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History of Crave Bakery- Part I

March 12, 2013

Cameo Edwards Crave Bakery Gluten Free

Because you asked, here is the full story of how Crave was born- split into Part I and Part II. (Hey, this is lots of years of history being distilled here, so a girl needs a little space!) Standing in solidarity with all you people feeling better gluten-free, I hope my experience resonates with you!

Cameo Edwards

I opened Crave in San Francisco in 2003. Crave was the first gluten-free bakery in San Francisco, or the Bay Area for that matter, a perfect place and time to start this alternative food business.

I know my story is a familiar one, as I have read many, many accounts of others going gluten-free over the years. I became sick in 2001, very sick to my stomach for about a year and half. I thought it was the stress of my job- I worked for a very busy start-up ad agency. It was daily and nightly pain and discomfort and so finally I gave in and started seeing doctors. I first attempted to go the traditional route and see a couple different GI’s in San Francisco. They suggested drugs to cure my symptoms. The one that stands out most vividly in my mind was some purple pill that my doctor warned me, might ‘make me a little tired’. A definite understatement as my boyfriend at the time, found me on my kitchen floor, so catatonic I was unable to crawl the 15 feet to my bed. Another doctor, after not being able to determine a clearcut ailment, finally diagnosed me with IBS. ‘What’s IBS?’ I asked him. He couldn’t exactly tell me what it meant except that I essentially had a finicky stomach. ‘But what causes it? How can I fix it? I can’t just go on like this. I’m in pain or discomfort ALL THE TIME.’

He sent me away without any different suggestions and I felt frustrated, disappointed and somewhat hopeless. I reduced my work schedule to part-time in an effort to give myself the space to sort out my health. Frustrated with western medicine, I sought the help of a holistic practitioner. I found Dr. Victoria Hamman in San Francisco. Again, we tried several things together, the Master Cleanse (many of us have done this one!), homeopathy, the Candida Diet, blood tests and allergy tests. Nothing helped, in fact some of these trials even temporarily made things worse.

Then I had an upcoming two-month trip to Thailand that I had scheduled earlier in the year. As the date approached and I quit my job, I realized, I might not be able to travel. I had lost a lot of weight, eating felt terrible and I had very little energy. In fact, when I went home for Christmas, I remember my mom seeing me and her eyes welling up with tears at how frail I had become. But something in me told me to go Thailand anyway. I figured, if I can’t handle it, I’ll just come home.

After less than a week of eating Thai food, I felt like a miracle had occurred. Still, at this point, I had no idea why I had previously felt so bad but all I cared about was that I felt great for the first time in a long time and I never wanted to leave Thailand! In fact, I thought to myself, it must have been the stress. I’m never going back to advertising! And the fact is, I never did go back to advertising. The other fact is that when I came back to the US, I got sick again. Which was a massive disappointment. I started back up with Dr. Victoria. I began an elimination diet, which would last several more months. I felt better off wheat but still not great. She suggested that it might actually be gluten. Gluten? What the heck is that?

Of course, I went out and bought everything gluten-free that I could find on the market. And guess what? I felt fantastic. A huge weight was lifted off me. Huge! I felt so incredibly happy just to feel… normal!

{As a side note for a long time, I didn’t know if I had Celiac Disease. I only thought about getting tested years after going on a gluten-free diet. At that point, I was told I would need to eat gluten in full force so I could get an accurate biopsy. After a few weeks of eating gluten again and feeling absolutely destroyed, I gave up and went back to being gluten-free. I decided knowing that I needed to eat gluten-free was enough for me. I couldn’t put my body through that again. These days, I call myself gluten sensitive, which is a grey area that has gotten a lot more attention recently.}

Stay tuned for History of Crave- Part II

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