I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions. Blogger, Writer & My Friend of 20+ Years…


Stephanie Stiavetti is, as always, more than meets the eye. A talented writer and impassioned food blogger with a gluten allergy. Her work has appeared in such major media outlets as Pregnancy Magazine, Clean Eating, and NPR Online. Stephanie’s professional website is located at She also Twitters under the user-name ‘sstiavetti’ where she posts about food, nutrition, and writing. 

It was so much fun interviewing someone I’ve considered a good friend for my blog. I was delighted and even learned a bit more about Steph. Please read on for our interview. 

How do you know me? 

I’ve known you for what seems like forever – since Junior High, sitting on the concrete at McKinley in PE.
I know, right?! I remember getting a bunch of ear piercings and was having trouble changing out to new hoop ones and you totally helped me out. It may have been the first time we spoke. Whoa! I just got chills! Ha!
OMG, I wonder if those holes in my ears are still there? I think I had like eight in one year at one point! 

What did you wanna be when you grew up? 

Oh geez – so many things. A veterinarian, an artist, a mountain climber, a cake decorator. I woke up one day and a lot of the stuff I had from those years is painfully foggy. I know stuff is supposed to fade over time, but I felt like a lot of it blurred out during the time I got sick a few years ago.
I can totally see how all of these are a part of your life now, though. Cool! 

The 90’s! Man, what a crazy time. What’s your fondest memory? 

Honestly? Driving around in your Dart, feeling like we owned the world. No one understood like we did, no one else could even dream of ever “getting it.” I remember tie-dying old sheets, eating at Taco Bell, singing Under the Bridge. I guess there’s no single fond memory. It’s all one big one, with a bunch of bumps along the way.
“Oh My Shit!” Ha-ha! My ’76 Dodge Dart! Man, good times! Like doing the “Time Warp” at stop lights and oh yes…Taco Bell! I just remember long summers hanging at your old house and basically being mini-hippies.
Remember my John Lennon glasses and my tie dyes? I think I was wearing a tie dye in every one of my high school photos. 

What led you to writing in general? 

I’m overly verbose by nature, so it makes sense that I would write. I have so much to process, so much to get out, that it literally sweats from my pores. Too many thoughts to keep inside, so I guess you could say that writing, whatever form it happens to take, is like my pressure valve.
I am constantly amazed at the sheer amount you can output in a given month! It has been a great motivator for me as well. 

What made you want to write about food? 

It’s something that I’ve come to know a lot about over the years, which makes it something that’s easy for me to write about. There are so many aspects of food that are key to living our lives. It’s something I’m passionate about, both from a cooking and eating standpoint. But honestly, I don’t want to write about food forever. I want to write fiction or creative non-fiction outside of the realm of food.
Yes! It is just too simple a concept for some people to grasp, I think. I mean, I talk about this stuff every day with my cafe’s customers and it always amazes me how little the average person knows not only about food in general but about their own specific intake of foods overall.  

I’d like to know more about your food allergies and how you found out about them: 

I fell terribly ill for a few years, and after repeated medications and hospital stays, I’d finally had enough and figured there had to be another reason for what was going on. I tried going vegan for a while, but that didn’t help. Then I met a person who had a gluten intolerance and thought that might be a possibility – turns out gluten was a BIG part of my health issues. After going on an elimination diet, I felt immensely better. I started eating gluten again, and felt like crap. Cut it out, I felt better. It didn’t take a genius to figure out what was going on.
And don’t you do the same elimination diet or a juice fast once a year now to sort of reset?
Only if I’m feeling icky, usually. I’ll do a cleanse if I’m feeling I need it, but the elimination diet kind of sucks, so I tend to save that for troubleshooting. 

What can you suggest to someone with or who suspects they have a Gluten allergy? 

