Have you met Gluten Free Mama?

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During the month of May, we will be doing our first giveaway from Gluten Free Mama to celebrate celiac disease awareness.

More details to come. In the meantime, read her story below.

My name is Rachel Carlyle Edington, also known as the “Gluten Free Mama.”  I’m the owner of “Gluten Free Mama Kitchen, LLC” where we manufacture gluten free flour blends and mixes. I’ve also written two cookbooks, “Gluten Free Mama’s Best Baking Recipes” and “In the Kitchen with Gluten Free Mama”.

Gluten Free Mama, Rachel Eddington

Gluten Free Mama, Rachel Eddington

My gluten free journey when our youngest child was diagnosed with celiac disease.  Lexie, was not an easy baby. From the moment I brought her home from the hospital, Lexie began screaming and at times was inconsolable. I took Lexie to the doctor several times and was often given the diagnosis of colic.  Lexie’s stomach would frequently blow up like a balloon and she had trouble keeping her food down. As Lexie grew old enough for solid food, her symptoms increased. She began having chronic diarrhea, vomiting and severe rashes on her bottom. As the months went by, she became worse and I started to cry uncontrollably. I cried out to God for answers and direction. I noticed her face would break out in almost a sunburn type rash when eating fish crackers. I mentioned it to the doctor and he suspected she was allergic to red dye or wheat so we kept the fish crackers away from her. The same thing would happen after making homemade cookies. The airborne flour was making her ill. Every night was a battle as Lexie often woke up screaming in pain or sick.

Rachel with her youngest daughter Lexie

Rachel with her youngest daughter Lexie

After getting no answers from doctors, I began to do my own research. An ER doctor mentioned that celiac disease or gluten intolerance could be causing her symptoms so I asked her doctor to test her. Lexie’s pediatrician was out so we saw another doctor who insisted it was gastritis. When I asked him how long gastritis usually lasts, he responded with around a week. I said, “Well it has been 18 months.” I felt as if I was being treated as an over-reactive mother who didn’t know anything. I insisted that they run the test for celiac disease. The blood test came back positive. Her endoscopy came back negative perhaps because she’d not eaten gluten for 9 months. Due to complications during the scope, we decided not to repeat the test.

Our primary doctor at the time said that they’d had maybe one class in college on celiac disease and that it was extremely rare. He proceeded to say that I probably knew more about it than he did.  With that response, I decided to take Lexie to a naturopathic doctor who treats the whole patient and the parents too! She immediately put Lexie on a strict gluten free diet and probiotics to help heal Lexie’s gut. Lexie was also diagnosed with allergies to cow’s milk and soy.  Within 3 weeks of being on a gluten free diet, we started noticing improvements in Lexie’s health. She began to heal. Lexie is now sad to say, no longer the gluten free baby, she is a young lady, turning 10 years old next month.

Lexie’s diagnosis meant changing our family’s eating habits.  I tried store bought gluten free products which were inedible with horrible texture and/or flavor so I bought some gluten free cookbooks and made some of the recipes. I became frustrated with having to measure out several flours for each recipe. It seemed like I’d always be in the middle of baking when one of the flours called for in the recipe was out.  I also didn’t like the gritty texture and aftertaste of the rice flour.  Many of the recipes were bland, gritty or fell apart. How could I expect my daughter to eat these things if I wouldn’t?

I have always had the passion to cook, well really bake and attended cooking school just out of high school.  At boarding school, I obtained a fair amount of culinary experience helping them run their kitchen which served over 200 students a day.  My dream was always to write a cookbook so I started creating my own recipes.

Available now at Amazon.com

Available now at Amazon.com

I would do taste tests with regular recipes, someone else’s version of the recipe and my recipe and take them all over our town of Polson, MT doing blind taste tests.  My recipes always came out on top.  This inspired me to begin writing my cookbook.  I decided that mixing so many flours was not only a waste of my valuable time, it was also expensive and inefficient at times. That is when my “Gluten Free Mama” flour blends were created.  As I took my recipes around town to anyone and everyone who would test them out, I started getting requests to package my flour.  On a whim and with no experience in the food manufacturing industry, I jumped in head first.  That is how “Gluten Free Mama” was born.  Since then I have written two cookbooks and have developed nine certified gluten free products. This year, we’ll be adding more products.

It’s much easier to be gluten free now than it was in 2006.  The last 10 years has been a blessing.  My passion for gluten free started because my daughter had celiac disease.  I wanted her to be just like any other kid and have the same wonderful experiences growing up and that included food. I became “Gluten Free Mama” plainly because I loved my daughter.  My love for my daughter gave me passion to help other moms with the same situation which in turned has helped anyone who needs to be gluten free. I have enjoyed making gluten free friends from all over the world. My mission is to bring you products that are exceptional in quality and flavor and make gluten free living as easy as possible so you can enjoy the things in life that matter!

The things that matter to me most in my life are my family!  I have three kids, all girls and had the amazing blessing of marrying my best friend, Rob Edington on Valentine’s Day in 2012.  Rob has three kids, which mean we now have six kids!  We call ourselves the “Eddy Bunch”.  Oh and I can’t forget the dogs, they are family too!  We have a St. Bernard Lab named Opal and two Mini Australian Shepherds called Tyson and Sophie.  GFM family pic

During the last three years, my own health has been challenging because I have MS and Trigeminal Neuralgia.  I had brain surgery in November and am finally starting to feel better.  I have learned over the last three years that there is nothing more important in life than God, Family, and Friends.  I am thankful for the “good days” and just muster through the bad.  I look forward to living life to its fullest, creating new products while expanding “Gluten Free Mama,” spending quality time with my loved ones and of course – lots and lots of baking!

 

 

 

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