How a pre-diabetes diagnosis led to the discovery in founding a low-glycemic chocolate company with Bonnie Boroian

How a pre-diabetes diagnosis led to the discovery in founding a low-glycemic chocolate company with Bonnie Boroian

Blissfully Better is a Woman owned business founded by Bonnie Boroian after her daughter was diagnosed as pre-diabetic. After discovering coconut nectar in Bali, she knew it would be the way she could create premium tasting chocolate confections with a nutrient-rich, and low-glycemic sweetener, combined with whole food organic ingredients to deliver a rich, delicious, indulgence! Thankfully Bonnie’s daughter no longer has the pre-diabetes diagnosis after changing her nutrition and introducing coconut sugar as a low glycemic alternative when cooking.

You can enjoy a 20% discount with HELLOBB20 at ( through 2023.

Pamela : Hi, this is Pamela Worth from the Hello Health Encouraging Wellness Podcast, and today have Bonnie. So thank you so much Bonnie for being with us today. it's a pleasure so tell us a little bit more about this journey you're on and the chocolates and how they come from and you know starting a chocolate company sounds like kind of fun too. some of the trials and errors you've had along the way.

Bonnie : Sure um yeah it's great to have a chocolate company everybody is happy when you come to dinner and you bring your chocolates and it it has been a fun journey. Of course every business journey has its challenges. But for me it started as you mentioned with my daughter being diagnosed with pre-diabetes when she was nine years old and you know just the realisation that I did not want her to live her life with diabetes and have to be on insulin and head down that path so it became important to me to find a sweetener that I could make things for her with that tasted good and was low glycemic so that she wouldn't have the spikes in the blood sugar and so that was a difficult search at the time I didn't find a lot of things out there in the marketplace that fit that criteria. I started searching online and I found this company that was based in Bali Indonesia and they were harvesting coconuts from the flowers of the coconut trees which is a nectar and that it was delicious low glycemic had a high nutrition profile, amino acids and antioxidants. I was like, whoa this sounds too good to be true. so I decided well I better go to Bali and see what that's like so that was a fun journey halfway around the world and Bali is a beautiful place for anybody who has not been there it is just magical, spiritual, lovely people and rich with many many kind of exotic fruits fruits and vegetables and one of them being the coconut and so I learned from that trip
is that this really was a wonderful sweetener with a low glycemic index of 35 anything below 55 is considered low glycemic. So I came back to the States and I started making things for her so that when she would go to school, she could bring something when other kids were having Donuts that she would enjoy, cupcakes or you know all the things that kids indulge in with their sports and their schools birthdays Etc. so you know I was really happy with the sweetener and but frustrated
that I couldn't find anything on the shelves at that time that had coconut nectar in it which is also coconut sugar crystallises when you heat it into a sugar. Now there are things on the Shelf like that but then there was not.

Pamela : yeah so when people are going to you know the Trader Joe's the Sprouts the grocery stores you know wherever you are. You will see coconut sugar now are there different types of coconut sugar I mean do people need to be aware of one coconut sugar that might be of a certain quality versus another I mean is that something to be concern?

Bonnie : No there there really aren't I mean some people call it coconut palm sugar coconut nectar but it it's it's all from the same place from the flour in the coconut tree.

Pamela : I mean there's a lot of data out there now about the additional nutrients that are in coconut oil and so other things that there really is a lot to this so how in the world did you figure out coconut sugar was okay versus I mean I'd love to get into your thoughts around Stevia monk fruit dates. what's okay what's not how do?

Bonnie : Right, well you know the company that I went to visit in Bali a company named big tree farms they were really a leader in that industry and they would send the nectar out to be tested to find out what the glycemic index level was and when I started making my product I was sending it out to be tested as well to make sure that you know it was what I thought. With the ingredients that we were putting together with but you know I did a lot of research myself on what the different sweeteners are and benefits and drawbacks and as you mentioned in stevia most deia has a monk fruit component that people are not aware of and there's been a lot of medical research that has shown that monk fruit has some disruptions with cardiovascular health you know I mean I'm not here to to to give you all the facts about that it's just something that's becoming more and more apparent but you know for me also I wanted something that was going to taste really good so that you wouldn't be compromising on that first because my daughter wouldn't enjoy it if it didn't and I did try to make things with stevia and it was very difficult and she didn't like the taste and personally I really only want to eat something that I like the taste of as well so you know the low glycemic index level was the most important thing to me there's a lot of other good sweeteners out there as you mentioned dates which you know a lot of people like to use and honey. Those are not low glycemic.