I’d say skip the western medical doctor and see a naturopath. My doctors still tells me that my food allergies are all in my head and that I should just take the steroids they keep offering me. Really, what kind of advice is that? Kind a healthcare practitioner that will support your health, not beat it into submission.
And if you ever feel sorry for yourself because you can’t eat something you want, think of all the people out there who have no choice
what they eat, if they even get to eat at all. And most of all, don’t be afraid of feeling better. Yes, you do deserve it.
YES YOU DESERVE TO BE/FEEL HEALTHY! It is perfectly okay to take care of yourself. But you know, it IS hard, too. Just accessibility can be a huge road block to getting what you need or avoiding what you can’t have. I don’t think a lot of people get that. Even I can’t fully explain why it is only $1 for a chicken sandwich at a fast food place and $2.99 a pound for nearly any given vegetable or fruit. 

Any tips on living gluten-free on a tight budget? 

Wow, yes! First, buy foods in bulk. I’m talking grains, cereals, etc – they’re much cheaper in bulk. Also, is a great source for gluten free foods on the cheap. Like, they have Pamela’s cake mix (make this a link to here: ) for like $4 a bag if you buy it in a case of six. That’s almost half of what they charge at my local Whole Foods.  

Amazon is also a great source of ideas. Like, I just learned when I got that link that Betty Crocker makes gluten free cake mix as well ( ). Who knew? 

Fave guilty pleasure? 

Right now, it’s kettle korn from the Oakland Grand Lake Farmers Market. The past few weekends I’ve scarfed an entire HUGE bag in less than 24 hours. Another guilty pleasure? Sushi. I guess it’s only a “guilty” pleasure because it’s so expensive. Honestly, I could (and would) live on the stuff.
I imagine it’s healthier than a lot of other foods, too. When you eat such fresh and pure things you just feel better. A truer you! So I would never feel guilty about that one…yes spendy, but again it’s the whole thing about better foods costing so much more. Oh kettle korn? I guess I missed the boat on that one. I’ve only had the Rock ‘N Roll Gourmet ones that I sell in the cafe. I can’t imagine eating more than a handful though. To each their own I suppose. =0) 

What do you wanna be when you grow up, now? 

As long as I have a sense of clarity and know who I am, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing.
Oh I love that! I have been finding myself sort of heading in that direction, too. People assume it was my life-long dream to own a cafe, but that simply isn’t so. I always encourage people to get the hell out of their comfort zones and try things that scare you a little. Get out there! Do things! Create things! 
What scared you to try but you were so glad you did? 

Er, well, eating differently. That’s really hard when all of society eats one way and it’s no longer good for you. Also, moving out of state was really hard, but I was glad I did it. So was quitting my job to go back to school and get my BA, which I’d count as one of the most important things I’ve done in my life. Probably the hardest, scariest thing I’ve done is letting my husband be the breadwinner for a while so that I could get my health back in order. I’m used to being in control of bringing in the money, so it was really hard to let someone else take the reigns on that! 

What projects are you currently working on? 

A cookbook that my agent is currently shopping around, and I’ve got some novel ideas rolling around my head. Starting a novel is hard, though, so I’ve been making a ton of excuses as to why I haven’t done it yet. Probably the biggest project at the moment are the blogs, Wasabimon and the Good Taste Review. I’m trying to get them to a point where they’re as valuable as possible to my readers.
I cannot friggin’ wait to buy yourcookbook! And you better sign that thing, bi-otch! Ha! No, seriously! You have an agent? That’s hella Pro! You’ve worked so hard, too. I know times have been very tough lately, okay, the last couple of years for all of us, but I have seen you persevere on so many levels. It truly is awe inspiring. Even if it makes you a bit of a stranger to your friends… 

Dream project? 

An article or fiction piece for the New Yorker. Also, traveling all over Europe, researching some aspect of common cooking that is poignant and important to document.
Oh can I come with you? I pack light and do laundry! That would be an incredible experience. Maybe spend a week at various culinary schools across teh continent? Just a thought. And you know, I’d die to go to one! 

