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Friday, April 8, 2011
Happy Birthday Gluten-Free Fun
Tomorrow is my 33rd birthday. I am ok with this. Many people thinking aging is a bad thing, but I actually think that so far my 30s have been way better than my 20s. I am much more in tune with myself as a person than I was even just 5 years ago. As a tribute to my birthday, I thought I would share 33 things about myself that you may or may not know about me. Making this list wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. 

33 Gluten-Free Fun Facts
  1. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 1981, at the age of three, by a very forward thinking gastroenterologist. Hewas only 29 years old at the time of my diagnosis. I truly credit this man for saving my life.
  2. I have been writing Gluten-Free Fun since January 2007. To date, I have posted almost 570 posts.
  3. I am the lead organizer of the largest Celiac or Gluten-Free Meetup group IN THE WORLD!! (There are 71 gluten-free or celiac-related Meetup groups on  We have whopping 1,273 group members in the NYC Celiac Disease Meetup group. I am very proud of this group.
  4. I talk to my mother every single day. She is one of my best friends. She calls me her very own “gluten-free celebrity”. This makes me laugh and realize how proud she is of me.
  5. I have one wonderful sister that also has Celiac Disease. I was diagnosed as a child; she was diagnosed as an adult. She grew up calling me a “Banana Baby” but little did she know she would also be a “Silly Yak” one day. I love you baby soucie!
  6. I have 545 fans on my Gluten-Free Fun Facebook page. I have 854 followers on Twitter. These numbers amaze me.
  7. I have one first cousin with Celiac Disease. I believe at least two more cousins and maybe even my dad have Celiac. They are in denial.
  8. I have twin nieces and a nephew who I adore more than anything in this world. Both of my nieces are gluten-free. They think it is hilarious that I have “no gluten” in my food too.
  9. I am addicted to the internet and social media. I really don’t know how ever lived without it. I have 258 blogs on my daily RSS feed and 163 of those are gluten-free related blogs!
  10. I have a day job completely unrelated to anything in the gluten-free community. I am the Director of Production at an education software company and I like to think I am shaping the minds of our country’s youth.
  11. I love to dance, love pop music and always dance while I cook in my 100% gluten-free kitchen.
  12. I grew up eating Ener-G foods bread since it was the only gluten-free bread on the market in the 1980s. Even with all of the delicious gluten-free breads on the market, I still buy this bread by the case a couple of times a year. It comes vacuum sealed. This is slightly scary to me.
  13. I have been featured in two Columbia Journalism School senior thesis projects about Celiac Disease. This is very flattering.
  14. I still talk to my best friend from Kindergarten. We have known each other for 27 years. She was one of the first people that knew about my Celiac Disease besides my family. Our favorite after-school snack growing up was potato chips dipped in mustard. I still eat that as a snack from time to time.
  15. I am no longer embarrassed to tell people I have Celiac Disease. It took me almost 25 years to get to this point in my life and admit that I have “food issues.” I can now openly talk about Celiac Disease and realize I have nothing to be ashamed of and my knowledge and experience can only bring awareness to others.
  16. I love to travel and have gone on at least five vacations by myself in the past 6 years. These have been some of my best experiences ever. I don’t let being gluten-free stop me which leads me to my next entry…
  17. I love quotations. Some of my favorites include: 
    • “You can’t have a favorite place until you have seen them all.” (from a printed ad)
    • “You can never step into the same river; for new waters are always flowing on to you.” (Heraclitus)
    • “Just because you have a restricted diet, doesn't mean you have a restricted life” (Allergic Girl)
  18. I was on an episode of the Food Network’s show “Chopped” in 2009 where the cook was making gluten-free crepes during her bio. The episode is called “My Froggy Clementine.” She was chopped but not before you see me in my magenta sweater more than 5 times in a very tiny kitchen. 
  19. I won a recipe contest in 2005 and I have a featured recipe in the book Beyond Rice Cakes: A Young Person's Guide to Cooking, Eating & Living Gluten-Free” by Vanessa Maltin.
  20. I buy URLs for fun. When I think of a good website name, I usually buy it. I need to stop buy and start executing some of these gluten-free projects. Stay tuned!!
