Alison Needham, Headshot

Welcome to A Girl Defloured! I’m glad you’re here. When people ask me where I learned to cook, I usually say from Mom and Martha. My mom passed on her love of cooking, and hundreds of amazing recipes. And Martha, yes the Martha, taught me techniques and tricks of the trade, and even more recipes (as I read her magazine and watched her shows). Over the years, my passion for cooking turned into a certain fluency for the language of food, as well as an outright obsession for food magazines, cookbooks, cooking shows and food writing.

The heart of my home is definitely the kitchen and it is where I spend the majority of my day, developing recipes, cooking, reading, blogging, picture taking, and washing the dreaded pile(s) of dishes that amass with each meal I prepare. It’s where the dance party happens each Friday night. It is where friends gather and the sounds of laughter and lively conversation abound.

The kitchen is a source of creativity and comfort, and never was that more true than when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in the autumn of 2011 (11 years after being initially diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome). Always the overachiever, I passed my blood test with flying colors (that is to say I tested positive for antibodies to gluten in all categories). Not surprisingly my intestinal biopsy was positive as well. I was also found to be severely anemic, but the cherry on top was that a DEXA scan revealed osteoporosis in my spine and osteopenia in my hips.

My days of cake, cookies, pasta, pie, muffins, bread, and sandwiches were over—or so I thought. I allowed myself time to mourn and wallow in self pity a bit, but then I realized that this was my new reality, and I had better learn to deal with it. In fact, cooking gluten free became an exciting challenge and a new beginning…a chance to expand my knowledge, and as ever, share what I learn with you right here on A Girl Defloured. It was also a chance to feel so. much. better.

As I cleaned out my pantry and got rid of the items that contained the protein that had been making me feel so very awful for the last decade, I told my husband that I had defloured the kitchen. Innuendoes aside, I have indeed experienced a loss of innocence as I realized that something I thought was good and wholesome and nourishing, had been literally destroying my intestines for all these years. It’s the beginning of a new life. And a healthier one, to be sure.

I hope you’ll stick around, even if you’re lucky enough to be able to enjoy gluten. There will be plenty here for you too.