Best-selling author Amanda Silver talks about “The Joy of Gluten-Free” book

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Bestselling author Amanda Silver. Photo courtesy of Amanda Silver

Bestselling author Amanda Silver spoke about her critically acclaimed book “The Joy of Gluten-Free: A Practical Guide to Live Gluten-Free and Thrive.”

Description of the book

The health and vitality gained after changing diets is so miraculous that gluten-free people want to tell their loved ones everything in the hope that they too will want to change. So it is with much love and hope in her heart that Amanda Silver presents ‘The Joy of Gluten-Free’ to share the Silver family experience and some carefully crafted recipes.

This book recognizes the huge emotional factor of this major life change and the importance of sustaining the change against overwhelming odds in a world that does not yet fully recognize the reality of gluten’s multiple latent adverse effects.

More than a cookbook, the reader will learn the depths from which the Silvers were rescued within months, encouragement, and wonderful practical solutions for the family with school-aged children.

She knows a parent’s time is valuable and hopes this little guide will jump right into the action of making this difficult change. Her book speaks directly to the reader to encourage that fresh start, the mindset to see it through, and the resolve to never give up.

After family history and then a serious discussion of mental preparation, the sections include step-by-step instructions on physical home preparation and solutions for preparing school lunches, enjoying celebrations, and travel considerations.

In his approach to cooking, the author clearly lays out the elementary steps of basic cooking for the uninitiated. Along with some basic techniques for cooking simple whole foods, there are seventy-five gluten-free and dairy-free recipes. They are recreated family dishes, some inspired by authentic ethnic dishes and, of course, delicious snacks and desserts.

Biography on Amanda Silver

Amanda Silver lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and their two pre-adults. Growing up in rural Connecticut, she watched her mom bake everything “from scratch,” including bread about twice a week. As a young person, she learned to bake all of the family’s favorite cakes, understood the processes of baking bread, and in college really started cooking fresh whole foods. It was just better than all the cafeterias in boarding schools and colleges and also had the added benefit of gathering grateful friends.

Earning her BA from the University of Utah and many other experiences along the way, she became increasingly interested in what should and shouldn’t be in our diets. Information about the natural benefits of organic foods was much more interesting than a list of vitamins, minerals, portion sizes and “daily value” percentages. By the time she got married, she had heard about the gluten problem, but it was far from mainstream.

A friend of her sister’s had celiac disease and, as many are used to, she didn’t talk too much about it. But the total avoidance of this protein, gluten, puzzled the author: how could something so prevalent in the diet be so detrimental? At that time, she was working in her small jam and jellies business, creating over fifty recipes while pursuing her interest in food, water, pesticides, herbicides and many other toxins.

His first book is said to have been the Jam and Jelly Cookbook; but when knowledge of gluten intolerance in the whole family surfaced, it took center stage in every way. As the multiple symptoms within the family were now understood to be effects of gluten, the author felt a duty to explain these things and bring comfort and solutions to the world.

Q&A interview

‘The Joy of Gluten-Free: A Practical Guide to Live Gluten-Free and Thrive’ is a phenomenal book, which can help readers live gluten-free in a delicious way. It was extremely popular with readers and critics. Can you tell us what inspired you to write this phenomenal cookbook.

Thanks very much. It is wonderful to hear such comments. I’ve been inspired by healthy living for a very long time, but when we all found out about this gluten intolerance running through the whole family, it was imperative to get it right no matter what anyone else might say or do around us. It was difficult at first because the people who cooked food that we enjoyed all our lives were suddenly unable to provide anything for us at family gatherings.

During this time, we were healthier and feeling great, so we wanted to talk about it. I believe it’s this juxtaposition of our excitement to tell our loved ones and the certain reluctance of anyone within earshot to listen (because no one wants to hear that more than half of their food is bad for them!) who really inspired me to write this book. Simply, I had to pull it off my chest!

Writing a book is not for the faint of heart, it takes a lot of work and time. By writing “The Joy of Gluten-Free: Gluten-Free: A Practical Guide to Live Gluten-Free and Thrive,” did you learn anything new about yourself?

