The Good Food Good Mood Blog

Let’s Talk All Things Gluten Free!

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Last week, I sat down with Robin, Holistic Nutritionist to talk about all things gluten free. Robin is like the girlfriend I wished I’d had when I went gluten free. Void of any judgement or agenda, Robin is super knowledgeable and also fun to talk to  – not to mention, she has so many creative ideas. Her program, The Power of Food Education, is designed to empower individuals and their families to tune into their greatest power, the power of choice!

We explored several hot topics surrounding what it means to follow a gluten free diet. We even talked about the F word, yes I said it, FIBER!  Fiber is that something that was missing from my diet for years and contributing to my symptoms of IBS.  I thought the fiber in all the vegetables, nuts, seeds I ate was enough. What I didn’t realize is that it is more complicated than that!

Sometimes it takes us all different ways to get to where we need to be – different paths, different timing, different inspiration. In order to create real, sustainable change, I believe the key is staying committed to YOUR own journey, at your pace. 

Here are some the key take aways from my conversation with Robin:

  1. We all have the power to choose – choice is our greatest power. Use it to heal and nourish your mind, body and spirit.
  1. Talk to your kids about the reasons behind our food choices  – about what foods make us feel good, be smarter, be stronger, be happier! Teach them how to make the connections between our bodies and how we nourish it. So, rather than thinking of them as rules, they will begin to FEEL the difference and make their own smart and empowered choices. 
  1. Reading labels and understanding how to read them, despite how time consuming or overwhelming it may be, is empowering! Get help if you don’t know where to begin.
  1. Your body knows best. Tune in and listen to the signals it’s giving you about what foods work with it or against it. 
  1. Drink lots of water and exercise whenever you get “glutened”. This will help move it through your body quicker so you will feel better sooner!
  1. Dandelion and parsley tea also help detox your body from gluten or other inflammatory factors. 
  1. If you feel better without gluten, trust your intuition and your body – even if you don’t have test results that say you have to be gluten free. 

One of our listeners brought up an excellent point around people not wanting to find out if they have gluten allergy or even intolerance. The fear of something being wrong, of being different and the resulting feeling of,  then what….will I have to give up all my favorite foods? This definitely does stop some people from testing for gluten sensitivity or from adopting a gluten free lifestyle. 

If you feel like you don’t want to know…..think of that as giving up your power. Knowledge is power, and the most powerful knowledge comes from your own body. Do an experiment even for a few days to see how you feel. Once you’ve tuned in to your body, trust what it’s trying to tell you. You never know, it very well just might change your life forever. It definitely did mine!

Since  we didn’t really get to cover ALL things gluten free, stay tuned for more….


Suzie, GF Guru Mama

Link to Sit Down With Suzie Ep.10

Delicious and GF? When did that happen!

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As a grain free Mama, there is nothing more exciting or rewarding than having someone  – who is NOT grain free  – compliment you on your cooking. Especially, if they gobble it up as if it was not “free” of all things delicious! 

Thanks to availability of ingredients and products, as well as the growing community on social media, being grain free and gluten free is no longer a head turning, want to run and hide situation. In fact it’s just the opposite. We are banning together in a such a powerful way that is driving incredible change in the food industry. 

Maybe you experienced this too…..Back when we first went grain free, people looked at us like we were crazy for giving up all our favorite snacks and foods. Even our own family thought what we were doing was unnecessary – that it was somehow putting us in a disadvantage. When in fact, the exact opposite was true. That’s why we stuck to it despite all the hubbub, whispering and glares. 

The illusion that gluten free and grain free is boring, tasteless and depriving – is just that –  an illusion. 

Nevertheless, folks who scoff at gluten free, do so for good reasons. They are smart enough to know that  their beloved bread, cookies, cakes, pies, donuts or bagels are all dependent on gluten to make them fluffy and perfectly shaped. And historically many of the gluten free flour alternatives well simply didn’t taste good or have an appealing texture. Even many gluten free eaters couldn’t overcome their rubbery gritty texture and bland taste. 

As a snack manufacturer we played with a gluten free pretzel recipe in 2014. Back then, we didn’t have access to the same materials that we do today. While those pretzels were delicious, and we were proud to make them without corn or soy, they still left a bad aftertaste in your mouth…..like many gluten free products.

