carry that weight.

lemon meringue pie I

I have been afraid of writing this.

This morning, at 4:45 in the morning, I lay awake in the bed in the dark grey light, Danny asleep beside me, Lu asleep in her room. I couldn’t sleep for thinking what I might say in this piece, something I have been meaning to write for awhile, but could not. I need my sleep.

You see, it has been tougher in our lives in the last year than I have let on here. This site is about baking and the goodness of life and funny stories and loving each other and cooking with a darling kid and falling down and helping others and the work of a chef and different flours and saying yes to it all.

It has not felt like the right place to talk about terrifying life decisions, watching a baby in pain, living on the ragged edge of desolate sleep deprivation, worrying about cancer, taking a pill that saddens our lives into something we never expected, and coping with it all in old, familiar ways.

This is a site about food and the joy of it.

I have been eating too much food. And now I want to talk about it.

strawberry rhubarb pie II

We live in food around here. Danny and I talk about dinner, about dishes he might create, about the childhood memories of standing in the kitchen making dinner that Lu might have one day. For the past year, we have been cooking and baking on double time, testing and re-testing recipes for our cookbook. We have a darling toddler who loves to bake with me, and who is so active that she grows loudly grumpy if she doesn’t eat every three hours. Between making breakfast and falling into bed, food is a huge, joyful part of our lives.

But it’s hard to live a life of food, under the best of circumstances, and not put on weight. There’s slurping and nibbling and licking off of fingers and tasting and going back for more. It’s part of the job, part of the joy. With more mindfulness and rest, I might be able to do better at it. But this year? This year I have been a bit of a wreck.

It started a few months before Lu’s surgery. Hell, it started 12 hours after her birth, when she stopped breathing beside me and was rushed to the ICU. I was strapped to the bed, because I had undergone a c-section that afternoon and the suffocating leg cuffs that help prevent blood clots were circling my calves. I watched them race our daughter away from us, then I saw the code-blue lights flashing and the trampling sound of what must have been a dozen doctors and nurses running toward her. I couldn’t go to her. I thought she had died.

She lived. She lived in the ICU for a week, with a breathing tube and feeding tube in her. We couldn’t hear her voice for a week. When she first fed, she got my milk through a syringe. Danny and I never left her side, unless the nurses ordered us to sleep on the single cot in the room. If we cuddled into each other, we each touched part of the cot, and the other part of us falling off. There wasn’t much sleep. I didn’t eat much, either. Food felt foreign to me, removed. I lost 30 pounds in 1o days. By the time we finally returned home, all my pre-pregnancy clothes fit.

I realize now that just screwed up my system for awhile.

We could breathe again. She was alive. She was going to be fine. But as we sat her in the kitchen in her little bouncing chair as we cooked recipes and wrote them down for the cookbook, ate rich dishes for breakfast lunch and dinner or we would never finish the manuscript in time, we knew there was this cloud hanging over us. Her surgery.

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in the middle of this. She’s fine now. But still.

Food tasted like a rich gift in those dark winter months. The cakes we developed were soft on my lips. The bread was so much better with a slather of butter. The dishes finished with sauces were so good that I kept going back for more.

Then, Lu stopped sleeping. She had started sleeping through the night when she was 10 weeks old, from 7 pm to 7 am. Every night. After the terrifying tumult we had been through after her birth, we figured we deserved it. Also, the first draft of the manuscript was due. Her sleeping allowed us to finish it.

Then she stopped. No matter what we tried, she cried piteously as soon as we lay her down in her crib. We lost more sleep every night. We couldn’t figure out why.

After her surgery, her neurosurgeon told us that her brain was pressed so tight against her skull that it actually relaxed into space. She couldn’t sleep because of the brain pressure. We didn’t know that yet.

We moved to the island, a welcome moment but moving is always stressful. Just as the lilacs outside our bedroom window came into bloom, it was May. It was time.

It has been almost a year since Lu’s surgery, thankfully. Back then, we didn’t want to say what exactly happened. It was all too raw. But it might help one of you reading, if you are going through the same thing. So here it is.

She was born with a condition called craniosynostosis, which meant that the soft spots in the front of her head had already fused before she was born. This is what caused her breathing problems that propelled us into the ICU the night of her birth. Luckily, it was just a genetic anomaly, unaccompanied by anything else. But there was no room for her brain to grow, and without the surgery she would have suffered brain damage and blindness. The decision was easy. The dread of it was agony. They told us she would need to have this surgery when she was 11 days old, so we lived every day with her knowing this was coming.

In an 8-hour surgery, they lifted her skull bones off her head, re-sculpted them to be bigger and a better shape, fused them all together with space-age polymers, and put them back on her head.

We waited, barely breathing, until we could finally see her. She was alive.

Then we waited in the hospital with her, on duty by her bed and sleeping in a small cot again, until we could leave a week later. She didn’t adjust well to her pain medication and we had to go back to the emergency room and stay another few nights. And then we all came home.

And then no one slept for another 1o months.

Lu woke up every hour, on the hour, all night long, every night, for 4 1/2 months. The doctors had warned us this might happen, but we didn’t expect it to last this long. I don’t know how we did it, thinking back on it. And even when she started sleeping for a bit longer of stretches, because we brought her into our bed to cuddle between us, so we could soothe her back to sleep quickly, she still didn’t sleep that long.

For a solid year, I did not sleep for longer than 3 hours at a time. Not once.

There was a lot of pie for breakfast.

pie crust

Pie is comfort. Food became comfort again, instead of the singular joy of eating healthy and living in my body that it had been after my celiac diagnosis. In a time of crisis, I went back to old habits — eating without thinking, filling my mouth with sugar and carbs and dough for comfort, not paying attention. Hell, I couldn’t pay attention to anything with much focus those days. I was just so tired. Danny was beat-down tired too, but I tend to hear Lu cry earlier than he does. In those days, she could only sleep if she was cuddled up against me, sometimes on my head. In the mornings, I walked like a zombie into the kitchen and grabbed a hot cup of coffee and whatever we had baked the day before. And then I kept eating, all through the day.

Everyone I know who has a toddler does this a bit. The kid leaves behind some scrambled eggs and you grab them and eat them instead of throwing them away. Spoonfuls of oatmeal, a cube of cheese, a handful of crackers — there was always food lying around. No good letting it go to waste, right? Throw dark-circles-under-the-eyes sleep deprivation to the mix and there’s no counting how many bites went in without my thinking. I couldn’t think about me or my weight or exercising (yeah right) when our baby was healing and we had to earn more money to pay rent and the edits of our cookbook were due. And god, I needed more sleep.

(Now I know that many studies show sleep deprivation can cause weight gain. “Women who skimped on sleep — getting five hours or less a night — were 15 percent more likely to become obese than women who got seven hours of sleep per night.” Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life Sleep deprivation produces more cortisol, which makes more hunger and anxiety both.)

The summer meant lots of fresh vegetables and picnics with friends, slices of watermelon and huge salads. I was okay. As the fall descended, my diet went right into braises and breaded foods. I started to feel lousy about my health, my body, but I had to just keep going. I didn’t have the time or energy to worry about me.

Just before Thanksgiving, I went in for my annual mammogram. With a breast-cancer-survivor mother (along with her three sisters), I don’t play around with this. They had always been fine before. A suspicious set of mammograms led to a biopsy the day before Thanksgiving. Those results led to an MRI. That led to a more extensive surgical biopsy.

Around them all, I baked and baked and baked some more. If you made anything from this website for Thanksgiving or Christmas, just know that was from me turning fear into love through my hands. I had to think about someone else besides myself. I thought about you at home for the holidays, wanting cinnamon rolls.

I don’t have breast cancer. But it took a lot of scary moments until we knew that for sure.

And then we weren’t in the clear, after all.

Based on my family history, and what they found in the surgery, I’m officially in a high-risk category for developing breast cancer. In fact, I have a nearly 50% chance of developing invasive breast cancer at some point in my life. Nearly 50%. That’s just too high.

My oncologist gave me a list of things I can do to minimize the risk. Not smoking. (I don’t.) Not drinking (Danny quit after Lu was born, so I wasn’t drinking much. Done now.) Exercising. Eating well. And going on Tamoxifen.

Tamoxifen is an estrogen inhibitor, given to women after they have survived breast cancer. It’s also recommended for women who are at high risk. Taking it for five years can reduce the risk of developing cancer by nearly half.

Taking Tamoxifen also means you cannot be pregnant while you take it.

I’m 43. If I take the tamoxifen for 5 years, I will be 48. Taking that drug meant not being able to have more children.

We adore Lu. That’s probably clear in everything I write. We also always hoped (and pretty much assumed) we would have two kids. We had the names picked out long before Lu was conceived. And now, we had this choice: take our chances and try for another or take the drug and let go of our expectations.

There was a lot of grieving in December and January. A lot of rugelach and graham crackers and homemade mayonnaise and World Peace cookies. A lot of comfort food. Danny and I both were bereft.

One day in January we were at the Children’s Museum in Seattle for the birthday party of the son of dear friends. I went into the bathroom, still pretty raw with emotion. I saw this gaggle of girls, about four years old, gathered at the sink. They were elbowing each other for room, laughing and talking and discussing important matters. I stood and stared. I suddenly saw Lu at that age. I ran out to Danny, crying. “I don’t want to miss it. I don’t want to miss a minute.”

I’ve been on the Tamoxifen for the last three months.

We let go.

In the midst of this, another doctor’s appointment turned up worrying signs, enough that I was sent for a pelvic ultrasound to make sure I didn’t have ovarian cancer. And just last week, after intestinal issues of some mysterious nature, I had a colonoscopy to make sure I didn’t have colon cancer.

(This is, by the way, the hardest house to fast for two days in. Ay, the food everywhere.)

Luckily, I don’t have either. This has been the year of Shauna not-having cancer. Thank goodness.

But shit, this has been hard.

All through it, we were working on our cookbook, even down to the last moment. And being the parents of a sweet, active little girl who grew healthier by the moment. She is healed now, completely. And finally, she is sleeping. For the past six weeks, Lu has slept from 7 pm to 6 am, with maybe a brief rising somewhere near midnight.

Finally, finally, this year is coming to an end.

And I haven’t made a pie in awhile.

first halibut of the season, with sorrel sauce

It’s spring again, the time of re-birth. With halibut and sorrel, quinoa and chard, everything feels more healthy in the world.

Me? I’m trying to change my habits, deliberately.

Last month, I started running. If you know me, you know that’s pretty unexpected. I’ve always hated running — the knees, the bouncing of the boobs, the repetitiveness. But actually, I’ve always been scared of running. It just seemed like something I could never do.

My oncologist told me, directly: you must exercise. Every one of us should. “Daily exercise is the other pill you have to take. Studies have shown it has a much bigger effect on diminishing the risk of cancer than any diet. Do it.” My other doctor told me that studies have shown that people with higher body mass index who exercise are in much better shape, and at lower risk of developing cancer and heart disease, than those with lower BMIs who don’t move. I’m already in good health — my blood pressure is consistently ideal — but I could be healthier.

So I’m moving. I’m doing the Couch Potato to 5k program, walking and running in this gradual process, three times a week. To my utter surprise, I love it. I love leaving the house with the headphones on, walking down our street to see Mt. Rainier, being washed with the smell of lilacs by that one bush, then entering the forest trail to move my body. Our lives are busy. I work from home. I’m the mother of a toddler without any childcare. I don’t have much time to myself. Feeling my feet on the dirt is one of the best parts of my day. Breaking a sweat and feeling the muscles in my legs grow strong makes me much happier than that second piece of cake ever could.

I once told a friend of mine: “I’ve realized that happiness is movement in the body and stillness in the mind.” I’m learning it once again.

On the other days, I’m doing this Jillian Michaels — 30 Day Shred, which kicks my ass, but a little less every day. I’m doing some weight training, some yoga, some long walks. I just make sure to move for at least 30 minutes a day, six days a week. And the rest of the time, I’m running after a toddler.

Movement makes me feel alive. I’m moving.

pea shoots and fava bean seedlings

And I’m out in the garden every afternoon with Lu. That doesn’t feel like exercise, but I’m moving my shoulders and bending my back and growing more limber by the day. There’s a funny stubborn place when I’m not exercising, a place that makes it seem so impossibly hard to do. And then, when I start, that stubborn place softens, then disappears. I start to love it. And I wonder how I ever went without it.

We’re growing some food in our garden. Those are the first pea shoots and fava bean seedlings I thinned yesterday. We’ve already planted lettuce and arugula, spinach, bush beans, carrots, red cabbage, chard, lacinato kale, tomatoes, summer squash, plus lots of herbs. We have plans for much more in May. Every morning, I go out to the garden to see what has risen. It’s all green and growing. We’ll be eating our share of vegetables, plus the raspberries from the 20 thriving canes along the fence. It will easier to eat healthier with this.

I’ve been very inspired by my friend Megan’s piece about losing 25 pounds in one year, which she wrote on her blog Not Martha. She articulated how I feel about diets better than I could:

“The bits involving food slowly sorted out into simply eating in moderation. Previously I had tried low carb diets and counting calories or keeping track of what I’d eaten in a day. And you know what? All that being aware of food all day drove me crazy. The result was that I grew resentful and obsessive and felt hungry all the time. And then I would eat a whole bag of Doritos. So instead I decided to try to just not think about all that hard. I ate more carefully, more kale less Annie’s Mac and Cheese, and smaller meals with more snacks. I started eating breakfast, something I’m not inclined towards, to keep my metabolism going. Slowly I learned how long it takes for me to get rid of sugar cravings (two weeks), and that bagged baby carrots make me ill, and that I really like farro and kale, and that a little bit of olive oil used to cook a meal makes it far more satisfying than when using one of those olive oil mister things. I cut down on sugar and white flour and beer and eventually started avoiding those things knowing that they would only make me hungry later. Apples and almonds and light Baybell cheeses are surprisingly satisfying snacks, a mug of green tea in the afternoon helps a lot. I ate more carefully during the week and less on the weekends.”


I don’t believe that it’s any particular foods that make me gain weight. I have plenty of friends who love butter and bacon as much as me, and they are slender and fit. I’m still working on puff pastry and other baked goods. I’m not giving up on that, especially when I bake them for you. However, Danny’s co-workers at the restaurant are going to have a steady stream of cookies and breads from now on. Three bites, maybe one slice, and then it leaves the house.

When I remember to put my fork down on the plate between bites, I feel a difference.

I’m still going to live in food. This is my passion, my joy, my shared work with Danny. I’m just trying to find a new relationship with food in this, a different way of being with it. I’m very much interested in reading Melissa Clark’s book, The Skinny: How to Fit into Your Little Black Dress Forever. I stayed away from it because of the title. (I will never be a size 2. I laughed out loud when a doctor told me a few years ago that I actually do have big bones.) But now that I look at it more closely, I see that she has written a guide for living a life of eating well and often while still being mindful.

It’s being mindful that matters.

I’ve been inspired by this new book, written by Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Lilian Cheung, Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life. It’s a Buddhist approach to looking at how we eat, which really moves me, especially this compassionate passage:

“As you begin to look deeply into the roots of your weight problem, take care not to be harsh on yourself. The ‘judge’ inside your head often makes you feel abad about all the ‘shoulds’ — you should not have eaten that cheesecake, you should have spent more time at the gym. You may also be daunted by your past failures and struggles with weight. It is time to stop blaming yourself for these failures. Perhaps you were following the wrong advice. Perhaps you were able to lose some weight initially on one diet or another, but the diets were too restrictive, your cravings took hold, and you eventually gave up and gained the weight back. You are not separate from your family and environment. In the past you did not have enough of the right conditions supporting you to maintain a healthy weight.”

I’m not going to say no to the self I am, or wish to remove parts of myself, or aim for some artificial goal. I haven’t weighed myself once in the last month. I’m not interested in the numbers.

I know I am on the right path by the way my clothes fit, by what other people say, by how my body feels. This isn’t about a goal for me, the endpoint when I can finally relax and say now I’m good enough. I’m here. Now.

smoked salmon chopped salad

My flickr friend, Lisa Moussalli, gave a beautiful interview to the incredible Jennifer Causey at Simply Photo. I was moved by everything Lisa said, but particularly this:

“I’ve spent a good bit of time in France, and something I certainly observe there is the importance of sitting while you eat, and of always making room at the table for guests. This starts with the early evening apéro – a drink and a snack and a time to regroup and relax at the end of a busy day – and continues with the meal and and then the cheese plate and then dessert and coffee or tea. Keeping slowness and welcome at the heart of eating is a simple and profound ethos, and it’s one I try to practice.“

I’m still going to be eating great food. I’m just going to try to do this more mindfully.

Lu’s leftover scrambled eggs can go in the trash from now on.

she wants to touch the peas

She is the real reason I am doing this. She has endured some enormous suffering in her short life, and yet she is resilient, aware, and funny as hell. This kid is alive.

She also never stops moving. She climbs every surface, runs at full pace, dances at the first hint of music, and is all muscle and motion. She inspires me. I want to be as active as this kid. Little kids know how to live. I want to go back to that.

Mostly, though, I don’t want to miss a minute of her life. I want to see her grow up. She’s turning 2 in three months. (What?!) Given how quickly these two years have gone, I know that 2 will become 3, 3 become 6, 6 become 12, and 12 become graduating from college in about 14 seconds. I want to be limber for this. I want to be here as long as I can.

In the past, when I tried to lose weight, I thought the pounds were the point. I hated my life. I wanted something more. I believed I could never be okay at that weight.

Now, for the first time, I’m not trying to change anything about me or my life. Danny adores me, wherever I am. But he wants me around for a long time too. In these past five years since I stopped eating gluten, I have learned more and more, in ever widening circles, about where my food comes from and what works for my body. This time, I’m listening to it.

I love my life. I just want to walk through it more lightly.

at the Oro Valley farmers' market

You may be wondering why I have told you all this. Well, for one, I would like you to know this: if you ever look at someone who is overweight (in your mind), and think, “Wow, she’s really let herself go,” just remember that there is always a story behind it.

Also, something has not been sitting well in my stomach these past few months, not writing about all this. I did what I could. It was all too raw at first. But this space is a haven, for me, for some of you. A place of laughter, yes. But also a place of sharing our stories and learning from each other.

Our lives have not been as idyllic as they might have seemed. They have been hard. They have also been beautiful.

Telling you is telling me. I’ve been able to hide from myself. I’m always the one behind the camera. When I saw photos of myself on friends’ blogs, I cringed and did a dozen sit-ups immediately. But with all this grieving and too much to process, I dove right back into my old habits.

For years, I have felt an affinity with this quote from Mark Doty, a brilliant American poet:

“I don’t exactly feel that this openness has been a choice, although of course on some less-than-conscious level it must be. Rather it feels to me as if it’s simply the course my life has taken, beginning in the early eighties with the process of coming out. I felt then a great thirst for directness, an imperative to find language with which to be direct to myself, which is of course the result of having been, like many young gay men, divided from my self, from the authentic character of my desire. I felt I had to hide for years! And the result of that for me, once I began to break through the dissembling, was a thirst for the genuine.”

The thirst for the genuine. That’s why I am sharing this.

Finally, if just one of you reads this and hears something of yourself, I hope it helps.


467 comments on “carry that weight.

  1. Margarita

    That was beautifully written, it brought a tear to my eye. I’ve been there, in certain ways at least, and I’ve just recently started a diet regime and am trying to get into excercise, if not only for my daughter but for myself. I’ve been depressed and back, eating as a form of comfort, which I obviously knew but didn’t care enough to stop. My heart goes out to you. Just keep hanging on, and thank you for the book suggestion :)

  2. Ruth McKenna

    Shauna, I have read your posts for over a year and loved every single one. I often wondered how you managed to write so beautifully, always…and sometimes your posts kept me smiling when I was out of work, our of love and out of money. Thank you so much for your beautiful words, even now as I sit here typing this there are tears running down my face. I am so glad that you are in the clear, and I send you love and health for this new year.
    Ruth, Dublin Ireland

  3. Jones

    My mother was a chef, and growing up, she always used “comfort“food to express her love for her family. Every vegetable was sauteed in a half cup of butter; every grain was doused in olive oil; and every slice of pie was accompanied by a double scoop of haagen daz, whether you asked for it or not. Seconds were encouraged.

    At 24, I am only now learning to eat in a way that honors the emotional significance of food, but is also mindful of my actual nutritional needs. Your daughter will only benefit from your good example.

    Honestly, I’ve always wondered whether my favorite food bloggers have trouble with this issue, and I really appreciate you putting it out in the open.

  4. Valentina Vitols

    Lovely to see this on writing. You’re a rock, woman! There’s a say in Spanish that translates “God will give you cold but he’ll give you a blanket as well”. Some times it’s hard, but at the end, all is good. Very good. And warm!

    It’s great to hear Miss Lu is healthy, happy and always running around. And it’s good to see you “running” towards a more healthy life. It’s a decision always tought to execute. But I find those to be the best because the results are so enjoyable it’s ridiculous. Like you said, maybe the goal is not the size 2 little black dress, but that lovely size 8 sundress, lots of energy, strength and a big smile.

    A system of support is always wonderful, too. Count me in on that one.


  5. MargieAnne

    Hi. I’ve been reading your Journal for about a year. Thank-you for being so honest about your difficult years. You have held together most excellently well.

    I’m glad you are finding a way to look after yourself, your health, in more general terms.

    I know it’s no consolation to say this but most women who have been through all that you have would either have gained weight or become terribly thin. I guess I wrote that because I don’t want you to feel shame or guilt or be angry with yourself.

    It looks to me as though at the first opportune moment you have taken control.

    It takes discipline at the best of times and I guess you have that in spades. I’m so glad I don’t have to resist all your wonderful baking. *smile*.

    Best wishes to you 3.

  6. HannahHandpainted


    Thank you for writing this. Firstly I want to give you a big old hug, even though you don’t know me.

    I’m a mother of a child with seizures, sensory problems and sleep issues. I have also gained a boatload of weight in the past couple of years due to stress and self-neglect.

    I have been feeling like utter crap lately and your post did indeed remind me of this. I am thinking I should go to the doctor just to make sure nothing worse is wrong, but I admit I’m nervous. But it’s still better to know, and to be involved in your health than not.

    As you said, we have daughters that need us (and we need them). I have also always thought I would have a second child, but I’m not so sure now.

    It’s 2am and I really should get to sleep but I’m glad that I saw and read your post.

    Much love to you,

  7. Miss Welcome

    Bravo. I cried during some of this, it hits home so so well. I live in France, but have still managed to become obese (anti-depressants, poor eating habits, 3 kids). I had a similar experience to you with my daughter at birth (me in the leg cuffs from pre-eclampsia) and my daughter rushed to NICU from not breathing. The ending was easier for us. But I, too, had 2 boys that often woke up every 45 minutes for up to a year.

    Just yesterday I tried simply to add in more fruits and vegetables so I’m going to keep doing that. For me, it’s not cancer — it’s heart. And I never thought I’d be in this place.

    Thanks for writing all of that.

  8. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for sharing. You’re so right, it isn’t about the weight, it’s about living now!

  9. Jenn

    Shauna, you pour your heart and soul into everything you do. Sharing this, your hardships, your love, causes all of us who read to reflect on ourselves. The act of just sharing your story makes me want to improve myself; it’s so fundamentally inspiring, and I cannot even imagine myself enduring half of the stresses you have gone through or the burdens you have had to bear. It’s so amazing to see that nothing, absolutely nothing, gets you down, and even when you see something you wish to change, you are so completely proactive about it.

    I wish I could be just a fraction as motivated as you are, for I too have been comforted by food entirely too much. For me, food is the consistent and familiar in a world where everything is new and different, my dear darling husband is my only friend here and while I love where our lives have taken us, I am incredibly and incessantly homesick. When home is literally thousands of miles away, I can bring just a little bit of it across the ocean and into my apt by cooking — even in something as simple as pancakes — and well, my waist too has suffered a bit for it.

    I have given myself many reasons (not excuses, but reasons!) for why I have not been exercising — from pain to sleep deprivation to work (all of which valid in their own right) — but full of merit they may be, my body still suffers.

