I *met* Melissa in 2014 on Twitter shortly after finding out that I had the genetic marker for Celiac Disease. Melissa, diagnosed with Celiac in 1998, was my first role model for this new path and a new way to eat. Her book, Gluten Free Lifestyle Series: Silly Yaks Favorite Recipes, helped me, and my family, eat healthier and in a manner that would not make me sick.
For the first post of this new weekly feature of closing out the week with an inspirational story, I just knew this inaugural article needed to feature Melissa. She took me under her proverbial wing and shared tips and tricks on how to stop yourself from eating the wrong things. Being armed with foods you can eat safely is the key. Cooking at home, or from trusted sources, is a must.
At that moment in time, my main meals were the issue. What could I eat that did not contain wheat, or any of its by-products?!? And my prowess as a resourceful baker? Out the window! Who could make a light fluffy cake with a tender crumb and a buttery taste when I couldn’t use whole wheat flour? Or, the lighter refined cake flour?
Enter Silly Yaks Favorite Recipes. The first thing I made was the Chili Relleno Bake. I really enjoyed them! It was a new taste for me. I was never a fan of chilies and cheese but this was yummy! Next, I made Grammies Easy Jambalaya. The whole family enjoyed this dish!! (Read about it here.)
I even live-tweeted while I was making the Jambalaya. It was a lot of fun! Taking pictures as I was putting it all together. Asking questions as I went along and getting great feedback and advice during the process. And Melissa? She was there for the whole thing. She supported my growth and budding enthusiasm. She shared her knowledge without hesitation.
I even shared my blood test results with her and Melissa felt the results pointed more to an autoimmune issue rather than an allergy/intolerance/sensitivity to gluten. That was in 2014. Fast forward to 2017. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune blistering disease.
Melissa was spot in. She tirelessly studies and keeps abreast of new findings in regards to autoimmune conditions and how what we eat can help help our bodies. As I mentioned earlier, Melissa was diagnosed in 1998 with Celiac Disease and then in 2012, she was diagnosed with Hashimoto Thyroiditis. Both of these autoimmune conditions medically require a gluten free diet. Melissa did not want to be a victim so she taught herself so she could share her knowledge with others to help them ease their way into this new eating lifestyle.
So, if you have any gluten issues, I would strongly suggest you check out Melissa’s cookbook and her blog. She posts about new gluten free recipes, great food pairings, and sustainable living.
By having Melissa as a part of my life, I was able to grow past some pretty daunting food challenges and come out on the other side with a satisfied tummy that did not rumble in distress hours later.
From the East Coast to the sunny West Coast, I say a heartfelt, Thank you!, to my inspiration — Melissa Bess Reed.
Check out Melissa’s blog here.
Find Melissa on Twitter: @MelissaBessReed