May 7—This Mother's Day, consider treating Mom to some wonderfully healthy treats created by Mary Jo Campbell.
They're particularly special because Campbell, an avid baker, worked her way through a life-threatening illness to create a menu of gluten-free goodies that turned into a business. She's also a wife and mother of a young adult daughter and son who lived through her illness with her.
Campbell writes about her cancer journey at her inspirational blog, YourPeakEnergy.com, along with her mountain adventures and the recipes for some of her baked goods, which she also sells.
"I've been reading health and nutrition books since I was 14 and following all the best advice available to live a long and vibrant life," Campbell said. "I thought I was eating pretty clean when I got diagnosed with cancer in 2006. The fatigue and brain fog from the treatment were tremendous, along with severe radiation burns. My digestive system took a long time to heal and rebuild. It was obvious that regaining my health was going to be a big challenge. Fortunately, I was able to regain enough healing and energy to climb Long's Peak that summer of cancer treatment, just eight weeks after my last radiation session."
She used her arsenal of healthy recipes to get her through treatment, and she uses it to sustain her healthy lifestyle now that she is cancer-free.
For instance, her Nutty Bars are a high-protein energy bar with walnuts, pecans, almonds, unsweetened coconut, organic coconut oil, sunflower seeds, currants, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut sugar, honey, peanut butter and baking soda. They're perfect for refueling after a long hike or, heaven forbid, chemotherapy.
Campbell has developed other recipes jam-packed with nutritious ingredients. While testing them, she would share them with friends and take them to her Jazzercise class to get feedback on how they tasted. Class instructor Meridith Norwood, a physical therapist and nutritionist, encouraged Campbell to make a business from her baked goods.
"She told me ... that no one made my variety of items with garden-sourced, nutrient-dense ingredients," Campbell said. "I then took the CSU Cottage Foods course and decided to use my blog title, Your Peak Energy, for the baking labeling since the foods I was making were designed to optimize energy with whole ingredients."
Those ingredients are garden foods such as pumpkin, beets, carrots and apples.
She joined a local gluten- free Facebook group and developed a following there.
"I follow a lot of blogs and podcasts that focus on functional medicine, natural remedies, and superfoods," she said. "I'm always incorporating new ingredients to see if I can make 'healthy' and 'gluten-free' taste awesome."
Some of the other good-for-you gluten-free baked goods she sells online and out of the back of her car after her Jazzercise classes include:
— Pumpkin Chai Baked Doughnuts, made with home-grown pumpkins or squash.
— "Better Than Scout" Cookies, a macaroon-type cookie with walnuts, dates, coconut and mini dark chocolate chips.
— Chocolate Fudge Bites, with cacao and coconut cream.
— Blueberry Coconut Scones.
— Peanut Butter cookies, with chia and flax seeds.
— Pumpkin Chai Doughnuts, with oats and mini chocolate chips.
— Carrot-Apple Cranberry Walnut Muffins, with oat and almond flours.
— Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins, with oats and flax.
Campbell offers free delivery within a 5-mile radius of her home or with a $30 minimum order. Visit her blog to get on her mailing list. Or contact her at 719-660-8991 or Freedomformj@gmail.com, or friend her at facebook.com/maryjo.campbell.7.
Contact the writer: 636-0271.