One of Everything, Please

Last week I met up with my good friend Amy at the the bakery. We got together to chat and catch up, and this is a good midpoint between our houses. But really, the thing that brought us together on that rainy Saturday afternoon was the thought of treats . . . baked yummy treats. We knew that they would be making delicious autumn goodies, and for both Amy and I, the magic of walking into a bakery and knowing that we can eat anything in it is something neither of us ever gets over.

Amy has celiac disease, which means that her body reacts to the protein in wheat, barley, and rye (gluten) with inflammation and damage to the small intestine. This damage leads to malabsorption of nutrients, which can lead to a whole host of problems from anemia to skin problems to abdominal issues. The only treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet.

I have a gluten intolerance (also called a sensitivity or an allergy). I don’t react to gluten in the way that you traditionally think of as an allergic reaction—hives, swelling and trouble breathing—I just end up with a really bad stomach ache for a couple of days. My reaction to gluten is strong enough that I find it entirely worth it to avoid gluten altogether.

Everything at this bakery is gluten free, vegan, and made without soy or processed sweeteners. Having a restrictive diet, whether you’ve made the choice to cut out certain foods or because your body has made that choice for you, can be tough. It means that you have to read every label, interrogate every server, and field multiple calls from friends before going to their places for dinner. But it also means that you think about your food differently, you appreciate your food more, and you get a certain strength from making choices that you know will directly affect the way you feel.