  21. Some of the most amazing people in my life right now are people I met through the gluten-free community. I cherish these new friendships and love working with these people to spread awareness in our community.
  22. I have an online gluten-free store called Gluten-Free NYC Boutique. I inherited this fun website from a dear friend and fellow gluten-free blogger named David Fischer who passed away in 2009. David was the person who inspired me to start this blog. He was truly a pioneer in the gluten-free NYC blogging community. I miss David. 
  23. I have been approached by random strangers at restaurants in NYC who ask me “Are you Erin from the Meetup group?” They recognized me from the NYC Celiac Meetup website because my picture is on every damn page. I am always caught slightly off-guard by this and get embarrassed but I do secretly love it too. If you see me, say hello.
  24. I am thanked on page x of the new book Allergic Girl by Sloane Miller. When I discovered this, I actually cried happy tears.
  25. I am the moderator and founder of the Gluten-Free Goodness photography pool on We have over 560 members that post to this group and almost 5,000 pictures in the photo stream. I love taking pictures of my food and apparently so does everyone else in this group. Add your pictures today!
  26. My most viewed blog posting to date is a controversial posting about getting gluten-free food at McDonald’s. Apparently this post pissed off a lot of people. Three years later, I still get comments on this post. 
  27. My favorite movie of all time is Grease 2. I can sing every song from that movie by heart and probably recite 99% of the movie lines. When I discovered that my roommate from college and one of my suitemates both loved the movie and also could sing every single song, I knew we would be friends for life. Love you girls!
  28. I do not eat oats, even certified gluten-free oats. Never have, never will.
  29. I’m not proud to admit, but I cheated and ate gluten a lot as a teenager. This was my personal form of teenage rebellion. I knew it was extremely bad for me but I still drank beer all the time. I was probably the sickest of my life during freshman and sophomore year of college due to this cheating and realize I might have done some serious irreversible damage. Now, I NEVER CHEAT; It’s just not worth it.
  30. My favorite number has always been 33. When I play roulette, I bet on 33 black. I’m turning 33 year. I have a feeling that this is going to be a great year!
  31. I currently have 7 boxes of gluten-free Chex on top of my refrigerator. This is not unusual for me, but some of my friends think it is weird. I love a bargain and a coupon so I get especially excited when I can stock up on gluten-free products on the cheap.
  32. I manage a map of restaurants, bars, and markets that can cater to gluten-free people in New York City. I think there are now over 170 places on this map. I update it when I can and I am always happy to add reader suggestions.
  33. If you have gotten this far on my list, I thank you tremendously. Without my dear readers and fans, I wouldn’t have this blog to begin with. Thank you for your feedback, comments, and emails. They truly do mean the world to me! 

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Blogger Anya said...

Erin, Happy Birthday and congratulations on organizing the largest gluten free meetup group in the world! I love reading your blog and attending various meetup events. Have a great birthday.

Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks so much Anya! Great new blog, btw! I love the name. I just added you to my never-ending RSS feed.

Anonymous Sophia said...

Happy Birthday from one of your 854 twitter followers. Thanks for all you do.

Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Sophia. Thank you so much for your comment. Tweet me sometime so I can follow you back.

Blogger basak ve onder said...

happy birthday:))

Anonymous Laura G. said...

Erin, this is amazing! I can hear your "voice" in my head as I read your writing! This is truly great and I'm so very proud of you!

Anonymous Janelle Pugh said...

In high school I cheated ALL THE TIME. I never ever ever cheat now and can't imagine why I ever wanted to. I was so angry in high school that I couldn't go out or have pizza with my friends... so I just made it happen anyways. You live and you learn I guess! I've also had the disease since I was just a few months old (20 years now!) and I don't think people that get diagnosed as adults or later in life fully understand how hard it is to resist the gluten temptation!!

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