Well, hello there!  I’m Maxie, the Account Manager here at The Greater Knead.  Some of you may recognize my name from the super witty postcards that you find in your UPS orders (you’re welcome!), or as being the mama to that little goofball Kenzie that’s often pictured on our Instagram and Facebook pages.  But in addition to that, I’m on the phone ALL.DAY.LONG. making sure that all of your favorite retail and foodservice locations constantly have our bagels in stock.  While I’m not Celiac nor do I have any food allergies, I wanted to tell you a little bit about my brother and nephew and their/our experiences with both.  

My nephew has peanut and treenut allergies and was diagnosed as a toddler.  Although we had to make a few changes to our lifestyle overall they haven’t felt too drastic.  In addition to limiting my binges on peanut butter and Nutella to when my nephew is not around, I’ve learned to diligently read every label, Google everything I don’t fully understand, and text Michelle, Alison or Rachel if I still have questions (they’re kind of ingredient guru’s.)

Personally, I think that one of the hardest times for my nephew is Halloween.  I mean, can you imagine when you were 5, trick-or-treating for a huge bag of candy, and then having majority of it taken back?  It seems cruel, although I am 100% guilty of capitalizing on the Peanut M&M’s.  Luckily he knows to question everything and his parents are fantastic and buy plenty of “safe” candy to swap out so he’s still able to overindulge with all of his friends.

In addition to my nephew’s allergy, his father (my brother) was recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  Of course, I went right to Michelle for a list of gluten free substitutes that still taste like real food (the list wasn’t all that long… but our bagels were listed at the top!).  Aside from several dietary changes, we’ve also opted to swap out our plastic tupperware for glass, silicone utensils for stainless steel, and have designated stainless steel pots and pans for when my brother comes over.  We also are very aware and try to reduce the risk for cross contamination as much as possible.

Another adjustment we’ve had to make is finding restaurants that offer gluten free options.  On a few occasions he’s eaten at a “safe” restaurant and within minutes/hours of eating, his face gets flushed and his stomach cramps.  We have been pleasantly surprised on our vacations though, and had a lovely experience with Great Wolf Lodge and Disney World. At GWL the chef even came out to explain that they have a separate GF kitchen and he would make anything that my brother wanted to eat.  How cool is that?

So while it’s been an eye opening year (and has felt somewhat restrictive for my brother), it’s really made me appreciate being able to eat and drink anything, anywhere!  Also, my family reaps some amazing benefits from working for such a great company… bagels for days AND they were some of the first taste testers for our newest product line, Bagel Chips!