Tell All Tuesday Featuring Shirley of Gluten Free Easily

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Please tell everyone a little about yourself.
I live in Virginia with my husband. We have one son who lives and thrives gluten free and dairy free in New York City. I’ve been gluten free for a little over 10 years. In addition to my blogs, I lead a gluten-free support group and we’ll be celebrating our 9th anniversary next month. I also speak on living gluten free locally, nationally, and even internationally (most recently in Toronto thanks to the Canadian Celiac Association and their wonderful annual conference event!). I enjoy cooking (especially baking and creating recipes) and sharing recipes/food with friends and family, camping at our mountain property, and traveling all over, often on the back of our motorcycle.
Please tell me about your gluten-free blog.
I actually have two gluten-free blogs. The first is gluten free easily or gfe for short. It all about living “not just gf, but gfe.” I teach folks to focus first and foremost on real food, whole food (meat, seafood, fruits, veggies, basic dairy products, etc.)—and recipes/meals made from those foods—that is naturally gluten free, then next to incorporate some mainstream processed foods that are naturally gluten free, and, last, to use just a few gluten-free specialty products. I also share discussions around the
emotional aspects of living gluten free (e.g., grieving gluten) and how to learn to “handle” family and friends. One of my most popular posts is one on recovering from being “glutened”—which, sadly, seems to be a fact of life for all of us no matter how careful we are.
My other blog, All Gluten-Free Desserts … All the Time, is where I feature the best gluten-free dessert recipes from over 100 bloggers (and the list of featured contributors keeps growing!). There are recipes in all categories—cakes/trifles, candies, cookies/bars/brownies, cupcakes/muffins, doughnuts, fruit buckles/cobblers/crisps/crumbles/sauces, ice cream/frozen treats, pastries/quick breads, pies/tarts, puddings/custards/mousses/spreads, specialty drinks, and truffles/cookie balls/cake pops.
There’s also a category for recipe roundups. For example, I just did a roundup of 175 gluten-free apple dessert recipes, so if a reader is looking for a new gluten-free apple desert recipe to try out or one in a specific category, say pies/tarts, this roundup will be a great resource for them.  That’s especially true if the reader is looking for a recipe that’s “more free,” because I identify whether recipes are free of other ingredients (e.g., dairy free, vegan) as well. Basically, I find the best gluten-free dessert recipes and populate all these categories so that the gluten free community can have delicious one-stop dessert shopping!
How long have you been blogging?
I launched my original gfe blog almost 5 years ago, on New Year’s Eve. It was a sort of ”do it or die” moment. LOL
Why did you start a gluten-free blog?
I wanted to share my gfe approach with more people than I could reach via my support group and speaking engagements. I saw so many individuals who couldn’t commit to gluten-free living or who committed but were miserable because they
had a picture in their mind of what gluten-free living was like, and it wasn’t a pretty picture. Basically they saw themselves going off in a corner eating horrid gluten-free food by themselves. They were eating only processed products that were labeled gluten free and often they tasted bad. Not to be melodramatic, but these individuals felt very much deprived and “sentenced” to a life they didn’t deserve. Unfortunately, there are many who continue to live that way today. But, of course, it simply does not have to be that way. My approach shows folks that there are many wonderful foods and recipes that are naturally gluten free, many mainstream products that are gluten free, and you really only need a handful of gluten-free specialty products to live gluten free easily, deliciously, inexpensively, and pretty healthily, too.
What makes your blog different than
others?
Pretty much what I’ve already shared. That is, I don’t focus on gluten-free specialty products, or complicated cooking/baking but rather on using the naturally gluten-free foods
 that already exist and using just a few gluten-free specialty products in limited amounts to create gluten-free recipes and meals. With this approach, the food tastes the same as it did before going gluten free. There are no weird textures. Recipes and meals are not necessarily any more expensive and usually they are healthier. Flourless and crustlessdessert recipes–like flourless pumpkin pie–are just one of my gfe specialties. And my blog does try to give readers strategies for living gluten free, including frank discussions that one doesn’t usually find elsewhere.
What would you like to see with your gluten-free blog in the future?
I want both gfe and All Gluten-Free Desserts to be “go to” spots for the gluten free, so I’ll share more of the recipes and info that the gluten-free community wants and needs to live their best lives.
What do you love about gluten-free blogging most?
Feedback from readers who have adopted the gfe approach and have begun to live with true joy again. Yes, I know that sounds clichéand pretty Disney-ish, but I do hear from readers all the time who feel like they’ve been given their life back. When readers take the time to reach out and provide feedback like that, it keeps me going! Equal to that, I’d have to add the numerous friendships I’ve made since blogging, with other bloggers and those active in the gluten-free community, and with readers. Those friendships have been an unexpected and wonderful surprise of blogging.
Do you do giveaways? If so, what was your favorite giveaway?

I occasionally do giveaways. My favorite giveaways are always for books, cookbooks, resource books, or children’s books. I’ve found that often readers don’t know that certain books exist, so I love spreading the word. Books have the power to improve people’s lives far beyond any one product. It’s the old “teach a man to fish” concept. I also recently did a sponsored giveaway to a
Tell me some of your favorite gluten-free blogs that you read.
Ah, there are a ton and I feel strongly that we all contribute to the gluten-free community in different but valuable ways, so I hate singling any out. But all that said, some current favorites are: Against All Grain; Allergy-Free Alaska; And Love It, Too; Cook IT Allergy Free; Gluten-Free Canteen; Gluten Free For Good; In Johnna’s Kitchen; The Baking Beauties; The Gluten-Free Homemaker; PaleoParents; Ricki Heller; The Tasty Alternative … I could name so many more and as soon as I share this with you, I know that I will think of many more—so your readers should probably just take a look at my blogroll on gfe and my Featured Contributors listing on All Gluten-Free Desserts to see all my favorites.
How can people find you?
Twitter: Shirleygfe
Google+: Shirley Braden

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Comments

  1. I’m glad that you did this feature. Shirley is one of my GF blogger heroes! Sweet, giving and generous with her time and knowledge.

  2. I loved reading this behind the scenes look at Shirley. Shirley is such a great part of the gluten-free community. I love her approach to the gluten-free “diet”, with recipes starting with whole foods and foods that are naturally gluten-free and limiting specialty (expensive) foods. She is also such a great supporter of the rest of us gluten-free bloggers as well.
    Thanks Chandice, for featuring her today!

  3. Many, many thanks to you, Chandice, for featuring me on Tell All Tuesday! I am very honored! :-) And thanks, too, to Marianne and Michelle for taking the time to leave such lovely comments as well. All of your support means so much to me!

    Shirley

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