In August, when Alexandra Fox was told she was gluten-intolerant, she knew it would come with an adjustment period.
“I was a little afraid at first,” she said. “I thought, great, there goes pizza, there goes pasta, there goes bread.”
After a few minutes of considerable mourning, she put her grief aside and mobilized, formulating a new diet and creating new recipes.
She’s also helping others who suffer from gluten allergies.
Fox, a Short North resident, has launched Gluten-Free Ohio, a web-based (glutenfreeohio.com) resource for those with similar dietary restrictions.
The site offers free recipes, tips and information for people who have eliminated or reduced gluten from their diets.
Most of its featured recipes – for everything from breakfast to dessert – contains natural, minimally processed ingredients and no refined sugars.
Others are asked to contribute their own recipes or other information about gluten-free diets.
“I think that’s part of this whole thing, creating a community so people can share,” she said.
Fox, 36, said she believes the numbers are on her side.
Nearly 18 million Americans are believed to have gluten sensitivities. An estimated 3 million Americans have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in the digestive system that requires sufferers to pay close attention to their diets and how their meals are prepared.
Gluten, which is found in grains such as wheat, occurs in the kneading process. It gives food – bread, pasta, pizza dough and such – its elasticity.
Fox, who’s in public relations, said she was surprised to find out how much food contained products with gluten – including beer, soy sauce and some sausages and lunch meat – because grains are used in the manufacturing process.
Some items, such as wheat sandwich wraps, malt vinegar, gravy powders and certain types of flour, involve a little more investigation.
“I think it’s something that you learn fairly quickly,” she said. “You kind of have your list of things that you know you can eat, so you focus on what you can eat.”
Fox, described as a casual diner and home cook, dined out two to three times a week with her husband, Kevin. That has been reduced to once a week. In the meantime, she’s become reacquainted with cooking.
“I didn’t start to love cooking until I was gluten-free,” she said.
Fox said she’s also encouraged by the growing number of restaurants that offer gluten-free dishes, including Till, DeepWood, Pattycake Vegan Bakery, Cherbourg Bakery and Spinelli’s Deli.
“I love it,” she said. “I think it’s going to continue.”
Fox’s website joins a growing number of outlets spreading the word about gluten sensitivities.
Mary K. Sharrett, a registered dietitian for Nationwide Children’s Hospital, founded the Gluten-Free Gang of Central Ohio 25 years ago.
It, too, has an abundance of online content, available at glutenfreegang.org, and regular support-group meetings at the hospital.
“Back when I started this, there weren’t as many resources here,” Sharrett said.
She said she’s encouraged by the attention the issue has been getting.
“There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” Sharrett said.
The partners in Moshi Sushi Bar in Bexley are expanding to downtown Columbus.
Moshe Mizrachi, Sudhir Dubey, David Kim and his father, Song Kim, are opening Rishi Sushi in the former Fleur location, 114 N. Third St.
“We decided to add a new concept and expand on the idea,” said David Kim, the chef.
The 2,300-square-foot restaurant is expected to open shortly after Thanksgiving.
Kim said it will specialize in high-quality sushi, soups with fresh ramen noodles, small plates and an assortment of Asian-themed gourmet burgers, including a bibimbop version, a riff on the popular Korean dish.
Rishi Sushi also will have a full bar, complete with a variety of craft beer, signature cocktails and wine, he said.