Why I Do What I Do

I want to share something special with you today.  There is no recipe here, or any mouthwatering pictures of food, but I hope you will take the time to read it anyway.

There has been a lot of talk recently in the food blogosphere about payment and sponsorship.  I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty here, because although I have my own very decided opinions on the matter, they aren’t really relevant to what I am about to share.  Suffice it to say that I do accept payment for product reviews and sponsored posts as long as they fit with the overall theme of my blog.  My rule of thumb is that if it’s something I would actually use in my own house or feed my own family, I may accept a paid post on it.  You won’t see me peddling canned frosting (yes, that was one I was offered…and obviously turned down!), but I do like getting paid for my work and I am not ashamed to admit it.

But that’s not what this post is about.  No, this post is about why I REALLY do what I do, and I can guarantee you that it has nothing to do with money.  The little bit of money I make does help me justify the time and expense that I put into this blog, but it’s just the icing on the cake (and not the canned variety!).  I write this blog for a lot of reasons, but a huge part of it is that knowing that I am putting something out there that helps others.  Does that sound like a whole lot of hubris and vanity for what really amounts to a collection of recipes?  Maybe, but then again, maybe not.  Because my food, my recipes, and my personal story do help other people, and I find it immensely touching and  gratifying when someone takes the time to write and tell me that.  So today I am going to share an email from a reader, with the subject line A Mom of Three in Texas Says Thanks:

Hi Carolyn,

I found your blog a few months ago after doing a google search related to prediabetes.  I’m 38 and prediabetic, diagnosed last year when my 3rd child was about a year old.  I’ve been active my whole life, I’ve always been thin, and I’ve been a moderately healthy eater for years, so I was caught very off guard and felt like a total anomaly when they told me I’m PREDIABETIC!  Then I read your “about me” and it felt like I was looking in the mirror (minus your blonde hair:)!  Some days I’m a totally positive, grateful, motivated prediabetic and I take it all in stride.  Other days it can be a little lonely having to eat this new way.  So knowing you’re out there dealing with the same thing is somehow comforting.

I haven’t made anything from your blog yet (true confession) because I’m a little nervous about the erythritol for some reason.  But I finally bought some at a recent trip to Whole Foods and am ready to dive in.  Do you have a favorite (gluten free) dessert recipe to try first?

I have no idea how many emails you get, and understand if you aren’t able to get back to me.  Just wanted to say THANKS for your blog and for sharing about yourself! I’m grateful for all your hard work! 

This is just the most recent example of the kind of email I get every so often.  Sometimes it’s from women who have a story so similar to mine, it’s astonishing.  Sometimes it’s from someone who is struggling with diabetes and has found the restrictive diet depressing, until they’ve come across a few of my recipes.  Sometimes it’s from someone who has struggled with their weight all their life and has finally turned to low carb.  I have even once been credited with bringing someone out of depression, because they found that they could enjoy sweets and desserts again.  And one person very sweetly told me that when I replied to her email, she felt like she was getting correspondence from a celebrity (which made me giggle hysterically!).

But, my readers and my friends…that is why I do what I do.  That’s the motivation that keeps me going.  Beyond the money, beyond the fact that I love to bake and cook and eat, beyond the fact that I love to write and have learned to take halfway decent photos.  When I receive an email like that, it touches my heart and makes me know it’s all worth it.

So thank you to all who have taken the time to let me know how much my blog means to you.  It means the world to me.

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Comments

  1. Ellen R says:

    Carolyn- as a newer reader of your blog, I just wanted to say a heartfelt thank you for your low carb/gluten free recipes. I have derived so much inspiration from your blog to experiment with cooking in my new way of life, to allow myself and my family to have a wide variety of tasty foods as well as some indulgences that mirror our ‘old’ way of life so we don’t feel like we’re missing out. I have such enthusiasm for living our new lifestyle and I can sense its not a passing fad like it always has been in the past. I want to make this a commitment for life and innovative people like you help support us along the way. Thanks!

  2. Hi Carolyn! I have not been out to read blogs in awhile (surviving the end of the school year) and just saw your tweet about this post. This all is so controversial in our community and my feeling has been it’s also very individual. I think the freedom of blogging provides a choice for the blogger; what sort of integrity do they want to bring to the relationship with their readers? I think transparency breeds loyalty so your upfront expose of your views only helps readers better align themselves with your content knowing where you stand.

