next. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Dana

  15. Maria Burgess says

    Hi Elana,
    Just wondering if you have found that food might contribute to arthritis. I have recently started to get aching hands and knuckles and I wonder if some food might be the cause. Have you heard anything? Regards Maria
    ps This sight is so wonderful. Just loving the almond meal recipes. Should receive your book in the mail soon. Cant wait

  16. says


    Just got to this part of your site. Thanks for sharing your journey. I have recommended many to your site over the years and will continue to do so.

    We are currently strictly paleo. We have noticed truly amazing results for our family with this lifestyle. I do not miss what we used to eat at all.

    I have practices as a wholistic doctor for over 20 years now and have never been comfortable recommending a diet to so many for so very many different reasons.

    I encourage folks to have sensitivity testing done for foods. It can really help shorten the trial and error curve for so many.

    Blessings to you and your family for all you offer. And please continue to take ever better care of yourself. You deserve it and we all benefit from having you be the healthier and happier than ever!


  17. Carol Ann says

    Thank you so much for your helpful website!! As someone who is gluten intolerant, I have appreciated many of your recipes. I am also an HSP and highly sensitive to dairy, choclate and soy of which I no longer eat. Just recently started toward a Paleo diet, and it has really helped me to eliminate rice. Still eating quinoa, and not sure if it is allowed on the Paleo diet. Do you know? I am a speech-language therapist who is very interested in nutrition so I wanted to let you know about an article I just read on Dr. Mercola’s website. The title of the article is Dr. Reverses M.S. in 9 Months by Eating Thees Foods. I’m passing this on because you shared in a blog that you had M.S. Hoping the article might be helpful to you! I am looking forward to any additional recipes you may come up with that are Paleo friendly. Namaste, Carol Ann

  18. Tasha Rudzki says

    Hey Elana,
    Though no one in my family is Celiac, we’ve noticed that we too just feel better on a gluten free/limited grain kind of diet.
    I’ve really been enjoying your recipes. I never used to like baking, but with your simple and delicious recipes, I now really enjoy baking.

    I was just wondering why you have no red meat recipes, do you avoid beef too?


  19. says

    Well, I have been following your site for over a year now and I just discovered this post…sigh. Have been gluten free over 25 years (could tolerate some dairy /which I was allergic to first in my early 20’s/ after a few months of gf eating. I still find it hard to avoid some not gf things -had used corn noodles for a few years then reacted, rye bread then reacted AND I have found in the past year any grain sets me off (rice, oatmeal). Your almond flour recipes were a live saver. However, I found a few new gf companies and tried them as they were easier to use than bake it myself and now I am too sick and tired and cranky to get my act in gear and get back to almond flour cooking….sigh.
    Why I decided to add a post was: we have had to travel a lot this year (husband and I) and I usually have bacon, eggs, hash browns when we get time for breakfast AND have been totally sick for rest of day. I really had to think about this and why was it happening when even if I skipped the hash browns why were the eggs (on the road) making me sick. So, I asked how they were cooking them – ALL the restaurants told me they are now using a soya/cottonseed oil. Told me to ask special to have eggs cooked in butter as I am also allergic to soya – life is a mystery and to have to be so on top of what we are eating can be a tough process. I thank all the people who have added their stories and thank you Elana for all you time, care and attention for making us healthy. It is appreciated. Take care of yourself too.

  20. says

    I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism (Hashimotos)in June of this year. I have been on a gluten free trial since last year since doctors couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t losing weight. I was diagnosed with IBS years go as well. It wasn’t until I went grassfed, gluten free that my symptoms ceased. I would bloat up with all the gluten and sugar I was putting in my body. I confess that I am a recovering gluten free cheater and am not being put to the test since my insulin levels aren’t so great.

    Finding sites like yours have helped me feel good about the gluten free lifestyle because there are alternatives that taste yummy. While I don’t have kids yet, my husband and I want to have one eventually, once I feel healthier.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  21. faabl says

    I have discovered about 3 years ago that I was intolerant both to wheat and dairy products. I made a lot of blood tests a year ago, because it seemed that there was something else… it occured that I was intolerant to many foods, such as soya, chocolate or rice (plus many more). Although on a day to day basis I globally manage to eat what’s ok for me, I sometimes have these cravings for chocolate or sweets (cakes etc), which often leave me just exhausted, irritable, and angry against me because I’ve not been able to “resist”. Am I just weak? Do I simply not eat exactly what I should? Is there something I can do about it, and if so, what? I don’t want to be like so many people “on a diet”, who sometimes look so frustrated because they spend so much time and energy “resisting” and refusing food. I don’t consider myself as “sick”: being intolerant to certain foods and dealing with this is just a way of life… but I can’t always manage as best I can. I’m sure there is something in the way I prepare food that I could change, but, till now, haven’t found it. Has anyone gone through this sort of phase/problem/experience that could share his/her findings with me?
    Thanx in advance for your answers.

  22. Ann says

    My son who is almost 3 and has suffered since he was born with severe constipation. The doctor’s have put him on so many medicines that I was scared to death his liver would shut down. Then, I friend suggested he may have a gluten allergy, with this in mind I called the doctors. I wanted them to do a blood test but they keep on telling me he needs a rectum edema to determine the diease. He can’t eat 5 hours prior and 2 hours after he is only a little boy. He drinks 3 bottles of milk a night latose as well and wakes up hungry. How can I put him through this test knowing he is going to be screaming and cranky for 8 hours.

    So, I decided to put him myself on a gluten free diet he is now going to the bathroom with softer stools. Perhaps the answer to my prayers have been answered. I decided to put myself on the gluten free diet for my son but some of the products out their make me sick and give me severe headaches. Can anyone tell me why this is happening to me?

    I loved this site, I must get the book so I can start making my son some yummy foods.

    Thanxs and God Bless

    • says

      Many of the gluten free products are high in foods that have glutamate in them. not added as in MSG, but created by the processing.

      There are antidotes… tial and error can confirm if that is what is is and not specific food sensitivities.

      msgmyths.com is a good site with lists of ingredients that may be high in glutamates.

  23. Leigh Farmer says

    Hi Elana,
    I just found your website and your story interests me. Two weeks ago our 2 year old daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease. She is the first in our family to have this. I at first was very overwhelmed, however I am finding a lot of gluten free food that is available and that she and our other children love. One of my biggest concerns like you, is that I want her to enjoy the tastes of yummy food as she grows. I have a love for cooking. I am a big fan of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks. I know our family is going to learn a lot about this change of cooking for the better. I realize there is a lot of information that I don’t know yet. I guess I’m asking you for your opinion on which of your cookbooks I should start off with. Or if you have any suggestions/ advice for me with cooking, it would be appreciated greatly.
    Thank you,

  24. Angie says

    I am personally not gluten-free, but a dear friend of mine has celiac disease. Whenever there is food involved in our get togethers I like to make sure that it’s gluten-free AND delicious! Can’t wait to try out some of these recipes, and I’ve already sent her to this blog as well. :-)

  25. says

    I just wanted to say thanks, from the bottom of my heart. I have endometriosis, which often comes with serious GI tract issues. About ten years ago, a naturopath suggested I start a gluten-free diet. It helped quite a bit, but over the past two years, I’ve noticed that other grains, as well as sugar and dairy, have begun making my symptoms worse.

    Finding your blog and your cookbooks was a life-saver! Now I can indulge in some treats here and there without regretting it and without starting on a big sugar binge. I still have trouble sticking with my diet all the time, but the difference is so huge that I’m more motivated than ever. I hope other women with endo out there find out about your blog – I’ve already posted it on my endo Facebook group to let others know about it. Many of these women are on diets even more restricted than mine!

  26. Sandy says

    Hi Elana – your website has been a life saver for me. I haven’t had dairy in over 25 years, but still had what the doctors called IBS, and what my Mom calls a trick stomach. I started going to a naturopath about 1 1/2 years ago, and she gently suggested that I remove both gluten and soy from my diet as well. I was devastated, and some days still don’t know how to cope. It’s a really difficult, and sometimes very boring, way to eat. My belly is somewhat better, although I still have my bad days. Your website has at least allowed me to work some “normal” things back into my diet. Thanks for all the work you put into it!

