Thursday, May 15, 2008

Why I Write This Blog...

** Disclaimer: I wrote this post for an "about me" page to list on my side bar -- Then I decided that regular readers of my blog might enjoy it as well. It's an introduction to this site and why I started living gluten free. **

In August 2007, I discovered food blogs for the first time. The first blogs I read and became acquainted with were: Fridge Magnet, The Amateur Gourmet, and The Wednesday Chef.
I started reading these food blogs on a daily basis. At some point I ran across Gluten Free Girl, and something clicked. I wanted to do that too. I loved cooking and baking (though at that point I was not gluten free), and I enjoyed writing for fun.

I was familiar with Blogger and I thought I would give blogging a shot. My first post was published in late August 2007.

I had attempted blogging several times before, but I never found a "niche" I was really interested in.
  • I didn't want a blog just to talk about my life -- that seemed a bit too personal.
  • My faith is extremely important to me and I contemplated writing about that (and I may still do that in the future with another blog), but it wasn't what I was drawn to writing about at the time.
  • I thought about frugality, living green, living on a budget etc... as that is a big part of my life too... yet that just didn't feel quite right either.
But I could talk about food. I could talk about the my mishaps and accomplishments in the kitchen. That could be fun!

And it is.

I'm still not exactly sure why I chose the name "Ginger Lemon Girl." I've always liked being called a "girl." It makes me feel young, new, and excited, even though I hit the "30" mark this year! Ginger and lemon are two of my favorite flavors, though in reality I don't use them all that often in my kitchen. I do love a good gingerbread with lemon sauce, but I haven't made one since Christmas 2006. The spices and flavors I use most in my kitchen are cinnamon and vanilla, but that would have been a mouthful of a title!

After reading Gluten Free Girl's blog I seriously considered changing my diet. I noticed I had several symptoms that were mentioned in blogs that talked about being gluten free. When I saw migraine headaches as one of the main symptoms for some people, I was willing to try the whole gluten free thing. I had horrid migraine headaches that would make my life miserable for weeks at a time. I had several other symptoms too, and I realize that by not going to a doctor for an official celiac diagnosis, I was taking a risk. But I've never been conventional. So I stopped eating wheat. It was just an experiment at first, but I never turned back.

I don't regret it. It took about 8 months on the gluten free diet to realize the drastic change in the frequency of my headaches. I get around 3-4 migraines a month now, instead of one almost every day. Before I went gluten free, I had gone to 4 medical specialists for help with my migraines. The only thing they told me was that I was sensitive to the weather. They couldn't do anything, except prescribe medications to help me get through the migraines. I do not think they understood or cared about the severity of my headaches.

But, since going gluten free I have realized that I am sensitive to wheat and possibly soy. Since I started the gluten free diet, I am very aware of what I eat. I am aware of how my body reacts to food. When I accidentally eat wheat or soy, I often immediately get nasally congested, and I've had incidences of my tongue swelling or my throat itching and swelling. A headache usually follows.

So this Ginger Lemon Girl gladly gave up wheat.

The first gluten free recipe and meal I posted on the blog was a stir fry made with
cellophane noodles (saifun bean threads). I still love those noodles!

Not long after, I posted about some chocolate cupcakes I made from Gluten Free Mommy. Looking back, I can tell you that those cupcakes were not all that great (my fault, not Gluten Free Mommy's!) and I have learned a LOT about gluten free baking since then!

It is now May 2008. Nine months since I first ate gluten free pasta. I feel better, I have far fewer headaches, and I know a lot more about baking and cooking than I did 9 months ago.

My husband Michael is my best friend, my cooking guinea pig (If Michael likes it, there's a good chance your pickiest eater will like it too!!), and my biggest supporter! I could not do this blog without his love, help, and kindness. It's an amazing thing to wake up next to your best friend every morning, and I am incredibly thankful for him!

For an index of all the gluten free recipes I have posted on this blog (and trust me they've gotten much better than those original cupcakes!), please visit here.

