Better Than Flours: A Delicious, Healthy Option to Feel Better

 

Donna England

The Ashland Beacon

 

   “Gluten Free? Let me think about that for a minute... Uhm no thank you.” At least that was this writer’s thoughts until tasting Better Than Flours’ delectable and richly delicious chocolate muffin.

   Better Than Flours founder and owner, Holly Ross, began her journey into living a healthier lifestyle some years back. “I was having a lot of digestive problems, bloating and lots of migraine headaches” she recalled. “I was trying to heal my body and so going gluten free was a big game changer.”

   The decision to eliminate gluten from her diet gave Holly the results she was looking for, and she could see the difference almost immediately. “It as an amazing difference in how I felt. Two weeks after I stopped eating gluten, I suddenly realized I was no longer having headaches,” she said while adding she was having several headaches a week. Holly also said all of her digestive issues, bloating and other health issues cleared up as well.

   Like most, she didn’t particularly care for the taste of store-bought gluten free products so she embarked on the task of developing and cooking her own gluten free food and recipes. “My goal was to cook gluten free for my family and in a way they couldn’t tell it was gluten free.”

   “I wanted to take the recipes and foods we loved and transition those over to gluten free ones,” she said.

   Yet Holly explained that was not an easy process in the beginning and the first year was experimental. Her husband, Bryan and two children, Clifton and Halleigh, became her taste testing Guinea pigs.

   “There was a lot of trial and error. It was a real process in finding the right flours to use. I wasted a lot of money and food in trying to figure that out,” she laughed.

   Her hard work and perseverance paid off and in a big way. Better Than Flours started a little over three months ago is getting a growing reputation of offering some very yummy and tasty products. “Thanksgiving was insane with the amount of orders we got,” she said.

   However, Holly’s love of cooking and baking began many years ago, a talent she learned from her momma. “Growing up my mom was a fantastic cook and baker. Every meal had to have a dessert. I would help my mom and that’s where I got my love of baking,” she said.

   As a long-standing teacher at Russell Middle School, Holly was in the process of completing her doctorate in Education leadership with the thinking after she retired from public education, she would then teach at the college level. But tragedy struck and those plans were interrupted.

   “My mom and my best friend both became sick at the same time. So, I stopped my work on my doctorate to take care of them.” A decision in which she says she has no regrets. Tragically she lost both her momma and her best friend within a two-week period, and it was devastating.

   But as Holly explained, life must go on and so she decided to pick up where she left off and complete her doctorate, which became her therapy in helping to deal with the double loss in her life. “It was very cathartic just to sit and write,” she remembered.

   After 30 years of inspiring many children in the classroom, Holly will be retiring from her lifelong career next May. And though her original plan was to teach college, her love of baking and sharing food with others has her doing some re-thinking about her future.

   “I had been thinking a couple of years now of starting a gluten free baking business. I loved baking and giving it away to friends and family. The hard thing was how do I bake to sell? What do I charge people?”

   Her first big test was at the Russell High School band’s annual fall Arts and Crafts Festival which has a very large following and large attendance every year. Her products were a huge success after offering festival shoppers a little sample of her products. “I sold out of just about everything,” she excitedly said.

   With a whole line of yummy gluten free products, Better Than Flours is starting to grow and thrive and people overwhelming say that you really can’t tell its gluten free, which brings us to the question, why is there not any mention of gluten free in the business name?

   Holly explained that many people have had bad experiences in the past in trying gluten free; it is not very tasty so many will shun trying new products. “I didn’t want people to be immediately turned off by the words gluten free so I came up with the name Better Than Flours.” She hopes the name will encourage people to get past the past experiences and biases and give her product a chance.

   She offers a variety of gluten free products that don’t taste like gluten free including brownie cheesecake, Belgium waffles, a whole line of muffins, cookies, peach pie and sweet potato casserole, to mention a few.

   Holly says her most popular item are the rolls. “It is very hard to find really good tasting gluten free bread so people love the rolls.”

   Better Than Flours also offers banana pudding and an Ooey Gooey Brownie pie. “It has a brownie base, a layer of marshmallow and its topped with fudgy chocolate. It’s chocolate overload,” she chuckled.

   As she gets closer to retirement next year, Holly hopes to expand the business to sale her products in some local business and possibly get a food truck. But for now, she only sales on a per order basis.

   You can find Better Than Flours and their product offerings on FB or by calling 606.922.2433. And from this writer’s experience you will definitely want to give it a try. It will be a game changer.

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