Q. Do you use Paleo as your general ingredient checklist?
A. That’s correct. While we have been focusing on low carb foods that meet Keto, the core foundation is that everything meets the health profile of paleo. There’s a lot of keto products out now, and most of them are filled with junk and have very questionable ingredients like alcohol sugars. We want keto foods that are also healthy, and while that might make them more expensive, that’s ok as we are only interested in producing healthy foods, and we know our audience wants that as well.
Q. How did you decide on ingredient standards?
A. What’s interesting is that when we started WMP in 2012, there were no 3rd party certifications or standards such as The Paleo Foundation. So, I had to figure out an acceptable ingredient list. At that point, I had read four major paleo books. The best one was written by Nora Gedgaudas, who also lived in Portland. I went and visited her at her practice and had some blood tests done to check for food sensitivities. It turned out that I had several, including dairy and gluten even though I didn’t suffer symptoms. So, I was thankful to know that, and I asked Nora if I could hire her as a consultant to help with my ingredient choices. Thankfully she agreed. This led to us establishing the WMP ingredient policy which is published on our website and still guides us in all of our decisions on which products are acceptable for other brands, as well as what we will allow in our own Pure Traditions branded products. Nora has become a dear friend, and she’s the first person I reach out to whenever I have a question about some newfangled ingredient that hits the market. She is always keeping up on the latest research, and I highly recommend any health seeker to check out her books and other information programs she offers through her website, Primal Body Primal Mind
. Nora also teaches a number of online programs for laypersons and additionally a certification program for professionals/practitioners at her other website, Primal Courses
. She also happens to be the world's leading authority on Keto, having promoted it since 2000 and lived the lifestyle for over 20 years, and published an amazing book on the subject called “Primal Fat Burner”.
Q. So you basically relied on just your past knowledge as well as worked with Nora to guide you?
A. Actually before we opened the store, I signed up to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), which is fantastic program administered by the Nutritional Therapy Association
(NTA). The curriculum was the closest thing I've seen to an ancestral health approach, with elements of Paleo as well as Weston A. Price and science backed. The problem was that once the work got going on building the online store, I quickly realized I wouldn't have a year to devote to it. So I put that on pause and spent some time to become a Certified Healing Foods Specialist (CHFS), which was a program run by one of the staff educators from NTA, Caroline Barringer. One of the big takeaways I got from that was the importance of our microbiome health, and the role fermented foods play in supporting that. It's the reason there is such a wide choice of organic fermented foods on WMP. These products are tricky to deal with, but we feel it's a critical part of our mission to provide them. Sadly I never got the chance to study to become an NTP, but I've worked with the NTA at many of their annual gatherings which were local and provided a sort of "Paleo 7-11" convenience store right inside the event which made a lot of folks very happy. Looking back I feel like I've gotten a hand's on education about how the food industry really works in this country and perhaps navigating that slippery slope has allowed me to make a bigger contribution to the world than had I become an NTP.