Fast forward to 2021, we can have our cake and eat it too because there are so many amazingly delicious gluten free and grain free recipes, ingredients and products available to us. As the awareness of the benefits of a gluten free and grain free diet grows and success stories go viral on social media, food manufacturers are listening and innovating to make more and more appealing options. I am also super excited to also see more affordable and accessible options coming to the market.

The freedom to choose is why we call it gluten FREE and grain free – because we get to choose, and we choose health and happiness! Our goal is to make that choice accessible for all people.

At Savor Street, we are introducing the gluten-free community to a whole new level of integrity with deliciousness, that we call a No Grainer!  We are over the moon with the taste and texture of our No Grainer pretzels. Cassava flour mixed with potato starch, faba bean protein and a few other ingredients combine together to make a magical twist!

Happy Crunching 🙂


Suzie, GF Guru Mama

Link to Sit Down With Suzie Ep.9

Five Mood Boosting Foods

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We say every ingredient counts, because we want delicious to be empowering. 

Eating to be your happiest self isn’t just about eating healthy foods, it’s also about avoiding foods that trigger inflammation, irritability or just don’t agree with our bodies for one reason or another. We call these trigger foods or food intolerances. These can be anything from raspberries, to bell peppers, to chicken or specific kinds of fish, nuts, seeds, green tea or chocolate.

Though it’s not “fun”  to learn that our favorite foods may be triggering irritability, anxiety, inflammation or fatigue, figuring out which foods our best for our own body can be one of the most powerful and empowering things we can do for ourselves. 

A big part of our healing journey with Kelly came from discovering which foods were triggering tantrums, insomnia, irritability, hyperactivity –  many of the symptoms of autism. Food intolerance testing helped us to find her trigger foods. Without the tests, I never would have known foods like oranges or eggs could trigger those symptoms. Nor would I have discovered my own food triggers. While of course autism is more complicated than just changing the foods we eat, we are big believers in the gut brain connection. 

It is true that happiness comes from within. Feed your body nourishing foods and you are investing in happiness that grows and grows and grows……

Here are five of my top fave Mood Boosters:

Dark Chocolate 

Why dark chocolate? Dark chocolate is rich in healthy flavonoids that do wonders for our mood. Dark chocolate and cacao contain an amino acid called tryptophan that the brain uses to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, which can increase feelings of overall happiness. This is much more concentrated and pure in dark chocolate versus milk chocolate. While dark chocolate can be a trigger for me, making me irritable and impatient, it’s powerful properties to boost energy and mood make it Kelly’s go to pick me up!


Eggs are super rich in choline, in fact they are the richest of any food source for choline. Why is choline so important? Choline plays an important role in producing neurotransmitters that make us feel happy. It is an essential nutrient our body needs for cellular repair and maintenance. Egg whites, that are notably high in protein and low in fat, do not contain any choline. Choline is only found in the yolk of the egg. So it’s important to eat the entire egg, not just egg white. Eggs are also high in vitamin D and B12 which also help with mood regulation and energy. 

Interestingly, a deficiency in choline often is tied to increased liver enzymes and can cause neurological disorders. Understanding this was one of the keys to Kelly’s healing journey. Because she wasn’t able to tolerate eggs for years, we supplemented with a nutrient called Phosphatidylcholine.  


Research has linked curcumin, found in turmeric root, to improve brain health. Curcumin boosts serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, linked to mood and feelings of happiness. Being a powerful antioxidant, curcumin works to fight inflammation, and thus may help relieve the symptoms of depression tied to chronic inflammation.

Dark Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale, arugula, beet and collard greens are all rich in a wide variety of nutrients. Earthy and grounding, they are probably my favorite feel good food. With a magical mixture of fiber to balance blood sugar, B vitamins to boost brain function and iron to help regulate neurotransmitters, dark leafy greens are energizing and mood boosting. The only downside is that they all contain concentrated amounts of oxalic acid. Oxalic acid binds with minerals like calcium and magnesium, which of course we need! So how do we still enjoy greens and also avoid losing all these precious nutrients? Steam your greens for at least five minutes before eating.  


