We had the good fortune of connecting with Jackie McEwan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jackie, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I created Gluten Free Follow Me so that there could be a gluten-free guide for the world! When I found out that I had to go gluten-free over 8 years ago, I was so overwhelmed and wished that there was ONE guide that had everything I needed to know about following a gluten-free diet. Now glutenfreefollowme.com details 2,800+ gluten-free friendly eateries, products, and recipes, and it keeps growing the more I eat 😉 I receive messages daily, saying how much GFFM helped them and that they feel more confident and satisfied following a gluten-free diet. Hearing how people now feel comfortable in the kitchen with their children, or that they planned their trip to NYC completely based on my site, or that they found their new favorite products from my site makes it all worth it. Knowledge is power, and we all deserve to be in the know!
What should our readers know about your business?
Gluten Free Follow Me has given me the flexibility to work when and where I want. I love that it combines my business and creative sides. I didn’t even know that it was my dream job until I started doing it. After graduating from Georgetown University, I had an intense finance job in NYC for six years. While working at my corporate job, I almost always took a lunch break, even if it meant that I just walked outside for 30 minutes. Without realizing it at the time, Gluten Free Follow Me subconsciously started during these lunch breaks! I would walk around the city and try to find gluten-free friendly places for lunch or snacks. That was my “me time” when I could do something unrelated to my job.
I never meant for GFFM to become anything, and definitely not my career. It happened so organically since I was just trying to find safe and delicious food to eat! It stemmed from my passion, but it also took hard work and dedication for it to become what it is today. If you’re feeling stuck in your job, think about what makes you excited. Do what makes you happy!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them to the beach, Three Street Promenade to people watch, hike at Mandeville Canyon, and then eat at lots of fun eateries! You can customize your own restaurant search in LA on glutenfreefollowme.com/restaurants – just filter by California and then Los Angeles or any neighborhood there. Some of my favorite eateries are Strings of Life Cafe, Tocaya, Wild Living Foods, and Sweetfin.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to shoutout all the restaurant owners and workers. The restaurant industry isn’t easy, and it’s been an incredibly challenging year for them. Please go support your local restaurants!