Thank You To Oprah

May 26th, 2011 by Jean Duane

After watching the final Oprah show and hearing her talk about her accumulated knowledge through interviewing over 30,000 people, I am inspired to write this. Her speech was moving and empowering.
Years ago, when Oprah discussed living your ?best life?, I decided to personalize my definition. It means learning as much as possible, helping others, doing my best, and being kind. An ideal day includes working on an ?it? that matters, playing music, studying, spending time with family and friends, exercising, reading, writing and meditation. Problem was, my ?it? wasn?t clear.
For two years, from 2003-2005, I suffered with a miserable, itchy rash. When finally diagnosed with an autoimmune reaction to gluten, my ?it? was defined. I attended cooking school and my mission became to develop media to show how to cook without gluten, dairy and other allergens. Alternative Cook was born from Oprah’s consistent message of being my ?authentic self? and ?following my calling?.
Launched from winning Kiplinger?s ?Dream In You? contest, years since have been spent developing instructional cooking DVDs, writing cookbooks; building a website and blog; writing articles and newsletters; creating a channel on You Tube; giving demonstrations on TV and in other venues; speaking; and having booths at national conferences. Two years in a row, I spoke at the International Association for Culinary Professionals on gluten free baking and self-publishing. Soon after, Penguin/Avery engaged me to write The Complete Idiot?s Guide for Gluten Free Cooking. On the heels of that, Betty Crocker featured the Alternative Cook in a gluten-free nation-wide ?bookozine? on newsstands from December until February this year. Bake Deliciously! Gluten and Dairy Free Cookbook was reviewed in over 170 periodicals. Oprah talks about utilizing your platform. These outlets are my platform for reaching the millions who suffer from maladies associated with gluten or dairy consumption and to hopefully save someone from going through what I did to find out gluten was the culprit.
These years have been filled with the serendipity of having the right person come into my life at the exact moment I need them. Friends formed a Circle of Love around me to reach out with their contacts. Their help enabled attracted seven distributors to sell Bake Deliciously!, introduced me to PBS?s ?Life Wise? producer to give cooking demonstrations in several episodes, and to have segments on Comcast?s VOD. Though financial awards are scarce, service awards are abundant. I am grateful for the opportunity to help thousands who attend presentations and who write questions through my website.
Inspired by Oprah to give more, this letter will be published to offer a free Bake Deliciously! Gluten and Dairy Free Cookbook to the first 25 readers to give it to someone they know who is struggling with a gluten-free and/or dairy free diet. (Offer ends June 30, 2011). Perhaps receiving the book will change someone?s life for the better. Just Contact Us above.
The definition of love is letting someone follow their heart ? even if means that you will miss them. Thank you Oprah, for your positive influence and inspiration.