About Us (written by our late founder)
The story really began when my teenaged middle daughter first found out she was pregnant with my second grandchild... and she was 27 weeks along. After six days of labor (yes, you read that right!) our little Victory child made her triumphant way into LIFE. At a mere six months old, we discovered that Victory, affectionately known as "Tory", had Celiac's Disease with a dairy allergy. We adopted Tory when our daughter decided she wanted her to have a better life and thus began our journey to give her as full a life as possible, but it was not without a few hiccups...
Gluten-Free and a Celiac Existence are Different...
Our family had been living gluten-free for years due to allergies and intolerances, but living with Tory's auto-immune reaction to even the slightest whiff of gluten-containing products was a completely different animal. Sauces, thickeners, cross-contamination... it seemed gluten was everywhere and I needed to be ever vigilant!
Products that were processed or made near gluten products were officially a no-no for us... but they tasted like cardboard. For a long time we were resigned to a lesser quality in the interest of health.
My third daughter, Hope, had just had her first daughter who was 8 weeks premature. She also had a gluten intolerance, as I do, and realized her daughter was likely to have the same... she was also looking to do better as a mom.
Together, we started "Hope's Treats", a gluten free baked goods home business so she could make a little extra income, while staying with her tiny baby. I found that the products we were making far surpassed what I was able to find in stores. As a bonus, I knew our kitchen was safe from cross contamination and could offer that to others that were like Tory.
After awhile, we had built up an amazing offering of both treats and breads that brought a flavor to life that we had been missing. Tory was happy and wasn't seeking life-threatening fulfillment. When Hope and her family relocated to Missouri, I figured our baking days were behind us professionally, but we had regulars who still put in orders, and I kept filling them...
When Taste Means Life or Death...
At four years old, Tory was beginning to sense the difference between her diet and others'. To some extent, we still hoped she only had mild Celiac's, since she was the only one in our family to have it. A well-meaning neighbor offered Tory an Oreo cookie. The taste now mattered to her... but the results were devastating.
Her eyesight was affected. Her reading was affected. Her attention span was affected. A three-day fever affected her speech for the next month. Until that moment I hadn't realized how serious her condition truly was. She developed Cradle Cap and Eczema. She lost so much of what we had been learning and it was heart wrenching for both her and us.
But now she knew there was a difference between what she was eating and what others were eating and I had to find a way to feed her and keep her from temptation. Her life and brain depended on it.
Keep On Keeping On...
Making a couple of orders every month or every other month was still fulfilling. It was nice to do something for others. I kept baking for my family, but the call to bake professionally kept calling. With the help of my oldest daughter, Meg, we decided to rebrand and reopen our home-based business.
Hope's Treats was gone. Hope wasn't here to continue what we had built and she did more desserts, whereas I was more talented with breads and practical products. Meg reminded me that I had something different to offer... my first concern was always health; I didn't need to worry about offering a huge selection of desserts because that wasn't me.
There were still special sweet things I could do, but I could make delicious sandwich bread or dill onion rolls to go with a spaghetti dinner and that was important too. Now living in the age of COVID, my, along with everyone else's, concern was getting back to as normal of a life as possible. For those who are not able to consume gluten, this is always the struggle: we just want to get back to life. I want to help people get back to life, whether because of covid or simply living with allergies, intolerances, or autoimmune. And Life Breads was born.
Life Breads is the result of love, passion, and a desire to put good back into a world that sometimes lacks in compassion, kindness, and giving. Not to be a cliché, but these are the ingredients that, I believe, make our products just a little bit sweeter and more flavorful.
I am so happy to be bringing this back and so is Tory! We're happy to be getting back to life and want to share our joy with you. Can't wait to meet you and break some bread!