I always knew I could write because I graduated in art history and you have to write in this discipline. I had also, years ago, taken a good writing course for children and I still want to do some pieces for college that I had explored at the time. I was also thinking of writing about all the jam and jelly recipes I’ve developed over the years, but when the gluten issue came up I had to write it first.

I couldn’t have done it without the help of my dear friend who sat down with me to create the outline. This book flowed easily at times, but when I get to the bottom of it, the writing is difficult. It can be satisfying but I need discipline.

‘The Joy of Gluten-Free’ is full of delicious recipes, do you have a favourite? If so, what is it about this recipe that appeals to you?

I thought about it and there are a lot of things in the book that resonate with me for all sorts of reasons. I have to say, though, hands down, that the brownie recipe, “Chocolate in Fives” is because, first of all, it was my favorite childhood treat (and my mom never made from a box). It’s also one of the first recipes I ever made growing up – and the only gluten brownie anyone should ever make, “Cockaigne Brownies” from Joy of Cooking.

This gluten-free recipe is therefore modeled on the original but, of course, a lot of adjustments had to be made. These brownies are very different because of the eggs. I even added another egg! I made a video to show what exactly to do with all those eggs. It makes a big batch and everyone is so happy they don’t even know it’s gluten and dairy free.

You love jams and jellies and help people who want or need to be gluten-free eat delicious meals. What about jams and jellies calling your name? Do you have a favorite jam?

It’s a sweet question. Again, I’m raising my mom who I’ve watched making jam all my life. She learned it from the lovely Danish neighbor we called Aunt Hattie. As a child, I loved going to visit him down the street, but that’s another story. Although I closed my little jam and jellies business last year, I will never stop making jam – it really is the best gift.

My favorite is black raspberry, of course, but mine (which is called “Vivid”) is different because I pick the wild ones and process the wild juice to use as a flavoring with the cultivated variety of these berries. One-fifth of the fruit content of my black raspberry or blackberry jams is wild juice. Very effective.

When it comes to eating gluten-free, do you have a tip or two that readers can start using right now to begin their new diet?

I’m glad you asked that tricky question. My suggestion is to read my book. I would never dissuade anyone from going for it, but I want to be very clear. The very first thing everyone should do is find a functional doctor and have the excellent blood tests done to not only find out if there is gluten intolerance but also that serious person will find out if there is casein, or dairy, problem and also other food sensitivities and just how bad leaky gut actually is.

If this is impossible, either because there is no doctor nearby, or because the expense is prohibitive, this serious person can get started right away by eliminating all inflammatory foods and go for it! This is the whole subject of my book.

The only problem with this is that if you get rid of all the gluten for a few months and then do the blood test it might not show the intolerance that person still has although they passed to reduce its effects.

The reason a person should NOT just replace all of their favorite gluten-containing foods with something similar gluten-free is that they haven’t healed their leaky gut first. Have you ever heard of leaky gut? Almost everyone has this problem for all sorts of reasons and it is exacerbated by gluten. Leaky gut is also the cause of many food sensitivities that you wouldn’t want to happen with all those grains, roots, beans, or nuts that gluten-free foods are made with.

The elimination diet for a month or two (depending on the severity of the leaky gut) along with supplements from the doctor (every individual has their own deficiencies or issues to deal with in the body) is what cures leaky gut. small intestine. It’s your gateway to the joy and freedom of the gluten-free diet!

‘The Joy of Gluten-Free’ was a huge hit; do you have another book in the works? Maybe a jam cookbook?

Oh thank you, I can’t wait to get to my jam journal recipe book because, last time I counted, I have over fifty different recipes for jam and jelly. However, before returning to my jam book, I want to complete a very special project on Maxfield Parrish.

It’s not just art history, but it’s a painting he did for my great-grandfather that hangs in my grandparents’ house at this day. I have my grandfather’s permission to reproduce the letters between Parrish and my great-grandfather and there is even a bit of mystery in there…

When it’s time to launch a new book, what drink or meal do you celebrate with?

I would celebrate by going outside – probably a big picnic or BBQ – I like to see people enjoying being together and having lots of healthy, clean food with lots of desserts.

“The Joy of Gluten-Free: A Practical Guide to Live Gluten-Free and Thrive” is available on Amazon by clicking here.

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