  27. Marcy says

    Hi, Elana –
    I just wanted to thank you for the work you are doing, and to let you know how meaningful it is. I’m sure you have touched the lives of more people than you could possibly imagine.

    Our family has been gluten free for 3 years. I have sworn off most of the gluten free cookbooks and websites because my youngest also has a dairy allergy and IMHO I felt that most just tried to offset the taste of the replacement flours with large heapings of sugar and butter. One popular cookbook was gifted to me and I don’t think we could use more than 2 of the recipes in the entire book. Discouraging.

    It has been such a blessing to run across your blog! I recently hit a cooking rut and you have given me the gift of renewed energy and enthusiasm for feeding my boys. My perfect lunch is a almond butter sandwich with BBQ almond Nutthins, so you can only imagine how thrilled I am to try each and every one of your recipes!

    Thank you Elana. You are much appreciated and your work is a gift for so many of us. With gratitude – MP

  28. says

    Thank you so so so much for your blog! I recently found out I am allergic to all grains, as well as dairy, and yeast/brewers yeast (so no vinegars mustards etc) among other things! It was such a relief to find your website! I LOVE to cook, and knowing that there is still so much out there that I can do is wonderful! Thank you and keep the wonderful recipes coming! My #1 concern right now is trying to find salad dressings that don’t have any vinegars or mustards! It is like a treasure hunt!

  29. says

    Thanks everyone for your amazing responses. It is so wonderful to be part of such a delightful community, and I appreciate all of you everyday. We’re all in this together, which warms my heart.

  30. Aneisa says

    Finding your website and book has been the best thing to ever happen to me. I get emotional because removing grains, dairy, and sugar (except for yacon, lucuma, xylitol, stevia and a little coconut palm sugar) is transforming me. I can’t wait to see a year’s worth of dietary changes on my health/body/mind/happiness/etc,. Love, from Canada

  31. Sonshinejudi says

    I found out 11 years ago that I was celiac after praying for several months because doctors Dxed me with many things and essentially gave me LOTS of strong pain relievers and tranquilizers which still didn’t help. Life was hell. One day standing in line at the grocery store a mag. caught my attention because the article was about help for all the symptoms I had by changing my diet. I was over joyed because I despise using meds [which didn’t really work]. I learned about the soy protein intolerance almost 20 years earlier so understood that eliminating certain foods could work. That started my gluten free adventure!! I found your almond flower cookbook on a glutenfree website and I was very excited to try some recipes. Then I found your website which has really helped. Thank you for posting your ‘story’. I am gluten, soy protein and sesame protein intolerent–can not even have a drop! I also have multiple auto-immune diseases that react with severe inflammation if I eat chemically processed starches or sugars. A small amount of agave nector, organic honey or maple syrup seem to be ok. I must eat a low glycemic diet also and have not had anything but real whole grains for 3 yrs…but at times I have gone nuts and had gf bagels or bread cause I miss it so much…I recently made the recipe for flax seed meal foccac which I love as I do many of the bread or desert recipes here…they are changing my life for the good as I can now stay on a hi protein, low glycemic food plan and still eat foods that taste real good!! Again, thank you Elana.

  32. Mark says

    I went grain free after having digestive issues for 10+ years. You don’t realize how sick you are until the symptoms miraculously go away. I removed all grains, ate more fruits and vegetables and lost 50 lbs.
    I have tested negative for celiac. It’s tough to get my doctors interested in this type of malady. They only want to know; celiac or not. After that, there is no name for the need to be grain free. I don’t need a diagnosis to know what’s right for me.
    I suspect that many overweight people in this country could be helped by removing the ubiquitous daily carbohydrates. When I talk about grain free with people I meet, they just can’t conceive of the concept. They are hopelessly addicted to manufactured processed grains.
    Thank you for your great site. Thanks for spreading the good word.

  33. Karen says

    Thank you for sharing your story Elana. Keep getting the word out there!

    After an Asperger’s diagnosis and struggling with health issues, I thought of my friends with children on the spectrum who saw improvement after putting them on a GFCF diet. I did the same for myself and not only did my health improve, but I felt a mental clarity I’d never had before. That’s when I first discovered I am gluten intolerant.

    I fell off the wagon and began eating “regular food” while pregnant with my son. Big mistake, I was a mess. I went GFCF again when my son was a year old and haven’t looked back – it’s been five years now.

    My husband asked me about being GF about a year after I restarted. He’d had health problems for years nobody could explain. When he went GF they cleared up, including a skin problem he’d had since his late teens. Turned out it was dermatitis herpetiformis.

    His doctor at the time said with the improvement in symptoms coinciding with the GF diet, as far as he was concerned that was good enough for a diagnosis of celiac. While my intolerance level is relatively mild (I can still do Communion once a week, any more than that and it snowballs into something ugly), DH has it really bad. If he eats something cross-contaminated he breaks out all over and is sick for days.

    When we saw our son acting foggy and with a bloated belly at 3 years old, we put him on a GF diet – his doctor said try it two weeks at first. Within a couple of days we saw improvement and he’s now been GF for over three years.

  34. says

    I’m not gluten-intolerant but I would say in the last year my wife and I have cut back on our gluten intake dramatically. Researching healthy diets, and migraine triggers, we came to the conclusion that wheat was not really doing us any good. I still eat the occasional pizza, or box of macaroni and cheese, but otherwise we’ve made the switch. I would’ve never done it if I hadn’t found your site and subsequently almond flour. Your blog is great and its value extends well beyond the celiac population!

  35. says

    Elana – Thank you for sharing your story and creating this community of sharing all of our stories! Reading all the comments above, I just kept nodding as recognition of my own journey to celiac resonated in so many of the experiences here.

    And the amazing thing is – we’re all survivors and we’re truly the lucky ones – having gotten (finally) the diagnoses we needed to live our fullest, healthiest lives. And to have all the gluten-free blogs and communities on the web – it’s a great time to eat great allergy-free food.

    I’m coming up to my 8th anniversary of gluten-free life, and I feel like I’m still learning and growing as a cook (and blogger). I recently got glutened while dining out for the first time in a long time, and got very, very ill. It’s not fun when that happens, but it also makes me so thankful for my good health 99% of the time. And thinking that I lived for YEARS with the chronic illnesses of celiac before diagnosis – I’m thankful to know how to heal myself and walk that path back to health any time I do accidentally get glutened.

  36. says

    Elana, thank you so much for the insight into your personal decision to go gluten and grain free. I love that you wrote this from the heart – my favorite post of yours to date. Please continue to share these kind of stories along with your delicious recipes! I love your cookbook, and I love that you’ve found a way to feel healthy. I am still struggling, as gluten-free was not enough for my body. I’m now recently dairy-free, and am finding that I have an intolerance to corn as well, and I struggle with refined sugars so I keep them to a minimum. However, they are the enemy – they call my name and if I indulge, I overeat them. It’s a vicious cycle. I have gotten better and better, but as you expressed, none of us are perfect and we sometimes eat things we shouldn’t! Thanks again and keep up the good work. Your contributions are so valuable.

  37. Magda says

    I didn’t have any horrible symptoms before I got diagnosed with gluten intolerance but I did have frequent headaches (including the sinus kind) and various aches and pains. I was diagnosed via bioenergetic assesment through my naturopath. Though dairy did not show up on the test, I believe my giving up gluten led the way to my inability to digest dairy well (including raw dairy). I have been GF for 3 or 4 years and dairy free about 1.5 years. I have recently greatly reduced the amount of grains I eat (I try to soak/ferment those that I do eat) and have gone more Paleo like you. I have recently gone through my second pregnancy (both GF and CF) and now have a healthy 5.5 month old baby boy. Though my oldest son eats both gluten and dairy, I’m planning on keeping the baby GFCF for at least a year and hopefully beyond.
    Thanks for a fantastic blog – several of your recipes have become a staple in my house and I’m planning to cook more and more with almond flour.

