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Gluten Free By A Celiac

For all the varied reasons a person may decide to follow a gluten free diet, my reason was to bump myself out of feeling physically awful every day and begin enjoying every day to the fullest.

In the beginning of this dietary shift, there came a large amount of denial where I would tell myself I was feeling poorly due to the weather, or because I had too much coffee that day, or just looked the other way because I really wanted that bite of pizza. Finally, I decided to pause before consuming what I knew contained wheat. I mention this because until years later, gluten was just a protein in wheat that made bread doughy and stretchy. Basically, it is the "backbone" of baking. Following that pause and minutes of contemplating how I wanted to feel after eating, I opted for a choice that did not include bread or pasta or crackers.

Thankfully I have a strong background in culinary arts and am well aware of many places wheat is used that might not seem so obvious. My first memorable lesson was soy sauce. WHY would SOY sauce need wheat? After ready many labels, I learned that not all soy sauce is made with wheat - of course, the fancy and beyond my budget - San-J brand is gluten free (wheat free) and reportedly, many GF persons are also avoiding soy, so their go-to is a bottle of Amino Acids, which I have yet to try. Long after going without, I began to search again and found that many store brands of soy sauce are also GF.

While on topic of soy sauce - I tend to avoid any prepackaged marinated items as they are typically wheat-based. Teriyaki flavored or Asian foods are of those items I tend to avoid unless I prepare them at home. It can be found in dressings, marinades, even bloody Mary beverage mixers...but that's for another day...in the meantime, I carry with me a travel size shampoo-type squeeze bottle of my own, safe, GF soy sauce.

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