Shirley is one of the most giving foodies I know. She shares her knowledge of living gluten free easily with everyone. I first met Shirley in person when she knocked on my door. We were both headed to a food blogging conference and I live near the airport. We had only talked online but I just knew she was a good soul. We had a blast on that trip and have followed each other in the food world and in person ever since.
She has a great approach to living gluten free that we all should stop and take a look at. She is no stranger to this blog. If you missed her guest post as our kick off to 30 Days to a Food Revolution you must go back and check that out after you read all about her here.
Name : Shirley Braden
Business and or blog name: gfe—gluten free easily
Location: King George, VA (midway between Washington, DC, and Richmond, VA)
Favorite quote: I have so many and some are just my own sayings, but a current favorite is: “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.–Christopher Robin to Pooh” by A.A. Milne
Focus of blog or business: Helping people live gluten free easily
I started my blog in the month and year: 12/08
Training/education I received: B.A. English, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, VA; VA teaching certification, grades NK-7
My favorite healthy food: Roasted chickpeas
My favorite snack food: Nuts
My top 3 healthiest foods I love to eat or recommend: apples, nuts, chickpeas
Childhood ambition: To be an elementary school teacher. (I actually taught 3rd grade for 7 years.)
My favorite cookbook: I have so many favorites, but the “mainstream” one that has been my favorite the longest—and which I still reference often–is Joy of Cooking.
Wildest dream: To help achieve a gluten-free planet as Dr. Rodney Ford advocates.
Favorite activity: Travel
Favorite thing to cook: Baked goods, especially cookies
Favorite kitchen tool: Mini chopper (or nice paring knife)
Biggest risk I’ve taken: Starting a blog and sharing my gfe approach and myself with the world.
Favorite exercise: Yoga.
What I do to treat myself: Take a day by myself (or with a girlfriend) checking out the latest at local art galleries and shops.
What I do to feel at peace: Enjoy nature in some form by walking, canoeing, etc.
Biggest challenge: Listening to my body and avoiding all the foods that make it bonkers, not just gluten. For example, finding out recently that I can’t eat almonds, cashews, or peanuts was a bummer, but (and big but) I already suspected that from listening to my body.
Favorite vacation spot: Wherever I’ve been lately. I have many favorite spots. Mountains and/or water are usually involved. Little Cayman last year was nice.
Craziest thing I’ve ever done: I’m not sure about ever, but the epic road trip driving The Monster U-Haul truck is certainly near the top of the list. Then there’s bell helmet diving … which I’ve done twice … but I loved it and would do it again. And some might think our annual multi-state motorcycle trips are crazy …
Health concerns I’ve cleared up: Digestive and “bathroom” issues, insomnia, anemia, osteopenia, restless legs, canker sores, daily headaches, minor depression, mood swings, zoning out/trance-like states, and joint pain, just to name a few.
I started my blog to: Inspire and show folks how to use foods and recipes that are naturally gluten free or need little tweaking to be gluten free and, thereby, keep things simpler, healthier, and less expensive.
What I hope the people that visit my blog find: A new perspective that offers the best solutions for living gluten free.
Top 3 results people get from visiting my blog: 1) Recipes that work and make everyone in the family and friend circle happy (whether all of those folks are gluten free or not). 2) Strategies for living gfe. 3) Hope for a normal, heathy, sustainable gluten-free life.
Products and/or services I offer: I have no products at this very moment, but that will change in the near future, so stay tuned to gfe. I am available for speaking engagements. For example, I’ll be speaking on the gfe approach, doing a cooking demo, and helping emcee at the Gluten-Free and Allergen-Free Expo this year, both in Chicago in April and in Dallas in May. I also offer consultations on living gfe—tailored to each individual—to those who are newly gluten free or dissatisfied with their current gluten-free lifestyle.
What I love about what I do: I love the interaction with readers (including blogger friends) and their positive feedback on how living gfe has changed their lives. I especially love the community of bloggers and readers focused on special diets. We have all be through so much to get where we are and are an incredibly supportive group. The friendships I’ve made online, and often followed up with real life interactions (woohoo!), have truly astounded me.
How am I making a difference in my community: In addition to my blog, I also lead a gluten intolerance and celiac support group. Members travel from a 50-mile radius to participate in our meetings. There’s always a complete meal shared and it’s fabulous, real food! Many members have stated that attending their first meeting and enjoying that first complete gluten-free meal with so many others convinces them that they can eat gluten free easily and happily, without deprivation. Our group just celebrated its 6th anniversary this past November. I have members all over the world who subscribe to my support group newsletter. Last, I give presentations on celiac/gluten intolerance and the gfe approach at local events, like our local Women’s Forum next month, and at national events, like the Gluten Free and Allergen Free Expo that I already mentioned.
In the future I see myself: Continuing to spread the word on living gfe and doing all I can to ensure gluten-free folks can eat well, safely, and easily—with real food always the focus.