Okay okay! It’s the last IFBC post here! I’m never quite certain if I should share my conference experiences here because most of my readers aren’t food bloggers. But I realize that a lot of the food bloggers who do read my blog can’t afford to go to these conferences, so when I’m blessed enough to attend one I try to share what I learn and pass it along to others. That’s why I’m writing up IFBC at the Food Blog Forum as well. By the way, the two lovely ladies with me above are Dianne Jacob (one of the Recipe Writing panelists) and Stephanie of Wasabimon, and all three of us will be speaking on different panels at BlogHer Food 2010!
The last session I want to share with you here is the Food Blogging for Specialized Diets panel with Shauna James Ahern of Glutenfree Girl and Alexandra Jamieson, a nutritionist probably best known as Morgan Spurlock’s vegan girlfriend (now wife) in Super Size Me.
Many of us expected a session specifically about being gluten free and vegan. But Shauna started us out by asking people to stand if they couldn’t eat gluten, couldn’t eat sugar, couldn’t eat peanuts, and so on until she asked anyone who had at least one food they didn’t eat because it bothered their body to stand.
Soon all but six out of 250 bloggers were standing and as we looked around at each other she said “You’re all blogging specialty diets!” It was rather eye opening to a lot of us who hadn’t looked at our eating habits as a specialty diet in the past. Shauna passionately shared her reasons for blogging, and talked about how people call gluten evil. She said “Gluten isn’t evil, it just does evil things to my body!”
One of the most exciting things for her about needing a gluten free diet is that she’s on a constant journey of discovery in trying foods she never would have eaten before. She said “Most people who can eat anything just rotate the same eight meals over and over.” A specialty diet forces you to explore new foods, and she celebrates that in her life and on her blog. Shauna made everyone at the conference fall in love with her as she joyfully shouted out, “Anyone who cooks food with joy, we’re compatriots, we’re friends!”
Alex’s food journey started when a doctor tried to prescribe her Prozac and she told him “No, it’s not a lack of Prozac in my body that’s making me sick!” She soon learned that a vegan diet was what made her feel the best both physically and emotionally. Unfortunately not all vegans appreciate her as a spokesperson. She said “Vegans drive me crazy! I can’t deal with the judgementalism. Every reason for being a vegan is a good one.” Apparently many feel that she’s vegan “for the wrong reasons” but her belief is that you need to eat based on what’s best for your body, and does not tell all her clients to become vegan.
A lot of people have complained about what IFBC was lacking, but I like to focus on the positive and am just sharing my suggestions for the future with Foodista. I mean how can I complain about anything when I got to be deeply and passionately inspired to the point of tears by photographer Penny De Los Santos? It was also a treat to finally meet Jen of Use Real Butter, and reconnect with some of my dearest food blogging friends. Too many to list!
If you’re a food blogger and ever have an opportunity to attend a food blogging conference, I’d definitely encourage you to take it. Even if things aren’t perfect, the connections you make and inspiration you get is worth it! I saved up several months to attend IFBC, and it was worth every penny!