We’ve all heard the saying, an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Apples are notable for their many health benefits – vitamin C for immune health, fiber to regulate blood sugar and quercetin to help reduce inflammation and fuel neurotransmitters in the brain. While it’s not as often talked about, vitamin C also helps to reduce stress and anxiety. And while quercetin is not as well known, it is a powerful mind boosting antioxidant that your body loves!


Suzie, GF Guru Mama

Link to Sit Down With Suzie Ep. 8

Happy International Women’s Day 🎉

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Women deserve to be celebrated 365 days a year. So on this International Women’s Day, and every day, we cherish all of the amazing qualities that give women the collective power to create change. This is no longer a feeling, dream or desire, it is real. We are doing it. 


Empowering other women has always been on my heart, as I imagine it is yours. As a holistic health coach specializing in digestive health, my mission, before even talking about food, was always to reflect back to women their own inner beauty and wisdom.  Having two daughters, one on the autism spectrum, I also have a special interest in the unique power within women on the autism spectrum.


A Savor Street,  the power of women in our family to influence our flavors, ingredients and most importantly, the energy of our brand  is very real – in fact it drives who we are. And as we choose to challenge the status quo with who we are and what we make, we look to role models who’ve already stepped up and we also encourage those to come.


Here are five women owned businesses we are admiring for their determination to create healthy change in the world.


Iya Foods – 

Rich in heritage and deep with connection to Mother Earth, Iya foods is a brand we love to watch. Whether it’s tasty spices, baking mixes or their gluten free flours – hibiscus, celery powder or cassava flour – (I mean if this isn’t love at first sight I don’t know what is!), when you buy products from Iya Foods, you are supporting African farmers. All of their products are grown on African farms which is so amazing! Big applause to founder Toyin Kolawole, who by the way also launched a digital magazine called The Black Owned Business Box. So amazing!  


Paradise Icing – 

Icing with power! We love this plant based icing with pea protein powder. Paradise Icing is not just vegan; it is keto and allergen friendly. This minority owned business started by Emily Edwards  is a dream come true when it comes to cleaning up dessert while still making it delicious! We think it is just perfect for dipping with our No Grainer pretzels.  Paradise is not only icing but can also be used as a coffee creamer for that extra special cup! Thank you Emily!


LOVE bug probiotics

Well if the name alone isn’t enough to make you smile, surely this Mama’s story will! LoveBug probiotics, is founded on the idea that improving gut health improves overall health. Co-founder and Mama Bear, Ashley Harris was determined to create a kid friendly probiotic. We love talking about gut health and are so happy to know about Love Bug!

Grain Free Mama’s

A mother daughter duao that intends to revolutionize the way baking products are made! Their mantra – NO GRAINS … NO SUGAR … NO PROBLEM! Let’s just say this is music to our ears! Their baking mixes have the taste and texture of their conventionally made counterparts without the glutens, grains, corn, rice and sugar ingredients. They are so popular,  you will find it hard to get your hands on one! 


Partake Foods – This is another powerful story around a mother’s frustration and thus determination to create a  trusted brand of cookies for her child with severe allergies. Partake cookies are allergen friendly, made without peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, soy, artificial flavors or preservatives, way to go! And sounds familiar, huh?!?!

Base Culture, founded by Paleo Guru, Jordan Windschauer,  When it comes to grain free bread, look no further than Base Culture. A daily staple in our house! Not only that, Base Culture also makes amazing brownies and granola using clean ingredients. Certified gluten free, and also dairy free and soy free! Another amazing story of healing through food that has driven her to share the love!

Last but not least, Miyoko vegan cheeses and butter. Another staple in our house. My hubby LOVES their butter! All of Miyoko’s cheeses are made from organic cashews imported from Vietnam. Wow! After writing a cookbook on all things dairy free, founder Miyoko Schinner, founded the brand Miyoko’s kitchen. AMAZING!



Suzie, GF Guru Mama

Link to Sit Down With Suzie Ep. 7

What is Cassava Flour? And Why We ❤️ It!

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When we first went grain free back in 2004, the only grain free flour available was almond flour. Several years later, coconut flour became an option. Then, finally in 2012 we learned about a new flour, cassava flour. And boy what a game changer!


What is Cassava and how is cassava flour made?