Pamela : Maple syrup's probably not low glycemic either. is it?

Bonnie : I don't think so. I haven't researched it that deeply I mean I did look into it as whether this was something I use and it wasn't so I don't know the glycemic index but I believe it's not a low glycemic sweetener it's pure and I think the reason why but dates and honey and maple syrup have really come on as sweeteners that are being used more is because they're pure sweeteners they're not refined and a lot of times it's that process of refining a food that that causes a lot of the the issues people end up having in their bodies with eating that food.

Pamela : So when you get the nectar is it processed into sugar in Bali before it's shipped to you or do you bring the RAS into the states talk to us about the manufacturing and process?

Bonnie : Sure, well it's not it's not a process sweetener regardless of whether it's traveling or not um you know I if you go on my website you'll see pictures of you know the people climbing up these trees to gather the nectar from the flowers and then it gets poured into a vessel that looks kind of like a big walk and with fire underneath and stirred and stirred and stirred and stirred and then it's crystallised into a sugar and that sugar sifted to make sure impurities come out and then it's put into what is similar to a dehydrator to make sure that the moisture is is lessened because it's a very moist product and it'll all clump and stick together um and so that's what comes over from Bali and Philippines also produce the product as well and then the nectar is not toyed with it's it's sold as the nectar so it's it's a clean process and it's not refined.

Pamela : Is it always a crystallised form or do you ever find that it's liquid or powdered I mean I you know me and maybe others are just kind of curious about coconut sugars we learn about this a little bit more?

Bonnie : Right well it's crystallised or it's a nectar I mean in our production depending on our products we use just the crystallised sugar itself or we use the crystallised sugar and the nectar because of the consistency of what what we're creating so um it's more likely that you'll find the crystallised coconut sugar on shelves and stores in fact I don't think there's a store it's not in any more of the major chains I mean it it was in whole foods way down on the bottom shelf when I first started looking for it the nectar was is very hard to buy in stores.

Pamela : Is nectar similar to a consistency of like a honey?

Bonnie : Yes it's little bit less thick than a honey. More like a maple syrup probably.

Pamela : What kind of color lighter or darker?

Bonnie : it's a caramel color yeah and so is the sugar and so that's you know if you're going to be making a vanilla cake um it's going to be more Brown than a yellow like it normally would be so when you're when you're cooking with it for instance our coconut uh toasted coconut thins are very similar to mounds except the center is not white it's got the the gold in color from the color of the sugar and nectar.

Pamela : Yeah. tell us some of your favorite products what are you what are you selling?

Bonnie : Now well we have two different lines we have our thins line uh which the original recipe that I started the company with was almond toffee Thins and my mother had a recipe for a candy she made every Christmas we called it Christmas candy and it was a almond toffee covered in chocolate chips which were milk chocolate chips but everybody loved it it was fabulous and I would make it for my children's teachers every year and as my children graduated to the next grade the teacher would say I loved having Kate in the class but I stil get your Christmas candy they didn't want to not get it the next year so I started with that one and you know surrounded it with 72% dark chocolate which we have made for us of course with the coconut sugar versus refined sugar and it's chalk full of almonds hard healthy almonds and then has that nice crunch to it um so you know that line we have two different toffees we won the good food award for the crunchy quinoa toffee and then we have a sea Sal caramel thin we have a toasted coconut we have a mint melt away and then we have a bon bonss line which is a snackable poppable snack you know it's it's just little round chocolate covered peanut butter or caramel or toasted coconut centers it's paleo friendly it's plant-based um so that's what we've got right now we've got lots of things we want to do in the future but you know we're we're thrilled with what we've created so far

Pamela : That's awesome and then when when you're making the chocolate obviously it's a a large differentiating Parts the coconut sugar what are some of the other ingredients that you use or are chosen not to use?

