Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Meet The Gluten Gal....

Tasty Crab n' Spinach Dip
When my oldest son was just 4 years old he was diagnosed with severe ADHD. He was referred to a specialist and placed in a special needs preschool. Since that time, we have struggled with ways to help our son cope with this condition.As a child and still as an adult, I suffer with ADD too and I can understand my son's frustration. I can empathize with his feelings and I know what it's like to feel "different". Recently, we have started to look at this condition from a diet standpoint. We have discovered that ingredients like RED and YELLOW food coloring affect his mood. Foods like dairy and sugar (obviously) compound his ability to process change and enhance his frustration. Recently, I've had the opportunity to talk with other parents who are in the same situation with their children. Many have chosen a diet that is gluten and casein free. The thought of changing our son's diet is overwhelming at times, but I know with time and patience our family can make the changes necessary to help our son. So today I am excited to interview Larraine McCrea, The Gluten Gal. Larraine was diagnosed with Celiac disease, and since that time, she has created an amazing website and dedicated her time to researching and developing new and yummy gluten/casein free recipes.

Meet Larraine....

1.       Can you share your story about how you discovered your Gluten Allergies and what caused you to change your lifestyle?

Lemon Zinger Cake
 After having all kinds of stomach problems  for about 20 years I ended up in the hospital, deathly ill, one New Year’s Eve. During my eleven-day stay I learned I have celiac disease, which is an intolerance to gluten (wheat, barley and rye). I was so relieved.  I learned as much as I could and how I needed to eat for the rest of my life. While still in the hospital, I began to plan meals I would fix at home. I didn’t dread eating gluten-free because I knew that FINALLY I would have the chance to be healthy!

2.        What are the top signs people should be aware of with a gluten allergy?

Great question, Mandi.  It varies with each person. Often a person is diagnosed with several things before discovering a gluten-intolerance. Things like irritable bowel, fatigue, anemia, bloating, weight loss or gain and stomach pain are common.  I not only had bad stomach problems, but I also had a couple of surgeries because of bad stomach pain that was misdiagnosed. More information can be found at

Cinnamon and Sugar Sweet Potato Fries
3.       What are the biggest challenges when going gluten-free?  

My daughter, Kayli, was diagnosed with celiac disease when she was 15. At that time we had no idea that it was a genetic disease. We tried rice pastas, but they were flavorless and gooey. We ordered baking flours from the Internet, but when I made bread and cookies out of them they were awful. We joined our relatives in Indianapolis for Thanksgiving that year. Kayli cried during dinner because she couldn’t eat the rolls or pies. Later, she ate some cookie dough, then cried more when she realized she couldn’t have that either. It was devastating to see my little girl so unhappy. Things have changed A LOT since then. Gluten-free ingredients and foods are much better tasting now!
I am often contacted by people who have just received a diagnosis of celiac disease, and are overwhelmed with what they should do. I think a lot of people think their diet will be very restricted and  they will be going without good food. I looked at it like, “ Here’s what I CAN eat!”  I started by adding potatoes or rice to my meals, plus meats, fruits and vegetables.
I try to make this process easier with help on my website, including a simple 7-day menu plan for ideas and getting started.

4.       Tell us about your web-site?

There are several aspects of my website that are important to me. This includes celiac information, recipes, and information for parents of kids with autism and ADHD.
Larraine's Cheesy Pizza
Soon after I began eating gluten-free I learned that children with autism and ADHD are often put on a gluten-free and casein-free (dairy-free) diet. My niece Christine has three children who have been diagnosed with autism and so it’s been important to me to include recipes that are also casein-free. I have learned to replace the things that I miss with other great tasting ingredients. Two of the four  cookbooks available on my website are G/F and C/F. My website has remained important to me because I have so many family members and friends who are affected by celiac, other food allergies or autism/ADHD. Knowing that I am helping so many keeps me going with the creative process that I find in my kitchen and garden.

5.      What is your favorite Recipe(s)?

That’s a HARD one for me! I love to eat! The newest recipe on my website is delicious!  The Mango Chicken Salad. I LOVE the ginger-based dressing!
Mango Chicken Salad
My favorite from my latest cookbook is Tilapia Tostadas. We seem to fit them in our menu each week!   The cookbook can be found for sale at  My four cookbooks are in PDF format so are very affordable. Most of the ingredients are things that you would probably already have, so you don’t have to go to fancy stores and spend tons of money.
I will add that I think these recipes are great for anyone! I serve them to my family and many others, and they seem to love them!

Thank you for stopping in today, Larraine! 

To purchase a copy of Larraine's latest cook book for only $5.95 visit Larraine's GF Store.

1 comment:

  1. Whoa! I'd never dreamed that food could affect my child's ADHD! My daughter has had it since she was born and my hubby has ADD as well. She's doing well now, I'm blessed to have such an attentive daughter as my first!

    Thanks for this interesting post!


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