Episode #95 – K.C. Pomering: G-Free Foodie And Going Gluten-Free

KC pomering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food specialist, nutritionist, blogger and wellness advocate K.C. Pomering sits down with us this week to talk about her battle with celiac disease, her experiences of going gluten free and the great work she’s doing with G-Free Foodie, an online recipe and advice resource.

Battling for a diagnosis can be tough, so don’t be afraid to challenge healthcare professionals if you feel something is wrong with your body. Through testing and elimination, you can establish which foods are causing you problems, and which you’re deficient in. A diagnosis of celiac disease or other digestive issue can seem like the end of the world, but once you find the foods that work for you you’ll feel much better. You may even find yourself healthier than before you got sick!

There are lots of places to seek advice, help and recipes online – and G-Free Foodie is one of the best places to start. There’s video tutorials, recipes and more to help make the switch to gluten-free a little less daunting. We discuss some of the food choices available and how changing your diet could also change your life and your health.

For more details, check out these links:

Visit G-Free Foodie to explore the site’s recipes and blogs, sign up to the magazine and order tasty products

Find K.C. Pomering on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Win great prizes with our giveaway: leave us a review in iTunes to enter!

FULL EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

MELISSA: Welcome, KC. Thanks so much for being on the program today.

KC: I’m happy to be here.

MELISSA: Listen, you have a very interesting career and career transition that you made and I’d love you to share that with the listeners because you were a professional in the food and wine industry, I guess you would say and an established professional. And then, there came a slight change in what you were doing and how you had to address some health issues. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

KC: Absolutely. So I am from a fifth generation. I am the fifth generation of a California farming family. And when you’re in family farming, there’s what I call a “violent enmeshment,” right? There’s way too much to gather in it. So you work and you play and you have family dinner and you have all holidays with every single person you’re related to. So I spent early college working in the family farming business and decided, well, I really love food and wine but I think maybe I don’t wanna work with all of my cousins, parents and grandparents. So I went into food and wine marketing and I have worked on R&D teams. I’ve done product development. And a handful of years ago, I was an executive administrator of a vintner’s association like a wine area in ABA. So I was traveling around, essentially drinking wine and talking about it for a living which is not a bad gig.

MELISSA: Yeah.

KC: Like, you can get this. And I have been constantly plagued by fatigue and nausea and some other ailments and was just searching for what it could, going through rounds and rounds of medical testing. And my doctor called me as I was pulling into Napa for a four-day event to tell me that I tested positive for celiac disease. So because I have celiac disease it made it at least at that time much harder for me to travel around, essentially eating in restaurants and talking about food and wine all the time because I had to go immediately gluten-free.

MELISSA: So just clarify a little bit for the listeners. We’ve had some people on talk about celiac disease before, but it’s not sort of a light thing. I mean, when you have this, you have serious problems with your health as you’ve mentioned a few here. But it’s not something you can just brush off and keep eating gluten products, is it?

KC: No. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease and my body attacks itself, specifically my GI system or my intestinal track is damaged when I eat gluten. So short-term, there’s mineral and vitamin deficiencies. There’s fatigue, there’s a host of gastrointestinal issues that can come from having celiac disease and consuming gluten. There are a number of skin disorders that I think don’t get enough attention that are indicative of active celiac disease. And long-term, if you continue to eat gluten and expose your GI system to that risk, you can develop a couple different types of cancer in the GI system. So celiac disease is serious stuff and the only way to treat it is to go 100% gluten-free.

MELISSA: Now, that must have been a difficult transition for you in the food and wine business as a profession. How did you organize that?

KC: You know, after the initial shock to the system, and I tell people, kinda “give yourself a moment to let it all sink in and have a good cry or 12.” And then, it’s time to figure out how you’re gonna live. And for me, I went to a group of people that were living gluten-free, like a help group, a support group and I’ve been gluten-free for about a month and a half at that point and people were chatting and talking about they’ve been gluten-free for 20 years, gluten-free for 9 years, gluten-free for X amount of time. And then a lady started to talk about an issue that was happening with her brown rice flour. Here in Central California, it gets really hot and asked her, “Well, how hot does it get in your house?” She told me, “Well, the rice flour is fermenting.” That’s what’s wrong, so you need to put it in the freezer. And then another lady was talking about her struggle to find gluten-free lunch meat and how gluten hides in all these different places that you wouldn’t expect. And I said, “Well, you know, you really need to buy one part lunch meat or two to three part lunch meat because then it doesn’t have any filler and why wouldn’t you just buy that?” And everyone kind of turned and looked at me like I was an alien and I realized that I expected these people to have, because they’ve been living gluten-free, all the knowledge that I had as someone who’d worked in food and wine. And really, they ended up asking me questions by the end of the event, by the end of the meeting. So I went with my girlfriend to a restaurant that was close by and ordered wine which is thankfully gluten-free and cried and drank it and thought, “My god, this is supposed to be who’s helping me?” And I realized I probably had to do something for myself and for other people and that’s how my website, G-Free Foodie, got started.

