Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back...And How You Can Too

Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back...And How You Can Too

3.1 26
by Shauna James Ahern

Do you love food? Do you, or someone you love, have to avoid certain foods? Imagine passing on the pizza during your honeymoon in Rome, or skipping the sugar cookie s your sister makes at Christmas. Shauna James Ahern understands your pain-literally. After years of inexplicable exhaustion and endless medical tests, she found relief in her diagnosis of celiac

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Do you love food? Do you, or someone you love, have to avoid certain foods? Imagine passing on the pizza during your honeymoon in Rome, or skipping the sugar cookie s your sister makes at Christmas. Shauna James Ahern understands your pain-literally. After years of inexplicable exhaustion and endless medical tests, she found relief in her diagnosis of celiac disease. After giving up gluten, she learned how to live well and love food more fully. Now you can, too!

In Gluten-Free Girl, Shauna James Ahern shares the journey that changed her from a typical Gen-X processed-food junkie to a fun-loving foodie who enjoys cooking and living gluten-free-naturally. Readers from around the world have followed her stories and insights on her award-winning blog, Now she shows you how to say yes to a gluten-free lifestyle, too, and embrace a whole new world of fresh foods and flavors.

Even if you never learned to cook, Shauna shows you how to feel comfortable in the kitchen. You'll discover (or rediscover) the kick of ginger, the irresistible crunch of fresh greens, and other delicious delights. She gives you dozens of terrific recipes that every9one will love, such as Curried Carrot Soup, Chicken Thighs Braised in Pomegranate Molasses, Crusty Sorghum Bread, and Fig Cookies. Her dishes focus on ingredients that are naturally gluten-free. She has not simply reworked recipes and plugged in gluten-free substitutes-these are original recipes. You'll also find important guidance on navigating everyday life without being "glutenized," from reading between the lines of food labels to traveling and eating out safely and successfully.

Enlivened with funny accounts of Shauna's experiences, this book is as entertaining to read as it is to prop up in the kitchen. Whether she's reminiscing about the Wonder bread and Fried-bologna sandwiches of her childhood or misusing on the pork-chop -shaped mouse pad she won at a professional cooking conference, her stories are lively and interesting.

Part memoir, part best friend giving advice, part cookbook-and all inspiring-Gluten-Free Girl will put the spring back in your step and your diet, one delicious meal at a time.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
* Blogger Ahern's story sheds light on celiac disease, a little-known and difficult-to-diagnose autoimmune condition. Those afflicted cannot digest gluten, a protein in wheat, barley, rye, and related grains. Ahern explains how she learned of her malady and found that she was able to enjoy food while avoiding gluten. She even met and married a chef. This entertaining memoir includes gluten-free gourmet recipes. (Library Journal, February 1, 2008)

Product Details

Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.20(d)

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Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back...And How You Can Too 2.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I ordered this book thinking it was a cookbook. It's actually a celiac memoir. Not terrible reading to pass the time. Read it on the train, or plane, or the bathroom. Shauna's writing is organized, she is obviously well educated, and it shows that she cares about writing and eating well. So it would seem that for her this book is her love letter about food, based on her experiences and offered up to the world, honestly noble in her intentions.

Unfortunately it is not simply a cookbook with an attached warning sticker: "Written for Foodies", and I'm sure Shuana would argue that's not the point--that the point is we see that food is accessible, and that we should all dine from the world's grand table, with all of it's finest offerings. She's *right*, perhaps we should. But she's delusional, too. Most people who face celiac disease are looking to eat so they don't get sick...not so they spend more $$ to eat "well", which is entirely subjective. Most of us aren't 150 yards from the fresh fish market like she is, and most of us are working families who see a movie out with the kids as a um...'no'...we probably don't want to go out and buy pomegranite molasses.

On Shauna's list: "The Top Ten Noble Tastes" there is no reference to the "other grains" considered staples in most kitchens, and a lifeline for many celiacs. Really (and I mean really) expensive vinegars and oils, but no sustenance staples upon which the average celiac would rely, and would have rather seen listed here.

