Hi there, and thanks for stopping by!
I’m Celeste, the owner, author, researcher, and baker behind Life After Wheat. I have always had a passion for cooking. When my husband Allan was diagnosed with food allergies to wheat, rye, barley, oats and soy in 2012, we were both devastated.
We didn’t really even know what gluten free was. The day after he got his test results, I spent the afternoon searching shelf after shelf at a few local grocery stores. I busily checked off all the items we usually bought which he now could not eat and (somewhat desperately) scanned every label for things he could have. It was dismal. I knew I was up against a huge learning curve (and a hit in our wallet!).
Over the next few weeks we experimented with different kinds of flours, ingredients, and snacks. I quickly realized, as I’m sure you have, that baking gluten-free is much different. Allan was an amazingly good sport and didn’t complain once at my failed attempts at dinner rolls or how he could no longer have Oreos. I wish I could say I was as positive as he was, but my joy of cooking took a nosedive when I realized what I was up against.
Food is such a huge part of our lives, and when dietary restrictions come into play, it changes more than just what is on your plate. The homemade bread the whole family used to enjoy several times a month was history-I felt guilty making gluten-filled treats when Allan was around because I knew it was hard enough on him as it was. We were on a tight budget and the extra expenses were stressful, especially when the store bought goods (I use that term loosely) ended up tasting like they should be tossed into the trash about 50% of the time.
If nothing else, I’m a fighter, and my despair quickly turned into determination. If we were going to pull this off, we were going to do it in proper fashion. I wouldn’t allow my husband to just suffer through it, he was going to enjoy food again as much as (or more than) he had before.
“Be happy…not because everything is good, but because you can see the good in everything.” ~Unknown
Well, weeks turned to months and now months have turned to years and I can’t believe how far we’ve come! We’ve given away all our stores of wheat flour, cream-of-something-soups, and all other gluten-ous baking ingredients. I still remember the first time I successfully made gluten free dinner rolls. While sharing one with Allan, I turned to him and said, “see, there IS Life After Wheat!”
Later when I started the Life After Wheat website, I immediately knew what to name it.
I spent two years perfecting my own flour mix that holds up cup for cup in virtually any recipe. Our entire family often eats gluten free, as do our guests when we entertain. I can honestly say that we don’t regret it one bit.
And I’ve learned something else along the way. I’ve learned a lot about what makes me happy. What makes life good. The power of attitude. Our lives took another turn about 3 years ago. We had recently bought our first home, then welcomed a new bundle of joy into our growing family. Life was amazing.
Then all of a sudden, I found myself in a new home that needed some love, 4 young children, and a PTA position I hadn’t realized was going to require dozens of hours a month. On top of that, I was hit hard by postpartum depression, something I didn’t recognize for some time because I hadn’t experienced it before.
Because of Allan’s food allergies and our boys’ being on low sodium diets due to a kidney condition, I made almost all of our food from scratch. I was exhausted, stressed, and feeling a little sorry for myself. And I found myself wishing everyone could just eat “normal” food, that we could just grab a pizza (every. single. night). I hate admitting it, but I struggled. A lot.
“Our most significant opportunities will be found in times of greatest challenge.” ~Thomas Monson
One day a very good friend of mine, who has been through very hard times herself, showed up while I was outside watching the kids play. I was in a funk. She listened and then in a very understanding and kind way, gave me some of the best counsel I’ve ever received.
“You know what I’ve come to realize?” she asked, “Sometimes, life is just hard.”
And it hit me. Life is hard. It’s hard for everyone in different ways, and through challenges, we learn, grow, and become better. For many people, life is much, much, much harder than it was for me. I thought on her statement a lot and once again, set my mind on changing my attitude. I wish I could tell you that the change was easy, or simple, or happened overnight. But like anything worthwhile, it’s been something that I have worked at, every day, for 3 almost 4 years. And I haven’t done it alone.
“One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day” ~Matt Townsend
I tell you all of this because I know that everyone goes through hard times. You’re probably here because of such things, and I want to let you know that there is hope. Life can be sweet despite physical, mental, and/or dietary limitations. Keep going. Find something that makes you happy. Build on that. Find someone to serve. Get back in the kitchen and try new recipes, new products. Find food you love, make food you love. Dance in the rain. Find moments of happiness throughout the hours, days, and weeks, and hold on to them.
Whatever your reason for eating gluten-free, I hope you find something you love here. And I hope that if you haven’t already, you will discover that there really IS Life After Wheat, and that Life is Good.
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