After 15 years of eating and cooking gluten free, Carol Kicinski founded Simply…Gluten Free in 2007 as a gluten-free recipe and lifestyle blog and website. Its purpose is to educate, assist and inspire those with celiac disease or intolerance to gluten, dairy, peanut, grain or other allergy elements, or those with vegan preferences. To date, she has motivated millions to live HAPPY allergen-free lives! Carol’s core philosophy is “Look at the world of food in terms of what I CAN eat – not what I can’t!” Her recipe motto is “Gluten-free recipes that are not just “good for gluten-free” but just plain GOOD, period!!”
In 2010 Carol started the highly successful Gluten-free Global Community – putting hundreds of gluten-free bloggers World Wide in communication with each other. She also pioneered “gluten-free” in China in 2009.
Carol is America’s first gluten-free (only) TV Chef with a monthly segment on the NBC Tampa market based nationally syndicated show Daytime where she has appeared since July 2009. (Daytime is nationally syndicated to 1.1 million households.) She was the featured cookbook author on QVC’s Gluten Free Special in April 2011. Featured Speaker at the Gluten-Free and Allergen-Free EXPO (Chicago, April 2011)
Her cookbook, Simply…Gluten Free Desserts, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2011) is rich with 150 delectable recipes for cupcakes, cookies, pies, sweet breads, puddings, cakes and ice creams – all gluten free and many dairy-free as well. Carol is currently working on recipes for her second cookbook. She recently completed contributing recipe development for Cooking Light – The Gluten-Free Cookbook: Simple Food Solutions for Everyday Meals (Cooking Light, 2011). She is a monthly contributor to Martha Stewart’s Whole Living. Carol also developed her own high quality pastry gluten-free flour blend that TASTES and BAKES like regular flour.
In a professional career prior to her recipe development, Carol was ahead of the sustainable energy curve as she was the Financial Controller for a $32M Solar Corporation. As a humanitarian and adventurer, Carol has assisted the National Red Cross around the world and was one of the first responders at Katrina’s Central Command assisting the troops. She’s lived to tell about being charged by elephants and rhinos (literally) and has dived with Great White sharks in Africa.
Fun, interesting and adventurous, Carol’s simplest passion is making “that great recipe” and having someone else make it, and love it!
Carol is our favorite gluten-free chef and she took some time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions about celiac disease and eating gluten-free.
1. When did you first find out that you were gluten intolerant and how did it impact your life?
About 18 years ago, I went to a doctor who specializes in finding root causes for health problems not just treating symptoms. I was suffering from migraines and exhaustion and we found the cause to be gluten.
2. Explain how Celiac disease is linked to gluten-intolerance. For example, are all Celiac patients gluten intolerant? Do all gluten intolerant eaters have Celiac disease?
Well, I am not a doctor but here is my understanding. Celiac Disease is actually a subset of gluten intolerance and is easily diagnosed with a blood test. It can be more difficult to diagnose other forms of gluten intolerance.
Yes, all people with Celiac are gluten intolerant and must eliminate gluten from their diets. Not all the gluten intolerant have Celiac but anyone who is gluten intolerant must avoid gluten always, there is no cure. The only handling is to eliminate gluten 100% from one’s diet.
So the important thing to keep in mind is that regardless of what it is called, the only way to improve health if you have Celiac disease or gluten intolernace is to avoid gluten – completely and forever!
3. Why do you think so many Americans are now allergic to wheat?
First of all, awareness of this problem has increased so now doctors are starting to look for this as a problem so maybe the number of people with the problem hasn’t increased so much as the number of people being correctly diagnosed. Also, wheat has apparently been bred to contain more and more gluten over the years so that may be a contributing factor.
4. Is the mainstream food industry starting to take notice and help gluten sufferers by offering more gluten-free options? (I think I saw gluten-free beer at the Tampa Bay Bucs games last year!)
Absolutely! Just in the past year, as the consumer demand has grown, more and more products have shown up on the grocery store shelves that are gluten-free. I see companies like General Mills and Betty Crocker have taken notice and are manufacturing many main-line products and brands gluten-free.
5. Your new cookbook is all about desserts. Which is your favorite dessert to serve for a Memorial Day party?
I really love the Salted Caramel Brownies – everyone loves them and they can be made ahead of time. Or the chocolate peanut butter pie, again, can be made well ahead and is so delicious also!
6. Many people may not know that you are also a humanitarian and have travelled to places like Africa. Do you spread the gluten-free gospel when you travel abroad?
I am not out to change the whole world to being gluten-free, just to offer solutions for people who need to be. If gluten seems to be an issue with someone, of course I will bring it up, but in most of the places I have done volunteer work, starvation is more of a problem than gluten. It’s easy to forget sometimes how fortunate we are and that there are so many places in the world where getting ANY food at all to eat, is the real problem!
**Visit Carol at the Barnes and Noble in Carrollwood, FL on Monday, May 23 at 6 pm to get your copy of Simply… Gluten-Free Desserts signed. Thanks to Carol and Thom Kicinski! We wish you lots of success with your new cookbook!
Find out why eating gluten-free is so important!