MELISSA: Yeah, it’s interesting because people have radically different reactions to their diagnosis, be it good or bad, I’d say mostly bad, in every way because you when face something as serious as that, a lot of people just sort of roll up and take the fatalistic view, “Well, this is just my lot in life, I’m not gonna get any better so I might as well just go ahead and do what I’ve been doing all along.” I mean, I know people that have taken that attitude who have celiac disease and even though they’re sick all the time, they just continue on, ignoring it, I guess you’d say doing the ostrich method. But it does take some get-up-and-go to sort of deal with it and say, “Okay. Well, it’s not the end of the world, it just means I have to change things and do something else.” And like you said, you had a good cry. But I think a lot of people need to realize that it’s not the end of the world. There are things you can do and you actually may feel pretty good once you start to get a grip on your situation.

KC: Absolutely. I think part of the reason I had a good cry was because at that point, at six weeks, I felt significantly better. So to me, part of the reason I was crying is I had spent 8 to 12 years sick and didn’t know what the hell it was. And had doctors tell me it was in my head, and doctors tell me I was crazy and doctors tell me that I had IBS and there was really nothing we could do about it.

MELISSA: Yeah, talk about that little bit because when you had those things, because a lot of us have gone through now and tried to help other people by telling them how to get up the gumption to question their medical professional. Did you go doctor to doctor or did you seek out naturopaths or functional medicine doctors or integrative medicine? What was your plan of operation there?

KC: You know, for me, it was just kind of struggle to figure out what is happening, what is wrong with me. So because it started for me towards the end of high school and early college, I was still seeing the physicians I had seen as a child to some extent. So they were able to say like, “Okay, you have a serious weight fluctuation. Okay, something’s going on. Your skin seems like it’s worse than it should be given what your dermatologist is doing.” You know, kind of all these things, and then I just kept going to additional professionals. So okay, I have IBS, we know I have IBS. Who can help me with IBS? Okay, I’m doing every single thing that you’re asking me to do. I still don’t feel good. I’m still chronically nauseated. So who do I need to go to now? What is the next step after you, Dr. X or Dr. Y, because you’ve not been able to help me? So I really kind of just continued down the path and went to racks and racks and tests and tests and all these different things finding out what could possibly go wrong. I actually read a book written by Elizabeth Hasselback who people have mixed opinions on for whatever their reasoning is.

MELISSA: Yeah, she was on The View, but I think she’s off now.

KC: Yeah, she was on The View and she’s, I think, a news commentator now. But she had a similar path and I read this book and I thought, “Okay. Let’s see: fatigue, nausea, it does seems like sometimes it doesn’t matter what I’m eating. It seems like there’s no rhyme or reason. Sometimes broccoli makes me sick. Sometimes, I don’t eat anything but corn tortillas and cheese, I still feel sick like what is happening to me?” So I asked my doctor to test me for celiac disease which he initially did not want to do and said that “I don’t really think that’s this. You have ulcerative colitis. You have IBS.” And my first blood test came back inconclusive possibly negative and it was because I hadn’t been eating much gluten. I kind of cut out carbs before the test and the unfortunate thing is a lot of medical professional who aren’t versed not only in celiac disease but in GI disruption of this type, whatever it is, don’t say to you, “Hey, if there’s not enough of the antibody present, you will test false negative.” So I actually had two blood tests for celiac disease and the second one was the one that was positive because I was eating gluten when they drew the blood.

