For close to a decade Elisabeth Hasselbeck, co-host of 'The View' has been one of the most famous proponents of the gluten-free diet. Tired of having to give up her favorite recipes and eat separately from her family she painstakingly adapted recipes including spaghetti, waffles and cupcakes. Hasselbeck spoke to us about cooking g-free and, oh yes, what she thinks of the Republican primaries.
FOX411: Ever feel like an outsider on ‘The View’ because of your political beliefs?
Elisabeth Hasselbeck: What most people don’t know is that the majority of my friends are wildly liberal so I never thought it was anything odd. Whenever I’m in a room with a bunch of conservative republicans I think, oh my God this is strange! I’m totally and completely comfortable in a room with people who hold different opinions, I love that.
FOX411: Have you been watching the debates?
Hasselbeck: Oh yes every single one. I’ve campaigned in the past. I’m waiting this one out a bit and see how it goes. I have people I like but I’m not going to say.
I will say this, I don’t understand how a nation where freedom of religion and speech are so highly touted and are highly defended by liberals, how it is so easy to proceed with bigotry against someone who happens to be Mormon. I don’t understand how we can pick and choose certain religions that can be discriminated against, because I dare anyone to put another religion in there for Mitt Romney, and they wouldn’t say a word. Are you truly defending the rights of our country when you attack someone when they are whatever religion? What if Mitt Romney was Jewish? What if Mitt Romney was Muslim? Think about how people act differently toward that. Nobody supports the true idea of freedom of religion if you are attacking someone and using their religion against them for no other reason than political gain and to build suspicion about a religion, then you are not, at all, operating in the pure sense as an American, you’re just not. I think you might be cranky if you’re doing that and you might need a gluten-free diet.
FOX411: Speaking of gluten free diets ... when did you find out you suffered from celiac disease?
Hasselbeck: I self-diagnosed in 2002 and I’d experienced symptoms since 1997. I didn’t receive an official diagnosis until 2004. Every time I ate I would feel sick, and so socially, I became a little bit withdrawn. I hated going out to eat. When I was in the Australian outback where I experienced I guess forced starvation I started to feel better, and once I got back here and started to eat I got sick again, so I realized it was something I was eating. It took me too long to finally find Dr. Peter Green who finally gave me a test unlike every other doctor who was prescribing medicine and recommending surgery, and none of that was getting to the root of what was causing my problems.
FOX411: This is your second gluten-free cookbook.
Hasselbeck: My goal with ‘Deliciously G-Free’ is to teach people to live happily gluten free, that it’s possible to enjoy food and get back to the kitchen table with everything else. It took me a while to get here. I couldn’t have written it right off the jump, I wasn’t there yet. I wasn’t in the enjoying food stage yet. I think when you go undiagnosed for as long as I did, when you go through pain and feeling sick, food becomes an enemy. It makes you anti-social. So you go through stages. First you go through food fear, then you kind of shut down and you feel bad for yourself because you just want to have the things that everyone else is having. Finally I said I’ve got three kids, they love to cook, they love to eat, they want me to eat what they’re eating, I want to eat what they’re eating.
I wanted to rejoin the family table and not have my family recipes die with me because I have celiac. I think these recipes are just as good if not better; I put them through the test. My kids are 2, 4 and 6 and they do not lie about you put in front of them at the dinner table. I wanted the food to not feel like you’re on a diet. The bulk of the food is good, hearty, comfort; Super Bowl tasty food that you’re not going to even realize is gluten-free. I knew I could do this; I just needed to have the right time in my life to do this.
Food is memory, its nostalgia. I think to not have the things that mean a lot to you in your palette is sad so this is a very happy book. I am done with that poor me, woe is me phase.