Original Format: http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-20151-Manchester-Gluten-Free-Examiner~y2009m11d16-Interview-with-Elizabeth-Atkinson-Author-of-GLEE--An-Easy-Guide-to-Gluten-Free-Independence
(by: KIM HOPKINS)
INTERVIEW with Elizabeth Atkinson, author of:
GLEE: An Easy Guide to Gluten Free Independence
Q: What is your background? How did you get involved in developing a book about living with celiac disease?
A: I write novels for tweens, but have a background in freelance writing. My daughter was diagnosed with CD at the end of her junior year. She was very worried about leaving for college in the coming year and surviving on her own, so I wrote a concise survival guide for her. It turned out to be a great book for anyone newly diagnosed.
Q: How did you come up with the concept for GLEE?
A: When I searched around for a very basic, user-friendly GF survival guide for someone newly diagnosed, I only came up with "Gluten-Free for Dummies" by Danna Korn. It's an excellent resource, but still pretty lengthy. I wanted something much more concise and pocket-size.
Q: How did you decide on the title GLEE for your book?
A: Since I'm a writer I'm always creating and redesigning words and concepts. The first thing that came to mind with the "gluten-free" diagnosis was "What an unappealing word!" To me it sounded like food had glue it in! Anyway, I immediately shortened it to GLEE (GL for "Gl"uten and EE for Fr"ee"). so in our house we call gluten-free food "Glee" food. It's also a hopeful word, describing her new energy, health, and outlook on life!
Q: What is the most useful advice you have for people new to the gluten free lifestyle?
A: Besides reading my guide which has everything you need to know when newly diagnosed including food advice, food lists, travel, online resources? : ) I would say don't panic and take it one day at a time. The first most drastic thing you have to do immediately is cut out those wheat-filled carbs, so make a big pot of brown rice. You can add anything fresh to rice like veggies, cheese, fresh meats, nuts, tomato sauce, etc and have a meal. Then you must get a basic list of what you cannot eat either from a book or online. Then give yourself lots of time to do that first grocery shopping! And luckily today, almost all mainstream grocery stores carry gluten-free food - just ask at the desk. (And get used to asking a lot!)
Q: What are some of your family's favorite gluten free foods?
A: My daughter loves baked treats like cookies, brownies and muffins. I pretty much follow the usual recipe substituting store-bought GF flour for regular flour. The rest of the ingredients (like cocoa, chocolate chips, butter, etc) are usually GF. As far as packaged foods we love Against the Grain Gourmet Rolls, Bagels and Baguettes. Amy's Rice Crust pizza is our favorite GF frozen pizza, but there are many good ones. These days we rarely buy the packaged GF foods and cook fresh as often as we can making the correct GF substitutes when necessary.
Q: Can you share something about what you are currently working on?
A: I am going through the editing process with my editor right now for my next tween novel, "I, EMMA FREKE," which will be in bookstores Sept 2010! You can learn more about Elizabeth Atkinson by visiting her website and blog here.