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Paleo Mama Bakery Makes Delicious Treats

By Michael Abelson

Belle Pleva was sick. Stricken with an autoimmune disease, Pleva needed to find a way to curb the symptoms and pains of the disease. Enter the paleo diet, which focuses on ridding the diet of heavily processed foods. The diet helped Pleva and now she's opened her own place, Paleo Mama Bakery, in Madison that makes all sorts of paleo-based goodies. Pleva took time to answer questions about the bakery and her inspirations for Wisconsin Real Estate.

I read that you were inspired to open the bakery after the Paleo diet helped you with your autoimmune disease. What do you think it is about the Paleo diet that makes it beneficial?

I follow the Paleo diet to help control the symptoms of an autoimmune disease with which I was diagnosed over 10 years ago. We know that the body's immune system is what protects us from disease and infection. When you have an autoimmune disease like I do, your body attacks healthy cells by mistake. The classic sign of autoimmune diseases is inflammation. The idea behind the Paleo diet is to remove foods that cause inflammation in the body such as grains, sugar, dairy, and processed oils. Once these foods are removed, it is easier for your body to begin healing. Health begins in your gut, and, if you don't have a healthy gut, it is common for symptoms to easily spiral out of control.

Wh​at is your personal favorite menu item you offer and why?

My favorite menu item is our pre-baked pizza crusts. We make the pizza crusts with cassava flour, which is flour made by grating and drying the fibrous cassava root. Unlike the other flours we use, such as almond and coconut flour, the cassava flour is nut free. Our pizza crusts are vegan and allergen free, in addition to being gluten free. However, a common misconception is that because they hold these characteristics, they are lacking in flavor. This is however, not the case. While they hold a robust flavor, they are also thin and crispy, and because they are pre-baked, you can have dinner ready in as little as 8-10 minutes.

Wh​y do you think someone should choose Paleo Mama Bakery for their customized cake or other baked good needs?

We have specialty items available for customers with a variety of food allergies and intolerances; gluten-free, grain-free, egg-free, nut-free, dairy-free, soy-free, corn-free, vegan, AIP. However, you don't need to be gluten-free or have a food allergy to enjoy our products. In fact, most customers simply enjoy the taste of our fresh, natural ingredients and the opportunity to experience a wonderful tasting treat without all the guilt.

For those who may be concerned about taste when eating "healthier" paleo items, how do keep the sweet flavors in your desserts while also being paleo friendly?

Our focus is on using real, whole ingredients to create nutrient-dense treats that are not only good for you but that also taste amazing. Our baked goods are made with almond flour, coconut flour, and cassava flour, which all have a more conventional taste than typical gluten-free flours such as rice flour or oat flour. We do not add any refined sugars to our products and rely on natural sweeteners, which our bodies are better equipped to eating. Our main sweetener is raw, locally sourced honey from Gentle Breeze in Mount Horeb. Honey is a superfood, which is packed with enzymes, antioxidants, and vitamins. In addition to the products that are sweetened with raw honey, we also use dates, coconut sugar, and maple syrup as natural sweeteners.

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