Bonnie : We don't use very many ingredients in any of our products there are three to six organic clean ingredients and that's you know we're very dedicated to that um but in within our chocolate we have of course the cocoa 72% and we have the cocoa butter which gives it a wonderful gloss and mouth feel and we're generous to make sure we're using that versus a lot of the fillers we don't have any soy nothing but vanilla and those are the that's what makes up the chocolate.

Pamela : Sounds delicious where do you manufacture?

Bonnie : Manufacture in Chicago. we then it's shipped really all over the country we're in a lot of specialty stores across the country we sell in a you know numerous e-commerce platforms some really interesting ones that have been popping up which you know there's one called Bubble goods and they only sell the products that have unrefined sugar and very clean products and there's a lot of places where consumers can find more of the things that they're drawn to and learn about other products there that they didn't know existed.

Pamela : Where are some of the more popular places that people can find you and other clean products like this?

Bonnie : well on e-commerce uh there's one called flip which which is a very interesting one we just started on we're on Amazon um we're on QVC. we've been on QVC a few times and we're glad the community of QVC Shoppers enjoys buying our products even you know well after the fact um we have some new ones coming up that we're we're going to be hopping on soon which we'll have on our website and then we're just in a lot of specialty markets across the country so um if you go to our website at you'll find out a lot more about where we are and about our ingredients and sustainability and follow the journey.

Pamela : What kind of suggestions would you give for people that might find out that they're pre-diabetic and kind of potential next steps on? what you can do and how to still eating food and but still get plenty of nutrition?

Bonnie : Well I think um to be a health aware eater regardless of whether you're pre-biotic I think you know we all should be aware of what we're putting in our body it's fuelling us it's creating our futures um you know but I also think you definitely should be checking with a doctor about you know where their practices more and more Physicians are telling people to eat less sugar and pay attention to what the sugar that they're consuming is that refined sugar is causing a lot of problems in our health um not just for diabetes but for cancer and Alzheimer's you know there's a lot of research out there in that manner so for my daughter she immediately went on a very clean diet with the sweets being made with coconut sugar if she was having them and it wasn't long at all before she was not pre-diabetic and she's now 27 years old and she's not been pre-diabetic or diabetic at all so diet has so much todo with it with for type 2 diabetes and it such an epidemic in our country that you know it's it's hard to push away foods that have you've enjoyed and sugar is very addictive so that makes it harder to push it away but there are a lot of Alternatives and you know if you're if you're going to take care of your health and make sure you're not heading down that path you will kick it out the door no
Pamela : Sure did you find that when she was minimising or getting rid of you know refined cane sugars that she also maybe minimize some simple carbohydrates do you feel like that makes a big difference too in pre-diabetes?

Bonnie : I think so you know it's all about just clean eating um what your carbohydrates are makes a big difference and she was a a dancer and she washer goal was to be Clara and theNutcracker and just changing her diet she lost a lot of weight but eating very very healthy and she within two years was In The Nutcracker she she accomplished this dream that um you know was a nice sight of effect of the fact that she had to change her diet and change her lifestyle from just indulging on all the treats that there were at school I mean I kept a pretty clean household. because that's always been important to me but it's it's habit forming things letting go of those that really can help.

Pamela : Yeah no that's for sure and then what about in terms of any supplements or any nutritional supplements that you've found with pre-diabetics that help um anything in particular that comes to mind?

Bonnie : No I wouldn't say so I because my daughter was nine years old at the time you know she was taking a regular old multivitamin her doctor didn't suggest that she take anything besides that I think you know as people are in their older years it's extremely important that you are following a plan of making sure that all your levels of calcium vitamin D3 vitamin C Etc you know I try to supplement for my self with a green drink that I take that that really is full of a lot of those and then add in some more for myself butI really think the more you can get things from food the better off you're going to be?

