It’s a bit of a funky term. Quirky even. Glutinous Maximus, but it is what we were going to call Kiss My Gluten Free…..nearly.
It was a suggestion from a friend when we were trying to work out if we should take that first step and create this thing that is now Kiss My Gluten Free. I think you can see how we ended up with the name that we did from that.
Kiss My Gluten Free is a name that can be both positive and negative. “Kiss My” meaning to embrace and fully accept the gluten-free life or if you flip that, “Kiss My…” as in Sayōnara gluten!
Stepping in front of the camera
I’m not usually a person who likes to get in front of the camera, but it’s time to introduce myself and tell our story.
I’m Paula Brinsmead. The person behind Kiss My Gluten Free.
My daughter was diagnosed by biopsy in October of 2012 with Coeliac Disease. She was 3.
I distinctly remember the struggle to come to terms with what that all meant and the questions that need to be answered….quickly.
What is Coeliac Disease? What the hell is gluten? What does this mean in terms of food and what is safe? What does this mean long term for my daughter? Argh, my head was spinning!
There were so many more questions and it would take a brief phone call from a friend to say – “It could be worse. You got this” before I would settle and begin to focus and find resources.
Time for action
The first thing I did was call a recommended dietician who, thank goodness, spent a bit of time breaking things down for me over the phone and helping me understand what I could prepare that was safe.
I also needed to know if the whole family should be moved to a gluten-free diet.
I began to research like a crazy woman and had a face to face consultation with my wonderful dietician. That’s where I received the single best E.V.E.R. piece of advice.
One dish at a time, begin to convert the dishes you cook regularly to a gluten-free version. Build up to have a gluten-free recipe bank of 14 dishes. That’s two weeks’ worth and it will give you some breathing space to build on.
This I did and initially, it took me a little time to find replacement ingredients that were gluten-free that performed to my expectation, but I did it and I have never looked back since.
We didn’t move the entire family to a gluten-free diet. We did this so that if my son and husband need to be tested for Coeliac Disease in the future, they would be able to progress straight to biopsy if needed and not have to introduce gluten into their diets before they could do it.
What’s the plan, Stan?
Our main meal each evening is gluten-free and we run a mixed kitchen for all the other meals. Sure we do have a system to manage cross-contamination and a ‘red dot, green dot’ labelling system in the pantry to ensure no accidental glutenings but gluten is definitely present in our house.
Every meal is deliberately planned and because gluten-free products are not the cheapest option (unless they are fruit, veg or unprocessed meat) we shop to a strict list each week…..it still breaks the bank though. 🙁
Another piece to the puzzle
When I was tested not long after my daughter’s diagnosis, we discovered that my DQ7 gene had been triggered (and not the DQ2 or DQ8 to indicate Coeliac Disease). So I was medically diagnosed as gluten intolerant as well as being dairy intolerant.
So in our house, the girls are gluten-free and the boys are mainstream.
It wasn’t long before I started to get a sense that I needed to help others with Coeliac Disease or those with CD children.
I think it was pretty obvious that being a Geographic Information Specialist, the solution was always going to involve maps.
Just like anyone, ever, who was always researching safe places to eat, I found searching and wading through the multitude of comments on social networks and staring at food outlet websites an overwhelming activity. It is so draining and frustrating.
If I was the coeliac, it would make it a little easier to make choices, but as it’s not, guessing how a little person is feeling about a situation or ‘being there’ after an accidental glutening is nearly the hardest thing I’ve had to do. (aside from actually bringing the little people into this world that is).
I am lucky in that my husband is really supportive and exceptional at bringing things back to the basics. That grounding is so needed when things are out of your control.
To take the leap or not?
I toyed with the idea of Kiss My Gluten Free for some time. A couple of years at least until I decided to take the leap and get things going.
It’s changed considerably from its original concept, but all the while, the core has remained the same:
“to provide an easy to use, trustworthy place for people to find places and products to eat.”
Understanding the risk and transparently showing it in our website is the next best thing to trust. Trust comes later for each and every person as they develop their relationship with a particular food outlet or product brand.
It does keep me very busy talking with the stores that sell gluten-free products, the manufacturers that make them and the various restaurants, take away joints, bakeries and cafes that are all candidates for content in Maps for Coeliacs or The Buyer’s Guide.
Being a candidate and actually making the grade are two completely different things!
So I do hope you enjoy Maps for Coeliacs and The Buyer’s Guide and know that it was born from having Coeliac Disease and Gluten Intolerance in my life – just like most of the people I hope will use it.
I look forward to telling you all about new products and places to make your dining experiences easier, tastier and so much more enjoyable.😊😍