I was enjoying life and living my dream as the head chef at a spiritual retreat center when I suddenly began experiencing symptoms of what was eventually diagnosed as an extreme gluten allergy, or maybe an acute case of Celiac disease. Like many who develop intolerance to gluten, I was forced to completely eliminate wheat and a few other select grains from my diet.
Almost overnight I went from a woman who loved to eat and bake with whole grains, especially wheat-based bread and pastries, to someone who had to fastidiously avoid all exposure, including the need to wear gloves and a mask to even handle wheat-containing foods.
I began exploring substitutions for wheat in baked goods, and tried many of the commercially-available gluten-free foods. All too often the products proved unappetizing, often sticky or dry breads, and cakes that were pasty and rapidly desiccated. Some gluten-free products contained other allergens, or used bean flour which can itself upset the digestive system.
As a professional chef I was convinced I could find a better alternative. After much research, I decided to also avoid corn and dairy, as they have been indirectly linked to celiac pathology. My form of the disease is somewhat unusual as I get anaphylactic shock from ingestion of bran and brown rice and hives from quinoa and millet; all these had to be excluded too. Finally, I decided to avoid soy due the potential pathology for women with breast cancer.
The silver lining of the extreme form of celiac that I suffer from was the ultimate creation of a line of mixes and baked goods that I can confidently enjoy myself as well as anyone with a gluten allergy, whether moderate or severe. Scientific testing proves that the products are gluten free (less than 5 particles per million).
Breads and cakes were back on the menu for me, and I couldn’t wait to share it. Taste-testing results showed that most could not differentiate baked goods made with Mina’s gluten free from their wheat-based counterparts!
With much encouragement from family, friends, and perhaps most importantly those also living with celiac disease, I commercially launched the Mina’s Purely Divine line of gluten free products. Whether you enjoy baking your own breads and cakes, or convenient snack products that don’t sacrifice taste and consistency, see for yourself why Mina’s is different.
I want to hear from you so please share your feedback and thoughts as well as recipes with me.