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A Sweet Treat of Comfort

Vegan Desserts with Your Health in Mind

For Marie Hayes, owner of Baker’s Therapy by Marie, baking is a way of life and a path toward better health, physically and mentally. Marie recently met with Short Pump City Lifestyle to discuss her unique approach to specialty baking.

LAUREL: HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN BAKING?

MARIE: I began baking around the age of nine. At that time, I had recently lost my father. I believe baking was my means of therapy to cope with the grief. As I grew older, my nutritional habits began to change for the better. My family's health dynamics played a huge part in my growth as well as my spiritual path. Now I bake to bring life and good health.

LAUREL: DESCRIBE THE HEALTH AND NUTRITIONAL ASPECTS OF YOUR RECIPE CREATION.  

MARIE: Most people may not be aware, but I am also a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant. Therefore, I strategically and purposely use ingredients that are beneficial to the entire well-being. My ingredients counteract or reduce the inflammation of certain illnesses, diseases, or bodily dysfunctions and help one feel better. My concerns are always how it’s made and the way it’s digested after consumption. I don't chase after the dollar; I chase after your health. Anyone can make a beautiful cake or dessert, but what did it take to make it healthy?

LAUREL: WHAT BENEFITS DO YOUR CUSTOMERS GAIN FROM PURCHASING THEIR BAKED GOODS FROM YOU? 

MARIE: A satisfied palate, wholesome goodness, and a healthy gut.  

LAUREL: WHY IS VEGAN BAKING IMPORTANT TO YOU? 

MARIE: I've been a vegetarian for over 26 years, and I believe in clean, healthy eating. I have tried several vegan and vegetarian baked goods that were super unappealing. I couldn't understand how anyone could consume them, but I understood the concept and reasoning- it's healthy. Everyone loves a good treat, but the sound of something vegetarian/vegan usually causes people to turn their noses up and heads away. However, my thought has always been, “What can I do to defy the odds and bring forth good health through a dessert you would love?”

Vegan is an important dietary lifestyle for me. My family history is filled with cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. If I can make a difference to break cycles and traditions in my family's illness streak through my baked goods, then I want to bring forth the same efforts to the other families that I serve. Baking for ALL to enjoy makes my heart leap in satisfaction with a healthy communion.

LAUREL: HOW DO YOU SERVE THOSE WITH OTHER DIETARY RESTRICTIONS, SUCH AS FOOD ALLERGIES OR CELIAC DISEASE?

MARIE: I bake to order specifically for those who may have special dietary needs. I keep these orders separate from the others and use different utensils, bowls, etc. to avoid and prevent any chances of cross-contamination.   

LAUREL: WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT BAKING?

MARIE: Baking allows me to be creative, make mistakes, and build confidence with the assurance that I'm serving not just to please the eye, but the palate and overall well-being. Smiles, wows, and whoooaaas are what help me to keep going while leaving room for improvement.

LAUREL: IN WHAT WAYS DOES CREATIVITY PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR WORK?

MARIE: If you ever heard the quote, "You taste with your eyes," it's completely true. But you must also taste with the palate of your mind. The best way to describe it is if you listen to jazz music and how each instrument plays its part in the compilation. It's complex in harmony with syncopated rhythms and a heavy emphasis on improvisation. In correlation to baking, my creativity uses a combination of basic and special ingredients working together, all laid out in different styles and flairs that I believe represent my style with class, elegance, and charisma.

LAUREL: WHAT VALUES DO YOU LIVE BY AND EXPRESS THROUGH YOUR WORK? 

MARIE: I live by Christian and moral values. Baking is my ministry. I bake to serve and bless others. I have learned that while working on any baked good, I cannot bake in an atmosphere of terrible chaos or if I'm upset. Instead, I bake with enjoyment and allow positive vibes to flow, even when the pressure is in full gear. I believe that whatever energy is generated within me is expressed through my baked goods and filtered into my customers.

LAUREL: DO YOU OFFER CATERING?

MARIE: Yes, I provide catering for weddings, birthdays, outreach programs, nonprofit fundraisers, and other special occasions.

Baker’s Therapy by Marie serves customers with a sweet tooth all over the world. Start exploring her confectionary creations at: bakerstherapybymarie.com

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