The prompt for many people to talk with their medical providers about whether they may have a problem with gluten is often digestive concerns. For Letty, it was ongoing chronic nasal allergies and fatigue. Letty shares with us that one of the biggest challenges in following gluten-free sometimes has nothing to do with gluten at all.

LettyGFHow long have you been gluten-free?

I have practiced gluten-free living for 2 years now, off and on.

What prompted the decision to become gluten-free?

I suffered from chronic nasal allergies and fatigue so I wanted to get to the bottom of my symptoms. After researching the issue, I saw a medical professional and they recommended I have blood tests to determine what I was allergic to. Sure enough, wheat, yeast, oats, etc.  After the initial food elimination experiments I saw the correlation.

I originally attempted being gluten-free because of my symptoms and now my husband and I are practicing gluten-free together. The benefit for him is amazing! He has lupus and now that we have worked to eliminate gluten his flare-ups have lessened, he has lost weight and his “foggy” mind has improved.

3. What have you found to be the greatest challenge associated with being gluten-free and why is it a challenge?

There is temptation at every corner! I admit there are days I live in denial. Especially with the holidays, I find myself “cheating” at times and paying the price. My initial struggle was getting my family on board with my decision to live a gluten-free lifestyle. I wasn’t asking them to change their habits entirely, but I still felt they didn’t truly see how it affected me and played my symptoms off as stress or weather-related.

4. What most surprised you to find out it had gluten in it?

Well after this foodie’s heart was broken in discovering many foods had gluten, I was amazed that drugstore items can also contain gluten  makeup, medication, shampoos, and lotions were an interesting find.

Letty, a self-confessed foodie, is also a mom, an ASL interpreter and a student. Letty doesn’t have a lot of spare time for time-intensive recipes. Below she shares a simple, no fuss recipe for a gluten-free meal that her family enjoys.

“Being Hispanic, tacos are my go-to-meal when in a hurry. I like to get creative, and I love to make calabacitas (Mexican squash) as a side.”

CURRY CHICKEN TACOS

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb sliced chicken breast

1/2 yellow onion

1/2 red pepper

Seasoning: salt, pepper, garlic powder, curry, paprika, chile powder

Corn tortillas (Mission brand) or  gluten-free tortillas (Rudi’s)

PREPARATION:

Grill or sauté chicken with the onion, peppers, & seasoning.

CALABACITAS

INGREDIENTS:

2 Mexican squash

1 Yellow squash

1/2 yellow onion

1 tomato

2 roasted green chiles

1 can of “mexi-corn’ (corn w/peppers)

1/2 cup cheese

Seasoning: salt, pepper, gluten-free chicken stock/bouillon cube (Massel)

PREPARATION

Chop everything up into bite sized pieces, and throw it into a pot, cover the lid. When tender add the cheese then serve.

This Sunday Tucson Medical Center hosts the Gluten-Free Awareness Expo organized by the University of Arizona Gluten Free Club. The Gluten Free Awareness Expo will be held at TMC’s Lifegain Park, from 12 noon to 4 p.m.Sunday, Nov. 17 – no charge to attend.  Lifegain Park is on the north side of the TMC campus, a short distance behind the new Orthopaedic and Surgical Tower.

If you suspect that you have a gluten sensitivity please see your medical professional to assess your risk for celiac disease.