Helping Others Live Food Allergy Free
By Ashley Cooper
The name “Brittany Angell” is promptly becoming recognized, not only among the South Wedge-frequenters of Rochester where Angell currently resides, but nationwide-notably among restaurants seeking to revamp their menus with a fresher, less inflammatory-based selections.
Many households occupied by individuals with challenging food allergies, and many households with no known food allergies, have added Angell’s cookbook series to their culinary collection of literature. Rochester Woman Magazine was lucky enough to snag an interview with Angell, an increasingly in-demand consultant and guest speaker to those seeking to become more educated upon food allergy-free living.
Angell is the co-author of ‘The Essential Gluten-Free Baking Guide’ parts I. and II. The cookbooks were published by Triumph Dining, approximately two years after she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease-an autoimmune variant of hypothyroidism.
Angell had sought the opinion of twelve doctors to explain the cause of her severe symptoms revolving around digestion, muscle and joint pain, and extreme fatigue. None could provide her with a proper diagnosis. “Finally, doctor number thirteen pinpointed the disease, started treating me for it, and helped reduce inflammation in my diet,” said Angell.
Inflammatory-causing food agents are responsible for a myriad of common aliments today, including autoimmune diseases, explained Angell. They also trigger a host of allergies; many people suffer from food allergies regularly without even realizing it. Without knowing it, expectant mothers who eat the very foods they’re allergic to while pregnant can pass the condition to their children, who, in turn, become highly sensitive to provoking agents. This may serve to explain the sudden increase in food allergies among kids today. According to Angell, it is believed that up to 70% of those individuals who have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism actually have an autoimmune condition like Hashimoto’s disease. “It’s very common, but highly under diagnosed,” explained Angell.
Angell has given up wheat, dairy, and grain-(which she described as being “the icing on the cake” in terms of what food groups she’s had to surrender). However, altering her diet has proven to be a silver lining on what could have been a complicated disease and challenging lifestyle for Angell. “Changing different foods within my diet has pretty much put a damper on my autoimmune disease, so I’m not in all kinds of pain on a daily basis. I can function like everyone else now, which is pretty amazing,” she said.
Switching to an allergy-free diet is not an easy journey for anyone. Angell was no exception. She and her ‘Essential Gluten Free Baking’ co-author Iris Higgins, were initially troubled by the lack of resources on the market that appealed to individuals desiring to learn more about flour exchange. Gluten-free cooking requires a knowledge of which flours can be replaced for others in specific recipes-an exhausting process for those without access to proper instructional materials. “It was a learning curve for me,” Angell admitted. Higgins and Angell decided to venture together in “understanding the science”-concocting user-friendly, allergy-free recipes and posting them online in hopes to alleviate the frustration of others. Their venture turned into the two-book project now available to the public, as well as Angell’s carefully maintained and highly-rated blog: Real Sustenance.
When asked if she could foresee her cookbooks rising to success as quickly as they have, Angell replied, “I had no idea. I just had high hopes that they would turn into something special.”
Everyone can benefit from Angell’s lifestyle, whether they have food allergies or not. Angell explained how her husband Rich, who does not experience food intolerances, had long suffered seasonal allergies, asthma, and joint pain. When he began altering his diet to match his wife’s his symptoms began to disappear, one by one. There are other perks that Angell mentioned in gluten/allergy free eating: “It’s very, very easy to lose weight. It’s also very beneficial to diabetics.”
Angell’s ‘Real Sustenance’ campaign has become a full-time job. She plans to author many more books, champion her cause in whatever ways possible, and is currently working on a product line-hoping to help others by making typically hard to find ingredients for gluten-free dieters more accessible and affordable.