The $10 million question (lump sum, no taxes): 

What would I do with $10M? I’d buy some land way in the middle of nowhere and build my idea of Utopia. I’d have a fire garden, an insane food system, and someone to feed me sushi 24 hours a day. Then I’d probably run all over the world writing, filming and photographing the essence of places.
So, you’d build your ultimate utopia only to leave it behind for travel? Or is it so that you can travel knowing you have the most supreme home base? I always say I’d buy a huge cul de sac so everyone I know could be my neighbors. No, I wouldn’t buy the world a coke, but I dunno, I like the idea of building a community of my friends who are my family. 

What are you excited about right now? 

Honestly? Getting healthy. I’ve poured so much of my energy into external things for so long that I can’t afford to do that right now. I need to focus it all inwards. But as always, I’m excited about the future in general, and I still get little tingles of joy when I think about all the things that can be done with narrative.
Yes, it does seem like a moment at the crossroads for a lot of people recently. I makes me wonder if there is a huge cultural shift on the horizon or just so me sort of planetary motion. I just think about these things, I can’t explain why. Ha! 

If you could go back and talk to your 14 year old self, what would you say? 

EAT BETTER AND GET SOME FUCKING EXERCISE. And for the love of god, chill out.
I know, we freaked over everything, man! And for what? I was thinking about how we used to play tennis all of the time back then, do you remember? It wa so fun! But I try now and it’s so HARD! I had forgotten how athletic we used to be. Like basketball? I loved that game. Hell yeah! I can hardly walk up the stairs now without getting winded. I can’t wait until my acupuncturist clears me to go back to the gym. I really felt amazing while I was going. Life was a lot less overwhelming.  

Was there a moment when somebody gave you a great piece of advice? Something that encouraged you? 

One bit of wisdom my dad shared with me once was this: “It feels really good when you stop beating your head against the wall. In fact, I think that’s why people do it to begin with… because it’s really nice to stop.”
Oh that’s really fucking good advice! How many of us have woken up and realized that there is this hug ugly pattern you keep repeating and only you can find your way off that track. Ugh!  

Is this something that you pass on or do you have your own tidbit to pass on to youngsters? 

Hrmm. I’d tell them that life sucks no matter what – the only that changes is how you see it. You know those happy people that go around with a smile on their face? Those people who the world just doesn’t seem to shit on? Well it does, just like it shits on everyone. They just don’t let it get the down. 

Something you wish was never invented? 

Computers. Capitalism. Cars.
Sorry, but I’m surprised that computers is first. You were the first of my close friends that were in my eyes technologically advanced. I mean, You showed me so much even when I was all aloof and bitter about it (sorry ’bout that). I’m with ya on the capitalism front. Whoa did we wreck things with that! I love cars, though. I just wish we’d have locked onto the other fuel technologies of that era, there were far better alternatives and I can’t quite remember the story of how we ended up on petroleum.

Something you’re forever grateful that was invented?

Of course! Perfect, too. =0)

Pic from my 30th B-day:

6 Comments to

“ Blogger, Writer & My Friend of 20+ Years…”

  1. On July 6th, 2010 at 12:38 pm j. Says:

    Super cute!!! Great interview. Loved the $10 Million question.

  2. On July 6th, 2010 at 12:39 pm admin Says:

    Aww, thanks. But don’t get too comfy…I wanna in terview YOU next! Muahhhahaha!

  3. On July 6th, 2010 at 4:59 pm P Says:

    Very nice. Can’t wait for J’s.

  4. On July 7th, 2010 at 8:02 am admin Says:

    I know, me too…but if you think of any Q’s, let me know!

  5. On July 19th, 2010 at 9:13 pm Steph Says:

    Nice! Can you believe it’s been 20 years??

  6. On July 20th, 2010 at 9:09 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Sometimes no, but then other times? j/k
    Thanks again. I gotta think of Q’s for J now. Ugh!

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