Ethan Nichtern – The Road Home – Ep. 27 – Healing the Hungry Ghost with Shauna James Ahern

Ethan Nichtern - The Road Home - Ep. 27 - Healing the Hungry Ghost with Shauna James Ahern

Author Shauna James Ahern joins Ethan on The Road Home Podcast for a conversation about finding our worth and healing the hungry ghosts that haunt us.

Shauna M. Ahern has been writing all her life. For more than a decade, she was known best for her food writing. She is the author of four critically acclaimed cookbooks, including Gluten-Free Girl Every Day, which won a 2014 James Beard Book Award. Her work has been published or recognized by the New York TimesBon Appétit, the Guardian, and the Washington Post. Shauna is a personal essayist at heart. She lives on a rural island off Seattle with her husband, Daniel, and their two children. Find recipes, blogs and more at


Shauna shares the unexpected stress and struggles with health and identity that came along with her success as a pioneering health author. Ethan and Shauna talk about how putting together her first collection of essays, Enough: Notes From a Woman Who Has Finally Found It, became an important part of Shauna’s healing process. 

Healing the Hungry Ghost (11:05)

How do we begin to heal the wounds opened up by our childhood traumas? Shauna speaks about how the abuse suffered in adolescence evolved into the enough/not enough complex that she was forced to confront as an adult. She and Ethan discuss the empty holes that we feel need to be filled and how the feeling of “not enough” manifests differently for the different sexes.

“The deep deep restriction and the rage and trauma formed me. It formed my immune system in the midst of this trauma. I didn’t really have any other way of living – it was all I knew.” – Shauna James Ahern  

Dr. Gabor Maté speaks about leaving the Hungry Ghost Realm and healing from trauma with compassionate inquiry on Ep. 219 of the Mindrolling Podcast
What is Enough? (29:30)

In the search for the feeling of wholeness, how do we know what is enough? Shauna shares her journey of discovering what enough was for herself. Offering advice for navigating society’s mixed messages around what is enough.

“Selfcare is so attached to capitalism now. You have to have a spa day. You have to have a bath bomb and buy yourself candy. Simply listening to your body and saying, ‘I am tired, I need to rest now,’ and acting on that is a huge act of defiance in this culture.” – Shauna James Ahern  

Ethan Nichtern - The Road Home - Ep. 27 - Healing the Hungry Ghost with Shauna James Ahern

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Images via Gluten-Free Girl