The Yorkshire friends bringing Paleo baking to people on both sides of the world
They worked in recruitment in the city before Helen married and moved to Australia. It was while she was there that she started to suffer health problems.
She struggled to get a diagnosis and so she did her own research and embarked on a grain-free diet.
“At 38 I had a health crisis. I had digestive, hormonal and sleep problems. Everything was utterly overwhelming – even the laundry,” explains Helen.
“I felt depressed and anxious. Naturally this crisis affected my life – I was a ‘shouty’ mummy, a ragged, libido-less housewife and I couldn’t cope with much more than the daily grind.”
She decided to ditch seed oils, grains, gluten, legumes, dairy, sugar and alcohol completely embarking on a paleo diet – taking her husband and school-age kids along for the ride and then adapting it to a primal diet, which is similar to the paleo diet.
“This way of eating is going back to how our ancestors ate – real food with no nasties, grain, industrial seed oil and refined sugar free, and all anti-inflammatory. A big move away from processed pre-packaged foods. Many have seen the health benefits of eating this way from niggly health issues through to more chronic health conditions.
“I tweaked our favourite recipes and swapped the ingredients around to make them gluten and grain-free and more nutrient dense. I loved spending time in the kitchen and came up with some good recipes. All the while my health was on a rapid incline. I felt joyous, energised and, oh, sleep!” She started a blog and quickly realised there was a gap in the market for grain-free ingredients and recipes. She sold her products at farmers’ markets and then started a website and Primal Alternatives was born making grain-free products such as breads, cakes, pizza bases and wraps. Soon Helen couldn’t keep up with demand and came up with the idea of Primalista Licences as a way of creating a network of self-employed home bakers, working under the Primal Alternatives brand.
It allows women – and men – to run their own home baking business making Primal Alternative products following strict recipes, but the freedom to buy products where they like. And now Primal Alternatives is heading to the UK and, in particular, Yorkshire.
Louise, from Ilkley, kept in touch with Helen and followed her friend’s health and well-being journey. When Helen suggested bringing Primal Alternatives to the UK, Louise jumped at the chance.
“I really thought there was a need for it here too,” says Louise. “But also from a personal point of view I thought it was a good idea. One of my children is gluten intolerant and since trying Primal Alternative products her behaviour and mood have improved. What we’re doing is providing the opportunity for women to set up their own home baking businesses,” explains Louise who has already recruited some Primalistas including Kate Oliver, who already runs a paleo sausage business with her husband in Burley in Wharfedale.
“The company ethos is to make grain-free easier for everyone – convenience without compromise – and offers wholesome, nutritious grain-free alternatives to breads, pizza bases, wraps, bagels and cookies, which are all homemade with love and have no nasties in them,” explains Louise. “Our range, although all paleo, has something for everyone, with recipes that are low carb and keto, vegan, nut-free, egg free and dairy-free.”
She says, although the products are naturally gluten-free, they cannot be labelled as such unless they are made in a coeliac-verified kitchen.
“This is very much a grassroots cottage industry operation allowing women (and men) across the UK the opportunity to use their passion for clean living and baking to set up their own business, and work from home with all the flexibility that that brings and the freedom to run the business on their terms and do as much or as little as they like. “Some Primalistas work one day a fortnight some do it full-time. Most allow two to three days per week. It is very much a collaborative, non-competitive network where individuals don’t have territories just customers and stockists.
“They work together as a team, covering holidays and supporting each other, attending relevant events together to spread the word. In Australia, there is an online shop where customers place orders and they are passed on to the nearest Primalista to fulfil and deliver/post out.
“Each Primalista supplies their community directly through markets and to individuals and also supplies local health food shops, cafes, delis in the area. At the moment we are a fledgling business in the UK, but once we have a larger, established network we will also set up an online shop. However at the moment packet mixes are available from Amazon and our small team can post fresh produce anywhere in the UK.”
She said the overall plan is to expand the model worldwide. Currently they are in Australia, New Zealand, USA and UK.
“The response we have had in the UK has been hugely encouraging and people are loving our products. It’s a very exciting time to be bringing Primal Alternative to the UK as more and more people and professionals are seeing the benefits of a paleo diet,” says Louise, who also has her own life coaching business.
■ For more information visit https://primalalternative.com
Anyone interested in becoming a Primalista should email [email protected]