Monday, November 8, 2010

A Gluten Nightmare

"gluten hell", acrylic on canvas, 16x20, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

I was at business holiday party. Working the crowded room, chatting, laughing, sipping my wine – enjoying myself.
A caterer breezed by with a lovely platter of cheeses on crackers. He assured me this tray had only rice crackers. Terrific!
I chose a yummy looking cheese and popped it in my mouth. One bite and I knew. Yes. It-was-a-wheat-cracker.
A wheat cracker!

How could I get it out of my mouth - and fast. Too many people around to spit it out in my hand. Bathrooms were on another floor. At that moment the owner of my company came by to introduce me to an important client.
I had to swallow it!?!?!  Knowing what havoc it would wreak in my body. I had to swallow it!?!?… nothing could stop it now.

I woke up shaking and sweating. Worst nightmare I've had in ages, and I've had my share of nightmares.  
And - my very first gluten nightmare.
Laying in bed I felt like I was being suffocated.
And a migraine was beginning. Migraine means I actually did get gluten the day before. Where? I have no idea.

Is my subconscious trying to send a message? Questioning whether I will still put politeness before my health. If so, it has to stop.

It took me most of a week to shake the awful feeling of that nightmare, but I won’t soon forget it.

Have you ever had a gluten involved nightmare? 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Martini Date Night Tablescape

Setting the table for date night...

Martini nights. Dark downtown lounges. Hidden bars with no signs, no names. Velvet curtains and piles of pillows.

 Haunting jazz filling every shadowed corner. 

Icy cold, big-as-a-plate, exotically flavored martinis in the wee hours of the night. 

Perched on a bar stool, sipping slowly, with the tip of a sexy stiletto swaying gently to the rhythm. 

Atmoshpere, music, THE drink, my hubby and of course, sexy shoes.

Capturing a little of that magic for our recent date night dinner. 
Tablescape Thursday at Between Naps on the Porch

Lemoncello four sack towels used as placemats available at erin go paint
Vintage linen damask napkins revived with lemon wedge print available at erin go paint

What to wear when you have a cold

Boost your immune system from the feet up with a little echinacea, the coneflower.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Inspiration in a Pumpkin Patch

I love visiting farms in the fall and in the last 2 weeks we've been to a few (and have had some amazing weather).... bright orange pumpkins piled high in the sun, crisp red apples, vibrant mums... russet, gold, burgundy, violet - all the colors exploding against the backdrop of soft, golden straw and an electric blue sky.

In settings like this my painting brain goes crazy, and a million ideas come rushing at me.  I don't know whether to run screaming for safety - or for my paintbrush.  Luckily, I was equipped with a camera and shot tons of photos for reference.

Not much sketching on site with a 4 year old along for the adventure.

But, yesterday afternoon I made use of craft time with her... and her great, big bag of crayons (which always give me a thrill) and sketched a pile of pumpkins with a handful of fall palette crayons.  She loved it.  And it was very satisfying to release some of the creative energy that had been building up.

Looking forward to working on some pumpkins with my watercolors.... coming soon.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What to wear... while you wait for a kidney stone to pass

  Lemon has been known to help break down calcium oxalate stones, and the vodka could take the edge off the pain... or at the very least, be a fun distraction while waiting and waiting. 

Not exactly Doctor's orders but, you'll look pretty dang cute wearing these to the ER.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Focus on the Joy

"No Gluten Necessary" watercolor & ink, 5x7, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

Its been said all publicity is good publicity as long as it gets the product or topic out there, in people's thoughts and conversations. I don't know... I get tired of the never-ending stream of articles that perpetuate the difficulties, the expense, and the nutritional deficiencies of following a gluten-free diet.

First, those of us that have celiac or gluten intolerance have no choice. And many of us choose to look at it in a positive light. As in we are no longer sick all day, every day. No diet is too hard when a complete turn around in health and energy is the result.

Second, I believe it scares off celiac newbies – Because there is a learning and adjustment curve, they struggle or stumble (which happens or happened to all of us) then read the negative stories and say “see, it is too hard!” Then give up on the diet – giving up their own health in the process. But a positive attitude and the willpower to stick it out go a long way. I have read of many people who find the gf diet too difficult to follow because they have to give up fast food --- not much nutrition in the fast food diet!

