Tuesday, August 31, 2010

IFBC- International Food Bloggers Conference Recap

The muses have awoken me and I am compelled to respond. My legs are still twitching from all the walking yesterday but movement now is essential.
My back creaks a protest, the vertebrae refusing to aline without pain.
My shoulders seem permanently hunched from typing so much this weekend.

The muses call me.

I am grateful.

Grateful that these aches and pains were worth it. That the effort of sitting in a darkened room for 2 days hunched over my laptop were not in vain.

Grateful that I was able to go to IFBC. The International Food Bloggers Conference

Although, maybe the muses are my dogs, anxious to stretch their legs and clear their bodies.

Either way, it is 6 am on Monday August 30th and I am again at my computer.
Feeling recharged in a way that I had hoped, all uncertainty gone about whether I am a food blogger.

Uncertainty gone about whether my craft will ever improve,
Uncertainty about whether I can make a good picture happen or not, gone.

I know now that those are the results of massive amounts of effort.
I am ready for that effort, ready to reach out in very different ways.
Ready to engage, to truly hold a conversation, to ask for feed-back.
Eliminating the places to hide and step out into the light.

Ready to truly guide you to health.

I am Ready!

Why, you ask am I sounding so different?  Why am I talking to you rather than seeming to be so polished and professional?

Because at IFBC this weekend, I learned that you want to meet me.

ME?! The one who always sat at the back of the classroom, reading a clandestine book of science instead of having to participate in classroom discussions. My brain already knew the answers for the teachers but was frustrated by the process.  I knew it, why in the world didn’t other kids?

Me, the introvert who likes to scan a room, seeking out the lone person who interests me.
The one who can force herself to be gregarious and companionable but hides behind a veneer of professional coolness.

What happened to change my perspective?  IFBC happened.
250+ people crammed into a chocolate factory like those interlocking canned sardines. Writers of reference books, bloggers, photographers, corporate shills, sponsors. All gathered to share their knowledge, their passions, their products.
To food bloggers.



This is the summer of my re-creation as a writer.  I have been writing this blog for almost 5 years. Overall, I have been ok with it but haven’t ever truly felt like I’ve connected to my audience.

And now I know why that is so.  I’ve never talked with you in my own voice.
I’ve projected a defensive veneer of professional confidence, coupled with a simplified vocabulary to not overwhelm.

I have been wrong.

Because if I am truthful and honest about how I talk to patients, colleagues, and friends, I use big language, complex ideas and medical terminology freely.

But here I have not,

I have been afraid to show you my geeky, nerdy- kid in the back of the room reading a textbook that has nothing to do with the subject- self.

I have been afraid that you won’t like to read my stories.

But, now I have confidence you do, or you will. Because you have found yourself here by some random turn of the web, or with guidance from a friend.

So welcome to the new improved Gluten-Free Doctor. 
I have decided that this place will be updated on a weekly basis, typically Thursday.
I cook daily for most of our meals but hate the precision needed to bring a recipe to this page.

For you, I want to have that focus. Because when you make one of my recipes it needs to work.

Lynne Rosetto Casper has nothing on me, I routinely use 5 random ingredients from my fridge to make dinner. Otherwise my family would be hungry.

Can I measure each ingredient as I go to make it again? Rarely.

I want to feed my family. I want to move along in my life and just eat.  I don’t like to fuss, writing down with precision each herb, spice and carrot, and remember to make pictures of each ingredient, each cooking step and the luscious finished product. 

Besides, my kids are a bit tired of me making them wait till I have just the right light to photograph their dinner.

Wild abandon is the watchword of my nightly cooking with only a few guiding principles.

My meats have low to no added hormones, chemical solutions or tremendous distances traveled. No nitrates, nitrites except for celery seed.

2. My eggs are from chickens who have seen sunlight, bugs and grass in their lifetimes. Hopefully they have created eggs that reflect that. Till a month ago, they lived in my backyard. Damn, that homeowners association!

3. That my vegetables and fruits are pesticide free, hopefully at the peak of ripeness and haven’t been shipped from Venezuela.  I like mine from Whatcom County.

4. My fats are organic because pesticides and herbicides attach themselves to the fats in plants.  Endocrine disruptors all, I see no need to increase my chances for breast cancer.  Those are high enough already just from genetics.

5. My gluten-free grains are not genetically modified nor doused in pesticides and herbicides. I wish I could get most of the grains I prefer locally, but that is not truly an option. So I source them from the nearest safe gluten-free mill in Portland.

I like to keep my carbon footprint small because I have kids who want to grow up in a world that isn’t underwater from global warming of the glaciers.

Ok, so there you go, My philosophy in a nutshell.

Locally grown, low chemical content, happy animals, small carbon footprint.

When I can slow down and do the measuring, I can post a recipe that reflects those principles as well as instruct you.

That can only truly happen once or twice a week because my life is busy.

I am a doctor who specializes in gluten intolerance but sees the gamut of patients from birth to elder.

I am a wife to an amazing acupuncturist who depends on my social media knowledge for promotion of his community acupuncture clinic.
As do my other clients for social media setups.  I am a geek who loves the infrastructure set-up of social media.  So I have another business doing just that for artists, writers, brick and mortar stores.  If you want me to help you, send me an email.

I am the mom to two incredible daughters. Young ladies about to embark on middle school- the 3rd circle of hell in my memories.  They need my focus to journey through.

I lead their girl scout troop. Girls do need to learn how to build fires, cook over coals in a dutch oven, learn about science and math, trail blaze and sometimes just kickback and enjoy working with their hands. Oh, and sell some cookies too.  Without a strong leader, they will never experience some of those things.  Our troop has been together since first grade.  Don’t you think they might get through middle school with a bit more confidence since they know they can depend on their friends from Girl Scouts?

I serve on the board of our local gluten intolerance group, lead the Healthy Gluten-Free Kids support group here in town. I even write about all of this on 4 blogs, twitter and facebook.

I teach classes (look under the events tab)  so newly diagnosed folks can change to a gluten free life that is healthy.
There is life and bread after diagnosis.  Gluten free sourdough bread, actually.  One that has a crunchy crust, tender insides and a flavor that can transport you to San Francisco.

All this and a bunch of continuing education seminars, conferences and such to round out the demands on my time.

So once a week is it for here.  Talk with you next week.
Or better yet, leave me a question to answer or a recipe to remake.  I like challenges.
And if you want to see my pictures of IFBC, click here.
Just realize that till I heard Penny de los Santos speak, I was taking pictures not yet making pictures.

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