apple-fennel slaw

It’s January. Are you dieting yet?

You are? Sigh.

Let me explain.

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting at a coffee shop, trying to work while Lu was at her little school. I say trying to work because I’m an inveterate eavesdropper. When there’s something fascinating being said to the side of me, I may keep typing, but I’m listening instead. That afternoon, two beautiful young women, probably juniors in high school, sat on the couch talking together. They were catching up, asking about the holidays, families, friends. Girl talk. I started listening when one said this, “I know. January 1 I am giving up all food but carrots and cottage cheese. I mean, look at me!”

The other one commiserated, saying, “I know. Look at my arms.” And she grabbed her own arm and shook it, like a drunken jerk shakes a baby in anger.

They then proceeded to point out all the parts of their bodies that they hated. HATED. They grabbed their own bodies and clearly wanted them gone. And their solution? Deprivation in January, for as long as it took, until their bodies were perfect.

I cringed. I remember that feeling, all too clearly. I wanted to go talk to them and tell them to quit it. (I’ll never stop being a high school teacher, in some ways). Mostly, I just wanted to give them both a hug.

They had no idea how lovely they were.

They’re not alone. Raise your hand if you have thought of food as your enemy, something that must be controlled, slapped down, and taken away. Raise your hand if you thought your life would be so much better if you just weighed five pounds less.

You know it doesn’t work, right?

I’ve written about this struggle of mine so many times, on the blog and in my first book, that I don’t want to go on anymore about how diets are about deprivation, about negation, about denial and feeling like we’re not truly alive until we’re the right size.

I just want to ask this.

What if January were the month we all owned the fact that we ate cookies and cinnamon rolls and rich dishes and too much food at parties because we stood at the table nibbling while talking to friends, even though every health magazine told us not to do that? What if January were the month we walked into a room not pulling at our shirts to cover the extra three pounds we gained in December and threw out our arms wide instead, and shouted, “Hey everyone! I’m here. So happy to see you!”

What if January were the time to say, “Wow. I survived another year. And I’m alive. Hell yeah!”

What if January were a fresh start, a chance to quiet the guilt and nastiness to ourselves, and in the silence we had the chance listen to our bodies and hear that they just want more vegetables, please?

What if it was as gentle as this?

We made a lot of cookies in December. We made more than showed up on this site, because we tested and tried them all before deciding on the ones we like best. I must have made 20 batches of cookies and holiday goodies from December 1 to December 22nd. That’s a lot of butter and sugar. I don’t even want to think about how much butter and sugar.

And by the day after Christmas, I realized I didn’t feel that great.

Since that I wrote Carry That Weight in April, there was a seismic change in my life. I felt buoyed by all the letters and comments so many of you sent. I also went running or for walks with you in my head. (You helped kick my ass. Thanks.) I didn’t change the food I ate, since we eat pretty great food already. I just stopped eating out of the refrigerator when I was stressed. I sat down at the table every time I ate.

One day, as an experiment, I put all the weird nibbles I was tempted to ingest onto a plate, then sat down with them at the end of the day and gave myself permission to eat the cookie dough, the hunk of cheese, the half of a bread roll, the crappy candy that I didn’t even like but it was there. I looked down at my plate and realized I had no interest. I threw it all away.

I chose my food consciously, as a means of celebrating instead of negating. The other day, Lu shouted out, an hour or so after breakfast, “I love FOOD!” I want her to always feel that way. We know she has learned this from us, by our playing and gratitude. I don’t want to lose that. So I moved instead. I ate when I was hungry instead of when I had a deadline I worried I wouldn’t meet. I ate with great relish (literally and figuratively).

Since I wrote that piece in April, I’ve lost about 25 pounds. You haven’t heard me talk about it because the numbers don’t matter to me. Do I have more to lose? Sure. But it’s not a should anymore. I just like the moving, the conscious eating, the grace I feel in my body when I go for a long walk in the cold air and come back home to my two loves energized. I really like being alive in my body as much as I can.

(I wish someone had told me all this when I was 17. And that any change that lasts is incremental.)

The holidays made it all go sideways for awhile. All that baking, all that cold rain. Even though I was measured with the baking, giving away every batch of cookies after they were photographed, I still ended up eating a cookie (or two) every day. I stopped running as much with our hectic schedules on tour and the craziness of book promotion. I slipped back into the land of being tired and finding an excuse to push exercise to the next day. I still don’t eat out of the refrigerator. I’m done with that now. And I don’t blame myself for the past few months.

I just want more vegetables, please.

And no sugar. And nothing with food dyes or preservatives or additives or food-like substances. I just want good food.

That’s what we have been eating in January.

This is why I was happy to try the Food Lovers’ Cleanse at Bon Appetit this month. Sara Dickerman, one of my favorite food writers, put this together along with a nutritionist. It’s sensible food in moderate portions, based on recipes from some of my favorite cookbook authors and fellow bloggers. (Every food you see photographed in this post came from the cleanse.) It’s a food guideline based on celebration instead of deprivation.

I love what Sara wrote here: “Listen, there’s no point in regret. If your holiday diet wasn’t 90 percent cookie, you were doing it wrong. Don’t worry about it!”

Thank you.

The cleanse focused on good foods, whole and easy to find. No dairy for two weeks, except for yogurt. Good protein with lean meat and lots of vegetarian dishes. Vegetables and more vegetables. Whole grains prepared with flavor.

I did this program for a full week, following almost exactly what it suggested. And then we went on our own.

Why? Because a) the program is designed so well that it encourages you to make up your own meals after you have the hang of it and b) I felt silly buying frozen berries in January when pears are so yielding and sweet right now and c) after a week, I understood.

You see, this cleanse is how we mostly eat anyway, 90% of the time. Over time, and particularly in the last year when I erased any judgment about my body or diet, I heard more nuanced messages from my body. And so, after the baking frenzy, and doing the cleanse, I realized the following:

– I’m done with bleached white sugar. That stuff doesn’t like me. I’m eating fewer sweets from now on, but I’m also playing with alternative sweeteners. I’m sort of in love with sucanat right now.

– Even though I feel good that I can’t eat bleached white flour, the white starches in gluten-free baking really aren’t much better. I still love our 60/40 AP mix for cookies and goods that you want to mimic the nostalgic feeling of old, but I’m tired of starches. In the last three weeks, I’ve been playing with a multigrain mix, made of 70% whole grains and 30% starches. It’s working beautifully. We’ll share it with you soon. Most of the baked goods around here are going to be whole grain from now on.

– I don’t want any food that contains preservatives or food dyes or ingredients I cannot pronounce. This essentially means no processed food. (The more processed food is, the higher the risk of cross-contamination anyway.) This means cooking almost everything. We love that.

– I have realized, by process of elimination, that my body does not like xanthan gum or guar gum. I gave them up 10 days before I started the cleanse diet and I have not felt this good since before Lu was born. I’ll tell you more about this next week. (Be excited. This means better baked goods, actually.)

– I really love vegetables. If I start every meal with 1) what vegetables do I want to eat? and 2) how do I put some color in it? That ends up being a great meal every time.

Here’s the deal: these statements are true for me (and our family) right now. They may not be true for you. They may not be true for me three months from now. I just wanted to share this with you so you will understand when recipes from now on contain more whole grains, maple syrup, many more vegetables, and no gums.