I blog for the fun of cooking, writing, and photographing (even though I never picked up a digital camera before I started blogging!) I also truly enjoy helping people who are starting a gluten free diet for the very first time. I know it can be overwhelming and frustrating, it is a huge change. Hang in there. Be patient, and allow your body time to heal. Be aware that nothing tastes quite like wheat. Your taste buds will adjust and you will learn to love new things, along with new versions of the old things!

If you have any questions about gluten free living, or just want to chat, feel free to drop me a note at gingerlemon_girl at yahoo dot com. I answer every email I receive!

For more information on celiac disease, please visit any of these helpful sites:

For more information on wheat allergies and sensitivities, please visit any of these helpful sites:

Random Facts about Ginger Lemon Girl:

  • Incidentally, my favorite food blogger is The Pioneer Woman. I want to be like her when I grow up, just a gluten free version!!
  • I own four cats. They are all strictly indoors. Cat hair resides on every single square inch of my home. Anybody who owns four cats is crazy. This is a fact... I should know.
  • Cat hair does not come off. It is permanently attached to anything it sticks too. Did I mention owning four indoor cats is crazy?
  • I bite my nails. Yep. I do.
  • I do not like bugs. I will touch them, but I do not like them.
  • I do not like snakes even more.
  • I could read for hours a day. I can become so engrossed in reading, that I can completely ignore everything around me, including dinner boiling over.
  • Sometimes all I want for dinner is tuna salad.
  • I still haven't mastered boiling eggs. I can whip up a real buttercream icing with the best of 'em, but I'm still learning about those boiled eggs.
  • I love watching action and adrenalin-packed movies with my husband. I didn't really like those movies before I met Michael.
  • My favorite color changes daily.
  • If given a choice, I want vanilla ice-cream.
  • Yet, I eat a piece of chocolate nearly every day.
  • I am overweight and one day (hopefully soon) I'll get serious about losing weight again. Yes, I said again. Marriage does strange things to people! I want to be like Sally one day!
  • I do not know how to ride a bike. I want to learn.
  • I really do not enjoy washing dishes.
  • It's amazing how much you learn to like tortilla chips when you can't eat wheat thins!
  • I could eat guacamole every day.
  • My favorite restaurant is Carrabba's. They have the best salmon ever.
  • I cannot cook fish to save my life. Oh wait. Except tuna salad. I rock at tuna salad.
  • I really do shop at the Piggly Wiggly. Currently they are having a give-a-way for a John Deere Lawn Tractor. You can enter once a day. We've been buying a LOT of groceries from Piggly Wiggly lately.
  • I have an extremely short attention span.
  • I love American History.
  • I do not love flea markets or yard sales. I know they are great frugal alternatives, which I am all about, but it takes too much time to hunt through them.
  • I love my husband's chicken pie.
  • I love reading cookbooks from the 50's. I secretly collect them.
  • I think that's about all the random facts I can muster at the moment.

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  1. Carrie,

    Thank you for sharing your journey. As much as I have four children on the gfcf diet, I have yet to fully make the plunge myself. But, like you, I think that if I do, I will feel much better.

    I really enjoy reading your blog. Keep on posting!


  2. Just wanted you to know that I really enjoy your blog. I have been GF for 6 years but only discovered GF blogs this year- and it has opened up a WHOLE new world for me and for my family! Thanks for posting!! -MJM

  3. Carrie - that's such a wonderful picture of you and Michael! And I loved reading your random facts about you. We seem to have a lot in common, although I only have 3 indoor cats. (But add to that a 75 pound dog, and I'm probably even more crazy than you are!)


  4. I loved reading your story. We have way too much in common. I love to read also, I just ordered a bunch of books that I will have a hard time trying to find time to read. My husband goes nuts because I spend all my money on books. The picture of you and Michael is gorgeous. It makes me miss the beach though.

    I want to thank you for helping me stay more focused on the diet. I'm not always good at it.