MELISSA: Yeah, that’s an important thing people have to—again, you’ve made a good point of stressing that—is that when you go to get a food sensitivity test or one of the more advanced ones, the Cyrex or the Elisa test, some of those more in-depth ones that a lot of the integrative medicine guys give in the functional medicine and naturopaths, you have to make sure you’re consuming the things you think might be making you sick or a better way to say it might be that you better consume everything. Eat everything you usually eat so that it will come up and show what’s causing issues. And otherwise, you can just stump yourself. You’ll say, “Oh well, can’t be that because the test came back all right.” I know when I changed my diet at first I gave myself the hives from eating too many almonds. I’m not allergic to hives but it came up as an allergy because I was just eating handfuls of almonds thinking “Oh, these are great. They help me. They’re energy.” And it was like a shock to my system because I cut out all processed food. And so that quickly cured up and then on the next round of tests, of course, it didn’t show up as a sensitivity but other things, weird things showed up too. They were all additives in foods, in processed foods, so I made sure I ate the panoply of processed foods for three days. And if there was any question in my mind that processed foods will make you feel bad, the sugar, the gluten and all the other mystery ingredients in that food certainly can give you a hangover of a giant nature, I must say.

KC: Yeah, frankly, when I went back for the second test and I had to eat gluten in the days leading up to it, I knew whether it was celiac disease or it wasn’t, that it was an issue because I went from feeling okay to feeling pretty sick again. I think that actually is a big issue too is gluten intolerance is real, either not just like celiac disease is real and it’s a real condition that affects a little less than 1% of the US and Canadian population. If you read the science that I read, I think that roughly 1 in every 130 people is probably about accurate. But there is roughly 5% to 6% of the US population that has at least some other form of gluten intolerance, meaning they have ulcerative colitis, fibromyalgia, maybe even RA, some sort of active autoimmune disease that makes it hard for their body to digest gluten or they somewhere on the autism spectrum, where they have some GI issues that make them react poorly to gluten and to the proteins that are found in dairy. So it might be that you have IBS or colitis or whatever, but your body cannot process gluten well. That’s a real thing just like people who could drink tons of milk when they were five years old and then they turn 40 and they can’t chug milk anymore because they’ve become lactose intolerant. That’s a real thing. It really makes someone who is lactose intolerant feel ill. Gluten really makes somebody who is gluten intolerant feel ill. It’s real.

MELISSA: Yeah, and also, I’ve had Dr. Terry Wallace on the show before who is suffering from MS and was able to reverse a giant amount of her symptoms and her illness by changing her diet to a gluten-free and more of “her own version of the paleo diet.” But there’s no question in her mind when you look at her labs and what she talks about that that was a huge step in changing what was, I guess, I can’t say a fatal diagnosis, but she was, as she says herself, was declining in health every day and not improving one step. And when she changed what she was eating, completely turned around her condition, and she was able to go from being in a recumbent wheelchair then riding a bike. That’s what I call a reverse in symptoms and a reverse in disease.

KC: Well, I think, Melissa, really, and I think a number of your listeners are already open to this idea but it’s something that, really, I mean, I’m from an Italian-Armenian farming family, like these are—if you made a list of groups of people that could be the most stubborn, you would put my family near the top. And so it took a matter of explaining to my family members, certainly to my father, my grandparents, just that concept. So not just a) I have celiac disease and this is very really, but b) these are people that know the difference between good wine and poor wine and good produce and lesser produce because they grow it. And so I said to them, “You and I both know the difference between premium, grade A fruit and culls which are the ones that usually get used to make other manufactured processed stuff, because it’s not the best fruit. So we know if we put into our bodies good stuff, right, people feel better. We know that because we do it. We also know if we put into our farm equipment or into our cars good fuel, good oil, good maintenance that that machinery operates better. So why would it not make sense that if I eat, even if you’re someone who eats dairy, if I eat real, true directly processed sheep’s milk cheese that’s super premium and from sheep that have been handled well, that’s gonna make me feel different than if I eat processed cheese food that’s in individually-packaged wrappers.

MELISSA: Right, with a lot of mystery elements and additives.

KC: Yeah, what I call “food funk.”

MELISSA: Yeah, the preservatives and the processed oils and things, I know on my food sensitivity test over the years now, it’s come back, shown up on a lot of those things, and the reason it’s showing up now is because I’ve cleaned things up so much that those with the sort of the dregs that show up, you begin to think to yourself, “Do I really wanna be consuming this amount of mystery ingredients and mystery preservatives on a regular basis on even on a one-time basis?” It’s scary in a way because now you understand how things may go horribly wrong with your system and how you can develop, like you said, eventually possibly cancers and also leaky gut, where everything is just getting into your blood, raising up your inflammation. And that was definitely my situation before hand and nobody can figure out what was going on there. But I’m glad you mentioned personalities that might have pointed you in the right direction because I know a lot of people say they sometimes got the courage from reading something that somebody wrote or something like that. And there’s people out there that have written very good helpful books that are sort of not given credit for. Like Dr. Mark Hyman wrote his original book. I think it was called “UltraWellness,” basically it was a road map to help people and I think that was in the early ‘90s and I read it and just this sounds good and then I proceeded to ignore what he said.

