I was naturally a very hyperactive kid when I was young, so much so that the re-tellings of my escapades sends shivers down my spine. Imagine what I’d be like if I was “sugar-high”. THE HORROR! What’s more was that I LOVED sweets, especially cake. It was a euphoric experience for me–like drugs (not to be misconstrued as a confession of drug abuse, merely a comparison of how drugs are to drug addicts)! And whenever there was cake, I knew all too well that my mom would look me in the eyes and say those four dreadful words: “NO CAKE FOR YOU!” But even though I wasn’t normally allowed to eat cake… well, you know, when there’s a will, there’s a way.

Cake isn’t happy at all~!

The reason I started with that bit of my past was to put in context the “fabulosity” of cake and how dreadful it was for me to be denied the fluffy and sweet morsels of pastry, but compared to those who grew up that COULDN’T eat cake AT ALL… my very being quakes with fear. Ma. Katrina F. Enriquez is unfortunately one such person. She is allergic to gluten.

What’s gluten anyways, you may ask. A quick Google¬†Yahoo Search would reveal that gluten is a naturally¬†occurring¬†substance found mostly in wheat and its products. And you’ve guessed it, since flour is made out of wheat, any bread products including cakes are off limits to a sufferer of gluten sensitivity.

When asked how her predicament had affected her life, Enriquez, a 19-year-old journalism student, said that it was tough. She had to go get tested to find the extent of her allergic reactions and what’s more was she needed to be careful on she ate, lest she swells up and break into hives. She also had to find alternatives to everyday foods I often took for granted, most of which are more expensive than their counterparts. Social gatherings were especially taxing for her because, in her own words, “…it’s hard when we get to a fast food chain for example McDo [McDonalds] and my friends have to consider me”.

But, it’s not all tears and sorrow as Enriquez says that her situation has made her more adventurous. “It had also forced me to bake, though I don’t really cook,” she says describing her experiments on using flour-alternatives like bean flour, which is pungent when raw, to be able to enjoy gluten-free brownies and cookies. It also made her appreciate every “safe food” she had, and moreover, her consciousness of her diet had help her lose weight!

I for one truly respects people like her who embodies perseverance and ingenuity. Life isn’t a cake walk.