It happened over ten years ago, before anyone knew what the work "celiac" meant. "Gluten-free" was a very new term and not a lot of research or testing had been done on this recently discovered disease. Our story begins with Easton's older sister Korinne, aka "Kori", the oldest and only girl of the four kids in the Pedersen family. Kori was a very busy and talented dancer, but for some reason she was constantly fainting on stage, had never ending migraines, and was always sick. The scariest point of this trying time was when Kori was hospitalized because she had lost a ton of weight on her already skinny frame and had a very low white blood cell count. The doctors performed endless tests, but still had no explanations about what was attacking her body. None of the results explained anything until they finally decided to test her for this unknown disease. Of course the results came back positive and they immediately put her on a gluten free diet. Soon after her health began to improve... Right about that same time, Easton had began experiencing the same type of symptoms: low energy, headaches, sick stomach, etc. Because of what had happened to Kori they gave Easton an endoscopy and discovered that he had the same disease. Easton remembers this as one of the lowest points of his life. He had a hard time at the age of fourteen telling his friends that he couldn't go out for things like pizza or burgers. It was also very difficult giving up his favorite foods like Oreos and Dunford donuts. However, after going on the diet and then deciding that it was okay to cheat, he realized that eating those types of foods were not worth the pain that it inflicted on his body. He has been very good about staying true to his diet since and as long as he eats the proper foods he is able to maintain the health and energy he needs as a collegiate athlete. As of now, three out of four of the Pedersen kids have Celiac, and many of the Pedersen cousins as well, including grandpa. In fact, their family has been a part of an ongoing case study for the University of California. They say that this is a genetic disease that skips a generation and so far that has been the case. So my kids may be safe, but my grandkids odds are probably not so great. We'll see what happens...
Luckily for me, a lot of progress has taken place over these past ten years. Finding gluten-free food products is a lot easier than it used to be. It is still quite expensive, but because so many more people are becoming aware of the disease it is much more accessible and socially acceptable as well. Even restaurants have even been adapting to gluten-free menus. To name a few: Outback Steak House, Olive Garden, Pizza Factory, Costa Vida, Chili's, P.F. Chang's, and Wendy's.
Easton's mom was always really good about making sure that her gluten-free kids felt like they lived a "normal" and happy life. So, when I married Easton I took this same challenge on myself. Let me tell you, it's not easy. However, with a lot of trial and error we have found quite a few recipes, tips, and products that we love. Since there's only two of us, it's often cheaper if we eat the same things so I'll eat a lot of gluten-free food just because it's easier and more cost effective. (Note: It has become a new trend to eat gluten-free, but unless you are gluten intolerant there is no reason to live this type of life style. However, studies have shown that GF diets have also been aiding in many other diseases such as Parkinsons and others). I've been surprised by how many GF foods taste just as good as the regular thing, if not better!
On top of other things, I am going to use this blog as a place where I will be posting GF recipes and other fun finds for others who may be going through this same type of journey. To those who may be struggling, never give up. Or in better words...
"Keep trying, keep believing, be happy, don't get discouraged, things will work out."
--Gordon B. Hinckley
Stay tuned for some yumminess coming up realzzzzz soon!!! XOXO