Cassava is a root vegetable that comes from a woody perennial shrub growing in tropical and subtropical areas of the world. To make cassava flour, the whole cassava root is peeled, dried and then ground. Drought resistant, cassava is a major food staple for over a half a billion people in the developing world.


So why is cassava flour such a dream come true for gluten free,  grain free bakers and health conscious consumers ? Here’s a few of the reasons why:



Cassava has a very mild taste making it indistinguishable from wheat flour. It is also a one to one swap, making it easy to transform recipes into gluten and grain free. Not to mention that baked goods are no longer droopy or crumbly with cassava flour!



As a resistant starch, cassava is a gut friendly flour!  Since it is made from the whole root, it is typically  more easily digested than extracted starches like tapioca. Given cassava’s lighter consistency and high fiber content, cassava can help to feed good bacteria, reduce inflammation and symptoms of bloating or flatulence. This is a dream come true for anyone like me with IBS, IBD, SIBO or other digestive issues.



Cassava flour is lighter than other grain free flours, like almond or coconut flour. It’s also got a higher water content, lower fat and lower calorie density than other gluten free flours like corn, rice, almond, coconut, and sorghum flour. Cassava only has approximately 120 per quarter cup. If you are looking to cut back on sugar or regulate blood sugar, cassava is recommended over rice or corn flours. 



More fiber means feeling satisfied for longer. Cassava’s nutrient density helps reduce cravings for carbs. In addition to healthy fiber, cassava also naturally contains a fairly high amount of vitamin C and magnesium. 


For anyone with nut allergies, cassava is a grain free dream come true! 



Cassava is one the most drought-tolerant crops, and thus is grown in areas for the world where fresh food is commonly scarce. Cassava is a major diet staple, as well as lifeline, to people of NIgeria, the world’s largest producer of the crop. Cassava also requires low energy to produce with high crop yields per plant. Nearly every part of the cassava shrub is used in some way. 

Traditional methods of making cassava require soaking, cooking and fermenting of the cassava root to remove any amounts of toxic compounds, including naturally occurring cyanide (which by the way is also found in other crops like spinach and almonds!). So never fear, commercially sourced cassava flour is free of potentially harmful toxins.

So there you have it – cassava flour has quickly become not only our family’s go to flour and the base of our No Grainer pretzels, but is truly a food hero to many!


Suzie, GF Guru Mama

Link to Sit Down With Suzie Ep. 6




The Benefits of Going Grain-Free 🥬

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By now, you’ve probably heard at least one grain free success story. Stories such as healing symptoms of autoimmune disease, alleviating chronic pain or gut issues like celiac disease and IBS. These powerful testimonials are also documented in best selling books like Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis, Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter and  No Grain No Pain by Dr. Peter Osborne, all of which support the food mood connection.


Back in 2004, when our doctor recommended a grain free diet (the Specific Carbohydrate Diet), it took a huge leap of faith for me to believe that going grain free would really make a difference. I already felt so much better from a gluten free diet. But our daughter with celiac disease and autism was still struggling. So we embarked on the grain free (and sugar free) journey together, the beginning of our mother daughter healing partnership.


I would be lying if I didn’t say it was challenging. It was hard. There were many moments when I wanted to give up.  At the time, not only were there few, if any, grain free products on the market, but being grain free was also very alienating. SO why did we stick to it?  You may be wondering. It was a powerful intuitive hunch, an undeniable gut feeling that we needed to give it more time. So we did……


And once I felt the changes myself, positive improvements in mood, focus and stamina, then I really believed we were on the right track. And watching the transformation in Kelly was also extremely reinforcing. I began to understand for the very first time in my life the Food Mood connection.


Five of my favorite benefits from going grain free::

  1. Crystal Clear Clarity – laser focused thinking and faster processing 
  2. Major Boost in Energy – stamina to get through just about anything, day or night
  3. Crushing Cravings – cravings for carbs and sweets are no longer compulsive or unbreakable
  4. Happiness Factor – no more ups and downs with moods or irritability. An overall consistently happy mood prevails!
  5. Weight Loss – when the body is properly nourished, it’s more efficient at processing and assimilating nutrients


Grain free became a way of living for us. The prescribed “diet” was no longer about following the rules. Instead, it became a process of tuning in and listening more intimately to our bodies, allowing body wisdom to inform our decisions. For both of us, eating became more intuitive instead of restricted or governed by rules. 


