About Me

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Welcome to Gluten Free Zen, I’m April.  I’ve been gluten-free for about four years and dairy-free a bit longer. I am a foodie. I love cooking, baking, talking about both, reading about both, collecting recipes, creating recipes, and entertaining.

I created Gluten Free Zen to show people that living allergy free isn’t nearly as hard as they think. It doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. I’ll give you tools, “newbie” pointers, and all kinds of recipes that will make your new life a lot more enjoyable. I’m going to show you that living gluten-free and dairy-free is a healthy and rewarding way to live and you’ll feel so much better after changing your diet, you’ll wonder why you ever lived any other way.

If you’re new to the “allergen-free world” here are some quick links to get you started:

Don’t Panic, Gluten Free Living Is A Breeze!

Where Do I Start?

Arm Yourself With Knowledge

Change Isn’t Easy But It Is SO Worth It

How To Be Happy Without Gluten & Dairy

Happy and healthy living to you!

Sincerely,

April

glutenfreezen@hotmail.com

43 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Wow!! April, this is impressive! I just started eating whole foods, cutting sugar, flour and processed foods out. Your blog is going to be so helpful!

    • One of the great things about eating gluten free is that you don’t have to give up flours, you just exchange them with healthier ones. Over the next few weeks I’ll have a lot more recipes up that you can try. I can’t promise to cut out all of the sugar, but my recipes will definitely be made with high quality ingredients that are good for you!

  2. Thank you April for resending – I wanted to send this to my sissy in Arizonia.
    Great to see you and perhaps we can continue our converstion about Sundays
    some day. Great job!

  3. I love your blog! All your recipes look so good…especially the onion rings. I need to make those asap!

    I started eating gluten free about two months ago once I realized I was gluten intolerant. It is nice to read other blogs and get some gluten free inspiration =).

    -Katie

    • So happy you like it Shirley! I’m super busy this week, but I’ll be getting back into the swing next week. Keep checking for more great recipes, I have some really good ones planned. :)

  4. Hello from Australia. I found your site searching for a recipe for a gluten free dairy free salmon/tuna and potato pattie that cooks like a pancake. I didn’t quite find it but your site looks very impressive. I’ve been gluten free and dairy free for nearly 30 years. Its sometimes challenging but great for my health. The patties were for my 4 yo fussy eater grandson. I worked a recipe out for myself using mashed potato blended with a can of tuna, 2 eggs and gluten free flour. He loved them, so that was a great win, He’s a much happier healthier child that is easy to be with when he eats gluten and dairy free. with healthy alternate foods, as was his father,

    • Margaret, thank you for the nice compliment! Your tuna patty sounds great, you should share the recipe. What type of gf flour did you use? I love Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour. It works very well for creating your own recipes and converting most gluten recipes.

      I know what you mean about children and behavior where gluten and dairy are concerned. I hear that all the time from people. Hopefully more and more people will start to understand the gluten & dairy connection to behavior. Have a wonderful day and thank you again for stopping by! :)

      • Thanks for your reply. I’ve just discovered it. I don’t think I was notified of the reply. The flour I used was a packet of gluten free flour containing maize starch, tapioca flour, rice flour vegetable gums and guar ( whatever that is, I have no idea. ) I can’t remember the quantities. I just mixed it together till it felt right!!
        I just read one of your recipes using Coconut Bliss, it sounds wonderful. I’m disappointed that I’ve never seen it here in Australia. I doubt we have it but I’ll look out for it in speciality health shops.
        We don’t get Mama’s all purpose almond flour here either. The brand I used was Orgran. According to the packet it has an American address as well as an Australian address and is contacted at http://www.orgran.com.
        I think the connection between gluten and dairy products and poor behaviour is huge for some people. An American book called ‘Diet Crime and Delinquency’ has a lot to say about that as do lots of other books and my personal experience.

