Episode 109: Jennifer Wiese
Jul 29, 2020, Updated Jun 11, 2021
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What was originally a decision to help her son battle autism turned into a movement to help families everywhere enjoy plant-based products that are made with real, clean ingredients.
Jennifer Wiese, founder of BeeFree and mother of four sons, had to quickly find a way to help her son August when he was diagnosed with autism at age 7. At an Autism conference in Vancouver, they learned about all types of modalities to help: detoxification, hypobaric chambers, taking 30 supplements a day… but none of those options were realistic for her and her family.
Jennifer learned about gluten free (before it was “fashionable”) and it’s benefits for kids with autism, so she switched her family to a gluten free diet. Noticing a difference in her son, she started getting asked by friends and other moms at the kid’s sporting events if she would make something gluten free for them or what kind of ingredients she used.
Even fellow members of the CrossFit community were wanting an alternative snack to the typical beef jerky, almonds and hard boiled eggs. She knew she was onto something and started taking her BeeFree line to the farmers market. At first, it was cookies, cakes, and pizza dough that she sold since that’s what her son, August, loved to eat.
In 2010, Jennifer turned BeeFree into an official business! Knocking on doors seeing who would answer, Jennifer moved her products into retail, then local and regional distributors to more quickly expand her footprint. Her plant based products include granola and her Warrior mix that is made of ingredients only grown from the earth.
After going gluten free, she noticed her autistic son sleeping better, being more interactive, more conversational and responsive when he heard his name. She isn’t saying this is a cure, but truly noticed a difference when removing gluten, dairy and artificial sweeteners from his diet.
BeeFree products are a great option to fit nicely into a household already filled with fruits and vegetables. Eating a plant-based gluten free diet should include variety, which is what the BeeFree products offer. Each of her flavor mixes are named after one of her sons (hey, they put sweat equity into this too!) and every product is gluten, dairy, trans fat, soy and refined sugar free.
Her granola is truly versatile due to it being baked and then hand pieced so there are a variety of chunks and clusters. Grab it straight out of the bag, top your favorite yogurt, add it to milk, or even bake it into a pie crust! With ingredients like almonds, pumpkin seeds and coconut, this is the perfect addition to other fruits and vegetables.
“The key ingredient for every recipe is love.” – Lori Taylor (21:08-21:10)
Not only is BeeFree healthy, plant-based and delicious, the foundation of the company is built on family. Jennifer’s family has been impacted with the creation of BeeFree because of the time spent together making each product and she hopes to have the same impact on others. This is a family owned, family run business with new flavors coming out based on each of her son’s personalities!
Thankfully, August’s health has been impacted for the better by his gluten free diet and out of it came a tasty snack filled with real ingredients that can compliment any plant-based diet.
BeeFree granola and Warrior Mix is free of gluten, dairy, trans fat, soy, refined sugar and is 100% plant-based. You can purchase BeeFree directly on their website or in most major stores. Stay tuned for new flavors including salted caramel, chocolate chip and maple!
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- Episode 107: Defeating Hunger Around The Globe with Beth Bechdol, Deputy Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization
- Episode 106: Bringing Transparency To The Food Industry with Robyn O’Brien, Co-Founder of rePlant Capital
- Episode 105: Helping Create Gender Equality in Agriculture with Frédérine Derlot, Susan Mugure and Liz Becerra of the International Trade Centre’s SheTrades Initiative
- Episode 104: How to Make Mealtime Fun for the Whole Family with Stefani Sassos, MS, RDN, CSO, CDN Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for the Good Housekeeping Institute
- Episode 103: The Creative Innovations of Fresh Edge Amidst COVID-19 with Greg Corsaro, President and COO of Fresh Edge, and Michael Grinstead, General Manager of Get Fresh