I’ve been thinking a lot about those teenage girls, the vituperation they threw at themselves. That didn’t just happen. They have been listening to their friends, their sisters, and their mothers. But they also have been listening to this culture.

I’m not sure when we turned to such a culture of judgment. The internet does not help with civility, that’s for sure. You can’t talk about how you feed your kid, or her bedtime routine, or where you buy your clothes or how you plant your garden without someone telling at you loudly that you are doing it WRONG. When did we decide that there is one right way? Why are there not a hundred different ways to do the right thing?

So I’m still a little astonished, and sad, when I say anything about how we eat and get attacked immediately: “You need to stop eating grains at all.” “Why do you use so much dairy in your food? Don’t you realize it’s evil?” “You need more vegan recipes. I’m tired of coming here to see meat.” “If you did the Paleo diet and ate like a caveman, you’d look even better.”

Hey folks, how about I listen to my body and you listen to yours? If something is working for you, great! I’d like to hear that story. But as soon as you start telling me I need to do what you do? I stop listening. I have a feeling you do too.

So that’s my other wish for January. No judgments. The world could use that for awhile, don’t you think?

APPLE-FENNEL SLAW WITH TUNA AND WALNUTS, adapted from Sara Dickerman and Bon Appetit

The original recipe calls for celery root, which I love. However, our grocery store was out of it when Lu and I went to pick up ingredients. I never seem to tire of fennel, no matter how often I eat it. I’m pretty sure that fennel-apple salad is more my palate. You should play too.

I could make this salad different every time I make it by changing the texture of the apples and fennel. In the salad you see in the photograph, I put green apples in the food processor with the slicing attachment, making big bites of tart green apple. Cut them into matchsticks and you have an entirely different bite. Danny shaved the fennel thin on the mandoline for us, but it might be good in thick, juicy slices too.

We played with the oils too, as we’ve been having a good time trying different flavored, healthy oils. The sesame oil in here added just the right depth for us. You could use something else. Just play!

Salad:
1 large fennel bulb, stalks removed, fronds reserved
kosher salt and cracked black pepper
zest and juice from ½ lemon
2 green apples, quarted, cored, and sliced in any way you choose
1/3 cup toasted walnut halves
1 can white tuna (we use west coast albacore)

Vinaigrette:
juice from ½ lemon (just use the other half!)
1 ½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 ½ tablespoons sesame oil
4 tablespoons grapeseed oil
salt and pepper to taste

Making the salad. Slice the fennel bulb as thinly as you can. Add the salt and pepper and toss the fennel around. Add the apple slices, walnuts, and tuna. Toss.

Making the vinaigrette. Whisk together the lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and mustard. Combine the sesame and grapeseed oils, then drizzle them slowly into the acidic ingredients, whisking as you go. Taste, then season to your tastebuds.

Dress the salad with the vinaigrette and eat.

Feeds 4.

[print_link]

139 comments on “apple-fennel slaw

  1. Glutenista

    AMEN, Great post Shauna! Absolutely 2nd the “no judgments” — every body is different & everyone has different nutritional needs. We can’t wait to see the healthier flour mix & recipes — after 2 months at Glutenista full of butter, sugar & flour, we can definitely afford to make some better choices :)

    Hope you have a very happy, healthy January!
    xoxo, Glutenista

  2. Tammy

    It always amazes me how we keep hearing how every body is different, but we just don’t seem to get it. What one person needs is not what another needs. Your recipes and thoughts always amaze me. Thank you.

  3. My Man's Belly

    Great post! I too was one of those girls in high school and then college…and then after college. UGH…so tiring. Unfortunately it just takes time for us to get comfortable in our own skin, if we ever do.

    I am also doing a cleanse, one that I’ve done before. It’s just a nice way to bring yourself back on track after a month (or 2) of eating lots of things you don’t normally eat.

    I’m looking forward to see what you are using in place of the gums

  4. Kate @ Savour Fare

    I was going to do that cleanse, but my dad died a week ago, and sticking to a program suddenly didn’t appeal. I try to stick with what I tweeted on a whim on the day my dad died: Life is too short to eat bad food. That’s food that doesn’t taste good, that doesn’t make you feel good, that doesn’t nourish your body or your soul. I stand by that. Sweets for the sake of something, anything sweet are no good. Good are the brownies I made to share with my husband and my daughter and my mother, as we find a new pattern to our family dinners. Good is the chicken stew I put together that smells of garlic and saffron and fennel, the South of France, one of my dad’s favorite places. Good is the oatmeal the Nuni and I share on weekday mornings. Real food. Real life. Mindful, not mindless. Because life is just too short.

  5. Monica

    “Hey folks, how about I listen to my body and you listen to yours? ” — That’s a great piece of advice and it’s something I have been following for the past few years. Thanks Shauna for all your hard work!

  6. Lauren

    Yes. I’m the 17 year old girl staring at my friends incredulously when they start beating themselves down. Yes, I have flaws. Yes, they have flaws. But in no means are those flaws worth the fretting they put in. I sometimes fret too, but (like you) I’ve come to find that listening to my body is the only way that really works for me. In fact, listening to my body has been the most important thing I’ve learned from all of this illness. It helps the healing happen.

  7. Llysa Holland

    This makes me want to shout: YES!!
    My dear dad, who eventually went to Overeaters Anonymous, got me to go to Weight Watchers with him when I was in high school, playing three varsity sports, riding my bike to school, by calling me The Crisco Kid, because I was “fat in the can”. (This was a guy raised by tough Irish guys talking to the first girl in generations on his side of the family. Some things didn’t translate…)
    I know he didn’t MEAN that nickname to ghost about with me all my life, but later — we both learned (about the same time, interestingly) that listening to the body was the best way to feed it WHAT IT NEEDED. Not what fashion dictated, or the other person thought. Now my philosophy is “Move more. Eat colorfully.” I automatically do the portion/balance in my head, but still, I listen. THANKS — I wish I could hug those girls, too… I’ve been there, trying to out-hate each other…

  8. Jackie

    Shauna, you put into words what so many of us are feeling. This is all a personal journey, finding what works best for you and you alone. I myself have found after going gluten-free, I actually react very poorly to all grains. Dairy, which formerly made me feel wheezy, is now fine as are nuts. For a time, I was a very careful, thoughtful vegetarian, but ended up tired and pale; veganism would probably put me right out. But…that’s me. Everyone else should pay attention to their own bodies and come up with their own solutions. Judgement, criticism, preaching…there’s no place for it. You inspire us all and I look to the similarities rather than to the differences.

  9. Christina Rutheiser

    Well said! Oh, how I wish we saw more of this acceptance and focusing on food as celebration, instead of the self-loathing that seems to be so pervasive. Love your attitude, looking forward to your new recipes (DELIGHTED about the idea of fewer starches and more whole grains and vegetables). Happy 2011!

  10. Chris

    Fennel is one of my favorite veggies! I’m going to have to try this. I’ve done similar salads, fennel, apple (sometimes jicama), and lentils.

    You are totally correct. How we feel is much more important than a number. Keep feeling great.

    No gums!? I want to see how this works. I had always kind of figured we had to use them. I wonder if most people don’t deal well with them, depending on the quantity?

