About Me

My love and I on our honeymoon in Rome.

Love these little beans of mineThe Whole Crew, Chicago 2012

I was diagnosed with Celiac Sprue after a several years of extreme illnesses, exhaustion, unexplained tummy issues, “ulcers”, etc through a biopsy. I will never forget standing in my wedding gown for the last fitting, answering the phone and hearing the diagnosis. I was a bit… well.. gobsmacked, to say the least. The doctor stated the mystery disease and told me that I could not eat “cake, bread, pasta, pizza.. that kind of thing.” ummm… Hello? We were getting married in three weeks and heading to Rome for our Honeymoon a month later. No cake? No pasta? No what??

It certainly made me think about everything we ingested even more than I had before. After hanging up (and finishing the fitting), I ran to the computer and began my search for information. I didn’t even know how to spell Celiac – let alone make appropriate decisions for my diet! I called my love, who in turn stopped at the local bookstore on his way home from work. So there we sat, at 11:00 at night, pouring over recipes from Bette Hagman and “googling” everything that came to mind.

That was in October of 2000… after many years of illness. When I look back on pictures from before my diagnosis, I am strangely holding my stomach in ALL of them. Huh. I knew it hurt. I knew my body wasn’t happy. But I never knew I grabbed my side or stomach all the time. Proof in the pictures. And my complexion, my lack of energy, my inability to focus, the hospital and medical bills… the list goes on and on. I found a lot help online, reading cookbooks and as many other materials as I could find about Celiac.

It still surprises me a bit when I meet other people with Celiac or when a query about specific ingredients in something is met with the response, “Do you have Celiac?”. What? You know about this too? How cool!

And Why, yes. Yes, I do. And it’s not going away – so it’s better to just grab it by the horns.. and well.. bake, cook, and enjoy life again.

I started this blog (in 2005) as a way to connect with my family/friends and share recipes.  It’s really just something I do to keep myself mentally engaged and connected.  I’m a full time teacher and a full time mom…certainly not a full-time blogger.  However, if you ever have a question, please feel free to email me.  I will help whenever I can.  The online gluten free community saved me when I first started out.  I can only hope that something I share here will help someone else in return. After all, if it weren’t for the resources or people I had found, I don’t know where I’d be.

Happy gluten-free eating, all!


Cast of characters now include:

My girls: Z & R, otherwise referred to as “The Chicklet” and “The Peanut”

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EMAIL:  send an email to: Cheekalina AT gmail DOT com.
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Read this post for more information about me, my Love, and our adoption hopes!  Our Adoption Timeline can be found here as well.

PS. Why is an American girl like me using the word “Gobsmacked”? Well, quite honestly it’s because most Americans don’t know what “gobsmacked” even means – but we might like the sound of it. And then when people learn that it means to be astounded and made speechless, it completely fits. Here’s a similar concept: Celiac? What does that mean? And yes, it’s astounding to learn what our immune system is doing to our bodies! And what do I have to avoid/not eat? OH MY! YES! I was completely GOBSMACKED!

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