    Being a long time reader and I’d like to think a blogging friend of yours I feel you’ve always been very upfront about what you are doing and I respect that as I’m sure do your readers.

  3. Carolyn!! Wow!!! LOVE your new site!! LOVE this post!! LOVE that you are who you are!! I’m happy to call you my friend! xo- K

  4. I think you are a celeb, in fact I cant beleive I didnt get your autograph at camp ;)
    Great post!!!

  5. I think your blog is by far my favorite of its kind! And that’s just it…while there are many out there, yours simply stands above any of the others I’ve found.

    As a carb conscious person, and mother of three who simply wants to be more mindful of the foods I sove into my kids, I find extreme inspiration from your recipes!

    Speaking of….how about a fabulous low carb lemon bar??? I’ve seen the berry torte, etc you’ve made…but I’d probably kiss your feet over a great low carb lemon bar!! Or if that’s too weird, I’d just be really grateful ;)

    • Carolyn says:

      Thank you, Shannon! You know, there is a lemon bar recipe in our cookbook, it was with lemon curd. But maybe I could attempt something a little different to satisfy your request! I will get thinking about that one.

      • Actually, I recently ordered the cookbook :) Very recently, and haven’t yet received it. So, that would explain why I had no knowledge of the lemon bar recipe being in there.
        In any case, I experimented the same day that I left the first comment on making lemon bars. I am *almost* satisfied with how they turned out. I’d love to share with you what I did, and see how you could improve it if you’re game!

  6. Christine says:

    Very well said! I don’t think people really understand how big diabetes is becoming. I told you my story in an email. I have diabetes in my family and out of 4 kids, I am the only one to get it and yet I am the only one who eats the healthiest. I am not a big fan of fast foods, processed, or even frozen. I watch my weight and yet I still ended up with diabetes. I share my story because of how I got diabetes. I don’t think many women know about this. I had Gesetational Diabetes when pregnant with my 3rd child, but unlike you, my Dr never checked me after having my son. I went over 6 years without knowing I had Type 2 diabetes. I found out due to a miscarriage from diabetes. Yes, diabetes can cause a woman to miscarry. I suffered a total of 3 miscarriages until I finally got my diabetes under control and was able to successfully carry my 4th living child to term. I am now a Type 1 diabetic because of my Dr not checking me. And Yes you can go from a Type 2 to a Type 1 diabetic. It does not happen that often, but after fighting to keep up over 6 years, my pancreas quit. This is what makes me a Type 1.

    Like I tell everyone, Diabetes does not care who you are, what you look like, what you wear, what you eat, how old you are, or how good of a person you are. I learned that people get diabetes because of our lifestyle. I found out in Sept 2010 I was a Type 2 and by Jan. 2011 I was a Type 1. I was never told what the symptom for diabetes were.

    I, like Carolyn, hope to share my story and help other to learn. I also hope to prevent others from going through what I have and still am, today.

    • Carolyn says:

      Thank you for sharing here, and in your email to me. I think it helps so much for us all to know that we are not alone.

  7. What a lovely post, Carolyn! There’s no greater compliment than to receive and email like that! Thanks for sharing this with us!

  8. I found your blog almost a year ago and was immediately drawn in because of the whole “diabetes” aspect. I myself blog on all things sugar related (cruel irony) BUT always am in search of healthier sugar free alternatives to conventional baking, due to the fact that I will most likely develop type 2 diabetes in time.
    And due to pregnancy (YET AGAIN) I am considered diabetic, due to gestational diabetes.
    This is the FIRST and I mean FIRST site that came to mind. I’m limited in my own experience when in comes to discovering new and exciting ways to eat in relation to the diagnosis, but know you have done much of the legwork for me in regards to recipes and such!
    So from the bottom of my heart and from the bottom of my growing babies heart…..

    Thank you :)

    • Carolyn says:

      Oh hey, congratulations on your pregnancy! And thank you, I appreciate all your kind words. More than you know.