    I’ve done 30DS, it’s tough! I may have to go back to it and also try C25K, I have heard so many great things. 3 years ago I was running 4–5 miles every day. In fact, my day wasn’t complete if I didn’t get in a run. Then somewhere along the way life and its craziness took over and I lost the comfort I found in running — and instead found it in pasta, bacon, and butter. Not that I could ever give up or stop enjoying those things, but I need to find pleasure in exercise again. After reading your post, maybe now is that time to start.

    I haven’t even started yet and already I don’t know how to thank you enough.

  10. ????????

    A wonderful post, heartfelt and, most importantly, truthful. We all live double lives, not because we are bad or hiding something bad, but because we are not just one person. We are mothers, wives, daughters, sisters, friends, lovers.…..And we can be sick or our precious ones can be seriously ill. I shall think of Lu (she is so lovely and sweet) and of you. My sister is, barely, a breast cancer survivor and it was hard. Still I take days as they come, que sara, sara (like a song). About the weight: start eating what your doctor has recommended, and soon all unwanted weight will simply disappear, I promise you. Diet is a very big part of the cancer prevention. Huggs and regards.

  11. DweezelJazz

    I have often thought how hard you must work and how difficult things might be in these last couple years and have been wishing you and your lovely family well.

    Thank you for this post. I read your blog because you are genuine. It takes tremendous courage and effort to open up to life, to be honest with ourselves, and to reach out to others. Thank you for sharing; it gives me hope and yes it helps.

  12. Anonymous

    I was severely sleep deprived for 9 years until I crashed. And then I slept. 7 years later, I’m almost better. Eating well, exercising and sleeping. I felt like crying when I read that you were able to sleep again. Bless you as you as you recover.

  13. Poet

    Long time reader, first time commenter, probably.

    Wow, Shauna. What can I say? Ever since the first time I read your blog in 2007 and went through every single recipe and cooked up my first lemon and rosemary roast chicken, I’ve been hooked ever since.

    Your story about you and the Chef captured and enticed me and the struggles that you went through with Lu was heartbreaking to read.

    I had always thought that you seemed so joyous, so happy, so alive on your blog. You blogged about such happy events, such wonderful and amazing things that when my friend and I who read and discuss your blog talk about you, we talk about how wonderful it must be to live your life. However, like you said, you don’t write about such things in your blog. And that’s probably why your “life” seems sooo.…blissful. A successful writer, living your dream of spreading the word about being gluten free, the wonders of the Chef and Lu, as much as you have suffered, you are indeed blessed, Shauna. As much as you have endured the pain and the aches and the heartbreaks of all the bad things that have happened, you are so wonderfully fortunate to have all this amazing support and love from your family, your friends and your online readers.

    I admire your honesty and your consistency to focus on the positive things in life and I think it just goes to show that its all about what you focus on, whether good or bad, that makes life worth or not worth living for.

    Thank you, Shauna, for the joy and the happiness that you share on this blog. I wish you, the Chef, and Lu all the best and God bless you.


  14. Siv in Sweden

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I´m glad to know that all of you are ok. I recoginze my self in what you write about eating.…. I lost my job in december and I struggle to get a new one. Since december I´ve been eating and eating. You inspire me to start exercise again — I cant blame the weather, the workload, all my trips. Try to reduce my worry and do something constructive instead. But I will never ever give upp baking and cooking!

  15. Anonymous

    “Finally, if just one of you reads this and hears something of yourself, I hope it helps.’

    It helps. Shauna, thank you for having the courage to write this. Isn’t it terrible how food, which is supposed to nourish and sustain us, which can bring us so much joy, can turn into little bites of resentment and regret? I too have used food as a security blanket, honestly for most of my life but especially in the last year while undergoing infertility treatments. It’s been so easy to just let go and give in to the comfort of chocolate cake, or yeasty bread, or that bag of Doritos–to tell myself that I’ll eat better tomorrow. I’ve been unhappy with myself for a while, and these last few days it has come to a head. Reading your blog post has just given me more confirmation that change is possible, that I can get through this. Thank you for opening your life, for sharing your pain along with your triumphs. You have been more inspirational than I think you know.

  16. Sue

    Thank yu for sharing all this. I’m glad that so much of the anguish over the past year has had a happy ending. I know the feelings when your body seems to be betraying you.
    I struggle with obesity because my health problems prevent me getting enough exercise, and that feels bad, especially as I love my food. I eat healthily but with enthusiasm,and I don’t burn it off.
    You are inspiring me to eat things I miss through your blog, and hopefully you’ll inspire me in managing to get more active. God bless you all three and may the sleep continue for you. Thank you again.
    BTW, some of the flours you use, like tapioca, is incredibly hard to source in the UK. One day maybe we can talk about this some more, how I can best use what I can find to use.

  17. MJ

    I would wrap you in a hug if I could. (perhaps Danny and Lu would oblige) Blessings on you for your honesty, which will surely help others. There’s so much I would want to say to you, but can’t find words right now. Know that what you’ve written will touch and enlighten people, and lodge in them and change them.

  18. Jennifer Jo

    I so much appreciate the honesty, Shauna. It takes your blog to a deeper level.

    And about it being a food blog and not wanting to mix in surgeries and illness and body image: don’t we all, each and every food lover, know that food IS life? To separate food out from the rest of life trivializes food, no? Food needs to be real, authentic, and wholesome in the big sense. It is life itself, tying in with EVERYTHING we do and are.

    Congratulations on making this a REAL food blog.


  19. anna

    Your story moved me deeply, and it came at just the right time. Last night I found myself watching something on hulu after a long, long day, a story before bedtime, and for the umpeenth time a commercial about cervical cancer came on. And I just burst into tears. I guess it was just the last straw.

    I was diagnosed with cervical cancer last fall. I had surgery, it was all removed, but I was so scared. I was only 29, I want to have children someday, I want to be active and crazy and in love with the world. And with my mom by me the whole time, and afterward, the doctor telling me I still would be able to have children — something big and cold inside me unlocked.

    Funny, my fear was less about death, more about not being able to have a child, and not being able to live fully. But coming through, there’s still a grieving, but also a commitment and a will that now drives me more than over toward what is true and good for my life, making decisions with a wider lens.

    Thank you so much for sharing. It’s exactly what I needed to hear, when I needed to hear it. Thank you for reinforcing.

    Earth Kind Herbal learning blog
    The Purple House blog

  20. Amanda Acton

    I have carried excess weight my whole life. I could never stick to a diet or exercise plan, always just fell to pieces. Then, I had a rough year, some crazy nervous breakdown and started to look deeper. For the first time, I was able to look at the emotional reasons behind my weight issues. 10kg slid off like hot butter. Now I know that might not sound like a lot, but I’m a pint sized individual. I am supposed to weigh under 50. 10kg’s is more than a fifth of my body. That’s a big number.

    Good luck to you. Once you know the why and you understand your reasons for needing to loose it, the process is much easier. You’re relaxed about it, no longer pressurized.

  21. muffinmoon

    Blimey, Shauna, talk about making me say yes, yes yes and then blub into my hankie. You have been deep in the trenches and have done a fantastic job. I, too, know the pain of facing having just one child when I had imagined two or three. BUT life teaches us acceptence. Small children live so much in the moment that we can learn a great deal from them too. And I am so happy that Lu is sleeping well. Could she give my boy, Frank, some pointers about not running in a 5:30 saying “I’m a digger!” and proceeding to make loud construction noises.
    Pass ME the pie … oh, and the builder’s tea…

  22. Theresa

    I cried when I read your post.
    I can’t add anything else without sounding cheesy. I think the struggles you’ve been through are unimaginable and I really admire you and your husband for working through them and coming out sane and strong.
    God bless you, and I pray that this year and many, many more have no big dramas for you!

  23. Nina

    Thank you. Hearing about your journey has inspired me to be more compassionate with myself. (And I just took a long deep breath as I reviewed my little comment — it felt amazing.)

  24. Birdie

    Dear Shauna, what a post! First of all, thank you for sharing and most importantly I’m very very happy for Lu and you being ok. Kids have a huge capacity to recover.And as I write this I’m hoping for my son as well who has been injured by a greedy doctor who performed our birth. I know all about being scared to death for your child; I know all about watching your child in pain. I know all about how it feels when you have to make a peace with the fact that you might not have another child (a different story for me but the feeling is the same I believe). I know all about sleepless nights (2 years — I don’t know how we made it :-) Don’t worry about the extra weight; the most important thing is that you are taking steps to live a healthy happy life :-) Breath in and out. Step by step. The most important thing is that Lu and you are well!! Love to you and your lovely family!

  25. Tammy

    Thank you for sharing this story. I had gained an unexpected amount of weight due to thyroid issues in the past year, and I’ve also been struggling (through diet and exercise) to get back to a healthy BMI and weight. Then I was hit with the news that I was gluten intolerant and needed to go on a gluten-free diet. Do you know what I did? I ate foods that I’d previously avoided…unhealthy foods…just because I COULD. Because they were gluten-free. Deprivation of something is a very difficult thing. I am hanging on to that wagon of exercise and healthy eating, but I’ve fallen off. I hope to be able to get back on board soon. I have tasted the joy of feeling good when I can fit in my “old jeans” and when I get a compliment from a friend, “have you lost weight?” Thank you for your inspiration.

  26. Sue-Ann

    Thank you for your frankness. Everybody, absolutely everybody, has their private pain. Merging pain and joy, being able to hold both of them at the same time (Keats’ negative capability) is the daily challenge.
    And if you haven’t been, it’s still not too late to “wear” Lu in a babysling — I carried my (only ever child) until she was over three years old.

  27. Jessmeca

    Thank you.

    You are a very brave and wonderful woman with an equally brave and wonderful family.

    I am learning so many things with and through you.

    I am grateful, and i hope many others are as well.

    Much love and may your future be allot more settled and idyllic for you.

    Love Light & Reiki

  28. L Vanel

    So many elements of this ring true for me, thank you Shauna. Over the years my blog has been a positive meditation and a kind of charm against many of the sad discoveries we’ve dealt with. My heart aches anew for you now. I understand the feeling of loss you have at having to make that decision. Let’s keep running.

  29. Stefan, Sarah and Lukka

    I am so sorry for all the hurt and pain (with no sleep) you’ve been through these past few years.

    You are a huge encouragement to me.
    What an amazing post,
    Sarah M

  30. toasted

    Thirst for the genuine? — your words quench.

    I’ve known such sleep deprivation, and a touch of fear for the wellbeing of my child. Your words spoke to me, for me.

    I haven’t known such depths to the fears you’ve had though. You have indeed soldiered through emotional assault day after day. You are amazing (even when you felt you weren’t!)

    My love goes to you even though I don’t really know where you are — I’m sure it will find you.


  31. meanderingpathtoself

    Thank you so much for sharing a bit of yourself with us. The way that you consciously choose to venerate the light and happiness of the world, while understanding that it cannot exist without the darkness and uncertainty is inspiring. Your posts are candid and individual. I have struggled with the idea of why and how I eat for some years now, and am finally letting go of the idea of consuming to suppress panic. Lately I’ve been remembering to honor food. To sit down when I eat it, like I did with my family every night growing up. Reading this blog has certainly helped: the beautiful pictures, the beautiful, local produce, and all those baked goods certainly deserve a little reverence. I run everyday and love it. There is nothing that can fill the void of eating deliberately, spending time with yourself and using your body to its fullest potential. It is the feeling of being alive.

  32. Anonymous

    First time commenter here, but have enjoyed your blog for a long time!
    Thank you for sharing your story so openly. You are a strong woman and I am absolutely certain you will accomplish what you set out to do. I’m cheering you on from the East Coast!!
    - Kathleen

  33. Kathy

    Oh Shauna. What an incredible lot you’ve gone through. And still to be finding the joy (and making the food). It’s amazing.

    Never a truer word was spoken, too, than when you write “if you ever look at someone who is overweight (in your mind), and think, “Wow, she’s really let herself go,” just remember that there is always a story behind it.”

    My past year has not been as multi-faceted as yours, but yeah, my heaviness has a story to it, and it’s not an easy one to talk about. I’m trying, like you are, to move more, to reclaim a fully functional and healthy body so that I can be here to raise my three daughters and see them grow. Sometimes it’s hard to see the way through exhausted eyes. But I will keep going, because I need to.

    And so for me, this is inspirational. Because it is real, and because you are you. So thank you. Just, thank you. For sharing it with us.

  34. Fiona

    Wow — what a rollercoaster ride, Shauna. Thank you for sharing your ups and downs with us — it puts other problems in perspective. I, too, have been battling health problems over the winter that have lead to weight gain, so much of this resonated with me … I’m trying to get back on track and take control of my health and life.

    All the best to you and your family.

  35. Melissa

    Hi Shauna — I a reader, but normally not a commenter. Just want to say I am so happy to hear your daughter, mom and you are all doing well. It sounds like you have an amazing new perspective on eating and how you’re going to go about getting to where you feel comfortable. I can’t wait to read your blog post in a year from now describing the changes you see in your body from the small changes your making in your life — I’m that confident you will see change :)

  36. Stargirl

    Thank you for writing this. It was truly beautiful to read and something that I think I will come back to, often. I can’t imagine the struggles you have endured this year (and the cancer scares– oh my!), but your words did speak to me and remind me. They reminded me that I still need to take care of myself if I wish to take care of anyone else. If I want to see my little grow, then I must make an effort to grow myself. Thank you for your wonderful words and for sharing.

  37. carol

    what a beautiful & genuine piece from the heart..thank you so much for sharing your life behind the scenes as it has been soooo much more than just the edible bites you have created each week here…truly in awe of how much you guys have accomplished in this year! first, i’m so happy for you that you are cancer-free! WHEW!! second, cheers to you & danny for making the decision to let go…not at all an easy one to make, and i’m happy for Lu too! third, WAY TO GO with your new healthy lifestyle incorporating exercise & movement!! you ARE figuring it all out, you are listening to your body, and you’re feeling the difference…keep on doing what feels good & right, trust your gut, and listen to your body…and every moment do as you already do, live, love & laugh with danny & lu !

    cheering you on from holland!

  38. Marilou

    Shauna, you consistently amaze me with your tremendous resilience and ability to continually see the joys of life despite the hardships that bump up against you. You are amazing. Little Lu is incredibly lucky to have parents like you and Danny. Thank you for your frankness and humour; you never cease to inspire your readers with your posts.

  39. Krys72599

    When I started to read this I was thinking, “Ah, NOW I’ll go back on my diet and start exercising. If Shauna is carrying a few extra pounds and she eats healthy foods, I must be REALLY carrying too much unhealthy weight.“
    Then I realized this post wasn’t about ME. It was about YOU. And Danny. And Lu.
    And THEN I realized that reading about YOU WAS about ME! I’ve been going through some non-life-threatening medical issues but disregarding the most important one of all: I must lose weight to be healthy. I am going to be 50 in December. If I don’t start now, I will be overweight and not as healthy as I should be FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. And my life will not be as long as it could be.
    I’m not obese. I’m carrying an extra 20, 25 pounds. But those 20, 25 pounds are heck on my knee, my hips (I was blaming early onset osteoarthritis) — I must lose weight.
    I’m going down to the cafeteria right now. For fruit. NOT for eggs and cheese on a wrap.
    Thanks for the kickstart, Shauna.
    And thank God for helping you and yours!!!

  40. Kelly and Kelly

    I love your honesty. And your beautiful words (as usual). Best wishes for you as you begin this new journey.

  41. Em

    Thank you. That was exactly what I needed this morning. Reading your blog has been such a blessing to me over the years.

  42. Heather

    wow, i’m so glad you wrote that. i know you feel so much better getting it all out in the open. i’m so sorry you have gone through so much in the last couple years. i will be sending prayers your way for better times ahead!

  43. Yvonne

    I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now, and I’ve even gone back to read every single post since the beginning because I find your writing so honest and heart warming. I love hearing about your life, and it’s been inspiring to read about you falling in love. I can honestly say though, that this post has touched me the most. Thanks for sharing.

  44. Claire Mauksch

    the beauty of what you just wrote is astounding, and what’s more, SO easy to connect to! thank you for taking the time, and the risk, and the chance, to share.

  45. Helen

    This was a wonderful post, I so enjoyed reading it. My friend’s little girl was born with the same condition as little Lu and, thankfully, she’s now totally healed too.

    I gained a lot of weight during the last year, mainly out of heartbreak after the love of my life left me. I joined Slimming World in January and have lost 26 pounds since then. It’s not a restrictive diet, it just encourages healthy eating. Plus I’ve started running too and am also surprised by how much I love it!

    Thankyou for writing this xx

  46. Eileen

    Thank you. As another survivor of life in general, I know just writing this must have lifted a big weight off you! Fly like the wind…

  47. Kristin Glasbergen

    Mindfully is a great word. It is something I struggle with too, ultimately it’s not worth missing out on great opportunities by doing it otherwise.
    I can not imagine how terrifing to see your 11 day old baby in surgery.
    Sleep deprivation does terrible things. I believe in being a 24hr/day parent, sounds like you do too. Sometimes that keeps you up. It is hard to remember to take good care of yourself so you can take good care of your family. A lesson I am learning everyday.

  48. Angela

    Well said. I can tell you wrote from the heart and it is something many of us deal with. Food is everywhere now days and it is so easy to medicate with it. We all need to take a step back now and then.

  49. Sho


    I carefully read every word of your post. I know this sounds cliche, but I could really relate to so much of what you said.

    You really should pat yourself on the back for making it this far in such good shape. You may have gained weight, but you are not morbidly obese. You are doing a great job at excercising. It is great that you are eating in moderation instead of tabooing foods from your home.

    It sounds like you are developing a very healthy relatioship with food and excercise. You are evolving. You are growing.

    That is one thing about your site I have noticed. You are always learning and growing. That is what makes your posts so moving, along with your wonderful writing, of course.

    Just because you shared here does not mean that you are unable to say “Yes!” Think of yourself as an olympic runner. Do they say “Yes” as they are struggling to jump over hurdles? I bet they say “yes” after they jump each hurdle or at the finish line.

    In time, you will be saying more yesses.

    Take care,


  50. Ann

    I had my only child too at 41. She was always healthy and still is. Thanks for sharing all this Shauna, it’s relevant to me in many ways.

    One extension to the point about ‘she’s let herself go’ — one time I read this: Sometimes, when you see someone ‘letting herself go’, it’s often when she is just hanging on for dear life. And as you say, we don’t know the whole story. Compassion is what’s needed for ourselves and each other.
    Thank you Shauna for all your work and for your insights, and for sharing your life.

  51. Ina

    Shauna — what a beautiful post.…so incredibly heartfelt! Thank God we have the good days to help us get through some of the most challenging days! My heart goes out to your family, blessings to you all, Ina

  52. gfnoor

    Hi Shauna!

    I’ve been reading your blog for the better part of a year now, and enjoyed your openness,and honesty.I’t comforting to know that you and your princess are better.

  53. Sirena

    I have not even finished your entry and felt compelled to just stop and comment. I am so excited for you and proud for you! I know that life involves so many difficult choices and that none of us can presume to comprehend others’ choices — it’s hard enough to understand our own. But GOOD LUCK to you and Danny, and I wish you a year filled with health, energy, and a very long and thriving life with your beautiful family! Good luck on this journey. I’m trying to live a healthier, lighter life too as we prepare to start our own family so, yet again, you have served as a huge inspiration to me. Snif!

  54. Jenn Sutherland

    Darling Shauna, I’ve felt like you were family for years now…but this post. It was straight from your heart to mine. Thank you for this gift and sharing your journey. It’s been the roughest kind of year a person can have, and am so HAPPY that you all made it through, and are looking out on the other side at the wide, bright future before you.

    I lost 40lbs after my celiac diagnosis, and then gained 60lb back 2 years later in my own year of personal hell and crisis. I did exactly what you did to cope — hid out in the kitchen creating and caring for everyone but myself. And you know what — I don’t resent those 60lbs or the photos of myself, because I got through. So did you. Those were my warrior’s pounds, and when I no longer needed them, I was able to cast them aside. And you are doing the same. That armor no longer serves you. Time to shed the cocoon like the butterflies do.

    I’m also in the same camp as you with 50% chance of developing breast cancer. I know that wrenching decision too. But the result in a long life without cancer with Danny & Lu…that’s the real gift.

    I’ll also say, that in losing those 60lbs, I ate homemade ice cream every single day. A healthy life does not mean giving up the things you love — as you know. I just eat that ice cream in a very small dish. Just as satisfying. I do track what I’m eating and working out on, and…I now like to include nutritional info in my posts, so that I stay mindful of portion size for myself, and I love the community of support on both sites. They keep me jogging/biking and feeling positive about my progress even when I don’t want to get out there.

    Thank you for sharing your personal story. We’re all family here.

  55. Laura

    Thank you for sharing. This was beautiful and honest and clear. It is so hard for sometimes to really get clear and be open about my relationship to food and stress and how I judge myself so much that I forget to just live. You inspire me.

  56. Sizzle

    Thank you for your bravery in sharing this struggle…and the beauty you find in life. It is truly inspiring.

  57. Gemma

    Shauna — Having read this twice now I keep trying to write a comment and failing to put my thoughts into words so I will need to leave it at this, thank you for writing this post, it truly resonated with me and I am so very glad that Lu is well.

  58. Jamie

    I am yet another reader who was brought to tears by this post. Thank you for having the courage to share with us, because it isn’t always easy. I hope that this will inspire some of us into making healthier choices for the RIGHT reasons.

    Stay brave and stay strong, we are all cheering for you!

  59. Danielle

    “Our lives have not been as idyllic as they might have seemed. They have been hard. They have also been beautiful.”

    This is what I am always trying to remember.

  60. Tracey Mardon

    Shauna,you’ve given so many so much, we all just want to wrap you up and make the challenges go away but you’re doing exactly what you need to do. Running which you’ve found is play and invigorating. 30 min a day is a great thought, like a little gift. I was listening to an interview yesterday with Isabelle Allende and she had such terrible gut problems they thought she had cancer but tests showed nothing. Her husband said he thought that it was “the book”, that when it was done it would go away and it did. Our bodies find ways to tell us when they are stressed. You’re listening and doing, bravo!
    65 wonderful hugs before me shows how much good you’ve put out there.
    All the best, Tracey

  61. Laura

    Shauna, I have two kids, lived sleep deprived for months. My daughter didn’t sleep through the night until she was three, one day I couldn’t remember the movie I had just seen the night before, it was all gone. My kids were healthy, thanks goodness, but my son was hospitalized twice because of asthma, I spend many nights next to him giving him asthma treatments. My mother in law died of cancer, it was brutal. I know where you have been, I know your pain, and I know how food makes you feel better. I always joke that chocolate is my drug of choice. I am 15–20 lb overweight, was out of work for 18 months, and I didn’t exercise for a year (!). Winter is always depressing to me since I am an outdoor person so I always pack pounds then, and if I don’t lose them in the summer I am stuck. As a pastry chef I always have something sweet in the house, always testing recipes. I have done weight watchers three times, and trying it again now, with mixed results. Like you, I get tired of thinking food all the time, so I am trying to exercise, eat when I am hungry, and fill my tummy with vegetables. I loved that you poured your heart out here, and so eloquently, I bet you will only get more support because we all have something we are struggling with and we all understand. I am happy for you, for the fact that you decided that you had enough, that you started moving, your body already feels better and your mind will feel that too.

    Big hugs to you, Danny, and Lulu. She is really lucky to have you as her mother.

  62. Therese

    I can barely comment on the depth of this post. I have been reading your blog for a couple of months, it always seems to calm me down and inspire me. This was no different. Your strength, resiliance, determination and humbleness astounds me. Always.

    I’ve lost 90lbs (of about 120) and your words speak to me on so many levels. I’ve been successful this time (as opposed to all the other attempts) because this time I’m just living my life. I move more and am more mindful of what I’m eating, how it’s made and where it comes from. In fact, I love food more now than before because I’m paying attention.

    But every once in a while the numbers can get to me. Thank you for reminding me of the reason I began this in the first place. To live longer, healthier and happier.

