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Interview Series: GingerLemonGirl

Interview Series: GingerLemonGirl
There are so many bloggers, writers, and smart “paleo-people” out there!  I thought it might be fun to ask some of them a few questions to see what is going on in their “neck of the woods.”   I am hoping to make this a weekly element on my website…  If you are a blogger, and would like to be featured on EasyPaleo.com, be sure to comment on this post so I can contact you.

This week we’re talking with

GingerLemonGirl!

I first learned of Carrie’s website after she purchased my eBook and contacted me.  She has some great {original!} gluten-free recipes on her blog, and she is super-knowledgable on the topic!  She is not 100% Paleo, but I hope she will be soon!  ;)
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Easy Paleo: Tell us a little about yourself.
GLG: My name is Carrie, and I’m the writer of Gingerlemongirl.com. I’m married to an amazing guy named Michael, and we live in Eastern NC. We love animals, have 4 cats, and just adopted a new hamster! In 2007 I decided to start a food blog called Gingerlemongirl.com, just for fun. I had no idea it would turn into a serious passion that would change my life.
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Easy Paleo: Tell us your Paleo/Gluten-Free story.
GLG: In August of 2007, when I started my food blog, for two weeks it was a regular ol’ food blog. I was trying to share a few recipes, learn how to take pictures (I’m not sure I will ever master photography!), and figure out what I wanted to write about. I started reading other food blogs, such as Shauna J. Ahern’s blog, “Gluten Free Girl.” At the time I had never heard the term gluten-free before. I didn’t know what it meant. I started reading about her story, about her health problems, etc… and something resonated with me. I had been dealing with severe, almost-daily migraines for the past few years. I had a host of other medical problems as well, but the migraines were the issue that often left me in tears, lying in my bed, in a darkened room.I researched the gluten free topic a bit further, and read about many other people having severe migraines as a reaction to gluten.
Two weeks into writing the blog, I decided to go fully gluten free. I started baking gluten free. I realized this was something that I really liked to do. I learned quickly and I immediately started sharing my gluten-free baking experiments on the blog with readers and the rest, as they say… is history! Because of the success of the blog, I started teaching gluten-free baking classes locally, I started coaching people in the gluten-free lifestyle through email and within my community, and even started a local gluten-free support group. Over the years, though, I learned that I was actually intolerant to many different foods, most notably in addition to gluten: soy, dairy, shrimp & shellfish.
I tried several types of diets over the years to help my medical issues, such a vegan diet (didn’t work, I actually gained weight and my cholesterol went UP!), tried a low carb diet (which worked, but due to my dairy & soy issues was very hard to follow)… etc… and through all these dietary trials I realized my body just performed and felt better following a plan based around proteins, vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts… and absolutely NO grains. I honestly had no idea this type of diet had an actual “name.” Last February my nutritionist (Cheryl Harris of Gluten Free Goodness) was wise enough to realize that due to my food intolerances and several other health issues a paleo-type diet was ideal for me. But I was stubborn. I was SO reluctant to the diet, I refused to follow it until around July 2011. I was having such a hard time losing weight and I just felt awful (despite exercising regularly), and I was constantly tired. I finally realized that I needed to heed Cheryl’s advice and try a grain-free, very low-sugar diet. I have to admit, the switch to full-swing paleo has been a challenge. I’m a baker at heart and I love baking… and while I’m learning to bake paleo treats… due to my weight loss & health goals I really need to limit my nut, dried fruit, and honey intake until I’m able to get to my goal weight. But when I am strictly following paleo guidelines, I feel like a different person… An amazing person! I have energy, I sleep better, I don’t have GERD or other digestion issues, and I actually feel like a healthy person! My goal is to start Whole30 in January to take my paleo journey to a new level! I look forward to seeing what happens!
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Easy Paleo: What is your favorite Paleo recipe/menu item?
GLG: Hands down, BACON AND EGGS. I could eat those two foods every day of the week I think! Although I’d never, ever turn down a rare steak with garlic butter!
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Easy Paleo: Tell us a little about your website.
GLG: Several years ago I started thinking about writing a cookbook, combining all the great baking recipes from Gingerlemongirl.com. I wondered if that would ever happen for me. I have to admit, it was something I struggled with for quite some time. There were days that I really wanted to quit Gingerlemongirl.com because I often felt like a failure… but that little blog had saved my health, given me a dream, motivated me, and I just kept hoping a book would eventually come along. I am delighted to say that I was contacted by a publisher last August (2010) and I’m currently working on a gluten free slow cooker cookbook, which will be published next fall 2012. Ironically, the cookbook deal came long right as I was just starting the paleo journey — and it is not intended to be a grain-free or sugar-free cookbook. I am hoping that my next cookbook can be a completely paleo/gluten-free cookbook with lots of almond flour & coconut flour baking!  I would love to eventually be able to make a living from my blog and provide as many original free gluten-free paleo recipes as I can. I want to help people understand how abundant the paleo lifestyle can be!
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Easy Paleo: Tell us about your eBook.
GLG: My eBook “Gluten Free Baking 101″ contains 25 of what I consider the most essential recipes needed if you are newly gluten-free. The recipes are not paleo-friendly, as they are focused on replacing favorite “wheat” recipes with gluten-free replacements. Several of the recipes are brand new and not available on my site, but many are the favorites that have made my blog a favorite among people who are new to being gluten-free. The most popular recipes on my blog have been my gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, my master baking mix (a homemade gluten-free bisquick mix), and everyday gluten-free chocolate cake. The eBook contains all these recipes and many more in an easy to read, organized format.
As my health needs have evolved\ over the past 2 years, so have my recipes. Other than a few “regular” gluten-free holiday treats I’m sharing with my family this year, many of the recipes to come on my blog will be fully paleo, which means there will be a paleo baking e-book in the future! :-)
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EasyPaleo: What do you wish everyone knew about Paleo?
GLG: I know there isn’t one diet/food plan for everybody… but for me and many people who share my body type and health issues (high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, pre-diabetic, overweight, etc…), I truly believe this way of eating is a lifesaver. Over the summer, I sort of did an experiment on myself because my last blood work numbers had been so incredibly bad. I decided to follow Paleo strictly for 6 weeks, and I returned to my doctor’s office to have follow up blood work. My triglycerides had dropped nearly 150 points, my “bad” cholesterol dropped, and my “good” cholesterol had risen, and my blood sugar had dropped and was completely within normal range. 6 weeks didn’t drop the numbers enough so that I could get off my medication, but that’s my goal in the next two years!
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Easy Paleo: Paleo-eating does not have to be difficult… how do you make this lifestyle an easy element in your life?
GLG: Planning, planning, planning! Your eBook, “Easy Paleo” is a great resource for people new to the lifestyle. I felt so empowered as I read your book and realized I had already put so many of your great ideas into practice over the past few months! Also for me, making 2-3 meals ahead of time on Sundays, and having them ready just to be heated up, is extremely helpful, as I work full-time and I commute nearly an hour to work. So getting dinner on the table can be a struggle if I don’t have a menu plan and/or several pre-cooked meals!
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Easy Paleo: If you could go back to eating a particular food that is now “off limits,” what would it be?
GLG: I still love baking; I always will. And baking gluten-free bread is still such a joyful experience to me. I do love eating it, but more than that, I love the process. It wasn’t until I went gluten-free that I really learned how to bake (I had NEVER made homemade bread before going GF!), so I don’t ever want to give up making those foods completely, even if I’m not the one eating them. I love baking for friends, neighbors, and co-workers… so they may all still be getting gluten-free bread & baked goods for years to come, while I may not be eating it myself! :-)
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Thanks Carrie!

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