Pamela : Yeah and it's hard so in in our house we tend to throw a bunch of stuff in the in the blender of the Vitamix and Down theHatch

Bonnie : Yeah just getting your blood work done and read by a really good functional doctor I mean I have a doctor who spends like an hour reading blood like it's the most fascinating novel ever which I really love cuz he's always you know oh your D3 is not where it should be let's try this sublingual because it's not working with what you're taking and you know we make those adjustments so I think it it just can be so great to have a a physician that is going to make sure you're getting you're absorbing what you need not just getting it because you're putting it in your mouth is it doing what it's supposed to do

Pamela : yeah no for sure and then for those that might be listening to you as a potential you know wanting somebody toto get into the food Market what are some tips and tricks that you kind of learned over the years that you wish you knew earlier when you were starting this company by yourself?

Bonnie : I would say go slow uh you know there's a lot of trade shows out there and it gets very exciting you know you're going to make this amazing boot hand you know give away a ton of product as people are walking in and hire a lot of people to have all that hype um and you're going through a lot of money doing things like that that it's not that it doesn't make some difference but there's so many things within the industry especially the food industry that to get on a shelf you're going to have to give away you know free fill for the first round you're on the Shelf they're going to need you every quarter to have all kinds of deals for them Etc and so there's just a lot of of ways to learn about it and take your time and know that you're building slowly and you know you're just going to continue on that right route

Pamela : Yeah I totally agree it's really easy to spend too much too fast and then you've got to you know change direction and you know you certainly can't spend that kind of money every single time you want to change direction add a product change branding um in fact you recently went through a brand change yourself tell us a little bit about that?

Bonnie : We we realised our thins product uh it's a very elegant and luxurious kind of experience um versus some of the regular candy bars that are on the shelves and so we wanted to make sure that we looked the part that that we were portraying and a lot of people enjoyed giving them as gifts uh but you know our packaging didn't look as much that way as we wanted so we came up with new packaging we just launched and it took much longer to do that than we ever thought it was going to so that again it takes a while but you know our new you probably can't see that very well. it's on our website um so we're going to have some really neat gift packaging coming up this this year for the holidays and so we're excited to be have that available and people are loving our new packaging which is great.

Pamela : that is great um anything on the horizon that you want to share with people that you're going to be rolling out or trying any new products or anything?

Bonnie : you know it's it's definitely on the back burner uh some things hopefully we'll be we'll be doing sometime soon with more adaptogens and you know more functional type ingredients um you know that that'll be coming down the like

Pamela : yeah it's um it's definitely a lot more fun to take supplements when they're in the form of chocolate so may be that's a whole another idea. well good um is there anything else you want to share that maybe Iforgot to ask about we really appreciate having

Bonnie : let's see well I guess you know I not only do you need to have the the right kind of sugar to feed your body with with health in mind but you should be choosing things that have less sugar than the average product for instance you know on average we have half the amount of sugar per serving than conventional bars do and then of course we use the coconut sugar which is low glycemic and Etc but you know looking at at the labels on the back of packaging is very important and looking at the amount of ingredients and making sure you know what the ingredients are because there's about 100 names for sugar now high fructose course corn syrup it might say on the front of a cereal box no high fructose corn syrup and then you turn it over on the back there's 50 ingredients and some of them are actually high fructose corn syrup so I think you just really need to do your own you need to be an advocate for your own health your children's health your spouses parents Etc by encouraging people to really know what they're eating and how to read labels

Pamela : well and even you know something as simple as spaghetti sauce in the grocery store if you're not careful you know half of those have sugar in them too so it's just uh it's all over the place. well thank you so much now remind us again of the special that you have for the listeners as well as your website?

Bonnie : sure um so we're we have a code for 20% off it's onetime use and will last to the end of the year so the code is HELLOBB20 um and you can find us at follow us onInstagram at blissfully betterFacebook uh sign up for our newsletter on our website we'd love to keep in touch and let you know all the new things coming along

Pamela : Super and then we will have a free product giveaway here that'll be fun too together so thank you so much Bonnie we really appreciate having you on

Bonnie : Thank you. I really appreciate being here.
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