Third, it keeps people from being tested. They don't want to have a disease that is so difficult and expensive to manage. And the negative articles support their fear. They would love an easy pill to take and not to have to think about it. I know because I have met them in person and on forums. (again I ask, how big is the expense of chronic illness and pain?)

I am tired of the negative talk. I believe the authors of these pieces haven't spoken to celiacs that have had dramatic improvements in their health. People who feel joy that they now know what is wrong; they know the root cause and are truly enjoying the gluten free food they prepare and eat. People who have experimented and come up with delicious and tantalizing treats and feasts enjoyed by celiacs and non-celiacs alike. People who happily eat fresh, nutritionally packed, naturally gluten-free food. People who are truly empowered by creating good health by the foods that they choose to eat.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Artichoke Tablescape

Continuing to stretch my creative muscles I am participating in Tablescape Thursday over at Between Naps on the Porch again this week.

Its a great exercise for many reasons: using my product, creating something beautiful from what we already own, honing my product photography skills, and a 3dimensional artistic challenge.

Not to mention a wonderful excuse to buy fresh flowers and the end result is a lovely dining room or a special dinner with my husband.

A win-win activity.

This week I chose my artichoke towels as my jumping off point. Dug out the dishes that were intended to be our everyday but proved to be too easily chipped. Also dusted off the hand painted flutes (a wedding present from a dear college friend).  Creating a dinner palette of warm browns and refreshing greens.

Once again it was great fun and it even inspired my 4-year old daughter to create her own tablescape in the kitchen (while I was busy photographing) in anticipation of lunch.

Dishes Sango Splash
Placemats from Perch Home

Friday, October 1, 2010

Peacocks, Kidney Stones and Gluten Intolerance

"Peacock" watercolor on paper, 8x10, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

A peculiar combination you say?  Not for me.
I am currently obsessed with finishing my peacock painting (#12 painting a week challenge) – and getting rid of a kidney stone, the appearance of which has greatly hindered my painting progress.

The Doctor informed me on Wednesday that the cause of my recent pains and problems was none other than a kidney stone.  Took me about 1 minute of google searching to find out the very real and common connection between kidney stones and celiac.  I may have been surprised by the kidney stone diagnosis – but was not at all surprised at the celiac connection.  Seems it all comes back to the same root cause.

If I understand correctly most kidney stones are calcium based.  They build up as a result of the body processing calcium inefficiently.  To absorb calcium efficiently, an adequate amount of vitamin D must be present.  Ah, there it is – my insufficient vitamin D thanks to malabsorption from gluten intolerance.  It's proving difficult to get it back in the range where it should be.  And, it invited the kidney stone in.

So I painted with lemon water for drinking on my left, and paint water for my brushes the right, and did my best not to confuse them... as the peacock eyed me warily.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Painting a Week 52 Week Challenge, Painting #11

Peacock, watercolor on paper, 9x12, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

He's not finished but I am sharing the progress... hope to complete his turquoise beauty this weekend.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Festive Fall Harvest Gluten Free Tablescape

Every meal should be a celebration.
And every meal that brings you closer to good health and healing is just that.

I was inspired by the colors of Indian summer, and one of my favorite blogs, Between Naps on the Porch, to create a special tablescape, one that spoke of freshness and flavor and the Fall harvest…  and being brought fully awake by healthy eating.

Now, I don’t have an abundance of dishes and extras, but I do have towels – lots of them!  So, I repurposed my rooster towels, with a little folding magic, to create placemats. 

And, another version of my rooster towels for the hefty size napkin (25x27) that we would need for dinner. 

We were having one of our favorites, which can get a little messy, but the messier the better!  Balsamic grilled chicken, with arugala, red onions, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella (or asiago) on Against the Grain Gourmet rosemary baguettes. The bread is gluten-free and I make the dressing so we are in heaven – and I am safe!  Sorry no photos of the food – we ate as soon as it was ready.


