GeeFree Makes Gluten Free Food for All Occassions
Joanna Gagis gets the inside story from Susan Hougui, co-founder and co-owner of GeeFree foods, about the inspiration behind her gluten-free products. The reason why the successful entrepreneur says it’s not just about making money and the fortuitous holiday trip that started it all.
"Welcome to Life and Living, I'm Joanna Gagis. You know gluten free diets have become something of a trend these days but for those with a true allergy, maintaining a gluten free menu can sometimes feel bland and boring. Just ask the 3 million Americans living with celiac disease. Joining me right now is co-founder and co-owner of GeeFree, Susan Hougui. Welcome to the program. Thank you. So what conditions do we know create a sensitivity or intolerance to gluten? You would have celiac and there are many allergies other then .. to wheat that would cause sensitivities and they would show up with the wheat allergy. Having autoimmune disease also makes you sensitive to gluten. And you know that from personal experience. Yes. Talk about some of the health conditions that you have struggled with during your life. I have hashimoto's which is a thyroid condition. I have vitiligo. That is where you have a slower thyroid right, its a hypo active. It's hypo and your body attacks your thyroid gland. I also have vitiligo, which is a skin disorder and my body attacks the melanin. I have diabetes which goes along with these and I have a mild case of lupus. So all of these are affected by gluten. So did your doctors ever advise you to get off gluten, to try that, how did you connect these autoimmune disease with a gluten free diet? I've always been interested in food trends and what the next healthy thing is. So about 10 years ago gluten free started coming around more and more. I slowly started developing these diseases and I wanted to see if it would help and I would feel better so I cut out the gluten by myself and it was a new world. A new person. You felt different? Yes. How did you feel different, what were the changes you experienced? I felt as if a ten pound lead weight was lifted off me. My energy was great, my cognitive thinking was ten fold better. My memory got better, my sleeping habits improved, a new person. I felt younger and I had hope. So I can talk about this from personal experience because I have a mom who has celiac disease, was undiagnosed for years and years and years. So we, in our family saw the impact of all the allergies that can sprout out from someone who has celiac and doesn't know it. What do we know about how the body processes that wheat protein when it's not supposed to be there. It doesn't process it and what ends up happening it your body fights and they come out..."