Nickie Dumke enjoys helping people with food allergies and gluten intolerance find solutions to their health and weight problems. She began writing books to help others with multiple food allergies over 20 years ago and the process culminated in The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide. She says, “This book contains everything I know to help with food allergies,” and it has helped many people come back from near-starvation. Her other books address issues such as how to deal with time and money pressures on special diets, keeping allergic children happy on their diets, and more.
A few years ago, while listening to the struggles of an allergic friend on the Weight Watchers™ diet, she remembered her own weight struggles* many years ago and thought, “There has to be a better way.” This was the beginning of a new quest, and she is now helping those who are overweight due to inflammation (often due to unsuspected food allergies) or high-in-rice gluten-free diets, as well as those who are not food sensitive but want to lose weight permanently, healthily, and without feeling hungry and deprived. Her unique approach to weight and health presented in Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss is based on body physiology and reveals why conventional weight-loss diets work against rather than with our bodies and therefore rarely result in permanent weight loss.
* (Nickie’s weight loss story, briefly, is that in her early 20s she could not lose on a calorie-counting diet in spite of repeatedly further reducing the number of calories she ate and swimming vigorously and often. Then she found a diet based on blood sugar control, lost weight without being hungry, and still weighs what she did in her mid-20s).
Nickie has had multiple food allergies for 30 years and has been cooking for special diets for family members and friends for even longer. Regardless of how complex your dietary needs are or how much or little cooking you have done, she has the books and recipes you need. Her books present the science behind multiple food allergies and weight control in an easily-understood manner. She has BS degrees in medical technology and microbiology. She and her husband live in Louisville, Colorado and have two grown sons.
I have nine published books, not counting revisions of some of my older books.
Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?
I chose a mainstream publisher without really thinking about it because that was the way things were done in the early 90s. I thought it would work well because I liked writing books and expected the publisher to do the promotion but later discovered that this was not the way it was going to be. Authors must do most of the promotion or it won’t get done.
Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?
It was over 11 months from the signing of the contract to seeing the finished book.
Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?
It was exciting. Seeing your first book is almost like seeing your newborn child. To celebrate, we went to the Boulder County Fair, which was a fun family activity perfect for that stage of our lives.
Q: What was the first thing you did as far as promotion when you were published for the first time?
Keep in mind that my first book was published in 1992 before most people had heard of the Internet. To promote the book, I sent out a “snail mail” mailing to customers who had purchased a small booklet of allergy recipes that I wrote and to doctors who treated patients with food allergies. The mailing was very successful. The day we went to the fair, I came home to 14 orders in the mailbox.
Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?
I’ve gotten much more independent. I like to be in control of my books and to be able to update them as often as the information in them changes, so I self-publish now.
Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?
How much publishing has changed in the last 20 years is amazing. I no longer have to be “owned” by a publisher who calls all the shots. Now new technology and distribution systems allow me to be in control of what happens to and with my books.
Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?
I find it very rewarding to be able to help people who really need help. One of my books, The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide, was written for people whose food allergies are so extensive that they are near starvation. I was in that condition at one time, and it is wonderful to watch people who contact me use what I learned – slowly and the hard way – to recover more quickly than I did. My newest book, Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss, is for people who have not been able to find solution for their problems with inflammation and overweight. The reason is that the “help” they have been given is based on fallacies. Overweight is not all about calories; it’s about the hormonal control of body fat. By eating to keep blood sugar and insulin levels stable, we can affect the enzymes which allow us to burn recently-eaten food for energy (rather than storing it) and to burn body fat. By reducing inflammation, which inhibits the action of our master weight control hormone, leptin, we can regain normal self-regulating control of our weight. Knowledge is power; with it you can help yourself with problems for which “experts” have no real solutions. I enjoy giving people knowledge that empowers them to improve their health and their lives.
Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?
My advice would be that one way to get your books to sell without being a celebrity is to write niche market books that meet a real need.