Wisconsin family changes the recipe for Girl Scout cookies

Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 11:35 AM CST
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CASCO, Wis. (WBAY) - A mother-daughter duo is making a difference for people who have food allergies.

Girl Scout troop leader Sarah Laurent is a mom of 3 and lives with her family in Casco. Almost everyone in her home deals with different food allergies.

“The boys have almond allergies and tomato. I have tomato so we make all our own pasta sauce like out of beets and carrots,” she tells us.

At this point there’s a method to finding alternatives for those sensitivities.

“We’ve got dairy-free chocolate chips, egg replacer, arrowroot starch, baking soda, cream of tartar,” Laurent rattles off.

“I make a ton of muffins,” she adds.

Her daughter, Madyson, is a Girl Scout in 5th grade. Laurent is her troop leader for Troop 4273.

“I like everything that we do, the fun activities. I like selling the cookies, too, getting to know more people,” Madyson says.

When Madyson was in 1st grade, they started noticing verbal and motor tics.

“Verbal, meaning she would do high-pitched screams, copy what other people were saying sometimes, and then motor, meaning she would whip her head back, she was stomping her foot, just not having control of her body, which was causing her to hurt herself sometimes, too,” her mother says.

It’s been a journey ever since, and Laurent made it her mission to help Madyson feel better.

They tried it all. “But I got to a point where I didn’t know everything, so a chiropractor was actually recommended to us in our area that he did food allergen testing.”

Turns out, Madyson is allergic to a list of things -- gluten, wheat, eggs, peanuts, even corn.

So they were grateful when the Girl Scouts offered a gluten-free cookie, but it still contained a lot of common food allergens, so Laurent took action.

“I think I stated in the email that, ‘I think you can increase your customer base.’ I said I really appreciate that you have a gluten-free cookie, but I think you can increase your customer base if you also made it ‘top-9-allergy-friendly’ -- all the hydrogenated oils, the artificial dyes -- and girls that not only have gluten allergies or anyone that has any type of allergy could really have it.”

She didn’t know it until she saw an advertisement for the new Girl Scouts cookie recipe. She was shocked to know her suggestion worked.

Madyson was just as excited. “I had a lot of mixed emotions when Mom told me there was actually a cookie. I was excited and not that much to say, I don’t know, just excited.”

Laurent says it makes a big difference in her family to feel included.

“This is awesome that a variety of people are going to be able to purchase them,” the mom and troop leader says.

The simple joy we all find in a sweet treat is one now even more kids and adults can enjoy.

If you know a woman or girl making a difference in our communities, send a message to Aisha Morales via Facebook or email with your idea for “Wisconsin Women Making a Difference.”

Her special reports air during Action 2 News This Morning on the first Wednesday of every month.

Watch Aisha Morales's reports on the first Wednesday of every month on Action 2 News This Morning
Watch Aisha Morales's reports on the first Wednesday of every month on Action 2 News This Morning(WBAY)