Hello and welcome to Gluten Free Holly
I’ve always been a fan of food… who doesn’t like eating?! From that passion, in 2015 I started to post pictures of my food on Instagram, and it’s accidentally developed into a huge part of my life! After about a year of posting pictures I realised that there were a lot of people like me who were struggling for recipe ideas and I kept getting requests to send my recipes over to them… and so my blog was born!
Since 2012 I’ve been following a gluten free diet, and back then the products out there weren’t ‘all that’! It’s been up and down over the years with the choices available, and because of that I started to cook… a lot. I then discovered a passion for food that went beyond just the eating, and now I love to cook to unwind, de-stress and discover new ways of eating delicious food all made gluten free.
I then realised that I loved making people happy with my food, and so I started baking because EVERYBODY loves cake! That bought on a whole new challenge with using gluten free products, but I finally managed to crack it and have been sharing my recipes ever since.
If you want to read more of my story and how I began following a gluten free diet, please see below.
Thank you very much for visiting my site, and I hope you come back soon!
My Journey into the Gluten Free world!
My journey into being gluten free started in 2008. University didn’t finish well for my waistline, but I also left noticing that I had been dealing with fatigue, lethargy, bloating, stomach cramps, bowel issues and headaches that went beyond the sleepless nights, junk food and too much alcohol! It ended up with numerous visits to the doctors, and going back and forth for blood tests, allergy tests, exclusion diets, and more. In the end I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Brilliant. To be honest, I ended up feeling quite disheartened by the diagnosis. Yes, you have a life-long condition. Yes, you have lots of symptoms. No, there is not a cure… now go away and figure it out for yourself!
I was told that my symptoms were triggered by a gluten intolerance, so I started out by cutting gluten from my diet. Wow, that’s hard when you don’t even know what gluten is in! What I found though was how expensive all the alternative products were, so I ended up just leaving them out my diet completely. This worked for me for about 4 years and my symptoms pretty much levelled out, but suddenly I started to get quite ill again, with increasing stomach cramps, bloating, and long periods of constipation…sorry, too much information!
It all came to a head in 2015 when I had to go to the doctors every week as I was really not well. I ended up having more tests to find out what was going wrong. Unfortunately, nothing else came up except a confirmation of the IBS diagnosis, but a theory from my doctor suggested that there was more than just the gluten that was causing my symptoms. She recommended looking into the FODMAP diet which she had heard can help people with IBS. She didn’t know much about it, so when I got home I searched Google and tried to work out what it was all about.
Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols, (or FODMAP!) are poorly absorbed sugars or sugar alcohols that are found in a variety of foods and drinks. These sugars are then passed through the small intestine where they ferment and cause the intestine to stretch whilst they release gas and cause bloating, as well as the other IBS symptoms. Research has shown that people with IBS react to the presence of FODMAPs, and therefore it is recommended that they follow a diet limiting these sugars in their diets. Initially you are meant to follow 6-8 weeks where you completely eliminate these high FODMAP foods from your diet. These foods include things such as wheat, milk products with lactose, onions, garlic, pulses and stone fruits. The idea is that you are then meant to slowly re-introduce each group back into your diet to try and work out what may cause the IBS triggers for you. That’s the part where I failed, and over the last year I’ve struggled to work all of that out on my own without the help of a dietitian.
However, it has been over these last few years that I have really become completely obsessed with food. Not just eating, but also developing my recipes. I started out posting my pictures to see what else people were cooking up with their restricted diets, but it got to the point (much to my family’s and friend’s frustrations!) that I couldn’t cook or eat anything without taking a picture first! I have found so much inspiration on Instagram, but after getting so many requests for my own recipes, I feel that I should also be writing them down to share them with you.
I am trying to keep my recipes low FODMAP where I can, but I’m still learning along the way. However, ALL my recipes are gluten free. If you ever have any questions about any recipes, just ask!
Gluten free cooking and baking has been an experiment. So many of the products out there that you can buy off the shelves tastes like cardboard, and so because of that, for me, taste is everything. If I don’t like it, I won’t be posting it.
I started this blog in 2015 when I was still eating meat, but I now follow a pescatarian, mainly vegetarian, diet. However, I’ve left my old recipes up there to share, but it’s unlikely I’ll be posting meat recipes in the future!
I hope you like what you see, and let me know what you end up trying out in your own kitchen!
Gluten Free Holly