  63. erika

    Thank you — your writing is always so positive and inspirational. It makes me smile. I appreciate it even more now that I know you have had challenges over the last year. It is so easy to get wrapped up in all the crap — but it is always a nice break to come here and relax. Thank you for creating a little electronic getaway.

    Thank you also for being so honest. It really helps to know that other people go through the same things — to hear how they lived through it, how it made them stronger, how they never gave up. Thank you a million times over. Lu has one special Mom!

  64. lilmissjen

    Thank you so much for sharing. You’ve been an inspiration to me as I’ve struggled with my celiac. What a beautifully-written piece — it’s nice to see that the people we look up to are human, after all.

    Thank you!

  65. Anonymous

    I admire (and aspire to) your life — the island, the love, the laughter, the cooking. To that, I now add wisdom, courage and commitment.

    Thank you for sharing.


  66. Kirephene

    Thanks for your honesty. My mom has had great success with Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous. She’s lost a good chunk of weight and really gotten to the bottom of the feelings behind her eating. The program has helped her grow as a person as well. I highly recommend it.

  67. FridaWrites

    It sounds like you did what you needed to in order to survive a very difficult time. Not only does sleep loss lead to weight gain (not just the cortisol, but eating to physically survive sleep deprivation), but food does release endorphins. I find that food really does work as excellent pain relief–when I was still working–was to take too many ibuprofen for my stomach and liver. Then when that didn’t work well enough, eat–it wasn’t emotional eating, but rather for pain relief. And it really does take the sharp edge off. The pain was unendurable (as sleep deprivation can be–I had a severly colicky child).

    I have gained 25 lbs. since using the scooter and now the wheelchair–I gained most of it right away. I can see people thinking that the weight led to the wheelchair, when it was the other way around; this is faulty thinking since there are many young women as overweight who do not need wheelchairs. I need to lose weight for my health; I have not succeeded in losing it, though I have succeeded in not continuing to gain.

    I think you can trust your readers to deal with the difficult times too–though it’s difficult to write about until it’s over, especially when things are uncertain.

    Thanks for sharing your story–we very much live in a culture that judges rather than one that offers support. Thanks for writing this. I have found calorie counting helpful just so I know my limits–but not as a permanent change since then all I think about is food and how many calories I eat. Instead, as an initial way for me to accurately estimate how much I need (or don’t need). That’s not often something I can stick to easily since the caloric needs for a power wheelchair user are pretty low.

  68. Becki

    Amazing post. Thanks for being so open, honest and real. This post is both an inspiration and a realization.…thanks again!

  69. Gaile

    Shauna, thank you for opening yourself up like this to us. What an act of trust and courage. I know what it’s like to look at my body after two years of school and incredible stress and not recognize it; to be winded after one flight of stairs. You, as always, inspire me, and make me think. About the things my own doctor recently told me I must do if I want to live to 60. Thank you.

  70. Cindy


    Thank you. I’ve wondered, as probably many have, about Lu’s health issues. I am so happy to hear that she is truly OK.

    It is so hard to talk of illness and especially of weight problems. Some things we just want to sweep under the rug and hope nobody notices. I appreciate your candor.

    I am a cancer survivor, and have been managing other serious health problems (details in my first blog post at for several years while raising a special needs child. It’s hard, and I’ve gained a great deal of weight. One of the medications I had to take for a few years after diagnosis causes increased appetite, one of my health problems causes painful joints and fatigue, and then there’s food. I love to eat.

    I, too, am struggling with weight. I know I need to move more, that is the key for me. I am working on mindfulness, another key, I believe. I’m currently reading Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth, and plan to add your reading selections to my reading list as well.

    I hope you’ll continue to share your progress, your ups and downs, joys, revelations, recipes, and your thoughts.

    Again, thank you.

    Wheatless Foodie

  71. Jenious

    Your writing always inspires. This beautiful post, in particular, demonstrates your honesty, strength and courage. Thank you for sharing it ALL with us. Cheers to you, dear, and may much peace and contentment come your way this year.

  72. FridaWrites

    Oops, I wrote that wrong–carbs release serotonin, I think. Exercise releases endorphins (though not enough for me, I get far more inflammation than pain relief); peppers and salsa release endorphins, though.

  73. Anita (Married... with dinner)

    You are amazing, and we love you. I’ve always understood why you didn’t share all of this with your readers, but it feels right that you’ve told the whole story now.

  74. Brisa

    80 people have spoken before me, so what I am going to say might sound unecessary, seeing that so many already said it, but, nevertheless… I´m saying it: you´re brave. You´re corageous. You´re one of my three idols (in a good way!). — can I count Darwin in as an idol?

    Lucy is lucky beyond belief to have a mother like you. And the Chef is just blessed to have the chance to spend his life by your side.

    I too would have chosen the medicine. I´m still 23, but I already feel like I just couldn´t bare to miss any of this, any of the havoc, chaos, utter confusion that my life is becoming these days. And as much as I feel like crying out of despair (sometimes), I know that life IS a blessing, and that this mess is PART of the way. I am here to learn something. And you have taught me a lot through your recepies, through your pics, through your words. Thank you, thank you so much for that.

    When I read your blog, I feel love; love for life, love for food, love for getting the chance of waking up for another day, as tiring as that day might be. And in the end of those long, drab days, when we´re not too sure of which direction to take, all we need IS love, after all. But I guess you already know that, as a Beatles fan…

    Shauna, you´re absolutely amazing. Never forget that.

    Bárbara, São Paulo — Brazil

  75. Anna Jean

    A wonderful, moving piece. Thank you for being so open. All the stories you share here are inspiring.

    PS. I love Mark Doty also :)

  76. Alice Q. Foodie

    Shauna — You are such a trouper. I have a hard time writing about food when other more “important” things are going on out there. Kudos to you for keeping up with your blog and continuing to share with your readers. I gained 20 lbs since starting to blog, and just lost 12 since the 1st of the year, with a personal trainer who prescribed 300 minutes of cardio a week. It’s been really, really hard. Thanks for sharing this. It’s a beautiful post.

  77. Brenda

    Thank you for sharing honestly. Life can be so hard at times, not knowing where to turn, not having the skills to deal with being so exhausted, and still having to give of yourself. Being the mom of a child with special needs, I totally relate.

    I do have to admit that I thought about your “foodiness” on more than one occasion while reading your blog. I don’t allow myself to bake more than 2ce a week. Because, we’ll EAT it! I’m already overweight. My husband lost 60 lbs a year ago, and I swore to myself that I wouldn’t sabotage it for him. It’s hard on the self esteem to be heavier than your husband.

    I look at pictures of food, and if they glisten, I can see the fat. In the past year, I’ve learned what is healthy, and what isn’t. I’m learning that nutrition usually means FEWER calories. That we should choose the fruit over the hamburger. Excess food and calories causes disease, and like you, I need to stick around for my daughter.

    Kudos to you for adding the exercise as well!

  78. Mona

    First time commenter, though I’ve been reading for several years. Thank you for this post. Just…thank you. It is so honest and real and brave, and I have to agree with the person who said it takes your blog to a whole new level. So many of us clearly struggle with these same issues — for me it is a struggle every single day. Today, I start again. In fact, I bought the “30 Day Shred” over 2 months ago, and it is still sitting in a drawer somewhere, with the plastic on. I’m unwrapping it today.

    Thank you, Shauna.

  79. Kate

    Good for you, Shauna. For sharing all of this, and for doing all of this. What you’ve been dealing with!
    I am right there with you in the struggle to eat more intuitively/consciously (this sounds like a contradiction, but I think they’re getting at the same thing). The Beck Diet Solution helped me lose weight, though I put it back on. Now the only thing for me is to exercise exercise exercise. Like you, I hated running (the boobs! the knees! ouch!), and tried couch-to-5k. Now I’m training for my first half marathon next month, and hardly ever experience any kind of pain. It will all turn out beautifully! You might visit SocialWorkout on the web, too. I find it an inspiring community of people who love to exercise in a million different ways.

  80. Mama Tawn

    Bless you Shauna,

    I am a fan, fellow friend, mama, foodie,and emotional eater. Your story has inspired me and created opportunity for empathy. May sharing this story free you from your fear and pain. I wish you only the best on your journey. Tanya

  81. Kristin

    Thank you, Shauna, for your honest and courageous post. You’ve given me much to think about.

  82. Deb(bie Debbie Doo)

    “This has been the year of Shauna not-having cancer.”

    Shauna, I suggest we hold another vision along with this statement above and that being: “This has been the life-time of Shauna not-having cancer.” — let’s hold that vision :)

  83. Heather

    Shauna, This is my first time posting, but not my first time reading. After being diagnosed with celiac a year ago, your blog has been one of my staple reads. I really admire your honesty and thank you for putting yourself out there in this post.


  84. Casey Dozhier

    Wow, thank you for sharing –I lost my son right before her turned 3 , life sure can be tough at times. My daughter is on GFCF diet — I appreciate all your hard work and caring enough to share your hard work . Life is beautiful — just not always easy — Take care –and may your days be blessed happiness and love -

  85. Ann Pierce

    Shauna, Thank you for sharing this with us. I admire you for being able to admit that you need and want to change your lifestyle for the benefit of yourself and your family. I am a nutritionist and I focus on HEALTH, not WEIGHT. People are too focused on their “ideal” weight but really it’s about health, eating fresh, whole foods, enjoying meals, and being mindful of your emotions when you eat. I’m glad you share this vision and best of luck!

    Ann Pierce
    Pierce Whole Nutrition

  86. Geo

    You just described a thoroughly beautiful woman. Thank you for being brave. I’m sending you love and strength today.

  87. Ally

    Amazing story. Your writing is always soothing to read, and your story is so heartfelt and real. I give you so much credit for keeping it all going — you are made of tough stuff, and you do what must be done in times of frustration and fear. That is the definition of courage.

    I too took on running this year — LLS offers free training in exchange for fundraising, and I’ll run the half-marathon in San Diego, CA in June. I’ve never done anything like this and I can’t believe how GOOD it feels. You describe it perfectly — feeling your legs grow stronger, your feet against the ground…it’s so natural and archaic. It is who we are meant to be and what we should be doing with our bodies.

    I wish you health and happiness. May you be blessed.

  88. Adrienne

    Wow. Really powerful. I’m in the same boat — it’s hard not to eat too much when you love everything about food. I’ve been doing pilates for a couple years now and love it. It makes me a lot stronger. But I really need to amp up the cardio to lose all that extraneous matter I don’t need. I always say I don’t have enough time, etc, etc. But really, I need to make time, for my health and my life. Thank you for being inspiring!

  89. Anonymous

    Thank you thank you. I know a lot of people have said that — but I thought one more couldn’t hurt. I have experienced the pain of food from the opposite side — from the restricting, adverse emotional connection with food that comes with an eating disorder.

    Food can be wonderful and food can be painful — it depends on what you let it be. Your attitude and bravery are inspiring.

  90. Carla

    With tears in my eyes, thank you. I will be sharing this with my mother who has given of herself for decades caring for my sister and her own mother and who recently started listening to her body because she, too, doesn’t want to miss a minute. All the best to you and your family.

  91. Lisa

    Thank you so much for this Shauna! And deep blessings to you. I will re-read this. I am nourished by this.

  92. NatalieD

    Thanks for your openness and honesty and for sharing this with all of us. You are a very inspiring lady and have faced your challenges beautifully.

  93. Jennywenny

    Wow, what a lot of worry. So sorry to hear of you going through all this.

    I tip the scales a little higher than I should, I need to be inspired by you to lose a little more.

    Good luck with the couch to 5k. I suggest that if you have big boobs like me you get yourself a decent bra. I love my moving comfort and it makes jogging so much easier!

    I also suggest that you check out my favourite uk retailer, bravissimo. They have wonderful bras, you’ll feel like a million dollars!

  94. JessicaW

    Well said! Thank you! So sorry to hear of all of the stress in your life these past few years. I’m in much the same situation for some of the same reasons. Thanks for sharing the link to the fitness resources–I’ll be joining right along with you.

    Peace, friend and thanks for all that you teach us!

  95. anniem319


    Thank you for having the courage to write so openly about your challenges. You gave me and many others I’m sure a tremendous gift with this.

    Like you, my entry to motherhood has been wrought with overwhelming challenges. I like to joke that if Lifetime made a movie about what we have faced as a family, I would shut it off in disbelief because NO ONE would have to deal with all that. The plot would be unbelievable. Like you, my response has been to eat. I have gained over 50lbs, and now that the worst of the trials are over, I hate myself daily for how I’ve let myself go.

    Thanks for the reminder that I should be more gentle on myself. I really needed to hear that. You keep on cooking, writing and loving little Lu and I will continue reading every bit!


  96. Tracee

    Beautiful. That was the most inspiring post I’ve ever read. I too often fall into the “should or should not” trap, but you are right. I want to be around for all of my children( and grandchildren’s) lives, I don’t want to miss anythign, either. Thanks for reminding me.

  97. Allison the Meep

    Wow. Wowowowowow. I had no idea you were going through so much. You’re so positive and joyful, and all of the pain and fear has never once come through in anything you write. Thank you for sharing this so honestly. I cried a little reading it all, because I just can’t believe you’ve been through so much.

    Love to you.


    A kindred spirit, you are; your writing knocks me to my knees and I find myself very, very grateful to be a part of this blogging world and to have come across your site. Always a lesson to be learned, a laugh to be laughed and a sorrow or hard time to share with those of us who read this blog.

    As someone who has battled the weight for years — I have said,felt and believed every. single. word. you have written about myself and my body.

    It ends today. I am headed out the door to walk and then run.

  99. Ryah

    Thank you. Best blog post yet. I started following you after I assisted one of your cooking classes at PCC. And now, a Bastyr graduate, I am in Boulder studying at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating with Marc David. You might enjoy his book–the Slow Down Diet–it’s not about the food. As much of a foodie as I am, I am learning that each of our relationships with food is complex, personal, deep and symbolic of how we are in life. A beautiful paradox: it is about the food and it isn’t at all. Blessings.

  100. Shuku

    Shauna, you and Danny are two of the bravest, stick-to-it people I know of. Weight. Oh dear lord, –weight-, it’s always the issue isn’t it? I’ve been fighting it for years; I was fine when I was still doing 17 hours of dancing a week but when I had to stop that due to injury, things just went south in a hurry. I was on medications that made me put on weight; when I stopped them things were a bit better. Now though, my doctor is worried because I’m –dropping– weight so fast he doesn’t know if it’s stress or anything else at work (my tests have come back negative). For the first time in my life people are now desperately worried that I’m –losing– weight; I find that somewhat ironic. The worst thing? I want to keep dropping more even if it’s not healthy. Because I am a performer who performs regularly with a very willowy stick-figure soprano, and it is hard to watch her glide out on stage and not compare. I’ve had health problems lately with sore throats, swallowing problems which don’t seem to have a cause, and overall body fatigue that doesn’t seem to have any rhyme or reason except excessive stress and perhaps even depression. Which means I haven’t wanted to eat, and even when I cook, I can’t seem to be inspired to do anything more than make something vaguely edible.

    But this post — it’s made me realise that the important thing is to be healthy and alive. You’re an inspiration, you’re a courageous woman and I am so, so very grateful to you for sharing your struggles. That takes guts and strength. In the words of some of the little kids I teach: My hero!

  101. Michelle

    When you realise how beautiful you are on the inside, it can finally show on the outside. Thank you for sharing your difficult and painful story. I wish you great joy, peace, and luck on your journey.

    My sister was born with a similar genetic disorder (Aperts Syndrome, but she also has fused/webbed fingers and toes, and no rotation in her hips or shoulders, plus severe scoliosis, and is mentally delayed too with some degree of autism). My parents were told, when they brought her home from the hospital nearly 39 years ago) to expect to find her dead in her cot. She’s now living independently, working, and enjoys crafts and has taken many textile college courses! She is a constant source of amazement to me.

    You have certainly been through more in this past year than many go through in a lifetime…but I suspect because of that you have found an amazing strength you didn’t know you had.

    And it sounds like you know how to use that power now too! Thank you for sharing your wonderful story, trimuph is always the best ending ;o)

  102. Sharon

    Shauna, I can’t thank you enough for this post. It just goes to show how much emotional weight we all carry that no one knows about. What is however exposed is our physical weight that is often judged harshly. No one knows and cannot truly “walk in our shoes”. I don’t have the young child issues that you do but mine is a terminally ill alcoholic husband that has caused me tremendous grief. I smile at the world all day while crying on the inside. Thank you for your tremendous courage and I hope just getting it all out there was a healing in itself for you as well. Bless You and your family!!

  103. A-Rob

    Hi — I found your blog when I was diagnosed with celiac disease. You are an inspiration in so many ways. I am crying right now because I cannot thank you enough for talking about your relationship with food. The world would be a much better place if everyone was so honest. Thank you for helping me — A

  104. mennogirl

    Thank you so much for this piece it echos and reverberates with so many fragments of thoughts floating around in my brain. I am always amazed and so impressed when people find such beautiful words to express their hard times and are then willing to share their story with perfect strangers. So thank you for this post and thank you for this beautiful blog that I always find so inspiring.

  105. Maggie

    Shauna, thanks for being you, and thanks, too, for sharing all of you here. Warmly, Maggie

  106. K-Sweet

    Bless you, Shauna, and your family. And I wish much strength to you in your quest for better health.

  107. Maggie

    Shauna, Thanks for being you, and thanks, too, for sharing all of you here honestly. Warmly, Maggie

  108. Anonymous

    Sometimes it’s just time. And sometimes the time is just right. I’m at a similar spot in my life right now, and I’m hoping my timing is as right as yours seems to be.

    Best of luck and best wishes!

    Oh– and have you heard of the five finger shoes by vibram? They’re great and very healthy for running and walking, especially on Vashon where you can run and walk on nice trails.

  109. Shauna

    Good for you. Mindfulness is the key to everything… whether it be weight loss, happiness or love.

    Good luck with running and “shredding.” You can do it!

  110. Anonymous

    Thank you for this. Your blog has often been an inspiration for me, helping me to learn to love food again after it became such a frustration (and fear) after my son was diagnosed with myriad food allergies. Your words today spoke so directly to me, to my need to take care of myself so I can be a better momma. Thank you so much for the gift you’ve given me, and so many others. I wish you and your family peace and health and an overabundance of blessings!


  111. Iris

    Beautiful and brave post. I’m sure all of us reading it hear something of ourselves in it. I know I did. It’s a comfort to hear such honesty from someone I admire and know that we’re all in the same place sometimes. And to see such wonderful recipes and posts coming out of such a difficult time for you is very inspiring.

  112. NMW

    YES, Shauna, you can and will do this. Celebrate the small changes and keep piling them up. Have you considered adding yoga to your regimen? The benefits go far beyond “limber”, and can help us slow down the fast-forward part of our lives, and deal with little daily crap, as well as the much bigger crap that challenges us.

  113. Marianne Richardson

    As writers, we often feel we should somehow “know” what to say.

    I got nothing. Nothing but love.

    Thank you. For being honest, for sharing, for being strong enough to show how vulnerable you are, for helping us to see how vulnerable we are, too.

  114. Melanie Heavenly

    Thanks so much for this wonderful post. Well done on your brave decision to tackle your eating in a mindful way. I particularly liked your observation about not judging an overweight person and thinking they’re lazy etc. You are so right, there IS always a reason why people are the way they are. Larger people wear their issues on the outside and thin people wear theirs on the inside. Everyone has them.

  115. Larissa



    Oh, mama. I relate to every word of that. I have two kids who have had special needs and health crises and my own health has been a rollercoaster (celiac is just one of a pile of diagnoses we have over here). And I’ve eaten my way through it, and I am working on living lighter, too.

    Our babies are worth it.
    *We* are worth it.
    And we can do it!!!

    Lu is looking so tall. And so, so beautiful. I’ve been there on the never sleeping over 3 hours, the children’s hospital, the worry. I wish I could hug you, because those of us who have been through that — we gotta stick together. Its so horrible. And my aunt has breast cancer, and I had to have 2 mammograms this year, and… yeah.

    *extra hug*

  116. Valerie @ City|Life|Eats

    I have been in my own version of what you are going through — so many of us have — the weight that won’t stop going up, the endless doctor’s appointments and procedures and fear.

    The two things that helped my emotional/comfort eating and carb cravings more than anything were:

    1. Julia Cameron’s Writing Diet — it really spoke to me (I was also an Artist’s Way fan to begin with)
    2. Green smoothies with very little fruit (they tend to kill sugar cravings for me)

    I wish you all the very best.

  117. Meg Gross

    Thank you Shauna. My brother was hit by a car years ago and i gained weight. Celiac disease has been tough. I totally get it. Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone with that tough relationship with food, grief, stress, and Celiac stuff.

  118. Fuji Mama

    What a powerful reminder of what all of this “life” stuff is really about. Thank you for sharing you with us so that we can better know ourselves. XOXO

  119. Bear and Bones Mama

    Thank you for posting this. YOU CAN DO IT! I’m working on me right now too, and you know what? It’s lovely. You should be so proud of yourself.

  120. michelle whitehead

    Your post was timely. I know that during a child’s crisis I am stoic, strong and on — I am not allowed to breakdown. I therefore push it all aside with food — wonderful joyous food. Then after the crisis has passed again, I look in the mirror and see each lb as a tear I did not allow myself to shed. It has also been a long journey for my family and I feel your sadness at wanting to just breathe a little easier. I am also “dieting” and finally letting myself cry for all the things I could not do to protect my child from genetics, environment — life. Hoepfully as I shed each pound, I will remember that I as a mother am not alone in this world, that my strength can come from sharing my sorrow, my pain and my struggle and allowing that occasional tear to fall before I stuff it down with that mouthful of mac and cheese. Instead I will use the food –wonderful, delicious food — to celebrate the wonderful steps my children have taken in recovery, growing and being.


  121. Ricki

    I can’t imagine a single reader of this post who DOESN’T see at least a bit of her/himself in it! I’ve certainly been there and came to the same conclusion–eat well and eat mindfully, exercise, enjoy life and don’t be too hard on yourself–these are all such important points! I have a weakness for sweets as comfort and have been trying to learn to find that same comfort elsewhere… it’s a journey, to be sure, but a rewarding one. (And I had to laugh at the quote about taking “two weeks” to lose sugar cravings–um, for me, maybe 10 months or so?) ;)

  122. LutherLiz

    wow. I stumbled on this via twitter. I can’t imagine how hard this year has been. I am just starting to couch to 5k myself and have weekly links so others can share their story with it too if you ever want to stop by. (

    In the meantime good luck, God bless and you’ll be in my prayers. In the scheme of all you’ve went through this is definitely a hill you can climb.

  123. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for sharing. Sometimes I get frustrated by how blogs seem to be saying,“life is perfect, problems are few.” It’s refreshing to hear you being so real, and to know that everyone has their burdens and that we can share them with one another.

  124. LutherLiz

    wow. I am so impressed with your writing, your strength and your honesty. I’m sure any of the last year can’t be easy but I’m proud of you for coming through and taking charge.

    I’m just starting the C25k program myself and hosting a blog challenge for it if you ever want to link up (

    In the meantime good luck, God bless, and I’ll be praying for you and your journey.

  125. NoKas

    Thank you so much for this great post! I wish you and your family all the best.

    Greetings from a Portuguese living in crazy Belgium


  126. Diane

    Wow. So sorry for all you’ve been going through.I am thinking good thoughts for your struggles.

    I recently came to the realization — at age 40-something — that I hate the gym. I join, pay for it and don’t go, find it boring, etc etc etc — so in what was mostly a budget decision, but turned out to have great consequences I gave up the “Y” completely. I like to eat. I don’t like to exercise much. I’m lucky in that I don’t have a weight issue, but exercise, as you so rightly point out, is for so much more than weight. It’s about longevity. Health.

    So, I’ve made a bargain with myself. As long as it’s not raining (and I live in CA, so a long stretch now coming without that), and as long as it is daytime, I am going to do all my errands on the bike or public transportation. I’ve dragged out the bike from storage and fitted it up with a nice set of panniers. Want to go grocery shopping? Bike. Want to go to visit a friend? BART/Bike. Want to go to get my hair cut? Bike. It’s saving lots of money on gas, and I feel so much better. I highly recommend it.

