Since the day my now 14-year-old son Isaiah was diagnosed with gluten intolerance four years ago, there have been many days when I have felt that I know absolutely nothing—nothing at all.
There still are.
“I look into his dark brown eyes and see my handsome teenage son. So, handsome, I could cry. I cry wondering if he’s healthy. Healthy enough.”
What does that even mean? I wonder if I should get Isaiah more invasive testing to make sure he’s healthy. I wonder if by not getting him the more invasive testing, I am making a mistake—one I can’t take back.
Professionally, I have been a magazine researcher, fact-checker and reporter. And from that perspective, I have researched the heck out of gluten intolerance, celiac disease and all of the related, possible, probable, interrelated symptoms, syndromes, illnesses, diseases and everything in between. I’m still confused.
Personally, if I think about it too much, I get even more confused and overwhelmed. I don’t think that can be healthy. Not for me—or Isaiah. We’re in this together, but as he’s turned into a teen, he’s feeling out his independence, which means he’s testing the boundaries and seeing how far he can bend the rules. Translation: He cheats and eats gluten when he’s out with his friends. After all, he’s not a little kid, anymore.
I’ve realized that I have to come to terms with the fact that:
I. HAVE. LOST. CONTROL.
I can only control what goes on under my roof, so my kitchen is gluten free. What do they say? You have to let go?
“I can only trust that Isaiah knows what’s right—and what’s right for his body.”
So what do I do with all of this? I love. I cook. I cry. Here’s everything I’ve learned so far about gluten free. In fact, what I love about this list is that these are all things that we’ve known all along.
1) Love heals all.
2) You are what you eat.
3) Homemade is always best.
4) Trust your instincts.
5) Lead with your heart and the rest will follow.
6) If something doesn’t feel right, change it.
7) You know more than you think you do.
8) Take a leap of faith.
9) Conversation is food for the soul.
10) Simple is good.
Isaiah eats this stuff straight from the jar—with gluten-free pretzels or just a spoon. To roast the hazelnuts, preheat the oven to 325º and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Cook, shaking occasionally, until toasty and fragrant, about 12 minutes, and let cool completely. The chocolate-hazelnut butter will keep for at least 1 month in the fridge.
In a food processor, grind the hazelnuts, scraping down the sides, until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, salt and oil; process until combined, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a sealable container and refrigerate.