AndreAnne-McLean-HeadshotAndreAnna McLean is a born and raised Jersey girl recently transplanted to the Midwest. She manages this upheaval by ordering “cawfee” and wearing large hoop earrings as often as possible.

She is a full-time working mom to two children: Charlotte, born in 2006 with enough cheekiness to fill Lake Sassypants, and Sawyer, the sweet, clumsy Momma’s boy in her own image, born in 2008. They keep her busy with school, sports, lessons, and the occasional need for stitches or to un-duct tape one sibling from the wall.

Her gluten-free journey started in 2010 when her husband Mike was diagnosed Celiac after years of illness. Later, acting on a hunch, they tested their children who had been suffering from odd – and both different – symptoms: Charlotte had eczema and asthma that landed her in and out of hospitals; Sawyer had the more common gastrointestinal symptoms. Both came back positive for gluten-intolerance.

Though she herself has not been medically diagnosed with any gluten sensitivity, she decided to follow and support her family on this adventure – one that came at a time when she tipped the scales near 250 pounds. After a lifetime battle with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and morbid obesity with the highest weight reaching over 300 pounds, she was struggling to lose the baby weight from her second child in a two-year span.

With the new diagnoses from her family and her 20-year fight with PCOS, she decided to research how to not only eliminate gluten, but how to heal herself and her family. She dove head first into the Primal/Paleo movement: a lifestyle that eliminates all grains, most dairy, legumes, and processed food and focuses on good fats, proteins, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Basically, the concept is to eat how we evolved as humans – without the rogue saber-toothed tiger attack, of course.

To her, giving up gluten and replacing it with other processed foods wasn’t good enough. It didn’t make any sense. It may have fixed the immediate issues at hand with her family, but it wouldn’t make them healthier. So as a family they undertook the task of being gluten-free and eating as clean as possible.

Shortly after, she discovered CrossFit and began the arduous and often terrifying voyage from obese to fit, healthy, and strong. Even when she wanted to cry because her hands were torn open from pullups and she walked like a duck from 200-pound backsquats, she pushed on. In her early 30s, she is stronger, fitter, and the healthiest she has ever been.

Always a creative cook, she undertook the challenge of creating gluten-free and Primal/Paleo meals with a vengeance. She had no intention of depriving her family of taste, diversity, or even desserts. Check out AndreAnna’s delicious recipes and down-to-earth humor in each issue of the magazine.

See AndreAnna’s recipes here.