  127. Rina the Mama Bear

    Thank you.

    I was in the same position when my son was born. Whisked away immediately after he emerged from my body, ICU then a big city Childrens hospital NICU for a month…feeding tubes, breathing tubes, more wires and cords and electrical things dangling from him that picking him up was awkward and scary because we might pull something out, or crimp something, or make the damn machines beep.

    I lost every bit of my pregnancy weight and more in that month. I had to go out and buy new jeans on a day when I hadn’t showered, didn’t remember the last time I’d slept and hadn’t been home in weeks because my pregnancy jeans were literally falling off when I took a step.

    Once we were finally allowed to come home (oh, such joy!!!), we settled into life and yes, food. Joyful cooking and baking. Celebratory style stuff: cookies, cakey breads, pastas, etc etc etc.

    Gained weight. Parents took us to California last year so we started ChangeOne, a diet from Reader’s Digest that in actuality is very, very good. No counting calories or anything, just eating better and more of the good stuff like fruits and veggies. Lost the weight, looked fantastic.

    But I’m gaining weight again. And I feel so awful. I get this feeling in the pit of my stomach when I look at my undressed self in the mirror. Worry about whether or not my husband still finds me attractive.

    Now I have a gall stone that I’m going to have to have surgery for in June. It’s a big ‘un — nearly 2cm in diameter (your gall bladder is only 4cm in diameter when fully distended). For the past 8–12 months I’ve spent countless nights writhing in pain, or in the hospital on morphine and gravol drips, spent so much time with this pain that debilitates a body so badly.

    While we don’t eat that poorly, we do eat too many sweets because I just love baking. And we could definitely eat more veggies, and fruit.

    Thanks for this article — it’s the kick in the pants I think I needed.

    Good luck to you, and I am so thankful that you bared your soul to all of us devoted readers. Thank you.

  128. Littles

    Thanks for sharing your life on here, the joy and the hardships. I’ve been reading your blog for a few years now…your writing is captivating. I’ve always struggled with being about 30–40 lbs overweight. Just lost 25 this fall, by doing most of what you mentioned. Eating from the earth in portions that looked and felt right. Slowly. Moving my body. That’s it.
    You’re doing this. You are well. you are healthy and you will be a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend for a very long time.
    Love and Light

  129. Amy

    “…if you ever look at someone who is overweight (in your mind), and think, “Wow, she’s really let herself go,” just remember that there is always a story behind it.”

    This is SO true, and something that really needs to be shared. I’ve been dealing with chronic pain for 20 years or so (and I’m only 42), and have been undiagnosed, underdiagnosed, misdiagnosed for many, many years. That also means I haven’t had adequate treatment or pain control. Food has been a constant, loving companion when my body hurts so much I don’t want to move or I *have* to move to care for children, work and just live my life.

    I so wish that one day, people will look beyond the outer shell we move around in and see the stories behind the fat, the alcohol or drugs, the homelessness, the ugliness, the anger or whatever face we see in front of us. Because we all have a story that matters. We’re all walking wounded in one way or another. We’re all human.

    Thank you Shauna, for trusting and sharing your “secret” pain over the last few years with all of us.

  130. Sam

    This is a very brave post, Shauna, bravo. Although no two stories are the same, there are many things I recognise in this piece. Thank you for putting it out for discussion.

  131. nm

    Wow. You gone through the wringer and survived. Everything you have identified — lack of sleep, stress, cleaning up the plates, being less mindful, and not getting enough exercise are all important. You are working towards making it work for you — I salute you.

    You are also so lucky to have a supportive spouse — that makes the battle/transition so much easier.

    Best of luck,


  132. stephen

    Great post, Shauna. Good luck…you can do it. I know: food is everything in this house and in September 08 I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I thought the joy of food was over for me…but found, cooking and eating mindfully, as you say, and adding in some exercise, that I could still eat the food I love while losing 40 pounds in about a year and bringing my blood glucose numbers down dramatically. Now when I create recipes for my blog I’m always doing it with an eye on the calories and carbs, and when I take a serving for myself I usually use a measuring cup or a scale, but I’m still loving food! My granddaughter (5 when I was diagnosed) is my inspiration, just as your Lu is for you: I have the feeling she’s going to become an interesting woman and I don’t want to miss it.
    Thanks for a great post…it will help me stay focused. Best, Stephen

  133. Freedom Runner//Liz

    Andrea S. tweeted about this post this morning, and I am so glad to have bounced over here and read it, having never visited this blog before. Thank you for sharing this!!!!! There is more I want to say about how meaningful this post is, but I just can’t find the words today, so know that you made a difference with your story, and I am cheering for you as you continue to live mindfully and feel better about, well, everything!

  134. cdrushin

    Shauna, Thank you so much for saying yes to your pain and trials and sharing them with us. I have been reading your blog for about 2 yrs and love the way you have embraced your life and been willing to share it with others. I have been living with depression for about 10yrs and Celiac for about 3yrs and I am still struggling with finding balance in my life and want you to know what an inspiration you are to me to just relax and live fully in the moment and I know you are going to do great at taking control and continuing to say yes to the joy of food and the joy of a healthy body and the joy of every moment of life and relaxing into all it has to offer both in good times and not so good. I hate to run but I am so going to start hitting the swimming pool for laps and water aerobics. All things in moderation and balance. Blessings to you,the chef, and Lu(I still love the “little bean” nick name).

  135. rniteflyer

    Shauna, I’ve been reading your blog for about a year, ever since I gave up gluten. I have never commented. However, I find myself at a similar place in my journey and I cannot express how much your post today touched me. By the end I was moved to tears, as well as inspired. Thank you for the courage to give us a glimpse behind the scenes, to let us know what has been going on, and for sharing this most intimate of posts. As someone who is now also trying to move more each day, eat in a way that my body considers healthy, and struggle with my own Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis, I applaud you!

  136. Desiree Adaway

    This has to be one of THE most beautiful things I have ever read in my life. My heart was moved in a real and profound way from the sharing of your story. I understand your pain and struggle. I looked up one day and saw this body– that was not mine but has a sould that is definitely me.Like you it came from my love of food and stress–food is comfort but too much of anything can be bad. I am so happy you are in the clear. I send you peace, love and beauty. I am a new and devoted fan.

  137. IrishGirl

    Thank you for sharing and for your authenticity. “Reveal” is something that I am working on in my life — letting people see the REAL me. You are blessed, as are we all. Whether happy, sad, curious or frustrated, you have something to say, as do I. The world needs our voices!

    Love and dreams,

  138. Sarah


    To add to the many other voices…thank you, so much. This was an incredibly courageous post and so moving to me. Though are struggles are different, I related to much of what you said. This past year has been a rollercoaster for me: I was laid off, moved, got engaged, and am still struggling to finish my Master’s degree while working 40 hours per week. It’s not easy, and like so many others, I turn to food for comfort. I also began blogging a few months ago, which amped up the eating even more. Hello weight gain! Portion control is by far the hardest thing for me. As is a) finding the time to exercise and b) not getting bored by it. I’m starting to commute to work by bike, and joined a soccer league; these are activities that don’t feel like “exercise” to me. My mother was diagnosed with colon cancer in her 40’s, and died 10 yrs ago, when I was 16. I’m at much higher risk for developing colon cancer as a result, and getting back in to shape and dropping the extra 20 lbs hanging around is so, so important. I don’t want to miss anything, either, and your honesty and awesomeness have inspired me even more. I’m so happy that those rough times are behind you and now you can focus on yourself, instead of worry and stress and no sleep. I wish I could hug you.

  139. Kdog

    Wow…is all I can say. Your family has certainly been through a great deal. I love the way you tell your stories. Thank you for you deep honesty.I have been a celiac aware person for 2 years now. Through diet changes to address my gluten issues as well as some hardship, my weight is the highest and I am the unhealthiest I’ve ever been. I still walk my dog daily for about 20 minutes, but know it’s not enough. Thank you for the motivation you offer the rest of us who, at least with me, use food as a calming agent. I need to learn and follow new patterns. Thank you for your inspiration!

  140. nicole

    Thank you for writing this — so hard to put it all out there sometimes, but so necessary. You’re right: it IS all about being mindful and balancing out our diets. And, I’m so glad you’ve come to running! Running is one of my very favorite things in the whole world, and almost always puts me to rights (especially during difficult times it is a solace and a way to get out all that twitchy energy) … plus, it just makes you feel so *good* mentally and physically. (Yes, I am a fan!)

    Best of luck with it all — and so glad your little girl is recovered and healthy.

  141. Cindy

    Yes, inside the exterior of all of our lives you find the interior. Sometimes it is nice to be able to go to a place where you don’t have to face the realities of the day and you are able to be “normal”. Or maybe it is just what you conceive as normal. I believe sharing what has broken you down is a step in the healing process. I have been there and admire you for being able to write about it in such a brilliant way.

    Since I developed an allergy to wheat and yeast I have been obsessed with food. it was no longer, I am hungry” it became, “can I eat that”. The satisfaction came in finding something I could eat not satisfying a hunger. Lucky for me, one of the quick snacks I could have was chocolate. A great way to medicate my sadness about not being able to eat what everyone else was. I am now wearing 20 pounds of chocolate on my hips and stomach!

    I was just thinking the other day, that I wish there was a weight loss program for people who were gluten free. Life has become, cooking something that tastes good and any thought about being healthy has gone out the window.

    I would love to see recipes that are low calorie, quick to cook and healthy.

    Thank you for sharing your story, it really made me think about what has got me in the spot that I am in.

  142. Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing your story with all of us. I know that you will continue to get stronger and healthier and lighter. Lu will get faster and you’ll get faster too just to keep up! Danny will help you create amazing new recipes that will nourish your family and friends, body and soul. The rest of us out here will continue to support you with good thoughts, and prayers, and lots of blog reading and comments. Again thank you for your beautiful story.

  143. A New Leaf

    Thank you so much for this post. I’ve been reading your blog ever since I was diagnosed with celiac nearly two years ago. It has always been an enormous help to have someone so eloquently display themselves and their love of food and feeling and living well. It’s always interesting, the juxtaposition between being extremely happy at the way I feel and being extremely frustrated at the way I look. It’s confusing, and your post brought tears to my eyes in your (perhaps unintended) sympathy. Your support in cyberspace is great — the exercise regime is hard, and I hope to travel through it with you.

  144. Cathi

    Shauna, I have been reading your blog for at least 3 years now and truly love your honesty. We all have different stories of our lives — but I, too have had an extremely difficult few years and gained quite a bit of weight. I have been exercising and being more mindful of what I eat too and it’s working — slowly but surely. I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your words. I don’t often comment, but I read your words daily and they always warm my heart. So thank you for being you. This post was beautifully heartwarming and inspirational! Have a wonderful day! :)

  145. Andrea

    Thank you for sharing your life. I’m in the process of changing my eating awareness right now too. I“m reading Geneen Roth’s book “Women, Food and God” Changing my life. And she wrote on facebook today, “Everything we believe about love, fear, transformation and God is revealed in how, when and what we eat“
    I“m staying curious about how this works in my life.
    Thank you again and wishing you much ease in this coming year!

  146. Leslie Anne

    Shauna — your post made me laugh, cry, and identify even more with you. Two years ago I was diagnosed with an extremely rare auto immune blood disorder that ripped my life and health apart, the drugs they gave me were worse than the disorder and i ended up nearly dying in ICU through what modern medicine could provide for me. I have a 2 year old and a 5 year old and it as them and wanting to see them grow up that keeps me going. I found your site at the beginning of this year when, as my new years resolution, I decided to SCREW modern medicine and I went gluten free to see if it would help me resolve some of my issues. I have not needed a chemo treatment in 8 months, clearly eating healthy and going gluten free has benefited me.

    Your site has been inspiring, though now I feel a little awful knowing that you were hiding so much pain in your delicious and wonderful food.

    Thank you for all you do, and for sharing your story. I so appreciate your blog and recipes, they help me see that life as a gluten-free girl is not quite so awful. (I need bagels!!)

    Many wishes for good health for you and your whole family, and thank you for confiding in us.

  147. Vivian

    Shauna, I can’t even begin to tell you how close to home this post hits for me. You are brave, strong and courageous . If I could hug you right now I would. Thank you for writing this post.

  148. Meg

    Thanks for sharing your story, Shauna. What a year you’ve had with all its joys and sadness. I have been following your life via your blog and flickr stream, but I had no idea things were what they were.

    Like many here, I’ve had my own share of tragedy, though it’s not child-related. Still, very, very hard and coming out of it was like coming out of a bad dream.

    Glad to hear you’re running! I am going to start up again, so thanks for the inspiration — this post was well-timed for me. Thank you also for the various links — I’m going to check out the Jillian DVD and the Thich Nhat Hanh book. They really seem to be right up my alley.

    Thank you for all you do with your blog. It’s at the top of my feed reader and I always enjoy it. You are doing a great job, with everything! Sending love and hugs from NYC.

  149. Becky St. Marie

    It’s hard to type through tears. Sometimes I read your blog and wonder how anyone can be so happy, so optimistic (depression was one of my celiac symptoms, which is getting better, slowly). Now I realize that you were doing the best you could, staying as positive as possible under all the circumstances. Thank you for sharing.

  150. Kathryn

    Thank you so much for writing about this topic. I was diagnosed with breast cancer about three weeks ago. It runs in the family. I have had more biopsies and tests than I can count. I am blogging about it (URL below in case you’re interested) and agree that getting it all out in writing is terribly therapeutic.

    I also have a long history with food and weight loss. I have lost 100 lbs over the past years and been able to keep it off. I am terrified that my upcoming surgeries and treatments will leave me weak and unable to keep up my exercise regime…that the weight will return. But less afraid today because I was able to make a lifestyle change — not just “diet” away the weight.

    I hope you remain healthy and never have to deal with cancer. But if you do — you are obviously a very strong woman. And there is always pie.

  151. amy

    I love that you wrote the truth. These may be the most important words you’ve written (yet). Thank you Shauna for sharing.

  152. sweetpea

    I have read this over and over now, all morning. My favorite line remains, “just remember, there is always a story behind it”. If we could all just remember that simple line before passing judgement on anyone for any reason. I love you my dear!

  153. Kate @ Savour Fare

    Thank you, Shauna. For your honesty, for your reality. And for sharing. You’ve very much inspired me. To move more, to be more mindful.

  154. Melissa

    It sounds like you’ve been under a tremendous amount of stress and I truly can’t imagine doing what you’re doing. Don’t be too hard on yourself because that’s just about the most legitimate reason for a weight gain I can think of. Even if it doesn’t feel this way now, your life will begin to even out and this too will pass. Once you’re in that place, THEN you will have plenty of time to focus on healthy eating, and it will absolutely be something you can do.

    I love Thich Nhat Hahn! All the best and prayers to you. YOU CAN DO IT.

  155. lolliejean

    This is a brave and beautiful post. Being allowed to see the struggles as well as the joy in your life simply adds depth and richness to the experience of reading your words.

    I am so happy to hear that you’re cancer free. I’ve been down the breast cancer road; with my mom during her last year of round two. And then, a year and a half of my own walk. I lived to tell the tale. I have new boobs and my (before chemo) straight hair grew in curly. Thanks cancer! :) xo ~ Lori

    “I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live, so that which came to me as seed goes to the next as blossom, and that which came to me as blossom, goes on as fruit.” — Dawna Markova

  156. Cookie

    Thank you for your honesty, Shauna. The uncertainty of life allows us to TRULY live; living each moment with intention, passion, and appreication. What a great teacher uncertainty is. Now, EACH moment is precious and as you walk this path of truly KNOWING this with all of your heart, you can share it with all of those who have yet to know the poignant teachings of fear and uncertainty. Grace is now your teacher. I look forward to all the great recipes that will help us all live a healthier, and slimmer life!

  157. Green Acres in the City

    Thank you, from one Mama who is on a long journey of weightloss herself. I have over 150 lbs to lose. Your posts inspire me. I have lost 13 lbs in 4 weeks and you know I am doing it for myself for the first time. Yes I want to be thinner but the truth is I have these 2 amazing gifts from God who call me Mama and 1 other who calls me his Wife and I want to be here for them too! Thank you my friend. I am walking right along with you!

  158. Cannelle Et Vanille

    shauna– i read this post twice. just again so i could really absorb it. you are right. our blogs are about food and we want to inspire others so our true lives never really shine through as they are. with all the downs we also experience. i feel the same way about my life. you have gone through a lot with Lu and your own health scares and this piece will be a source of inspiration for many of us. I’m sure it was difficult to spill your guts out, but boy will this be in our minds! So here’s to a healthy life, with less emotional eating, healthy exercise and the appreciation of what we have and we want to be. Cheers to you my friend! xx-A

  159. Tapia

    Wishing you all the best on your journey. Thank you for opening your life to us and sharing it with such eloquence. Peace and health to you always.

  160. Anonymous

    I was an athlete before I discovered my celiac, but it’s brought me closer to food than ever before. Food and fitness go hand-in-hand. It’s just another part of the story about yourself that you’re learning… Best wishes! — lauren

  161. Gina Perry

    You must feel lighter for sharing so much with us. I have a toddler and work from home as well, and have wondered how you have been able to do so much only knowing those obvious facts. Sleep deprivation ALONE is a maddening, maddening, thing. I am so happy for your daughter and mother’s health — and the plan to keep yourself healthy for the longest life possible. I loved this post, and would give you a hug if you weren’t across the country! Bravo to you for sharing so much with us, and for being a heroic and strong mama.

  162. Dorothy

    What a beautiful post — so raw and so real. Thanks Shauna. You are an inspiration to us all.

  163. Rambling Tart

    Dear Shauna, I’m weeping at my keyboard, wishing I could reach out and give you a big hug. Your words meant the world to me today. My last few years have been utter hell too, and finally sun is glimmering and I have hope. Thank you for being brave, wise, courageous and strong, even when you’re feeling a bit of a puddle. :-) I wish you much peace and joy this year. :-)

  164. Janna

    Shauna, I love your writing because it’s genuine. It’s life, and it shows. If you want to go on a walk/run in the city, Discovery Park is my home away from home.

  165. judy

    Oh Shauna, you’ve touched me deeply. Words are your medium, like food. All I can really say is thank you for sharing and articulating your experiences so well. Gosh, what a year you’ve all had.

    I did not take the time to read all the comments, but noticed just above mine that Andrea recommends Geneen Roth’s book: “Women, Food and God”. That is the book that has been profound for me. It has helped to look at the empty places I am trying to fill…sometimes with food or exercise or shopping or relationships…and embrace the discomfort rather than try to get away from it. Then we recover ourselves.

    Because it can be so tempting to simply substitute one compulsion for another, it’s been important to touch the tender places I can think are untouchable or unbearable. I’ve found out that I’m not so bad :). Embrace is the way through. Our bodies tend to reflect that love.

  166. MamaOrganique

    In tears! We have a daughter almost exactly Lu’s age and I’m a motherless daughter so I can relate to so, so much of your post. Your work is an inspiration and brings beauty into my life. I hope you can accept the support and good energy that I and I’m sure many other readers send you. It’s the least we can do for you. Feel well, be happy and nurture yourself — it can do wonders!

  167. La Niña

    You did it Shauna. Catharsis. A wellspring of love and support is there for you. May the love in your heart melt the pounds and each step and each bite fill your soul with health and strength.

    I’ll be your cheering squad.

  168. TrainRyder

    In addition to “same as above”… I have to say thank you.. Is it strange to say I’ve come to love you through your book and your blog. this interconnected internet is an amazing community..
    thank you again.
    I look forward to many years of photos and bogging..

  169. Megan Vera

    You are inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story. I couldn’t stop reading.

    Though my own life is far different I felt a great connection. They say the best way to get to a healthier you is by venting. Hopefully your shoulders just got much lighter.

    I wish you luck on your unending journey.

  170. Liana

    Bravo. While I’ve never been in your position and hope to never have to my heart tightens for you. As a new runner though, here’s a few pieces of advice. c25K is a great program. If you can find a local running group to join, they’re great for motivation and encouragement. There are very few communities of people that I have found that compare to them. Your local running shoe store or even are great places to start. Second, find your local running shoe store and have them fit you for shoes. I discovered only recently (I’m 33 now) that the reason I never liked to exercise was how I felt in my shoes. I’ve been buying the wrong shoes for my gait all these years& now that I’ve corrected it, I’m an addict.

    lastly — good luck. It’s a hard journey but nothing compared to what you’ve already been through. I *know* you’ll succeed.


  171. Aimee

    Thank you for a beautiful post, Shauna.
    As the mother of a 2yo who’s already had four surgeries, I understand completely. The last one was life-threatening, and occurred last month. I’m still catching up on sleep and see more lines on my face.
    How true that the mother takes care of herself last-I am a testimony to that.
    Thankfully, you seem to be open and ready for this new page. Thank you for your honesty.
    Much love to the whole family.

  172. Kelly

    As they say, it takes a village. We followers wait with bated breath for your posts. We enjoy your humor, recipes and warmth that conveys right to our hearts. Thanks for sharing your concerns, joys, sadness and frustrations. And, know this, we are here to pick you up when you are down becaue you are part of our village.

  173. Dawn (KitchenTravels)

    My dear, your writing touches me. As a lover of food, as a mother, as a wife, as a person, it really touches me. Grab hold of every moment with Lu, because you are right: the years with our children really do pass in the blink of an eye. Wishing you and your family continued happiness and good health. xo, Dawn

  174. Anonymous

    What about adoption? I don’t think Lu has to be your only small bundle of joy– you two obviously have lots more love to share.

  175. keiko

    Thank you for sharing your story Shauna — I can only imagine how hard it must have been, but I know you will always be positive. You are an inspiration. Sending lots of love and hugs, xx

  176. juliette

    I started reading you before you even mentioned ‘The Chef’ and I just want to say thank you for writing this.

    I feel like 2 weeks ago I turned my own corner on how I view taking care of myself and think I’m in now a good spot, finally. Your post has really been an encouragement and I want to thank you for taking the time to write this; I know posts take time and life.

  177. EponaRae

    So often I have finished reading your posts, sat back, taken a big breath and wondered: how does she do it? How does she carry the fear and the pain and the stress and the worries, keeping it all separated from the humor and the joy and the celebration? You’ve been so careful to parse out little hints of the challenges of these past 2 years, so careful to protect US from it all, I worried for you.
    I am so relieved–so grateful–that you’ve found the courage to ‘come out’. In so doing, you allow all of us to gather around and embrace you, pooling the astronomical power of well-wishing.
    Be well, friend.
    Just say yes.

  178. Genie

    I’m crying, Shauna, for a whole number of reasons I’m not going into here. Thank you for this post. Thank you.

  179. Cheryl Arkison

    Oh, it helps. It really helps.

    Thank-you for being so raw and honest. Indeed, you’ve had a rough run of it and you deserve every moment to stand up and say it sucks. But you are doing what so many of us avoid — making the change to make it better.

    Our lives aren’t measured by the things that happen to us, it is measured by how we respond to the world. Kudos to you for moving forward. Very inspriational.

  180. Cheryl Arkison

    Oh, it helps. It really helps.

    Thank-you for being so raw and honest. Indeed, you’ve had a rough run of it and you deserve every moment to stand up and say it sucks. But you are doing what so many of us avoid — making the change to make it better.

    Our lives aren’t measured by the things that happen to us, it is measured by how we respond to the world. Kudos to you for moving forward. Very inspriational.

  181. Cheryl Arkison

    Oh, it helps. It really helps.

    Thank-you for being so raw and honest. Indeed, you’ve had a rough run of it and you deserve every moment to stand up and say it sucks. But you are doing what so many of us avoid — making the change to make it better.

    Our lives aren’t measured by the things that happen to us, it is measured by how we respond to the world. Kudos to you for moving forward. Very inspriational.

