Friday, September 16, 2011

I realize that many of you do not know me or my story.  So I thought that maybe it was time to fill you in a bit on why a physician would write cookbooks.  It's a long story but if you hang in there you may find some good info and at least you will understand how I got here - and why it's so important to me to create recipes that are so beautiful and so delicious they make you want to exclaim . . .

OMG! That's Allergy Free?

In 1999 I was inspired to start designing and sharing recipes with my patients who were wheat or gluten or sugar or dairy or egg intolerant—and sometimes all of the above!   At the time I had no idea that I was allergic or sensitive to any of those common ingredients that were in most of the food I ate.  Here is how I discovered that wheat, cow’s milk products and sugar were behind many of my own health challenges . . .

I had 2 patients who had been diagnosed as having primary allergies to cow’s milk and wheat by a Holistic MD in Spokane, Washington.  He sent them to me for support and lymphatic drainage work and it seemed we were not making any real progress.  At each appointment I asked how they were doing on their diets and always got the same story, they simply did not know how to cope with these restrictions, so they were still consuming both wheat and dairy products regularly.  I arranged private appointments with each of them to create some menus paired with an educational shopping trip.  I was actually appalled at the limited selections available in 1999.  Decades earlier we somehow had the technology and ingenuity to send  a man to the moon but we still had VERY limited gluten free (GF) or dairy free (DF) options that did not resemble cardboard or chalk when consumed!

Before I became a physician I was a chef so I’ve always believed that delicious and nutritious food is an important component in our daily lives.  So I promised these 2 patients that I would join them on their WF (wheat free), GF and DF diet for 3 months.  During that time I would create and compile recipes and menu ideas for them.  Now, I was much more dedicated in my commitment then they were, because I love a challenge.  When I wasn’t busy with patients I was busy experimenting in my kitchen.  At that time there were very few products on the market, no flour mixes, very few healthful alternative sweeteners, few options for dairy replacements, and almost NO help or instructions to alter recipes. 

After my 3 month abstinence from wheat and cow’s milk dairy I went back to my old diet, for 3 days that is . . . Then on the third day the havoc my body was experiencing certainly got my attention!  Then it occurred to me that I might be allergic to one or more of these base ingredients in our everyday diets!  So I immediately stopped them all again and the symptoms subsided within a day.  In a few weeks I tried adding wheat back into my diet . . . eczema  almost immediately!  So I now committed myself to a WF life. 

Next I decided to add cow’s milk dairy products back in . . . OW! The resulting gallbladder upset was a clear sign that  I was going to commit to a WF and DF life . . . You can probably guess I was not looking forward to the next 2 experiments!

But I did add gluten back in and to my pleasant surprise, no problems here!  A victory!  (Sorry to all of you who do have that one . . . It is a tough one, but I’m here to help you manage your way through the maze of products.  I have sorted through many of the good, the bad and the horrible options!)

Now for the final test, sugar . . . Oh sugar, the friend of every pastry chef . . . And OH NO the yeast infection that followed!  So now I found myself on a WF, DF, SF life plan.  At that moment I sincerely thanked my lucky stars I had been a chef for many years, because this was going to take some willingness to experiment!

So for the past 12 years I have been pushing the envelope on beautiful, delicious food that is WF, DF, SF, GF and even vegan!  Because I believe that everyone, no matter what their dietary challenges may be deserves to eat food that makes them feel so nourished and so satisfied that they exclaim with every bite . . .

OMG!  That's Allergy Free?

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