  5. Hi April! This is a very nice blog! :) I love your recipes, they seem easy to make and look beautiful! I was always under impression that cooking/baking gluten free is very challenging (I definitely want to learn more about it). I signed up to follow your blog.
    Sibella

    • Thank you, Sibella! It’s not nearly as difficult as people think. Just takes some organization and the desire to eat well. LOL Thank you for stopping by and I’m so happy that you signed up to follow the blog! :)

  6. thanks for stopping over! i love your blog….thanks for commenting and allowing me to stumble upon it! i am in the process of going through and making a ‘gluten free’ section in mine, so stay tuned – i am not gluten free, but i do make a lot of dishes without gluten because they are generally just made with fresh veggies and such – i am also a fan of alternative flours and tend to use them a good bit :)

  7. You’re so right about the relief you feel when you finally find out about an allergy!! Well, I was in denial about my dairy allergy for a while, but I’ve come to accept it along with my gluten and yeast intolerance. I believe there are so many people out there who feel like crap all the time due to unknown allergies and they think that’s just how it’s supposed to be because they’ve never experienced anything different. How can we help those people who most likely aren’t following gluten-free blogs ;-)

    • It can be difficult to educate people about food intolerances who really aren’t “on board” with changing their diets. I have learned that I offer advice if I hear someone’s symptoms and they are receptive to listening. If not, I just have to understand that there are a lot of people out there, who for whatever reason, would rather feel terrible than change their life for the better. I kept a food diary for a year and proved to myself that dairy and gluten were wreaking havoc on my body. There’s work that goes into feeling better and changing your diet, hard work. But with that said, food allergies and sensitivities are getting a lot of press lately. Mainstream media and doctor’s are realizing that certain foods and the way we process them or grown them, aren’t always friendly to our bodies and can cause a lot of really serious issues for many people. I’m hoping that over the next few years more and more people will come to understand what they are eating every day of their lives and start to take control of their own health.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and replying to the note I left you! :)

  8. Hi April! I just stumbled upon your blog and I’m excited to read more:) I’ve been (trying) to go without gluten since my Doctor said I tested intolerant but gosh it’s hard! Looking forward to reading more<3

    • Hi Marian! Thank you for stopping by my blog and commenting. Gluten-free living is not nearly as hard as people would have you believe! Definitely inconvenient at times, but not impossible. In the beginning it takes a little work with organization and education on your part, but once you’ve overcome that hump, it’s smooth sailing. I promise! Please feel free to email me with any questions or help that you need with recipes, etc. Thanks again for stopping by! glutenfreezen@hotmail.com

  9. Hey April! It’s your favorite niece Olivia! Your blog has been such a help since we went gluten free. My mom and I have a question. We googled maltodextrin, and the sites said that it was so processed that it doesn’t have gluten in it. But we wanted to ask your opinion. Thanks!
    -Olivia

    • What are you eating that has the maltodextrin in it? I wouldn’t worry about it too much. But if you are really trying to get the gluten out of your diet to see if it helps everyone and makes them feel better, it might be a good idea to just eat whole foods and non gluten grains for awhile. Maybe stay away from any processed foods or condiments that have other ingredients that could have gluten. I’m so happy that you guys are enjoying my blog!! When you come up for Christmas, if you guys are still doing the gluten free thing, we can go shopping and I will show you some really good products to buy and some of my favorite things. Can’t wait to see you! ~ Your favorite Auntie April

  10. Well some of the salad dressings had it, and the chicken base did too. I can’t wait to see you too. And it will be very exciting to buy some new gluten free things. It has been pretty hard to avoid foods with gluten in them. We tried some Bob’s Red Mill gluten free brownie mix, and it was really good. Thanks for the reply!
    -Olivia :)

    • Most stocks (chicken, beef, veggie) and soups will have gluten in them unless otherwise stated. I like Pacific brand soup stocks and Wolf Gang Puck’s soups. He has 3 or 4 that are gluten free. You also need to be careful with lunch meat. Typically you can Google any brand names and figure out if they have gluten. Example: “Does Oscar Meyer ham have gluten?” I Google things almost daily and especially in the beginning when I was trying to figure out what to eat!

      Namaste has several cake mixes and the absolute best brownie mix ever. We’ll buy some when you guys are up here. Bob’s Red Mill all purpose GF flour also makes very, very, good banana bread. His recipe is right on the back of the bag. Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour is the absolute best to use if you are “de-glutening” regular recipes. Any time you do that though, you will also need Xanthan gum. You can buy that in the health food section as well.

