A Revealing Q and A with Debbie Fred, Creator and Owner of Paleo Eats
How to be a "sneaker", good fats, adventure racers, Coolio and Wonder Woman- it's all in here!
My first question is about stone bowls...I know that when some people hear Paleo eating, it conjures images of people forking slabs of meat and raw veggies out of stone bowls. In your view, what is Paleo eating really about?
Well, sure, Paleo is about eating good, natural meats and vegetables, but it's also about nuts, seeds, and in general eating things that are not processed, avoiding things that are not natural. We can use knowledge of how our ancestors ate during the paleo age as a guide to understanding what foods our bodies are most adapted to. I hope people don't think a Paleo Eats bar is a meat bar; it’s not all about meat! I think it is about caring where your food comes from, and the decrease in inflammation that goes with healthy eating. And it's not just a gluten thing either; heavily processed foods, chemicals, phosphates, many things in the modern diet cause imbalance and disease in the body. It may sound complicated at first, but really Paleo eating is about simplifying your diet and focusing on natural, whole foods.
What would you say is one change people can make right away to move toward healthier eating in general?
I'd say start by removing or reducing gluten and processed grains. Often taking just that one step can improve health, energy, and reduce that "brain fog"; you can see the benefit of making different choices. If you want to go further- then dairy next. It's interesting; we are finding that it's not the lactose, it's the casein, the cow’s milk protein, that many people can't digest well. In my house, we cut all dairy, but I did re-introduce goat-based dairy for my kids, and they seem to tolerate that well. Let's face it; it's hard to go without cheese with young kids! Watch out for non-dairy cheeses, some have chemicals-read labels. "Primal" is similar to eating Paleo, but you eat dairy if it is full-fat, grass-fed and organic.
For years, fat in foods was the enemy in America. Low-fat and No-fat foods were ever-present in the market, and yet, during that time, Americans, on average, got much fatter. Why is fat not the enemy, and what differentiates good fats and bad fats in foods?
The brain is 60% fat, including cholesterol! We need cholesterol and good, healthy fats from foods like avocados, organic nuts, grass fed meat, grass fed butter, and good oils; our brains need these healthy fats and saturated fats to function well. It's the plaque, not the cholesterol that causes the problem. You do want to avoid trans fats, and oils like vegetable, canola, and grape seed oil. For high and low heat, coconut oils and avocado oils are great, and olive oil is nice for low heat or cold use. It's really the processed sugars and carbohydrates that so easily get stored fat in the body. For my kids, I like to cook eggs in the morning with a good butter to help them feel full and not hangry later!
What would you recommend to parents whose anxiety levels spike at the thought of introducing a healthier diet to their kids, or maybe I should just say most parents?
I'd say don't make a big deal about change and sneak it in! I just started making more smoothies for the kids with handfuls of spinach, but I don't announce that it's in there! I'm a sneaker that way. Eating differently isn't always easy for kids, they want to fit in. My one little guy can feel left out- sometimes he feels like he is the only one in his class that is not eating the same foods. It doesn't help that so much of the packaging and advertising appeals to kids and makes these unhealthy foods seem fun and delicious. Kids and husbands are the same...if I make cauliflower rice with dinner, I don't announce it, I just serve it and see if they like it.
Really, that's part of the concept behind Paleo Eats bars; I wanted to create something that tastes really good first, so that it doesn't feel like it is different, and people can feel good about eating Paleo.
Bone broth is a good thing too- bone broth protein powder I can slip into things and they don't even taste it. I have had to become the queen of supplements for Kellen, because he has leaky gut, and he needs to get more fiber in his diet. So, for example, I add some non-scented, non-flavored fiber supplement to his smoothie.
On a different topic, Paleo Eats bars have developed a bit of a following among athletes. Is that something you planned, or did it just happen naturally?
I think it helped that, in 2012, I went to all of the Oregon summer and winter games and Crossfit events as a vendor. There was a lot of interest at those competitions. Athletes like that know how to read a label. They loved that Paleo Eats bars have everything they need, but taste like a homemade treat rather than pressed cardboard or a handful of nuts and seeds glued together with sugar syrup! Besides the Crossfit scene, Paleo Eats is growing in popularity with advanced endurance athletes. Endurance runners and adventure racers love it. And I love knowing that some of the most extreme athletes, the ones that really go above and beyond, choose to train with Paleo Eats bars. Paleo Eats is an energy bar, not a protein bar, and the energy comes from good fats, so you will feel sustained for a long period without a crash.
I'll be a vendor at a major adventure race here in Bend called Expedition Oregon. It will go from May 30 to June 3. It's going to be a serious event including mountain biking, trekking, whitewater, and other stages. The host team, Team BendRacing many of them train with my bar, and I will be supplying them with bars for the event. I was amazed, getting to know them, these are the most extreme athletes I have ever met, just incredible.
I noticed that the price of a case of 12 Paleo Bars recently dropped by $9.00. That's fantastic! Why did you decide to drop the price?
Well, I know they are a bit more expensive as bars go. So, when my costs dropped, I wanted to pass that savings on to customers and make these more accessible to everyone. I plan to continue to drop the price whenever I can. And I offer 10% off of that price if you sign up for the subscription. I have been looking to increase my online sales, so hopefully the new price will help!
Everyone can enjoy and benefit from Paleo Eats bars, but what is one group or demographic that you think would really benefit from Paleo Eats bars, but they are not a big part of your customer base yet, and you would like to reach out to them more?
Well my largest group right now is people 18-35, and more females. You know, I would love to get Paleo Eats bars in the hands of more people in the "auto-immune" community, people struggling with celiac, thyroid, arthritis, diabetes, other gluten sensitivity; people having a hard time finding something that they can eat and enjoy on the go that is good for them.
OK, let's have a little fun to finish. For each quick question, your choice and why. Here we go...
The mountains or the beach?
Beach! We're planning a trip to Maui in April so I have Beach on the brain. Particularly now, in the heart of another chilly Bend winter!
Steak, Chicken or Pork in your Paleo burrito bowl?
Hmm...Pork- I love shredded pork
A concert or a sporting event?
A concert. I love music, especially live music. Ok, maybe I shouldn't admit this, but Coolio is coming to Winterfest here in Bend and I can't wait! I have a rap side to me, you know! I like 80s, country, rap, hair bands...
Super girl or wonder woman?
Wonder woman! I just took my daughter to the movie and it was rad! For her Halloween birthday party last year, she and I both rocked Wonder Woman costumes!
A big party or a quiet dinner?
First choice- party. I am a social person; I love events, love to put on events, go to events and be around friends and family. I like quiet dinners too, but I wouldn't miss a party for a quiet dinner!
Guaranteed millionaire or guaranteed to live until 100?
Live until 100! Because I plan on taking care of myself, so hopefully I would be healthy and able to enjoy that time!
Thank you for sharing some time with us today Debbie! Now I am going to hop on the website and grab a case of Chai Spice at the new price!
Thank you, Jon. It was fun!
Peace out, yo.