LG HRWho am I? I’m Laura Graves; just a former small town girl who now lives in the big city of Chicago…well errr…the big suburbs, but that sure feels like enough city for me! Writing is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m not an English major. Not a journalist. Not a chef but I play one on TV (no no no…not really!)! I love to cook and experiment with new recipes. I like to keep things simple and my favorite recipes are basic but delicious. I have a passion for food (which always gets me into trouble and explains my parallel “forced” passion for weight loss!) and now I have food allergies. The funniest thing about my allergies is that there aren’t any definitive answers about what makes me sick; it’s been a lot of good ‘ol trial and error and it still seems to change daily.

It started suddenly one random day when I woke up feeling sick; that one day led to feeling like I had the flu for two months! I finally went to the doctor where they ran a lot of tests and  determined that I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I didn’t test positive for celiac disease, but after a few more months passed and I was feeling better on medication but still not great, my GI doc suggested that I eliminate gluten from my diet (I would never have come up with that horrific idea on my own!) and since then I’ve found that I can’t go back — no, this is not me on my soapbox — I literally can’t go back, believe me I’ve tried, but now eating gluten makes me sick. All in all, eliminating gluten has honestly helped me to feel better. It wasn’t immediate; it took about a month for me to start feeling a difference, but since going gluten-free I have been able to stay off medication. I’ve since become the queen of internet research (isn’t there a degree or at least a certification for that somewhere?!) and I’ve discovered that there is another diagnosis for me: “Gluten Intolerant”. So, with that bird under my hat, I’m taking on the challenge of finding food that makes me feel good and also allows me to feel like I can eat “normally” again. To be clear, I’m not saying that I ever was “normal”, just that “my normal” would be to go out to an event or restaurant with my friends and family and not always feel like such a leper. It can be really lonely and frustrating to be gluten-free. I’m also experimenting with eating low FODMAP foods. I never thought there would be fruits or vegetables that would be outlawed, or that I could ever miss apples so much!

My goal is to create some great recipes to enjoy the foods I used to (ok but maybe a little bit healthier too? Wouldn’t it be great to lose some weight on this journey!!) and to make food that people who don’t have food allergies actually want to eat too! To combine the two worlds, people with food allergies and people without food allergies, all eating the same food TOGETHER (now, where did I put that superhero cape?!)! That’s why I started this blog, and if my struggles can help you or others out there with food allergies to feel a little less alone, to understand that there are other lepers out there who successfully and happily live amongst the “norms” (as the delightful members of my family who do not have food allergies so lovingly call themselves!) then I’ve succeeded!

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