      See you soon! Love Auntie April

  11. You have a lot of recipes along with yummy looking food photos on your blog. I don’t have food allergies, but my daughter’s boyfriend does. I will let him now about your blog.

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog and reading. Best wishes.

    • Oh! Thank you so much, I’m so happy you enjoy my blog! :) However, I was just nominated a couple of weeks ago for the Versatile Blogger Award. There’s no way I can come up with 7 more random and interesting things about myself, I’m not nearly that exciting… ;) Thank you for thinking of me and nominating me though, that was very sweet!

  12. Hi April…I continue to be an avid friend to your wonderful website. I have tried many of your recipes and enjoyed every one. We GF DF folks truly love your site and hope you have as much fun creating as we do searching and eating.

    What I’m looking for right now….is a great homemade protein bar. I haven’t the foggiest idea of how to begin to make a protein bar. Most of the commercial products are pretty plastic tasting. I’m wondering if you have found anything for a GF, DF, soy-F, yeast-F, almond-F, corn-F, egg-F, vanilla-F, JOY-LESS eater like me. PLEASE let me know if you’ve run into anything like this for me to try. I’m feeling pretty darned deprived lately.
    Hugs and affection to wonderful YOU, April! Gay

    • Hi Gay,

      So nice to hear from you! I haven’t considered making a pure protein bar as of yet. I did make a high protein bar last night that I will be posting sometime today. However, it does have an egg, vanilla, and GF oats in it. The carbs from the bar would be coming from the oats and dried apricots, and chocolate of course. You could probably omit the egg, I just used it for a binder. And you could certainly exchange the almond butter for another type of nut butter and increase it to help bind it together. I don’t think there would be a problem with omitting the vanilla and the chocolate either. Those were just perks I added because my husband is a chocolate lover and enjoys sweet things.

      I’ll post it in a little while and you can see what you think. I’ll also do a little research and see what I can come up with as far as an all around allergen free protein bar. Also, you might want to research the Paleo diet and Paleo recipes. I think Alycia is currently doing that diet. I’m pretty sure it’s carb and sugar free, you may be able to tweak it to your liking. Thanks for the nice note Gay, hope you have a wonderful day! :)

      ~April

  13. Pingback: Blogger Awards! | The Food ReFashionista

  14. April, I have no explanation as to why I never read your “About” page. Glad I did today!

    I remember in the beginning of my own allergy adventure walking down the isles in the grocery and crying to my husband, “There’s nothing left to eat.” At that time allergy testing had shown I was allergic to all my favorite foods. This was prior to diagnosis of Celiac, and I was suffering from gut permeability due to years of irritation from gluten.

    One day, not too long after, I had an epiphany. I looked at my list of foods I couldn’t have and went through highlighting the ones that were left! I learned to eat a lot of things I never had before, and became quite creative in combining them. (I think to the chagrin of my husband, but hey!) Thankfully, over time, the inside of me healed and I can now eat many of those foods again. Not all however. Carrots, avocados a few others can really do a number on me. LOL! I can forgive the carrots and the rest, but avocados?
    Sigh…
    ~ Lynda
    PS: Love the change on your blog page!

    • It is so overwhelming at first! Even now I can get a little overwhelmed at times, especially when eating out. They always say it’s “gluten free or dairy free” but my body usually tells me different the next day. Unfortunately, only our own kitchens can be fully trusted!

      I’m glad you’ve been able to heal your gut and were able to add in most of the foods that were bothering you. I’ve just learned over the past few years to love avocados. Ha! Weird, I know. I still have a few foods that bother me if I eat too much…eggs, grains – even the gluten free ones can cause problems!, and especially corn. But then, I think most of the country is allergic to corn now that it’s been so engineered.

      Thank you for stopping by my “About Me” page! So happy you like the blog change. :)
      ~April

  15. Hi April. Because you’ve been so encouraging, I’ve nominated you for The Super Sweet Blogging Award at IntoMyWindow.com, July 1, 2013 post. :)

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