Placemats and napkins are my natural unbleached cotton flour sack towels available at Erin Go Paint

Red plates and bowls from target
Rooster glasses were a wedding present by April Glass.
Pitcher from Crate & Barrel
Recycled mason jars serve as vases
I used my bracelets for the napkin rings

Friday, September 17, 2010

Painting a Week 52 Week Challenge, Painting #10

I definitely went off course this summer for too many reasons.  I broke a promise to myself, and I can’t let it happen again.  I can not let my painting get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list… and I need to be especially aware of it when crisis or chaos hits (and there were a few of those recently). But,
I’m back in the game.  

Funny thing is… I don’t do that with my diet, for any reason.  When I committed to eating gluten-free 2 ½ years ago I made a promise to myself (and my husband & daughter)… and I have stuck with it come hell or high water.  Now I need to apply that level of commitment and determination here.

So… I present you with #10, a majestic cardinal that has lived all around our yard last winter and spring.  Relentlessly pursuing his bride…  they had their family in the bush right outside our living room window. We had the pleasure of seeing the babies up close when they were oh so small.

See you in a week with #11!

PS - I did manage to create 9 new shoe illustrations for my Holiday Collection in the last 6 weeks, so my brush hasn’t been completely idle.  New shoes will be posted soon.

Monday, September 13, 2010

National Celiac Awareness Day

"Naturally Gluten-Free Pears" watercolor & ink on paper, 5x7, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

Today is
National Celiac Awareness Day. September 13th is the birthday of Samuel Gee... In 1888, Gee published the first complete modern description of the clinical picture of celiac disease.

I kicked the day off by answering an email, to a friend of a friend, who is very new to gf eating (as in starting this week) that was looking for some tips from someone she knew.

I am more than happy to share everything I've learned in the last few years. And offer as much support as needed in navigating the gluten-free waters. It gives me a chance to help spread awareness, and also, to pay it forward. I am very grateful for all that I read, learned, and was helped with when I was starting out on my journey.

The early stages can be so damn overwhelming... I know how useful it is to have someone who's been through it to use as a resource and sounding board. The first thing I tell someone starting out on their gluten-free journey is to remember patience. It takes time to get used to and to learn new eating habits, and find the hidden sources. But, with time - and healing - it gets easier. Nothing like knowing how sick you'll get if you go off track - to keep you focused. Then I give them a list of all my favorite gluten-free foods.

What is your #1 tip to share with someone who is just starting out gluten-free?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Coming of Age, A GF Story

My husband had been preparing for an author event  so we were discussing his book, Patches of Grey.  He asked me for my synopsis of his book. The core of which is a coming of age story and we talked of the events that brought Tony, the main character, of age.

Everyone has their own coming of age story. The event or events that made, or forced, them to grow up. That which had a tremendous impact on your ideas, values, perspective, and how you moved forward in life. For some it is a slow easing in, others are thrown in abruptly.

I 'came of age' when my mother died of stomach cancer just after she turned 48. I was 21 and about to graduate college. Living that experience had a profound effect on who I am today.

I believe I 'came of age' again when I chose to live gluten-free against a whole slew of opposition. But, I had learned at 21 the tremendous importance of health, not to believe everything a doctor told me, and that life can be fleeting - and unexpectedly short. I also learned to listen to myself and trust my thoughts, feelings, and the signals from my body. 
And, to challenge the status quo. 
So, I changed my diet, and got my health and vitality back. It was the missing link I had been in search of since losing my mom.

What is your coming of age story? I would love to hear it!

Updated Jan 24, 2014

Monday, July 26, 2010

#9 of 52 Week Challenge

"The Roman Goddess I", watercolor on paper, 9x12, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

There was no dream or vision this week though I did feel compelled to paint this statuesque goddess. I am unsure where I am headed with this, but I have a vague sense of a series beginning to form in my imagination. And, this may be a stepping stone.

The feeling is vague enough to be kind of scary. Scary, why? Not knowing why, not knowing where I'm headed, or if it will turn out right is unsettling... If it's not right it means it will be -wrong? So, it circles back to fear of failure I suppose.

And if I may, it is similar to starting a gluten-free diet. Where am I headed? Will it turn out right, or well? Will people understand? Is it worth it? Will I fail? I easily connect the two since I painted this while feeling the adverse effects of recent multiple trace glutenings. And, I ALWAYS doubt my work, my thoughts, and my actions when I am under the effects of gluten!

