Three years ago, Nicole Anderson started making Elemental Superfood Seedbars out of necessity. The mother of a child with autism, Anderson noticed dramatic shifts in her daughter's behavior when she ate wheat, dairy and sugar, the cornerstone ingredients for almost all conventional snack foods. So Anderson created her own snacks — organic, raw seed bars, free of all the foods her daughter was allergic to — and somehow, against all odds, they were delicious.

Perhaps “against all odds” isn't exactly fair. What we mean is that to us, the unallergic lovers of sugar and wheat, phrases like “sugar-free” and “gluten-free” are tantamount to cursing. They conjure images of laboratory foods: rice flour pizza crust, Splenda and “special beer.” They're buzzwords for the kombucha guzzlers. For those who “cleanse.” And so rarely do they align with anything as unpretentious and wholesome as Anderson's Elemental Superfood Seedbars.

“[They] came out of wanting to make something delicious for my daughter,” Anderson says. So taste was chief among her concerns. And although production has moved to a commercial kitchen in Southern California, the bars are still made in small batches and by hand, using the same recipes Anderson used when she was making them in the kitchen of her Manhattan Beach home.

The foundation for each of the four bars (dark chocolate + peanut butter; mulberry, cacao + spirulina; currant, cacao + hemp seed; cranberry, almond + lucuma) is a combination of nuts and seeds: buckwheat, almonds, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts and coconut, all sweetened with raw unprocessed honey. If Anderson can't find one of her ingredients grown organically, or if isn't available organic, then it has to be pesticide-free.

Anderson explains that occasionally they source ingredients from smaller farms that grow organically but can't afford to pay for the organic certification, so Elemental isn't certified organic. But that seems to fit just fine. Elemental isn't about fads or labels, it's about making a small, good thing.

Elemental Superfood Seedbars are available online and at select markets including Erewhon, Mrs. Winston's Green Grocery store and Co-opportunity in Santa Monica, and all seven Mothers Markets.

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