It’s no secret that I am not a fan of celiac bloggers who are essentially brand whores. Who get paid to constantly, and I mean constantly, promote products that may or may not have a celiac’s health in their best interest. To me, the disease is so much more than finding the best bread.
That being said, there is one brand that I will always stand behind and I’d like you to stand behind it also. It’s the one that puts the community first and profit second. It’s the one that is made with only the healthiest ingredients. It’s the one and only Jennifer’s Way Bakery.
And it’s not because her and I have become close friends. It is certainly not because she is on TV. And it’s not because I have any skin in the game (I don’t). It’s simply because her products are amazing and she does everything the right way. Not too many are aware yet, but her website is now offering products that ship nationwide.
I recently had a conversation with Jen about her business, her life and her undying love for Mrs. Dude and I (just kidding). Here’s how it went down.
GD: Ok…let’s talk LivingFreeJennifer.com. What made you change it from JennifersWay.org to the new site? And define Living Free in two words or less. Fine…use as many words as you’d like.
Jen: I changed my site to LivingFreeJennifer.com to broaden the message that I not only believe in but live by. When dealing with an autoimmune disease as celiac first and foremost is, there are many, many factors that can make your life hell or happy. Believe it or not it’s not ONLY food. Yes food is always and will always be a huge factor in health, especially with an autoimmune disease but also the other toxins that enter your body and are in your environment that weaken the already challenged immune system. Living Free Jennifer’s Way, Life Lived Pure, is just that Life that is very much LIVED but Pure- free of toxins. The site is not just for celiacs but for everyone who just want to live cleaner.
GD: It took me YEARS to realize that simply going gluten-free is not enough for a celiac’s body to heal. A little arm-twisting from yours truly and Mrs. Dude helped me see the light. Now that I’m dairy-free and 90% grain-free, I’ve noticed an amazing difference. How do we educate the celiac community and beyond without coming across like we’re preaching or trying to push products?
Jen: It took 3 years of being a nudge for you to give up dairy and those damn eggs. Mrs. Dude is a saint for always being there to slap your hand off those Foods that don’t serve you. And that’s just it, Foods that don’t serve you. It can be simplified like this: an autoimmune disease is all about inflammation. Constant inflammation causes disease. Grains, dairy, sugars all cause inflammation. So what’s the best idea? To eliminate them 90% of the time.
My book, Jennifer’s Way Kitchen, comes out in September and it’s all about this subject and includes over 100 recipes. Again this is not about selling a book or my products from my Bakery. It’s about leading people to being able to live their best life. Call me crazy but it makes me happy to hear that I have had an impact on someone feeling better, as you do. I love seeing how much better you feel and look. No more puffy face or darkness under the eyes or swelling, which all is a sign of inflammation in the body.
GD: You paint quite the picture of me.
Jen: Only get on you my dear because I adore you so and don’t want you to suffer any longer from food. That goes for us all. We do not have to suffer and be ill from the very thing that is supposed to give us life. Think about it – without food we die. So for a celiac or people with food allergies, the one thing that gives us life also can destroy us. It doesn’t have to be that way. It’s all about seeing food differently.
GD: Let’s talk about the state of the current gluten-free market. Personally, I think the majority of GF products on the store shelves are crap. Without calling specific companies out, unless it’s Udi’s…you can always call them out…what’s your overall feeling about the plethora of gluten-free products on the market and more importantly, how they pertain to the health of the celiac community?
Jen: I can’t really say anything about the current products because I don’t touch them. Ever. I do not and will not buy anything manufactured to sit on a shelf for months. It’s not the way food is intended to be. I feel this is one of the very reasons so, so many are getting ill.
GD: Last month, you began selling products on LivingFreeJennifer.com. First of all, it’s got to be one of the most breathtakingly beautiful websites I have ever seen. (Dude note: My company built it.) Are the products on your current site all produced within your actual storefront bakery in New York City? Can you tell us a little about what makes your products different than the majority of similar products on the market?
Jen: I’m deeply, deeply proud of my bakery, Jennifer’s Way Bakery. It was NOT an easy road but wow what a gift it’s been. Not only to the community but to me. Helping so many eat clean, safe food makes me so very happy I can’t explain.
I also am so thrilled that the more I grow and learn about what foods work best for me, I am able to pass that on to you. I truly don’t have any idea how I know how to bake this way. I’ll say it’s divine intervention but whatever it is I’m grateful. It’s through sheer perseverance for tasty food that agrees with my body that gets me back in the kitchen to keep bringing you the best, most tasty, clean items out there.
I’ve never been one to take a moment to pat myself on the back, as I never seem to have enough time to do anything but keep moving forward, but I am so deeply and gratefully humbled and moved by this little 400sq store front that I’ve managed to keep moving forward in many ways. All of the products are made in house, by hand, by people that actually care about your health. We have everything from breads and bagels to cakes, cookies, croutons, bagel chips, pop tarts pies- okay I’ll stop now. And we ship a ton of grain-free and gluten free mixes and ready-made items. Please check them out.
GD: So let’s see…you’re currently full-time on NCIS. You have a recurring role on The Affair. You are running a bakery in New York City. And you’re managing your website and trying to get products out to the people who need it most. When do you sleep??
Yes between acting projects, finishing my book, attending to the Bakery, writing my blog and always creating new recipes to bring to you, it’s a bit busy you might say, but I love every moment of it.
GD: Personally…I just want to say thanks. For your friendship, for your support, for your health guidance, for your time and commitment to the community and last but not least, for your amazing FOOD. I’ll do my part in getting your products out to the world.
Care to offer a Gluten Dude coupon for the celiac community?
Jen: Would LOVE to. On LivingFreeJennifer.com, enter the coupon code THEDUDE and you’ll get 10% off your order. Enjoy!!
Final Dude note. Jen was on The Doctors last week talking about our wonderful disease. Please check it out. She is spot on.