  11. carrie @ gingerlemongirl.com

    Thank you Shauna! I SO SO SO Agree!! I’m working on this myself. Just listing to my body more and trying to feel out the foods that my body really needs. Like you said, it’s not advice I’m looking for (why does everyone feel the need to spout their way?) it’s acceptance and encouragement. I’m ready to accept me for me, plus size jeans and all. I want to find health not necessarily a specific body weight. Learning to understand fullness and what works for my body is one way I’m starting to do that! I love this post Shauna. It’s good to know we are ever learning and evolving!

  12. Lara

    I also say “Amen!” and I’m looking forward to your recipes for whole grain baked goods. I’m grateful, too, that you have the time, energy & dedication to put all the work into the experimentation process & then share the results with the rest of us. Thank you!

  13. Min

    Wow. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Yep. That about sums it up!

    Oh what the hell: YES! THANK YOU! :)

    With much love and admiration from a longtime lurker!

  14. Kelley

    Good for you. The best plan for nutrition is well-informed and custom fit. I changed my eating habits ~10 years ago to manage health conditions. Most of the changes involved minimal processed grains, a lot of fresh green and a lot of lean protein. I’ve found, as you said, that a lot of the GF flours don’t make the cut for good carbs, and I’ve yet to eat a gum that didn’t make me about as sick as gluten. My health is far better eating fresh, nothing preserved, no refined sugar. I would have never believed anyone through the frenzied dieting of my twenties that if I ate better quality food, I could eat more of it. I truly appreciate good starches, but they just don’t work for me. Having had twins two years ago and had to reinvent balanced body chemistry, I’ve re-grieved that lack, but I’m better for it. No matter what, on all levels of being, I’m better for it.
    Thanks for sharing this slice of your journey.

  15. Jen

    So many times, all I can think of to say to you is — thank you. So, Thank You. That needs caps. I sit here, newly turned 38, and powerfully remember the note I wrote to myself as a teenager: “Be strong. Be skinny. Don’t eat.”

    Why can we not treat ourselves gently and lovingly?

    Your steps toward health and happiness and LIFE keep encouraging me to take more of my own in that direction.

    as a ps, when you told me — just write — I did, at last, and once again Thank You.

  16. Pétra (Creative Mom)

    Wonderful post! My husband just started South Beach again. This really works for him but just doesn’t feel right for me, it doesn’t seem balanced somehow. You have put it all into perspective and what a great way to start the New Year.
    Can’t wait to try the salad!

  17. Joan

    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post! It speaks volumes. I don’t like being judged by what I eat either. I too have eaten more “colorfully” this January and feel better for it. I am going to have to try the slaw sans the tuna though, since tuna and I don’t “agree” with each other. It looks so scrumptious !!!

  18. Mari (@T1DMari)

    Shauna…I’m SO inspired and encouraged by this post. I’m often the girl sitting in the coffee shop, but the girlfriend she is with is ALWAYS my own thoughts and lies. I’m excited to try that BA foodie cleanse. Sounds absolutely perfect. I want to love food to and not abuse it. I’m sick of feeling guilty. Thanks Shauna!

  19. Beth (OMG! Yummy)

    I love this post Shauna. My husband and I started “dieting” months ago — the years of devotion to our kids and work had taken their toll moderately on our psyche and physiques. But we love food and never intend to stop eating what we enjoy or starving to make the pounds go away. Because it will never last. So we’re consciously eating smarter, eating less, and enjoying it when we eat something we shouldn’t but want to anyhow. And we’re exercising more but not fanatically because that’s not realistic either.

    But I think some of the wisdom for your approach and ours comes with experience and confidence in yourself, something teenagers often don’t have.

    Since I now have a tween and a teen, I just hope I succeed in instilling the confidence and knowledge they need to care for their bodies in a healthful way. I know they love food and give myself a pat on the back for that. Hopefully the other traits will follow along as well.

    Looking forward to trying the salad — sounds great and fun to play around with.

  20. Emily S.

    Thanks, Shauna, for reminding me of this! You said exactly what I needed to hear, but much more beautifully than I would have said it. I’m really excited to try this salad and to check out other recipes on the Cleanse website. I’m also excited to hear about this multi-grain flour blend–I feel so much better when I eat more grains than white flours.

    Also, I wanted to say how much I like your new site design! The printable feature for the recipes makes things so much easier. Back when I first moved out of my parents’ house and started to learn to cook (I had been GF for about 5 years at that point, but my mom always did all the cooking), I literally printed out every single recipe on your website and put them all into a binder that I kept in my kitchen. You and your recipes helped me learn to bake and cook and feed myself, which I’m so grateful for. But anyway, at the time I copied and pasted each recipe into a Word document, and then had to pick and choose which of your comments in the post I wanted to include. Now I can just click “print” and it has the recipe and your pertinent comments all ready to go. Fantastic!

    I continue to love your recipes and your website because you’re always pushing me outside my comfort zone. The original recipes I downloaded were easy to learn to cook/bake, but since you’ve taught me that I can bake anything, from cinnamon rolls to kick-ass birthday cakes, and I’ve learned to adapt recipes on my own. Now that I’ve nailed comfort food and am interested in learning more about whole grains and how to encorporate more fruits and veggies into my diet, you’re helping me along. I’m really grateful that you take the time to post about your life and what you’re learning.

    Emily

  21. jenn

    always only ever do what is right for you. and let us all find inspiration wherever suits us. i’m grateful for your constant inspiration in my life. i hope all the naysayers find their own fabulous inspiration that makes sense for them. but never ever doubt your voice, both for yourself and the power it might hold for others. i think i say this generically. i too am exhausted by our constant devaluing of ourselves and others. all of us have something to share. all of us have our own hurdles and struggles and stories of triumph. they are all different. and all equally valid. and thank goodness for that!

  22. Becky

    Shauna, I love the way you write and think. Most everything I read from you is exactly what I feel. And I love how you play with your food, I do the same! Very rarely do I make something the same way twice, I’m always changing something up. Thank you for an excellent, well written blog!

  23. Chris

    Wow…there are too many things swirling around in my head and not enough room in this comment box to convey what I think of this post. I read your posts often, but never comment. But this time I had to…thank you…it needed it be written. It needs to be broadcast everywhere. I laughed when you mentioned you’ll always be that HS teacher. Being an HS Admin, I find myself talking to girls…and guys…constantly!

    And, this salad? Yum! Love fennel. Grew up on it. I am Italian and my grandma used to cut me slices of it…holding her hand out, would wiggle the fennel and say “Mangia”. :)

  24. SMITH BITES

    ‘yes’. that’s the word you have tattooed on your wrist and that’s the word i want to shout from the rooftops when i read this post. because as someone who’s had ‘disordered eating’ almost my entire life and as someone who has finally, finally let that elusive number on the scale go, i can honestly say that focusing on how i feel, rather than letting a number on the scale or the tag inside my clothes determine my worth, my value, has been liberating. we eat very well and have for about 4 years now but this is the year i learn to move more throughout my day — that is my goal this year. i’m nominating you for sainthood, Shauna because i swear to God you’re another Mother Teresa whose care and compassion for those around you is infectious. so ‘yes’. i’m inking my arm now.

  25. Cassidy Stockton

    Beautiful piece. Thank you. As always, I struggle with my body image and wish I could change not the way I look, but the way I feel about it. I try to keep an open mind and know that there are a million different ways to be, but it’s wonderful to hear it from someone else. To know someone else has those thoughts too. Thank you.