Today we are so excited to be part of a growing amazing community of people embracing a lifestyle that brings greater health and happiness to so many! And it’s also why it is such a dream come true for us to be making and sharing delicious grain free snacks with the world!


Eat Happy 

Be Happy


Suzie, GF Guru Mama

Link to Sit Down With Suzie Ep. 5

How to Deal with Cravings! 3 Secret Tips 😌

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If you struggle with cravings on a gluten free or grain free diet, you are not alone! In this blog (love letter) I want to empathize with you and offer some secrets for satisfying cravings without sabotaging your goals OR your health and happiness.


My story goes like this…..

I used to think I was a healthy eater. It seemed to make sense to me that if I ate mostly good foods – like salads, vegetables, chicken, pasta or rice that I was entitled to my daily fix of chocolate chip cookies, piece of candy or ice cream sundae. My sweet tooth had a mind of its own. It constantly nudged me to satisfy its every craving, giving me the illusion that sugary sweets offered something I couldn’t get anywhere else. I was a sugar addict.


What I didn’t realize was that sugar was creating silent inflammation in my body contributing to chronic pain, irritability and gut issues. What I learned back then and still believe today, is when we acknowledge the pain and the triggers for what they really are, it can significantly help with managing cravings. 


Still flashing back, when I decided to become my daughter’s partner on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD); a very restrictive diet that eliminates all grains, gluten, sugar, preservatives additives etc, I had no idea how mad it would make my sweet tooth. During the withdrawal period, dealing with the cravings was tough. I decided the only way I would stick to the diet was if I had something delicious to eat that would satisfy my sweet tooth while still being SCD “legal”. 


Because of my sugar addiction, I craved sweets more than carbs or bread. Kelly struggled too. We both need substitutes. And for her they also needed to be egg and dairy free. YIKES! The only allowable sweetener was honey. We fell in love with raw honey because it tastes as sweet as sugar and has a creamier texture than plain honey. With raw honey, I made simple delicious almond butter truffles, cinnamon cookies and blueberry muffins. Despite all the work of making our own treats, the good news is that we got used to the taste of honey pretty quickly and no longer craved processed sugars. 


Though I must admit, my secret fix for cravings was actually even more simple. Almond butter was my go to craving crusher. I ate almond butter by the spoonfuls, any time of day, multiple times a day. Being rich with healthy fat, it calmed my body. I learned how to make homemade almond butter (per the SCD) with soaked and roasted almonds.


So here’s the truth bomb……surprisingly, fat is the best thing you can eat when you have a carb or sweet craving. Healthy fats from things like nuts, seeds, coconut or coconut cream will help stabilize blood sugar, which is what typically causes cravings in the first place. This of course is the basis of the low carb, sugar eliminating diet we call the Ketogenic diet.


Bottomline, the trick to curbing your cravings is finding delicious satisfying alternatives that work for you – whether you make them yourself or buy them. 


Here’s My Three  Craving Cures:

Eat Nut Butter – almond, cashew, sunbutter or even tahini

 88 acres and Artisana make beautiful nut butters 


Eat Dark Chocolate – preferably naturally sweetened 

We love Hu Taza and Lily’s 


Eat something crunchy –  crunchy foods help reduce cravings gluten grain free crackers, tortilla chips or pretzels of course

We love Siete chips, simple mills crackers and Mary’s gone crackers (gluten free not grain free)




Suzie, GF Guru Mama


Link to Sit Down With Suzie Ep. 4

Five Love your Heart Tips! ❤️

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Happy Valentine’s Week! 

There’s no better time than right now to talk about your heart and how to love it (and YOU) a little bit more every day. 

Here are five of our favorite heart healthy eating tips that focus on adding in delicious, flavorful foods to your everyday routine. Many of them have multi-dimensional benefits which is super fun and exciting – I mean, who doesn’t love a win win!

With all these ideas, the key is to tune into what sounds and feels good to you, intuitively your body knows best. So always listen to the magic and miracle of that. Pick your top one, two or three and let us know how it goes by leaving us a comment below.  

