The chef saw just how debilitating this condition can become, especially when left undiagnosed and untreated.
“In 1996, I married a young, bright, enthusiastic woman and we began planning for a hopeful future and a large family,” he says. “It soon became clear, however, that we were not completely in control of our destiny. While she was in graduate school, Angela’s health took a slow but progressive turn for the worse. After several months of fatigue, digestive symptoms, and unexplained aches and pains, even more symptoms emerged: rashes, hair loss, peripheral neuropathies (tingling in finger/toes), muscle weakness, numbness and pain, and headaches, and then a complete shutdown of her reproductive system. Countless doctor visits with numerous specialists followed.”
The real diagnosis was celiac disease, a multisystem disorder “triggered by gluten, the primary protein found in wheat, barley and rye grains,” he says. “Treatment is easy: no medicine, no therapy, just lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet.”
Within three days of giving up gluten, Angela began to experience a drastic return to a healthy status.
But going cold turkey on pasta, bread, cereal, pastries or cake isn’t easy. That’s why Landolphi decided to write the “Gluten Free Every Day Cookbook” (Andrews McMeel, $16.95). The Johnson and Wales graduate developed a host of dishes that his wife could eat without missing the staples of her former diet, and he wanted to share them with others. The recipes include a Pecorino Pizza Crust, Corn Bread, Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits and Zucchini-Spice Bread.
The rest of the book is filled with dishes, both savory and sweet, that can be made without gluten — and you won’t miss them. The list ranges from Chicken Enchilada Casserole and Hazelnut-encrusted Salmon with Cilantro-Lime Crème to White Chocolate-Strawberry Pie and Blueberry and Whipped Cream Pie.
The author also includes charts with suggestions for substitutions to help those going gluten-free. (Going gluten-free apparently isn’t limited to those with celiac. I read a recent article in which going gluten-free was said to be a treatment for eczema.)
San Antonio, with its fondness for flour tortillas and King Ranch Chicken, isn’t exactly a gluten-free paradise. But there are dining options out there. The Little Aussie Bakery, 3610 Avenue B, is the only entirely gluten-free restaurant in San Antonio, but many others, including Beto’s Comida Latina, 8142 Broadway, and Aldaco’s Stone Oak, 20079 Stone Oak Parkway, gladly accommodate the needs of people with celiac disease. For more information on restaurants with gluten-free options, visit AlamoCeliac.org and click on the Defensive Dining button.