  26. Tracy & Kim

    Shauna,
    Many, many thanks to you for this lovely, moving post. I just had a conversation with a coworker today about listening to what her body needs, not what some diet prescribed. I love your moving words and agree — no ugly self talk, no putting yourself down, no judgment. Here here to your changes. We’re proud of you.
    :) tracy & kim

  27. Jenny N

    Exactly!!! I recently became vegetarian (this past summer) just to try it and see if my body liked it better and it does! But people love to give me flack about it and I always say to them, you know this is the best choice for my body I’ve never once told you you have to go vegetarian, thats not why I choose to eat this way! And you can choose to eat however your body wants, and I’d appreciate it if you would let me do the same! Since June I’ve come to realize that it’s most important to eat what your body wants, if you listen it’ll tell you.

  28. Jen Yu

    I’m sorry, sweetheart. You know I judge. I judge the hell out of people ;) But I usually keep it to myself. However, this time I’m going to judge you and say — I think you’re very grounded. And smart. And you’ve got (let me look up the spelling…) chutzpah. I think you’re far too nice to people who don’t give you the same courtesy. I could never be as nice and forgiving as you. You inspire me to be nicer (just a little bit!). Oh, and I love you.

  29. Marie

    I love the idea of a food lovers cleanse! I know from decades of experience with this body of mine that it does not want to lose weight in the winter. It wants a little extra insulation against the cold. But I always feel a little sluggish after the holidays and some fresh inspiration for tasty, healthy meals is much appreciated right about now. That apple-fennel slaw sure looks like a good way to start getting the sparkle back. Thank you, Shauna, for all you do.

  30. Sheryll

    I just love your site and recipes and your views on dieting(or not dieting). I have passed along your site to a friend who is presently living in Singapore, and has just found out she has celiac disease. I lived there too, and it was hard to find products. But, the Asian way of cooking, and the great variety of vegetables should make it easy. Thank you so much for your website, blog and recipes

  31. Allison the Meep

    EFF YEAH!!!

    I wish teenage Allison had known about self-acceptance not judging one’s self, and appreciating who she was rather than obsessing about a body she’d never have because the magazines she read were making her crazy. Even those magazine girls don’t look like that in real life.

    And yes to eating natural foods that make our bodies feel their best. This post is so kick-ass and I love it. And you. xoxoxo.

  32. Danielle

    I really really like this post. You say it like it is. Food is about celebrating life and the people around us, not about punishing ourselves for getting into the holiday spirit and eating one more cookie than one ‘should’ have. Throw those ‘shoulds’ out the window, I say. Well, except for the ‘should’ pertaining to only eating natural, unprocessed foods.…

  33. Soup and Song

    Wise words! I too, am in the midst of a cleansing diet, and for the time being, am abstaining from dairy, eggs, gluten, corn, and soy, among other things. I’m finding that there are still a lot of really great things that I can eat, and the difference in the way my body feels is amazing. In fact I have fennel in my fridge and was planning to have it in some form for lunch tomorrow, and I’m happy to have your recipe as a starting point! Thanks again for all the lovely inspiration that you provide to so many!

  34. Beth

    Completely agree. Been there and done that with all the judgment, still struggle (damn five pounds!), but I truly believe and agree with you that the most important part of being healthy is understanding what works for your body, and your body alone.

  35. Janeen (Chupieandjsmama)

    Great post Shauna!! Thanks for putting into words exactly what I feel. I LOVE food. But it doesn’t necessarily love me. I know that. And unfortunately my body lets me know when I do something wrong. I’ve started a new way of eating this new year and I feel so much better for it. My body told me I needed to and I listened (with some coaxing from my gastro). We all need to listen to how we feel and stop listening to negative talk that goes on all around us and in our own minds. Happy 2011!! Wishing you a happy, healthy, wonderful year :)

  36. Nicole L.

    Lovely and SO true. Taking time to think thoughtfully about what we eat and giving ourselves room to enjoy is important! Thank you for putting all of these ideas together so eloquently in your post.

  37. Megan Hull

    I 100% agree with you! I hate all the diet plan commercials that start January 1. How about we eat well and eat healthy, real food? Health is more important than weight, for one, and second, if you eat healthfully, your body will find its own weight. I’m excited to read about your adventures in no white sugar and whole grains!

  38. Jenn Sutherland

    Shauna, I adore this post. What a brilliant, kind, gentle start to the new year. I love it. And I’m truly looking forward to the new recipes with more whole grains. The finely milled starches are not my friend, either, and I love the character and flavor of the whole grains so much more, and I know that with your guidance, beautiful things will come out of my kitchen. Thank you for this post, for the love of food and body — Happy New Year to us all!

    PS — the new blog is BEAUTIFUL! Welcome to the wonderful world of WordPress!

  39. Jamie M.

    Thank you for writing this post. I teared up when reading it, probably because today was a rough day anyway (I work in community mental health) and on top of it I received no less than four comments from well-meaning people stating “You sure don’t look like you’re on a gluten free diet. Aren’t those people awful skinny?” or “With all that health food you have to eat you should sure be thinner.” Excuse me? I wouldn’t trade my starved, battered, pre-celiac diagnosis body for the one I have now for anything, even though there is more of me to love now. For 2011, I am also working on eating more whole grains, mainly because I also have type 1 diabetes and the white and starchy flours wreak havoc with my bloodsugar levels. I am really looking forward to your posts, and thanks again for saying in print what we all need to be living.

  40. Julie

    I’m so with you. I get irate at the New Year, New YOU! message that blares from every outlet at this time of year. What’s wrong with the old me? Whatever happened to being happy with what we have, and who we are? And if there’s one thing I’ve learned from a lifetime of struggles with my weight (at one point I lost half my body weight — 165 pounds — by changing my perspective on food and ditching the guilt), it’s that guilt and shame are terrible motivators. And emotions young girls should not be connecting with their bodies and the food they put into their mouths!

  41. Jean Layton

    This just moved up into a must read for patients. How often I get folks who want to change the way they have been living, overnight, to somehow conform to an image of health. How about we go for the real thing? Real food, lovingly prepared and enjoyed with friends by our sides. That is health.
    As for cleaning up the diet in January for December’s indiscretions, that is what December is for! We are meant to enjoy more fat, more calories. We are using more just to keep warm in the frigid nights.
    So please, can we all do the cleanses when the first green plants come up instead of in the dead of winter? Can we just enjoy the wonderful root veggies now?
    Looking forward to seeing you in Bham 1/27 for your book night at Village. The girls are willing to be Lu wranglers if needed.
    Jean

  42. gaile

    Hear hear! Add my applause to the crowd for this post. And OO that slaw sounds fantastic. I love just the idea of it, and can’t wait to try it.

  43. Ashley

    oh my dear. I like you. a lot. What a beautiful post. As with most people, girls in particular, I went through a phase where I really struggled with food. I competed with myself to see how little I could survive on. Not good at all. Through that though I really met food and started to fall madly in love with it. I love myself and food too much to ever go back there. Now I eat what I want and if I need to reign it in I simply cut down on the quantity not the quality. It helps that I LOVE VEGETABLES!!
    Thanks for your humble vulnerability.

  44. Rebecca

    what an inspiring post! thanks for all of the experimenting you do to make things delicious for us! we just cooked the focaccia out of your new cookbook and even the gluten-eaters are clamoring for it! i can’t wait for the new multi-grain mix and for new non-cane sugar sweeteners. Happy New Year!

