After developing a gluten allergy, beloved Willmar bakers forced to close shop


What do you do when the main component of your livelihood begins attacking your body?

Christina Hanson tried to cope with it.

She and her husband, Travis Hanson, first cut the hours of their Willmar bakery (Timeless Traditions Cakes & Confections) to three days a week in hopes of keeping her newly developed gluten allergy at bay, the West Central Tribune reports.

She stopped eating anything with gluten in it, and wore a surgical mask while baking to protect her body – without it, she'd inhale the flour and it would just sit inside her lungs, she told the paper.

But things only got worse: She went from working long days making pastry after pastry to barely being able to work with her main ingredient.

On Dec. 2, the couple announced via Facebook they could no longer do it. The bakery would be closed by Christmas, its last day slated for Dec. 24, its final close set for 6 p.m. that evening.

"Unfortunately even though I have gone completely gluten free and that has made a huge difference. My asthma attacks to the flour have gotten ... stronger and I am still abosultely (sic) exhausted by the time I have finished the day due to my allergies," Christina wrote.

Timeless Traditions opened in May of 2012. The Hansons are selling the bakery – certified equipment, cases, tables, essentially everything one would need to start their own own pastry shop.

"It is my [family 's] belief that God does not close door without opening another one," Christina wrote. "We have been most blessed and humbled to serve you at our pastry shoppe. So many of you have affected our lives with love, laughter and deep sense of appreciation. We pray we have had a [similar] effect on your days when you have come in for treats and chat time."

Gluten allergies

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale – so foods such as bread, pasta, beer, cereal, soup, sauces, dressing, desserts and more can all contain gluten.

The two more common types of gluten issues a person can suffer from are celiac disease and gluten allergies. Mayo Clinic notes they are often confused, but differ.

Celiac disease, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation, is an autoimmune disorder – meaning the body's own defense system has a bad reaction to a certain substance, and sends out an attack that actually ends up damaging the body. With celiac disease, the gluten triggers that kind of aggressive response from the immune system, which results in damage to the small intestine.

An allergy to gluten means the body sees something that is harmless as foreign, and bad, WebMD says. So the body produces antibodies – a blood protein created specifically to get rid of that foreign element. Those antibodies have adverse effects, such as a rash, runny nose, itchy eyes or – more seriously – dangerous swelling.

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