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A Special Gluten-Free Cookbook, First ingredient: LOVE

Submitted by KendraFinestead on Fri, 05/04/2012 - 10:53.

Have you ever been on a hike or a run when you get on such a pace that you lose track of your surroundings, what you are passing and how far you have come? Eventually, you snap back to reality, maybe you stop to rest, and you look back at the road behind you. Looking back, you realize that you have traveled quite a long distance and maybe through some hurdles and you take in the accomplishment. That is where I am standing at this very moment.

I am just a mom like any other mom. I got married, we bought a house, and we started a family. Like any other mom, I set out for the best life possible for our baby. When our daughter’s health & eventually neurological and behavioral challenges led us to explore options that were outside of the normal medical arena we had grown up knowing, we decided to attempt this so-called GFCF diet.

We started a gluten-free, casein-free, egg-free and low-sugar diet for our daughter three years ago. Even saying “three years ago” makes me shake my head in amazement. I started out on this “hike” of ours and I put my nose to that grindstone. I tackled every bit of information that I could, as so many of us warriors of autism spectrum disorder do. I buried myself in gluten-free products and I cooked like I had never, ever cooked before.

When we very soon began to see miraculous changes in our daughter’s behavior, cognition, and especially compulsivity, I was hooked for life! I was not only a believer, I became a preacher! I like to say that I began my ministry, and that is truly what it became.

I soon began a business cooking meals for families on special-diets. The work load and business plan only panned out for about a year; and then the winds changed, almost unnoticeably, and I found myself making the big switch to non-profit. That is where the company has been ever since, in the non-profit world. Preaching. Preaching and assisting wherever I can be of assistance: grocery tours, emails, phone calls, speaking engagements, booths at conferences, personal meal plans, and creating recipe, after recipe, after recipe. It is such a magnificent place to be. And so the pace has gone for almost 3 years.

This week, I feel like I finally stopped to rest and look back at the path I have been down. This week I received, in my hands, the printed copies of a Gluten-Free, Allergy-Free Cookbook called FOOD FOR THOUGHT, THE FREE FOOD COOKBOOK . This is no ordinary gluten-free cookbook. This is a monumental book in my world, because this particular cookbook has my very own name on the cover. (Happy dance happening right now.)

This week I officially became an author. This week I finally looked back at how far we have come. This week I allowed myself to smile, even laugh at the journey. This week, I allowed myself pride!

I know that sounds like a strange statement. My close friends and loved ones have been so kind through these changes, telling me often, "You should be so proud of yourself," but up until now, I haven't allowed myself to feel pride. This has been solely a giving mission. I think that subconsciously, I was giving and giving almost in a way to fight against what was taken from me. For the most part, we concentrate hard on staying very positive about our challenges with our daughter, but on the subconscious level, I have most definitely been at war. I have been fighting back with all my might, and fighting back with the most powerful & sacred ingredient I have – LOVE.

I am just a mom like any other mom. I put one foot in front of the other and I got here one step at a time. I have been hiking up this hill for the sake of our daughter, but not only for her. Our special diet was our beacon of hope. In a dark time when we were getting diagnoses that were “unchangeable”, our special-diet showed us that change was a possibility. It gave us hope, and I am so blessed to share that hope with other families. Your special diet may seem like an insurmountable task, but if you put one foot in front of the other too, and take it one step at a time, I know that you will find your own pace.

If you are just beginning on your journey, or if you have been hiking for years and have it in your heart to support a fellow warrior’s mission, our cookbook can be purchased on Amazon, or locally through Greater Tots Organization. We collaborated with Gus Kotsanis, MD, local doctor who works diligently in the autism Community, to give a truly special collection of content that would not only benefit those with ASD, but anyone and everyone looking for vibrant health. The content is the marriage of two heartful dreams stuffed into 400 pages. I am so proud to be a part of this book and so very proud to share it with the world.

I wish you happy cooking, happy eating, and happy trails!

Kendra Jean Finestead, Author
Greater Tots Organization