Sunday, May 31, 2009

Gluten-Free Girl (Shauna James Ahern)

When I was pregnant, I kept telling Jim the list of foods (foods I currently wasn't eating due to safety recommendations) I was going to eat once Noah was born. High on the list was a wonderful fried-egg breakfast sandwich at a local restaurant, complete with yummy soft French cheese. I was thinking I'd get this sandwich in the first few weeks after giving birth. I still haven't gotten to eat this sandwich. Much like myself as a baby, Noah and dairy are not friends. Meaning that I have to take a lengthy vacation from it as well. (Most babies outgrow this dairy intolerance in their first two years of life. My fingers are crossed that this happens sooner rather than later, but it was the full two years for myself.)

It turns out that avoiding all dairy, especially in packaged food, is very hard. Down low on a lengthy list of ingredients can be hiding whey power or milk protein. But I cannot even imagine how hard it must be for someone who couldn't eat gluten. Because it's not even listed on products that can contain it, which is something I didn't know until I had read Gluten-Free Girl by Shauna James Ahern. (Astute readers may realize that this is another blogger who wrote a book, and I'll just let you know right now that there are two other blogger books on hold at the library. Apparently I'm going through a phase.)

Ahern's celiac disease went undiagnosed for a long time. She was often tired and generally not feeling well. When she realized her symptoms may very well be signs of celiac disease, she couldn't get her doctor to run the test. (He told her it was a rare disease, which is completely wrong.) Most people would have been quite upset to find out they could never eat bread again (I know I certainly would've taken the news hard as a freshly baked piece of bread, toasted and buttered, is one of my favorite things in this world), but given how much better Ahern was feeling, for the first time in her life really, she embraced it.

Ahern writes beautifully in this book about re-discovering food, much of it local, seasonal food, and how she's adapted to a gluten-free life. This is a great book, well-written, engaging, but I will say that I visited her blog after finishing the book, and it looks like some parts of the book existed as blog postings in various forms prior to the book's publication, so if you are a fan of her blog, there may not be a lot of new material here.

She also includes near the end the story of how she met her husband, the chef, as she calls him. Not that I want to give too much away here, but how can you get much better than this: Her husband (at the time her boyfriend), the chef at a small, fabulous restaurant? Yeah, he ends up making the entire menu at his restaurant gluten-free. How absolutely incredible is that? Sigh. They should make their love story into a movie. I'd go see it, and I'm sure I'd end up crying at that part.

No comments: