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
Social Media I play in: Facebook (as Shirley Braden and gfe—gluten free easily) and Twitter
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.
Yup! Shirley is a rock star for sure! What awesome answers to all of these questions. I think I knew about most of them, but I think I want to know more about this bell helmet diving!
I cannot WAIT to see what gfe has in store for us in the near future!! Amazing things, that I am sure of!!
And Diane, you are so right! She really IS the most giving foodie I know!
No one can deny it — Shirley is definitely a "food rock star." This series is so much fun, Diane. Great idea. I love these "up close and personal" interviews and you couldn't have picked a better person to showcase than Shirley from GFE. She is such a doll and gives, gives, gives to those around her. I love her commitment and willingness to share her expertise and knowledge about gluten intolerance.
Go, Shirley, go! We love you.
Shirley makes gluten-free life seem more do-able!
Shirley’s great! I love her blog and her recipes. I bet she was a wonderful third grade teacher. 🙂
So very happy Shirley is out there. She shares and welcomes strange substitutions for her recipes. She makes gluten free SEEM easy!
This is so good! I love it, it's so fun to learn more about some of my favorite bloggers. Shirley is such a gem.
This is awesome. Shirley definitely rocks! I love reading more about people, and finding fellow cookie-aholics! Now I just need a separate gluten-free kitchen to make "safe" cookies for y'all.
Somehow, it didn't surprise me that our "den mother" used to be a teacher 🙂
Diane, you are such a doll with your super lovely words–thank you! And, everyone else, well, I appreciate your extremely kind words more than I can say. I'm so honored to be featured here among many past food rock stars and more to come. 🙂 I can't wait to read about them all. Such a great series, Diane. Thank you so much for hosting it! And as someone else said, I'd like to see your answers, too. 😉
Shirley is such a rock star! thanks for giving her the spotlight and helping us know her a little better. Shirley is a shining example in the gluten free community of the impact we can make with a little time and a lot of love.
Diane, you’re absolutely right about saying Shirley is one of the most giving foodies around! I really couldn’t agree more. Shirley is a wonderful person and whose acquaintance I appreciate having and am grateful for immensely. She is always so supportive and caring – she is a gem. Although I only know her so far online I’m sure that she is just as lovely, if not more so, as she is online and I sincerely look forward to the day I meet her in person.
Shirley's GFE approach is wonderful, and a tremendous help to many. I love her creative ideas! She's a real inspiration. — Tina.
How fun to learn more about one of my favs! I didn't know Shirley taught 3rd grade! I taught 3rd for 15 years…best grade ever.
I love this interview as much as all the others! It's great to learn more about Shirley, who is one of my own "rock stars" in the blogosphere, too. 🙂 And I'd say driving across the country with one's hubby on motorcycles qualifies as "crazy"! Whoo hoo! Go, Shirley!
Rock on, Shirley! It's so fun to hear more about your perspective on living gfe. And I didn't know you've had to eliminate peanuts, cashews, and almonds. Definitely a bummer, but I'm right there with you. And you're right…when you learn to listen to your body, you often know what the culprits are before the doctor tells you.
Oh yes, Shirley is a ROCK STAR! All caps! Love this series Diane – so great to get to know more about people we admire. Plus now I am so intrigued – what are those products Shirley mentioned? Can not wait to find out!
Coming back a little bit late to thank the rest of you who have left such lovely comments–you're all the best!
Heather–You're right … 3rd grade is the very best grade; that's why I chose it! 😉
Hugs and big thank you's to all!
Shirley IS a Rock Star! She truly is very giving and tries so hard to reach out and help anyone in need.
You are great Shirley! I like how you inspire and teach people on how to live with gluten – free. Thanks for sharing your blog. You extremely rock! And you only eat nuts for your snack? I also want to learn yoga for my everyday exercise.