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Elisabeth Hasselbeck on Being Healthy, Happy, and Gluten-Free

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Kelly Campbell/Ballantine Books

Kelly Campbell/Ballantine Books

When "The View" co-host Elizabeth Hasselbeck was diagnosed with celiac disease and told she'd have to eat gluten free for the rest of her life, the avid cook was thrown for a culinary loop. Eventually, though, she turned her dietary restrictions into a personal challenge.

"My grandmother passed away over a year ago and she had the ability to effortlessly make incredible food. I couldn't let my family's recipes die with me just because I couldn't eat gluten.  I was committed to recreating meals from my childhood, but doing it [gluten] free," she tells Self.com. "That's why I was so adamant about all of the dishes being really authentic and getting the taste just right. It's a way to continue my family's food legacy."

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Now she's on what she calls a "renegade mission" to get her recipes to other Americans living "g-free" -- and even to those who aren't -- with her new book Deliciously G-Free. "I wanted to suck people in and get them curious about celiac disease and living gluten free," she says. I just wanted to create a way to make eating fulfilling for celiacs and their non-celiac friends and family."

Hasselbeck insists the book is not for those looking to go on a diet. "I want to be very open. I use butter. There is fat. But it's a balanced take on cooking without gluten," she explains. "'Just good enough' isn't good enough anymore," the 34-year-old says. "My brownies taste like brownies."

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John Parra/WireImage

John Parra/WireImage

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While chicken and brown rice may not sound like a typical breakfast, it is for Hasselbeck. Then for lunch, the busy mom of three typically takes down fruit and a NoGii bar (Hasselbeck is a spokesperson for the gluten-free protein bar) on the run, and dines on a chicken or steak avocado salad for dinner.

"Because I was undiagnosed for so long, I spent years agonized by food, getting sick all of the time, not knowing what I could and could not eat," recalls Elisabeth. "I had 'food fear' and as a result my love of cooking disappeared. For 10 years I could be at a table filled with family and friends and I'd feel alone with food."

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She's certainly not alone at the dinner table these days, with her husband, former NFL quarterback Tim Hasselbeck, and their three children -- 6-year-old Grace, 4-year-old Taylor, and 2-year-old Isaiah. "At the moment my biggest inspiration is probably my husband, Tim, who reminds me every day to lower the expectation," she explains. "I'm my own worst critic and my most unhappy days are those where I raised the bar too high or put too many things on my to-do list, and I feel like I failed."

What about her "View" cohorts? Aren't they inspiring? "I have a lot of wise people in my life, [including] coworkers like Whoopi Goldberg who just exemplify happiness."

Check out Elisabeth's gluten-free brownie recipe here.

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