We have been doing a fun new feature where I highlighted other gluten-free bloggers that I think are doing a great job in the gluten-free community. I have many ideas for bloggers in mind but if you know of someone you would just love to see featured please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The gluten-free blogger I will be featuring today is so knowledgeable about gluten-free living! She is also actively involved in bettering the gluten-free community through her support group. I now introduce to you, Shirley of Gluten Free Easily!
I’ve been gluten free since June 2003. Going gluten free allowed me to reclaim my health. The multitude of symptoms/conditions caused by gluten are mind boggling and celiac/gluten intolerance/gluten sensitivity remains largely undiagnosed. A friend and I started a gluten-free support group in the fall of 2004 because we saw a huge need in our area. We only had a handful of folks who were interested and joined us in the beginning and my friend moved on to other obligations, but I’ve continued the group and it’s grown and thrived. I’m passionate about community awareness and outreach in the gluten-free arena. So many individuals have been helped the last few years, but much more needs to be done. Hence, I started my blog to reach even more folks, and give support to my group members and anyone who is interested, not just gluten-free folks. Otherwise, I have many diverse interests, like travel, camping, motorcycle riding, historical sites, and nature, to name just a few.
Please tell me about your gluten-free blog.
My blog is mostly a mixture of recipes, resource information, tip sheets, and discussions. It’s designed to do what its name implies–allow one to live gluten free easily … gfe! I “practice what I preach” and you’ll see that in my posts. Some folks may wonder why one day I might share a recipe that’s gluten free and dairy free; another day I might share a raw recipe that contains no gluten, dairy, or sugar; and yet another day I might share a mainstream recipe that is gluten free, but full of dairy and sugar, which seems totally unhealthy. My gfe readers are a very diverse group and I like to offer a variety of recipes so that everyone can find something appealing. In addition, to cite some automobile lingo, most of us can’t go from 0 to 60 mph in 8 seconds. If one has been eating the Standard American Diet, it’s unlikely that one is going to go gluten free and healthy from day one. All of us are really in transition and works in progress.
How long have you been blogging?
My first post was December 30, 2008, so I’ve been blogging a little over a year.
Why did you start a gluten-free blog?
I had developed my own–gfe–approach to gluten-free living, which helped my support group members greatly. Likewise, I thought my gfe approach would prove helpful to others, so I wanted to share it with a larger audience. My blog is designed to be a resource for easy recipes, simple meal ideas, info on numerous symptoms/conditions related to gluten, and thought-provoking pieces on living gluten free easily. The fact is that when many folks go gluten free, they eat gluten-free specialty products almost exclusively and forget about real food and mainstream items that are naturally gluten free. They can end up spending much more money than before going gluten free and they won’t necessarily feel any better (sometimes they feel much worse) due to the highly refined ingredients in the processed specialty products. I blog to offer an alternative to the traditional gluten-free path. One does not have to have a pantry, refrigerator, or freezer stuffed full of gluten-free specialty items. A supply of real food, with some mainstream processed items that are gluten free and safe, plus a few gluten-free specialty items will allow you to make wonderful, gfe-type meals that family and friends will love—not just the gluten-free folks.
What kinds of products do you feature on your blog?
My whole gfe approach primarily focuses on real food, so I really don’t feature many products. You can buy meat, seafood, fruit, veggies, and dairy (or non-dairy) products anywhere and from any company you choose as long as those products are gluten free. When I do feature products, they are real food. For example, the ones I’ve featured to date have been POM Wonderful pomegranate juice, Tropical Traditions coconut oil, and Xagave. I also plan to feature some tools for cooking real food; e.g., cookware.
What would you like to see with your gluten-free blog in the future?
Of course, I want to expand gfe’s readership because I think there are many folks who are struggling with being gluten free, because of costs, difficulty, etc. and that’s simply unnecessary. They just need a different approach, like gfe, which makes being gluten free manageable on every level. And, new folks are getting diagnosed with celiac or other gluten-related issues every day, so I hope to be a valuable resource for them before they go down the traditional, frustrating path. The sooner a person adopts a gfe-type approach, the better off they will be in my humble opinion.
What do you love about gluten-free blogging most?
By far it’s the connections with people that mean the most to me, and actually being able to help folks determine they have celiac/gluten intolerance and/or live well gluten free. When readers email me or comment that they had their best holiday ever because they used the gfe approach, or they can now shop in the regular grocery store without even visiting the gluten-free section, it totally makes my day. I love the gfe readers, which also include some of my favorite bloggers (gluten free or otherwise). These folks are the best. Plus, they are “good ambassadors” and spread the word on living gfe, which helps even more folks.
Do you do giveaways? If so, what was your favorite giveaway?
I do a limited number of giveaways. The items offered have to fit the gfe approach. I have loved all my giveaways to date or I would not have hosted them, but the book giveaways get folks the most excited. I have been fortunate to host giveaways for some outstanding cookbooks and resource materials this past year. I’m happy to say that more gfe-type giveaways are coming!
Tell me some of your favorite gluten-free blogs that you read.
That question is such a tough one because as soon as I list some, I’ll forget others. First, let me say that every blog on my blog roll offers something of value; therefore, all are worth reading. But, the blogs I always read and comment on are Amy’s Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, Diane’s The W.H.O.L.E. Gang, Ali and Tom’s Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen, Melissa’s Gluten Free for Good, Kelly’s The Spunky Coconut, Stephanie’s A Year of Slow Cooking, Lauren’s Celiac Teen, Alta’s Tasty Eats At Home, and Pete and Kelli’s No Gluten, No Problem. Hey, that’s less than 10 … I did well! Each blog fills a different need for me personally, and I often share recipes and info from these blogs with both my gfe readers and my support group members.
How can people find you?
At my blog, http://glutenfreeeasily.com;
on Twitter @Shirleygfe;
on Facebook: gfe—gluten free easily at http://www.facebook.com/pages/gfe-gluten-free-easily/
and via email at email@example.com.