When I first discovered I needed to give up gluten and dairy foods, I was understandably depressed. My life is heavily centered on food – I bake, I cook, and I work for a food magazine. At every turn it seemed I was having to give up something I loved to eat (hello pizza, cheese, croissants). It felt like my whole life was going to be about going without. Not to mention it felt like I was losing my identity because I couldn’t cook the same foods and I couldn’t enjoy all the food festivals and restaurants that were required by my job.
There were two things that kept my going through it: First, my health improved dramatically once gluten and dairy were out of my system. I felt so good that it made it a lot easier to stick with the new diet. Second, my friend, who had been gluten free for many years, was a great support and was so patient with my constant questions about what to eat. She also introduced me to a lot of great gluten free products I had never tried.
Today, I have been gluten free for 2 years. There are things that are still a struggle – like food anxiety when traveling. But for the most part, I’ve adapted. And although it took a while, I’ve learned (and am still learning) how to recreate the things I loved without gluten and dairy.
One of the great things that has happened since quitting gluten is I’ve opened myself up to a lot of new ingredients like nut flours. Before, I baked everything with that bag of all-purpose wheat flour from the grocery store. But now my freezer is packed with jars of oat flour, almond flour, hazelnut flour, pistachio flour, rice flour and more. Things I never considered buying in the past.
So I am choosing to look at my gluten intolerance as a good thing. Not that I would wish it on anyone in the world. But for me it was life changing, both in my health and in my diet.
These bars were adapted from a favorite old recipe of mine and this is the first time I’ve made them gluten free and dairy free. Because I am absolutely obsessed with pistachios, I decided to mix in a little pistachio flour (from Oh Nuts!) with my Bob’s Red Mill GF 1-to-1 Flour. The bars would be just as delicious with another nut flour, all gluten free flour mix and just about any kind of fruit or berry you can dream of. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!