Five Love Your Heart Tips

  1. HERBS and SPICES: Flavor up your food using fresh or dried herbs and spices. This will help reduce the amount of salt in your food as well as make you feel more satisfied. Rich in phytochemicals, herbs have been known to help with weight control and are also anti-inflammatory. Besides, they taste great!


  1. LEGUMES: Lentils and beans are magic! Rich in potassium, folate and iron, beans and lentils are known for their heart happy benefits. They help lower blood pressure, They are also extremely rich in fiber. So if I had to pick one thing on this list, this would be my top choice to add in to your diet today! 


  1. FIBER – Yes, the dreaded F word! While we may think we have enough fiber in our diets, it never hurts to add a little more. While fiber may sound scary if you suffer from symptoms of IBS, it may very well do just the opposite of what you think, it may actually help you get more regular! Adding in fiber can be as simple as sipping a cup of water or tea with ground psyllium husks, chia seeds or ground flax seeds, adding hemp seeds to your smoothie, yogurt or sprinkle on avocado toast. Avocado is also high in fiber, so that’s a definite win win! 


  1. EFA’s: Essential fatty acids are just that, essential to the health of not only our heart, but also the membrane of every cell in our body. Foods rich in Omega’s fatty acids help reduce inflammation. Omega 3’s and 6’s both serve a purpose. Sunflower oil, flax seeds, walnuts, wild fish, grass fed meats are all great sources.


  1. AVOID TRIGGERS: Reduce or avoid  inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy and sugar. There are so many delicious alternatives today. Alternatives like vegan cheese that mimics real cheese in look, texture and taste. Alternative sweeteners that taste just as sweet as sugar. And gluten and grain free flours that are deliciously fluffy and flavorful. 


Suzie, GF Guru Mama

Link to Sit Down with Suzie Ep. 3

The Savor Street Story 🥨💙💛

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Years ago, our daughter Kelly taught me how to cook with love……


When Kelly first shared her insights about food energetics with me, my immediate reaction was, “no way, that’s not possible! And besides what does she know about that?” At the time, Kelly was merely ten years old and was struggling with many of the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder. 


Back then, because of her food sensitivities and gut issues, I was cooking every single thing she ate from scratch. No sooner did we finish one meal, and I was worried about the next. Yes, it was physically and mentally exhausting. But even more draining was the pressure to do it right because I really wanted the diet to work. 


“Mom, my food doesn’t taste as good if you are stressed when you cook it.” Those were her exact words. I remember that moment as if it were yesterday, and yet it was fifteen years ago! I was struggling to cook food she could eat according to all the restrictions of the diet, while also making food that tasted good to her. Which is why her comment almost seemed ungrateful and insensitive. I mean, like couldn’t she see how hard I was working for HER? When in reality, I didn’t know how not to be stressed.


Eventually, I began to understand what Kelly was talking about, what she was teaching me. I came to embrace the real truth –  that I was cooking to nourish and heal my family, a great act of love. So why should I feel stressed about that, even if it was exhausting at times.


This shift also awakened me to the ability to connect more deeply with our food. Not only what’s in it, but where it comes from, how it’s grown, how it’s handled and the people who make that happen. On a macro level, it also fostered a deeper respect within me for our great Mother Earth.


Kelly is an energy guru. She is extremely sensitive to other people’s energy, often reading it quite accurately. Sometimes this is challenging – but truly it is one of the gifts that helps us create products with the utmost integrity. It’s also what fuels the passion behind Savor Street, where we have made it our mission to promote inclusivity while delivering products with the utmost integrity. Products you can trust, or as we like to say, Delicious You Can Count On!


At Savor Street, we are always striving to make products just the same way I cook in my kitchen, with love. Savor Street grain free pretzels are a dream come true for us, and we hope you will feel that love with every bite. In other words, just think of our pretzels as mini hugs.


The morale of the story here is to always listen to our children, even when it’s hard. And that’s why at Savor Street, we say our inspiration comes from our children. Our children and your children, all of our children.



Suzie, GF Guru Mama

Click here for a link to Sit Down with Suzie Ep. 2!

An Intro To Eating To Be Your Happiest Self

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Introducing one of our favorite mantras and the inspiration for this blog:

Eat to be Your Happiest Self

At first glance, one might assume that eating to be happy means eating whatever you want.