  45. Rebecca

    Shauna — I did the cleanse for about three days and it was great until I got violently ill. I think my body rejected having so many great vegetables in such a short time. I however learned a lot just like you. You said it so well.

  46. Connie

    I am new to your site but am already a fan. Wonderful post! I need to read it every single day because even though I know better, I forget. I’m excited about eating heather and more vegetables and I’m excited to find out what amazing healthy foods you have to share with us! Thank you so, so much.

  47. Amanda Acton

    Xanthan Gums? I wonder if that is causing me problems.

    Last year I went on the elimination diet and picked out Gluten and Dairy as problems. I was starting to feel much better… but somewhere along the line, I started spiraling out again. I’m still better than what I was, but not better. My stomach goes through good days and bad days… my sinuses too. Today, I’ve practically got tissues stuffed up my nose. I’ve felt that familiar tingling itch of eczema.. and I can’t pinpoint why. I never thought to question the Xanthan…

  48. Christina

    Shauna, you’re wonderful. Always encouraging. Always pointing in the right direction. Always making me feel like your good friend sitting across the table at a cafe and listening to your thoughts. Thanks for this much-needed affirmation. :) Happiest of Januarys to you!

  49. gila

    There is a woman who lives in my community whom i run into every few months. A few months ago she was obese. Then I saw her recently and she had dropped almost all her extra weight. She decided she wanted to loose it so she went to a nutritionist. The woman told her to write down everything she eats. Being faced with the choice between lying to the nutritionist or writing down “one spoon of ice cream, one handfull of cornflakes” a number of times a day. She decided to just not eat the things she didnt want to write down. You seem to have been in a much better place to start of than this friend of mine but it seems like you took a similar approach to her’s.

    My story is quite different. I am short 4 fet 11 inches. If I gain 5 pounds it is like a taller woman gaining 15. So I was never thin. I was always “plump.” Since going gluten and dairy free I have become very thin. My friends will occationally tell me. “Oh my Gawd! You are so thin!” My heart always falls. I would give anything to be able to go out to coffee with them and enjoy ice cream and cake that I didn’t make myself. But, I cant and so, how exactly could I gain weight? I wish they could stop looking at their thighs and look at their genetics and their liver and their intestines and be proud of what great shape they really are in.

  50. Manoli

    What a great post. I get worried and annoyed by judgement on any field, because it leads to fundamentalism, which I believe one of the main problems in the world. It is good to hold your own ideas and ideals, but be open and respectful to others. In food and in everything else.
    It is good to remember not only that each of us has a body that responds differently to different things, but that our own body reacts differently to the same food at different moments of our life, depending on all the other factors surrounding you. I never had a problem with weight, I was lucky that way (mum´s genes), but I had so many problems with allergies, and asthma. A good practitioner got me our of gluten, dairy, and sugar, and slowly I started to heal. But I´m Mediterranean, I LOVE FOOD. So I had to find ways to feed my soul with wonderful flavours regardless of my restrictions. That got me creative, and into the kitchen. And that got me to opening the first gluten-free cafe in Spain. Now people come here not because they cannot eat gluten, but because they like the food and our passion for it. And you know what? Now I can eat most things and not get sick. Because I´ve had years of cleansing, balancing, listening to my body, and specially, because everything I eat is cooked from beginnig to end by us, with fresh, seasonal ingredients. I too stay away from artificial flavourings and colourings, and white sugar, but everything else: bring it on! If I indulge for a day, or a week, I do so without remorse, because food it to ENJOY IT. And then I just eat beautiful fresh veggies for a few days to balance it out. And that doesn´t feel like dieting because I also LOVE vegetables and I can cook them in a thousand different and yummy ways. Shauna, thank you for this post, it´s such a great message. May this new year be a year where we all work on JUDGEMENT. The world will be a better place for it.

  51. PinkPoppies

    Lovey post except for this: “And she grabbed her own arm and shook it, like a drunken jerk shakes a baby in anger.”

    As a rule babies are not shaken by drunken jerks (although some may be). They are almost always shaken by stressed out caregivers (usually men, and not necessarily the fathers, averaging between 18 and 31 years old) who cannot cope with a baby’s incessant crying. All parents and caregivers need to know that it is okay to put the crying child in a safe place such as a crib or playpen and that it is okay to close the door and walk away to compose themselves and call a friend or family member for help. Visit http://www.dontshake.org/

    I couldn’t let this go by because it is such critical information.

  52. Flo Makanai

    Oh how I loved reading that post! I’m currently discovering you through your 1st book, Gluten-Free Girl (I’ve known your blog for a while but had not taken enough time to really “meet” you and discover how much you’re a food, life, essential things, joy, truth and more lover) and I’m thrilled to discover that, although thousands of miles apart (I’m French, living in France), we’re following (food, i.e. life) paths that are similar in many ways.
    I’ve been baking GF for a year (my kids are gluten hypersensitives but not celiacs) and hate using gums and don’t like starches that much, hates white sugar, diets etc.
    However, we, at my home, enjoy garbanzo bean flour very much, it resembles (to our palates) some of our ancient whole grain flours most (i.e. enkorn, for ex) with its rich complete taste. But we were not raised eating white flours, for ex, and our palates are used to strong flavors, whole grains, and, my favorites as a kid, German pumpernickel or those dark dense marvelous Swiss walnut rye breads from the Valais, in Switzerlandh.I’ve never tasted tapioca starch that was metallic, either. But in France I don’t buy the same brands as the ones that are sold in the US, and I must say that a very well known US GF mix based on garbanzo bean flour that I’ve tasted/tested twice in my kitchen just deserved … my trashcan… No complexity, yucky, will never ask again my mom (who lives in the States) if she can bring some back for me…
    Bottom line : I’m +++ happy to have bought your 1st book, will probably buy your second book and look forward for the 3rd (;)), AND not all flours are equal in taste even when they’re called the same so please everyone, if you’ve tasted a Type X flour you did not like, please taste the same type from another brand to get sure it was not the brand that made the difference. I don’t mean that for you, Shauna, it’s obvious you’ve tested and tasted and tested again, but not everyone knows that there are as many flours as there are brands (and mills etc) and that there is much more than a name on a flour bag :)
    Wish you Ahern Family a fantastic Year !

  53. Julialuli

    Thanks for the post…I think you’ve found a new path to investigate! You’re really inspiring about loving our individual bodies and knowing what is right for ourselves. Your notes on xanthan gum caught my attention. *Something* in my homemade GF food isn’t liking me and I was thinking it was corn, but that’s not consistent. Will consider! When I was away for two weeks, not eating too many GF baked goods, all systems were go. I get home and wham! Mmmmmmm. (A note you don’t have to publish…the Garamond italics are killer to read on the screen!) Best to you this January!

  54. SusiQ

    Shauna —

    THANK YOU!!! I so agree. Our daughters are listening to us and watching us — - the way we treat our bodies and speak of them … We need to be gentle with ourselves.

    I so appreciate your blog, your humor, and your positive messages!

  55. The Yummy Mummy

    What I love about this post is how conscious you are of what feels good to you, your body, your spirit. If left unchecked, I too would be eating this and that out of the fridge until I felt stuffed and unhappy.

    But being in the moment, with your family, your work ‚your friends…your food, means that you can constantly re-assess what is good for you right now. That’s awesome and your post — this lovely writing — is a reminder for us to do that. I need those reminders. Thanks for that.