  38. Grace says

    I just love your post about going gluten free. I too had health issues for many years before giving up gluten.

    May I say I just love your recipes and appreciation for healthy, low glycemic cooking. To be honest, I read the Glutenfreegirl blog a lot, and when I noticed her recent comment about not liking baked goods made solely with almond flour, I admit I had to snicker. No way could I eat her recipes (mostly made of refined yet gluten free flour), and keep my blood sugar levels stable.

    Thank you for your blog and recipes and appreciation of healthy cooking! I love baking with almond meal, although I do use Trader Joe’s brand because of cost factors. No way will I ever be able to afford blanced almond flour until the cost comes way down!

    Thanks again, and keep up the wonderful blog.

  39. Sunny B says


    Thank you for sharing your story. As mentioned on FB, it was just one year ago this week that an emergency surgery triggered adult onset celiacs and DH for me. Prior to that, much like you, I had other symptoms of malabsorbtion, including a life long battle with anemia. I constantly felt hungry, overwhelmingly hungry, no matter how much I ate…I now believe it is because my body just never got enough nutrition…the unfortunate side-effect is that I was severely overweight as well.

    In addition to my daughter who is severely allergic to cow’s milk proteins, my son’s best friend from first grade had celiacs. From the moment his mother explained to me what it was he had, I began wracking my brain, trying to figure out ways I could ensure he was always included in our events…birthday cakes, pizza’s, etc…I did my best to make something for him as well. I believe my time with that family, in addition to the adjustments I had already learned to make for my daughter, all prepared me for what was to come.

    Like you, my diagnosis was more expedient than most. Because the rash and welts appeared almost immediately after surgery, it was initially thought that I had an allergic reaction to the medication that was given me at that time…the stomach pains started shortly after, but again, we thought it was the medication. Steroids, Benadryl, nothing would clear it up completely.

    After several months of continuing to fight the rash, and feeling ill, I approached my Dr with the idea that I needed to go through an elimination diet. Outside of the steroids and allergy medications, I had been off the anti-biotics (who we believed were the original culprits) for nearly two months, and nothing was getting better. Because my diet is nearly dairy free (I do have cows milk protein when I am away from my daughter), wheat seemed to be the natural first selection to eliminate. I did, and I got better.

    It was at this point that we began the testing process. It took several months to officially diagnose me, and it took nearly as long for me to figure out exactly what gluten is (barley?? really?? no more malt, ever?? MAN!).

    It only took a few weeks for me to become concerned with the lack of fiber and the high carbohydrates/starches that a gluten free lifestyle seemed to include.

    My ex-mother-in-law, who is on a gluten free diet as part of her RA treatment, had talked to me about you and your recipes several times…for my birthday, she not only bought me your cookbook, she also sent me our first 5 lb bag of almond flour. :) Heaven! There are few baked items that I will make with anything else now…I feel better using your higher protein recipes. I appreciate the fact that most of your items are dairy free already, and if they aren’t, it is easy for me to find a replacement.

    That first 5 lbs only lasted us about two weeks (I had birthday’s, class parties, and bread to make…have I mentioned I have five children and a husband to cook for too??). I have since purchased another 25 lbs, and am about to purchase our second large order.

    Because of the extreme sensitivity I have, we, as a family, decided it was best to create a gluten free environment in our home. My children get their chance at gluten; we just don’t make anything in the house so as to avoid me getting sick. Your recipes have made the transition easier than I could have imagined.

    After a year of steroids, I am finally on the right track (and off the medicines!). I hope to help my body heal in full, hope to lose the weight that has piled on with the treatments I have been going through, and look forward to not only a healthier life, but a tasty one at that.

    Thank you Elana!!


  40. Jenda says

    What a lovely community that exists where we can share our stories—thank you Elana for maintaining such an upbeat atmosphere and for your simple, delicious recipes.
    I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was a teenager, but it was only in the last few weeks (I’m trying to get pregnant) that I went to an incredible ND that explained the relationship between PCOS and insulin resistance—which explains why my regime of serious exercise, including a lot of running and a lean diet, has not resulted in a pound of weight loss. She’s recommending a Paleo diet as well, and compliance to no gluten or dairy.
    Using blogs such as this has helped keep the journey one of exploration, curiosity and abundance—rather than deprivation.
    The side effects of this kind of living is better health, despite all the obstacles. And honestly, I feel like my diet is cleaner and richer than it’s ever been.
    Keep up the good work, all of us, for taking our health into our own hands, and thanks for your inspiring example Elana.

  41. says

    I didn’t think that I had a gluten sensitivity until I started eating Paleo at the first of the year. I had been tested before for Celiac Disease based on symptoms, but the results came back negative. As I now know, those blood tests almost always incorrect, and although they may indicate true Celiac, (intestinal damage) they will not show a sensitivity. After eating paleo for 30 days, and re-introducing grains back into my diet, it was obvious that grains did not agree with me!
    Like Elana, my health problems started after pregnancy. After having my second child, my health was a wreck for no apparent reason. I took my laundry list of symptoms (depression, bloating, water retention, facial numbness, elevated blood sugar, abdominal pain, ovarian cysts, severe PMS, joint aches, and lethargy) to several different doctors, ending up with prescriptions for antidepressants, diuretics, (sp?) and thyroid meds for hypothyroidism. My symptoms became “manageable” but I still wasn’t myself. I started embracing the idea that this must be the new me, and I just needed to deal with it. That is no way to live–let me tell you!
    Now that I am gluten, and mostly dairy-free, my symtoms are GONE and I am no longer need ANY medication! I feel great, and am a true believer in an allergy-free (Paleo) diet.
    Thank you Elana, for all of your hard work and dedication. Your recipes are delicious, and I have shared your website with ALL of my friends!

  42. Lynn Salmon-Easter says

    I stumbled upon your website last year during the holidays,when I was looking for a macaroon recipe. Your website has been a lifesaver for me both physically and emotionally. I was smitten from the first glimpse and knew your site was different. It has been a love affair ever since!

    I have been gluten and dairy free since 1996. Similar to you, I have discovered that I feel best on a paleo diet and need to remain grain free to feel optimall as well.

    I guess I am just SO thankful for your gorgeous simple cooking!! Your site is really helping me to finally come to terms with my optimal diet. It is such a delight to read your posts and hear from others that are grain intolerant and more. Honestly, I just don’t know too many people in my daily life that eat paleo. I have been ruffled emotionally over the years to find that going gluten and dairy free was not healing me. I have dabbled in the SCD diet, but have never committed wholeheartedly. You inspire me. And it is no wonder I was attracted to your site instantly…. Being SCDesque and paleo. It is the first site I have really delved into fully.

    Thank you for all your efforts and hundreds of hours inthe kitchen. We are all so grateful for your tireless commitement and honesty.

    For those of you interested in testingbfor gluten sensitivity/celiac as well as dairy/casein, soy and egg. I highly recommend http://www.enterolab.com for testing.
    This site was started by Dr. Kenneth Fine. He is an MD that has made it his mission to educate about gluten sensitivity and celiac. There is a ton of information on his site and many options for testing. The testing is thru stool and you do not need to go through a doctor to get tested.
    On this site you can choose to get genetic testing done through stool, which I did when I had my daughter to confirm she was a celiac gene carrier. You can also have other sensitivies tested as well as yearly testing to see if you are getting hidden gluten. I can’ t say enough how this site has changed my life.

    Why stool testing vs. Blood.
    Just a word about why enterolab is a good choice. Aside from the fact that you do not need doctors orders to get tested through enterolab, the stool testing shows a greater accuracy. It is known that for the blood test to show positive for celiac, there has to be damage in the intestine. If one can catch their sensitivity sooner than later you will be much better off!
    Good luck!

