Post ID: 1138
To Purchase GRAIN FREE Pasta DOH Mix Go To Below Amazon Link:
BE AWARE: Our DOHs contain nuts! Our products are NOT Celiac guaranteed.
My name is Shari McIntyre (formerly Shari Darling). My husband Shawn and I are not only partners in life but also partners in our company called FRESH DOH.
Let me share with you a little about my background in the culinary industry…I have been involved in the food world for over 26 years, writing bestselling and award winning cookbooks, conducting cooking classes, creating wine and food pairing tools, and working as a food and wine journalist. My work in sensory science (as it pertains to food and wine pairing) is still utilized in colleges and universities across Canada, including George Brown College in Toronto for sommelier and chef training.
This career, over 20 years in the making, provided me with a solid foundation in recipe development that I have utilized in the creation of FRESH DOH and our products.
Our FRESH DOH company blossomed as a result of my personal experience in having survived an 8 year caregiving tour of duty before I met Shawn. I cared for my deceased husband Jack who endured all the stages of Alzheimer’s. Caregiving for a loved one suffering with this disease is truly like fighting a war, using every you can muster intellectually, physically, emotionally, and spiritually to keep both yourself and your loved one safe on a moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day basis.
Anyone who has or is caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s (or any dementia) moves through many stages of ambiguous grief both while your loved one is alive and after he/she passes. I grieved while Jack was alive and after he passed. I remained true to Jack to the end and fulfilled all the promises I had made to him that he had requested when he was himself. After Jack passed I was blessed to meet my now husband Shawn. After having endured this long and dark era of life, I feel so blessed and appreciate the simple and most important things in life, such as having a partner who knows who I am and loves me back, someone who looks after me when needed, and someone with which to share life’s ups and downs.
During this caregiving tour of duty I discovered there are many health benefits in living a gluten, grain and sugar-free lifestyle whether you suffer from this debilitating disease or not. This lifestyle can be called anti-inflammatory, Paleo, “dirty”-Keto (meaning non strict), diabetic friendly, protein-rich and/or sometimes low carb.
The concept for FRESH DOH began when I was caring for Jack. Jack was a former Commander of the Navy SEALs (Ret.). He served 3 tours in Vietnam. During 2 of his tours he was directly exposed to Agent Orange, the cause of his Alzheimer’s, I believe.
I put my career as a food and wine journalist, author and speaker on hold to care for Jack through 2 hip replacement surgeries, back surgery, carotid artery surgery, and all the stages of Alzheimer’s. Using my energy and journalism skills, I went to work, researching how food might have an impact on Alzheimer’s and its symptoms.
At first my goal was to try to reverse the disease. I soon discovered this is not possible. However, a lifestyle change can dramatically improve one’s quality of life. Possessing quality of life is the best we can hope for when it comes to Alzheimer’s. And this shouldn’t be taken lightly. Improving your loved one’s quality of life can have an enormous impact on daily living.
Based on my research and in working with our functional medicine doctor named Dr. Morty Levy, we began a complete lifestyle change, taking on an anti-inflammatory diet. Inflammation and brain shrinkage are 2 of the 5 hallmarks of Alzheimer’s. Dr. Levy and I felt we could impact some of Jack symptoms by trying to make his brain healthier. This meant eliminating gluten, wheat, and refined sugar from our diets. We ate healthy fats, low glycemic fruit and vegetables and foods and spices that support brain health. We also added organic, fermented, and grass-fed products when possible.
At one point on this journey, Dr. Levy ordered blood tests for Jack, which ultimately indicated arsenic in his blood. Dr. Levy asked us, “Eating a lot of rice are you?”
I was shocked. And the answer was, “Yes!” Now gluten-free, I had supplemented our diets with rice and corn-based products. Both Jack and I LOVED carbs! The idea of living without pasta seemed like a life of deprivation.
Dr. Levy started Jack on a vitamin and supplement regime to detoxify his body.
I embraced this diet for both of us. After 6 months of eating grain free, we felt and looked healthier. We both lost excess weight. The downside, however, was that we both experienced cravings for pasta and bread, comfort foods that soothe the soul.
I hunted everywhere for grain free pasta and noodles. I even tried preparing dried noodles manufactured from chickpeas, spinach, red peppers, and butternut squash. These noodle products, once boiled, were either too hard or too mushy in texture when cooked for the appropriate time. The texture certainly didn’t satisfy our need for that “al dente” craving, that density and chewiness.
I was excited to discover low carb noodles made from the Japanese konnyaku root (also known as shirataki). Jack hated them.
It was apparent that I’d have to develop a recipe myself to make grain free noodles from scratch. I explored online, discovered, and tested different pasta and noodle recipes on our family and friends.
Through trial and error, I developed what I believe was and is a delicious grain and refined sugar-free pasta/noodle recipe. My friends loved the density and chewiness of my grain free noodles.
My dear friend Michelle was the first to declare with enthusiasm, “Shar, you really need to make these noodles commercially and sell them to the public.”
I thanked Michelle for her idea and continued to focus my energy and attention on caring for Jack. I kept perfecting my recipes for grain-free pasta, flatbread, biscuits, and double pie crusts. Jack loved the noodles and other grain free products.
Living this anti-inflammatory lifestyle did not halt or reverse Jack’s Alzheimer’s. However our doctor, friends, and family all witnessed Jack’s improved health and therefore quality of life. Some symptoms disappeared. I called these mini miracles. I wrote about this journey in my book called the Dementia Diet, available through Amazon.
My weight and health also dramatically improved. My right shoulder was torn in a car accident and required surgery. Without an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, the pain in my shoulder (even with medication) would have remained unbearable.
Even after a second hip replacement and back surgery, Jack continued to swim up to 25 lengths in the YMCA pool and walked regularly until August 10, 2017. On this morning Jack got out of bed, walked into the kitchen, and had a Gran Mal seizure. He died on our kitchen floor. His personal support worker and I brought Jack back to life using CPR. Jack was taken by ambulance to the hospital and remained there for 5 months and 14 days.
On January 14, 2018 at 7 p.m. EST, Jack passed.
After Jack transitioned, I felt that my life was pointless and meaningless. In moving through ambiguous grief I re-discovered that living a fulfilled life is about living a life of purpose, one that makes a difference for others. When you live with higher purpose, life becomes meaningful and in time, beautiful.
After having devoted many years to caregiving and then grieving, I was blessed to have found Shawn. On October 5, 2019 we married. Shawn is an incredible human being, as well as a fitness and eating-well enthusiast. He has contributed immensely to my life and has brought important and positive elements to FRESH DOH.
Be-Aware: Our Dohs contain nuts and are NOT Celiac guaranteed.
The purpose of this company is to offer delicious, gluten, grain, and sugar-free products and recipes to make this lifestyle enjoyable.
We know it’s important to eat well. But we realized, first hand, that it’s also vital to indulge in comfort foods once in a while! Eating comfort foods once in a while keeps our mind healthy, our spirit strong and enthusiastic. It’s about being moderate, right? Moderation keeps us sane! So, in our opinion, indulging in comfort foods allows us to maintain a specific lifestyle long term.
Our FRESH DOH products will allow you to maintain your particular lifestyle, all the while enjoying grain free comfort foods to keep you sane. Hence the name of our website blog – Staying Sane Without Grain.
In creating FRESH DOH Shawn and I can now use my caregiving knowledge, wisdom, experience, and passion for healthy food to serve a higher purpose in Jack’s honour and hopefully to contribute to you and others.
We wish you a healthy and long life!