Growing up on a farm in Missouri, I was fortunate to be surrounded by foods I loved to eat: fruits, vegetables, breads, cheeses and much more. As I grew up I held onto my love for those foods, but it became harder to enjoy them because they began to wreak havoc on my digestion.
About five years ago, increased stress in my life made the situation even worse. Then two years later, I was diagnosed with Celiac – an autoimmune disease that required me to eliminate gluten from my diet. This was a real shock to my life: While many adopt gluten-free meals out of choice, mine suddenly became an absolute necessity.
As an avid business traveler, these nutritional hurdles simply did not mesh with my lifestyle. In fact, they became a pain and often created socially awkward moments. Packing my car or luggage with appropriate snacks prior to a trip became a laborious routine. And going to the concession stand, food court or airport vending machine became frustrating and often embarrassing because there were few things I could eat.
Seeking a Gluten-Free Solution
Why hadn’t someone addressed this need? Why couldn’t there be a healthy, gluten-free alternative that is easy to access while on the go? That potential ignited a spark inside me, and provided the initial motivation to launch iBGFree.
I set out to provide quality, gluten-free, on-the-go foods that could be conveniently purchased through vending machines. My vision was to place them in airports, schools, malls and anywhere they could benefit those like me: people with a medical need to eliminate gluten from their diet, as well as those choosing to live gluten free.
However, it’s not just about convenience. It’s also about being part of a social fabric and being able to participate and enjoy the very basic act of breaking bread with others (tough since I can’t eat the bread!). Too often I’ve felt excluded because I am living gluten free. Through iBGFree, I’d like to do my part to end that reality for everyone who is eliminating gluten from their diet.
My goal is simple – to provide good-tasting, healthful, grab-and-go snacks that everyone can enjoy as an alternative to greasy chips or fattening candy.
Beyond Just Gluten Free
Now don’t get me wrong, I remain a huge fan of tasty, fun treats and taste is a huge factor as I select foods for the iBGFree machines. Yes, the treats I choose must meet my strict standards for a gluten-free diet but just as importantly, they must taste really good. Finally, they have to be accessible. Whether shopping, traveling or attending a sporting event, everyone should have easy access to travel-ready, gluten-free foods that taste good and promote wellness.
Aiding people like myself, and helping people in general be healthier, by making that access a reality is my personal mission. Through our brightly colored iBGFree vending machines and helpful tips on this site, we aim to make that vision a reality.
This is a journey we will share together and I am eager to hear your stories and feedback along the way – so please feel free to share.
Wishing you good health.