I’m having so much fun featuring different gluten-free bloggers each month on my blog. Today I’m excited to introduce you to Kristina Karalexis, the blogger behind Ms. Modify. Ms. Modify stems from Kristina’s belief that she didn’t have to miss out on life because she had celiac disease, but that she only needed to modify it. Beautifully stated!
I was doing a little research on Kristina and found out that she just celebrated her 30th birthday. In honor of her big birthday, she wrote the most beautiful post I’ve seen in a long time called, “Things I’d Tell My 20-Year Old Self.” It’s definitely worth the time to read it – it even made me reflect on what I’d tell my 30-year-old self (I’m quickly approaching my big 4-0 birthday, gulp!).
I spent some time getting to know Kristina and asked her a few questions. Please stick around to read our Q&A together. I think you’ll find Kristina to be an interesting person to know!
Q: How did you find out you had celiac disease?
A: I had so many different symptoms, everything from bad stomach issues to headaches, insomnia, fatigue, joint pain and hair loss! There was a time when I didn’t trust doctors because they couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I was in graduate school at the time and everyone kept telling me I was under a lot of stress and it was making me sick. I went to countless doctors and know one had an answer for me.
No joke, one day I was watching the Dr. Oz. show and he did a segment on celiac disease. The list of symptoms described so much of what I was experiencing. After that day I went to my doctor and insisted he tested me for it. I remember he didn’t know much about it and really thought I wouldn’t have it because I didn’t have the classic “celiac look” (yup, he said that!). Once all my testing came back, he personally called me to tell me I had it and apologized for saying that.
Q: Thinking back to when you were first diagnosed, what was the most difficult part of your transition to a gluten-free diet?
A: Everyone told me about changing my diet, and I knew it would be an adjustment, but no one told me how hard it would be socially/emotionally. Literally every aspect of life was different… everything from going out with friends and traveling to even buying cosmetics.
Q: Did switching to a GF diet help you feel better? Did you do anything else to heal yourself?
A: It took a little bit of time, but yes going GF made me feel so much better! I also limit my dairy and avoid oats. In addition to changing my diet, I also try to manage my stress, exercise daily and sleep when I’m tired.
Q: Are there aspects of having celiac disease that you still struggle with from time to time?
A: Although I feel like living GF is a way of life now and I’m so used to it, sometimes social settings or traveling can be hard. I miss being able to be spontaneous and not having to plan out everything… but in my moments of weakness I remind myself how much better I feel and then those struggles disappear!
Q: If you could take a pill everyday and then safely eat gluten, would you do it? Why or why not?
A: Knowing everything I know about gluten and how it affects my body, I would not take a pill and eat it [gluten] freely. However, I would consider taking a pill that would help avoid cross-contamination. I will forever order off the gluten-free menu, but it would be nice to have peace of mind and not worry about getting sick.
Q: Ms. Modify is such a fun name. I love it! How did you come up with it?
A: Thanks! Ms. Modify came about after I was diagnosed with celiac disease and suddenly realized my life was never going to be the same. Rather than sitting around and missing out on the things I used to love (food, travel, social events, etc.), I learned to just modify them!
Q: Your skin glows and your hair is gorgeous. What’s your beauty secret?
A: Aww thanks, that’s so sweet! It’s interesting you say that because when my celiac was not controlled, I lost about 1/3 of my hair which was extremely hard for me. I drink lots of water, wear sunscreen daily, moisturize twice a day and use a homemade vinegar hair rinse once a week.
Q: Are there any GF beauty products you can’t live without?
Q: What is your absolutely favorite, go-to gluten-free dessert recipe?
A: I’m a huge cupcake fan (they help limit my portions – ha!) and my favorite recipe is my GF Mimosa Cupcakes! They are perfect for any special occasion and make cupcakes seem fancy!
Q: Is there a special recipe you love making that you modified to be gluten-free?
A: I’m so glad you asked this! Being Greek, food is a big deal to my family, so at first I was sad to miss out on traditional favorites… then I learned to modify them! My favorite recipe I’ve modified is a gluten-free Lucky New Year’s Cake, called a “Vasilopita”. When you make it you place a coin inside and then whoever gets the piece with the coin has good luck all year!
Q: What are three GF products you can’t live without?
Q: What is the first piece of advice you’d give someone newly diagnosed with celiac disease?
A: Open up. Allow people in your life to know what you’re going through. So many people think celiac just affects the way you eat, but it’s so much more than that and yes it’s hard! Let people in and create a support system for yourself. Also, I promise it will get easier and it won’t and shouldn’t define who you are!
Q: What’s next for Ms. Modify?
A: I want to grow my base to expand my reach and offerings with the goal of being a “total wellness” community.
If you enjoyed getting to know Kristina/Ms. Modify, check out these gluten-free featured bloggers too:
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