Don't get me wrong--Shauna is an excellent writer....but her book lacks any real substance, and she sends mixed messages....such as using highly negative descriptive words for the foods from her past----foods she admits to having loved and wolfed down with gusto----and highly seductive and beautiful imagery for the "new foods".....and then using those same positive descriptives for a hot dog (when she finally breaks down and starts eating meat again) at a NYC outdoor vendor....even though that kind of food would have fallen into the "bad food" category if it had been from her hometown. She arbitrarily decides for us what food falls into the praiseworthy category, and what foods do not belong, and when she's critical---boy is she ever critical! She purposefully overdramatizes to get her points across and in doing so makes her parents out to sound like unstable people who practically poisoned her, despite the fact that she went willingly. They are just as innocent as she was, in other words. It also seems cruel that she would use this forum to discuss a very personal private hell her mother endured surrounding agoraphobia. That's not what human beings should do do each other, much less family.

The tone of the book is summed up on page 53, wherein Shauna admits "....Two kids raised to believe that they should be different than most people (translation: smarter and more educated)..."

A bit of an alienating read...which is a total shame because if she had taken certain unnecessary personal bits (her ego clearly sat on top of her computer staring at her as she hacked this one out) out of it the book would have been superb.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been interested in going gluten free for several years now and have read a lot on this subject. There is very little helpful information in this book. Also, what little info you do receive it's very unrealistic. This woman obviously has a lot of time to spend on herself (no children and married later in life). I could not relate at all. Pass on this one - there are better books out there on the subject.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have tried to read this book several times and have never been able to get all the way through it. The information isn't organized well and her personal narrative jumps around a lot chronologically. She goes on and on about family issues, including her mother's health problems. There's a big long section on her relationship with her husband which seems like total TMI. Some of the recipes sound ok but I also read her blog and have seen photos of these dishes and have not been inspired to make them. I will stick with more tried and true resources, thank you very much.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I find it interesting that Mr. Ahern's best reviews come from gushy people who claim to just love, love, love her blog.... and who often post links to their own blogs in their comments. Hoping for reciprocal comments from a published author? Sounds like it to me. I agree with most of the previous posters- if you're looking for ways to improve your gluten-free life and eating habits, save your money and look elsewhere. In this book, Ms. Ahern is at best repetitive and grasping, and at worst preachy, overblown and condescending. Her recipes seem to be mostly hurried, unprofessional adaptations from great cookbooks- something you can do yourself with a bit of research- that, in our house anyway, didn't bring anything new or exciting to our gluten-free table. If you really are interested in what Ms. Ahern has to say, skip the book and check out her blog archives, per the previous poster's suggestions. She had some great ideas when she started the blog, but as she's gotten better-known, her writing and content have gone downhill. Unfortunately, you won't find anything new or interesting in this book. Here's hoping that, with a good editor, the next one will be an improvement!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Love the blog but the book leaves a lot to be desired. I'm not sure how much I really care about the fact that the author was reading at the age of 3. I'm really not sure how the author's romance fits into living gluten free. I did enjoy elements of the book--parts about the junk she ate as a kid, we can all identify with. I didn't enjoy it so much when she talked about it for the 15th time. If you are looking for GF recipes, keep looking--there are only a few and they are time consuming for the most part. Honestly, I'm not sure who this book is for: If you're living gluten free, you already know this stuff. If you're a foodie, it will seem amaturish.
laurelpond More than 1 year ago
ick!!! That is one sick relationship with food. Way TMI about flaunting most aspects her life, coupled with an oddly pretentious coyness about other aspects. Why mention things if you "can't tell us"? Very little useful info about coping with celiac on a daily basis. This is truly a case of bloggers going wild and thinking they should be authors. Insulting to the readers. Overall....just makes you cringe.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The author is very repetitive. She has no clue as to how the average person shops and offers no solutions to find gluten-free foods locally, for those of us that do not live in or around Seattle. There are few recipes, and none that would be kid-friendly to the average child. She is also very harsh to her parents for feeding her the wrong foods, even though she wasn't diagnosed with celiac until she was an adult. Should they have psychically known she had celiac? The 'love story' is sappy at best. Do we really need to read how they cry over food? How does that help me find gluten-free solutions to every day cooking problems? The author is almost obsessed with food. It was a bit creepy to me to read about it. Overall, there are lots of other books with actual GF living pointers and tips that aren't as filled with ego and flowery prose...go read them and take a pass on this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't care for the author's pompous and amateur writing style. I give it two stars because I sympathize with any fellow celiac sufferer, but I wish I hadn't suffered through her prose.
