Post image for Six.

Six.

by Lauren | Celiac Teen on January 30, 2014

2008. That was the year that this space started. It was the year I found out I have celiac. It was the year I started high school. It was the year I turned 15. So much has changed since then. So much good has come, as well as some not-as-good. So much life. That’s it, really. Life.

This place. It's home.

2014, this year, it looks so much different. It’s a year in university, studying engineering. This year, I will turn 21. It is a year where I live away from home, three provinces away from the kitchen that this website grew out of. It’s now. It’s still filled with unknowns, what-ifs, and days to be filled with work, school, and love.

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Today marks six years since I was diagnosed with celiac. I’m in awe of all that has changed, all that has grown out of the disease. I’m eternally grateful for the diagnosis. To know, to be able to take care of my body by nourishing it with kind food, that’s been the most incredible thing. I see how food makes me feel. I see how much it matters, and how much each meal influences my strength and clarity. That diagnosis gave me life, hope, and really led me to fall head over heels in love with food.

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Now, I realize it’s been ages since I put pen to paper (or rather, fingertips to keyboard) and properly shared something here. I don’t have one reason. I have a bucket of excuses (I’m not a teen anymore! I have to study! I have no light to photograph my baking! I don’t have time to play in the kitchen! The name is a lie! This is a relic of my teenagehood! I don’t want to ruin it!), but when it comes to it, I just didn’t write. I didn’t photograph. I stopped writing down the exact ratios. I just would throw things in.

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I think, in some respects, I’ve grown to be a much better baker in the past few years, since I’ve seized sharing recipes here. I don’t think so hard about it all. I know, by touch, and from all those years of meticulously creating recipes here, just how to convert a recipe. I was never really one to write new recipes. My best ones always came from conversions. And that is what I’ve grown to. I know that if a recipe asks for 1 cup All-Purpose, that I can, just by sight, make a cup with all the properties I want in a flour. Brown rice for bulk and base, sorghum and millet as whole grains and structure. Quinoa for flavor and richness. Sweet rice for lightness, tapioca for starch. Xanthan gum so it doesn’t crumble to bits. Almond flour when I want richness and fat (assuming my roommates aren’t allergic). I don’t even think about it. It’s all become an automatic. That automatic means that they don’t get written down.

Some more of this, please.

I save my careful recordings for labwork. It’s funny in a way. I traded my lab of a kitchen for a lab with computers and fume hoods. An apron, oven mitts, and a flour-covered laptop for nitrile gloves, safety glasses, and a lab book. From chocolate chips to nanoparticles; oils to organic solvents; playtime to worktime.

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However, there’s still something about coming home and spending the night in the kitchen. Ending up with flour on my jeans, as I dance around the kitchen to the music. Whipping egg whites by hand, and stirring chocolate slowly over heat. Bonus points if there’s a dear friend to laugh with, as we catch up and not-so-patiently wait for things to cool.

Family time.

So, here on the 6th anniversary of the phone call which diagnosed me, I suppose I want to say thank you. Thank you to the emergency room doctor who checked for the celiac screen on my blood test. Thank you Mom & Dad for giving me an essentially gluten-free house, so I always had a worry-free place to enjoy my meals. Thank you T for forever making me laugh, as the best brother I could ask for. Thank you, dear readers, for making creating this website one of the best things of my teenage years. 9 months in, my twenties are quite darling.

xoxo
Lauren

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenn January 30, 2014 at 7:06 am

Congrats on six years gluten free, Lauren! I agree, it’s a lot of fun to just enjoy the act of cooking/baking without being tied down by all of the specifics required for a blog post…I’ve done a lot less blogging myself and for the most part, that has been a good thing. Glad to hear you are doing well – I love your optimistic attitude toward life – and wish you much continued happiness and health :)

Kathryn January 30, 2014 at 7:41 am

Congratulations on six years of gluten free living. Although I miss your posts here, it’s so good to know that you’re out there properly living your life and making the most of every moment.

Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) January 30, 2014 at 8:33 am

What a beautiful post Lauren. I miss your posts but take comfort in the fact that I know you are happy and healthy. Congrats on 6 and here’s to many more XO

Polly January 30, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Such a sweet post, and as a mom of 3 kiddos with celiac disease, your post gives me such hope for their futures — that they, too, will have normal lives where they don’t even give a second thought about the food. Thank you for being so open and for mentioning the effort your parents put into giving you a safe place. I hope my children feel the same way, because that’s what we try to give them here.

Shirley @ gfe & All Gluten-Free Desserts January 30, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Beautiful post, Lauren! Congratulations to you on the anniversary of your diagnosis, living gluten free, and learning to naturally go with the gluten-free flow! It’s wonderful when you get to that point, not worrying so much about recipes, knowing intuitively what will work, not having to focus on working at gluten free and gloriously living your life with all its exciting changes. I’m so happy for you and thank you for checking in with us! :-)

xo,
Shirley

Alicia January 31, 2014 at 9:27 am

I just thought of you this week as I made your cinnamon bread that makes delicious french toast. Your site was one I looked at from the beginning when my teenage daughter was diagnosed with celiac. Thank you for the wonderful recipes and the hope that was communicated in those old posts. Thankful to hear that you are doing well.

Mahira January 31, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Yay Lauren. Health!!! What a marvellous thing. So glad to hear you are Doing well. Sounds cliche but . . . live love laugh Lauren

Cinde Little August 29, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Hi Lauren,

I’d love to meet you, maybe have you over for dinner. I am not celiac but am a new food blogger and am interested in GF cooking because my friend is celiac. I have taught a few GF classes and am wanting to do that more. If you have some GF friends maybe I could do a class for your group (and you’d be the pro, not me).

Anyway, I happen to live close to UofC. Email me sometime.

Cinde Little

Jen October 19, 2014 at 12:05 pm

HI Lauren
Your site is amazing. I was directed to find you by a relative of yours. He is a medical student at St. Mary’s hospital in Kitchener and I have been desperate to find his name again. Since my return home last weekend, my Mom gave me Jennifer’s Way to read. It made me cry and basically tells my story. I was diagnosed in July, have been strict gluten free, however have had many, many difficulties. The latest was extreme muscle weakness in my abdominals. I haven’t read all of your blogs, but get the idea that you have suffered as well. I believe he was your cousin and he was amazing, truly trying to determine the cause of my ailments-something in addition to the Celiac. However, on the last day, when I was sitting up in bed, trying to adjust to an incredibly bloated stomach (preparing for colonoscopy) he came in one last time and seemed deflated. The next day, the head Hospitalist came in to discuss the results and said that with no other diagnoses to report, he believed I should be discharged and manage myself, through diet, at home. He even questioned if it was due to an eating disorder. What a nightmare that I have had to live with. I am 40 years old, have two beautiful children, am a teacher and have a degree from the University of Guelph in Human Nutrition. Since 14 I have had to deal with the misdiagnosis of “eating disorder”. I have mourned my numerous symptoms (significant hair loss, hyperthyroidism, breaking teeth, excruciating canker sores, extreme fatigue, lumps in my throat and eating soft foods for months). Eating disorder???? My goodness I am desperate to eat.
Any how, I would love if you could email me back with your cousin’s name as I have purchase a copy of Jennifer’s Way as he is the one person I believe would truly try to understand this debilitating disease,
Take care, and congratulations on such a worthwhile, amazing site.
I look forward to exploring it more.
Jen Palmer

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