Mindful Muse is a series featuring amazing people who live life with authenticity and passion, and inspire others to lead more fulfilling lives as well!
Debbie's love affair with wholesome, low-glycemic, mouthwatering treats started in 2006 after she read about the negative impact refined sugars and flours have on our bodies. She quickly discovered that there were no treats out there that were truly healthy, so she decided to make them herself and share them with others through her Los Angeles based bakery Sweet Debbie's Organic Cupcakes.
Her son's ordeal with food allergies further inspired Debbie to go back to the drawing board in 2009 and create the most mouthwatering allergy-free formulas for brownies, cookies, muffins and cupcakes and that is how her bakery became "a safe haven for those with dietary restrictions" as she says in her beautiful, educational and deliciously inspiring newly published book, "Sweet Debbie's Organic Treats: Allergy-Free and Vegan Recipes from the Famous Los Angeles Bakery".
Flipping through the pages of Debbie's book you will quickly notice two things: all of a sudden you are really hungry and your mouth is watering as your taste buds are doing the happy dance AND Debbie's How To's & What For's lists and infectious sense of humor sprinkled throughout her book such as in: Blondies with Roots, Fudgy Fig-A-Mama-Jig Bars, Stoned Fruit Muffins, and one of her favorites, Plum Lemon Pinkyprints, melt away even the slightest intimidation that you might have about being a pro baker in your own kitchen!!
1. Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
I am the owner and head pastry chef at Sweet Debbie's Organic Cupcakes, a gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free bakery in Los Angeles. I am also the author of the cookbook Sweet Debbie's Organic Treats: Allergy-free & Vegan Recipes from the Famous Los Angeles Bakery.
2. What led you to start your business?
I initially started my business in 2006 because I was hungry. There was nothing on the market that fit the bill. I was hankering for a cupcake that was sweetened with all natural sweeteners. It didn't exist so I had to bring it into existence myself. Then my son was born in 2008 with multiple and life-threatening food allergies, so I revamped my recipes and bakery in 2009 to make it safe for him and the 15 million people in the country like him.
3. What do you enjoy most about what you do? What is your biggest challenge?
I enjoy making and giving people cupcakes and other baked goods that I know are not only delicious, but are healthful. It makes my day when I give a customer a dozen cupcakes and their face lights up with a smile.
The biggest challenge is to make sure our vendors, such as where we get our flours, cacao powder and other ingredients, segregate allergens in their facilities from the ingredients we buy from them. We have customers with severe food allergies so we are very mindful of this.
4. What inspires you to keep going when you are afraid?
What keeps me going is the knowledge that fear is paralyzing. I don't want to be paralyzed in my life, and the only way I can grow is to do things that scare me sometimes.
5. What does balance mean to you and how does that manifest in your daily life?
Balance is not really ever manifested. One day you're playing miniature golf with your family and the next day you're flying to a conference across the country. It's a matter of being in the present moment and living like that as best as possible.
6. Who do you look up to in your personal life and/or your business?
I look up to the women who have become successful in their lives and in their businesses through hard work, creativity and chutzpah!
7. How do you incorporate a holistic lifestyle into your daily life?
I do some sort of yoga, running, rowing, swimming, even if it's just for a few minutes and I like to eat whole foods and salads throughout the day. Dare I say I'm raw until four - with a muffin or cookie stuck in there somewhere.
8. What are the tools in your holistic toolbox?
A yoga mat, comfortable clothes, a garden and my 6-year-old son who parlays his infinite wisdom to me every day and keeps me grounded.
What is on your nightstand?
About 25 books by Mo Willems and some Eating Well and Veg News Magazines.
If you could have one special power, what would it be and why?
I wish I could blink my eyes and get my son and myself to New York to see my parents more often. Getting there is a huge challenge when you have a child with severe and life threatening food allergies.
What is your favorite baked good?
I love my Plum Lemon Pinkyprint cookies. I can't believe I'm saying this because chocolate is my panacea, but these cookies are really to-die-for!