My Story

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Hi, I’m Aalia Adam. I’m a News Reporter, Wife, TV addict, blogger and until recently I was a junkie…a food junkie that is…

In fact, I was the notorious food junkie of the family. My diet mainly consisted of gluten for breakfast, gluten for lunch, gluten for supper, and a double serving of gluten as a midnight snack (seriously, the bowl of Froot Loops before bed was an indispensable part of my diet). Bread and butter was my bread and butter.

But on May 12, 2015 my world came crumbling down…

It all happened after a routine blood test revealed that I was severely anemic and required an immediate blood transfusion. The scariest part is that I felt fine! My gastroscopy results eventually showed that I had Celiac Disease—an autoimmune disease where the ingestion of gluten leads to destruction of the small intestine. My low iron levels were caused by my damaged villi (fingerlike projections that line the small intestine and absorb nutrients, such as iron) Thankfully; there was a way to bring them back to life… AVOID GLUTEN!

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I quickly discovered that a life without wheat, oats, barley and rye is not as #glamorous as Instagram made it look.

The transition from gluten-lover to gluten-free was not easy. I quickly discovered that a life without wheat, oats, barley and rye is not as #glamorous as Instagram made it look. I tried all sorts of gluten-free versions of the delicious foods I used to love—sliced bread, naan bread, pizza, pasta, soft and chewy cookies. But they all left a bigger hole in my heart than those found in gluten-free bread.

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So, in the first few months, I lost a lot of weight. This was not because a Gluten-Free lifestyle helps you become slimmer. I simply started disliking food. And to make matters worse, one of my favourite things to do, apart from eating gluten, was eating gluten at different restaurants! But I quickly developed a “fear of eating out”. Keep in mind it only takes 30 milligrams of gluten to cause significant damage to the small intestine, on a microscopic level. So, I always had to worry about whether the food was prepared in a separate area away from the risk of cross-contamination, if different utensils were used, if the chef believed that gluten “died” in the oven (true story), and the list of ifs went on and on….

I also attempted to cook and bake more myself… let’s just say mixing 5 types of flour to create a magical cookie isn’t my forte.

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As my journey continued, I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. I started meeting what I like to call, Gluten-Free Superheroes: passionate individuals dedicated to creating the tastiest, non-crumbly, gluten-free food. I met inspiring people determined to make celiac-safe food and that it was as delicious, if not more so, than its gluten-filled counterparts. I got over my fear of eating out and started loving life again, one bite at a time.

These experiences led me to start Seriously Gluten-Free: a web series that features local gluten-free superheroes. I wanted to share their stories with you and help those, like me, get over their “Fear of Eating Out”.

Throughout the series, we profile different kitchens, stores, and even factories that accommodate people cursed with the Gluten-Free diet. Because for us it’s not a choice … it’s a necessity.

 

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