Leena Lemos
Hello, my GF friends!

Thank you for checking out The Dedicated Kitchen. This site has been our dream two years in the making and we are so excited to finally have a place to celebrate (and mourn) a gluten-free existence.

I always hear, “oh my god, I would DIE if I couldn’t eat gluten,” and I don’t think that’s true. When you’re faced with a life-changing obstacle, you will have the strength to rise from the ashes and learn to adapt beyond your wildest expectations. A set back is only a set up for a comeback, and when you treat your body right, you can take the world by storm.

One of the things I love most about connecting with other glutards is the uniqueness in their story. In case you wanted to know all the deets, here’s my gluten-free journey:

How I Found Out

During my senior year of college, in between fall and spring semester, I was eating a LOT of tuna melts. A. Lot. I had just gotten a panini press and fell deep down a rabbit hole of cheesy-carby-goodness. I began noticing that food just wasn’t sitting right with me. My stomach turned into cement. I was irritable, anxious, and just felt…like shit. At first, I equated it to a common winter cold, but it didn’t go away. It felt like every time I ate, I would keel over in gut-wrenching pain. Why was my BFF, food, turning against me?

6 months, 2,938,498 tests, and endless elimination diets later, I finally had an answer…Celiac Disease. Cool.

How I Handled the News

Not well. There were a lot of tears. A. Lot. The news came juuuust as I was mastering an at-home “crunch wrap supreme” with a monster-sized flour tortilla. I spent weeks mourning everything I couldn’t eat. A few weeks after I found out, I went on vacation with my family to Toronto and Kingston, Ontario. I was so desperate to feel better that I was so reluctant to eat anything at a restaurant. Luckily, my mom took me to a health foods store to stock up on GF food. I stood and stared at the frozen section, calculating the rate of my demise. Gluten-free hot pockets? Gluten-free burritos? Ok…maybe I can do this.

After my parents saw the struggle of a gluten-free lifestyle, they too decided to go gluten-free so I would always have a support system (and things to eat when I raided their kitchen). My sister who grew up taking 5+ medications for her undiagnosable stomach aches soon after discovered, she too, had Celiac.

The Ongoing Struggle

Don’t get me wrong — I still dream about accidentally eating glutenous cookies and ache every time I smell a damn good garlic knot. Fortunately, the gluten-free options have exponentially increased in availability (and taste) since that fateful day over 6 years ago. I’ve learned to survive by reading ingredients and refusing to go out to eat at any restaurant where I can only eat a side salad without the croutons. Even though my husband’s grandma still offers me cake at every family gathering, I am lucky to have a large support system.

Today, I maintain a GF & vegan lifestyle. Food has become a way of life and going gluten-free has completely transformed the way I consider what I put in and on my body. Celiac is a part of me and I am proud to support others who also suffer in the early stages of going gluten-free.

Being More Than Just a Glutard

Beyond my food choices, I work in the beauty industry and am a portrait photographer. I am a few days away from “crazy plant lady” status and enjoy kissing my polka-dotted rescue dog, Blue (and my husband, too, I suppose). I am a yogi, runner, crystal lover, and a strong believer in the saying, “follow your bliss.”

Thank you again for helping all of my dreams come true. I’d love to connect on Instagram! Follow me @leenalemos and be sure to follow @thededicatedkitchen, too! Cheers to a gluten-free life! We got this.