My art and my diet are both journeys - learning and exploring, where I actively make the choice to tune out the noise, face the fears, and follow my gut - literally and figuratively.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

#8 of 52 Week Challenge

Made it to #8. I was not sure if these could be considered a full contribution (I did the illustrations in the past), but since I did create these wood panels this week AND, I am in charge of the challenge - I decided it counts! yay!

I am in love with these wood panels so am looking for ways to use them. They are just too damn cute and touchable. This set are all 4"x4". I painted the face white and the edges black then mounted reproductions of my illustrations.
They look terrific in our living room. Making a small but bold statement.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Week #7 of 52 Week Challenge

"Eye to Eye" watercolor on paper, 8x10, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering


The giraffe is finished and I feel like celebrating and crying (crying from joy, release and relief). I placed him on a shelf where we could view him, wiped my tears, and opened a bottle of wine.

Somehow, I turned a corner with this painting. A BIG corner. My demons were lurking but I faced them, and more importantly, got past them. The demons that try to derail the vision. The demons that make me question my ability. The demons that say there isn't enough time. The demons who torture me into thinking it is never quite finished.

It may be one little 8x10 watercolor painting but it is a giant step for me.

And, now it's time to start the next one!

Monday, July 12, 2010

week #7 - still in progress

Here he is... about half way there...

I decided to take a step back. Clear my mind. And, wait for direction. Strangely, I am okay with showing a painting in progress... something that has always been difficult for me. Maybe he's not really mine - definitely getting direction from a higher source on this one.

Very interesting process -can't wait to see how he turns out!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Giraffe in progress for Week #7

Last week as I was about to fall asleep a fully executed painting popped into my head. A giraffe. Cropped close in on his face. Looking up at him from the ground. Like we saw at Wild Safari Great adventure last summer as our car was surrounded by giraffes.

And that giraffe has been poking and prodding me all week - paint me, paint me, paint me. Driving me almost to distraction. Tuesday I finally had an opportunity to start the drawing and instead of following the vision, my logical brain took over (big mistake)..... hmm I thought, it's a giraffe, so must be a vertical format. Must incorporate the neck, right? It's logical.

And so I sat literally fighting my hand - think Steve Martin in "All of Me" when Lily Tomlin's spirit takes up residence in his body. Hilarious scene - not so funny when its my art. So I struggled and struggled - not feeling it! Not a bad drawing but not what I imagined.
Frustrated. Very frustrated.

I put it aside and took a fresh look last night. Took my camera and cropped in tight just like the painting that has been dominating my imagination.
And there it was.
The image that has been haunting me, chasing me, demanding to be brought to life - in watercolor. And I feel energized and at peace all at the same time! And am ready to paint it tonight!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Week #6 of 52 Week Challenge

"Zebra 3", acrylic on wood panel, 8x8, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

Well, I got back on the proverbial horse, or shall I say Zebra? And created this right after the mess I made of the sheep. One bad painting does not a bad painter make.

This time I sat in my studio, quieted my mind, and let the muse direct me. My zebra series asked to be completed. In acrylic. On a wood panel. I respectfully listened and 2 hours later a finished painting looked back at me. I was drained but felt good. Deep down good. And the zebra seems pleased.

From now on, I will listen.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Week #5 of 52 Week Challenge

I was trying to come up with a way to bypass showing this week’s painting. It is bad. As in, very bad. But since I learned a powerful lesson as a result - and it was painted this week - it deserves the slot of painting challenge week 5.

You are wondering where it is, right? That's it, on the table behind my daughter. At an angle, in the shadows, hiding. That’s about as much as I am willing to show of it.

As I sat making an awful mess on the paper I wondered where I went wrong. But it didn’t take long to figure out. First, I tried to rush through it just to get my "assignment" done. Second, and more importantly, I ignored what the image was telling me. When I have an idea in mind the image/idea/concept usually directs me how to paint it... i.e. watercolor or acrylic, loose or tight, etc. And, normally I listen.

I was so focused on finishing, that the creating and painting process was not given their proper respect. It is a lesson I won’t soon forget.