  43. Jessica says

    As usual Elana, a thoughtful, touching, sensitive and timely reminder of the heady highs and occasional lows of negotiating an alternative eating plan.
    As for my tale, I had several symptoms including many of those mentioned above.. chronic inflamation, depression, earaches, fatigue, stomach pains, mood swings, neurosis, horrible skin, paranoia! I think the worst by far was a crippling social anxiety.
    The strangest part of it all was that it was just “normal” for me. It was like I was behind some glass wall where everyone else seemed to know how to be happy but it was completely foreign to me. My whole adult life seemed to be physical or mental pain. I was 32 when I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown when a colleauge suggested I see a specialist that had helped her auitistic son through diet habits. I knew I had digestion problems my whole life but I always broke the rules. It was as you say like an addiction, so tied up in emotions and ideas of rewarding the self with food.
    Anyway it seems like a lifetime ago- merely 2 years and I have a completely new life after listening to my body with love. I feel like I have just been born!!! Ha ha hee hee life is so beautiful and delightful and full of potential. I have broken through, risen above so many obstacles and with a regime of yoga- kundalini is particularly excellent for the nervous system if you are interested- I have come to a place that I had no idea about- balance! I am almost completely painfree, positive, happy, creative, confident and looking forward to so much in my future.
    Thank you Elana for your pragmatic intelligent approach and your generous sense of community. I still have so many recipes to try in your book ! Love and light

  44. Amy Griffin says

    Elana, thanks so much for sharing your story.

    If you don’t mind me asking – how did you and your son get tested? I’m so confused about this issue. I’ve had a suspicion for about 2 yrs that my oldest son and myself have celiac. I started noticing right after the birth of my 2nd son, 2 yrs ago, that my belly would hurt, I would have bowel issues, etc, whenever I baked challah on Friday. We eat very healthy, compared to the standard of our country, and are really into traditional foods (fermentation, raw, good, local fatty grass-fed protein, etc), so I was surprised when my health and my son’s health seemed to suffer so much. He gets rashes on his face and has severe bowel issues, also complains about his belly almost every day. It makes me so sad. Now that my youngest son is two and in the process of weaning (eating more solid food), I am noticing the same rashes and bowel issues that I suffer from and my oldest suffer from. It’s almost uncanny, really, how we can all wake up in the morning and have the same exact symptoms after eating out at a restaurant, without talking about them to influence each other. Do you know what I mean?

    Anyhow, I have gone gluten free in our house for weeks at a time and when we do it my son feels wonderful (and so do I). Basically, we do protein (meat, fish, fermented raw dairy) veggies, fruit, brown rice or rice noodles, and sprouted lentils. We all feel great! However, we live near family, and though they are all very loving, they can be very opinionated about alternative food and pressure us to eat at their house, feel hurt if we bring special foods or tell them we’re not eating such and such, and then we give in and the bad health cycle continues. Perhaps you’re a bit familiar with that.

    Basically, I really, really want to get my son and myself tested so that I can be truer to myself and have something “tangible” and consistent when it comes to the way that our family eats, especially when confronted with hurt feelings and excessive pressure from others. I’ve tried going the gastro-doc route, to no avail. (He just kept telling me that all toddlers and preschoolers have stomach issues, constipation, loose stools, belly aches, eczema, etc…) Just wouldn’t do the test and I didn’t have the energy to try to convince him.

    What type of practitioner did you see, and how did they test, for you and your son?

    Thanks again for your story and all of your hard work.

  45. Carolyn says

    I was looking at your book on Amazon and I noticed that your recipes didn’t include Xanthan Gum. I was always under the impression that xanthan gum was a necessary ingredient in gluten-free baking to help bind the ingredients together that the wheat glutens normally do. Please advise. I’m skeptical to try GF recipes without xanthan as it’s costly to waste the precious GF flours.

    • Betsy says

      Elana’s recipes largely use eggs as the binder. I have tried nearly everything in her cook book and many many things on the website as well, and I have never had anything fall apart on me. Don’t be afraid!

  46. Beulah says

    Thank you for sharing your story in this beautifully written essay!!! I would also like to hearing your journey of healing with MS.


  47. ella says

    Thanks so much for your honesty Elana! So nice to hear other people continue to have have things they crave but know it isn’t the best decision :)– I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis 12/2008, but looking back I always had digestive problems-I thought I was just ‘sensitive’, but apparently it went much deeper. I have been doing the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (of course against my doctors advice, but with the help of my homeopath) strictly for 5 months now and have been symptom free for 3 1/2. I plan on getting my GI doc a copy of the book “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” so he can share with other patients ;). It is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Not only did my physical health improve, but my emotional health is better and my skin is clear! I have tried and tried to reintroduce cheese (my weakness) as there are a lot of allowable cheeses on the SCD, but every time I have tried my face breaks out and I am concerned that the skin break outs are what I am seeing on the outside, but worse could be happening on the inside. I have found that I do well with some goat cheeses every once in a while (but when I start I cant stop!). Since I can’t tolerate much in the dairy dept, I found that making homemade yogurt is my new staple breakfast food–I use whole milk and I ferment it for 24 hours at least to get rid of all lactose and my body loves it! I can also make dripped yogurt cheese from it and it is good too and kind of takes care of my cheese fetish. It is amazing the small things I can appreciate when I find something that works. Just thought I would share for those of you with dairy issues, maybe the homemade yogurt would be an idea to try? I am new to the blogging world and am appreciating everyone’s input–SO nice to hear like-minded thoughts. THANKS!!

  48. A says

    When I was 11 I was tested for allergies. I’m allergic to so many foods. Wheat is one of them, but I never paid much attention to it because I was busy dealing with adjusting my diet to avoid my more serious allergies (milk, seafood, and so on). It’s taken quite a few years to adapt my cooking, especially with sweets (I should avoid beet and cane sugar).

    A couple years ago I became interested in wheat-free cooking after my mother discovered that she also had a common wheat allergy (but, like me, she can eat spelt, so it’s much less restrictive than a gluten-free diet). I started trying to prepare dishes for her and at the same time learned some things which I could apply to my own diet. I can’t say that I cook without wheat all the time now, but thanks to your site and others I have been able to reduce the amount of wheat I consume. Your site in particular is useful because you rely on the types of sweeteners I already use: agave, stevia, etc. so I’m able to transition to the wheat-free substitutions without suffering too many baking disasters. I hope to do more of that in the future. Everyone I have given your cinnamon roll muffins to loves them, even if they have no dietary restrictions at all.

  49. says

    Ever since I was a wee little one, I’ve suffered from almost constant sinus. I had asthma as a child and the most horrible eczema breakouts. <= once you get one, its almost impossible to get it to clear.

    Sometime around my 21st birthday (last year) my childhood asthma came back. The first doctor I went to told me it was a freak accident and it probably won't happen again. Funny that, because I had another attack shortly after the steroids wore off.

    I went along to a new doctor who openly told me that the medical profession treats symptoms and not causes. He made me do a two week food diary. After that phase, he told me it was pretty clear to him I have food issues and that gluten and dairy were the most likely culprits. I then spent a few months on an Elimination diet. He was right, gluten and dairy are problems, but so are refined foods. I eat completely whole grain now. Lots of vegetables. I'm also moving toward a more vegetarian lifestyle. I call myself "half" a vegetarian as I only eat meat every second day.

    I'm still learning. Every now and then, I will eat something and wake up the next morning with sinus. I hate sinus. I'm at the point where I refuse to eat things that will do that to me. The mild stomach cramps I can do, the sinus, I cannot.

  50. Valentina says

    Dear Elana, just sharing with you that my husband and I were craving dairy very much in the past. But I found amazing recipes on http://www.drbenkim.com based on cashews and macadamia nuts. They helped us to eliminate our dairy cravings completely and naturally. It was a miracle for us! Here they are:

    Healthy Cream Cheese Recipe
    By Dr. Ben Kim

    2 cups raw, organic cashews
    3 tablespoons cold pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
    1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    Green onions or chives (optional)

    Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend into a smooth cream. Add just a few tablespoons of water at first, and add an additional tablespoon at a time as you blend until you reach the consistency that you’re aiming for.

    If you enjoy cream cheese with fresh herbs, add a heaping tablespoon of green onions, chives (or any other fresh herbs that are readily available) to the mix before you blend.