    Kim

  56. Andrea Meyers

    Yes, yes, and amen. Less judgement about food and many things, both for others and ourselves. One of my favorite quotes is “If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” I need to repeat that a dozen times a day.

  57. Trista

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I know I’ve been beating myself up for not eating healthily. Mostly because I’ve been stressed since the middle of December. I’ve got the same bad habit you had. Going to the fridge and grabbing whatever’s there and just eating it to swallow down the stress. What a great tip to just take the time and at least sit down at the table if you’re going to eat it. I’ll have to give that a try. Plus I need to also listen to what my body is telling me and it’s exactly like you put it, “More veggies, please.” So again, thank you.

  58. Lindsey

    Thank you for this post! I giggled when you mentioned eating cookie dough, because lo and behold, I was eating cookie dough for breakfast ^_^ Nibbling away as if I ate it faster it didn’t happen at all. I love what you wrote about not eating from the fridge and truly enjoying meals when you’re hungry instead. It’s such simple advice but it makes so much sense. Thanks for your constant inspiration! What a beautiful woman you are!

  59. Jenn C

    You are beautiful. I love your site and the renewed vigor and direction to listening to ourselves as a guide toward good health. Bravo!

  60. Grace Boyle

    This is the first year that I haven’t “set” a resolution to “lose X amount of weight…”

    I’m indulgent by nature (maybe because I’m Italian?) and I adore food. I also know that I feel healthiest and happy when I’m active doing yoga, out hiking and moving my body. I found a certain sense of balance and instead of chastising myself and my body, I knew that a balance was on it’s way and so was acceptance.

    This was such a truly beautiful post. Thank you for writing it and I am sure so many people were inspired and touched by this. Your honesty is always so wonderful.

  61. Lisa

    Yay! I am so glad to hear you’ll be experimenting with baked goods without gums. I read your site frequently, but rarely bake anything from it because I had already noticed that the gums make me feel pretty terrible. I’ve always wondered how many other celiacs had that same trouble. I look forward to your new baking results!

  62. Lisa

    Shauna, thank you again for being so expressive. I’m not gluten free, but I have directed more people than I can count to your site just for your writing and positive thoughts. I’m glad you’re here, and thinking logically in this increasingly angry world.

  63. Tamiko

    This judgment about women’s bodies is nothing new and is not just our culture. This is rampant around the world; it just manifests in different ways. Different body types have been in and out of fashion since recorded time. The manipulation of bodies to look a certain way has always followed suit. Hence corsets, bustiers, girdles, and the like I think our responsibility to ourselves and to our children, if we have them, is to not listen to the constant stream of dieting advertisements and media bombardment from large corporations hocking their wares to make a profit on the unrealistic standards set by the entertainment industry. I was a dancer for 16 years, hated my lean, fit muscular body because it was not rail thin. I hated that I was too muscular and didn’t and couldn’t look like Gelsey Kirkland. This was in the 80’s when the waif like dancer was ideal. Now, the athletic muscular dancers that proliferate the dance shows astound me. This is my body type and now it is exaulted, not criticized. This will never change as long as we support it by buying into it. The fact that dieting is a billion dollar industry says that we buy into it. A new diet comes out and it is a best-seller. It’s the answer to all that ails us. But this pattern in itself is the issue. Maybe we didn’t have parents who taught us healthy eating habits (even if they provided a healthy selection of foods and preparation styles) or acceptance of our bodies. They didn’t have the ability for whatever reason to do it differently. But we can make a different choice if we desire. Now, I eat what I like, which for the most part are good for me things, and sometimes eat things that are indulgences. I rarely pick at things anymore or overeat. I know what my body wants and I pay attention to it and myself — not the businesses out there happy to separate me from my money. I don’t have a problem with my weight. Armed with a little knowledge about food, preparation, and facing the reasons why we turn to food for emotional nurturance is key. Ultimately, tuning the outside messages out while tuning in to the inside ones is truly the solution.

  64. Jeannine

    I find your site inspirational. I’m not gluten free, but I do try to live a life of joy — I take my inspiration not from your food (though good food is a joy in my life as well) but from the attitudes that this post shows so clearly. Hearing you talk reinforces that life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful, that fat, thin, tall, short, ebony, peach and gold are all glorious things to be. Attitude — how I act, move, think, speak, learn and laugh — determines how happy I am, not whether I fit someone else’s idea of who and what I should be. Thank you for being yourself. Thank you for finding laughter and joy in being yourself. And thank you more than I can say for sharing that with me.

  65. Jennifer

    Shauna! Thanks for speaking from your heart!
    I have wondered about the xanthan gum, as it does have a rather nasty smell, but I just figured it’s a necessary evil. I am excited to bake without it, and less starch.
    Thanks for your work! You have changed what it means to be gluten free, at least for me. It’s not about being deprived at all.

  66. Julia Sarver

    Shauna–

    Over the holidays, we were playing a traditional game in our group of family and friends. None of us could agree on the rules, since we only play once a year, and it’s very easy to forget in the course of a year. As we were arguing over whose ideas were correct, one friend chimed in and said, “Don’t forget — just because something is different doesn’t mean it’s wrong.” That changed everything, and we quickly agreed on a set of rules for that year’s game, and we had a ton of fun. Can you imagine what the world could be if we just remembered that small nugget of wisdom?

    On another note, I am beyond thrilled to hear that you are going to start experiment with whole grain flours, and posting more veggie recipes! I work coaching a lot of new gluten-free people, and I always refer them to your site. However, many of them end up gaining weight, or not losing weight, because those dang starches are so nutritionally deficient and calorie laden. When I eat them, I know I’m doing better for my body because it’s gluten-free, but I can’t quite convince myself I’m eating healthily, either. Can’t wait to start trying what you come up with — thank you!

    Julia

  67. Ali

    Oh Shauna! I vividly remember the first day I felt joy in the way my body moved. Skiing (which I had heretofore hated) with my sisters, I was so caught up in the pleasure of the rhythm that I didn’t notice I was nearly a mile ahead until I reached a steep hill with a sharp bend at the bottom and looked around for someone else to go first. Since then (five years ago, and five years after going gf), my goal for every day is to feel that joy. When it doesn’t happen, it’s time to listen to my body, eat less, move more, and sleep. Speaking of which…

  68. alix

    wonderful shauna~ what a fabulous perspective.
    i am so glad you are moving to whole grains for your flour mix. it will help to reduce the carbs too. my son was dx with type 1 diabetes last year, at almost 14. we immediately went gf and low carb. he loves all the baking i do with almond and coconut flour, but, something different would help balance it all out. thank you in advance :) i hope you get the recipe out very soon (no rush of course, not!!!)

  69. Sarah R

    I just wanted to say a heartfelt thank you for this post. I’ve been working on getting in shape and I’ve been backsliding a little over the holidays and have been feeling really lousy about myself. Reading through your post I felt a sense of acceptance wash over me and made me feel much better about myself. Your words ring so true — thank you.

  70. Wendy

    I LOVE this post!! Thank you so much for sharing. I know the feelings of food-as-enemy and torturous self-hatred all too well, and what’s worse, am painfully aware of just how not exceptional I am in this regard among women. I have an old journal page I keep from a ravaged period in college, where the paper is pock-marked with desperation and angry pen slashing: 5 pounds! 5 Pounds! 5 Pounds! Then I can be happy, I promise, please. Your message is so important and also hopeful and gentle. Thanks again.

