Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristina Karalexis.
Kristina, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I guess it all began seven years ago when I was first diagnosed with celiac disease. Looking back I can tell you it was the day my life changed forever. It wasn’t as simple as “stop eating gluten and feel great”! I went from being sick in bed to being in denial and still feeling sick while just going through the motions. I asked myself “How is it I change people’s behavior for a living, but couldn’t seem to change my own (I’m a Behavior Analyst professionally)!?”.
I literally had to modify every aspect of my life…everything from traveling, attending social events… even the makeup I buy now has to accommodate my gluten-free life! I’ve learned a lot by researching online, but mainly through trial and error.
My frustration with the medical community and their lack of knowledge about celiac disease led me to start my blog, MsModify, initially as an online community and support group as well as an outlet for myself and to share the aspects of living with celiac disease with my family and friends.
It’s been exciting to watch my blog go from being my personal online journal to being a part of this incredible gluten-free community and growing it into a business with sponsored posts, advertising and eGuides!
I’m really excited to also share that I’m launching a home baking gluten-free and dairy-free cookie business (come find me at the Gilbert Farmers Market starting in November!) and hope to grow it throughout the greater Scottsdale/Phoenix area!
MsModify Cookies came about through my desire to offer a better tasting gluten-free and dairy-free cookie that contains real ingredients. My hope with MsModify Cookies is that everyone can enjoy them, even the gluten eaters in your life!
I moved to Scottsdale a few months ago from Southern California and I’m so excited to be here and am hoping to personally meet and hear others’ stories and see how I can better serve the gluten-free community here!
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Is life ever smooth?! There have absolutely been bumps in the road along the way, but they’ve only made me stronger! I’ve had personal struggles with my health as well as professional struggles.
My background professionally is a Behavior Analyst and I’ve worked with kids with autism most of my career, so trying to turn a blog into a business was way out of my comfort zone. I literally would sit and just watch YouTube videos to try to figure out everything from what SEO is to how to create images for Pinterest.
With my niche of blogging, something I struggled with was wanting to grow and monetize my blog but at the same time staying true to myself and to the celiac community. I get many emails from companies that want me to do sponsored posts for them yet they’re not truly celiac safe products. When I started my MsModify, I promised myself that I would only endorse a product that I’d use/eat and make sure they’re either certified gluten-free or take precautions regarding cross-contamination. I think it’s important you figure out early on what your values are for your business and stay true to those.
Another huge struggle was developing my gluten-free and dairy-free cookie recipes. I always say cooking is an art but baking is a science and boy did I learn that! I can’t even tell you how many different batches of dough I’ve made (and thrown away!), how many books I’ve read about gluten-free baking and how many times I was ready to give up! Every failure only brought me a little closer to my finished product since I was learning what worked and what didn’t.
I’m a big believer that if it doesn’t challenge it, it won’t change you. I think far too often in life we look at challenges as failures, rather than opportunities for growth.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into MsModify story. Tell us more about the business.
I started MsModify as a one-stop place to help make life easier, whether that’s for people living with celiac or just for people that want to learn how to modify their life to achieve a healthier and happier one while being gluten-free!
On my site, you’ll find gluten-free recipes (many are paleo and Whole30 too!), gluten-free lifestyle tips, gluten-free product lists, my favorite products and some of my personal life too! The concept is you don’t have to miss out, just learn to modify your old favorites to accommodate your new life!
When you have celiac disease something that I believe you’re not prepared for when first diagnosed is the emotional aspect. Not only do you have to change your diet, but social events can be challenging, travel takes lots of preparation, friends and family might not get it, etc. Sometimes, it’s isolating and others don’t understand since they just think it’s about changing your diet. On MsModify, I have many posts that share that aspect of living with celiac and my hope is not only to be a blog but to create a community where we can support one another.
I’m also really excited for MsModify Cookies and being able to have a product to share with others and a way for me to meet and connect with people in the community. I worked really hard to “modify” your favorite classic cookies and I can’t wait for people to enjoy them!
It would be great to hear about any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve used and would recommend to others.
Absolutely! I’m a big fan of listening to podcasts when I’m on the treadmill and my favorite one is NPR’s “How I Built This”- Sara Blakely’s episode is my all-time favorite! I’ve also been loving the podcast “Driven” which is with Diane Sanfilippo and Cassy Joy Garcia, who are two paleo bloggers that have turned their brands into amazing businesses beyond blogs.
The book that inspired me to just go for it and start MsModify is “Make it Happen” by Lara Casey. I also use and love her Cultivate What Matters Powersheets.
- Website: http://msmodify.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/msmodify_/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/msmodify/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/MsModify_
- Other: https://www.pinterest.com/msmodify/