PS - she is posing with one of my jars that I hope to have available at Erin Go Paint soon.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Hot & Cold

"Gluten-Free by the Sea", watercolor & ink, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

For years I was always cold. In the winter my husband said my hands were inhumanly cold. That he didn't know how something alive could be that cold. I blamed it on my under active thyroid and learned to dress for it by layering. Winter - 4 layers, spring & fall -3 layers and summer 2. Even on the hottest days I was comfortable in 2 tops.

So cold that when our daughter was a baby, to early toddler, I took her temperature several times a week. She always felt fiery hot to me. When she started taking her dolls temps I knew I needed to break the habit.

I have since learned it had more to do with mal-absorption than anything else. The fact that my body temperature always dropped if I was overdue for a meal should have been a clue. But that was missed along with dozens of other clues all along the path. And as my body healed, I got warmer.

Now as we enter the dog days of summer in NYC (earlier than usual) I am warmer than I have been in as long as I can remember.... And, in the market for cooler clothes.

As I stand melting on street corners and subway platforms I remind myself of what it signals and I am happy. Hot and happy!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Week #4 of 52 Week Painting Challenge

"The Strutting Rainbow", watercolor & ink, 8x10, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

Over the weekend I got gluten through cross-contamination. It was no one's fault, but accidents happen if you don't live in a bubble. Unfortunately, it brings me to a very dark place.

It goes far beyond the physical discomfort to a dark, dark place where possibility, joy and playfulness no longer exist. Where extreme fatigue and discouragement rule the day. It is a colorless place... and I have to claw my way out. Luckily, the longer I am gluten-free the quicker the rebound becomes.

I created this painting today, as part of my process of return. Originally I planned to paint this rooster in muted, vintage colors. But, when I sat down and faced him... he begged to be painted in vivid and extreme color. Color that vibrates, pulses and lives. Color that can't be missed, or ignored. Color that overflows with possibility, joy and playfulness.

He is a strutting, squawking rainbow. And, he is proof that I am back.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Week #3 of 52 Week Painting Challenge, The Studio Tour

"Sunset in Vieques", acrylic on canvas, 24x36, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

After a 3-year hiatus I participated in our town Artist Studio Tour this past Sunday.

I spent every spare minute of the last week cleaning, clearing, hanging, framing, matting (and hiding all the toys), to make our home ready and to make space for all my work. Sunday was a great day with so many terrific people stopping by. I truly enjoyed chatting with all the visitors.

It was also exhausting and all-consuming.

The all-consuming part made me panic over creating my painting for week #3. I know, my 52-week challenge is supposed to keep me inspired, focused and connected. Not throw me into a tailspin.

So I took a deep breath, and a step back, looking at the big picture. During week #3 I created much more than just a painting. I created my art show. My piece of an incredible studio tour. A gallery in our home. Quoting my very last studio tour visitor of the day when seeing Sunset in Vieques: "Only God could create colors like that" pause "…but you came damn close, didn't you!!" Yes, the day has truly inspired me.

And not to go too long without a paintbrush in my hand, I did touch up this painting that was slightly damaged and that two visitors are interested in buying.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Gluten-Free Giveaway Winner

We have a winner!

Celiac in the City is the winner of our Gluten-Free Awareness Month giveaway!
A special thanks to all who commented, tweeted and spread the word.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Painting a Week 52 Week Challenge, Painting #2

"Zebra 2", acrylic on wood panel, 8x8, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

I would just like to say out loud and in writing, when I decided to challenge myself to a painting a week for 52 weeks, I did not mean to challenge the universe. Just myself.

Week 1 our little girl came down with strep throat. Week 2, I caught strep - along with an ear infection. Now she has a cold. These events bring another dimension to the challenge for me. Right off the bat, I had huge stumbling blocks thrown in my way, but I painted anyway.

Meanwhile, the house looks like a wreck, the laundry continues to pile, and my daughter in her discomfort has a never-ending need to be attached to me… but in spite of all the chaos, I found peace in painting. The peace I found, I bring to all the rest.

