When I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1976, I had nowhere to turn for recipes, products, or support. I attended culinary school to understand recipes so I could ask the right questions when I ate in restaurants. Little did I know that this would lead to a lifelong career making gluten-free food and serving the celiac community.
As I worked with mainstream recipes, I realized they held secrets. I call it the recipe’s DNA — the ratio of flour to sugar, fat and liquids, wet to dry. I began to cook again, but this time everything was gluten-free.
As I began substituting gluten-free ingredients, I discovered nearly every recipe could be recreated as long as I stuck to the original ratios. Soon I was baking my way back to the tasty treats I had given up.
This launched a lifelong journey to help provide delicious and healthy food for myself and others who cannot have gluten. (As many as 1 in 133 Americans have celiac disease and an estimated 18 to 20 million have gluten sensitivity.)
I founded the Gluten-Free Pantry in 1993, with a line of gourmet baking mixes based on the mainstream equivalents and so tasty that no one could tell the difference. I was a pioneer, one of the first gluten-free companies to break into the market. The company was sold to Glutino in 2005 and sold again to Smart Balance this year. (My, how my little company has grown up!) But my passion for creating delicious gluten-free foods continues and it was the inspiration for Gluten-Free Makeovers and my blog.
I wear many hats in the gluten-free community — president of the American Celiac Disease Alliance, a volunteer advocacy group that works on celiac causes such as the FDA gluten-free labeling regulations; food editor of Living Without’s Gluten Free & More; and creator of a weekly e-newsletter for glutenfree.com.
Beth is the author of Gluten-Free Makeovers (Da Capo, 2011) and The Complete Guide to Living Well Gluten-Free: Everything You Need to Know to Go from Surviving to Thriving (Da Capo, 2014).