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Tuesday, September 17, 2013
My GFF (Gluten-Free Friend) Kristen

What's a GFF? It's like a BFF (Best Friends Forever) but someone that is part of your gluten-free support system. It's your Gluten-Free Friend. Your #GFF is that go-to person who lets you vent about being gluten-free, goes out for a gluten-free dinner and/or drink with you, or celebrates being gluten-free and embraces everything that the Celiac Disease curveball has thrown your way.

The new "My GFF" program from Udi's is "aiming to help connect the gluten-free community and provide tools, recipes, and support for maintaining a healthy and joyful gluten-free lifestyle." Udi's recognizes that many deep friendships have been made over the years through a shared gluten-free bond and I couldn't agree more.

Through my eight years organizing the NYC Celiac Meetup group, my six years of blogging, and my obsession with social media, I have made a TON of gluten-free friends and I feel truly blessed about all of those connections. Out of all of the people I have met, there are only a small handful of people that have left the gluten-free friend world and have crossed over to "the other side." My friend Kristen is one of those people!

Kristen, of the famous Wine with Kristen, is a Certified Sommelier with Celiac Disease living in New York City. We "met" via email in April 2010 about a gluten-free retreat in Vermont. Shortly after the emails started, a mutual Meetup group member invited us both to lunch. To say the meal was interesting is being very kind. (wink wink, Kristen!) Less than a month after meeting, Kristen offered to open up the doors of her lovely NYC apartment for a gluten-free snacks and wine pairing event. With her great personality and her kindness to volunteer an event in her home, I instantly clicked with Kristen .

Kristen and I on the porch at Good Commons

Over the past three years (which actually seems quite longer) Kristen and I moved from "Meetup friends" to real life friends. We started inviting each other out for dinner or drinks and talking less about our gluten-free lives and more about family, friends, and life in general. Towards the end of 2011, Kristen and I decided to work together to help plan a gluten-free retreat at Good Commons in Vermont. It was during this time of planning, emailing, and coordinating lots of gluten-free goodness that our friendship grew even stronger. It was a no-brainer to me that we would be roommates during the retreat weekend after all of the hard work we both put into coordinating the event. We ate well, drank well, and decompressed in the woods in Vermont together with 12 other gluten-free friends.

It was also at this time that I realized Kristen was truly someone I could count on. Not only was she stellar in helping to plan the Good Commons weekend, but I was dealing with a lot of stress in work and life in general and Kristen was an awesome listener and advice giver during this time. I trusted Kristen and confided in her, which was quite different from any other people I met through the Meetup group. I guess that is when Kristen officially became my GFF.

Kristen helping me celebrate my 34th birthday

Kristen and I meet regularly for food, drinks, and gossip in New York City. She lets me vent about the Meetup shenanigans on a regular basis yet stays out of the gluten-free drama. One thing I always admired about Kristen is that she dines out all the time, travels the world, and never lets Celiac stop her. This is how I try to live my life so Kristen's attitude towards Celiac resonates strongly with me. We are planning a fun-filled overnight in Atlantic City this fall and I am sure we will be friends for years to come.

I saw Kristen just last week at an Omission Beer and Udi's party here in New York City. Since Udi's is featuring #GFFs, I figured it was most appropriate to end this post with a picture of us at the Udi's party.

Cheers to you Kristen and thank you for being such an awesome GFF!

Do you have a #GFF? Share your story in the comments below and then head over to the Udi's Facebook page to share your story there too!

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Anonymous Kristen said...

Oh and by the way, Erin is the best GFF a gal could have!

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