Gluten Free Living
Allison Cash on her Gluten free Lifestyle
As an active, working mother of two, Allison Cash didn't actually choose a gluten free lifestyle. Instead, it chose her…
"About three years ago, I was out running and felt very itchy and strange," she said. "By the time I got home, I was swollen and had hives all over my body."
Allison's husband rushed her to the emergency room, where she was diagnosed with exercise-induced anaphylaxis triggered by a wheat allergy. To avoid another medical emergency, Allison chose a gluten free diet as her best option.
"Initially, I made meals for my family and something else for me. Ultimately, I decided that there was nothing wrong with all of us eating the same things."
Allison says her gluten free diet has made a big difference in the way she feels.
"I feel so much better," she says. "I always thought I had a sensitive stomach. Come to find out, it was because I was eating wheat, and my body was sensitive to it."
While she found a gluten free diet to be complicated at first, Allison quickly realized that simplicity was key.
"When I shop, I look for minimally processed foods that have straightforward ingredient statements, so I know what I'm eating. Once you know what gluten is, you know what to look for."
Her favorite standby items? Frozen gluten free pizza crusts and Heartland Gluten Free Pasta.
"We always keep Heartland Gluten Free Pasta around, because it's so easy to make a pasta dish with a tasty sauce," Allison says. "It makes for the easiest meals in the world, and you actually feel like you're feeding your family something extraordinary. It's also very reasonably priced, and my kids always love it."
QUESTION & ANSWER
Q: What challenges did you face in pursuing a gluten free lifestyle?
A:Shopping is a big challenge because you often have to go to two or three stores to find all the right products. I generally go to a specialty store, a natural store and a big box store, so it's definitely more time consuming.
Q: Was dining out a problem?
A: Eating out was confusing at first, but I see a lot more menus now that offer gluten free options. But even when we can't pick and choose, I challenge anyone to take me somewhere where I can't find something on the menu I can eat.
Q: Did you notice a big difference in flavor when you started eating gluten free?
A: Initially, yes, but I realized that, since I knew I was eating something different, I was looking for the difference. I also tried some really bad products. Even some of the most expensive were awful. That's why I like Heartland Gluten Free pasta. It's affordable, it has great flavor, and my kids can't tell the difference.
Q: What advice would you offer to someone who wished to pursue a gluten free lifestyle?
A: Don't overcomplicate it. If you really strip it down, and understand what gluten is and where it naturally occurs, it's not hard to eat gluten free. Does it mean that you have to take some traditional or common foods out of your diet? Yes. Does it mean that you might have to read a label that you didn't have to read before? Yes. But it's really not that difficult once you know what to look for.
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