Son’s food allergy prompts mom to start donut business – Daily Press

JAMES CITY — Caitie Maharg decided to become a professional chef when she was a 10-year-old brain cancer patient and hated hospital food.

Twenty years later, when her young son was diagnosed with multiple life-threatening food allergies, she decided to create gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan treats. Maharg wanted Isaiah, now four years old, to eat the same delicious treats as her other children.

Especially donuts.

Her mother’s wish turned into No Nuts Donuts, a small business selling donuts online and at the Toano Farmer’s Market. Mahalg is also planning a pop-up her bakery that will sell homemade sweets such as Cheese Her Danish His Pastries, Cinnamon Rolls, Lemon Bars, Pop Tarts and Whoopi His Pies. Contains no traces of dairy, eggs, nuts or gluten.


“My parents have told me, ‘My kids have never tasted donuts before, so I’m very grateful.’ There are many adults who have allergies and haven’t eaten this food in years.”

Maharg, 34, makes more than 15 flavors of cakes and yeast donuts at his home in James City County, including glazed, blueberry, apple cider, pumpkin streusel, maple bacon, toasted graham crackers, and s’mores. She also sells donut holes.

All is safe for Isaiah, Maharg’s helper and taste tester. Isaiah is anaphylactic to eggs, dairy, wheat, gluten, peanuts, and tree nuts, and has eosinophilic esophagitis, a chronic immune disorder that causes dangerous inflammation in the esophagus in response to allergens.

“I’m happy,” Isaiah said of how he felt baking bread with his mother. And what’s his favorite type of donut?

Founded in March 2022, No Nuts Donuts has taken off quickly. Even though she and her husband, Nathan, were busy adopting her second child, a baby girl named Phoebe, Mahalug sold 1,780 donuts and 128 dozen donut holes last year. was sold.

All donuts at No Nuts Donuts, including these vanilla cake donuts, are vegan, nut-free, and gluten-free.Courtesy of Caitie Maharg

Luckily, Maharg learned about perseverance early in life. The youngest of four, who grew up in Waynesboro, she vividly remembers the moment she was diagnosed with a tumor in her pituitary gland, which produces hormones important to her bodily functions.

In fact, Maharg answered a call from a doctor who had the results of an MRI of his brain. “He asked for my father, but I could tell by his voice that something was really wrong,” she remembers. ”

Doctors initially misdiagnosed Maharg’s constant thirst as diabetes insipidus. Diabetes insipidus is a hormonal disorder that causes an imbalance of fluids in the body. Instead, she required brain surgery, six months of chemotherapy, and six weeks of radiation.

Maharg suffered from severe nausea and exhaustion and lost his hair, so he started going bald in the sixth grade. Her school administrators bent her dress code and made her wear her hat. The oncologist also warned her parents that her cancer treatment could permanently impair her daughter’s IQ.

“In the end, nothing was stopping Caitie,” said Maharg’s father, Lee Paixão. “She graduated from high school a year early. She’s very determined, independent, and very strong. That’s when her personality really came through.”

“Definitely made me who I am today,” agreed Maharg. “There is nothing in life that I take for granted.”

Sequestered during her recovery, Maharg began watching cooking shows and trying to recreate recipes. I spent it as

Mahague originally came to Williamsburg as a 6,000-hour culinary apprenticeship at Kingsmill Resort, graduating in 2010. Back in her Waynesboro, she launched a business called Blue Oregano, offering gourmet pop-up her dinners, catering, and cooking classes.

In 2021, Maharg and her family moved to James City County, where her parents and older sister moved. By then, she and her husband were raising a child with medical problems of his own.

Isaiah, who was put up for adoption as a baby, screamed and arched in pain every time Maharg fed him formula. He later developed severe eczema, and when he started eating solids, he coughed frequently and regurgitated his meals as if he were choking.

Isaiah’s blood allergy test “shed light on the number of things he’s allergic to,” Maharg said. Fire confirmed. Eosinophilic esophagitis can damage the tube between the mouth and stomach, causing difficulty swallowing, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

Eosinophilic esophagitis (EOE) is a lifelong condition, but injectable medications are available to help reduce inflammation for patients over the age of 12. Maharg hopes the treatment will be approved soon for younger children. I have medical equipment on hand.

All donuts at No Nuts Donuts, including these s'mores yeast donuts, are vegan, nut-free, and gluten-free.Courtesy of Caitie Maharg

A stay-at-home mom, Maharg enjoys tweaking recipes for her son’s favorite childhood foods, from apple pie to goldfish-shaped cheese crackers. She occasionally tried them on her parents and her siblings as well.

About a year ago, Maharg’s sister, Chiara Carroll, raved about a bunch of donuts eaten by her three non-allergy children. ran.

“When I was a kid, I told my parents that I wanted to be a chef who brought joy to people.

Maharg cuts the dough for his yeast donuts by hand and cooks them in a small countertop fryer in his kitchen. Cake her donuts bake in her oven. She sells her donuts individually at her Farmer’s Market and pop-ups, in 6-packs or her 12-pack boxes in person or online.

Each box has a sticker on it that reads, “Isaiah 41:10,” the Bible verse that inspired my son’s name. When her pastor of her childhood took her out for ice cream after her cancer diagnosis, she wrote a poem reminding her followers that God will always be with them. gave to

One day, Maharg hopes to open a brick-and-mortar bakery to spread more joy. But some of her happiest moments are just watching boys eating sweets in her house.

“Isaiah’s smile is so beautiful,” she said. “He inspires me every day.”

To order from No Nuts Donuts, visit their Facebook page, call 757-585-3998, or email [email protected] Starting March 18th, we will also have a Saturday booth at the Toano Farmers Market at 3140 Forge Road.

Allison Johnson [email protected]