Are Gluten-Free Streamers Next?

Salivate over this picture while I tell you about the super-hero woman who raised the fisherman who caught this beautiful beast. My good friend Melissa lives in Colorado and this is her son, an avid flyfisher.

melissas son

While Melissa doesn’t fish herself, she is a longtime FFC reader. She is a yoga master, big-time skier, and has conquered some mountain climbing treks that make me dizzy just hearing about them. She is an athlete, mom, wife, chick friend, nutritionist, blogger and all-around angel.

Over a year and a half ago when I announced my intent to train and compete in the Water Safari, Melissa chimed in with what was one of her first comments on FFC. I was blathering on in this post about doing a low carb diet, which she immediately refuted, citing it as an unsound strategy for my training. Boom, I promoted her to the official Team Nutritionist.

That’s just how we get things done around here. Little did I know she would become my Health Consigliore for a year!

Having never met or spoken before I was fascinated to learn her credentials and agog at her willingness to help. Melissa has a very successful blog called Gluten Free For Good with fabulous pictures, recipes and resources about gluten free and healthy eating.


After a detailed phone consultation she sent me a packet that I completed and then she followed up with a detailed analysis about  my nutritional action plan.

The first thing she did was start me on a cleanse which I decribed in a post called Dawn Of A New Whey on the Chicken Fried Therapy blog. It was a drastic change to my diet for sure. After the three week cleanse, Melissa stuck by me for over a year, introducing me to things like chia seeds, hemp protein powder, bison burgers, flaxseed crackers, organic chicken apple sausage, quinoa, millet, kale, coconut water, and goat yogurt.

(Note: do not travel to the Bahamas with chia seeds and hemp protein powder in unmarked ziploc bags. That was a dicey day in customs.)

I wouldn’t say I have gone gluten-free for goooooood, but I am infinitely more conscious about what I eat and drink. I have all but excluded traditional diet sodas, refined sugar, wheat and gluten. (Except the past month of wedding and holiday celebrations which has been unabashed gluttony.) And I am strangely addicted to my chia-spinach-fruit smoothies. All in all I have lost 16 pounds since Melissa put me on that original cleanse. Not a ton. But my whole way of eating has changed completely.

I live in the gluten-free section of the grocery. There are so many options now, the pasta I serve is gluten free and it is delicious! They are making more and more gluten free choices everyday. Although knowing Melissa she would want us to eat foods that exist naturally as gluten free. She’s a funny purist like that. And one of those who practices what she preaches. She is funny, sweet, realistic and positive. She is a true Rocky Mountain Rockstar in my book.

I’d like to create a line of flies dedicated to Melissa with patterns such as The Ch-ch-ch-chia Pet Parachute Adams, The Hemp Protein Power Streamer, The Goat Kefir Caddis, and the Organic Buzzball.

While Melissa doesn’t really endorse supplements (she believes you should accomplish everything with real food and fish oil) this grasshopper is flying without a master now and I have discovered Maca Powder. Your welcome, ladies.

Melissa is a genuine goddess badass. She would send these amazing care packages throughout the year of training, along with sweet cards and notes of inspiration:

melissa's care package melissa's trail mix

Melissa was with me 100% of the way from the day I announced my goal to race, all the way to the wall in Seadrift and the finish line. I am eternally grateful for the lasting influence she has made on my life! And to show my appreciation I am going to quit my wedding-holiday-newyear-bowlgame-backslide and get back to a healthier Melissa-endorsed eating regime pronto.

Viva la Chia!!!

melissas son

(this warranted another showing)

14 Responses to “Are Gluten-Free Streamers Next?”
  1. OMG on that fish!!! I can’t even imagine catching that with a standard rig, much less when fly fishing. He should be proud, proud, proud!!! (Yes, these exclamations points are all warranted.)

    So happy that you have experienced the magic of Melissa! You’ve captured her beautifully, too. I am so very lucky to be able to call her a friend and mentor, too. :-) Bravo to you on all the changes you’ve made! Grateful that you mentioned the part about living gluten free by eating foods that are naturally gluten free. So many of us embrace that philosophy and feel better for it (not to mention the cost savings and the simplicity it brings to one’s life)! Again, big kudos to you for all the changes you’ve made–I needed a little inspiration today myself. ;-)

    All the best and congrats to you and Melissa’s fisherman son!


  2. What a great description of Melissa’s philosophy and the magic she works. Her blog has been an inspiration to me on my own gluten-free journey and meeting her in person, I could see she really lives the life. She is a delight.

  3. Holy Mama, that’s a big fish! wow!

    what a beautiful tribute—-Melissa is lucky to have such a wonderful cheerleader in her corner, and I’m so happy that you’ve benefited from her teaching/mentoring/nurturing.

  4. Melissa says:


    While I’m beyond appreciative of your friendship and kind words, you’ve totally exaggerated my participation in all this. Hey, you’re the one who fought off the maurading Jack Russell Terrier gangs, beat yourself up making hazardous portages and ended up with hands swollen to the size of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s. Not to mention all the other unpleasantries you endured during that 260 mile marathon nightmare. It had nothing to do with me.

    But the feeling is mutual! You have no idea how many pre-dawn mornings I’ve almost spit my tea or coffee out reading your posts. I don’t even fly fish and I’ve been reading your blog for ages. I love good writing, sassy women and high adventure. I get all three at Fly Fish Chick.

    P.S. Isn’t Griffin cute? =)

  5. Just what I need – another blog to become addicted to!!! (said tongue in cheek!!!). What a wonderful story – and your writing is superb and so delightful to read. If I had known you when you started this journey with Melissa, who has become a friend through gluten free circles, I would’ve either been on the sidelines rooting you on, or running right next to you. I have a predilection for green smoothies myself! And once I got over how funny it is that we knew what chia was from back in the day when we would sprinkle it on funny clay cows, I grew to love the little buggers and put ‘em in everything and anything I can. Glad to make your acquaintance! I’ll be back for more!

  6. Donald says:

    Ok I know if you hold the fish out it makes it look bigger, but there is now way his arms are that long. Holy Cow that thing is huge. I’ve never seen anything like that.

  7. I love the gaggle of gluten free girlies that came out to wave the flag for sweet melissa! it’s no surprise she has such a following but it is fun to hear others cheer her on and sing her praises. I welcome you all and hope you will chime in as regularly as you like!

    Melissa – you know how much I love you. and yes, Griffin is darling! And that fish!! Everyone wants to know details. where he caught it…when…etc?

    Donald — I’m with ya, it’s a fish of a lifetime. I could only dream

    cheers all!

  8. Fish360 says:

    Gorgeous fish!

    I will recommend the gluten-free blog to a friend of mine.

    I am looking forward to seeing the gluten-free fly. ;-) .

  9. Hey, if you’re looking for a gluten free food to try, how about quinoa? There’s plenty of good press around quinoa. Aside from being gluten free, it’s one of the few plant based foods that has a complete protein profile… low calorie, too. And the best part for me – its texture is so similar to grains!

  10. Erin Block says:

    Add another Gluten Free Blogging Girl to your gaggle…and, one who fishes to boot! :)


  11. Fonde Jernigan says:

    Hey Fly Fish Chick, Like the perfect cast….like the perfect fish….you must be the perfect woman….for my lucky old friend Tom. Congrats on your marriage. PTL, Fonde

  12. Fonde — thanks so much for the kind message!! but I am the lucky one. I got the best catch. Cheers!!

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