Jules Shepard didn’t set out to lead, inspire and advocate for the gluten-free community. But to anyone who knows her, it’s no surprise she does.
As a celiac diagnosed in 1999, and as an indomitable perfectionist with a penchant for equality and fairness, this former domestic violence attorney was simply unwilling to accept the dry, gritty, vacuous foods that were the norm then. Two years in her kitchen later, Jules had perfected an all-purpose gluten free flour blend that enabled her to continue her passion for baking.
Gluten free flour this amazing is hard to keep secret (thus its award!). But even 10 years after Jules perfected her acts-just-like-wheat flour blend, many people still haven’t heard of it. That’s because Jules didn’t set out to make flour for anyone but her celiac self and the family she lovingly feeds. But word (and yummy samples) spread in her circles, and folks begged her to make her 5-flour blend for them. How could this ever-accommodating southern girl say no to that?
Since its introduction in 2008, Jules has sold well more than a million pounds of her unparalleled gluten free flour, first with her former company, Jules Gluten Free, and now exclusively through her new company, gfJules®. Her flour and baking mixes have won consumer choice awards year after year.
Maybe you’re here because you’ve heard Jules speak, attended one of her cooking classes, read one of her three books or countless magazine articles, heard about her advocacy work promoting gluten free food labeling regulations, or maybe just because you’ve been enthusiastically referred by friends whose lives have been transformed by her tireless efforts. Because Jules’ mission in life is to make your gluten free going safe, successful, delicious and even fun, her vision for her role in the gluten free community is crystal clear.
(Side note: that wasn’t the case with her now-ex partners. It was an inelegant separation, to say the least. And one which has caused more confusion than it should have. So maybe you think you have heard of Jules, at her old company and website with her name on it…but a site that is strangely devoid of an actual Jules. That’s because it IS devoid of an actual Jules, and has been since an ignominious day in March of 2014. BUT, if you’re reading this, rest assured–YOU’VE FOUND THE REAL JULES!)
The Washingtonian says, “Jules is one of the top experts on gluten-free living in the Washington area; Time magazine, ABC, and other major media outlets line up for her advice.”
As the gluten free community burgeoned, the need for accurate information, advocacy and leadership did too. So in addition to running her gluten free flour company and authoring three highly regarded books, Jules took to the road. Jules logs tens of thousands of miles a year speaking to, teaching and encouraging gluten-free consumers, businesses and trade gatherings.
When the FDA appeared stuck in neutral regarding long-overdue gluten-free food labeling regulations, Jules literally brought the gluten free community together and built an 11-foot-tall, one-ton gluten free cake to get the FDA’s attention. The Washington Post, USA Today, Forbes … and ultimately the FDA took note. The FDA not only attended the event, but promised to front-burner the legislation, which it did. The resulting gluten-free food labeling regulations went into effect in August, 2014.
This mother of two also personally pens one of the community’s most active blogs (voted #1 Gluten Free Blog 4 years in a row), organizes the annual Gluten Free Cookie Swap, and personally moderates her FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and Instagram presences and hosts a popular periodic GF radio podcast.
She rarely sleeps.