Last year I attended the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference in Denver. It was an awesome conference and the first time I met so many people blogging about food allergies, the gluten-free lifestyle and Celiac disease.
I was taken by one blogger in particular – Erica Dermer – who seemed so connected in the gluten-free community as well as well-versed in Celiac disease, food allergies and food blogging.
Since April 2012, Erica has the been the outspoken voice behind the gluten-free blog, Celiac and the Beast. She shares all sorts of great GF information, including a plethora of gluten-free product finds.
In an effort to connect and unite the gluten-free blogging community, I am featuring different gluten-free bloggers right here on the Good For You Gluten Free blog.
Erica was gracious enough to allow me to interview her and feature her in my very first gluten-free blogger feature. (Thanks Erica!) I asked Erica a bunch of questions on my mind – here’s what she had to say. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I did!
Q: When you started Celiac and the Beast, did you ever foresee the success you’re having today? Why or why not?
A: I don’t know if I’m a “success” right now, but I appreciate the sentiment! I didn’t know what to expect. I just wanted someone to learn from my initial mistakes and guide them through their gluten-free journey. And for that, I feel like I’ve been successful.
Q: What do you think are the biggest contributors to your blog’s success and growth?
A: [I think it’s] just having a voice that people identify with. I’m not an expert baker or master chef. I’m just a girl who knows that sometimes eating out of a package is necessary. Also, I spend most of my time traveling across the country, talking to Celiacs, learning from them, discussing pain points. It’s like the U.S. is my focus group, and I’m soaking it all in. I understand people’s needs in the gluten free community. Also, I attend almost every event (the International Celiac Disease Symposium, Digestive Disease Week, the Celiac Disease Foundation Conference) – anywhere that a doctor is speaking about anything new with Celiac, I am there. I think that people come to me for medical information (well, not “read my chart, am I a Celiac?” or “Hey look at this rash and tell me what it is”) about things that they don’t have access to readily.
Q: How would you describe your blogging style?
A: Real. Informed.
Q: What are some blogging tools you can’t live without?
A: As a blogger, I love my WordPress site and social media tools like Buffer to help me schedule everything. I have a ton of information to get out, so I need all the help I can get. Also, a pen and paper. Sometimes if I don’t actually write something down, I’ll forget about it.
Q: What are you most proud of when it comes to Celiac and the Beast?
A: The amount of people I’m able to help through my book and public speaking events. When I hear that I’ve changed someone’s life – isn’t that what this is all about?
Q: What is one question you wish people would stop asking you?
A: From a blogging standpoint, [I wish people would stop asking] how much money I make. From a Celiac standpoint, “Do I really have to be tested for Celiac?” Yes, yes you do.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: Not everyone is going to like what you have to say.
Q: What is something your readers would be surprised to learn about you?
A: I’m a pretty open book; I don’t think I have any surprises left.
Q: What has been your most challenging moment as a GF blogger?
A: When people fight with me about basic science. Or fighting against Celiac testing. Listen, I talk from a place of expertise. Don’t pick a fight with science, because science will always win.
Q: You mention on your blog that you like trying GF products and that cooking isn’t really your thing. That said, please share your favorite GF brand of*:
- Pizza: Venice Bakery, Smart Flour, Udi’s
- Pasta: Tough one. Cappello’s (contains egg), Ancient Harvest, Bionaturae
- Frozen meal: Artisan Bistro, Amy’s
- All Purpose GF Flour blend: GF Jules, Enjoy Life Foods, Pamela’s Products
- Cereal: Nature’s Path, Cinnamon Chex
- Bread: Canyon Bakehouse, Bread SRSLY
- Beauty products: Red Apple Lipstick, 100% Pure, Tarte
- Energy bar / granola bar: Larabar, KIND bar
- Recipe you love making: The basics, just some baked chicken, veggies, and potatoes. Keep it simple! Especially if every recipe you make turns into a nightmare.
Q: What are your favorite GF cookbooks?
A: Too many to name! I only use a few out of each cookbook though – usually the easiest!
Q: Who are you favorite GF bloggers?
A: The entire community is amazing to each other. I rely on each of them for something unique. Our community is incredible.
Q: What is your favorite part about blogging? Least favorite?
A: Favorite: Helping someone. Least Favorite: I have all this great content, but if I don’t pay to get it out there on social media, sometimes people can’t find me.
I hope you enjoyed getting to know Erica (aka Celiac and the Beast) a bit more. Do you have a question for Erica? Leave a comment and I’ll make sure to get you an answer 🙂
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