    This healthy cream cheese can be used as a spread on your favourite bread. I especially enjoy eating it with Fuji apple slices as an evening snack.

    Note from V: you may make it thinner and use it as the most delicious dressing (tastes like Alfredo!). Use chives or a little bit of garlic there for sure.

    Healthy Sweet Cashew Cream Recipe
    By Dr. Ben Kim

    If you enjoy adding cream to healthy pies, cakes, berries, cereals, and tea, give this sweet cashew cream recipe a try – it’s rich in healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, which are good for keeping your heart and blood vessels healthy.

    Cashew cream is also naturally rich in magnesium, which your body needs to keep your bones, teeth, muscles, and nervous system optimally healthy.

    If you don’t need your cream to be too sweet, simply omit the honey, or use less than what’s listed below. Quality cashews have a natural hint of sweetness that makes pure cashew cream quite pleasant on its own.

    1 cup raw organic cashews or raw organic cashew butter
    1/2 cup water
    1/4 cup raw organic honey

    1. Combine all ingredients in a strong blender.
    2. Blend until smooth. Add more water if needed.

    Transfer sweet cashew cream to a glass jar, cap the jar with a lid, and chill in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours before using. Sweet cashew cream will stay fresh in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to one week.

    Please note: If you prefer a thick cream, use less water and pause the blender to give the ingredients a good mix/swirl one or more times.

    Note from V: you can use any healthy sweetener of your choice instead of honey.

  51. Tai says

    I love your cook book, and this site so much! Thank you for sharing your story. I can totally relate when you said that you want your son to enjoy the foods you loved as a child. I can give up things and understand why I have to, but I don’t want my little girl (diagnosed at 22 months with Celiac) to have to miss out on all the fun foods of childhood. Thanks for doing all that you do so I can give my baby that!

  52. Derj says

    I am so with you Elana….I SHOULD cut out dairy, but it is so good! I’ve been tested for gluten intolerance, but it came back negative, however I still have cut it out along with any sort of cane sugar. But dairy….oh dairy I love you too much :)

  53. Stacie says

    Are you sure you don’t have Candida? It sounds like you might, to me anyway. I have it and eating tasty food is challenging! I am not only gluten free but yeast, sugar, and dairy free too. It is quite a challenge for me!

  54. says

    Elana–I love it. Thank you for a more detailed story of your journey to this website and your great cooking. Your cooking has inspired me in so many ways! Thanks for taking the time to be so personal.

  55. Linda M says

    My sister discovered she was gluten-intolerant 20 yrs ago by doing an allergy diet and since she knew I had similar symptoms, she challenged me do give up gluten. It was hard to do but I found amazing relief from pain and digestive issues almost instantly. I have often cheated a bit here and there through the years (not much, but a bite here and there occasionally – not good) until a couple years ago when I developed Ulcerative Colitis. Now I don’t dare cheat and I have also given up dairy (also not easy). This has really helped my UC so I know I’m on the right track with both of these food issues. But I also made the mistake of substituting soy products for dairy ones and that caused issues with my thyroid (which was already an issue, but eating lots of soy suddenly messed up my thyroid levels), so now I am giving up soy too.

    Since diabetes is a big issue in my family and I have a tendency to gain weight easily, I have to really watch my sugar and starch intake, so I really appreciate your almond flour recipes which help me stay lower on carbs (I do use some artificial sweeteners since Agave is too high glycemic for me). Thanks so much for your recipes. I would never have thought of using almond flour on my own. I know I need to follow a Paleo style diet and I am mostly grain-free at this point and am striving to become totally grain free (I do eat some rice and some corn but very occasionally at this point). So I am continuing to change my eating. It’s been a long learning process but I am learning.

  56. Susan Shaver says

    I am so pleased that you have told us about your own story, and I am looking forward to hearing more about how you really eat to feel good. I had almost cancelled getting your emil info since it seemed to be mostly deserts. I discovered that I had a gluten problem when I visited Japan as a delegate from my town to our Japanese sister city and told them I didn’t want ANY American food, only Japanese. Well guess what! My almost constant diarrhea went away. Then when I came back home within a few days it started up again. I had ulcerative colitis and am quite irritated that the docs had never suggested gluten free. I was on gluten free for about 5 months when I heard about the no grain, no sugar food plan that my chiropractor was starting. Wow, after 4 1/2 more months – my arthritis had also gotten much better, I totally went off all the pain medications. I lost 35 lbs – went from a size 16 to a 10, and eat entirely differently. I don’t even do your agave recipes, but do occassionally use stevia or xylitol. Mostly I eat organic vegetables (the low glycemic ones) berries for fruits, and grass fed beef, free range eggs and chicken, organic butter, cream and yogurt. I don’t even feel like the same person. I am looking forward to your healthy paleo diet recipes. Thank you Elana!

    • Susan Shaver says

      Oh – forgot, I also eat lots of nuts, and good for you oils like coconut and other nut oils, and grow sprouts for live food, and soak almonds overnight – yum.

  57. Monique says

    hi elana

    what a beautiful pic of you and your boys. thanks so much for sharing with us. i too feel best on a low fruit paleo diet. i love dairy but it doesn’t love me.


  58. says

    Thank you for sharing your story Elana! Although I tested negative for Celiac, I know my body does not tolerate gluten! I am still working through other allergies (or what I think are allergies) with no real help from my doctors. I get itchy, red rashes and intense stomach pains on a daily basis and have had no luck making a strong connection between my symptoms and my habits or diet (other than the gluten problems). I just cannot seem to figure it out. Through all of my frustration, your blog posts give me something to look forward to. I am always excited when I get a free minute to check your site for new recipes. I was overjoyed to see such an open and honest post from you today. Thank you for all of your hard work and delicious, healthy recipes.

  59. says

    Beautiful. That’s all I can say. I love the fact that you are very honest with us, telling about having your dairy at times when you know you shouldn’t. I do that too, but am weaning myself off with self talk, meditation and self hypnosis, It’s worked amazingly so far (a week into phasing out most pasteurized dairy).

    I started eating grain-free since 19 years old, so about 1 1/2 years ago. It’s completely changed how I look at food, how I feel, how I look and so much more. I just do better on a grain-free eating plan. I’m also a semi- low carber, but not intentionally; it’s only because I’m grain free I still get healthy carbohydrates from low-glycemic fruits and vegetables, and occasionally (and I mean rarely) from sprouted buckwheat and quinoa.

    Your website is amazing because I’m also love to cook, and I like to find recipes that will suit me so I can use them as is, or tweak them a bit until I receive a good alternative. You give me so many ideas, and I love you for that. You are my favorite blogger.

    It is my goal to be like you in some ways–to inspire, help, attend and excite others, while still holding on to my unique personal touch. I am so grateful for you, and thank you again, for your story and your work.

    -Brandon May

  60. says

    I too would love to see information about how you actually eat day to day. I think paleo might be the way for me to go, but with how much else I have going on in my life (as a grad student in a crucial time of my studies), I don’t have much free time to research it.

  61. Audrey says

    I remember talking to the parents of the birthday kid before the party to make sure there was something for my son to eat. If it was hot dogs, I would put his in a thermos hot, so the mom could just serve him. If it was PBJ I would send his almond butter and jelly sandwiches. His allergies weren’t gluten, but chemical/artificial colors/sugar related. It was nice to have him seem to be having the same food, but really eating what worked for him. I always arrived a cake time, so we could take his home to “eat later” giving him a safe treat instead.