The painting continues…

Friday, May 21, 2010

Week #1 of 52 Week Painting Challenge

"Zebra 1" acrylic on wood, 8x8, copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

Kicking it off right on my birthday... painting #1. Only 51 weeks - and 51 paintings to go!
It was fun to challenge myself - and I had no idea until yesterday when I sat down in my studio what I would actually paint. This Zebra will be first in a series of 4 painted on wood panels. Something about painting on the wood panels adds an extra dimension to my enjoyment - and to the actual painting!

And, proving that this will truly be a challenge... our little girl had strep throat this week. She is doing much better now, I am happy to report.

Okay, off to enjoy this beautiful day - and a gluten-free birthday lunch with my hubby!

*Now available in my Etsy store

Friday, May 14, 2010

My Upcoming 52 Week Challenge

"How Now, Violet Cow" watercolor & ink on paper, 8x10. copyright Erin Rogers Pickering

In order to keep on track creatively, and reach my goals, I've decided to challenge myself. Things aren't challenging enough with a full-time job, fledging art business, a high energy 4 year old (who is not a fan of staying asleep) and, dietary restrictions that require regular planning, cooking and baking. But if it weren’t for those dietary restrictions, and the removal of gluten, taking on another challenge would be unthinkable.

The challenge I choose to accept: I will paint a painting a week for the next 52 weeks. Yes, 52 paintings in 52 weeks - it's a bit scary to say out loud.

Why add more to an already overflowing plate? Honestly, because painting makes me whole. It keeps me centered, happy and connected. And, unfortunately constantly loses priority to a never-ending to-do list.

I am curious to see if being committed to the goal of creating a painting a week might actually help all the other moving parts of my life run more smoothly... and not cause my head to explode. We shall see.

I start next week. The 52 weeks will run birthday to birthday. Maybe, just maybe, during this process… I will finally paint "the series" that has been in my head - and in my heart - for years!

Stay tuned, stop by to check on my progress, and let me know what you think. Happily eating, and painting, gluten free!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Celebrating Celiac Awareness Month

10 years ago when I found that wheat (gluten) was a migraines trigger through an elimination diet - celiac was unknown to me, my circle of family and friends, and sadly even to my nutritionist. So I removed most of the gluten and thought I was covered.  Unfortunately, I was wrong.

Flash forward - I am now 2 years completely gluten-free and feel better than I ever imagined. I am thrilled that gluten-free products are becoming more and more mainstream; that chefs and restaurants are preparing safe food for us; and that celiac disease is not longer an unknown, though we have a long way to go. But, it is great to no longer be the one following some 'crazy alternative diet.'

So in celebration of Celiac Awareness Month and doing my part to raise awareness (it also happens to be my birthday month) I am giving away a gluten-free 5x7 print, of the winner's choice, so they can make a statement in their GF kitchen. Or win it for a friend or family member to show them your support and encouragement.

To enter leave a comment below telling me which print you would choose from the GF prints in my etsy shop Erin Go Paint.  You can enter multiple times every time you tweet  ---  
Win a #GF print by @gfillustrator for your gluten-free kitchen at  

When we reach 50 comments a winner will be chosen by random. If there is still time in May when we reach 50, I will have a second giveaway.

Keep building awareness and understanding!

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Agony and the Ecstasy

"After Michelangelo" watercolor on paper, 8x10, Erin Rogers Pickering
I love The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone and have read it more than once. I may not be Michelangelo but I know the torture of being driven to draw and paint by an internal fire - the feelings, processes and outcomes can bring great highs and difficult lows.
And very much like motherhood.  I love my daughter more than life itself, and she is an enormous challenge. Bringing me tremendous and overwhelming joy and frustration beyond imagining. From one minute to the next we can be on different ends of the spectrum, and back again in a flash.
It is also very much like my gluten-free path. It has brought me healing, energy and vitality that I never could have dreamed of; connected me with an amazing community of people, and inspired me to paint again.  But it requires planning, vigilance, and never letting my guard down. I struggle with reactions to food that are "considered gluten-free" and occasional cross-contamination and sometimes have very tough days.
But as with my daughter that I adore, and my art that continuously calls, my food intolerance is part of my every waking, and sleeping, moment. 
And I wonder without the agony would I fully appreciate the ecstasy?