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Name: Connie Curtis

Business: Gluten and Food Allergy Specialist

Industry: Personal Services, Healthcare, Wellness and Fitness

Location: Austin, Texas, U.S.

Reason for starting: I live with gluten intolerance as a celiac and also have food allergies. I was really sick and had to figure out things, find the right doctor and put it all together to get myself well.

About 9 years ago, I moved to Austin, Texas. For several years I was hungry all the time, stressed out, tired, foggy headed, cold feet, and hands all the time. I chalked it up to my dad’s recent death, my divorce, and hating my job. I thought it was stress, sadness, and being unhappy that were the reasons for my absent mindedness and brain fog. Plus, the overall stress that I was experiencing on a day-to-day basis was making me miserable and I wasn’t able to be happy. I needed help, I just didn’t know what, yet.

One weekend, my boyfriend and I devoured a pizza and some pasta. Then, on Monday, I ate crab cakes at work. That night I had horrible abdominal cramps, nausea, and a headache. I couldn’t do anything. The next day, Tobin, upon recounting what we’d eaten and the amounts, suggested that I take gluten out of my diet for a couple of weeks. I said, “It’s worth a shot.”After 2 weeks of being gluten free, I tried a cinnamon roll then 30 minutes later, I was sick and in agony. Immediately, I knew that it was the gluten that had made me so ill.

I went to several different doctors. A doctor found out that I was Celiac, and had Hashimoto’s. One doctor gave me a food allergy test that was confusing, and had no consistent results. This information was helpful to me but I knew something had to change. I spent hours researching to find out what I needed to do to get my health back. Once I found the right doctor, between his medical protocol and my knowledge, I finally got healthy. My journey, and experience took me over 5 years and is what spurred me to start my business around gluten intolerance and food allergies to help others get healthier faster.

Related: Read about another Health and Wellness entrepreneur here.

How do you define success? Helping other people in my area of expertise, helping them to navigate and support them with all the essentials of switching to a gluten free lifestyle. You wonder, “What can I eat now, where do I start?” You feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and possibly a whole host of other feelings. You even think it’s totally easy to avoid all grains and forms of gluten. I can tell you that if you really want to get healthy it’s NOT ‘easy’ because it’s now being hidden in so many places and forms. It is however, doable and I can help you and your doctor get you healthier much faster by shortening the learning curve. That will give you the mental freedom in your new lifestyle. I say: “It’s more than taking out the food.”

Biggest Success: My health, starting my business and not stopping. Helping my clients and creating products that will help more people.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? To keep doing the things I need to do to keep gluten out of my diet and have a healthy lifestyle. Not giving up on my business. I add value to peoples lives in this area and help them get healthy faster and spend less time and money, so they can do all the things they love and live life.

Related: Get a Life: Creating a Healthy Business

Who is your most important role model? Health entrepreneurs and Ryan Yokome,

Twitter   @allerspecialist
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Edited by The Story Exchange