  182. Jeni

    I can’t say that I know exactly how you feel, but I empathize nonetheless. I’ve struggled with my weight since high school, and I was never successful at losing it and keeping it off. It wasn’t until I went off gluten that I started finally losing weight and keeping it off. This site — your words and photos, particularly — was a big part of keeping me sane through the detox and the cravings, reminding me that there was still lots of tasty foods out there and the spirit of a Baker Who Can inside me.

    Now I’m where you are — trying to eat right, trying to exercise, trying to remember where joy lies. It’s hard, but it’s doable.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is, take care of yourself, and thank you for letting us experience part of your life. If there’s anything a distant intimate stranger can do for you, I’m there. Brightest blessings to you and your family, for now and always.

  183. Daphne

    Beautiful, strong post. And being mindful of what you eat is the best way, in my opinion, of getting to a healthy weight without feeling like you are somehow punishing yourself. You enjoy every bite and your body thanks you. But seriously — you have been through a lot of crap and it’s so lovely to watch someone be gentle with themselves over that, and gradually make changes, rather than being harsh and self-punishing. No good there. So… kudos, and hugs, and let’s hope the next year is better for all of us!

  184. Umami is the Tastiest

    Thank you for sharing, really really thank you.

    I have been prescribed 2hrs of exercise a day. When I moved to NYC I lost 80lbs, yes read it, 80lbs. I moved from there to the suburbs of Boston where I found that 80lbs waiting for me.

    I’ve visited a nutritionist and through no fault of her own she didn’t know how to help someone who lived in a gluten free, and nut free home. Do you blame her?

    So she looked at our eating and prescribed 2hrs of exercise per day. Sure, I’m not entirely sure where to put it. But one step at a time, I’ve worked in 1hr a day 3x’s a week and am walking more at lunch–since it all adds up.

    I’ve given up cooking dinner almost entirely, and am trying to eat mostly vegies, fruits and proteins. However, I’ve noticed that if I don’t have carbohydrates I overeat the next day, so I’m trying to figure out the balance.

    I don’t have to be skinny, I just want to be able to move freely again and when we do have kids to be able to play with them with all the pep and verve kids deserve.

  185. Anonymous

    Work it!!

    I know you must be so proud to have made it through such trying experiences only to realize how strong and awesome you really are.

    It’s amazing how resilient human beings can be, and you are a shining example of such resiliency. Your blog inspires so many readers, and your honesty makes everyone of us feel even more connected to you.

  186. Momat32

    Dear Shauna, I don’t have a weight problem, but my dear-to-me sister-in-law does and your piece gives me so much insight to her struggles. I do have a problem with computer-induced inertia and I really connect with what you said about breaking through to more physical activity. And as the mother of a daughter with a serious medical condition, you touched my heart with your brave and honest writing. My daughter is 20 years old now and we have been though some very tough years–hers is a psychiatric condition and the last 4 years as she has entered adulthood have been quite confounding and harrowing. But even with all that, I want to be here too for all that there is to say Yes to (love that from your writing too). Your essay made me get up from my desk and go straight up the hill near my house for a 40 minute, heart rate raising, hike. Keep it coming, Shauna. You are touching many lives in many ways.
    p.s. I and my 12 year old daughter are both Gluten Intolerant and we love your recipes–looking forward to the new cookbook.

  187. Michele Albert


    I read your post and then the comments and WOW — people are amazing. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you and yours all the best. You are not alone and please know that even though we have never met, I and all of those who posted before me! are pulling for you, encouraging you, and willing you to succeed — to be healthy and to find balance in your life again.

    I gained 50 lbs in a year on fertility drugs, and gained every year after that for the seven years that we tried. I developed stage 4 endo and have been on different drug therapies to correct the issue, I know how frustrating it can be to not like what you see in the mirror or in a picture. The best any of us can do is to not give up, keep trying, keep making the right choices.

    You have a beautiful child and a man who loves you, you have your health and a successful cookbook. Bravo — now go get some sleep!

  188. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for writing this. Your posts always leave me thinking, and I can often relate to what you write. What your confronted with cannot be compared to my problems though, but I always understand what your trying to say.
    I have been struggling with a serious eating disorder for the past 2 years and I’m just now recovering. I’ve always had problems with eating and I’ve always thought that I was eating too much and too unhealthy, and with my father criticizing my weight, I wanted to loose it all… and that’s what I did. Now, I’m beginning to realize that neither way was the right one, that I have to listen to my body and that I can’t be too strict with myself. (I’m trying to eat healthy at the moment and I’m doing good actually, apart from my passion for baking).
    Reading food blogs like yours made me see how food can make people happy, when used in the right ways. Reading these blogs allow me to think about delicious foods and different ways to enjoy them and I don’t waste my time anymore with finding new ways to not have to eat. I’m really thankful for people like you, who share their happiness and joy with people like me. It’s really given me new strength to see how good life can be. I’m not completely cured yet, but I’m feeling better than I have for a long time (even though I’m only 16). I hope I can grow a strong woman like you are, and I wish you the best of luck for your future and the future of your family (you have a really sweet daughter by the way:))

    Helena, with greetings from Germany (hope my English is comprehensable :-P)

  189. Luann

    Well said. What a struggle you have had the last two years. I admire you for your words and your passion for life and all the pleasures in it, like food. I think it is amazing that you have continued to write with everything that has happened and done it so beautifully. I hope this next journey is as positive for you as what you give us all in your writing. Now, I’ve got to go and hug my four year old — you’re right the time truly does go quickly and I’m going to try my best to appreciate it all too! Sometimes it’s all too easy to forget.

  190. Brooke

    I adore you. Your courage, strength, and beautiful writing gets me every time. It takes a lot of wisdon and stillness–the kind you can only find in a mind that’s at peace–to write those words. In owning the need for change and health you give back to all of us that read your words.

    Thank you for telling us all this. Your honesty gives us faith that we can face great odds and do something really good for ourselves. And others.

    Hugs and kisses to all of you.

  191. Jennigma

    You are beautiful, and have a beautiful life. But there is nothing about being beautiful that keeps it from being hard hard hard.

    In fact, I think recognizing how hard it is to make beauty is part of witnessing it. You have kept a positive place in your life, and kept moving forward, through so much.

    Also, from inside the thing, I think recognizing beauty is what keeps me going, at least. It’s only when I can’t find the beauty that I give in to despair, and when I can see it I can get through even the most awful things I can imagine.

    The beauty in your life was evident, even with only the little wisps of the difficult parts you have shown. Seeing more of the picture come into focus makes it even more.

    You are amazing and inspiring and yes very human and imperfect. Perfect is boring. Being yourself, right where you are, and finding joy in it, that is beautiful. Thank you for being you.

  192. jenn

    touching at so many levels. thank goodness you are cancer-free. thank goodness your mom is ok. thank goodness lu has healed and is doing well. the glimpses of her in pictures are so full of the personality you describe.

    but what i really wanted to say, to you, myself, and everyone else, is to remember to forgive yourself. anyone else in your situation would have done the same. maybe worse. the stress of surgeries and cancer scares and lack of sleep and… allow that to be it’s own segment of time, have compassion for yourself in the face of everything you endured, and allow yourself to exhale and be here now. with a joyful toddler, the chef, a book on the way, spring and it’s impending bounty of good and healthful things, a lovely island to run on… it was ok to be where we were and to cope the way we coped. and it’s good to be where we are now.

    i think this comment is more for me than anything. but i’m glad you share your beautiful food and the ups and downs of life along with it. a place for us all to reflect and be dazzled…

  193. Kristi Lou

    Thanks for sharing, Shauna. I just had a c-section 16 days ago, and have known since our little girl was only 12 1/2 weeks inside me that she would need surgery upon birth. They whisked her off to the NICU just after birth and I was only able to hold her about 15 hours later and just for a few minutes. The following day she went to surgery and was hooked up to all sorts of tubes for several days. Luckily, she came through it all like a champion and was released from the NICU in only 8 days. The doctors originally told us it would be 2–6 weeks.
    Glad you are taking care of yourself now — you deserve it. Food can be such comfort in times of need, but it can also be a double edged sword. Thanks again for sharing your story.

  194. Kristi Lou

    Thanks for sharing, Shauna. I just had a c-section 16 days ago, and have known since our little girl was only 12 1/2 weeks inside me that she would need surgery upon birth. They whisked her off to the NICU just after birth and I was only able to hold her about 15 hours later and just for a few minutes. The following day she went to surgery and was hooked up to all sorts of tubes for several days. Luckily, she came through it all like a champion and was released from the NICU in only 8 days. The doctors originally told us it would be 2–6 weeks.
    Glad you are taking care of yourself now — you deserve it. Food can be such comfort in times of need, but it can also be a double edged sword. Thanks again for sharing your story.

  195. Kristi Lou

    Thanks for sharing, Shauna. I just had a c-section 16 days ago, and have known since our little girl was only 12 1/2 weeks inside me that she would need surgery upon birth. They whisked her off to the NICU just after birth and I was only able to hold her about 15 hours later and just for a few minutes. The following day she went to surgery and was hooked up to all sorts of tubes for several days. Luckily, she came through it all like a champion and was released from the NICU in only 8 days. The doctors originally told us it would be 2–6 weeks.
    Glad you are taking care of yourself now — you deserve it. Food can be such comfort in times of need, but it can also be a double edged sword. Thanks again for sharing your story.

  196. kendra

    shauna, what a brave face you’ve had to put on, and now a brave gift of sharing. blessings to you and your family! i’m glad you’re not giving up bacon!

  197. Barrie

    Shauna -

    I haven’t posted in a long time, but you should know that your blog kept me company during my cancer diagnosis and surgery, when I was stuck on my couch unable to go out for nearly 2 months. Thank you for that.

    I completely relate to your search for genuine, and hope you are on the healthy road to continue to discover it.

    Barrie in NYC.

  198. Ash

    Thank you for this beautiful piece of writing and sharing so much of yourself in it (as you do weekly on the blog)

    I have tears in my eyes reading this. Weight is such a tough thing and losing weight is hard. You are so full of determination and have such amazing sources of motivation to get the weight off (health, Lu) that I know you will do it.


  199. Sarah

    oh goodness. did not mean to leave off the last “a” in your name in my comment above! i was so moved i typed like a racehorse :) apologies!

  200. Brandi

    Shauna, that was beautiful. I sat and cried for you and your family and I feel honored that you chose to share your story to us. And I am so happy for you that you are taking this step not only for your family, but for yourself.

    Last year I tore my ACL playing tennis. On April 20, 2009 I had surgery to repair my ACL. I am still recovering and am leaps and bounds better than I was. But in the meantime I gained about 10 pounds while I sat with my knee elevated. Not a lot, but a lot for me. I have been frustrated and lamenting those 10 pounds for months and months. You have inspired me to get to work! I have been just attributing it to age (i am 37) and been so frustrated that I am not making any progress. But if you can do it I can do it!

    Thank you!

  201. Brianne

    Shauna, you are flat out incredible. We know it, Danny and Lu know it, you must know it too. I applaud your courage in speaking so plainly about things most of us try to hide or ignore. I’m so glad Lu’s doing so well and you can refocus your efforts a little. Take care, I wish you all the best things in the world.

  202. Julie

    Thank you for your vulnerability. What a blessing you are. There’s much to ponder in what you wrote. Thank you. May you be blessed with the years full of richness and joy, and not missing one of Lu’s precious moments.

  203. freeadmission

    I applaud you Shauna, today is the first day I have read your blog and it was indeed a profound one. I followed a link that Andrea from Superhero had tweeted and I’m so glad I did. You moved me in so many ways.
    I just wanted to say Thanks and a big Kudos to you for letting everything go in your post. Its a journey I will look forward to reading and sharing in the future.

  204. LenaBug

    This touched my heart! *hugs* I’ve been reading you for almost three years, and won’t be stopping anytime soon.

  205. Debra Mc

    I can’t even begin to tell you how much I needed to read that. You are not alone — and you have let me know I am not alone either.

    Thank you!!

  206. Krista

    Hi Shauna,
    I just recently found your blog and cannot even tell you how much I have loved reading it. The recipes are wonderful but what I love even more are your posts. This one was by far the most touching and I just have to say that you are an amazing woman. Thank you for sharing your life with ours. All my well wishes for you and yours,

  207. Katherine Turner

    shauna … your post is so courageous and from the heart … thank you thank you . .. i’m gluten intolerant and just reading your blog has helped me with the constant ache of trying to live without wheat foods, processed foods … you’ve given so much to me, please let me give back … i’m going to make a recommendation, and please know it doesn’t come lightly. i have a master’s degree in public health education, and worked with the new york state dept of health cancer services program. while researching Complementary Alternative Health (CAM) use in centers of excellence i came upon a cancer researcher and dr. named Nicholas Gonzalez. he was funded for the highest grant ever awarded by the NIH to a CAM researcher. he has crazy crazy survival rates with his treatments — and they ALL have a diet related componant.

    please please shauna, i know unasked for advice is the bane of blogging, and that you must get so tired of hearing folk remedies or such, but please just check him out. he’s the real deal.

    folks like you and me and a lot of your readers aren’t just built unable to eat gluten, we’re not supposed to be eating a lot of things — they simply don’t agree with our physical lineage.

    much love to you … for all that you do for so many, and so that you’re around for Lu and Danny and your friends and family, but also for us, the lucky folks who get to read your books and blog and find safe eating made delectable …

  208. Teresa

    Dear Shauna
    Thank you for your sharing. I had experience some difficulties in my life that got very deep last december and reading about your cooking and your joy for life help me to go through these difficult times. I’m now in a better place and I totally identify with the phrase “thirst for the genuine”. I also want to share that not all people gain weight when they go through stressful times some people like me gain health problems like migraines, mysterious gastrointestinal problems, anxiety attacks and the doctors told me the same thing that they told you, exercise and eat well. And you help me on the eating well part, I love your recipes! Thank you for being you.

  209. Vicky

    Genuine and beautifully written. I wish you the best with your daughter. We have one that is mentally handicapped and have spent years trying to adapt to sleep deprivation so I empathize with your ‘mindless eating’. I will be back!

  210. Callista

    It’s posts like these that have kept me with you for more than four years. Love, love, love.
    - Calli

  211. Anonymous

    As others have said, thank you for being honest. Obviously this post resonates with many of us, myself included, and that’s exactly why more people need to open up and tell their stories. You did a good thing by posting, and you’re doing a good thing by taking care of yourself. Lu’s going to want her mama around for a long, long time, and I remind myself that my own daughter wants that, too, when I slip into unhealthy habits. My mom died when I was 22, of congenital emphysema, and I still miss her like crazy 15 years later.

  212. Anonymous

    Wow, you are very brave and I am happy to hear that you, Lu and Danny are all well, despite the challenges you have been through. You have incredible strength and what a gift you have given us by sharing. Thank you and I wish you continued good health and much happiness.

  213. Anonymous

    Shauna! thanks for sharing. What alot of people do not realize is lack of sleep, and “stress” cause us to gain weight. Thank you for sharing. I had done the low-carb thing 5 years ago and through a doctor lost 50 lbs, when she told me to start eating wheat. I got sick and gained 60 lbs back in less then a year-that is when I got diagnosed with celiacs. I do not want to diet anymore-so I exercise and am slowly losing weight but FEEL GREAT!! good job!!

  214. Daphne

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I went through some similar experiences. I have found that openness fosters intimacy, and, of course, with intimacy, love blooms. This has been both a personal lesson and one that helps me in my work as a therapist.
    Hugs to you.

  215. Katy Moore

    “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” I love this quote, and your writings up to this point seem to be the calm in your heart. For sharing that peace with us, how grateful I am and should we all be. Thank you. Peace to you and yours.

  216. Kinderhook

    Thank you so much for this post. You can’t know how many times I’ve wondered how you could eat all this fabulous food and not have a weight problem (something I’ve struggled w/ my whole life). I applaud your honesty here and really appreciate your honest. This may be a food blog, true, but that’s only a part of our lives — as this post has shown. Thank you. –Sally

  217. e.b.

    Beautifully written. You are an inspiration in so many ways– thank you. We want you to stick around for a long time, too!

  218. Anonymous

    I’ve always loved your writing, but this post has really blown me away. I applaud your courage for posting this. It is incredibly heartfelt and must have been very hard, especially given the fact that your life pretty much revolves around food! I wish you the best of luck in your efforts to be healthier. As an avid runner, I am thrilled to hear you’ve taken up the sport! And yes, hitting the trails is one of life’s great pleasures.

    As far as eating, my own issue tends to be sugar, which I eat way too much of. I recently gave it up — though not forever, just to give myself a complete break. I am finding other things to snack on– sliced apple, cashews, cheese. It’s not about weight, but about what I put in my body. Trying to be more mindful without obsessing. I have done Weightwatchers, as well as recording calories on and other sites. But I feel they take way too much time and cause me to focus excessively on exact calories. This takes away the pleasure of eating.

    Anyway, I’m sure you will find your way. It sounds like you already have. And I am thrilled to hear you, Lu and your mom are all well. THANK YOU for sharing your life with us. I am sure you’ve helped more than a few people w/ this post!

  219. cbaillie

    One of the most honest posts I’ve ever read. I only hope that one day I can write something so sincere.

  220. *stepho*

    Shauna, I’ve been reading for years — your passion for food, love, and life is contagious. Good for you for hanging everything out there — by doing this you’ve probably lifted up a lot of us.

    It seems like so many of my friends and family and people I know have been struggling lately — cancer and other various illnesses, unemployment, anxiety, depression, loneliness — but through it all, I see so many of us focusing on getting healthier and making a conscious effort to feel happier. We have to. We have to take our lives into our own hands and make each day special, no matter what obstacles stand ahead of us. It’s good to know you’re right there with us, through the good and the bad. Best of luck to you, Danny, and Lu. You all deserve it.

  221. Barbara

    Shauna, this is such a brave and motivating post. I’m sure it will touch many readers.

    Dear Lu, she is a sweetie.I’m glad she has survived more than any child should ever have to endure.

    On the clear cancer results — fantastic news.

  222. Lauren @studio1270

    Shauna — you are…fabulous, in every way. Your book, your writing, your blog, your spirit, has brought me more comfort in these last few months of being diagnosed with a gluten intolerance than you’ll ever know. I appreciate your posts, especially candid ones such as this. It is refreshing when someone bares their soul, because we can all identify with what you’re going through right now.

    I wish you the very best luck in your new fitness program! The couch to 5K program is EXCELLENT.

  223. Lisa

    What a great piece Shauna! Your words will probably touch a lot of people. Plus since food is your life, it was great to read about your relationship with it.

    When I used to go through tough times, I used to starve myself. I got the help I needed and actually getting pregnant the first time is what helped to save me. I had my kids late, 31 with the first and 40 with the second. So I am 55 now and my philosophy is eat to live. I don’t own a scale I jog, ride bikes, hike and garden for exercise. When your entire body is working well, like takes on a different tone. You will also be a good example for Lu.

    Keep up the great work! Keep us posted on your progress.

  224. Lisa

    Thank you so much for sharing! We all have struggles and it’s good to know we are not alone. I’m finding myself in a similar place, weight wise, and I knew exactly what you meant when you said that there was a stubborn part of yourself that didn’t want to exercise, but every time you do exercise, it gets a little easier. Glad to hear that you are all doing well despite all of the health concerns!

  225. Spice Lovely

    Thank you for sharing such an amazing story. As a big-boned gluten free blogger who also loves to bake, I understand your perspective completely. When you have a true appreciation of food and the ability to be overwhelmed by the wrenches thrown into your life, it’s hard to maintain an ideal weight. I think it’s inspiring that you can share your story so candidly and with such heartfelt emotion. Thank you again.

  226. Cathy @ ShowFoodChef

    Let me join the choir of THanks for your “thirst for the genuine” and for sharing with us. One of the things I loved about reading blogs that made me want to write blogs were the stories — the truths that made you feel you were a part of another human in a real way, perhaps even more important than meeting them. You have touched me, and so many others — without even seeing us. That’s amazing and appreciated. Love.

  227. Cathy @ ShowFoodChef

    Let me join the choir of THanks for your “thirst for the genuine” and for sharing with us. One of the things I loved about reading blogs that made me want to write blogs were the stories — the truths that made you feel you were a part of another human in a real way, perhaps even more important than meeting them. You have touched me, and so many others — without even seeing us. That’s amazing and appreciated. Love.

  228. Cathy @ ShowFoodChef

    Let me join the choir of THanks for your “thirst for the genuine” and for sharing with us. One of the things I loved about reading blogs that made me want to write blogs were the stories — the truths that made you feel you were a part of another human in a real way, perhaps even more important than meeting them. You have touched me, and so many others — without even seeing us. That’s amazing and appreciated. Love.

  229. Anonymous

    Bravo for your bravery. It must have felt so liberating to get that off your chest. So many of us feel similarly but don’t have the courage to say it aloud. I empathize with you in so many ways your post brought a tear to my eye more than once. Thank you for sharing :-)

  230. Anonymous

    You are an amazing gift. A beautiful, thoughtful, talented, generous and amazing spirit who shares herself so kindly with us all. Thank you.

  231. Dahlia

    Oh, Shauna. I’ve been reading you blog for a few years, and this moved me to tears. Bless you. Bless you for being in it, all the way, all the time, and being able to express it with such clarity. I wish you and Danny and Lu a year of (finally!) peace where every day brims with joy.

  232. GFree_Miel

    I can’t imagine all the grief you’ve been through. Life always seems to plan everything at once, doesn’t it? I know I’ve said this in past comments before, but your story is so amazing and I will always be waiting to hear more of it. I think it’s important to share both the good and the bad because there’s always this web of support from the people here who love you.

    Always praying for you and your family and for your health.

  233. elascher

    Shauna, you are a strong woman, a wonderful mother and a good friend to those of us struggling with a gluten free life. My best wishes and support to you and Danny. I look forward to what your life changes will bring. While I love your baking, I will also love hearing about your new food and hope you will continue to share the new stuff with us. Your efforts help so much. Take care and God bless.

    Elaine, Grantham NH

  234. Creative Mom

    What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us. Reading about all you have been going through it is amazing you have been able to continue with such thoughtful fun posts over the year.
    What a journey you have been on and are continuing, I can’t wait to see whats next!

  235. Green Key

    Shauna — look how many people your post has already helped! Thank you so much for your honestly and genuineness. It reminds me of Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese:”

    You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.
    Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
    Meanwhile the world goes on.
    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
    are moving across the landscapes,
    over the prairies and the deep trees,
    the mountains and the rivers.
    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
    are heading home again.
    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.

    from Dream Work by Mary Oliver
    published by Atlantic Monthly Press
    © Mary Oliver

  236. Victoria

    I am a physician and psychotherapist. I work with a model called CBT — cognitive behaviour therapy. Last December I was at a conference and I saw Dr. Judith Beck present on her work using CBT to help people lose weight. I ran to buy the book. I do not need to lost weight, but the majority of my patients do. I think that the book, called “The Beck Diet Solution: train your brain to think like a thin person” is one of the best books I have EVER read in my field. It is an approach that can help change all the sabotauging thoughts and behaviours around poor eating that lead to weight gain (or prevent weight loss). It is about making permanent lifestyle changes. It can be used with any reasonable diet plan. It sounds like you have already started doing a lot of what the book recommends — but I highly highly recommend it to anyone who wants to lose weight. BTW: I have no connection to Judith Beck! The book is a fairly easy read, even for someone with little time and sleep deprivation. Good luck!

  237. Couscous & Consciousness

    Unlike many others who have commented here, I haven’t been following your blog for a long time, I haven’t gotten to know you, in fact I just stumbled across your blog and this post today.

    What a heartbreaking and challenging time you have been through — I simply can’t imagine what it is likely. But I am so grateful to have found you and that you have chosen to share what you have been through. I applaud your honesty and openness and most of all your courage, not just in bringing this forth but also in stepping inside yourself — for most of us the hardest place of all to visit.

    Good luck with your journey — I’ll visit again.

  238. Couscous & Consciousness

    Unlike many others who have commented here, I haven’t been following your blog for a long time, I haven’t gotten to know you, in fact I just stumbled across your blog and this post today.

