Many people have “stories” that help define who we are, what we believe in, our life struggles and our life successes. Â I, personally, love to hear other peoples’ stories-I am highly motivated by them. By nature I am an empathetic individual and can easily insert myself into that person’s story. I cry, laugh and learn from these stories. Â Like a sponge, I take it all in!
I was recently encouraged to tell my story of how I started my company “Just Ask Josh Gluten-Free Baked Goods”
By telling “my” story I am also telling the story of my almost 12 year old son Joshua. Josh was diagnosed with celiac disease 10 years ago when he was 2 years old. Â Josh was a sickly baby right from the start, initially labeled as a “failure to thrive” baby. Â A lot of vomiting, reflux and sleeplessness nights spent vertical in a rocking chair. Â We were fortunate to have had this diagnosis at such an early age. Â I was catapultedÂ into the gluten-free world without much preparation. Having a medical background and armed with researching skills, I learned as much as I possibly could about this disease as well as what he could and could not eat. I baked & cooked like a fiend determined to find foods that he would eat and that we all enjoyed too! Â My main focus was to make Josh a healthy thriving child. Â When Josh entered preschool I made sure that he was eating the gluten-free version of what the other kids were eating too. Â Chicken nuggets on Monday- Josh had GFÂ chicken nuggets. Mac & cheese on Tuesday well Josh had GFÂ mac & cheese. Â I wanted so desperately for Josh to not feel different or less than his preschool buddies that I literally duplicated every item on the preschool lunch menu for 2 years. If the class needed cupcakes or brownies, well I made those too- gluten-free for everyone. As I was doing so I would take copious notes on what was successful and what was well just plain bad!
Â Finally, Josh started to gain weight and sleep through night but it took a year for us to see some real changes in Josh. Â Then he started to have more & more energy so much Â that at the age of 3 I enrolled Josh is a preschool gymnastics class. Â Josh would love to create these routines when he was a toddler. Â He was and still is very athletic and graceful. Â Josh loved gymnastics we went to our classes religiously. Â As his body continued to heal he continued to thrive and gain strength. Â Josh was invited to be a member of the boys gymnastics team at our local gym-he was 5 years old at the time. Â Â Fast forward 7 years to present day. Josh is still competing but is now at the gym 18 hours/ week. Â His body expends more energy in one night than most people do in one week. Josh is amazingly strong, talented and completely dedicated to his sport. Â Through the years he has had a few of his close circle of friends and family join him as a celiac. Â My daughter Rachel for one was diagnosed with CD 3 years ago. Josh no longer feels different or odd because of his dietary restriction.
Where does my story come in? Â All of those years of baking, cooking and note taking led me to start my gluten-free baked goods business! Â Gluten-free awareness has evolved exponentially in the last decade. Â This awareness has led to more products in the market-place, more diagnoses of CD and more tolerance from the community at large. Â I am dedicated to creating products that are not only gluten-free but are better than the gluten containing counterpart. Â I am excited to see what life brings to us in the next decade. Josh wants to be an Olympian! Who knows-he was just awarded the NYS all-around champion for Level 7!