I’m Rache Brand, and We are The Brand Fam
My family and I love to cook and dine. Wherever we are in the world, we seek the best products and restaurants available. But there is one caveat: I am gluten intolerant and I refuse to make concessions on flavor, quality and taste!
Severity of My Gluten Intolerance
My intolerance level is high, diagnosed first with Celiac Disease and later founded to be accumulative anaphylactic (this means traces of wheat or gluten do not clear quick enough from my system, so several days in a row of small traces can cause a build up and a reaction). I carry an EPI pen when dining out and have had to use it. I practice full abstinence with gluten.
I also have several other sensitivities which force me to read labels beyond gluten free. I try to limit soy intake (I get a terrible skin rash), I rarely eat dairy of any kind (I get very tired) and I am not a big fan of crustaceans (I get a throat tingling). I also steer clear of caffeine and sugar and I am a vegetarian for the most part, although I do like fish and mollusks occasionally. People often say, “What do you eat?” I say, “I focus on whole foods like vegetables, fruits and rice.” But the truth is now with a robust world of gluten free substitutes, I also love to eat pasta, chips, and a variety of other gluten free treats like cookies and bread, all of which require other forms of dairy ingredient substitutes like Earth Balance, Daiya and Veganaise. Due to food science I am able to be as picky as I want to be and still get the similar flavors of the real stuff without the stress of an allergy attack. Life is a good place.
We started this site to share some of our resources and favorite products with other families, especially because we, being the discriminating and very picky sort, have struggled to find exactly the right substitutes and comprehensive selection of great products. We have tried everything under the sun, so you know that what is on here is the best of the best of gluten free and supporting items.
A Family Filled Affair
As a family we work as a team. When in our kitchen we try to keep our pantry free and clear of gluten, but out in the world for my family it is fair game. We feel it is important to introduce gluten to our daughter in small doses although we do not intend for it to be a primary part of her diet. My husband loves everything.
Currently we are struggling with our very generous one-year old who is in a ‘sharing’ stage; she brings home snacks from school and she wants so desperately for me to try what she is eating and doesn’t yet grasp the concept that ‘mommy can’t eat that and you can.’ Often I have to dodge and move to get around her immediate reach into my mouth. But if she gets it in, I don’t overreact… I calmly put her down, take out what got into my mouth and then rinse and swish twice with water.
At home, we don’t let anything gluten-based into the house as an ingredient. But we do keep snacks around and sometimes bread for our daughter so she doesn’t become gluten intolerant. Overall my family totally embraces and loves the lifestyle even though none of them are intolerant to gluten. I’m kind of lucky. And fortunately, Kurt, in addition to be a full time artist, is an amazing gluten free baker. So we are never at a loss for great whole grain bread, pizza, pancakes, scones, muffins, pies…you name it, we eat it; all healthy, wholesome and gluten free. We don’t miss a thing.
We like to eat out fairly often, and most restaurants (even our favorite mom and pop ones) understand the concept of offering gluten free options. I never have trouble asking for something different. Regardless, I have found from country to country around the world that anyone in a kitchen, especially those wearing an apron, understand good kitchen practices and food safety when asked, but I would also say I don’t exactly go to street vendors to eat (though my husband Kurt is probably at one right now).
Years ago during a project with my company I did put together an allergen card before it was common practice. I always had a vision for an app or something that could get this out there, but then again the fun of dining out might be removed. Isn’t the whole idea to try something new?
Of course, these days, there are a lot more resources available to those of us living the gluten free lifestyle. Apps, testing kits, websites, news resources…all of these things now exist to help us live a great life.
That’s why we’re here! We realized that there is a need for a gluten free and allergen friendly resource website that you can visit regularly to discover the best products, read interesting health related news, try amazing new recipes, get kitchen tips….all to help you live a great allergen friendly life with no compromise.