    What a heartbreaking and challenging time you have been through — I simply can’t imagine what it is likely. But I am so grateful to have found you and that you have chosen to share what you have been through. I applaud your honesty and openness and most of all your courage, not just in bringing this forth but also in stepping inside yourself — for most of us the hardest place of all to visit.

    Good luck with your journey — I’ll visit again.

  239. Couscous & Consciousness

    Unlike many others who have commented here, I haven’t been following your blog for a long time, I haven’t gotten to know you, in fact I just stumbled across your blog and this post today.

    What a heartbreaking and challenging time you have been through — I simply can’t imagine what it is likely. But I am so grateful to have found you and that you have chosen to share what you have been through. I applaud your honesty and openness and most of all your courage, not just in bringing this forth but also in stepping inside yourself — for most of us the hardest place of all to visit.

    Good luck with your journey — I’ll visit again.

  240. camper

    Thank you for sharing, you have a great voice that is so easy to relate to. Did you ever think that you could be so strong? Keep on running!

  241. kelly

    thanks for sharing, your health is the most important thing. i watch RUBY and she is so inspiring, losing over 300 lbs. and finding what it is that she is “feeding”. thankfully for us you wrote a cookbook but it is not worth losing your health over, take a break and take care of you!

  242. Laura

    thank you for this post. it resonated with me on so many levels. i have struggled with all of these same things in my life. i am now finding my way toward a healthier life for myself and for my family. your authenticity is so refreshing.

  243. Chelsey

    I feel silly writing the three hundred and whatever comment, but I must because your post touched my heart.

    I’m sure I’m going to say some of the same things that the last hundred people wrote but here goes.

    Shauna you are amazing. I wouldn’t be to hard on yourself by sharing the burdens, because even though I don’t actually know you, I feel like we are friends. I want to hear what’s on your heart, I want you to free it from weighing you down (in more ways than one) and I want even more healing to flow into your life. But most of all life is never happy all the time (even though we desperately try to make it that way at times) we all get thrown a boomerang now and then that brings us to those stressful levels, and that’s O.K. It’s then we learn to come together as friends to help each other walk through it. Share the load and the burden is light. Whoever says you can be happy all the time is full of hobbsquash. There are too many realities that prevent that one from happening, I mean haven’t we all tried? And how many have succeeded?!

    The good thing is all should get better from here on out. You’ve gone through one heck of a valley and soon you’ll be seeing a change of scenery. It will be blue skies and apple pies.

    I find when I have wanted something to happen in the past and it hasn’t worked out as I had liked, after time passes and I walk through that other door (that I would have never ordinarily walked through) things are always better that I had originally planned. And the lesson learned from my perceived loss is always better than if I had gotten exactly what I had always wanted.

    God has a funny way of bringing the best out of us this way.

    SO Good luck Shauna on your journey to good health. Love lots, forgive easily (most of all yourself), and life will be good.

    God bless!

  244. abbie

    so real, so true, thank you. The reasons you wrote resonate. there is always a story behind everyone’s seemingly different facade. I actually just learned that about an accquaintance.
    We have had our share of family medical issues, and pediatric surgery and NICU issues…but to hear your story, to live your courage, doubt, and read your blog’s optimism…is awe inspiring. really. I wish you well and thank you for inspiring me to live with intent and integrity.

  245. catharsis

    I am right there with you sister. Life has been distracting me from focusing on myself, but I have learned through the past several months that change is possible. My aunt lost probably around 60 pounds and kept it off using, I’ve heard great things about it. I’m so sorry for what you have had to go through. You mean so much to so many people. We all believe in you!

  246. Anonymous

    thank you for you. for being real and raw. for sharing your truth. your entry about carrying that weight is an inspiration for us, your readers, to dig deep within ourselves too. i feel grateful to have found your blog as it enriches my life with your food for the body and soul.

    i admire you.

  247. Anonymous

    Thank you for your generosity — what a special nectar of genuine you give… blessings to you and your family.


  248. Anonymous

    Thank you for such a lovely, thoughtful piece on the moments in LIFE that go into one’s weight and health. Your goal to be more mindful is so inspiring. Thanks for sharing this.

  249. Tamara

    Shauna — What a beautiful and brave post. Thank you for sharing and for doing it in a way that touches anyone who sees it. I will send best wishes and caring and do 30 Day Shred with you.

  250. bhession Alberta, Canada

    Shauna you inspire me daily. Please keep giving all that you give to all of us out here, Lu, The Chef and most importantly yourself. You make the world anew with your vision.

    Thank you for all that you share.

  251. Sarah Rupp

    Thank you so much for sharing. I, too, am learning how to let go. I, too, have had a difficult year and have some extra pounds to show for it. But, like you, I am letting go and living well. I often think of that saying…“if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” It’s hard to let go, but you know that life is abundant. Your words are powerful. Thank you.

  252. Sally Parrott Ashbrook

    Lovely post, Shauna. I have found that the same beliefs that got me to develop good financial habits and to change my life after getting diagnosed with ovarian cancer and to eat gluten-free also have made it possible for me to get myself to a healthy weight. It’s all about embracing what life has to offer within our given limitations. We all have limitations that are placed on us by our bodies, our lives, our societies, etc., but there’s so much beauty within those. The first post on my blog talks about this better than I’m doing now:

    We’re all rooting for you.

  253. Jen

    If you like 30-Day Shred, you’ll LOVE No More Trouble Zones. I did NMTZ every few days for about a month, and it actually reshaped my body. For real. I wish Jillian Michaels would follow me around my daily life yelling at me to “STOP PHONING IT IN!” Sometimes, when I can’t find the motivation to do something, I think “What would Jillian Michaels yell at me?” It helps.

  254. Anonymous

    Thank you for writing this piece. I have been so inspired by reading your posts and your book. My eyes and my senses have really been opened by a lot of what you have written about food and now I feel so inspired by what you have written about exercise and moving one’s body.

  255. Anonymous

    Best wishes to you and your family, Shauna. I am also struggling to gain more wisdom about my health. Sally Fallon and the Weston Price Foundation have helped me quite a bit with food issues, so I wanted to share these resources with you just in case you think they can be helpful to you.

  256. Jennifer

    Hi, Shauna,

    I’ve been reading you for a long time, but I don’t know if I’ve commented before. I don’t have time to read all the comments (300! wow!) because I have a toddler of my own, turning 2 in June.

    You bring tears to my eyes. My little one was born 2 months early, through c-section, so she was in the NICU and I couldn’t see her for more than a day. I’ve felt that fear, and not being able to do anything about it. And to have that fear hanging over you for so long? Plus not sleeping and trying to get actual work done?

    I don’t care how much weight you’ve gained…you have done Very Well. I pray that your hard season has passed, and that this new season will be one of joy, peace, and health for you and your precious ones. Thank you for your heartfelt and always inspiring words.

  257. anna

    The beauty of your voice, and the courage laying behind these words is so admirable. Thank you for the way you continue to share from your heart.

  258. Sonja J,

    Oh, Shauna. My heart just bleeds for what you’ve been through. My DH was diagnosed with cancer in the fall, and I know only too well how hard it is to eat right with the time at the hospital, the tests, the stress, and the fear.

    It is so easy for people to say “take care of yourself” and so hard to do it. I am so happy yuo’re in the clear and proud of you for taking the hard steps to actually take care.

    “When a door is closed, a window is opened.” Time to find the window, girlfried. Hanf in there!

  259. Hansengirl

    You are beautiful, wonderfully and fearfully made. Sending you smiles, and much love and appreciation today, Shauna.

  260. nana

    Beautifully written, thank you for being so open, honest and fearless to tell your story. I will be interested to follow your journey, please keep writing… Thank You.

  261. Sarah

    Shauna, you are legit.

    In the beginning, your book and blog helped me know I would eat well even without gluten. And as I keep reading I learn much about living life well, too.

    Thank you for it all.

    I’m saying a prayer for you and yours, right now.

    God bless you!

  262. Megan

    That right there is a lot. It’s a testament to your strength and that of your marriage that you have made it through intact.

    You mentioned pumping milk for Lu and, I’m not sure if you are aware, but breastfeeding has been shown to reduce the chance of breast cancer in the mother and the breastfed child too. So you can check that cancer preventer off your list!

  263. Deanna

    What an amazingly beautiful post. I think every woman can see something of herself in your words.

  264. Sharon

    Shauna, you epitomize “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have”. Bless you, now go breathe deeply and rest.

  265. Rachel

    This made me misty. Shauna, I know the sleep thing. Girl, do I know it. We have a son who is bipolar and he came out manic. Didn’t sleep until 3…almost 4…come to think of it.
    I am so glad you are okay. And though I do have 3 children there was a time in my life, about 5 years) where it looked as tho I would only have my son. I cried and stamped my feet alot then. Felt totally heartbroken…I could literally feel what you wrote about the gaggle of girls in the bathroom. My prayer is that God (whichever one you believe in) gives you another child…in some way…biological or not.…you seem like an awesome mama! Oh, and might I just suggest…if it’s doable for you… to homeschool Lu. My 10 year old daughter is a social butterfly and has tons of friends. But she is also a homeschooler. It makes for really cool, close families. I know, with having an almost 21 year old son, how fast it DOES go.
    The weight thing…yeah…that too. I lost 30lbs 2 years ago. I started with eating mindfully and walking. It took me 8 years to get around to it tho!! And I have to be constantly vigilant! No sleep was the thing, that did me in, too. In 2000, My daughter was born, our middle son was dx with Bipolar (and was still not sleeping), I was in a car accident that left me with a chronic headache, my mom (best friend) died, and my husband got laid off. I stopped sleeping and got fat.
    Basically, thank you for sharing. There are so many of us who have gone through something devastating and being open lets others in to encourage, support, and show love. It is what we need to keep going. Thank you for keeping going.
    Oh, and my husband works for the American Cancer Society. He has been telling me how ACS’s stats show that women are the worst at taking care of themselves and putting everyone else first. Women need to take care of themselves first to be there for the very ones we normally put first. So, thank you for writing what you did. I am sure you have readers who needed to hear it. I am glad you are taking care of you to be there for Lu and Danny. I bet they are glad too! Plus, all your readers really like you too…and want you to stick around.
    Rachel in Atlanta, Ga

  266. Nella

    Thank you for opening up your heart and sharing such a personal journey. My eyes are filled with tears and I feel thankful to know (once again) I am not the only one with overwhelming challenges. Your little Lu is a brave soul and she is so blessed to have you and Danny to love and care for her. As far as the weight issue…Jillian’s been kicking my trash for the past couple of months. I’ve struggled with my weight for the first time in my life since being diagnosed with Celiac 3yrs ago. It is frustrating, depressing and confusing to me all at the same time. I’m inspired by your efforts and wish you the very best. No wonder Lu is so brave…look at you!

  267. Cindy

    You are on the right path and have the right frame of mind, that’s the key to becoming a healthy you. I’ve struggled with weight for as long as I can remember and this past year I’ve come to a lot of the realizations you’ve mentioned. It feels fantastic to finally be healthy and you will be there before you know it. My youngest is Lu’s age and she and my son are my main motivation, to be a healthy example for them and to grow old with them.

    Thank you for sharing.

  268. SB in SB

    In tears indeed. Wow, thank you for sharing this all. For the inspiration, for the reminder, for the permission to love ourselves, accept ourselves and have the courage and patience to change ourselves. like anyone trying to make change (no matter how emotionally entrenched our motivations are), it’s not easy. i hope you will find you’ve got hundreds of cheerleaders out there. and i now count you as one of mine, even though we’re strangers.

  269. Laura Sue

    Wow, look at all the comments. I’ll add another “thank you.” For the last 3 months I’ve been having continual migraines. I’ve finally gotten help and the cycle is broken, but I know that when one is in constant pain or turmoil one does not have the strength for food/exercise discipline. Your genuineness is a gift for which many of us, though really strangers, love you.

  270. kwsapphire

    Thank you for posting this. I am forwarding it on to a few folks, whom I think will benefit from reading it. I am also grateful personally; this post brings you much closer to “humanity” (instead of simply “well written, interesting food blogger”).

    I am sorry for your loss of future childbirth, however, have you considered adoption? The lack of bearing children need not rob you of the gift of additional children.

  271. Denise Rivers

    Shauna, thank you thank you thank you. What a beautiful post. I am one of Geneen Roth’s retreat students and saw your post on her facebook page. A big high five and a hell yeah! I have a 7 you who is disgustingly healthy. I am a physician who lives in fear of the possibility of illness affecting her. I eat to go away. Your post was poignant and spot on. Since starting Geneens work I have found, well, me. Not the me I need to be to start living life in the shoulds. Just the me that is me now. And that is so much more than enough. I will enjoy following your blog and am so glad I found it. I hope you one day find a way to one of the retreats.

  272. Matilda

    Dear Shauna, I love your writing–I was touched to the point of tears reading your story. I feel some frisson of recognition in your story (as a mom and as someone who has weight issues and sleep dep) and I feel humbled and inspired at the same time. I wish you and your beautiful family good health and happiness forever.

  273. karla

    I feel so privileged to read your writing on a regular basis. Knowing what you’ve been through makes me appreciate you on an even deeper level. Thank you for being an inspiration in so many ways to so many of us. You are a jewel.

  274. mimi

    I’m going to second the anonymous who asked about adoption.

    This medication that will help you maintain your health does *not* have to preclude you and the chef from expanding your family. While adoption is not easy or simple or cheap, neither is pregnancy. Like the previous commenter said, you have lots of love to give. The family bonds formed between siblings and between parents and children do not require shared genetics or time spent in the same womb.

    My younger sister is adopted, and, let me tell you, the fact that she and I look different and that she came home at the age of two months rather than two days matter not a lick. In *every* way we are sisters, and in *every* way she is my parents’ daughter. Full stop.

    So, in a sense, your choice to take the medication could actually allow you to ‘have your cake and eat it, too’–so to speak. You *can* be proactive about your health and still grow your family, should you so choose…

    Just a thought…

    All the best, Shauna, and thanks for sharing! (As a long time silent reader, I gathered that something was up…)

  275. Anonymous

    I have been reading your posts (along with my Celiac daughter, the medical student) since BTC (Before The Chef)and as difficult as this post probably was to write I’m grateful that you did. For longtime readers the stuff between the lines was unmistakable and worrying, so it feels better to know — and the medical student can stop speculating about what is going on with Lu. I admire your strength and good humor and I hope things do what they often do — after going badly, then go well. Best of luck with all of this. I think living in a world of love has to be helpful.

  276. Amy

    Wow, you and your fmily are so brave. I love your blog and I love that you feel comfortable sharing this with the world. I am so happy you are all well and living life to the fullest.

  277. molly

    Shauna. My god. I’m only going to muck it up by blathering, so let’s just leave it at this: your girl has one damn fine mama.

  278. eeslami

    I’ve read your posts for over two years, ever since I’ve been committed to leading a gluten free lifestyle. It’s helped me in ways I can’t even express. And now this post. You are amazing. I have all the faith in the world that you will reach your goal and then some. Best wishes.

  279. Lisa

    Wow you are tough, is what I have to say right off the bat!! So happy to hear that your beautiful daughter is doing well and sleeping better.
    I cannot diet for the life of me and find that mindful eating, and trying to choose healthier foods over more indulgent ones, are the only things that truly work for weight control.
    Some other books you might find worth looking at: The Diet Cure and The Mood Cure by Julia Ross; Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution; and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.
    I look forward to your writing about your journey, as I think it will address issues that many many people are struggling with.

  280. Christina

    I thought this post was beautifuly written. I could identify with quite a bit of what you said. And I thought the pictures of you on your friend’s blog were very pretty. Thank you for sharing this side of your life. I need to exercize more regularly too. Thank you for the continued inspiration.

  281. Anonymous

    Beautifully expressed and very moving — a true message from the heart.

    You have helped. It was just what I needed exactly when I needed it. Your story, your hopes and the lessons you are learning resonated.

    May peace be with you. By sharing your story you have given a great gift to so many others as well as yourself.

  282. Anonymous

    You’re awesome. Thanks for sharing this. I love especially that I had been jealous of your seemingly-perfect life. And it is, just not in the pain-free way I imagined. Thank you.

  283. Sharman Schubert

    As always, you got right to our hearts and to the heart of the matter. I admit that I read your blog because of its positive view. I am getting older and I realize that I just don’t have time for negativity — but I don’t confuse negativity with being real. And being honest. I am here to tell you that I went through similar circumstances 25 years ago. And I survived. for a while, then I thrived. It is a very hard process to go without sleep (I had several years of not getting more than 1 1/2 hours at a time)and I paid the price. I. too had weight gain — cortisol adds belly fat! I now have a personal trainer who kicks my butt every week and I am looking forward to hearing about your experiences with getting in shape. (My experiences with it aren’t usually fit to print!) I learned that what you experience under stress stays with you longer, and that was evident in my not being able to sleep through the night for 15 years. I am telling you this in hopes that you can “unlearn” the stressful stuff and keep being creative. It took me too long to get that back, but then the world was a very different place then and I had no one to talk to. I am so happy for you to see that so many of those whom you have shared with are gathering around to give you support. (Iwas going to say help with the heavy lifting, but thought it was too awful a pun…). I am older, wiser and here to tell you that it gets better! I am now on my way to the airport, first to florida and then on a transatlantic cruise with my loving husband. I wouldn’t trade my life with anyone. Even the hard parts.

  284. liannallama

    Thanks for sharing your story. You so beautifully capture your joys and pain for all the world to see here and I feel touched by your story. Take care.

  285. Sallie Tierney

    Shauna gal, your post resonated with me so strongly. In January this year I had a scare of my own — stratospheric blood pressure and cholesterol — borderline obesity (How on earth did that happen to me without my knowing??) I came home from my routine checkup shaking with fear and with a fist full of prescriptions and instructions. Not unlike the day fifteen years before when I learned that gluten was killing me. Instead of letting the fear cripple me I swung into action: purging the kitchen of salt, animal fat etc. — inventing a low-fat, gluten-free granola for breakfasts — signing up for yoga (Now practice an hour a day and intend to become a yoga instructor for seniors and plus-size folks). Upshot is I’m down 15 pounds and my BP and cholesterol have returned to normal! I’m staying with it, saving my own life — loving it! So many loving people have inspired me to triumph — you among them! I’ll be fine and so will you — all of us together. Sending you my love and respect. Namaste. (Follow my progress on blog:

  286. Cassidy Lee

    Inspiring and beautiful. Exactly what I needed to hear today and I appreciate it and all you do for us as readers. I am grateful that you share so much with us and I am so glad to know that your life is in good hands. Thank you and I look forward to seeing you sometime in the next year to celebrate your book.

  287. Mary Ann Dames - Reading, Writing, and Recipes

    Thank you for the courage to share your journey. You are an inspiration.

  288. Anonymous

    At 40 I was found to have stage IIIb breast cancer: no high risk factors and a life deemed to be healthy and active by modern standards. My survival at 5 years was estimated at <20%. It has been 8 years and I am free of cancer.

    Why do I share this? I know anything is possible and statistics do not have to define us. I believe that for you as much as I do for myself. I bet, with all your risks, you get to be the one who doesn’t get cancer! ;-]

    I wish peace and love to surround your every fiber of Being. I feel like you — food is not the enemy (nor is weight…health is so very much more and often has no connection to weight at all).

    Do what you are, following your heart, and I know you will be flourishing in this world, your life, till you’re old and even wiser than you are today! Thanks so much for letting us know what you’ve been through. I wish you the best.


  289. Julie Fisher

    This is a fantastic record of a many hard moments.

    Our son was born prematurely due to my preeclampsia and then terrified us with incidents of no breathing, seizures. He also didn’t sleep.

    All happened in the midst of a very fragile marriage.

    I understand those feelings of rawness and applaud your willingness to share.

    I also feel uncomfortable in my current skin and this post definitely made me feel like attitude makes such an enormous difference in our success. We’ll be doing this together and thanks!!!! for the emotional support.

  290. Cynthia Nicole

    Sounds like you’re being prepped by life for the teen years! Just half kidding. Wow.

    I love your blog and thanks for sharing all that you do.

  291. Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing your story so honestly, it brought tears to my eyes and I resonated with so many aspects of it. I am a mom of an only child also due to circumstance, not choice, and I deeply understand your grief at losing the family you had envisioned and planned for. There are many special joys and benefits to being a family of 3 but if it is not what you wanted it feels like a raw deal. Lu is so lucky to have such a strong, wonderful mother. I wish you health and continued resilience.

  292. UpliftCoach

    Thank you for being human, and for being Divine — and for sharing both with us.…(from a kindred spirit gluten-free girl in San Diego)

  293. gluten-free musings

    Thank you so much for your honest and thoughtful post. You are an inspiration to me.

    And like you, I have always been scared of running because of the boob bouncing. i started doing Zumba, instead of running since I always loved dancing, and now I am addicted, I can’t even believe it. I love an exercise class…something I never thought I would say!
    Anne, Chicago

  294. tamm

    I needed to read this tonight. Thank you for sharing this. I have been struggling with my weight for years and I have two children (3.5 and 1.5) who I need to live better for. I am their teacher and want to be a living example of what a good and purposeful life is. You are an example of this too. Bless Lu and her parents.

  295. Esther, Abbotsford, Canada

    Thank you for sharing your story! A year ago, nearly to the day, I was diagnosed with breast cancer after a routine mammogram showed a small lump, an ultrasound confirmed it and recommended a biopsy, and then the biopsy came back positive for cancer. I was 47 at the time. This does not run in my family AT ALL. It can happen to anyone. I was shocked but my prognosis was very good and after 2 surgeries (a 2nd tumor was found under the miscroscope), 4 weeks of radiation and — thankfully — NO chemotherapy, I’m happy that all I have to do is take the tamoxifen for 5 years. My body has adjusted to it now that I’ve been on it for 6 months. But I understand how you are feeling right now.

    The whole experience has changed my life.

    But I am thankful for medical experts and the diagnostic tools we have available today. It truly does save lives. And I met the most wonderful and amazing people along the way that I would not have otherwise.

    I’ve been reading your blog now for a couple of years and LOVE your photos, your love of cooking, love for your daughter and husband, love of life itself is inspiring.

    You have inspired me to get moving a little more and with any luck lose those 20 lbs that packed on in the past 10 years.

    I look forward to your further posts and wish you all the best!


    What a wonderfully honest and touching post. We all struggle within our own lives with issues that crop up…and yet, these blogs oftentimes allow us to brush over and around them. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your family’s life. It touches so many of us. I actually visited today just to let you know that I’ve listed your blog in my sidebar, hoping my readers will discover the beauty of this space as much as I have. Thank you again. And keep taking care of yourself! You and your family deserve it.

  297. Anonymous

    Hi Shauna, My Mom died a year ago from bone cancer. I live in San Diego, and would drive up to L.A. to take care of her. My husband and I have our own business, and the stress, and fear were unthinkable. I would leave the hospital at night, go to Trader Joe’s, and buy a great bottle of wine, and decadent soul filling food and go back to her empty house, and comfort myself as best as I could.

    I just found your website because I have autoimmune thyroid issues, now.. I would say brought on by a year of stress… oh and 20 pounds that needs to come off. I have JUST gone gluten free, (they say that it can help the thyroid issues…) and have been happily reading and cooking from your blog. It and your family are lovely.

    What I wanted to say is you just went through hell, and life sometimes hits you upside the head, and you have to do what you have to do to keep your sanity and make it through. You made it through the year, and it sounds like everyone is getting healthy, your Mom is okay, your daughter is fine, and I am glad to hear that you are okay. Stress helps you gain weight, and keeps it on. So hang in there, and keep us posted… and cut yourself some slack about the weight! Take care, and thank you for letting us all into your life.

  298. Cate O'Malley

    I totally relate to what you’re saying (wrote about it recently here). I am on a totally different path, with each footstep very deliberate. Kudos to for your new direction!

  299. Roz

    You’re a bloody star, you are. That post was inspiring … and I’m very glad you don’t have cancer. Good luck with the running! (my friend swears by wearing 2 sports bras, stops the bouncing completely.) and I too am off to slowly eat some yummy quinoa. thank you for the inspiration. always.
    love to you all xxx

  300. Anonymous

    Thank you for your forthrightness. Your clarity and openness will be a blessing to a lot of people.

