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My name is Willa. I am a 32 year old stay-at-home mother of four lovely children, two girls and two boys, ages six, five, three, and seven months. I have a wonderful husband, Brian. We are currently living in Los Angeles, California, where we moved to in June 2008 from Aberdeen, South Dakota. California is definitely a change in culture; the range of different cuisines here is exciting and tasty.

I’m American, born in Oregon and raised in Minnesota, but I love traveling and international food, especially making and eating it. I learned to bake growing up, mostly from my parents and my grandmother, and have found baking to be quite the stress-reliever, not to mention scrumptious. A huge part of the appeal of baking and cooking for me is seeing how everything comes together along the way to make something delicious.

I have no formal coeliac/celiac diagnosis. There is some history of it on my mother’s side. I first began pondering going gluten-free in April 2005, after chatting with one of my cousins who does have the diagnosis. When I began the switch in the next month I noticed that I had more energy eating gluten-free, having suffered from chronic fatigue. (I had been sleeping 12+ hours a day, depending on the day, and still felt tired.) When my husband was suggested by his Naturopathic physician to go gluten-free for weight-loss, it was great to have a partner on the journey. Whether it is only a sensitivity or intolerance or not, I’m committed to cooking gluten-free for the health benefits.

Why eat this way if I have no diagnosis? It has worked for me. It’s not that I began eating better after I went gluten-free and that accounts for improvement. I was eating first organic and then low-carb before I went gluten-free and saw no change. If I found out there is nothing wrong physically, I would still eat low-gluten or nearly gluten-free, saving gluten for once in a while treats. Simply put, this has worked and for now it is what I am sticking with.

I’ve always loved baking, but I found that after I went gluten-free four years ago that my baking was now a hobby. I bake two to three times a week, whereas before it would be two to three times a month. I haven’t had as many of the issues with gluten-free baking that I’ve read about. Perhaps I have the baking equivalent of a green thumb. Is there such a thing as a white thumb? (tee-hee)

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