My story of why I am Gluten Free

For many years, I have worked in retail. Ahhhh retail, long hours, standing at counters, ever challenging staff, corporations always changing everything to try to keep up, weekends and nights, ya gotta love it. On the other hand, I really did love the field that brought me to retail, Optics, and I was good at it. I was sincere, customers believed me. I could talk the talk and walk the walk. Although I struggled with numbness in my legs and fingers, I chalked it up to standing for hours on end and constantly handling hot eyeglass frames in order to adjust them. Being alone on the sales floor really bothered me, especially as my bladder problems got worse, but with a declining economy , the corporations weren’t having it any other way.When I had an attack of Optic Neuritis that lead to a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, , I finally realized why I had been feeling the way I was. At last, I could start to deal with it, I could start to heal myself. For me, it was a beginning, not an end.

If you know me, you know my sister Barbara Westfall. She and I are inseparable, except for the fact that we live 2000 miles apart! She lives in Boulder, Colorado and I live in Pompano Beach, Fl. Boulder is the place that I would be living if I didn’t live where I do with my husband Mitch. Great husbands are hard to find and I plan on keeping him, and that means living where it’s warm.

Everyone is gluten free in Boulder, well almost everyone. When Barb found out that I had been given the diagnosis, she immediately went to work researching it. Next thing I know, she is telling me that I am going gluten-free! And she would be too, to show her support. Now growing up in Brooklyn, NY on bagels and pizza, that’s like telling me to give up breathing. So I thought. I began looking up what I would be giving up, and found that it didn’t have to be as hard as I thought. I was already eating most of my meals at home, and that was easier than eating out. It did take some time to figure out the hidden foods that I needed to be aware of and that was going to be the tricky part. There are lots of foods that may contain wheat or are manufactured in places where wheat products are also made. I will give you an example. Take Maltodextrin, for example. Maltodextrin is a white powder often used in processed foods as a thickener or a filler since it’s fairly inexpensive, as well as in pharmaceuticals as a binding agent. You’ll find it in canned fruits, snacks, cereal, desserts, instant pudding, sauces, and salad dressings. Since it contains fewer calories than sugar, it’s also found in sugar substitutes, such as Splenda or Equal. Maltodextrin can be derived from any starch. In the US, this starch is usually corn; in Europe, it is commonly wheat. While wheat-derived maltodextrin may cause concern for individuals suffering from gluten intolerance, maltodextrin is such a highly processed ingredient from which the majority of the protein is removed, it is basically gluten-free. If wheat is used to make maltodextrin, it may or may not appear on the label. Even so, the maltodextrin itself will be gluten-free. See it can get a little complicated. I find that sticking to basic foods is the best in the beginning, but I am still eating most of my meals at home, a year and 1/2 later! Little by little , I am introducing my family to some gluten-free foods, but I have to bring them with me , and don’t count on them to have them or cook them, when I come. That’s ok, though, because as time goes on, they are getting more receptive to the benefits of eating gluten-free and that can’t be bad. I always bring a bag of Crunchmaster Multi-grain crackers with me, so I can enjoy the cheese plate if it’s served. If you are someone who likes to go out to eat a lot , you just need to find some go-to foods that you can rely on in a pinch until you sort it all out. Or you could go raw, and just eat vegetables and fruits, like my son Brayden does most of the time. It’s probably not for me but you need to decide that for yourselves.

I’m afraid I have gotten off the original topic of why I am now gluten-free. When I found out that certain foods could reduce inflammation in my body, and therefore help the symptoms caused by M.S., I decided to be pro-active about the disease that could be very damaging to my health over time. Giving up bagels and donuts and pasta and pizza no problem! I had eaten enough of that junk anyway in my life, and I was ready to make a commitment to healthier eating . Maybe I could even loose a few pounds!! As it turns out, that has not happened , because I have replaced these things with rice products and other flours that have calories just like wheat! I am definitely eating a lot more fruits and vegetables to replace things that used to eat. So I look forward to slimming down in the long run, or just not gaining any weight since as you get older it is better to be lighter for many reasons. But that’s another article entirely!

My Gluten Free Biscotti

My hand rolled gluten free biscotti is made with organic sorghum and millet flour. I have 3 scrumptious flavors, Original Almond -date, Cherry Dark chocolate chip and Walnut-raisin. Great for an on-the-go breakfast, afternoon pick-me-up or evening dessert with ice cream or tea, or both!!!!!

For you diabetics out there, I am working on substituting sugar in my recipe. Agave and Stevia both have low GI levels and although generally safe, diabetics should use caution when consuming .

Read more:

Welcome to GlutenFreeRobin

Welcome to my Gluten-Free website!!!
After going gluten-free (gf) in March of 2011, following a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, I set out trying lots of different gf products. Through trial and error , and a cupboard full of mediocre products, I have found foods that do taste like ,and have the textures, that we are used to in traditional foods. As I get more involved in this website, I will be introducing my favs in the hope that I can save you some time and money when finding your own. Let’s face it, eating gf is more expensive than traditional foods. I had a conversation once with an acquaintance that was eating all organic foods and when I asked her how she managed, she very honestly said “I just eat less”. Well, I am eating much better these days, and do not intend to eat less. Well not much less anyway.!!!
Eating gf is pricey, and I can understand why, but I don’t have to like it! And I intend to save money while eating gf, so stick around and maybe we can save some money together.

Here is a short list of my very favorite gf products:
Wholesome Meal Snack Bites
CrunchMaster multi-seed crackers
San-J organic tamari
Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate chips
Chef’s Choice Chantoboon Rice Sticks
Jovial brown rice pasta
Udi’s Millet-Chia bread
Smucker’s Natural peanut butter




What is a Gluten Free Diet!

A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes foods containing gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye, malts, and triticale. It is used as a food additive in the form of a flavoring, stabilizing, or thickening agent, often as “dextrin”. A gluten-free diet is the only medically accepted treatment for celiac disease,[1] the related condition dermatitis herpetiformis,[2] and wheat allergy.[1]

A gluten-free diet might also exclude oats. Medical practitioners are divided on whether oats are an allergen to celiac disease sufferers [3] or whether they become cross-contaminated in milling facilities by other allergens.[4] Oats may also be contaminated when grown in rotation with wheat when wheat seeds from the previous harvest sprout up the next season in the oat field and are harvested along with the oats.

The term gluten-free generally is used to indicate a supposedly harmless level of gluten rather than a complete absence.[5] The exact level at which gluten is harmless for people with celiac disease is uncertain and controversial. A 2008 systematic review tentatively concluded that consumption of less than 10 mg of gluten per day for celiac disease patients is unlikely to cause histological abnormalities, although it noted that few reliable studies had been conducted.[5]

Regulation of the label, gluten-free, varies widely by country. In the United States, the FDA issued proposed regulations in 2007 limiting the use of “gluten-free” in food products to those with less than 20 parts per million of gluten.[6][7] The current international Codex Alimentarius standard allows for 20 parts per million of gluten in so-called “gluten-free” foods.[8] There is at least one website with a table containing information on “gluten-free” food manufacturers and the gluten-parts-per-million levels to which each of those manufacturers tests.[9]