After all, when food gives us pleasure, what do we usually think of? Something delicious, of course! What we’ve learned, and want to share, is that delicious can mean many things.

Before I go any further, let me just say that while eating anything (or everything, however you want to look at it…..) may work for some people, it doesn’t work for everyone. And it most certainly doesn’t work for us. 

Here’s why. 

Back in 2002, our daughter Kelly was diagnosed with celiac disease and over twenty five other food intolerances. We tried gluten free for a year or so, and then at the advice of our functional medicine doctor, we adopted a grain free and sugar free diet that was designed to heal her gut. 

Going grain free and sugar free was honestly one of the hardest things I’ve ever done —-as a mom and as a human being!  First of all, because it meant that I had to break up with my lover and best friend – no I wasn’t cheating on my hubby – I was addicted to sugar! I had no idea how much sugar had a hold on me – my mood, my energy, my outlook, and the chronic pain I’d been blaming on my “broken” body. I also didn’t realize how much sugar was feeding the “bad guys” in my gut and Kelly’s protruding hard (distended) belly as well. 

One of our biggest hurdles was that with a restrictive diet it’s only natural to feel deprived. Even more so than feeling deprived was the feeling of being different. You can’t help but feel like there’s something wrong with you – like why do I have to eat differently than other people? 

For me, there was also another hurdle. That was the mommy guilt. It made my head spin with thoughts like, how did this happen? is this all my fault? The first few days on the diet were horrible. Flu like symptoms settled into our bodies – we were achy, exhausted and nauseous. Let’s just say, we felt worse before we felt better. That made me question everything. I began to wonder if I was being over protective or reaching too far for something unreachable. I wondered, Was I possibly harming my baby instead of healing her? Why should we do this when we are the only ones?

So how and why did we keep going?

The answer lies in one word – intuition. My gut kept telling me to keep going, that it was the right thing to do……

So I began to explore how I could inspire myself to be kinder and gentler with the rules, to feel less pressure and more presence, to lean into the bigger picture of how the ultimate goal was to see Kelly’s true spirit shine. One of my strategies was to show Kelly what I was seeing in her. When she ate the “wrong” foods, foods that irritated her body, she was grumpy and her behaviors escalated. On the contrary, when she ate “right” foods, she was calmer, slept better, and seemed back to her happy self, the one we had glimpses of when she was a baby. Ultimately, I wanted to teach her how to tune into her own body. 

That’s when I started saying – eat to be your happiest self. It became our mantra. It was the  bridge from eating whatever we wanted, to eating with more purpose. 

Approaching it this way also helped me to parent with more faith and trust. It helped me transition away from parenting with my own rules or agendas and into parenting with a style that fostered empowerment. It also helped me learn how to use my intuition as a guide so I could lead from the inside out rather than the other way around.

What we learned is that eating to be your happiest self has very little to do with the pleasure of eating delicious foods and much more to do with the result of eating those foods. Once we learned how to tune into our bodies, we began to understand the food mood connection.

This experience taught us more about the food mood connection than any book, lecture, doctor or coach could ever teach us. And becoming Kelly’s partner on the journey was one of the most powerful things I could have ever done for both me and her.

Through the process, my cooking style evolved from necessity, survival and constant anxiety around what we would eat next —— to a beautiful unfolding of deeper connections with food, my family, my body, mind and spirit. I learned to cook with love, to make something from nothing and to create from an intuitive sense rather than fear of following a recipe just right.

This is what I loved most about the cooking classes I taught in my kitchen surrounded by a dozen other women who all were craving the same connection – connection to each other, connection to their bodies, and connection to the food we ate together. As an autism mom, former Health Coach and passionate foodie, creating community and connection are my WHY. Because it is through connection and vulnerability that we discover deeper meanings around life and our journey in it, together.

So I’ve decided to create a weekly sit down where I will be exploring from a place of curiosity and inspiration, the latest trends and burning questions. I look forward to inviting guests to also share their perspectives, knowledge and inspiration. And of course, answer your questions as well.  

So stay tuned, and I hope you will join me whenever you can stop to pause, reset and get re-inspired.


Suzie, GF Guru Mama

Link to Sit Down with Suzie Ep. 1

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