I would like to introduce all of you to a woman who is living proof that indeed, the foods that you eat can cause infertility. I found her story so inspiring that I wanted to share it with all of you. Please welcome my guest blog post Tiffany Hinton.
Tiffany Hinton helps people every single day. Her website GF Mom Certified is chock full of information, reading materials, recipes and her own personal details of how she and her husband overcame so many years of an infertility diagnosis.
Why did you begin doing this? I started GF Mom Certified for my girls. As a mom with two little girls with severe food allergies and being gluten and dairy free myself, I know the fear and anxiety a mom faces when trying to feed her children. Food is so much ingrained in our culture for rewards, celebrations and more that the idea of not being able to share with others broke my heart. I wanted my girls to grow up eating the same things I did. I love our old family favorites like my grandmother's chocolate pie or Grandma Pecola's sweet potato pie.
How long did it take you to receive a correct diagnosis? I am still struggling today with being fully diagnosed by my medical team of doctors. After almost fourteen years of believing I had ulcerative colitis, IBS, asthma and several other issues including unexplained infertility, my reproductive endocrinologists found that I was positive for the celiac antibodies. Going gluten free restored my health. My most recent endoscopy and colonoscopy show blunted villi and damage, although as I am not positive for the DQ-2 or DQ-8 (the most common genes associated with celiac). My gastro intestinal doctor will not diagnose me. My gluten free lifestyle has given me my three girls, a healthy and vibrant life and I have been off all of my prescribed medications for six years. I believe you have to fight for a solution and find the source of the ailment, not mask the symptoms with medicine. So if you are still struggling as you read this, know there is hope.
What would you tell others that may have similar symptoms? If you suffer from celiac symptoms, you need to be tested before going gluten free. Ask for a blood panel and biopsy. I encourage you to find a doctor who listens to you and is willing to investigate the cause. The best advice I received from my OBGYN several years ago was that they could not help and to find a specialist that I liked. He told me to interview them like I would if I was hiring them for a job a take a list of questions to ask. I encourage you to do the same.
How long have you been GF Mom Certified? I launched GF Mom Certified in 2012 after my first daughter was diagnosed with galactosemia* at three days old and we needed to feed her to keep her alive. I had to learn to prepare food she would eat without dairy and after her gluten reaction at eighteen months old while traveling. I knew what other parents must feel and fear. I converted my blog and launched our website to provide gluten and dairy free kitchen solutions to others that are "Mom Certified" and "Kid Approved". Our first cookbook was published in April 2012.
Where do you get your inspiration for your recipes? Most of my inspiration comes from old family recipes. I love food. I love how food can bring a family together, how food can break down barriers and open people up and I love how food can fill a room with joy and laughter.
Where do you typically eat out? We live in the Chicagoland area which is a blessing when it comes to choices. Personally, I love PF Changs. We also eat out at a few chains like Noodles & Company, Go Roma, Five Guys, Jason's Deli and a local Mexican dive.**
What types of people come to you for help and advice? We attract what we are is so true. I talk to moms and people struggling with infertility the most. I am open and love to share. At a recent book signing, there was a mom of two autistic children in tears because she did not know that you could still have some of your comfort food gluten and dairy free. Our cookbooks bring normal-ness back into life after years of struggling to figure out what to feed her children.
Do you attend many events or speaking engagements? I love to attend events and speak. You can find us all over the nation from California to North Carolina and most definitely in the Chicago area. We keep a list of upcoming events on our website at gfmomcertified.com. I love to talk and answer questions, so if you find us at an event ask away. If we don't know the answer, I will help you find someone who does. The gluten free community sticks together and helps each other.
Where do you hope this will lead? I want to be able to do what I love full time. What is that you ask? I want to be able to cook and dream in my kitchen designing recipes day in and day out. I would love to have a New York Times best-selling cookbook but more importantly, it is about helping moms by taking away the fear.
Where can we find all of your information and products? GF Mom Certified products and information can be found online at our website http://gfmomcertified.com on Twitter at @gfmomcertified and Facebook. Our cookbooks can be found online at Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com and our website. You can find our cookbooks in several grocery stores in the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana including Strack & Van Til, Ultra Foods, Fresh Thyme and a few Hy-Vee.
Thank you Tiffany for sharing your story with us! I appreciate your willingness to help others from your own experiences. I have to add that it was a pleasure meeting you and your husband and discussing what had brought you both to what you are doing now. Your passion is evident and I know you will continue to grow that passion into even bigger ways in the future.
A for Tiffany's thoughts on how food brings us together, I completely agree. Because most of the time, we are all trying to deny that food should be in every part of our lives and I don't believe this to be true, healthy or realistic. I have said it before and I will say it again -
*Galactosemia is a disorder that effects how the body processes galactose, a simple sugar.
** These restuarants may not be safe for your family's allergies needs. As always, please check their menu options and ingredients to be safe.