Bestselling author Amanda Silver chatted about her critically-acclaimed book “The Joy of Gluten-Free: A Practical Guide to Live Gluten-Free and Thrive.”
The health and vitality gained after changing the diet is so miraculous that gluten-free people want to tell their loved ones all about it in hopes that they too will want to change. So it is with great love and hope in her heart that Amanda Silver presents ‘The Joy of Gluten-Free’ in order to share the Silver family’s experience and some carefully developed recipes.
This book acknowledges the enormous emotional factor of this major life change and the importance of maintaining the change against all odds in a world that does not yet fully recognize the reality of the multiple latent detrimental effects of gluten.
More than a cookbook, the reader will learn the depths from which the Silvers were rescued within a few months, encouragement, and wonderful practical solutions for the family with school-aged children.
She knows that a parent’s time is precious and hopes that this little guide will cut straight to the action of taking on this difficult change. Her book speaks directly to the reader to encourage this new beginning, the mindset needed to follow through, and the resolution to never give up.
After the family story and then an earnest discussion about mental preparation, sections include actual step-by-step instructions in the physical preparation of the home and solutions for packing school lunches, enjoying celebrations, and travel considerations
In her approach to cooking, the author plainly sets forth the elementary steps of basic cooking for the uninitiated. Besides some basic techniques for cooking plain whole foods, there are seventy-five gluten-and dairy-free recipes. They are recreated family favorites, a few inspired by some authentic ethnic dishes, and of course, some 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 mother cook everything “from scratch” including bread about twice every week. As a young person, she learned to bake all the family favorite sweets, understood the processes of bread-baking, and in college really began to cook fresh whole foods. It was just better than all the cafeterias in boarding school and college and also had the benefit of gathering appreciative friends around.
Having received her BA from the University of Utah and many other experiences along the way, she had become increasingly interested in what should or should not be in our food. Information about the natural benefits of organic foods was far more interesting than a list of vitamins, minerals, serving size, and percentages of “Daily Value.” By the time she was married she had heard of the gluten issue but it was nowhere near in the mainstream.
A friend of her sister had celiac disease and, as many are wont to be, she did not say too much about it. But the total avoidance of this protein, gluten, was intriguing to the author: how could something so prevalent in the diet be so detrimental? During that era, she had been working in her small jam and jelly business creating over fifty recipes while at the same time continuing her interest in food, water, pesticides, herbicides, and many other toxins.
Her first book would have been the jam and jelly cookbook; but when the knowledge of gluten intolerance in the entire family surfaced, that took the spotlight in every way. As the multiple symptoms within the family were now understood as gluten effects, the author felt the duty to explain these things and bring comfort and solutions to the world at large.
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 fashion. It has been extremely popular with readers and reviewers can you tell us what inspired you to write this phenomenal cookbook.
Well, thank you. It’s wonderful to hear such feedback. I have been inspired to healthy living for a very long time but when we all found out about this gluten intolerance in the whole family it was imperative to do it right no matter what anyone else may say or do around us. It was difficult in the beginning because the people who cooked food that we enjoyed all our lives were suddenly unable to provide anything for us at family gatherings.
Meanwhile, we were becoming more healthy and feeling good so we wanted to talk about it. I believe it is this juxtaposition of our excitement to tell our loved ones and the definite reticence of anyone in earshot to listen (because no one wants to hear that more than half their food is bad for them!) that really inspired me to write this book. Simply, I had to get it off my chest!
Writing a book is not for the faint of heart, taking a lot of work and time. While 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 with Art History and you have to write in that discipline. I had also, years ago, taken a good course to write for children and I still want to do some middle-school-age pieces I had explored then. I also thought I would write about all the jam and jelly recipes I developed throughout the years, but when the gluten issue popped up I had to write that first.
I could not have done it without the help of my dear friend who sat with me to create the outline. This book did flow easily at times, but when I get down to the nitty gritty, writing is hard. It can be satisfying but I need discipline.
‘The Joy of Gluten-Free’ is chock full of delicious recipes, do you have a favorite? If so what is it about that recipe that calls to you?
I have thought about this and there are many things in the book which call to me for all sorts of reasons. I have to say, though, hands down, the brownie recipe, “Chocolate in Fives” is it because, first, it was my favorite treat of childhood (and my mother never made anything from a box). It is also one of the first recipes I ever made growing up –and the only gluten brownie anyone should ever make, “Brownies Cockaigne” from the Joy of Cooking.
So this gluten-free recipe is modeled on the original but, of course, quite a few 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 one must do with all these eggs. It makes a big batch and everybody is so happy they don’t even know there is no gluten or dairy in them.
You have a love of jams and jellies, and helping people who want or need to be gluten-free eat delicious meals. What is it about jams and jellies that call to you? Do you have a favorite jam?
That’s a sweet question. Again I bring up my mother whom I watched make jam my whole life. She learned it from the lovely Danish neighbor we called Aunt Hattie. As a child, I loved going to visit her down the road but that’s another story. Although I have just last year closed my little jam and jelly business I will never stop jamming – it truly 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 wild juice to use as flavoring along with the cultivated variety of these berries. One-fifth of the fruit content of either my black raspberry or my blackberry jams is wild juice. Very effective.
When it comes to eating gluten free do you have one or two tips that readers can start using right now to get their new diet started?
I’m glad that you’ve asked this tricky question. My suggestion is to read my book. I would never dissuade anyone from getting started but I want to be very clear. The very first thing anyone should do is to find a functional doctor and get the excellent blood testing done to find out not only, whether there is gluten intolerance, but also, this serious person will find out if there is a casein, or dairy, problem and also other food sensitivities and how bad the leaky gut actually is.
If this is impossible, either because there is no doctor nearby or the expense is prohibitive, this earnest person can get started right away by eliminating all the inflammatory foods and going for it! This is what my book is all about.
The only problem with doing this is that if one got rid of all gluten for a few months and then took the blood test it might not show the intolerance which that person still has although they have successfully abated its effects.
The reason a person should NOT simply change all their favorite gluten-containing foods to something similar without gluten is that they did not first heal their permeable gut. Maybe you’ve heard of leaky gut? Almost everyone has this issue for all sorts of reasons and it is exacerbated by gluten. The leaky gut is also the cause of many food sensitivities which one would not want to happen with all these grains, roots, beans, or nuts with which gluten-free food is made.
The elimination diet for a month or two (depending on how bad is the leaky gut) along with the doctor’s supplements (each individual has their own deficiencies or issues to deal with in the body) is what heals the permeability of the small intestine. This is your gateway to the joy and freedom of the gluten-free diet!
‘The Joy of Gluten-Free’ has been a huge hit; do you have another book in the works? Perhaps a cookbook about Jams?
Oh thank you, I am excited to get to my jam journal cookbook because, last I counted, I have over fifty different recipes for jam and jelly. However, before I get back to my jam book I want to complete a very special project about Maxfield Parrish.
This is not simply art historical, but this is about one painting he did for my great grandfather which hangs in my grandparents’ house to this day. I have my grandfather’s permission to reproduce the letters between Parrish and my great grandfather and there is even a little bit of a mystery in it…
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 barbecue—I love seeing people enjoying being together and having lots of clean wholesome foods with plenty of desserts.
“The Joy of Gluten-Free: A Practical Guide to Live Gluten-Free and Thrive” is available on Amazon by clicking here.