KC: I think a lot of times, this sounds good but it also doesn’t sound easy.

MELISSA: Yes.

KC: And parts of it aren’t easy and parts of it are like riding a bike. I think, Melissa, now. Once that now, that you eat pretty clean, you know what you can grab. You know what snacks to buy. You probably even know which fast food places you can hit if you absolutely had to and what to order there, so do I. But it takes some figuring out before you get to the point that you say, “Okay, these are my go-to items. These are my snacks. This is how I run my life now.” And I think for a lot of people, that initial shock of—especially when we’re talking about gluten—I don’t even really know what that is. I don’t know what that is. They just gave me a list. They told me it’s in soy sauce and it might be in my lipstick, and I don’t know where to look and I feel totally overwhelmed. And I think that that’s the case a lot of times when people read those books. That’s part of what I try to do. They say like, “Here are some things that taste really, really good that will make you feel as good as you can possibly feel and are functional, simple things you can do,” because if it feels overwhelming, that’s not a good feeling. Overwhelmed is not a fun feeling.

MELISSA: Right. And they’re not going to do it. I mean, that’s the number one thing that people tell me and that doctors too that I talk to and meet in conferences say is we want them to do exactly a lot of the things you’re doing, but they just—they feel one, overwhelmed, like you said, or they feel like we’re taking away all the things they love and they feel like they wanna kill themselves, you know? It’s like I can’t live that way and they’re overreacting to something really that it’s just gonna take that little bit of planning and like you say, organizing yourself differently, which brings us to what you did to help other people which was create your—you’ve got a bunch of stuff you created, but talk about your site and how you sort of help people through that.

KC: Yeah, so we started www.gfreefoodie.com-

MELISSA: I like the “foodie” part too.

KC: Thank you. Well, and as we say, I was a foodie before I was gluten-free. Like I didn’t wanna eat anything that tastes disgusting before I went gluten-free. I don’t wanna eat anything that tastes disgusting now.

MELISSA: It’s a good sign, so important to tell people because it means you don’t have to—life is not over. There’s good stuff to eat out there.

KC: There’s absolutely good stuff to eat and I just started trying everything, so we’d call in 50 brownie mixes, and premade brownies and 10 of us would take little bites of them all and then we’d all have be totally overwhelmed by sugar and we vote, and we’d say, and some of the people were people who ate gluten. And some of weren’t, and we’d say, “Okay, which brownies do you wanna eat again?” For two months after the review, none of them. And that’s how we started the website. And then people started sending me things and I started actively seeking things out. And I’d say, “Hey, you guys,” this gluten-free sour dough is real sour dough. It tastes like sour dough, it acts like sour dough. It’s amazing and I’d take a picture of it and I post it on my blog and I post it on Facebook and people will go nuts and go, “Oh my god. Where do I get that? I have to get my hands on that.” And that’s really how this part of my career is carried on is I’ve said “Here’s pasta that tastes like pasta.” I’m Italian. I’m from an Italian family, my family makes pasta from scratch, this is real pasta. It happens to be gluten-free. Or this is delicious cheesecake. Or, hey, tell you want, if you are not dairy-free or if you are grain-free, this, this and this are the things that I eat that are fashioned in that way. So if you don’t eat soy, good for you. Here’s a number of substitutes that I have that I think are as good. But I will say, Melissa, I was on a local television show making “migas” which is corn tortillas cut up fried with eggs and then “cotija” cheese on top, right? Mexican breakfast dish. And a lady called in and she said, “How do I make that egg-free and dairy-free?” And I said, “You don’t.”

MELISSA: There’s your challenge for you.

KC: Yeah, but that’s the thing. To me, if I’m coming from a place of G-Free Foodie, I don’t want scrambled eggs that are not made of eggs. I’m going to find something equally delicious, maybe even better that suits the way I’m eating now. And that’s really—I know you know that I have a box club and that-

MELISSA: Yeah, explain what the box club is because I think people might not understand exactly, but just give us a little detail on that.