  5. Hi Carrie, thanks for sharing your story, and your wedding picture, which is beautiful! I started discovering the world of GF blogs shortly before you started blogging...but didn't happen upon your site until just after this past Christmas. So I don't know about those cupcakes early on, but anyone who's even seen the drool-worthy photo of those cheesecake pops you posted a few weeks ago can definitely tell that you know a thing or two about baking!

    I can completely relate with the books. "Okay, I'll just read for 10 minutes...half an hour...just until the end of this chapter...hey, is it 8:00 already? Hmmm, PBJ for dinner?!"

  6. Thank you everyone!! I really appreciate your kind comments! It has indeed been a journey! And one we're certainly not finished with yet! ;-)

    Lea and Kristina -- Yay!!! more book fanatics!! I am... I'm knee deep into a series I'm re-reading and I've been staying up until ALL hours reading it again. It's amazing how much you can forget!

    Karen -- I just love that about you! I know you totally understand the cat hair thing! haha! It's one of those love/hate relationships for me! I love our animals to no end, both Michael and I really care about animals... but I wish they were hairless! LOL

    M&M -- I'm so glad you left a comment! Thank you so much for reading my blog, you have no idea how much I appreciate it! If you have any recipes you'd like to share, please email me! i'm always looking for ideas, and you have a lot of expertise behind you!

    Thomas -- I seriously doubt Michael will ever fully take the gluten free plunge, but that's okay because he never complains about my cooking (even though I know he misses stuff with gluten!), and he usually gets his gluten fill when we go out to eat! I'm really trying to cut back (and possibly completely cut out dairy) so keep your eye out for new GF CF recipes!!

    Lea -- Losing weight is NEVER easy. The only way I did it the first time (other than watching my portions) was by being able to exercise every day. i went to curves. But my work schedule is different now, and we don't live anywhere close to a curves now, so I'm going to have to find another way to try to fit exercise in. If you have any good ideas, please let me know!!

  7. Carrie - I've read your about me page before, but this is wonderful. I love your confession that you don't like snakes and bugs. I don't understand people who want snakes for pets...go figure.

    I love old cookbooks too. Some of my favorites are from the 50's too.

    I hope you have a great weekend!

    Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

  8. Hi Carrie,

    I don't feel like such a "newby" since I know you started your journey just six months before me.

    Your advice and encouragement have helped me get through my first tough months. Now that my migraines are GONE, my thinking is clearer and I'm not so emotional about food (or anything else.)

    Thanks for blogging and answering many of my questions. Your cheerful attitude (which puzzled me at first) has helped me become calm and focused. "Gluten-free" sounded like a death sentence early on. But, like Carrie, I've found I have enough. I started my blog so I could be part of this nurturing community.

    BTW, I tried your apple bar recipe you posted on the recipe contest. It's wonderful!


  9. Oops, I meant like Sally, I have enough.

  10. Hi Carrie

    This is a lovely post ... I think we should all do this!


  11. 1. lovely post.

    2. piggly wiggly is the best name for a grocery store ever.

  12. What a great post. It was nice getting to "know" you better! (And we have our cats shaved into lion cuts - doesn't bother them - actually cuts down on hair balls and um, pooper balls on our long-haired boy. ;) I never see cat hair anymore!

    So glad going gluten-free has helped you. Why in the world aren't doctors more up on this? Food bloggers unite!

  13. Hi Carrie,

    Just wanted to drop you a note to tell you how much I enjoy your site and recipes. They are simple (simple and quick is great for me) yet very delicious and fool-proof too. I am no cook or baker but your directions make it impossible for me (a Murphy's Law cook) to goof them up. Also you use mostly ingredients that are normally in the kitchen shelves. No need for running out and getting a dozen special flours and starches or fancy ingredients.

    We have much in common including cats, books, gfcf diet, dislike for snakes and most insects, etc. I so enjoy your posts on the gfcf group also. Beautiful photo of you and Michael, wonderful site, a masterful chef and baker, and you are a delightful person. It has truly been an honor to become acquainted with you.

    Bring on the gfcf recipes. I am anxious to try them. And let me know if you start your faith-based site too.