  62. Lynnette says

    Elana, Thank you for contributing to my joy in life with delicious food I can eat. I am significantly healthier, vividly happier, cognitively clearer with gluten/grains, cow dairy, corn, sugars and high glycemic fruits out of my pantry. Paleo describes my food lifestyle. My new boyfriend greets me with little bowls of olives, nuts and elk sausage from his successful elk hunting trip. Grass fed meat is all the meat I eat. I was diagnosed gluten sensitive in 2006 almost on my deathbed. When a friend told me her aunt died at my age from gluten sensitivity I found the Gastroenterologist in Longmont knew all about it. My 19 year old son suffers bronchitis and ear infections just like I’d had and finds removing dairy is providing relief. I quit dairy at age 40 and have not suffered hardly a cold since then after a youth of ear ache and later strep throat that antibiotics failed to manage while damaging my immune system. My daughter 21, finds her mood and attitude are much improved without gluten. Its great to know what real food is and isn’t. Progress (commercialism, patenting seeds) has not created better food. Mother Nature had it right. Lets subsidize organic vegetables, fruit and grass fed meat producers. And get back to heirloom seeds kept safe by farmers. Buy local. Remember Mom said to chew our food. And real food is slow, best shared with friends and family, and the best possible health expense. Thanks to you Elana!

  63. Karen says

    Hi Elana,

    I read about your relationship with milk with mixed feelings. Sad for you that you have the problem, and hope for me that you will step away from it and offer up some creative solutions as dairy subs. I am gluten, dairy, and soy free. Most of the dairy subs are soy. Ughhh….

    I love your site and I love your cookbook but the month of cupcakes nearly lost me. No interest whatsoever and they just kept coming and coming and coming and all with a dairy based frosting it seemed. I am glad it’s over and so pleased to have more recipes without the fluff. Sour grapes I suppose since I can’t have the fluff.

    I love that your recipes are paleo in nature most of the time. I think that’s what originally drew me in.

    So, hopefully you’ll come up with more great recipes to share. I can’t help you with giving up milk. I hated it from childhood on. I do miss whipped cream though. :^) Thanks for all you do!

  64. says

    It was really nice to read your journey and how you got to creating this beautiful (and I’m sure time consuming) blog. I too started my blog after I got the results back from an allergy blood test, and decided to change everything I knew about cooking. I have ulcerative colitis and wanted to see if I could help my symptoms in anyway with my diet. When I learned that I was allergic to eggs, dairy, soy, wheat, corn, and some other random foods (tuna, mustard, crab, pinto beans, and peas) I was scared to eat out at restaurants for about 6 months, and always cooked for myself. During this time I collected cookbook after cookbook, and made links to all my favorite and helpful blogs. Now, less than a year after my allergy test, I feel way more confident in the kitchen, as well as ordering at restaurants. I just want to say that I appreciate what you’re doing, and I hope my blog will one day help and entertain as many people as yours has already done.

  65. says

    Super interesting Elana! While not celiac, we suffer from gluten intolerance. Symptoms are far reaching from bipolar disorder, skin problems, tummy issues, aches and pains, distorted sleep patterns, behaviorial problems, yellowing teeth, gum disease, body temp control, sensory issues, anxiety, OCD, developmental delays and the list goes on… All are miraculously resolved in a GF diet. I agree it is just a four letter word that has become the only way for our family to function. It is our norm.

    I am also unfortunately intolerant to dairy. I used to cheat on that one but I have learned my lesson. Severe stomach pains and bloating 5 hours after ingestion followed by skin breakouts and then my immune system tanking leading to a cold after each episode makes it just not worth it. I still miss it though and can identify with the *addiction* you speak of. I rely heavily on coconut milk for desserts and in times where I crave the creamy taste and texture of milk. I have also discovered I can tolerate a bit of goats milk in my English tea and some goats cheese on occasion. This is my compromise.

    Dates, onions and smoked food also cause me problems. Not fun have food intolerances, but grateful to people like you who help make our culinary lives a little more interesting. As a Mom to a 5 and 8 year old who both require gluten free living for quality of life, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do.

    Looking forward to what else you have to say on this matter. Thanks for sharing. Anna

  66. says

    I truly admire your quest to develop tasty gluten free treats for yourself and your family. I also like the fact that you are open-minded and understand the challenges we face with food restrictions (while trying to maintain some quality of life). I can’t have a lot of the gluten free baked goods because I am also allergic to eggs (among other things). I’m a total dark chocolate junkie, and sometimes I have way more than I should. It’s one pleasure in the midst of 15 major foods I have to cut out!

    Keep up the wonderful work! Wishing you health and happiness…

  67. says

    Thank you, Elana, for sharing such a personal story. Very moving. I have been suffering from IBS for most of my adult life. I was told it was all stress. I have been tested negative for Celiac, but I find that a gluten-free diet helps me tremendously. Unfortunately, it’s hard to stay on when my husband and kids enjoy Persian rice and breads and pasta. I have found that many of your recipes help satisfy my sweet tooth, but I don’t feel so awful after eating them. I have shared your website with many friends and they are always surprised to find how delicious and simple your recipes are. I just have to be more deliberate in keeping the good stuff around me!

  68. says

    I appreciated this entry very much, and I continue to be tempted by all the gluten free treats on this blog!

    I’m a Holistic Health Counselor and Psychotherapist, and I am still learning about my own body (it’s still a work in progress!) and which foods make me and my clients feel better. I had some very strange symptoms about 5 years ago when I moved from the States to Argentina where I live now: BAD PMS, headaches, mild depression, joint pain in my right leg, heart palpitations, borderline anemia. I went to an endocrinologist who said I had borderline hypothyroidism and that I just had to “deal with it” and get on some thyroid meds that I would take for the rest of my life.

    I didn’t take his advice, of course, but instead began a journey to understand myself better, which meant trying differnt foods, practicing yoga, basically, taking care of myself better. After my friend was diagnosed with celiac disease, I decided to find out if my symptoms were due to that, too, but they came out negative. Then when I started studying to be a Holistic Health Counselor, I experimented with taking out all wheat products. In a few days, my joint pain disappeared, my PMS improved (now I just get a little weepy), no heart palpitations, and I’m not as bloated. Even my periods aren’t as heavy! (sorry, it may be TMI, but this is a BIG deal for me!)

    To really prove that I had something funky going on with wheat, I had a wheat fest for about a week–around 1 month into my wheat free fast–and ate pasta and bread. Didn’t overdo it, just ate it like I did before. Results: a 3 day headache, return of my joint pain, and a yeast infection. SOOOOOO much easier going wheat free, so I’ve pretty much stuck to it.

    As part of the evolution of my diet, I’ve been including formerly “banned”foods, like reintroducing organic butter and red meat (Argentina has great beef) into my diet, and I feel much stronger. The most surprising thing is that I haven’t gained any weight with my change in eating habits. In fact, I’ve lost weight.

    I haven’t cut out all grains, though. I do eat some quinoa sometimes, and organic brown rice is still a staple I eat 2 times a week. I don’t experience any problems with these. I also eat oatmeal a couple of times a month (gluten free), and I haven’t had any reactions with that either. What really helps with grains, I think, is soaking them over night. That may help some people digest them better because it gets rid of the natural insecticides they have that may cause people some problems, and also breaks the grain down a little bit for them.

    The body really is a mysterious thing, and it’s been really fun to get to know it! Trying to go wheat free for a few days is the first thing I recommend to clients to try when they come see me for health and wellness consultations!

    Thanks, Elanna, for all your wonderful work!

  69. says

    I found out I was gluten intolerant 5 years ago… I was suffering from lots of health issues, the most pressing and painful was endometriosis. Doctors wanted to give me a full hysterectomy (though couldn’t promise me I would be necessarily symptom free.) Or they suggested taking contraceptive pills continually thereby stopping menstruation entirely till I went into menopause. Instead I asked to be tested for Gluten intolerance and the test came back positive, since then I have cleared up 90 percent of the symptoms of endometriosis by going on a GF diet. Now I realize just going on a GF diet is not the be all and end all I used to think it was. Its seems that now the dust has settled, I have other digestion issues to deal with that the GF diet alone does not take care of… So I spent a few weeks on a specific carbo. diet, and avoiding sugars etc.. and IT WORKED, I did feel better, much less nausea and bloating, and more energy… It is a tough diet though and I really miss my sweet treats… I’m always fine tuning though, and trying to find the right balance. Your book, has helped tremendously in weaning off of the processed treats.. thank you so much:) Neinah

  70. says

    I too am on the gluten-free, yeast-free, dairy-free adventure. I just got my ALCAT results about a month ago and have been getting REALLY creative in the kitchen trying to sneak all my desserts and snacks in any way I can. Also, pregnant, so it puts a damper on my runs to Susiecakes for a cupcake, but hopefully it will all be worth it. I want to support others in my situation and let them know there are options and delicious ones! I have been documenting recipes and products and invite anyone to join me. Any tips on how to get more followers? I’d love to get the word out ther any way I can !