KC: Yeah, this is really how it got started. I would take a picture of something I was eating or something I was buying. I’d say, “Hey, you guys. This Sriracha ketchup is amazing and it’s soy-free and it’s made with organic brown sugar and it doesn’t matter because it’s delicious anyway.” And I’d get 75 responses, where do we get it?

MELISSA: Yeah.

KC: And I go, from this lady I found at the Eat Well Festival? So we started packing and shipping my favorite products every month.

MELISSA: Cool.

KC: So people would sign up and we started out packing them in my house and having the things delivered to my entertainment room and packing them by hand. And my mom would come over and make lunch while all of us were working. And eventually, I partnered with Love with Food which is a subscription box company. They have conventional memberships and now a gluten-free membership that’s curated by me. But no matter which box you’re getting, the products are free, no high fructose corn syrup, no trans fats, no artificial dyes, no artificial colors, no hydrogenated oils, nothing funky. And they also donate two meals to a US food bank for every box sold. So they came to me and that was already their positioning was “This is what we’re doing and we’re being asked for a gluten-free option and we’re wondering if we can work together.” So I joined Love with Food and now we ship a month Love with Food box that has 10 to 15 products, they’re different items every month and they are 100% celiac-safe so they are gluten-free for gluten-free households. Safe for me and my family, safe for yours. And also, free of the other funky filler stuff that we don’t want in our bodies.

MELISSA: Right, absolutely. Sounds great. And we’re gonna put a link just so people don’t freak out. We’re gonna put a link in the show notes so that people can check that out as to how they can sign up for those and also how they can find out more in your website. But you also have, I guess they can link to—can they link to the videos on your website or they’re on a YouTube channel?

KC: So the recipe videos, if you go look for the Baking in Sage Rose Chicken on the G-Free Foodie website, the video will be there and the recipe. Or if you go to our YouTube channel, all the videos are there and all the recipes are beneath them. So you can go either place.

MELISSA: Okay, good. So we’ll put links to all that, people, in the show notes so they can find that. If that isn’t enough, you have a magazine also, an online magazine, I’m assuming.

KC: No, it’s a print magazine as well.

MELISSA: Print, okay.

KC: So a friend of mine, Erica Linker, who works with Food and Wine magazine, Food Networks Magazine every day with Rachel Ray, The San Francisco Chronicle, has been living gluten-free for 15+ years and really was starved for a proper food magazine, like the kind with gorgeous picture and real chefs.

MELISSA: I’m looking at the online version now which looks like I could jump through the computer screen and eat everything on there.

KC: Yeah. So she did a kickstarter campaign and said, “Hey, I’m gonna start this magazine and will everyone support me and it’s gonna be quarterly and this is kind of what I wanna do.” And I picked up the torch and said, “Absolutely, share it with my followers and like that.” And she called me and said, “Hey, I think we should work together.” So the magazine is now one year old. We just put out our fourth issue, the holiday issue. It’s got a proper gluten-free ginger bread recipe. It’s got a proper brown butter sugar cookie recipe for those of us who miss sugar cookies. It’s got an article and an entire holiday feast prepared by Chef Tyler Florence. It’s got baking recipes from Kyra Bussanich who’s the only person to win Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. She baked against conventional bakers. She’s 100% gluten-free and she’s won three times. And those are the kind of people, people like me, that are creating delicious food that happens to be gluten-free.

MELISSA: It looks great, like I said earlier.

KC: Yeah.

MELISSA: I’m looking at the online picture and stuff which the photography and everything looks absolutely—now, so people, can they subscribe to it online and have it mailed to them? Or how does it work?

KC: That’s correct. You can sign up for a digital subscription or you can sign up for print. Each magazine has at least 40 recipes. I think our last one has 52 recipes in it, so it’s really like getting a cookbook but also you’ll notice we talked about in G-Free Foodie we do the head-to-head reviews. GFF Magazine does them now. So the holiday issue has the best vanilla and white cake mixes, like yellow cake mixes. So we called in 50-some cake mix—box cake mixes that are available in the market and we said these are the best five. A prior issue has all, we called in, I can’t even tell you how many gluten-free sandwich spreads. I think like a 120 commercially available gluten-free sandwich spreads. Called them all in, tasted them all. Toasted them all. Put them all in a sandwich application and said, “These are the ones we think you should buy. These are the ones we think are delicious.” So we’re offering that kind of information and then tour and travel information too. I think there are so many people, Melissa, that you learn how to live gluten-free or you learn how to live paleo or you learn how to live strictly on whole foods and then you’re not sure how to travel, you’re not sure—okay, now I’m okay in my comfort zone, how do I get out of my comfort zone? So we’ve featured and traveled to New Orleans, traveled to Denver, traveled to Portland, we have some international travel coming up so people can figure out like, “How can I now tour the world and eat and live the way I’m already living.”