  71. Miss Jem

    Thank you for an inspiring post. I am in the same boat in that sugar (and gluten)don’t like me, so you have encouraged me to not give in to my temptation to have something sugar.

    I can’t wait to try your new whole grain flour mix, I am always looking for more ways to incorporate REAL whole grains into my diet (and my families).

    I encourage you to keep up the fabulous job you are doing taking care of yourself and enjoying life with your precious little family.

  72. Cookie

    Thank you for this honest post. I am in my fifties and have punished my body since my twenties, always feeling too fat.….I was never more than 110 pounds in my twenties and thirties. How sad that I didn’t see how beautiful and healthy I was then. My weight is healthy, yet I always want to lose those extra twenty pounds and never quite do.…. I have just begun to feel like I’m finally “getting it” when it comes to relaxing with my body and enjoying ME for who I am today instead of when I finally reach that perfect goal weight. Your post confirms what I’ve been feeling and knowing about my journey with food. I LOVE food, but I am loving healthy food more and more each year, and that’s saying a lot for a girl who grew up in the south eating fried foods with lots of gravy. There is a grace that begins to happen with age and I am liking how soft it feels. I support you on your journey as you discover your already beautiful self.

  73. MaryAnn Dase

    You are my inspiration, my go-to-gluten-free website and a blog I love to read. Thank you so much for all the butter and sugar work you did because it helped me to make great cookies for my gf husband. I love your AP flour but I am willing to try your next iteration because it is fun to experiment with friends.

  74. christi

    Love reading about all of the wonderful recipes that you share! We are just a few months into my teen daughter’s gluten free diet, so we are still getting our feet wet with all of the new information out there! Thanks for providing such a great resource! :)

  75. Christina

    Thank you so much for that beautiful post! I always struggle with how much I love food (all food) and then I get frustrated when it doesn’t make me feel good. I get tempted to not eat at all, and then I overeat and I’m miserable. And I go through that cycle all the time! I want to eat good food and enjoy it. I can’t wait to see what comes next in your line-up of friendly food! Thank you so much for showing us what is possible and what reality should be… life is good; we have the potential to make it, and ourselves, better every day.

  76. Ada

    I completely understand what you mean! After the holidays, all I wanted to eat was vegetables. So I told my boyfriend that I wanted to cook vegan (or, very-nearly-vegan) for the first couple of weeks, and we’ve both enjoyed it. It’s nice getting back to the clean, healthy food I was so happy to consume before cookie season. I’m really looking forward to your upcoming posts!

  77. Renee

    Yippee! We, too, have been trying to use more whole grains — less starch. Our tummies are soooo thankful — and I am so thankful that you are going to help me out with some recipes!

  78. LauraJayne

    I’m glad I found your blog today! I totally agree with your perspective. I started my first diet when I was 13 — and my friend and I used to meet to run endlessly around the high school track. It took me another 27 years to be happy with my weight, and I am still working to quell the “fat talk” voice in my head! I can’t wait to try some of your recipes!

  79. Baking 'n' Books

    I am new to your blog, but I just read your book.

    God — I would love to write for a living. But even more so to be able to write as well as you!

    This was a lovely post. I’m going to bookmark it so I can properly go back over everything. I especially like the part about what is working for you “right now” — because we all change.

    I also agree that people think GF means “healthier” or weight-loss. But white sugar is still white sugar — and honestly, succanat and other sugars like agave are no better…but I won’t go there right now.

    Anyhow — if you can ever tell me how to blog and write for a living and be happy while paying off my student loans (that are scarily enormous) — please do share :) I am desperately seeking my passion while stuck somewhere I have no choice to be now (because it’s what does pay the bills).

  80. susan

    What a great post!!!!! I have been gluten free for 6 months and LOVE the way I feel. I only eat real food, I always had, but removing the gluten was the answer.

    I was one of those girls you listened to, I am learning now to love myself.

    A great way to start the year.

  81. vanessa

    shauna, you nailed it. thank you for saying what people need to hear in such deeply personal way. people need encouragement, acceptance and positivity. people also need this connection with food. food is our lifeline … not only is it necessary to feed our bodies but i really do believe good food and fellowship feed our souls. processed foods, sugar and the like do not feed us. neither does negativity and deprivation. for many, i think this blog entry will be life changing because you encouraged many to rethink their relationship with food and with their life. thank you for making 2011 start of the right foot for so many. i know you helped change mine for the better.

  82. San

    Hihi, wonderfully written and yes you are right, we shouldn’t be judgemental about others. Congrats on losing that weight.

    I’m back to eating Paleo and I feel great with it.

    Enjoy your weekend.

  83. meagan

    Bravo! I agree, generally speaking, and especially about the judging. It’s a bad habit, something I need to get out of, because I’m beautiful and don’t need to knock myself down all the time. That starts externally: do unto others, and all that. Eventually I will be treating all with appropriate consideration and openness.

    Also, and this was actually what struck me first, squee! A Bunnykins bowl! My sister and I lurved ours as kids!

  84. Linda

    After discovering my gluten sensitivity three years ago, I did a similar clense except that all carbohydrates were also eliminated for the two weeks. During the third week, you gradually introduce the carbs and dairy back. That is how I discovered that I am allergic to one of my favorite foods: potatoes. At first I didn’t want to hear what my body was telling me because, really, potatoes are a life line for gluten-free living and I just plain adore them! But, after the third “episode” I heard the message my body was sending. My allergic reaction takes the form of an extreme mood swing and I become “angry mom” as my son called me. I did not like being “angry mom” and the pain of hurting my kids was much greater than the loss of my favorite food. Listening to my body needs and doesn’t need has made my life so much better!

  85. Carla

    I loved your comments. I changed my own cooking to whole grains some time ago and it has worked much better for us (using the same ratio that you have also come up with.) I’m looking forward to hearing how you use this.

  86. Amber

    Thank you!! Your thoughts resound with me and are a huge encouragement to the place I am at in my relationship with food at this point in my life. Even as we look toward a healthier lifestyle, my beau and I have been discovering the differences in our dietary needs how our bodies respond differently. It’s been a great point of acceptance having struggled a lot of my life not know that I’m allergic to gluten and dairy as well as having a sensitivity to most grains in general. We each need to be aware and listen to our own bodies, encouraging eachother to do the same. There is no ‘one size fits all’ where food is concerned. When your food choices are working for your needs, cooking and eating is so much more enjoyable! Thank you again!!!

  87. Marnie F

    I have so enjoyed your cookbook and blog–thank you for helping me to become a good baker again without the gluten! I’m really happy that you are moving toward whole grains and lessening or leaving the gums behind. I think I could be happy with a really delicious flatbread like the Indian roti, that is made fresh to eat with each meal. I plan to work on it.

  88. Dana

    This apple fennel recipe looks awesome! While my hubby and I do get back on track every January (since we fall off track from Thanksgiving on…) the main thing we do is introduce a ton of veggies and fruit back into our diets. So we may be following WW’s points, the change in what we choose to eat is significant. :)

  89. Kate Lam Sam

    Oh my goodness — Thank you so much for sharing all of that with us/me! It was a breath of fresh air reading about letting go of fad diets and accepting that we just need to listen to our bodies. My husband and I were just talking about our enlarged waistlines and what we were going to do about it, it sounded as if we were going on a war path against our own bodies! When Chris gets home from work I am going to show him your post and re-asses our plans.
    Thank you Thank you Thank you!