    I agree with the Buddhist notion of not being hard on ourselves for the times we overate, did not exercise or weren’t mindful enough. Yesterday my daughter biked alone for 30 km on a lonely stretch of highway. She did just fine, but that night I ate 5 slices of homemade gluten free pizza. I didn’t need 5 slices. I wasn’t even that hungry, but it was an emotional release from the stress I had felt at letting her go like that. I don’t always overeat, but I have some days like that.

    You have been through a huge amount of stress in a very short time frame. The way you ate might have kept you emotionally stable during the roughest parts of it, and now you are moving on. Congratulations.

    By the way, Lu is very blessed to have the loving parents she has.

  301. Merideth

    I’m right there with you in many ways! Me, I’m sick again after being healthy for several months (can’t figure out why) and food gets scary for me– I know you know what I mean– when it seems like everything makes you sick… You’ve inspired me to get myself back to the doctor! You bring tears to my eyes every time I read your words, and I can’t wait for your cookbook to come out (September? I have to wait that long???) You definitely have the right approach about weight loss and taking care of your body, so keep it up (LOVED the Buddhist quote). My motivation for getting healthy is definitely so that I can keep up with my 6 and 9 year old… and you’ve helped rekindle that. It’s so easy to get discouraged. You’ve been through one hell of a year, and manage to keep right on inspiring the rest of us to keep on going– thank you!

  302. Anonymous


    It is amazing how much effort it takes to not beat ourselves up, even when we wre in the midst of such terrifying experiences such as your child being ill, or in my case, the love of my life dealing with Cancer. But it is also about having gluten intolerance and having a hard time in the pst straying from the gluten free life. Your site has re-engaged the excitement of being a foodie. I had lost my balast in the kitchen after my diagnosis. This from a woman who worked as cook for many years, but I really lost my way in the kitchen, but your lovely pictures and works bring to mind, he bounty we are blessed to have, and I thank you for that. Also, not being able to have children has been a great loss to me, and I continue to mourn that even as I head into my fifties. But as I look ahead, I am excited about my future, and hope to have my sweetie at my side. May you and your family have some blessed and peaceful times.

  303. Chris

    Do you read these? Do they help? Because I want to help. Perhaps just putting this small energy here, this moving of my fingers over the keyboard before going to bed, perhaps this helps. But the reality is that your book and your blog have helped me, these last 9 months, since the day the labwork came back unbelievable.

    And I want to help.

    So I’ll hold you in my heart tonight, mixed in with my worries and hopes and all the love I have for my unborn children. May the morning bring you lightness, hope and a life a little closer to that center. You are a beautiful soul, Shauna, thanks for sharing with us.

  304. Brianne

    Wow, 355 comments. I think that it’s pretty clear, that your words and thoughts, have touched many hearts across the world tonight.

    Thank you for sharing your life and allowing us to share ours. I know mine certainly wouldn’t be the same — you have helped me learn to embrace what it means to have Celiac. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  305. cyberprof

    Shauna, I knew some of the sleep deprivation and I knew of the surgery, but sheesh, you have been through the wringer. I am the daughter-in-law of a neurosurgeon, and remember many of his stories of operating on kids.

    You’ve hit on so many of my “causal factors” for holding on to excess pounds…lack of sleep, stress, too much going on, motherhood, marriage and not always making enough time to exercise and eat right. And I’m not always surrounded by food and immersed in food like you, but thanks to the celiac I am fixated on food.

    Just this week I made positive steps toward some mental progress, as I am hiring a diet coach. I’ve also had a change in my work schedule, so I’m going to start the 30 day shred again like your fellow blogger.

    I hope that the rest of 2010 is calm and non-eventful on the health side for you and that you are able to make your health a priority. My best to you, the Chef and Lu.


  306. Anonymous

    Shauna — I can directly relate to the damage sleep deprivation does to the mind and body. My husband and I went through a miserable stretch and like you, looking back I don’t know how we coped. I guess every one of us just does what has to be done to get through each day one at a time. I also struggle with my weight which was a first for me as I was always naturally slim and could eat anything I wanted until I hit the wall that was my 40th birthday. Now I’ve had to re-tool my thinking and behaviors and re-learn how to think about food and my body. Not easy, and still a daily project. Thank you for writing such a difficult but beautiful post. I will revisit it frequently. Isn’t it weird how one person’s struggle can be the motivation for complete strangers? Well Done, You!!

  307. blonde_geek

    Thank you for the brave and honest post. I too am an emotional and unconscious eater. You are SO RIGHT about the sleep deprivation. I have a lot of sleep problems (no children, just a bad sleeper) and I’m beginning to do what I need to do for myself, even if it means going in the other room to sleep because my husband snores. Not getting enough sleep leaves me in a crazy state where I am inclined to stuff whatever in my mouth to feel better. We had a cold snowy winter in southern Virginia this year, very unusual for us, and all I wanted to do was sleep and eat. I am on a similar path and my New Year’s resolution is to be more mindful of everything: the food I eat, the money I spend, what I am doing or saying at any given time.

    I’d like to pass on a tip about throwing food away. I too hate to “waste” anything and I blame my German mother for that. I’ve since learned that it’s better to throw something away than to treat yourself like a human garbage can. I also recommend getting or building A COMPOSTER. There are some reasonably-priced ones out there or you can build a simple one yourself. I bought a stainless steel compost crock that sits on my couter. Any excess that doesn’t contain meat goes into it. Also eggshells are good for composting and if you rinse them out the birds love them and need them. I’m not cooking for a small child, but my husband and I will never finish a loaf of bread. I don’t feel bad knowing the food will be put to use and it’s not going into a landfill, something we all need to watch. Plus, it’s heatlhy for the garden. Lu would love the process, don’t you think?

    Thank you so much for your blog. Because of you I am currently fighting with my doctor to test me for celiac disease. My sister tested positive to one of the markers but her doctor says she doesn’t have it–maybe that could be a subject for a future post because there is a lot of confusion even getting a diagnosis. Anyway, even if I have to pay for it myself I want to know. (There is also a new stool test that is supposedly a definitive test.)

    Thank you for raising awareness because many doctors don’t even consider celiac. My doctor is up on a lot of things but he still thinks celiac is “rare.”

  308. Melodie Monberg

    Thank you for sharing your story. I love your blog, started really running after my first child’s birth…Keep going, keep pushing, keep winning!


  309. Eileen Vollmer

    Shauna, your honesty is compelling and inviting. I often say that we really minister to people out of our weaknesses, not out of our strengths. I suspect you have touched many, many people.

    Ironically, I am a nutrition counselor that helps people lose weight. I am a “food is fuel” person, which is why I have never had a weight problem. But the dark side of that is that I never savored food. Your book and your appreciation for food changed me indelibly. I found myself for the first time delighting in food, really tasting its delicate nuances. You did that. I don’t know how (I suspect it was your brilliant, ebbullient prose), but you did that. So thank you!

    I am alive in a way I was not before. Just wanted you to know that.

    Blessings of health and happiness to you and yours. It’s time.

  310. Tania

    You are a very courageous woman. You’ve made it through the storms and gained life-changing wisdom along the way. God bless you as you and your family continue on the path towards ever-increasing good health.

  311. Christine

    I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now. It is one place I know I can always go for inspiration. You inspire my cooking and you inspire my life. You have helped make it easier to joyfully eat gluten free with my wonderful husband. We do it because it is what keeps him healthy…you have helped make it fun. Your darling Lu was born at about the same time as my son and I have really identified with the joy you share when you talk about her. Today my heart aches for the struggles you have faced. My greatest hopes for many, many better days to come. You are moving forward in a strong and beautiful way.

  312. monica lee

    Wow! Sending you so much encouragement and prayers reading that post. When I first got “healthy” eating gluten free which in my case meant recovering from malabosroption I really began to gain weight. the idea of dieting or depriving myself of anything was a complete mental block because I ALREADY was depriving myself of wheat. I just set the quest aside and decided to start working out and get to strong. One thing at a time is ok. You have been through a lot. Start with one thing, exercise. Now that time has passed and I don’t feel “deprived” I can start concentrating on food choices, snack choices. Mr doctor said Celiacs need more grains in their diet to lose weight. Whole grains, that is a tough one since they are alternative grains, right? So the next step, add grains, then cut the sugar. I would love it if you did share your journey about losing weight! I feel like we have to do it differently than the rest of the world. It is more of a mental task for us, since we don’t play by the same rules as everyone else. I am on board! Let’s encourage each other!

  313. Angela

    Shauna, You inspire all of us. Thanks so much for sharing, and I hope that things are looking up now for your family. Your constant positivity has helped us all at dark times in our lives, and hopefully we can all support you through these times in your own. To love and good health!

  314. Heather Poll

    I’m proud of you Shauna. I’ve been there and at times, I’m still there. My son is living with autism, I’m the group leader for a parent support group, we’re a GFCF family and we have a hobby farm. There is a lot of work to do each day and a lot of baking not to mention therapies. When my son was born, I weighed 318 lbs. I now weigh 158 lbs and I’m still working on it. I used to hate running as well. I’ve always been fat and running was “for skinny people.” I don’t feel that way anymore. I have a RoadID ( and on it it says, “Running is Freedom”. I run until I can’t, then I walk until I can run some more and the cycle continues until I hit home. I’m also at high risk for cancer. I’ve had mammograms since I was 20 years old. I don’t do them anymore because I’ve read in many places that they cause breast cancer. Everything I do and put into my body is natural. There are natural remedies you can look into that will reduce your risk of cancer. You’re smart, look into this heavily. My aunt just left this world because of cancer. But her life was prolonged for a year because of natural remedies. Listen to your doctors, but take responsibility for your own body. Take care of yourself as much as you take care of others.

  315. christy

    Love. Compassion. Gratitude. Forgiveness. First for yourself, and then for others.

    Thank you for sharing your journey.

  316. Sarah

    Shauna, you are beautiful and this post is beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your story. Gosh, I can’t believe how much you guys have been through. You are inspiring, and strong and I’m so happy that you have come to this point of catharsis.

    Do you know, over a year ago I emailed you (not expecting to get a reply) asking you where you got your self-confidence from and if you have any tips on how to love yourself for who you are since I am always plagued by these weighty worries. I will never forget your reply, part of which said that “knowing that I am never going to be perfect helps. Compassion helps more.” These words have stayed with me. It is through your compassion that you have blessed others and I’m so glad that in return your readers have shown compassion to you at your time of need and vulnerability. Thank you so much Shauna for being you and for being you on this blog.

    Lots of love to you and your family x

  317. Nurit

    Oh, Shauna, what a post. I cried, I laughed… with most I identified…
    What a year indeed!
    I think it’s so courageous and wonderful that you share all this.
    So many things I want to say but I’ll keep it short. I hate running but I‘ll start walking twice a week (20 minutes each time), and I’ll be thinking about you.

  318. inq

    I love you — you’re beautiful in spirit and self. I’m proud of all that you have accomplished with your fight to be gluten-free, filled with love and the ability to keep moving no matter what is thrown your way. I hope you, Danny and Lu are continually blessed with love and good fortune.

  319. Anonymous

    This made me cry, but in a good way. I have had weight struggles since I was young, and I am inspired by, and agree with, your philosophy. You are beautiful. Thank you!

  320. Ellie White-Stevens

    Thank you for caring enough for us to share your life, pie, pain and all. It was a blessing to hear about being on the end of a difficult cycle.

    I’ve had those, too. And a big part of my emotional recovery has been learning the foods that I’m sensitive to, gluten included. My husband discovers that he actually gets depressed when he eats gluten.

    I’ve lost 42 pounds by avoiding foods I’m sensitive to, generally eating healthier and FINALLY starting to exercise a couple times a week. I still have another eighty pounds to lose. Thanks for adding inspiration!


  321. Chef Mama Lori

    Thank you for sharing from your heart. I can relate to different things you’ve said, but in different places, at different times. Bless your heart going through it all in such a short time. Our first child didn’t sleep through the night until she was nearly a year old. Our 2nd child was nearly FIVE when she slept through the night. In the midst of that we learned our 1st born was autistic, then later that our 2nd had ADHD. Then came the celiac dx for me. I’d been super thin til I had baby 2. I’d gained a bit, was probably a “normal” weight, but felt large. A GF diet brought 30 lbs. in 7 months. 15 more have crept on since then. I was doing food demos for a living, selling cookware. I love food & lived food, too. But, I know if I want my cholesterol & blood pressure to lower, I need to diet & exercise. At 45, that’s a big change, but I need to do it!

    I have a dear friend in the midst of breast cancer right now. Surgery will be soon followed by treatments. I feel as if I’m living it with her, but wishing I could take her pain. I’m so thankful that your tests were all negative this year & pray the Tamoxifen will be the miracle pill for you.

    I just discovered, in Dec. of 2008, something I should have known for the 4 years prior to that being on the GF diet: GF food has double calories of gluten foods! I knew I was finally “processing” my food, lucky me, but dorky me didn’t realize how much more I was ingesting! Oh, my! I have put my autistic daughter back on a GF diet to see if we see changes & am baking up more than I had been, so I can totally relate to the whole food life & gaining weight. Know that you aren’t alone in that! Hugs!

  322. Anonymous

    After I read what you wrote here, my thought was, “Wow, she doesn’t know she’s beautiful.” I have been praying for you and your husband since the birth of your lovely daughter (she looks just like her Dad!) Have you ever read the blog, May All Seasons Be Sweet To Thee? She lost a baby and then gained weight and just wrote about it recently… Shauna, you don’t know me from a doorknob but I love the way you write and care about so many things… thank you for sharing. Kay Guest

  323. Blow Glass Girl

    ahhhhhh breathe deep.. I can relate to your story. My daughter Amelia had a stroke at birth, in which she lost 1/3 of her brain.…which led me down an unexpected road. But along this road I have found hills and valleys and a lot of myself. Amelia is now 9yo and is my miracle child who regrew her brain, no one who wasn’t directly a part of my life in the first 3 years of her life would know our tale, but I do and it has been written all over my body at times, sometimes with weight and sometimes with pain, but in the last 4 years I have taken control. Mindful eating, walking, belly dancing, water aerobics and music have reinvigorated me to thrive instead of just being. I chose to thrive in adversity.
    I am so enthralled that you too will thrive…

  324. Bionic Librarian

    I admire your resiliency, compassion and humor in the face of such struggles.

    Food can be comfort (it never says no!), but you are right to look beyond that and see the bigger picture. Three years ago facing my own health issues (PCOS) I realized that while food soothed me, I wanted to be around for a long, healthy, active time. I will never weight 115, but have lost 70+ and gained muscle and self-confidence.

    Oh and Enell makes the best sports bras for the well-endowed (IMHO and I’m an F cup!).

  325. foodiegrrl

    thank you so much, Shauna, I actually had to stop reading your blog because I have been trying to love myself back to a more comfortable weight and there were so many tempting recipes that would up my cortisol (grains). It is inspiring (as usual!) to hear your words. thank you for your vulnerability.

  326. ChickiePea

    We’re all human. We all have more in common than we think. We all have our stories, even if we don’t show them in the artistic photos of our blogs.

    Your business is food, and food can be healing. If you look at my blog you will see the struggles we go through to eat, and yet we can still consume some amazing food… and some of it inspired by your blog and others like it.

    I know the pain of having a child with a health problem, and how easy it is to shove your own health under the rug when you’re running on little to no sleep after a toddler and trying to make ends meet.

    Kudos to you for all the joy you share with us, and all the good you do for those who struggle to find food that works with their diets, and for loving so fiercely your sweet daughter.

    All of that aside, as a friend and a woman I have to also ask if you have considered that breastfeeding for an extended period of time greatly reduces your chances of breast cancer? I am not judging you for the meds at all! I am not sure what I would do in your shoes, but knowing about alternative therapies and homeopathy has afforded me a MUCH healthier daughter and it may be worth looking in to for you as well. Homeopathy, RIFE, EFT and possibly chiropractic, yoga, etc. may give you the possibility of becoming pregnant again, and then the breastfeeding will reduce your chances of breast cancer even further.

    I hope this was not offensive, I only say it with the purest of intentions.

    Much love,

  327. Lisa Chin HHC

    I just stumbled upon your blog today and what a powerful and emotional post this was. I applaud you for your perseverance, your return to healthful living, overcoming challenges, self-acceptance, and sharing it all. Good luck with your journey.

  328. advance web

    Wow. That looks really good! My wife used to bake pies like those too! Thanks for sharing the recipe. Now, I’ll try to make it for my wife. LOL


    Thank you for sharing this story with us. I am happy to read that you are able to now enjoy more time for yourself. By focusing on you, you’ll make everybody in your life happier.
    Good luck!

  330. Anonymous

    I have not been reading you for weeks and weeks. Now, because I wanted to share your blog with a friend who has celiac disease, I popped in for a look. The universe works in mysterious ways, because I have just this week come to the same place in my own struggle with weight. Your words clarified all that I have been feeling, and I cannot express the depths to which your words resonate with me. Thank you so much.
    As far as Jillian Micheals 30-Day Shred goes, I have done the workout many times, but there are a number of flaws with it, from a physiology stand point. I love the interval idea, and found that Prevention Fitness Systems has a DVD that uses the same idea, but it is much better executed and safer. Try their “3–2-1 Workout with Chris Freytag”. I think you will like it and get good results with it, without the risks.
    With most sincere thanks for all you do with the power of your words,

  331. Anonymous

    I think there’s a reason I just stumbled on this post right now. Thank you so much for sharing your story and for making others in a similar place feel less alone :)

    I wish you and your family so much happiness

  332. Shauna

    The generosity of your comments (and emails and messages in other places) have left me speechless until now.

    I’m still not quite sure what to say.

    Thank you.

    When I wrote this piece, I was alone. I have been walking around since feeling surrounded by community. (The first run I took after publishing this was particularly strong!) It amazes me that when we share what feels urgent, if it’s entirely personal, that’s when other people feel most included.

    To those of you who have said you were inspired by this to move more and be more mindful of your food? I salute you! Let’s do this together.

    To those of you who talked about my strength? Well, thanks. But my goodness, the stories poured out here make it clear that our struggles this year are hardly heroic. We’re all just doing the best we can. We keep going. We open our arms, and sometimes our mouths.

    To those of you who were moved by the line I wrote about the fact that there is always a story behind the image? Remember that is true of anyone, everyone, regardless of weight.

    To those of you who wondered if Danny and I are open to adoption, and growing our family in that beautiful way? In one word: yes. We very much hope for that. I will write about that more at another time. Family, for us, is love. Love doesn’t have anything to do with biological birth.

    To those of you who shared your stories, both here and in email, thank you. I wish that I could hug all of you.

    And to everyone who has read and said something kind, I am never going to forget your comments. This community is my inspiration.

  333. Valerie Riedel

    Thank you for sharing. I’ve been fighting gyn issues that have left me struggling (for 3 years) to get pregnant, to no avail. I can feel you when you describe longing for another (or in my case, a first) child. And having to choose between avoiding illness vs. choosing love (in the form of a little tiny person) can seem so unfair. As for the exercise and too much of the wrong food… life is about committing to trying once again to take care of yourself. And you have committed! Valerie at and

  334. Becky

    Hi Shauna,
    So many people have left so many uplifting sentiments, but I need to add mine as well. I am so proud of you for making such huge steps for your family and your health. I do not know you, but have been reading your site since the beginning. I lived your journey with you: you see, I discovered my gluten allergy five years ago.

    I have been a runner for years. Anytime I have had to take a hiatus, I slip into a valley that seems a bit dimmer than to which I am accustomed. I recently got back to running after having Henry in July and foot surgery in November and love the empowerment I feel; the space and time I have to re-hash the day; and how much cleaner my body feels when I am done, sweaty and tired. When I go by myself, I relish the time alone. That does not always happen. During the week, I load Henry in our jogging stroller and he babbles and kicks around as we run past the monuments on the Mall in D.C. (If you can find a jogging stroller for cheap, I would recommend running with Lucy–it makes finding the time to run easier, she has fun, and your workout is so much harder;/).

    I thank you for your honesty. Sometimes that is all some of us need to make life tolerable. My mom has had breast cancer (five years ago) and she does not always take care of herself–like you, she has been dealing with more stress than any one person should contend) and I am frightened that you will have a relapse.…

    You are strong and beautiful. Please take care of yourself for Lu and for Danny, but also because you revel in laughing and feeling and just being you.

  335. Rosie

    Thank you for your honesty — it is beautiful. I can see from everyone’s comments that so many of us have had similar experiences using food as a comfort. I feel for what you’ve been through and survived the last year, have had similar (but not identical) experiences myself, and it’s inspiring that you’ve shared the positive steps that have come out of that — mindfulness, and running! I’ve just started running too after a long absence and a long winter of being inside and cozy rather than up and at em. I love that after-run feeling in my lungs — like they’ve just been stretched and made alive after a long sleep. I wish you the best with your running, and life in spring generally!

  336. Anonymous

    Bless you and thank you! the paradox of celiac disease is that food can be both your healer and your poison. I gained wait post diagnosis and find it difficult to lose. I have been exercising for the last 4 years and found running. I cannot always run because I was hit by a car years ago and have knee problems. However…I like to be aware of my body and do what I can. I still have some weight to lose but I am ok with it. Exercise makes me feel powerful and running fills me with peace and joy. I like to exploit the vegetables and fruits I love because they support my body when I want it to perform. So many of us are on the same path as you are. I am grateful that you share your struggles here..its so good to know I am not alone.

  337. Sarah B

    Wow Shawna, what a story. I can only say that having lived through severe sleep deprivation with a baby, there is almost nothing harder. People who haven’t gone through it can’t even begin to imagine what it’s like, especially because you are in such an altered state, but to everyone else you look like yourself. But to compound that with everything else that you have gone through! We are only around 6 weeks away from baby #3 and I try not to think at all about the lack of sleep heading our way — then again, our health is what really matters.

  338. Bridget

    Your site has always been honest…and there were hints now and again that there were worries too…so it was not so much that we did not know…but more how much. I always would come back because you seemed to find joy in life and that has been an inspiration. I think everyone has bad times (not to minimize your hell year at all). I appreciate that you shared a glimpse of yours. But am more moved that you continue to find and share joy and the wisdom of yes. I never see that word in print without my mind flickering to you. Be well.

  339. Bri

    *Hug* Your story and journey are amazing and inspiring. Always remember how tough it is to really tell how healthy you are when you focus on your weight, especially just from a numbers and visual perspective. When we see ourselves, we can’t help but look through the lens of this obsessively fatphobic society all around us. It’s about how you feel in your body, in your skin, not your reaction when you see your body. It’s taken me a long time to peel off the layers and find how health and size are not necessarily at odds. The Health at Every Size Movement has really opened my eyes.

  340. Anonymous

    You and Danny and Lu have long been an inspiration to me — a single, late 20s (30s on Sunday) wondering if I would ever have a family and love in my home in tough times and good times. I live alone because the last thing I want to worry about at the end of a tough Silicon Valley day is my kitchen sponge status.

    I’ve always been an emotional eater. Now that I am GF, I CAN gain weight. I’d eat out to be around people. That meant lots of cross-contamination & expense. I slowly made myself sick again… and spent WAY too much on food.

    I’m sorry to hear it is tough, but I think many of your readers relate to your happy and your not as happy moments. We appreciate that you share your hopes, life, and wins with us. Like I said, you inspire me and give me hope — about love, life, and, yes, puff pastry.

  341. Annie

    Thank you.

    Your blog has meant a great deal to me since I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at Christmas and learned that cutting gluten out makes me able to function happily!

    As a sterile ovarian cancer survivor who gets the tests and holds her breath, as you do, best of luck to you and your lovely family.

    Lu does deserve a sibling. And there are a lot of kids out there who deserve you and Lu!


  342. Lauren

    Thank you so much for this post. I have been reading since you were married and writing about your honeymoon in Italy, and someone said “you simply must read her. she is amazing.” As someone who has put on weight in the last few years due to stressful circumstances, I identify strongly and admire you greatly for having the courage to be vulnerable, hence strong, so very strong.