MELISSA: I think that’s great because that is a big question and I know I’ve been travel-challenged since I started because I had to zip back and forth to the East coast quite a bit and you’re a prisoner of the airlines for so many hours and you’re confronted with what I would call a “food desert,” definitely a gluten desert or a gluten-filled desert, and very poor choices there. So very quickly, I learned to pack things for myself and to get little things for myself to have in the morning to get myself going. But I think that’s a great thing. And then, this is a question I’ve had and I haven’t had a chance to be in Europe since I started changing what I was eating about three years ago. But have you found that the foods—I know, most of Europe does not allow GMOs for one. I think Sweden is the only place that lets them in and they have to be—it’s the opposite of here. They have to be labeled as GMO and all the other food is not GMO, it doesn’t have to be labeled. But there are differences in the wheat products in Europe, say Italy and France, as opposed to here. Now, some people have told me there’s a difference in the origins of the week and how things have been changed and developed over time that in the US and they haven’t done the same in Europe. Have you experimented on that at all or had any feedback?

KC: Well, I would say that, okay, so certainly, yes. What you’re saying is true. So when you’re growing heirloom varieties of anything, whether or not we’re talking about GMOs, a farming practice that in my opinion is the absolutely safe farming practice is hybridization. So we take this root stock for almonds and then we put these almonds that taste better, that are nicer and we do what’s call the graft, right, where we grow this type of almond on this type of almond root stock because the tree stays healthier that way. So those are things that have been done in lots of commercial regions. And some grafting and hybridization has been done in Europe as well, because that has been happening since farmers have been farming ever.

MELISSA: Right, that’s how different species are even developed of tomatoes and stuff, right?

KC: That’s exactly right. So outside of GMOs, obviously.

MELISSA: Right.

KC: So certainly, there has been less of that because there has been protection of certain varieties within Europe. With that said, if you’re living gluten-free or a wheat-free lifestyle, it’s really particularly in Italy and the surrounding countries. People report that it’s so simple.

MELISSA: Yeah, there’s a lot of awareness there about it.

KC: There’s not only a lot of awareness. I mean, two or three of the dried pasta products that I genuinely like come get imported here from Italy. Actually, celiac disease is fairly common or a higher concentration of celiac disease occurs in people who are of Mediterranean rim descent. So there’s simply more awareness.

MELISSA: Interesting. I know people that have gone to Italy and said that it’s a totally different restaurant experience than it is in the US because here, so many restaurants look at you like, “Oh no, not you again. You’re a pain in my butt,” when you ask something. I’ve had that happen quite a few times. And I’ve had to say, “Okay, serve me something and you can call the ambulance when I start to break out in my hives or start to throw up or something.” And again, I’m just gluten-sensitive. I’m not a full-blown celiac person. But I’ve heard people say that the awareness in Italy and France is much different and it’s accepted if you say you can’t eat that. You can’t eat that. They’re not gonna bring you something that has that in it.

KC: I think that that’s absolutely true and it’s also, if you’re eating, you know, even here in the States, if you’re eating in places that use whole, fresh, local foods, it is much easier for them to manipulate a dish than if you are eating in restaurants where all of the sauces, the creams, the fillers, and many of the entrees come in the back in four-pound boiling bags.

MELISSA: Right, and I don’t think people know that. I think they’re not aware of it or they don’t choose to be aware of it. That a lot of things are pre—I don’t wanna say, well, I don’t know if pre-made is the right word, but they’re halfway made anyway—and there’s not real cooking, shall I say, that goes into it.

KC: Well, that’s the thing. Pre-made is correct. What the food industry calls it is pre-prepared. So those items are pre-prepared and they either put finishes on them or they bring them out and the sauce and the filler and all those things are already there and all we’re gonna do is add to it the ground beef or whatever. And there’s reason for that, Melissa, and I don’t even mean to down-talk the restaurant industry because particularly when we talk about chain restaurants, even if they’re smaller chains, if you have something and then you go to order it five towns over, if you’re ordering the exact same thing, you expect it to be exactly the same.