  90. Clare

    I recommend your blog because you are so positive about food. I am working on emphasizing the positive in my foods. I want to focus on what can I eat that first tastes good and oh yeah it also happens to be good for me. Like eating gluten free, eating positively is a lifestyle change not a diet.

  91. Ann Mellander

    You are lovely Shauna! In every way. Thanks for the encouragement to eat more veggies. Who doesn’t want to feel that good! I always have to remind myself, Hey, I look pretty good, and my husband and kids love me! God bless.

  92. Martha

    Reading your recipe for apple fennel slaw got me all excited. I’ve never eaten fennel and decided this was going to be the time I changed that. At the market they didn’t have anything labeled fennel so I figured I was out of luck. They did have anise bulbs. I decided to bring one home and hope for the best. Looked up ‘fennel’ and ‘anise’ online and discovered that in the US and Canada they are sold as the same thing. If anyone else gets stumped at the market look for anise root!

    Thanks Shauna for getting me to try something new. Gives life savor!

  93. Leanne

    Hi Shauna,
    I, too, loved this post. As usual, it was beautifully written, and so very true!
    I am a long-time Celiac (as well as a long-time lurker!), and I struggle to try and cook gluten-free whole foods for myself and my baby daughter (who is also a ‘Lu’ — Lulu ;-). Vegies, meat, cheese dishes, etc are never a problem, but trying to bake wholegrain AND gluten-free has had me stumped! We can’t get uncontaminated oats here in Australia, so that eliminates one obvious option.. I’m so excited that you’re gearing your recipes more towards whole foods and wholegrains — I can’t wait to see what you come up with!!
    Thank you so much for the time and work you put into this wonderful blog, and for sharing the fruits of your labors with us all. Wishing you, Danny, and your lovely Lu a happy and healthy new year, xxx

  94. The Healthy Apple

    You are AMAZING; have I told you that yet? Hehee; this is the most beautiful post I have ever read. I love it; seriously. Perfect and to the point and beautiful pictures; thank you for speaking out and being REAL. You are beautiful and amazing and so incredibly talented and I think you are fabulous!!! Keep up the amazing gluten free work and I hope to see you again soon!
    xo
    Happy New Year
    P.S. I have the same ‘little kid bunny’ bowl from Peter Rabbit when I was a young girl, brought back so many memories and I still use it for all of my soups and meals…

  95. scatteredmom

    I love this post. You are so right that everyone needs to do what is best for them, and their bodies. In my house we struggle with multiple food sensitivities/allergies, with everything from Diabetes type 2 to avoiding all nuts, sensitivities to corn, soy, MSG, red food dye, lactose intolerance, and even more sensitivities to various fresh fruits. It’s crazy.

    More and more, we are leaning towards vegetarian meals and cooking things from scratch, seeking out locally grown organic foods, and anything without lots of things we can’t pronounce. The thing is, having a blog about baking and titled “Notes From the Cookie Jar”, staying away from sugar is difficult. We have a sweet tooth.

    The only thing I’m finding a real issue with is the cost of all the produce, because it’s crazy expensive. I can’t wait for summer. :) I will be back often for inspiration now and then, when it feels like I’m out of inspirational ideas.

  96. Erin

    Hey folks, how about I listen to my body and you listen to yours?

    Ha,ha! The best line ever! You are such an amazing powerhouse.

    I LOVE coming here. You always inspire me!

  97. Leslie DR

    Shauna! Love the new design, love the “print recipe” and so, so love this post. Although it sounds like you and Danny have a very good handle on raising a healthy eater, it’s more and more difficult these days to combat the messages our kids, and especially our daughters, hear over and over about how they “should” look. Lu is lucky to have the two of you giving her a love of good, healthy food with a good, healthy attitude. I have really been enjoying lots of wonderful, rich food including a holiday weekend with my sister and my family — we love to cook together — and then an amazing trip to San Francisco (where I was able to ask about gluten-free concerns in any restaurant without getting a blank look, and being accommodated beautifully), so I am now ready for what looks like a great cleanse — the Bon Appetit recipes look great and almost entirely gf-friendly. Thanks again for telling your truth — it resounds with many people.

  98. lauren

    Great post.
    So thoughtful.
    And kind.
    Yes, to eating delicious food and feeling grateful and generous spirited this year!

  99. Samantha

    It took me several months to figure out that it was xanthan gum that was bothering me so badly–it makes me feel as bad or worse than being glutened. So I am excited to see the recipes that you will be posting that are xanthan gum-free!

  100. Lauren

    Shauna, I cry as I read this…again. I WAS those girls in high school and college. I struggled with an eating disorder for over 5 years. I look back at that and realize that instead of eating I deprived myself to try and be happier, hoping that looking a particular way would somehow make me feel better on the inside. Fast forward, and I now know soul nurturing is the way to beauty. Thanks to my three beautiful wee ones I continue with this soul love every day. Thank you, for writing this because it is so true. There’s a children’s song by the singer Laurie Berkner that says “I’m not perfect, and you know, I love me that way.” I love that. Every one is different and sees the world in a different way, that’s what makes the world a better place.

  101. Lauren Levi, tastytype

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! Gentle, yes! I’m just starting my gluten-free journey. Thank you so much for sharing your experience through your blog and books, and so incredibly eloquently. And also, perhaps more importantly, thank you for sharing your joy for living. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You’ve inspired me on my path more than I can say. You are my hero. I wanted to share with you a heartfelt thank you by baking you some of my favorite naturally gluten-free treats. I started making these long before going gluten-free because they are so, so good. But it would be weird for a stranger to send you cookies in the mail, right? So I share the next best thing, the recipe. I hope you enjoy them. And best of all, no gums! http://tastytype.blogspot.com/2009/01/chocolate-almond-bars.html

  102. Julia Lynn

    Excellent post, Shauna!
    And very well said.
    I’m looking forward to this approach to food in our household as well, and I’m excited to try your new recipes without the gums :-)

  103. Katy

    Talk about a wealth of wisdom: well said and worth saying. I’m looking forward to all your new recipes. Thank you for sharing your insight and talents with us all. This is the good in the internet.

  104. Lynette

    What an inspiring post! I am in total agreement with what you said about feels best for you to eat, which is basically Michael Pollan’s little manifesto from his book In Defense of Food — Eat real food, not too much, mostly plants. And I’m on board with a no-judgement new year! Look forward to reading more.…..

  105. nancy

    Thank you for putting this out there! I’m super late commenting on this post, I see, just wanted to add the I’ve been using coconut palm sugar in my baking lately and it’s wonderful stuff (word is that it has a lower glycemic index than cane sugars so I like that). And, this salad looks awesome. Here’s to a 2011 filled with fresh vegetables and loving and listening to our bodies :)

  106. Brooke@foodwoolf

    Shauna, of course I’m back here reading this, just to remember this post before I cast my vote for that Saveur Best Essay award. I love your writing so much. The flow, the voice, the way you pull me in and embrace me with your honesty. If I could get a job reading your stuff for a living I’d be at the front of the line before anyone knew there was a line forming. You’re just spectacular at what you do. xoxoxo. Voting now. You win.