Each week we profile a different Canadian Food Blogger who is part of the FBC community. This week we meet Kortney, the Canadian ex-pat living in Germany who writes the blog Allergy Girl Eats, where she helps others like her who love to eat but have to navigate food allergies.
Name: Kortney Kwong Hing
Blog name and URL: Allergy Girl Eats
Where were you born? Born in London, Ontario, but moved to Toronto as a baby and lived there until I was 18.
Where are you living now? Berlin, Germany.
Why did you start your blog?
I grew up with, and still have, multiple food allergies. During my mid-twenties, I was looking for a community of other allergy folks because managing food allergies felt challenging as an adult. I was searching for other people like me. Since I did not find that type of community, I thought, why not blog about it!
I also saw a lot of fear coming from allergy parents (who were blogging about it) and also decided to lend my voice to the space. Growing up with allergies comes with its challenges, but it does not mean you can't live a full life. That's what I hope to show with Allergy Girl Eats.
How did you decide on your blog name?
It celebrates the side of allergies, eating, that a lot of people associate with challenge, fear, anxiety, and limitations. Allergy Girl Eats celebrates the fun and positive side of life with allergies. You can eat well; it may just be with an allergy-friendly twist.
What do you blog about?
My blog covers a few things. I share stories of living with food allergies, which I hope has a lesson in it that an allergy person or parent can learn from. I also love to travel, something a lot of people with allergies are nervous about, so I share those experiences; how I managed my allergies, what I ate, and any restaurants recommendations. AND! Since this is Food Bloggers of Canada, I also share my favourite allergy-friendly recipes (aways free from all nuts, soy, sesame, and I try to offer dairy and egg-free variations as well).
Is your blog your business, your hobby or something in between?
I like to call it a passion project that will someday turn into something in between.
What post on your blog most encapsulates you and why?
This is a hard one. I would say if it is about food allergies then my post 'How I was changed by an anaphylactic reaction', but we are talking food it would have to be Top 8 Allergen Free Protein Balls. These protein balls encapsulate how you have to be crafty in the kitchen when you have multiple food allergies.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
I wish these Vegan Kombucha Pancakes got more love. Maybe people aren't ready to cook with Kombucha!
Which post's success surprised you and why?
I was so surprised by how much traffic this post on Is Chipotle Allergy Friendly? got. It was one of those lucky occasions where SEO just fell perfectly in place.
When it comes to a recipe and another one of those things that just worked out well with SEO, is my Vegan Chocolate Oatmeal. I mean chocolate and vegan, what trendy key terms. Plus its ridiculously good for breakfast!
What's your biggest challenge as a blogger?
Since this is a passion project, I would have to say finding the time to come up with new recipes. Testing recipes is super important to me, so it takes a few months before I post any recipe.
What is the biggest lesson you've learned as a blogger?
Be authentic. Don't try to copy what successful bloggers are doing. People follow you for you.
What has been your most significant success as a blogger so far?
My blog has opened up so many opportunities to work with the food allergy community that I never thought would be possible. I never thought I would become an allergy advocate when I started this blog.
Share a couple of your favourite food blogs to read. Why do you like them?
Shout out to another allergy girl in Canada - Everyday Allergen-Free. I read this blog religiously because she also manages food allergies but does not let that stop her from having fun in the kitchen. I'll keep it niche; a few other food allergy food blogs would be My Berkeley Kitchen and Allergy Awesomeness.
Editor's Note: Be sure to check out the tasty Sunflower Seed Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe Amanda from Everday Allergen-Free shared with us!
Favourite food - care to share a recipe or a restaurant destination?
Sundaes! Sundaes are seriously my favourite thing to eat. Second to that would be roasted broccoli with bean dip, this is my go-to meal when we have no idea what to eat.
What are you working on next for your blog?
I am hoping to put together something for teens managing food allergies. 2019 was the year of adults managing allergies successfully, 2020 will be about teens and kids.
I like to think that the kitchen is a place to empower allergy folks, so I want to explore that some more.
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your "About Me" page?
I have not lived in Canada for 11 years! I can't believe that. None-the-less I am still a true Canadian at heart.
What makes your blog unique?
My approach to living life to the fullest despite my multiple food allergies. I want to share my experiences and my love for food to help inspire others with allergies.
How do you cultivate a sense of community around your blog?
Having food allergies creates a pretty quick connection with someone. There is so much that we can relate to with one another building a tight community comes naturally. Again, I would go back to being authentic and sharing real experiences. Sugarcoating isn't something I do unless I am making a candy apple.
What part of the FBC site do you find most useful?
The blogger resources is hands down the most useful part of the site. Since I have been thinking about how to monetise my blog, the resources about pitching and figuring out pricing have been a great way to figure out what I want to do.
Follow Kortney and Allergy Girl Eats on Social Media