Interview With Lauren Feingold and Ashanty Williams of Shanti Bar
When I hear the phrase ‘superfood,’ I immediately conjure up an image of an ancient, Herculean god of cooking, slowly stirring a forgotten recipe not meant for mortals in a truck-sized cauldron. Turns out, superfoods aren’t just for the mythological, they are excellent for mere mortals as well. While any Asgardian can boast of their superhuman power, Lauren Feingold and Ashanty Williams created the Shanti Bar for us mortals, a high protein, raw superfood snack that gives you the power to rival that of any Norse deity.
I appreciate you coming down from Mt. Olympus to deliver the wisdom of the ancients. Tell us a little about yourselves and how you met. Where did you first get the idea to create Shanti bars?
Lol we feel fortunate to have rediscovered Superfoods and the raw power they bestow. It was only natural of us to take on the challenge and share these great ingredients with the masses by delivering them in a functional food bar.
Ashanty and I met at a small community gym in Miami back in 2012 and quickly became friends. We used to spin and box together. At the time, Ashanty had been working as the front desk manager and started doing more outdoor cycling.
Being part of the gym scene for years, it was clear there was a void of healthy, natural options that delivered function and convenience. Ashanty needed something she could rely on for her 40+ mile rides. Ashanty could not find 1 option, as all were loaded with unnecessary ingredients and poor taste.
Ashanty was going to culinary school at the time and figured she had the skills to make something herself. After reading and learning about Superfoods, Ashanty decided to make her own RAW bars packed with a variety of Superfoods.
This was back in 2012 when Chia was not all over the scene and Coconut was probably the only Superfood people really knew about but not for its amazing properties. So soon enough Ashanty had 3 of her RAW Superfood SHANTI BARs created and ready to be tested by the members and trainers of the gym. I was one of those first guinea pigs.
Given that I am also a Chef, Ashanty felt it was important that I try her bars to give her my chef palate critique. After a strenuous boxing class, Ashanty gave me her bars for *free and I left with a bag of what was soon to become one of my favorite paleo snacks ever.
Immediately after trying the first bar I knew these were different, unique, and powerful. I had never felt so good after eating a food bar. I had also never enjoyed something so much that wasn’t made by me!
I was not the only one who immediately became hooked to these SHANTI BARs.
Quickly after that first trial, Ashanty and I sat down and decided to turn her homemade product into a business. Our shared passion, ambition, and culinary talent have driven us to see the endeavor through and share these delicious RAW Superfood SHANTI BARs with the world. We knew so many people could benefit from incorporating these bars into their daily regimen and it is our goal to make that happen.
Did the Paleo community find you, or did you find them? Talk to us about your experiences in the Paleo community.
I guess you’d say we found the Paleo community or that we found each other. SHANTI BARs are inherently paleo, raw, vegan, gluten-free. So as the Paleo community started to grow, we started learning more about what Paleo meant and quickly realized how much we instinctively believed in Paleo and adapted it into our lifestyle.
By 2013 we were getting in CrossFit and learning even more about Paleo. Eating clean and from the earth is what SHANTI BAR is about. The more we learned about Paleo the more we realized how much we were Paleo and how it is a great solution to live a healthy lifestyle. SHANTI BARs fit perfectly into the Paleo lifestyle, especially for those that are active.
Certified Paleo was the first certification we submitted to. It was very important for us to have the Paleo certification as it signifies how clean and raw our product is. What we love about the Paleo community is the passion everyone shares for eating better and achieving a healthy lifestyle.
Tell us about your Shanti bars. What kinds of wizardry allows such a thing to exist on this plane? Where did you start getting your ingredients? Was it difficult to locate everything you needed? Any hurdles to overcome?
I like to call Ashanty the Queen of RAW as she knows how to marry raw ingredients very well to get a deliciously balanced product. I serve as a means for brainstorming, research, and the closure (tweak the last of the recipe to achieve perfection). Our methodology may be weird but has proven successful.
Being Chefs, looking for ingredients and reputable purveyors was not much of a challenge. We always focused on getting as close to the source as possible, always and only organic, and required samples prior to purchase. We firmly believe the product will only be as good as the ingredients we use. So we use the best.
Hurdles; growing our demand to help with purchasing power. At many times we owned more raw almonds and superfoods then dollars.
What’s your favorite flavor of Shanti bar? Have you made any Shanti bar flavors that aren’t listed, like an experimental batch that got spiked with Ambrosia?
This is probably one of the hardest questions as it tends to change… but as of 2015 – LF is all about Turmeric bar and can’t go a day without one. Ashanty has been loving Acai. Coconut is always a must have and so is Spirulina. But then again so are all the other delicious flavors. 🙂 Do you have a favorite child?
There have been batches but those evolved into our 8 flavors. Stay tuned for more.
All joking aside, you actually have an Olympian that religiously eats your bars. Tell us a story about how you enchanted Ms. Solo or was it the reverse?
True that! We have always been huge fans of Hope. We had an opportunity to introduce her to the product and our company (100% women-owned and operated). Hope immediately loved all things about SHANTI BARs.
Hope knows how to fuel her body and eats super clean. As we all know Hope Solo is Raw and Real. So Hope had to like the product in order to stand behind the SHANTI brand. It has been an honor fueling the best goalie to ever play the game.
How do I get this ultimate power? Is it available in stores or by mail only? Any plans to roll out new flavors to help battle the gods?
We are now in Whole Foods Market FL and working on expanding into the other regions. You can purchase on Amazon, www.SHANTI.bar. And announcing very soon, SHANTI BARs will be in a major retailer nationwide. It is our goal to make SHANTI BARs accessible to all and we will not stop until we achieve this.
We are always developing new flavors and staying on top of the Superfood game. We are determined to be the leader in high performance, high protein, RAW delicious Superfoods. Stay tuned and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @Shanti_bar