Thursday, December 29, 2011

finding a niche to call my own

Late last night, I was perusing Twitter.  One link, then another, and I landed on Gluten Free Foodie's blog post: Five Tips on Writing a Better Blog (and why I've been a terrible blogger).  (The blog's author also is a founding member of a growing online gluten free resource called Stuffed Pepper.)  I shared the post with my mom and haven't been able to get it out of my head since.

My takeaway: a niche.  I need a niche in the gluten free blogging world.  I've had online journals on Xanga before -years ago- but never a blog.  I need to define my voice.

Is it that I'm gluten intolerant and passionate about nutrition, hunger, and poverty?  On a weekly (if not daily) basis, I wonder what happens when a food allergy sufferer needs to visit a food bank.  I feel personally compelled to donate more, especially as the need for donations has grown during the ongoing economic crisis.  (Wondering how to help?  Check out the Freestore Foodbank, which covers 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.)  I'm also bothered that gluten intolerance may inhibit military service and other career choices our kids would like to pursue.  It's a shame when anything hinders people's dreams, but especially something as simple and life-sustaining as food.

Sidenote: regarding military service, here is the relevant Standards of Medical Fitness statement:
Chapter 2 Physical Standards for Enlistment, Appointment, and Induction
Section 3 Abdominal organs and gastrointestinal system 
Part c Small and large intestine
(1) Current or history of inflammatory bowel disease, including, but not limited to unspecified (558.9), regional enteritis or Crohn’s disease (555), ulcerative colitis (556), or ulcerative proctitis (556), does not meet the standard.
(2) Current or history of intestinal malabsorption syndromes, including, but not limited to post-surgical and idiopathic (579), does not meet the standard.

Is it that I have dietary restrictions with gluten, ginger, onion, and mushrooms?  That seems like a pretty small market.  I've only ever met a couple people with an onion issue, and just one other person with a ginger issue.

Is it that I have a strong interest in medicine?  There are already nutritionists and doctors with gluten free blogs; I'm no expert.  Yet...  I've been strongly considering a graduate program in nutrition science for a few years now, and as a child I always saw myself going into medicine, until my dad's (very successful but still traumatic) cancer treatment threw me onto another path.  I'm planning my graduate studies and have been pushed by the gluten intolerance and the thrill of helping others.  Recently I was able to share tips with a cancer patient who had been told that week to avoid gluten.  It was one of the best, most heart-warming moments of 2011.

(If you're a medical professional or in the food service industry and would like improve your gluten intolerance knowledge, I strongly urge you to check out the Gluten-Free Resource Education and Awareness Training (GREAT) Celiac Learning Center, an initiative of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA).)

Is it that I (try to) do gluten free on the cheap?  Nah, there are college student gluten free bloggers like The Blue Table and culinary arts students like Creative Cooking Gluten Free.  I'm not yet in any culinary courses (yet), so I couldn't write on that knowledgeably anyway.

I could do a Julie & Julia style project, making Julia Child's beloved, classic dishes in a gluten free manner?  But.....the croissants, French bread, and boeuf bourguignon have been done, and, as noted on Living Gluten Free, most of the recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking are gluten free without my intervention.

Is it that I'm a gluten free country girl living in the big city?  Nothing really comes up when one Googles gluten free country cooking, but what does even mean?! 

Maybe it's just providing a plethora of information on all these topics with lots of links.

Hmm.  We shall see.

In the meantime, I've added my blog to the Celiac Disease and Gluten Free Forum Community Blog List.  Thanks so much for joining the journey as I figure out my blogging voice.  As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome :)

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