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Gloucester couple turns food allergy into business

Gloucester residents Clay and Karen Lloyd have started their own freeze-dried food business, Rurals4Life, LLC. The husband-and-wife duo sells their freeze-dried products at local farmers’ markets in Yorktown, Urbanna and Tappahannock.

The choice to start the business came about partly out of necessity. In 2020, Clay Lloyd was diagnosed with Alpha-gal syndrome, which is a food allergy that causes allergic reactions to red meat and other products made from mammals. AGS is caused by the bite of a Lone Star tick, which is common in our area.

Those with AGS can have different levels of sensitivity. Some experience digestive discomfort or heartburn. In Lloyd’s case, it was a trip to the hospital that told him how sensitive he was. His diet was changed dramatically and finding food while traveling became a challenge.

The alpha-gal molecule, along with carrageenan and Xanthan gum can be found in many foods. Carrageenan and Xanthan gum mimic alpha-gal and can cause similar allergic re...

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