Gluten-Free Girl (Shauna James Ahern), who (with her chef husband, Danny) taught me some new cooking techniques on Saturday, is so allergic to gluten that she gets sick for three days if he drinks a beer and doesn’t rinse his mouth before kissing her. Wow. I have a lot to be thankful for (including the ability to kiss beer drinkers without hesitation (due to health concerns, anyway), not that it happens all that often). You dig those nested parentheses, I can tell.

Anyway, I went to the Whole Foods cooking class, even though I’m mad at Whole Foods for taking over the Wild Oats near my house and changing their hours. Shauna and the Chef are fantastic. They’re beautiful in words, and in pictures on her blog, but in person, they’re just absolutely wonderful, lovely, gorgeous people. I smiled a lot. I was inspired. It was fun.

We started by going around the room and saying whether we were gluten-free or not, and if we were, for how long and why. I kept it simple — I could have waxed on and on about it, but I just said that I had had rashes, got tired of them coming back in spite of prescription steroid creams, and that going gluten-free had changed my life. “I wish you could see your face right now,” Shauna said to me. “It’s glowing.”

She and the Chef cooked a-freaking-mazing stuff, too:

  • Shaved Fennel Salad (which consists of nothing other than fennel, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and is incredible)
  • Gluten-free Penne Pasta with Smoked Salmon, Capers, Horseradish, and White Wine (the key to cooking GF pasta is to cook it a few minutes less than the package tells you to — I had written off GF pastas, but will certainly try them again!)
  • Chicken Thighs Braised in Pomegranate Molasses
  • Chocolate Banana Bread (which contained dairy, but which I ate part of anyway, resulting in angry bowels the next morning… In retrospect, I still think it was worth it and have no regrets, though maybe a renewed desire to look into Lactaid).

She signed my book, which I am reading now. And as she signed it, she reiterated her earlier compliment: “You have such a great face.” Which is so nice. And so strangely important to hear, especially when I’m battling a massive breakout around my mouth (pointed out so kindly by my bad internet date) and I’m ever fretting about stupid forehead wrinkles that will only get worse… I feel like a lot of the “great face” is due to my diet change. I found health, I have a glow, I see the world differently, and I’m happy. I don’t know how wheat and dairy affected that in the first place — I imagine it did in a lot of ways I don’t understand, and I think the change has been too significant and unexpected to chalk it up to a placebo effect…

Anyway, I couldn’t wait and made the shaved fennel salad the next day because it was so simple, so delicious. I’m now reading Shauna’s book and seeing myself in her words…

…I’ve been slacking a little bit on the blog (due in part, I think, to reeling after a couple more Really Good Dates with a Really Great Guy, to be totally honest, plus my sister is in town, and I went snowshoeing over the weekend, etc.). Coming this week: Two more top-ten lists, at the very least! And maybe some more things I learn in school, should I learn interesting things this week… Etcetera.



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2 responses to “Free

  1. Oo!

    Sounds exciting. And I agree. I haven’t seen pictures of you for quite some time–but I definitely remember your beaming face.

    I like to think I have a nice face, too. I have such major body issues (especially with being overweight) and I always try to play up my dimples and smile, etc.

    IN any event, I need to go completely gluten-free and possibly dairy free, too. I am going to get allergy tested by my naturopath, I think. We’ll see.



    p.s. good luck with your dates!

  2. p.s.

    I, too, nest parentheses way too often. Hehehe.

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