Life As A Diabetic, Allergic Chocolatier

Imagine being a diabetic chocolatier allergic to many of the ingredients that go into preparing confections. This is my daily battle.

How It All Began

Why would someone with diabetes and food allergies go into the candy business? For me, it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

About 20 years ago, I became a vendor at a farmer’s market in a neighboring community. The stand next to mine was a mom & pop candy shop run by a retired couple that enjoyed working with people. Since I was their neighbor, I always volunteered to cover their stand for them when they couldn't make it to the market. This gave them the advantage of not losing income on market days, and it kept the farmer’s market from losing one of its key vendors for the weekend.

As time advanced, the trials of owning a small business began to take their toll on the retired couple. One day they walked in, handed me the keys, and announced the place was mine.

This is where my lifetime of working with candy and confections began.

Onward and Upward

Eventually, due to poor management, the market stand closed, but my candy business grew and grew. With time, more market locations opened, I owned a retail store, and a flourishing wholesale business was launched.

By now, I was enjoying my own signature line of confections, but at the same time a whole host of doctors were telling me about the trials of diabetes (a family legacy for generations) and I began to receive diagnoses of food allergies. It seemed that as my business grew, so too had my food-related health problems.

Diabetes and allergies have become increasingly prevalent over the years. But even people with food restrictions need to eat, and they don’t want to limit themselves to just health food. Most of them remember the days when they could read a restaurant menu without thinking of their dietary restrictions.

The growth of medical research about diabetes and allergies started a whole new line of business for me. Word got around of my health difficulties; customers were fascinated that I was a diabetic with a collection of food allergies. Many would always question how I could manage owning a business that was "totally wrong" for someone with these conditions.

But having allergies and diabetes didn't mean I had to avoid everything on the menu. With care and correct choices, I could incorporate sweets and snacks back into my diet as an occasional treat.

As I taught myself how to thrive despite my disease, a "community" was growing at the store. I would share diabetic and allergic tidbits with customers, and my knowledge flowed back and forth between clients. As time progressed, my customers often remarked, "It’s too bad you don’t work over there [at the hospital]. I learn more here than I did from my doctors and nutritionists combined."

Are You Searching For Help?

Most of the top eight allergens, such as corn and dye, as well as sugar-free options are covered in detail at my site

As for myself, I am a firm advocate of the teachings of alternative medicine, often called "complementary medicine." A dualistic program that combines conventional and alternative treatments often produces excellent results.

Photo: Max Pixel

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