Caroline Shannon-Karasik’s AfterGlo

My gluten-free revolution in Dayton

By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Guess what? My new book, “The Gluten-Free Revolution,” has hit the shelves!

I know what you’re thinking: “Wow … nothing like shameless self-promotion, girlfriend.” And you know what? You can blame it on Dayton City Paper Publisher Paul Noah. During a recent phone conversation about my book, he said: “Use your next column to tell us all about your book!” I said I would give it a mention and he told me to take the whole damn thing.

And, well … here we are.

The truth is, my gluten-free journey actually began in Dayton during the time my husband Dan was a dancer for the Dayton Ballet. It was September 2010 and we, like so many others, had decided to spend a lovely fall weekend and the annual Oktoberfest at the Dayton Art Institute. We had a breakfast of stuffed homemade crepes at our friends’ nearby home and then made our way up the hill to enjoy music, local vendors and, of course, beer.

Within the hour I was doubled over in pain.

As you might have gathered, this wasn’t the first time I was plagued by a host of digestive issues after eating and – in this case – drinking. In fact, now that I know and understand the symptoms of celiac disease (or a gluten intolerance), I can see red flags dating back as far as my childhood.

That day, however, was the last straw. For much of my 20s I had been to doctor after doctor trying to figure out what was wrong with me and received little to no answers. My white blood cell count was out of control, my immune system weak and the digestive pain was persistent. I was always tired and I had migraines that could last for five or six days at a time.

Despite having been tested for every autoimmune condition under the sun – lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and more – it wasn’t until that fall in 2010 my answer finally came: I had celiac disease.

This was right around the time “gluten-free” had become much more well-known, but it was something that was entirely new to me. Naturally, I took to my keyboard to share my journey and my blog, The G-Spot Revolution, was born. I made it my place to talk about new discoveries, recipes – triumphs and failures – and connect with other people who were traveling a similar path.

I spent so much time in our Far Hills Avenue apartment trying to figure out what the hell I was doing, and I will be honest – I made a lot of crap! I distinctly remember wandering the aisles of Dorothy Lane Market in Washington Square just staring at all of the different gluten-free flours, wondering how the heck I was ever going to make a cupcake again. In fact, I must have looked awfully confused – and scared – because on one occasion DLM’s C.A. Diltz walked up to me and offered her help, introducing herself as the group leader of the Gluten-Free Food Lovers’ Club. She walked me through the different flours and pointed out sections where I could find various gluten-free products. It was in moments like that – where kind people shed a bit of light on this new lifestyle –I knew my journey would not only be possible, but one I shared to help others.

So, here we are, my lovely readers. My blog eventually became a full-scale healthy living site now known as SincerelyCaroline.com and my book, “The Gluten-Free Revolution” (sincerelycaroline.com/books), was born earlier this month.

As I look through that book today, I can see and feel so many moments spent in our tiny Dayton apartment – me, hovering over the stove or a standing mixer, fingers crossed my latest recipe would turn out. The lessons I share throughout the book were developed during those early years in Dayton, including my M.O., “You can have your green smoothie and gluten-free brownie, too.”

Today, Dan and I live in Pittsburgh where he teaches at Point Park University and I work as a full-time writer, but we still feel like Dayton is our home away from home. When we visit, I take to my old route when I go out for a run and we visit the aisles of DLM to take home some of our favorites. And, of course, this column allows me a little window into the everyday Dayton life. It might not be every day people rejoice in their new gluten-free lifestyle, but I am grateful I had Dayton on my side when I began mine.

 

Come visit me! I will be speaking at the DLM Gluten-Free Food Lovers’ Club meeting, Saturday, Feb. 8, from 3-4:30 p.m. in the Springboro location’s Community Room at 740 N. Main St.

 

Caroline Shannon-Karasik is the author of The Gluten-Free Revolution and a certified health coach who specializes in digestive health. She is also the author of the popular gluten-free blog, sincerelycaroline.com. Her writing and recipe development has been featured in several publications, including, VegNews, Kiwi and REDBOOK magazines. Caroline lives with her husband Dan and four adopted cats in Pittsburgh, Penn. Caroline can be reached at afterglo@daytoncitypaper.com.

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