MELISSA: That’s the chain experience. You want the same thing.

KC: That’s the chain experience, right. So the way to do that most easily and certainly more cheaply is to make sure that a lot of the manipulation is taken out in the hands of the individual locations. But there are a number of restaurant groups and chains that don’t do it that way. You say what you will about Chipotle and there are plenty of things to say, but they cook that stuff in-house.

MELISSA: Yeah, I’ve watched them.

KC: And they go to the trouble of training their staff so that the barbacoa experience in New Jersey is alarmingly similar to Austin, Texas is alarmingly similar to Fresno, California. And they manage to do it without sending everything in pre-prepared. But there’s a cost associated with that.

MELISSA: Right.

KC: So it just kinda depends on how you eat and where you wanna eat and where you wanna spend your dollars. I think one of my favorite quotes at all about food from Michael Pollan is that you vote three times a day.

MELISSA: And I totally agree with that because people say, “Oh we should boycott the food industry and this kind of thing.” And I’m like, “No, just listen to any of the reports on CNBC and you’ll see some of these companies come on and say we have to change our way of doing things or we will be out of business because people are not buying these products.” And I mean, there you have it. That’s change right there.

KC: That’s exactly what it is. You vote three times a day when you eat. You can choose if you’re someone who likes to cook. And by all means, go to my website and others and find amazing recipes and make them just as they’re written or experiment and manipulate them to the way that affect your taste. If you’re somebody who likes to dine out, there are a number of chains and there are a number of independents that have gone to the trouble of making sure that there are gluten-free customers or there are dairy-free customers, or there are people who are allergic to shellfish or peanuts or anything else, can eat safely in their establishment. I think not just Chipotle but Daily Grill does a great job. PF Chang’s has a separate gluten-free wok. They have a separate utensils. They serve on separate plates. They do everything they can to keep a gluten-free diner safe. You either like PF Chang’s or you don’t and that’s okay, but there are restaurant groups, big and small, independent and large chains, that are going to the effort to keep people safe and healthy and I think that if that’s the way you wanna live or that’s the way you should be living, then those are the places you should spend your dollars.

MELISSA: Yeah, for sure. And you definitely should support your local places that are helping provide the kind of experience that you want because that’ll just, again, help more of those flourish and help more of those stay in business. And as you said, there’s a cost to doing things that way. It’s cost everything, every kind of product you wanna get out there. You can get the Walmart version or the market version at Tiffany’s. It depends.

KC: That’s exactly right. And sometimes, there’s no problem with the Walmart version or I say it like you can go to the cured meat aisle and there’ll be, let’s say, 12 kinds of bacon in your grocery store, right?

MELISSA: Right.

KC: Hormel chooses to go to the steps of making sure everything is 100% gluten-free and it says so on the label. So Applegate Farms makes uncured, nitrate-free. So there are, whether you’re at Walmart or whether you’re at Whole Foods or an independent grocery or anything like that, you have a choice. You have a choice with your dollar and you also have the choice not to eat bacon. I don’t know why you would, but you can have the choice.

MELISSA: Yeah, bacon. Mm. Yeah, alright. We’re running a little out of our time here but once again, where can people find you online and where can they find your magazine? And we’ll put these links in the show notes too.

KC: Yeah. You can find me personally at www.gfreefoodie.com. You can find Love with Food, our box at www.lovewithfood.com. And in fact, the link I gave you will lead them to a 50% off.

MELISSA: Oh, cool.

KC: And GFF Magazine is www.gffmag.com. You can subscribe there or you can get back issues or you can just sign up to be on the email list and some recipes will get sent out and some other cool stuff.

MELISSA: Yeah, and there’s a ton of information on all those sites and all those links so we’ll put, like I said, we’ll put all the links in the show notes so people can find them. But there’s a ton of stuff in the holiday magazine issue. It looks absolutely stunning, the cover and all the stuff on it. It looks great. And again, if you like cooking and baking some things yourself, especially in holiday time, there’s a ton of stuff in there for you. So I would recommend that people get those, get them as quickly as they can.

KC: Thank you so much.

MELISSA: Yeah, thanks for being on the show and maybe we’ll have you back on to talk more about travel. That’s a topic we could talk for an hour on as to how people can prepare themselves for various travel and make sure that they’re getting what they need.

KC: Oh, I’d love to.

MELISSA: Okay, KC. Thank you.

KC: Thanks.

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