It's no secret that you feel better after eating a well-balanced meal versus fat and calorie-laden food on the fly—no matter how good it tastes in the moment. But for some, the foods we eat affect our well-being on a much deeper level.
Case in point, Katlin Smith was only 24 when she started experiencing severe joint pain, bouts of anxiety, and frequent colds. "The turning point was my doctor telling me my joint pain was simply 'growing pains' that would go away with time," said Smith. "A friend mentioned that he had experienced relief from joint pain as well as a few other ailments by going gluten free. I decided to give it a try and, amazingly, felt results immediately. I removed dairy and most other refined, processed foods from my diet soon after." Instead of reaching for over-the-counter remedies, the then Deloitte consultant switched to a diet of natural, whole foods, which ultimately cured all of her symptoms, thus making her feel healthy and energized.
Inspired by the miraculous results of leading a cleaner lifestyle via a whole foods diet, Smith ditched her corporate gig and decided to start her own enterprise, Simple Mills, a natural baking mix company developed in Smith’s kitchen. Made with all-natural ingredients, the line includes a robust selection of cake, muffin, pizza dough, cookie, pancake, and bread offerings in a variety of flavors.
To ensure that there was a clear differentiation with other products on the market, Smith spent substantial time researching ingredients to find the best quality options. These included developing formulas that are not only gluten-free and non-GMO certified but also higher in protein and lower in sugar than competitors. Next, she experimented to determine which Ingredients would yield the best texture, flavor, and nutrient profile. "It was simply trial and error," said Smith. "I made batch after batch of muffins before I found the perfect mixture. I went through more than 90 different recipes before I found the right solution for my first three products."
Here's what sets Simple Mills products apart from the competition, according to Mills.
- We typically have only six or seven ingredients per baking mix, compared to a dozen or more for others. That’s where the Simple Mills name comes from: simple ingredients.
- A lot of “natural” baking mixes aren’t all that healthy. They’re frequently high in sugar, low in protein, and almost devoid of vitamin and mineral content. Simple Mills' competitors have as much as 17 grams of sugar for example; we have five. Most have no Vitamin A, C, E, or magnesium content; we’re way ahead of them. We’re also lower carb, lower glycemic index, and non-GMO.
- We’re all about choosing nutrient-rich ingredients that won’t irritate your gut. For example, we use almond flour instead of wheat flour because of the high level of protein in almonds. Our almonds are blanched, meaning the skins are removed to make it easier for your body to digest the nutrients. Almonds are also a great source of Vitamin E, magnesium, and potassium.
- Instead of refined white sugar, we use coconut sugar, which has one of the lowest glycemic indexes of all sweeteners. Our coconut sugar is also organic, and it contains naturally occurring vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium, iron, and zinc.
- Arrowroot powder is our favorite starch and the one we use most often in our baking mixes. Arrowroot is a root vegetable and one of nature’s oldest anti-inflammatories. It has been used for centuries to ease stomach aches and aid digestion.
- Finally, our products simply taste better. That’s why we are the number one baking mix on a sales per point of distribution (SPP) basis in the natural channel. Consumers vote with their wallets, and they have spoken.
Since its launch, Simple Mills has reached nationwide distribution in more than 1,600 stores, from Albertsons/Safeway to Earthfair and Whole Foods. In recognition of its potential, the company was awarded $30,000 from the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business New Venture Challenge and $70,000 from the California Dreamin' Business Competition.