Welcome to the Intolerant Gourmet, my blog for delicious allergy-friendly food.  I'm often asked about my own experiences with food sensitivities, so I feel it is only fair to share with you a little of how I came to be wheat, dairy, soy, egg and yeast free.

In September 2000, after completing two years of my four-year English literature degree, I became seriously ill with complications that stemmed from an un-diagnosed food allergy. After years of health issues and pain, I was scheduled to undergo major operative surgery. Sadly the operation did not go well and led to several months of intensive care, further operations and hospitalization. It was a life-threatening situation and a turning point in my life.

I returned home shortly after my 21st birthday, unable to return to university or to work. My recovery was just beginning. Acknowledging that life as it had been would no longer be possible, I slowly began to recover physically and to re-learn what my body was capable of processing both post-operatively and for my long-term health.

The field of food intolerances and allergies is still a relatively young one and has few clear-cut answers or treatments. With little guidance from the medical arena this trial and error approach to diagnosis and recovery often left me ill and feeling very isolated. I sought counsel from many resources over the following years; but in the end I realized that the guidance I sought did not exist and I would have to use my own understanding to develop a new way of eating and cooking and a new way of loving food again.

My experience is more dramatic than most, but it has given me an acute empathy for those who suffer from food intolerances and allergies, whatever their stage of health. Diagnosis can come as a great relief, but it is only the beginning of a new way of cooking and eating.  In essence, it is a new way of life.

I began The Intolerant Gourmet out of necessity for myself.  However, it soon became directed by understanding that the fundamental elements of my experience: frustration, illhealth, isolation, and a desire to eat good food, are the same for anyone diagnosed with a food sensitivity.  I knew that The Intolerant Gourmet could become an inspiring resource for anyone who has ever felt the loss and restriction that food allergies and intolerances can bring.

So here we are today, with a blog packed full of recipes and a book for you to enjoy too, my recipes are here to not only satisfy your new dietary requirements, but also to inspire you in the way of allergy-free cooking.  I know that the thought of all the things you can't eat can seem overwhelming but trust me when I say that this is just not so.  Whether it's an inventive allergen-free combination or an allergy-friendly reworking of an old favourite, I will show you that being intolerant to certain (or in some cases, nearly all) foods does not have to restrict your menu in a negative way.  In fact, it will open you up to a whole new way of eating that is delicious, imaginative, uses fresh ingredients and most of all, tastes really, really good.

All the recipes seen here are created, cooked and photographed by me (unless otherwise stated) and are copyrighted to The Intolerant Gourmet.  I am always happy to receive comments and questions, so do feel free to email me with any queries at pippa@theintolerantgourmet.com.  In the meantime, happy cooking.