  71. Susan says

    Elana, thank you for posting your story! I happened on this site a few months ago, tempted by the “sweets” recipes. Though I do not have celiac disease, wheat is a big issue. I have been eating a restricted diet for 2 years, but am not satisfied with the food or how I am feeling. Processed foods, vinegar, sugar, wheat, soy and some dairy (I eat Greek yogurt) are all off the menu.

    Finding transitional recipes – easily found ingredients, still somewhat tasting the same as my previous foods – has been difficult, but doable. What I find is that I’m so tired that cooking for myself becomes exhausting. So, yes, cheating happens. It gets to be a vicious cycle, too tired to fix something, eating what I shouldn’t, and then feeling sicker.

    Despite all this, I do feel better than before, but migraines still plague me. Your website and blogs give me hope though, and can help me as I continue to trip through the maze of my health!

  72. Janet says

    I’ve spent 20-30 years battling migraines. I’ve been to family doctors, neurologists, ENTs, allergists, dentists, even psychiatrists. They’ve tried sinus surgery, TMJ treatment, beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, blood pressure medicine, allergy shots, antihistamines, decongestants, anti-depressants, you name it, they tried it. I would develop inflammation in my sinuses that would escalate into a migraine. Nothing seemed to help. On top of which, there were times when I was so exhausted I couldn’t do anything. During my annual exam a few years ago, the traditional blood tests showed I had a low iron count (I was also getting turned away from giving blood donations on a regular basis due to insufficient iron levels).

    A few months ago I was reading an article about dietary supplements to prevent migraines. Wanting to make sure none of them would have a bad interaction with any current medication I was on, I did a Google search. At the top of the results was a link to a chiropractor who specialized in migraines and fibromyalgia. I checked out his website and decided to give his program a try since all the more traditional methods I’d been pursuing hadn’t been helping. One of the first things he did was a complete metabolic panel on me. They tested urine, feces, blood and saliva. It was from those tests that the results came back on my reactivity to gluten (and soy). It also showed a non-specific elevated level of inflammation.

    I’ve been off gluten for three months now and for the last two have been nearly headache free. I’ve not had a full blown migraine and the mild headaches I’ve had were easily remedied without the need for medication. After the diagnosis, I found out a niece of mine is also gluten intolerant. I suspect my mother has celiac because of the digestive issues she’s had for years. I’ve been encouraging her to get herself tested for it.

    Because I’d had few digestive issues over the years, I never suspected a food intolerance, though the problems with the iron levels is likely related. I had begun some time ago taking iron supplements because around the time I started having the low iron levels I was also having problems with restless leg syndrome. My doctor had tried prescribing Requip for me. I had a bad reaction to it, including auditory hallucinations. Then I did some research and discovered that low iron levels can result in restless leg syndrome so I decided on my own to take the iron supplements. That seemed to do the trick.

    Now I’m trying to balance the gluten-free with some needed weight loss. I’ve put the gluten free requirement as the priority of the two so I’ve been finding it harder to get the right calorie/fat content to lose weight. I just ordered a couple of books from Amazon that are suppose to deal with both issues. The hard thing for me is my full time schedule of work and volunteering for an animal shelter. Like now, I have a momma kitty and four babies to foster and one of the babies is sick and may not survive. Thinking about preparing nutritious, low calorie meals ends up at the bottom of my list of things to do. Of course, being someone who doesn’t particularly like to cook doesn’t help.

    I had been on Jenny Craig for several months and was successfully losing weight. It had the advantage of being pre-configured and prepared so all I had to do is grab a frozen meal, pop it in the microwave and bingo! Meal planning made simple. However, Jenny doesn’t do gluten free. In fact, I had to have my doctor send the company a letter with the diagnosis of my gluten intolerance in order to get a refund on the remainder of my last order (I was doing the Jenny @Home program).

    I had originally planned to continue doing some of the Jenny foods once I reached my goal weight, then this happened. So, not only did I have to immediately stop all Jenny food, but I had no gradual transition to developing my own menu plan. I called my insurance company to see if dietary counseling was covered by my insurance plan. Apparently it only covers it if I have diabetes. That kind of stupidity in insurance coverage makes you want to fake an illness if it means you can see the specialist you need. [sigh]

    • says

      I went to a nutritionist after being diagnosed with celiac and was beyond disappointed. She knew less than I did after I spent only a few hours on the internet and actually gave me bad information. Don’t feel at too much of a loss about not having nutritional coverage. You can learn most of what you need from books and careful searching online. Good luck!

  73. Fiona says

    I suffered from chronic eczema,numerous allergies, sinusitis, digestive problems and asthma for 38 years. In the UK my doctor just wrote all of these down to hereditary problems (my father’s family having suffered similarly over the years) and simply treated the symptoms (lots of steroids in one form or another). Then in 2005 we relocated to Germany for work and my new doctor dramatically announced that she would get to the bottom of my health problems.

    I sceptically agreed to various tests and was completely heartbroken when I was diagnosed with celiac disease…. until the GF diet began to have marvellous effects. After that we continued allergy testing and eliminating more foods (eggs being another huge problem for me) until I was almost completely free of eczema, sinus and digestive issues. I have never had so much energy!! If only my UK doctors had been so well-informed and pro-active.

    I’ve not heard of paleo before – very interesting. Not sure I could stick to it though!!

  74. Steph says

    I’ve been gluten free for 18 months and rarely eat grains of any kind, because I feel best that way. I wasn’t diagnosed as celiac, but as having a gluten sensitivity that was found in blood work. Just curious…was your and your son’s diagnosis based on blood work or a biopsy? I have 2 sons as well and, although I don’t see specific symptoms, I wonder if they should be tested.

    • A different Steph says

      Steph, what blood test did you have that showed gluten sensitivity? I tested negative for Celiac but believe I am gluten sensitive. I also believe I have dairy issues. I was told that 50% of people with gluten issues also have dairy issues.

      • Steph says

        Hi Steph, the blood test that I had was a “Gliadin Peptide Ab, IgG” with a Reference Range of 10 Positive. My results were 14.

  75. says

    Thank you so much for posting that. I am gluten intolerant but also can’t digest grains or dairy and I am allergic to soy. Coconut milk and almond flour have become my best friends along with stevia since I can’t have sugar either. It is a relief more than a burden to eat this way since I know I just won’t feel good if I don’t. Thank you for all your recipes! I would love to see more dairy and sugar/agave free.

    • pam says

      Great to hear so much about peoples stories and who they feel. Im gluten free and it took me some time to get gluten free. Always sick. I’m doing great being gluten free, but think i might be intolerant to sugar as if i eat sweet cakes and bis, pudding, i get joint pain and upset stomach. Headache. dose anyone else find sugar bad.

  76. Shannon says

    Can you recommend a good book on the Paleo diet. I read the Wiki article and it sounds like something that my dear digestive system would love! I am going to look around your website and see if you have it listed somewhere. Anyone else can make a suggestion too! Thanks! Oh my son and I are both gluten free and I am also dairy free.

  77. says

    I know it doesn’t sound that meaningful, but PLEASE trust me when I say THANK YOU so much for writing this and sharing your story. Thank you, always.

  78. Amy says

    Hi Elana!

    Thanks for sharing your story. Since I have known you so long, I confess I was curious, but didn’t want to be nosy. Did you have symptoms in childhood? Of course, I don’t remember you ever complaining about anything, but sometimes digestive things are seen as private and/or I was just an oblivious kid.

    Lots of love

    • says

      Thanks for your question Amy.

