Imagine living in a world without warm breads, pasta or cake. Sound awful? It’s not—in fact, it can be absolutely delicious. Just ask Shauna Ahern, author of popular food blog Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. After being diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2006, Shauna ditched glutens for good. Without the wheat, she was no longer tired or depressed and she re-emerged with a new "energetic and joyful" determination to not see herself or her diet as deprived.
With her newfound energy, Shauna took her story to the blogosphere in hopes of reaching out to others who are gluten-sensitive. “People with Celiac have to constantly be thinking about what they eat so they won’t get sick,” Shauna says, “I want to make that focus joyful.”
Her blog centers on showing people how to cook and live happily without glutens. “People cling emotionally to foods and focus on what they can’t have. They don’t want to give up their favorite brownies, breads and pastas,” she says, “but what they don’t realize is that most foods are naturally gluten-free.” So rather than dwelling on finding ways to imitate sub-par dishes, she prefers to celebrate natural and versatile gluten-free ingredients.
And her blog isn’t only for the gluten-sensitive—it’s for all lovers of food and life. Shauna not only gives her readers mouthwateringly good recipes, but she narrates with beautifully written stories about life and food and love. Stories that take you into every corner of her life and can make you feel as if you are reading a grand Charlotte Bronte novel instead of a food blog.
So how does she find the courage to write so personally? She says, “Writing must come from a very urgent, personal and pure place,” before adding, “I don’t know how to do it any other way.” So whether she’s writing on the moment she met her future husband or simply on how to make a stellar gluten-free wild rice salad—you can feel passion, genuineness and love in her words. Because in the end—gluten-free or not—“Cooking is a beautiful thing,” she says, “It’s a way of loving people.”
—By Emily Arno