Hello and welcome to Gluten Free Alchemist. I’m Kate – a gluten free recipe developer, traveller, photographer and blogger… living in the beautiful Garden of England – Kent, with my ever-patient husband and Coeliac daughter. We are passionate about living our Coeliac life without limits, wherever we find ourselves and wherever we want to go.
Although eating gluten free is (for us) a Coeliac necessity, we are genuinely excited by the opportunities that diagnosis has opened up for us… introducing us to ingredients, flavours and textures we never knew existed. We love our gluten free life and live by the motto ‘Positively Coeliac ~ Adventurously Gluten Free’.
We want you to share our passion and hope you will join us on our family journey as we cook and eat our way through life, seeking out the best gluten free food wherever we go.
Our Diagnosis Story
I grew up in a Coeliac family, although when I was a child, it was not something that impacted family life. My father was diagnosed Coeliac as a child, but at that time (we’re talking the 1930’s & 40’s), little was known about how best to treat it and the connection with gluten was simply not made. We paid the price. As a life-long gluten-eater, my father’s gut was destroyed and he died from cancer when I was just 18.
Fast forward a good few years to 2011 and I have a beautiful 6 year old daughter who appears to be thriving, apart from being small for her age, and experiencing (among a few other signs) stomach pains and lots of bugs. We took a trip to the doctor, who it turns out was exceptionally astute. Discussion about what appeared to be vague symptoms led to an immediate blood test, which led to an endoscopy and confirmed Coeliac diagnosis. Coeliac, it turns out, can be genetic.
And so began our gluten free journey……….
Actually, we consider ourselves to be very lucky. Of all the conditions that could affect us, Coeliac does not require drugs or regular medical interventions. It is controlled by diet alone. How amazing is that?!
To make life as safe, simple and inclusive as possible, GFHQ became a designated gluten free haven, with gluten banned. The ‘spin-off’ from not eating gluten at home was that my own body started to openly react when I ate gluten elsewhere and with that came the discovery that I too had a significant intolerance and was likely a silent Coeliac. I’ve not eaten gluten since and consider myself to be Coeliac… It’s easier for everyone to define it that way. To be honest, I don’t miss it and as she was diagnosed so young, Miss GF has no memory of it to miss (although she does often wonder about the food her friends eat).
Why I started a Blog
I am no longer in my 20’s… or 30’s… or dare I say even my 40’s, but blogging has nonetheless become a passion through which I can share our Coeliac experience and gluten free wisdom. It comes after an extensive professional career in the public sector (from which I have now been made redundant) that frequently left me grateful for the life and health we have. Coeliac is simply a minor life-challenge.
The Gluten Free Alchemist blog first posted at the end of March 2013. It was born out of a need not just to understand a whole new world of gluten free cooking, but to document our journey through experimental baking and new recipes with ingredients which for us, had previously been totally alien.
It was to be my daughter’s recipe book… written with love, for her future. A compendium of family recipes from her childhood, that would give her the memories and knowledge to recreate for a lifetime. The blog was originally my motivation for making that record, without which many recipes would have been lost or forgotten.
Whilst the blog remains my gluten free legacy to my daughter, the desire to share my enthusiasm for great gluten free food and a confident gluten free life with the world has grown. Gluten Free Alchemist is a compendium for everyone.
the best gluten free food… a philosophy
The availability of commercial gluten free food in supermarkets back in 2011 was pitiful and what you could buy was dry, crumbly and tasted (for the most part) pretty unpleasant. Consequently, I was busy de-glutening and recreating favourite foods and treats, determined that Miss GF would not have to miss out on anything her friends ate.
From the start, I passionately believed that being Coeliac would not mean being destined to a life of limitation and I made it my mission to ensure my daughter should never have to look enviously at other people’s plates or feel she was missing out. As far as we possibly can, we continue to recreate all our favourite meals, bakes and snacks gluten free… from cakes and cookies, to bread, pastry, pasta and beyond. In our world, there is no such thing as ‘can’t eat that…’ only ‘let’s find a way to make it as nice gluten free, if not better…’.
Although still limited in comparison to the choice afforded gluten-eaters, supermarket ranges have grown massively since our diagnosis and we continue to relish each new product discovery, pulling it off the shelves to try. Some finds win our hearts and become essential grab and go choices in our busy lives. Others ‘bomb’ and remind us that gluten free products still have a long way to go. Either way, we are open to tasting each and every one and love to share our discoveries with the world.
Living our best gluten free life
As Miss GF has grown, so too has our confidence and knowledge to manage gluten free eating anywhere we find ourselves. I have always been a traveller and it’s exciting to be able to get back to exploring the world and (importantly) giving Miss GF experiences that will support her independence and determination to live her future adventurously. We also hope that in sharing our experiences and travel finds, our excitement might be a little infectious and encourage lots more gluten free people to travel the world.
We’ve also learnt a thing or two about parenting a Coeliac child and how to manage the educational and social whirlwind that comes with school, friends, play dates, parties and adolescence. We know how scary it feels faced with keeping a little person food safe and love that we can share our knowledge and give support to others faced with similar challenges.
And of course, there’s food! We LOVE food at GFHQ. We’ve spent the last 8 years in a gluten free kitchen… and when we haven’t been making the best gluten free food at home, we’ve been searching for the best gluten free restaurants, cafes, bakeries, pubs and parlours.
Whether it’s the achievement of developing the most incredible gluten free bread (I have a bit of an obsession with it); creating gluten free recipes for all kinds of sweet treats (yes… we have a bit of a sweet tooth); mastering gluten free pastry and pasta (a bit of a necessity when your roots are part-Italian); or discovering a perfect gluten free eatery or safe take-away sandwich, we are always happy to share in the hope that our recipes, wanderings and gluten free finds make someone else equally happy.
Through the Gluten Free Alchemist blog, Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media, we share our gluten free passions with the world. Whether or not you need to eat gluten free, I hope that you love what we do. My aim is simple… to help you to love gluten free life again and to join us in being Positively Coeliac and Adventurously Gluten Free.
Missing something or need some help?
If you are struggling with any part of Coeliac life, I would love to hear from you and will help where I can. Whether it’s a dilemma about gluten free parenting, managing a gluten free diet, negotiating gluten free food in restaurants or even at office parties, or something totally random, get in touch!
If you have a recipe request or there’s something you miss, let me know….. there may just be a gluten free way around the problem.
If you are a brand looking to work together, I’d love to hear from you too. Head on over to my Work With Me page for more information.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-19 (unless otherwise indicated)