  9. This is a great and gratifying posts. Thank you for sharing. Blogging is so much to so many, the writers and the readers.

  10. Hi Carolyn, I recently found your blog and it’s just full of amazing recipes – I LOVE the new look BTW! As a fellow low carb blogger, I can relate to everything you said. People don’t realize how much time goes into the recipe development, photos and actual posting, not to mention the behind the scenes administrative stuff! The paltry amount of money most food blogs bring in is no incentive to the hard work we all put in. It’s all about the people and the genuine appreciation some of them express for helping them reach their goals with delicious food. Thanks for this post and articulating it so well! You’re definitely an inspiration to the rest of us!

  11. Deborah says:

    After going gluten free and realizing how wonderful I feel I was baking up a storm with all the gluten-free products on the market now. Then I read ‘Wheat Belly’ by Dr. Davis and realized all the tapioca starch, brown rice flour, ect. was worse than eating sugar. He suggests baking with almond flour and in search for recipes to cook this new way, I found your blog. You are exactly what I was searching for and have bought your new cookbook. Thank you for taking the time to share with us your knowledge and expertise.

    • Carolyn says:

      Thank you, Deborah. I haven’t actually read Wheat Belly yet, but I believe Dr. Davis is right, that those carby gluten free ingredients are just as bad as flour. And you can do SO much with almond flour and coconut flour. It’s truly amazing, once you get used to working with it.

  12. I came to know LC last year in an effort to get my cholesterol under control. Your recipe for the Cranberry Bliss bars immediately got my attention and I could not wait to try them. They are delicious and from there it just took off for me. I cannot begin to fathom your creativity and patience in putting all of these recipes together and sharing them with all of us! Raising a family, taking care of yourself, and creating this blog is no easy task. I doubt that I would be up to the task! Yet, you put yourself out there and I just wanted to send a big THANK YOU for all you do. I don’t think there is anything wrong with accepting payment for product reviews and sponsored posts; we all have bills to pay. I don’t write a blog, but I make your recipes and I share them with family, friends, neighbors, and the crew at work. IMO there is nothing more important than health and sharing what you know with those that mean the most to you. I feel that you do that here with us, your readers. In closing, I just want to say that I really like your new format, printing out of the recipes is much easier on my old eyes.

    • Carolyn says:

      Thank you so much. Your comment means the world to me. I am slowly going back through old posts to make them printable, but it’s going to take a while so bear with me! If there is one in particular that you want me to make printable so you can print it, let me know and I will work on that first!

  13. Thank you for such a beautiful, thoughtful post on blogging. My feelings are right there with you.

  14. Carolyn, you’re the best! Thank you for doing what you do!

  15. love your site and you’re so great at what you do! I love this post!

  16. It always nice to hear when someone is positively effected by what you do–what a great letter! And PLEASE, don’t ever allow yourself to question making money off your blog.

    I could never spend the countless hours: tinkering around the kitchen, writing, shooting, editing, promoting, and dreaming up fun flavor combinations, if I didn’t make an income off of it. I would have to be out in the regular work force doing something I don’t love. If anyone has an issue with you making money while spending time on something you enjoy, it sounds like they have personal problems. ;)

  17. I’m not surprised you get such lovely fan mail! You do so much to help so many…including this girl here, with a certain cauliflower soup recipe. ;) Bask in the glory — you deserve it! (Now get back to the food, will ya?) Theresa

  18. Melanie says:

    Carolyn, I’ve already told you my story – it’s nearly identical to yours and the woman in the letter you posted today and I too struggled for a long time coming to grips with this surprising diagnosis. Your blog was literally a lifesaver. After a year of nearly debilitating depression, I found this blog and for the first time, felt like maybe I could enjoy life again. People don’t realize how big of a part food plays in life until they’re somehow deprived – celebrations, family get-togethers, holidays; EVERYTHING involves food.
    This Saturday, I made your Boston Cream Pie recipe and took it with me to a family function so that I would be able to have a treat like everyone else. I didn’t have that a year ago. And it made all the difference that night when I could just relax and enjoy myself as opposed to feel uncomfortable and deprived while everyone ate whatever they wanted.
    Any money you make from this blog and any sponsor you acquire is well deserved. What you do takes a lot of time, money, and talent. And I pray you never stop. I can’t thank you enough for your efforts. You’re on my list of heroes.