      I had been having classic symptoms of celiac disease and malabsorption for most of my life. I was chronically anemic and whenever I was under stress would get angular chelitis.

      However, I did not have any digestive distress growing up. And I would have told you if I did, especially since you ran away to my house dressed up as a cowboy when you were 4 years old.

  79. Mary Hampton says

    Elana, I think your cookbook and recipes are fantastic!! I am beside myself right now though. I had a blood allergy test done and I and very high on almonds and gluten. I do not have celiac as they tested me for that. So I cannot have almond flour and I am supposed to be following the Type B blood type food list which says I can’t have coconut or tapioca flour either. UGH!!!! I am frustrated and upset. Not knowing where to turn. I crave bread terribly. My cholesterol and triglycerides are out of sight at the moment and I need to take drastic measures before they put me on drugs which I do not want to take. Thanks again for your recipes and cookbook. I loved everything I made until I found out all this wonderful news. Good luck to you.

  80. says

    Our 3 year old has suffered for over a year w/ chronic D, if you know what I mean! My husband and daughter have Crohn’s D and I had them on the Specific Carbo Diet for several months. My daughter got some healing, my son didn’t and hubby didn’t want anything to do w/ SCD. I personally am a raw foodist. That is what makes me feel great.I incorporate a large percent of raw foods into their diets and they do really well with them. The 3 year old get even sicker when eating beef, so that has been cut out 100%. Also chocolate. He can’t even have a drop of it. It increases the GI problems ten fold. We had even gone dairy free for almost a year and that didn’t give him any improvement.
    Our son goes to the pediatric GI this week. I am going to ask him for a test for Celiac D. . It is so frustrating and such a hard journey. I just hope we can find the answers b/c I am tormented watching him suffer w/ diarrhea every day and stomach bloating and only once in a while he’ll say his tummy hurts. Thanks for sharing your post!
    Peace & Health,

  81. Jennifer R. says

    We have more in common besides being gluten free… I was pregnant with my first child in 1998 and also 30 years old (but my gluten intolerance was not diagnosed until Jan 2009 — I was anemic and having malabsorption issues too).

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I need to do better about the social situations with my kids (it’s only been about a year that my kids went gluten free — I have 3 kids — almost 12, 9 and 5)

  82. Sondraj says


    Thank you for sharing with us your story and journey. I don’t have celiac’s but I have been Paleo for the past 2 years and love it. Taking grains completely out of my diet has done wonders to my health and body. I love visiting your website and making all the delicious treats and foods. Unfortunately these days, Grocery stores are filled with processed and unhealthy foods that are being passed to the American public as good nutritional foods. Your foods are delicious and nutritional. Thank you for inspiring me in the kitchen. I applaud you and your mission. You are making a giant impact on many people including myself, please keep up your wonderful work.


  83. says

    Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. I am not celiac, but I have a lot of risk factors. I don’t have any family members to the best of my knowledge, but I have an autistic son and other kids with learning disorders, I have autoimmune thyroid issues, and I can’t think of the others, but I’ve often wondered.

    I just like to learn about all kinds of new recipes, even gluten free. Why not?

  84. Emily says

    Elana this was a beautiful post! I, and I know many other readers, appreciate your openness and honesty. I am so glad you have found what works for you! That must be the best feeling. It’s really nice to hear too, that you admit it is hard and sometimes you eat things that don’t make you feel great. I struggle with this and am really making an effort to let those “slip ups” go instead of beating myself up about them. When your diet is highly restricted (like mine) it sometimes makes MORE self control seem impossible. I’m glad I am not the only one! I am looking forward to more of your insight on healing and things that worked for you. Thank you. Talk to you soon! :-) Xo

  85. says

    Very inspiring story Elana! I am working on cutting grains and simple carbs out of my diet. I am already gluten free, dairy free, and soy free… but I still have issues that I’m working out. I think other grains is a big part of that. Your recipes & cookbook have been absolutely lifesaving for me! I hope to post more of my own gluten free almond flour recipes on my blog soon. I never would have learned how to bake that way without your help though! Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  86. says

    I love your story. It’s amazing how complex our bodies are. I’ve been gf since 2007 after being sick for 2+ years and gaining tons of weight fast. A nutritionist figured it out. Dairy left my life a year later and then rice. That’s when I gave up on processed foods and started really cooking and sharing that. I have loved to cook since I was 2 yrs old but like you, I had to feed me and my family when each person had their own list of can and cannot eat foods. It’s settled down now and besides what I’ve listed we don’t eat soy and try to limit sugar. I need to be better at that. Still finding my Vit D is low even after working to get healthier in that department. It’s always something to work on and learn. Life never gets boring.

    My almond flour just arrived so I’m going to get cooking. I promised I’d make your chocolate chip scones. They are by far my families favorite thing I’ve ever made from both your cookbook and mine. My boys would like to move in next door to you actually, me too!

  87. says

    Great Post Elana.

    I haven’t been diagnosed with gluten free but I have cut out grains from my diet in Feb of this year and I feel a 100 times better. Digestive issues are gone and no more drastic mood swings. I always thought I was lactose intolerant but cutting out grains have alleviated the digestive issues.

    I too have a bit of dairy but not too much. Everything in moderation.

    It takes a while getting used to eating a paleo/primal diet but I find it a lot easier than any other diet that I tried.

  88. Betty says

    Thanks so much for this Elana. Knowing some of your story just makes your website even more personal for all of us. I look forward to your next installments!

  89. says

    Elena, I have similar issues and eat mostly Paleo and grain/gluten-free. It was a long trial-and-error process of noticing how certain foods aggravated my numerous symptoms, then cutting them out, seeing how I did, then adding them back in. It took several years to get to where I am now, but these days I can function properly and energetically. I smiled when I read your post because I understand what you mean about gluten-free not seeming like a big deal when you have been eating low-grain for a long time. At one point, I was eating only meat because it was all I could digest (ugh! It was an awful time).

    I would love to see you post about non-grain, non-dessert “treats” for people like us. For instance, when I want a treat, it is better for me to make fresh guacamole rather than bake a sweet gluten-free concoction. When I want something sweet, a flax muffin with a homemade berry spread is better for me than something with agave or high-sugar fruits. It’s hard to come up with something special when you don’t eat grains or many sweets. And I live in Boulder, too, so I appreciate when you post any local tips you have.

    I am glad that someone else understands the “grain-free” thing, not just gluten-free. I don’t know why my body won’t digest grains, but it won’t and ignoring that fact made me miserable for so many years. Glad that we are both so much better!

  90. says

    I also follow the Paleo plan. I don’t look at it as a diet, but rather a lifestyle. I came upon your site early in my paleo journey. Your recipes have been more than helpful. I regularly send friends to your site for desserts. Thank you for your wonderful recipes.

  91. says

    After six years of multiple doctors and multiple wrong-diagnosis (including depression, IBS, amongst others) I finally found out I had Celiac. And what a relief it was.

    I was in college still, and did not understand the impact of the disease, so I was lenient in my gluten free diet at first. My digestive disease consultant put that to an end, quickly.

    After some reading (okay, a lot of reading) I felt a primal/paleo lifestyle was the best thing for me, and embarked on a journey into health and fitness that I knew was going to have a pretty steep learning curve but would help me in the long run. Ultimately, obviously, it did.

    It has been just over a year since I was diagnosed and I’ve just begun to dip into gluten free baking. Although I love the gfree variations that so many other food bloggers come up with for gluten free treats, your blog, Elana, is the only comprehensive, primarily paleo site that suits my tastes. Without your site I would have never tried baking anything, but now I’m experimenting like crazy.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Amy says

      I have this level of gratitude, too, Elana, for your beautiful site. I am truly appreciative of your work. Your recipes are our mainstays here at home, and frankly you have the ONLY bread and muffins my GF son will eat. I also enjoy your healthy drinks, salads, desserts, crackers, the kale tart from your book. The green soup, I have in my fridge always. I could go on and on. Many thanks from a grateful, and healthy, reader!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your comment will need to be approved before it will appear on the site. For substitutions, the only way to know is to try!