On August 1, 2007, I wrote my first post on this blog, which I called Gluten-Free in Georgia and Florida. Well, I left out the appropriate hyphen, but I digress...
Every year on the anniversary of this blog -- now Gluten Free in Georgia, Finally -- I do a little retrospection. A little introspection. And a little, well, projection. After all, this is what anniversary date are all about.
So today I am writing to point out the 5 gluten-free products or moments this year that have impressed me.
1. We are here! We are here! We are here!
The entire 1 in 133 movement, the growth of assertive advocacy, the rise of real role models -- all that has happened this year. Yes, it's still a struggle, yes we still have to advocate and educate, and yes, one must always be on one's toes....but wow, how things have changed in five years.
2. Elizabeth Barbone. She's in a class by herself, my friend Elizabeth. She has become a dear friend in the last two years, but more importantly, she is rising to the top of the field in gluten-free baking and cooking. I am most amazed by her recipe for doughnuts in her new book
as well as her bread recipe my first exposure to her brilliance. Her enthusiasm, her love for being gluten-free and eating well, her sense of humor, her donuts, did I mention her donuts? And most of all, her weekly Serious Eats Gluten-Free Recipe. She's amazing.
3. Five years ago, there was no packaged gluten-free bread worth eating.
And now there is.
Seriously. Two stellar highlights this year -- we have magnificent options, including Rudi's Gluten-Free Tortillas, and the delicious Soft Kinnikinnck bread and buns. In fact, the bread world has become normal -- regular -- like old time. I applaud these companies for their dedication to us, but more importantly, I can now do simple things like take a sandwich for lunch or make garlic bread or burritos.
4. I'm blessed to know gluten-free business women I can call on when I need something for a special event.
And I'm happy to call them friends.My stalwart friends:
Shelley Ritchie at Moondance (one of my first GF friends, my Home Girl, baker of the best brownies evcr!)
Jill Brack at Glow Gluten Free -- still my favorite gingersnap! And Jill -- mwah!
Marilyn Santulli at American Gra-Frutti Love you Mia!
Lorna Shafir at Kettle Cuisine -- sad they had to stop the store line, but what an awesome woman and company.
Marion from Pamela's Products.....awesome-sauce!
Heather Collins from Think Thin Products
and my personal angels/sisters
What's cool is all of these women have been in my gluten-free life since I had to make the change. I am blessed by this fact. I'm just sad I haven't seen much of some of them lately -- I don't get to vendor fairs and conference much any more.
That is because.....
In fact, it's the easiest part of my life to control nowadays.I think our community has made this happen. Good work and great products means being gluten-free is almost pedestrian. Admittedly, we must still be diligent. Admittedly, I won't be cavalier about anything. Etc. But I feel at home in my gluten-free world.
Because now, my focus is continuing to see and continuing to live. My body is being ravaged by the side effects of methotrexate, prednisone, diabetes, and most of all, Giant Cell Arteritis-- it's been a tough, two-year fight. I now have thyroid disease, and I also have anemia, and oh yeah, that common splotch of skin cancer on my head (yes, I know it's baby cancer -- but I will have an awful scar...).
That is why FIVE MONTHS from today, on Jan. 1, 2013, I anticipate beginning retirement on disability. See, when trying to get well IS your job, it's impossible to DO your job. I appreciate your kind thoughts, prayers, karma, etc. as I work through these months (which includes the Oct. 1 deadline for application).
This also means I've drawn closer to the gluten-free world I'm closest too, and farther from the colloquial side. So yeah, I'm more distant. But it doesn't mean I'm not thinking about you. I've learned a lot with this awful chronic autoimmune Central Nervous System disorder....
Five years ago I threw myself into this world, this blog, to Twitter, to the support group thing. It was good until it was impossible, so now I do as much as I can do without throwing all my spoons into the wind (read The Spoon Theory if you don't get this.)
The one thing I've struggled with this past year is the profound desire to make it to the new year -- be it blog year, or January. I'll hope you'll come with me.
Cue Barry Manilow...looks like we made it.
Here's to the future, whatever it holds.
And thanks for reading....