gfjan More than 1 year ago
Shauna Ahern needs to stop bashing her parents and the foods of her childhood and accept that her parents were going with what they knew and doing the best they could. Chapter after chapter, this self-absorbed young woman goes over the terrible food of her childhood, then writes food-porn descriptions of high-end groceries. Anything you'd like to know about her diagnosis and disease can be had for free from her blog. The book gave few recipes, and that's what I was looking for in a book about being gluten-free.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a memoir and a great cookbook! Enjoyed reading it as a memoir, and received a lot of good hints about cooking from the cookbook parts. Taught me more than I ever knew and I am 70 years old. You don't have to need gluten-free eating to benefit from this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Shauna Ahern is the exuberant woman behind the Gluten Free Girl website, a woman who found herself, upon reaching middle age, with a Celiac disease diagnosis and surprisingly a new start in life. It took a while to figure out what I didn't like about this book, but I think it's very simple: The author's insights and experiences, while interesting in blog form, don't really add up to a book. While it's a very useful piece for someone with Celiac disease, there's nothing here you can't find on her website. Further, when I think of food memior I actually think of someone whose worked many years in the field. Not a blogger who is, at best, a talented home cook. Alice Waters, Julia Child, Ruth Reichl, etc. I kept asking myself 'why is this relevant? who is this woman?' Finally, I found the book extremely redundant. Why didn't her editor take care of this problem? Overall, a nice source for those who must avoid gluten, but check it out of your library. Better yet, settle in for a few hours in front of your computer. Her blog, while a bit sparse in recent months, has lots of great information in her archives.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Most of you can see by the numerous favorable responses that this book has a profound message to deliver. Reading through the few distasteful reviews, they obviously did not understand its biggest concept. When you honor your body with the best foods possible, it honors you back and stimulates your intellectual senses. You feel whole, present and alive. This is what the author wants to share with you. Her candid and remarkable descriptions of food accurately portray the very essence of nutrition and nurturing yourself. No two experiences will be the same, but her emotional connections with locally grown produce, so much so that she can taste the entire growth history, leaves me craving food with character instead of chemical processes. To deny the accessibility to the marvelous suggested edibles in this book means you aren't looking hard enough. You may not have heard of these foods, but within our current boundless marketplace, you have access to so much more than what your large grocery chain carries. In fact, the best advice from this book is to go explore those small, local businesses and farmers markets that are treasures waiting to be found. And for one critic to say your children won't like exotic tastes is very close-minded. On the contrary, the best thing you can ever do for your children is to expose them to as much of life and new things as possible, whether it's food, people, cultures or beliefs. To serve them mac and cheese from a box repeatedly just because they ask for it is dishonoring their self-understanding and perception of life. The only reason I cannot give this book five stars is for repeated information that could have been easily edited out. I found it an interesting contrast that when reading a blog, having information repeated from post to post is not as tiresome. But in printed book form my expectations change and I don't need to read it again, even between a day's pause. I find this an intriguing variance in our fast- paced society where information is constantly being thrown at us and quickly forgotten or discarded. Maybe it's the nature of the medium and the stand-alone quality of a blog post. I easily forgave this due to the restricted timeline the author was put under and the importance of the facts being delivered. Uniquely written so that an avid reader of her blog is not fatigued, her stories and accounts are for you to relate and question your connections to food and life. They are her own accounts and artistry, not for you to precisely replicate. I found them inspiring enough to take a new look at my entire life, not just when I sit down at the dinner table. I read her blog regularly and find it resets my reasonings and judgments on the world to be more kind and understanding instead of knotted up in unloving reactions. Loving is the key to happiness and this book embellishes how food is an essential part of that. As she often quotes from Rumi, 'Everything has to do with loving and not loving.' Maybe that's a dose of something we should all consume daily.