  343. Marisa

    Hi Shauna: My heart and thoughts go out to you. Take each moment and cherish it…You don’t know me…I know. I stumbled upon your blog a couple of months ago because I’ve had some terrible tummy issues — my whole life — and a doctor I went to finally put me on a gluten free diet. Your blog inspired me and helped me through my detox and now I look to it for inspiration, comfort and well, really, just to make me smile! Everyone is right, you are a beautiful writer and clearly a wonderful person…

  344. Anonymous

    My brother was born with craniosynistosis. The surgery was done a little late, so a little damage was done. But he is smart, funny, and turning 26 in August. Congratulations on your beautiful little girl, and making it through a very rough year!

  345. Paige

    Thank you, Shauna, for sharing so much of yourself. My mother is a breast cancer survivor, and I–mother to a young daughter–have been working through some of the same feelings/experiences you describe. It meant so much to me to read your post.

  346. SparkCrafted

    Shauna, thank you for saying all the things I’ve been struggling with on a similar level. Let us both make life better for ourselves. Good luck.

  347. Bevin

    This was beautiful and powerful. I did hear a bit of myself in this post. As someone who was diagnosed with Celiac disease just under two years ago, I’m still trying to repair some of the damage it did to my body. It has also completely altered my relationship with food, in a way that’s neither good nor bad, just totally different. Not to mention a huge learning curve.I find that food has helped me discover more about myself, my habits, my body and my life. Thank you for writing this.

  348. Anonymous

    Shauna, I would just like to join with the many others out there to thank you for your thoughtful words; illustrating your courageous and passionate choices for living. I hope you will continue to inspire with your thoughts and pictures. Best wishes to you and your family.

  349. Kara

    Wow, what a beautiful post. There is so much about what you said that I can relate to. I am completely moved and inspired. I have recently been struggling with how to get back in shape (also with a toddler)…food is my passion as well and it doesn’t feel right to obsess over it. What you said makes so much sense…such a different outlook. Thank you, thank you for sharing…I know it means a lot to a lot of people.

  350. Kate Singer

    Shauna, You are beautiful. You are real. Thank you for encapsulating the struggles of health, motherhood, work, daughterness and wifeocity. Food indeed is a blessing and a cement that binds families together– & while we cannot share too much love, too much food beguiles us. Thank you for your writing– it is a guiding light on the journey of healing for me. May you enjoy many years of love, health and enough.

  351. Meghan

    It takes amazing courage to be vulnerable, and be at peace with it. Thank you for your stories, they are truly inspiring.
    Meghan Austin

  352. JennC

    I am touched by your candor and acceptance of the journey you have taken. You are an inspiration for so many, in the way you drink and eat life and then share it all with us along the way. I send you love and wish for you a year full of beauty and lightness of heart!

  353. Anonymous

    You are awesome. I just started a gluten free diet, happened upon your blog, and fell in love.

    Thanks for being such an inspiration!

  354. Jenny

    What an inspiration you are! What doesn’t kill us, strengthens us and I just feel your strength! Thank you for sharing your soul.

  355. Anonymous

    Shauna, I have been following your lovely blog for quite a while. Thank you, thank you for this post.

  356. Emma Rushe

    Shauna, good on you girl for getting through it and coming out the other side stronger. Keep up the good work with the running and the recipes, just have to tell you how much your site and book have changed my approach to being gluten free, both fantastically inspiring personally and professionally (am a nutritional therapist). Also, bit random but have you heard about re-bounding? Really good exercise and fantastic for the immune system, helps to get the lymphatic system moving.
    Best of luck with everything xx

  357. David V.S.

    Thank you for writing this! I too wept a bit reading it.

    If you’re not there already, may you soon get to the point where exercising gives you more energy afterward, instead of using up energy!

  358. Jamie

    You are an inspiration and a wealth of information to myself and many. God has some serious plans for you and your family! Recently my mom was sent to a specialist because of some calcifications that showed up on her recent mammogram. She was trying to be strong, but I heard tears in her voice (my grandmother is a breast cancer survivor like your mom). We prayed that when she went into the specialist’s office the next day that the calcifications would be gone, and no further action would be necessary. You know what?! The very next day I witnessed my very first miracle in plain sight! They had to run x-rays several times bc the doctors just could not believe that there was not one speck there… I’m praying for you and your family. Thank you for sharing the intimate details of your life. Like you said, you never know who might benefit from you rawness, and prayer works, so the more prayers the better!

  359. Kate

    Thank you so much for writing this. It is easy to forget that there is a whole person, a whole life behind blogs that tend to be on a specific subject (food, travel, et al).

    It is easy — especially for those of us who love GOOD food — to fall in to the trap of nourishing our stomachs when we really need more nourishment for our souls. More rest, more beauty, more stillness, more laughter. I know, especially as a mother, when it doesn’t feel like there is time to give myself what I need, there are many times it is easier to give myself macaroons than a long run in the woods! Sounds like you picked some wonderful reads on the subject.

    Thank you for sharing all the rough parts of your year & your journey through it all.

  360. Jennifer

    This post could not come at a better time for me. Breast cancer in my immediate family, I’m carrying too much weight myself… This one is bookmarked for those moments when I want to sit down with the whole cake to soothe my frayed nerves. My life is worth more than the comfort/guilt rollercoaster that food can bring me.

  361. Engineer Baker

    You. Woman, you know how I feel about you — you’re so beautiful, inside and out. And I always cheer whenever you tweet that you’re going on a run, because I love running and running is fun, a good stress reliever. But oh my, the stress you’ve been under. I’ve gotten hints, but it just crushes me to hear more of the story — and I’m not even the one living it! I have so much respect for you, for Danny, for the strength of both of you. It’s a wonderful, awe-inspiring thing.

    And lest you think that others don’t also have this problem, I even wrote about it, not so many months ago. It helped me, as I’m sure it did you, realize that there are others out there with the same issue. (And really, I bet most people would look at me and never guess my screwed up relationship with food) So here it is:

    And, as always, LOVE. Love to you, love for your honesty, your guts, your courage. Love.

  362. Nan

    Embrace your path — your journey. It is what makes us into the person our loved ones love. Having a child whom you adore is a gift. Having a child with whom you travel down a rough path is even more of a gift. It teaches us the true meaning of a mother’s love and the joy of seeing that love reflected in our child’s bright eyes!

    I admire your courage and wish you the best on your journey!

  363. Susan

    I read your blog “carry that weight” and I can’t tell you how much it moved me.

    I have been dealing with weight issues all my life and decided that this year was the year I was going to tackle it.

    The last two years have been tough, dealing with bladder cancer and the removal and reconstruction of my bladder, followed by a year of watching my mother die a slow, painful death and then having to pack up her life, well, let’s face, weight control — in fact control of any kind — was not in the cards.

    Peri-menopausal, working full-time, married with a pre-teen boy (also an only child), well there just has not been much time to think about myself. In January I decided to start a weight loss blog and write daily about my weight loss efforts and my life at

    But I have not been as honest about my life as you have been — I have shared some but not all of my grief, and I have to say that your honesty has really inspired me to be more open and honest on my blog.

    and as somebody who has recovered from cancer and then pretended it never happened, I am going to take a page from your book and start exercising daily (apparently pouring a glass of wine daily can’t be counted as exercise) and admit I actually had cancer and need to make changes in my life to make sure it never happens again…instead of ignoring it.

    Good luck, I will keep reading.

  364. Jessica

    Thank you for being so real. I completely agree that your blog is a place for sharing joy and your experience of living life fully (which is inspiring to all of us who read you)…but this latest post, even though you were writing about fear, somehow made me see you as an even more fully alive person (and writer, and mom, and cook!) I’ve been inspired by your embracing-it-fully attitude towards eating gluten-free, something that was new to my life when I began reading your blog. But this is the first time I’ve written here. Strange to think how many mysterious, anonymous readers like me you have out there!
    I, too, was always afraid of running, until I just decided to actually do it. Now I couldn’t live without it. It makes me feel, whole, strong, and replenished. I’m so glad you seem to have found the same thing. Running, if you do it consistently, can be so much more than good for your muscles and heart. It’s become almost a spiritual practice for me.
    Thanks for your wise words. You are a brave, wonderful woman.

  365. Bernadette

    Shauna, I think I’ve been reading your blog since you started it, I’ve mentioned before that I feel like I know you all just from all of the reading. Thank you so much for sharing about your year and eating. I have put on so much weight the past few years. I don’t have a baby, my children are grown and I have been going through the “empty nest” syndrome so I reach for food for comfort. I don’t know how you have written and worked so hard on your book without sleep and all of the other obstacles. You are strong and sharing with us makes you even stronger. I’m just so glad that you have gotten through the testing and you are O.K. As always, you inspire me. I’ll check out the couch potato to 5k. Thank you. Love to you all.

    Bernadette from Maine

  366. Anonymous

    Thank you.

    Wishing you all the best. I am so impressed with all you do and you have been such an inspiration to me and my life with my gluten-free son.

    I admire and respect your honesty and your willingness to share.


    bee in sweden

  367. HCGpower

    This sounds so much like my story yet I havent really been able to put it into words like that. You will lose the weight you are amazingly strong. I plan to read lots more of your blog now that I have found it.

  368. ajira

    I’m typing this in tears. Thank you for sharing what’s true for you, right now. I have a one year old and have also been so struck by what a living teacher he is– so present, so alive, so active. Recently started walking again, exercising and had a very similar experience to yours. I walk with him. At first I had him in a carrier but it became unfeasible so now I push him in his stroller. I think of it as my weight training!

    I’ve been posting about it on my blog. I’ll link my name to one of those posts directly.

    Thanks again. I feel so connected to you, my heart is open to you and your family and I wish you all health and happiness. I am grateful for your generosity of spirit.

  369. Lori

    You honor us all with your honesty.
    I must say that in my own life, every hell that I’ve been dipped into has left me a stronger, better mother.
    Blessings to you and your beautiful family,

  370. Eowyn's Heir

    I know this in NO way mitigates the pain of not having a second child biologically, but having several friends who have built their families this way after infertility– have you considered adoption? It’s an amazing gift, both to yourselves as parents, to your daughter as a future sister, and to a child who otherwise would have no one. Ethiopia is really really needy right now… and so are thousands of children in foster care here in the US. I have friends who’ve pursued both routes and have beautiful children in their arms and their homes. It’s even more beautiful in some ways when the children are adopted trans-racially… rainbow families we call them! It’s something to think about– to pray about.

  371. Gina

    This was such a beautiful piece and I’m so honored, touched and humbled that you shared this with all of us. While I could relate to many points along your story, the desire to be there for every special moment in my children’s lives has motivated me recently to take some healthier steps as well.

    It took us longer than we expected to get pregnant and I often think about how old I’ll be at certain milestones…college graduation, weddings and grandkids. While I can’t change my age, I can influence how healthy I’ll be at each of those special times. I want to keep up with them now while they’re young and later when they have children of their own. And doing things right today and tomorrow, just like you, is how we’ll get there.

    Our son is gluten and dairy free and your’s is one of our most favored sites on topics of food. It means so much more to me now. Thanks again for sharing and I wish you all the best!

  372. Stefania/CityMama

    You continue to inspire me. This is the best post I have read all year. And, maybe, ever. I remember seeing you, chef, and Lu at BlogHer Food and thinking, “What a sweet, happy family.” I had no idea you were going through any of this. I am holding you all close in my thoughts and heart that there will be no more health scares in your lives ever and that Lu continues her sleepy ways.

    Like you I am trying to get healthier and am using I finished the program last fall and continue to do 2.5–3 mile runs every day. On Jan 1 I decided to get more serious about losing weight and joined WW and have lost almost 30 lbs. It’s hard when you love to cook and eat (that part I really relate to), but my mindset now is that I want to be healthy for myself and my family. I’m on my way. We’re on our way. Thank you for your amazing words and presence.

  373. Teresa Rieke

    Thank you for sharing your story. 2009 was a hard year for me. We bought a house we had to gut and remodel, my son graduated during this time, i found out i had thyroid cancer (lots of doctors visits), had surgery and RAI treatment (isolation)and so on. I have gained weight and still i don’t feel good which adds to the problem of trying to get back to normal. I really enjoy your blog and the Chef. I am trying to find the right balance with food and feeling good. I was thin before i found out i was gluten intolerant and now, especially having thyroid problems it is very hard to stop gaining weight. I have 3 months before my sons wedding and i am using that as a motivator to get fit (lots of pictures! and i have to find a dress!!) You have motivated me to start my plan today! You are good parents and may God bless you with a time of healing this summer.

  374. Amanda

    What an amazing post (I was directed here by CityMama on Twitter). So smart and amazing and right on — your priorities and your reasons for wanting to be healthy are perfect. Thank you for this.

  375. Janet

    As a woman: Thanks for an inspirational post and best of luck with exercising.
    As a statistician: another child may reduce your breast cancer risk, and not taking Tamoxifen for the 1–2 years to get pregnant and have the baby may not increase your breast cancer risk by that much. Before deciding not to have that second child that you want so much, try looking into the numbers more and asking a statistical cancer expert, not just a doctor. Doctors don’t know statistics very well:

  376. Reesa

    “I’ve realized that happiness is movement in the body and stillness in the mind”

    I love that. Thank you for this. Your post really touched my heart. I’ve been there in multiple ways. I’ve lost weight, 20 pounds, and put it back on…and then some. I did it the way you should, eating well and exercise. Why did I put it on? Is it because I stopped working out as much after I was basically let go from my job? Is it because I found out my father was ill with something that would eventually end his life making paying attention to what I ate not seem to matter anymore? It’s a journey, I did learn from that. I mess up, I learn from my mistakes and I try again. Sometimes I want to give up, but I tell myself to never stop trying, if I did I feel I’d go to a dark place I don’t want to be. I’m on a good path now, 3lbs down, but it’s not about the numbers, it’s about feeling good about myself and being healthy. Giving up would destroy me spiritually and mentally more than physically.

    Hang in there! Every day and every healthy choice is a step in the right direction.

  377. stuffcookswant

    Wow, you tell an amazing story. You should be so proud of yourself for taking the difficult things in life and making them a motivator for a change.

    I’m a runner too (wow… I just said I am a runner!) and have been running for a few years. It’s never easy, but I always feel fantastic afterward. Remember, it’s just one foot in front of the other.

    Good luck!

  378. Karen

    Shauna, on some level we all have the same feelings of self that you do, though for different reasons and challenges. And you are right, from age two to college while sometimes (when life is difficult) life seems to drag on it doesn’t seem all that long ago when my daughter at age 2 and I were at the Seatle Children’s Museum –she is now off to college in the fall. Spring is a wonderful time to look at life in a fresh way, and since today is beautiful, I am about to take my dog for a long, brisk walk and celebrate another day that includes exercise instead of my excuses. Karen Robertson

  379. Katherin

    Thanks for being an inspiration. I started the couch to 5K after reading this and I’m sticking to it for my daughter!

  380. KarenTKent

    I have been reading your blog for several years, attended your cooking classes at PCC, and thoroughly enjoy what you offer. However, this poignant post was one of the most heartfelt and beautifully written. Wishing you and your family good health and plenty of sleep in the years to come!

  381. Notonlyformoms

    Thank you for your post. i think i am a reader of your blog for ..4 years i think now. and i often tell friends: read her blog! she has found true love, she writes so inspiring, she has a wonderful daughter. i think her life is beautiful. and sometimes i compared … and thought: hu, what stressfull life do i have. and now i am admiring you for writing this post and show us all a little more of your life. i wish you all the best from austria.

  382. esther

    Thanks for your inspiring post. I have had a rather chaotic last year, nothing special to complain about, actually, lots of good things happened, finished my thesis, got married… but at the same time lots of stress, and since August a long distance relationship that includes two plane trips.… all that led to me eating lots of my comfort foods, cold winter nights baking… BUT ever since I read your post last week Friday, I have been taking better care of myself, cooking healthy meals served nicely arranged on my plate and not living on pancake in front of the computer. Thanks and lots of luck to you.

  383. Nandita Iyer

    My son is a year and 5 months and I’m crying over this story — so touching and so beautiful as to how you’ve learned so much from this and cared to share with the world at large — very very inspiring for me Shauna — God bless Lu and both of you!

  384. arundati

    this is a beautiful post and thank you for writing about it. So many of us carry this burden with us. i cant but have admiration for your family and beautiful daughter for coming out of this so beautifully. it hasnt been easy…but you did it… god bless

  385. Anonymous

    My goodness. You have had such a difficult year. Blessings to you and your family as you heal and move forward and thrive.

    Thank you for sharing your story so honestly. I had not read your blog in a while, because I was having a tough first year of motherhood too. It was difficult to read your blog when everything about your life sounded so blissful. It is perhaps also true that if someone’s life looks perfect from the outside, there is often a not-so-perfect story on the inside.…

    My difficult year was simpler than yours. Our son was born tongue-tied, which makes it difficult for babies to nurse efficiently, and it was not discovered until he was 8 months old. I spent the first 6 months of his life nursing him every two hours around the clock for an hour every time. He would not sleep because he was, unbeknownst to us, still hungry.… One day, he was awake for 17 hours straight. It took a long time after his tongue was clipped for him to start sleeping better. Finally, at 15 months, he sometimes sleeps through the night. Sleep deprivation is brutal, and only those who have been through it as intensely as you and I have truly understand just how difficult it is.

    May you find rest for your body and soul as you go forward from here.

  386. Miryam (mama o' the matrices)

    A much belated echo, but still: thank you for sharing this. I nodded, winced, and remembered our own years of hospitals, surgeries, cancer scares and our sons, who did not sleep (2.75 hrs max) for four years.

    Whatever the cause, lack of sleep is brutal — and for us, it came with a list of food restrictions. Anaphylaxis to sesame, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, milk, wheat. Zucchini. Then rye, barley, spelt, kiwi, pumpkin — the list went on. And I responded with food, the more comforting the better. Simple, fresh, and as full of deliciousness and love as I could make it.

    If my sons’ bodies were going to make food an object of fear, I was going to balance that. Food is a pleasure, a discovery, and it is love. But somehow, food was also expected to fix all of the cracks and sharp edges in our world. Possibly, this is where I went wrong.

    The kids grew, and so did I. During the time of crisis, the comfort of food outweighed the extra pounds. And looking back, I’m really not sure how I could’ve done it differently.

    I’m applauding as I read about your taking stock, and shifting gears. Your priorities are still the same — still Lu, Danny, yourself and *yes* — and it’s inspiring to see you thinking and working towards this goal.

  387. Catherine

    Thank you for your beautifully written and honest post, it resonated with me on many levels — the sick, nameless dread of having a new baby in the ICU, the desperation of sleep deprivation, and the way that sugar, butter and flour can seem like the answer as you run through life with a little one…thank you for sharing this, and know that there are lots of us out here struggling with the same things as you. How wonderful that your daughter is healthy (mine is too! hooray!) and I send you love and courage on your journey,

  388. Johanna GGG

    I just read this post nodding in understanding — sometimes keeping the weight down just seems so unimportant compared to everything else in life — esp when comfort is needed so much — well that is my experience — but it is inspiring to read how you are turning it around — I wish the best of health to you and your family — and thanks for sharing — it is just what I need to hear right now

  389. Anonymous

    this is an old post, so you might not see this comment–but such hugs and blessings to you. what a hard time to have endured and what tremendous love and life you pulled from it. a million kudos to you. thank you for allowing all of your readers a taste of the truly genuine, so that we can mirror it in our own lives.

  390. C. Janelle Tuma

    Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve been struggling with my weight for a long time, and after following your link to the Couch to 5k site, I’m taking up running. And I’m actually EXCITED about it.

    I’m a comfort eater as well as a boredom eater. Over the last few weeks, I’ve slowly worked on changing that, and I’ve found that I’ve been less hungry after I stopped grazing and snacking all day. It’s comforting to know that there are others out there who have tried and succeeded in changing the same bad habits that so many of us deal with. It means that I can do it, too.

  391. Melissa

    I know this is an old post you resurrected for those of us who missed it with your amazing New Years 2011 post so thanks! I was also (as many have described) in tears reading this. Although my daughter did not have the troublesome journey into the world as yours did, the expectation of having more than one that doesn’t come to fruition has been a struggle we’ve been facing too. It’s been especially hard for me and taken me away mentally from my family and friends in many ways. I keep thinking…if I just do this maybe…and your message of “I don’t want to miss a minute of it!” re your daughter’s life is soooo true and something I have to think about for my own family! Again, thanks for the great writing, you are an amazing person!

  392. Melomeals: Vegan for $3.33 a Day

    What a hard time you’ve had. My heart breaks for all the fear you must have felt.

    This new year is a wonderful time to bring in the new energy and mindful eating. I’m right there with you. I’ve struggled for so long, and yes, there is always a story behind weight.

  393. Sarah S

    I want to thank you for sharing your words with the rest of us. I am fairly new to your blog…several months strong. I am slowly, when I have a moment between two jobs and full time school, sifting through and savoring your words, your experiences, your recipes. I have been gluten free for a little over a year now and the longer I go, the worse the symptoms become when I do get gluten in my world. I treasure the ability to create food that nourishes my body AND my soul and share that with others. I delight in the moments when my somewhat skeptical (but supportive and sympathetic…even if some of it comes across as pity) friends eat something that they are shocked has no gluten. When they get the look of sheer surprise on their faces and realize that gluten free isn’t a sacrifice, I am not wanting for foods to eat. I am careful and I read every label of everything I put in my mouth…but I too “carry that weight,” and mine too comes from seeking comfort and hiding.

    I won’t burden anyone with the details but I carried a secret of shame with me for over 14 years before I told my story and my world finally changed. Some people finally left the scene, others arrived on scene, I am still healing but oh the glory in shaking off the burden of secrets. Yet, still I sit in a body I am not comfortable with, even after finally removing the poisons eating away at both my soul and my body respectively. So, I have committed to changing things.

    I am beyond thrilled by the discovery (thanks to you) of the baking by weight, not volume way of life!!!! Whole-grain vanilla apple-walnut muffins are a hit in my office and my tummy! :) So, I am converting my grandmother’s recipes into grams and I am delving into the world of creating recipes and serving love on a plate (in my spare time, of course). My problems came when I would eat all the food I made without realizing it. Reading your blog just now has inspired me, and as I dry my tears (tears that come from identifying with another soul and knowing that even if I never meet you or your family, you change my life daily) and put away my pity party supplies, I am ready to start again. Ready to live shame-free and ready to embrace life and the delicate flavors this world has to offer us.

    Thank you for being an inspiration, a kindred spirit, a brave and wonderful soul who makes this world a better place, one recipe at a time! :)
    Sarah Spears

  394. Laura

    It appears I may be a tad late for the party, but wow. You’ve articulated the struggles, challenges and obstacles of so, so many in one brilliant post. Your words and beautiful honesty brought tears to my eyes. Thanks so much for your bravery in sharing your story, and your triumphs.

    Regards from a new GFG follower!
    –Laura :)

  395. Elizabeth @duckandcake

    Hi Shauna -

    Hearing you speak about this post at BSP2 inspired me to seek it out. Wow. It’s simply wonderful in every respect. And it certainly speaks to many of the struggles I’ve personally gone through in my love-hate-love relatiosnhip with food.

    I feel very priviledged to have met you in such a wonderful and intimate setting.


  396. gillian

    “Well, for one, I would like you to know this: if you ever look at someone who is overweight (in your mind), and think, “Wow, she’s really let herself go,” just remember that there is always a story behind it.”

    Love this quote Shauna
    still struggling with my weight but this blog of yours has cheared me no end. XX

  397. Ronna Sarvas Weltman

    Shauna, I’ve just discovered — by accident, since I went on a diet to lose weight that incidentally eliminated gluten — that I feel so much better without it. Which led me to your website, which led me to this beautiful brave authentic post. What a gift you are to so many people. Thank you.

  398. rg

    Just clicked on the link to that picture of you and Chef on ‘use real butter’. Didn’t see anything other than how cherished he looks, leaning on your shoulder. Just thought you should know :)