    • Carolyn says:

      Yes, you were the person I was thinking of who credited me with getting out of depression. I always thought that was wonderfully sweet, and I am so very glad that it does help. It helps me knowing that food is good, that I can have sweets and treats just like everyone else. And one of the best parts? I never feel guilty if I decide to have a slice of cake for breakfast (low carb and gluten-free, of course!).

  19. I’m here on the recommendation of Amy Sherwood Robinson, from Amy Bakes Everything. She makes great baked goods but knows I can’t have it as I am GF. (autoimmune diseases) I am really excited because I am always looking for great GF baking. My stepdad will be happy too, he’s Celiac so I’ll share this site with him.

  20. When I was first struggling with figuring out how to eat, how to remain as healthy a diabetic as I possibly could, it was like figuring out a whole new world. And my diabetes educator was no real help. So I too felt less alone when i found your blog. You continue to inspire my experimentation with different ingredients and foods.

    As an entrepreneur, I also struggle to find a balance between helping people, why I do what I do, and needing to make a decent living. I think that balance is different for everyone, and for me at least, shifts over time and situation. I more than support your right to make tradeoffs according to your own needs. It’s too easy for people to see something freely given and not understand that it is freely offered by an actual person spending their own time and resources.

    So let me offer my support to your post. I love that you hold your balance consciously. I continue to benefit from your willingness to share your hard work and experimentation. Thank you for sharing information on some of the products you use (even though some of them are not available in Canada – but that’s not your fault!). Thank you for posting on something that I’m struggling with too. And thank you for cheese crackers and lemon frosting and chocolate cake!

  21. Great post Carolyn – your blog does meet such a need and it is those kinds of emails that keep me going as well. As a healthy living blogger, I sometimes write about very specific health issues and recipes for these issues, so every once in a while, I get a heartfelt email that reminds me of why I started my blog and that is what keeps me writing.

  22. I just think it is so wonderful that you are sharing your experiences with your readers. I know I’ve referred many to your site who need their current recipes for health reasons. It’s so touching to read the email from your reader, keep up the wonderful work Carolyn! As far as paid work, well it’s pretty funny to think that people think you shouldn’t get paid properly for the WORK you do, I guess if we all lived in wonderland we wouldn’t need to receive payment :) that is not the case for many bloggers glad to hear you put it so nicely.

  23. You rock Carolyn! I always love coming to see what you are up to :-)

  24. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. I look forward to catching up on your blog when I have time. You are such an inspiration. I not only love your recipes, but the stories that go along with them. Keep it up!

  25. First of all, I love LOVE LOOOOVE your new look!!! The blog looks just as hot as you, baby!! Secondly, what you offer here on your site is priceless and there is no shame in trying to make a little money with all the hours I know you put into your blog. You go girl!

  26. I’m usually just a lurker, but had to comment. I love the new look! Please don’t take to heart what must have been said, sounds like a little bit of jealousy to me.

    • Carolyn says:

      Hi Abby, thank you so much. Actually, nothing was said about me at all, it’s just been a topic of conversation in general among food bloggers. Everyone has their opinion!

  27. This is a great post! And I really admire you for what you do :)

  28. I am so glad I found you. I recently [just 3 weeks ago] started my own food blog and new Facebook page.I am such a newbie. I am fortunate not to have any health issues today, and so my posts are of the indulgent, creamy, carb-filled recipes that make my mouth water. In reaching out to my friends and others for support to get me going, one dear friend with an amazing sense of humour, stated I was killing him [joking] with my scrumptious desserts and goodies, he has diabetes. I made him a promise that I would do the best I could to find suitable meals that would not compromise taste, and I think I’ve come to the very right place. Today, his wife wrote to me, to say that she to now was diagnosed with diabetes, double whammy, which I was so sorry to hear. So I am thrilled to pieces …here you are ! I will direct them to your beautiful blog, and hope that they can enjoy many of your foods without sacrifing health or taste. Thank you for your dedication in what you do ! I’ll be back for sure…

  29. You do great work! And if you can get paid some ACTUAL money for it, then AMEN. :)

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