A Columbus woman has started a website that she’s hoping will help out a lot of folks in Ohio who are celiac sufferers or who just have a gluten intolerance.
Alexandra Fox started Glutenfreeohio.com to share recipes and information with those like her who have to avoid wheat gluten in their diets.
Fox, 36, who runs her own public relations firm, was told by two doctors over the summer that they suspected she was suffering from a sensitivity to wheat gluten. Both suggested she eliminate gluten from her diet, and when she did, Fox was amazed at the transformation in how she felt physically and even the improvement to her mood.
“I did it and I felt great,” she said.
However, the feeling was quickly tempered by the realization that living without gluten was going to be a challenge.
“I was scared and I was nervous,” Fox said. “Carbs are a very good friend of mine.”
But Fox decided that she would forge ahead and started researching sources for information and also started cooking and baking, a lot more than she normally would have.
“I just kind of started diving into the whole world online. I had no idea there were so many resources out there already. I really got into the baking side of it,” she said.
Fox admits that her experiments turned into a bit of an obsession as she worked to create gluten-free recipes that were as good as the real deal.
Along the way, she realized just how big a part refined sugar and processed foods played in her diet. She began working to eliminate a lot of additives and chemical fillers from her eating as well, focusing on natural sweeteners like honey and agave.
“It has inspired me to cook and to eat more naturally,” she said.
After a few months Fox’s recipe file was so large, she decided that she wanted to do something with all of her discoveries.
Because her background is in public relations, her natural inclination was to get the word out, which is how the idea for the website took shape.
“I love Ohio and I’m a PR person,” she said.
Fox said she likes the idea of sharing recipes and what she has learned with others who may be facing the same fate.
“I would love to grow it for others in the state who are eating gluten-free,” she said.
She wants recipes to be the main focus of the site, and she’s looking for other Ohioans to come to the site to share their stories and support, as well as tips and advice for others who are just starting a gluten-free lifestyle.
And Fox is convinced that the millions of people who can’t tolerate gluten is a group that will only continue to grow.
Whether or not they can tolerate gluten, many folks report they just feel better when they avoid it, something that Fox said her husband has even noticed. He’s eating more gluten-free at home with her, but now finds that when he eats a meal that is high in gluten, he feels worse after than he did before.
Fox said she has tried to keep the recipes on her website fairly simple. Many are her own, many are recipes from cookbooks that she has converted to a gluten-free formula, and many were gluten-free recipes that she has changed up so that they taste better or work better for her.
“I used to like cooking and now, since becoming gluten-free, I love it,” she said. “Everything I have tastes really good.”
Here are a few of her recipes to sample:
CARROT GINGER SOUP
2 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup chopped leeks
1 to 4 tsp. minced fresh ginger (see note)
12 carrots, diced in food processor
1½ tsp. curry powder
6 cups vegetable broth
Sea salt, to taste
Heat oil in a large stock pot. Add leeks and ginger. For strong ginger flavor, use 3 or 4 teaspoons, for more mild flavor, use 1 or 2 teaspoons. Cover and cook for 3 minutes, then add the diced carrots and curry powder. Raise heat and cook for 2 more minutes.
Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, then cool for 20 minutes. Pour soup into a blender a little bit at a time. Blend to puree. Season to taste with salt.
Makes four servings.
2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
¾ cup toasted carob powder
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. cinnamon
½ cup coconut oil
⅔ cup maple syrup
⅔ cup rice milk
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup carob chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, carob powder, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt and cinnamon. Add the coconut oil, maple syrup, rice milk and vanilla, and mix until fully incorporated. Mix in carob chips.
Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, almost filling each cup. Bake for 22 to 23 minutes, rotating the tin after 12 minutes. Let muffins stand in the tin for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes 12 muffins.
Editor’s note: Look for xanthan gum and carob powder and chips in natural food stores.