Debbie Adler is the owner of the nationally renown, allergy-free, vegan, glutenfree and sugarfree bakery Sweet Debbie’s Organic Cupcakes in Los Angeles. She is also author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning cookbook Sweet Debbie’s Organic Treats: Allergy-free & Vegan Recipes from the Famous Los Angeles Bakery as well as the new book Sweet, Savory, and Free: Insanely Delicious Plant-Based Recipes without Any of the Top 8 Food Allergens. I recently had a chance to chat with Debbie, and we talked about her new book, her bakery, and life with food allergies.
Chic Vegan: What motivated you to become vegan? Was it an overnight switch or more gradual shift?
Debbie Adler: The more I learned about the detrimental effects of animal protein on human health the more my diet shifted. It was a gradual process but a permanent one.
CV: Tell me a little bit about your new book Sweet, Savory, and Free and what inspired you to write it.
DA: I was inspired to write Sweet, Savory & Free, after I read The China Study and subsequently met T. Colin Campbell (the author) in person.
The science behind why a wholefood, plant based diet works to help prevent and reverse disease makes so much sense to me.
I was immediately inspired to create the most decadent meals I could conjure up.
CV: What are your favorite recipes in the book?
DA: My favorite recipes in this book are the fusion recipes. Like my Spanakopita Enchiladas with Red Pepper Cream Sauce and my It’s All Greek to Me Pizza.
If I name any more I may have to stop the interview and go get a snack.
CV: What inspires you to create a new recipe?
DA: Three things inspire me to create a new recipe:
- I have something in a restaurant and want to re-create it using the whole food, plant based philosophy.
- I have a hankering for some comfort food I used to eat before I was vegan and then I figure out how to make it whole food, plant based.
- I bump into a vegetable at the farmers market that I never met before and I want to incorporate him somehow into a tasty dish.
CV: You changed your family’s diet after finding out about your son’s life-threatening casein allergy. Do you have any advice for other parents of children with food allergies?
DA: My son has a casein allergy in addition to many other food allergies that are life threatening.
I would say to other parents of children with food allergies that no matter how many things your child is allergic to, there are infinite options out there for you to make fun and creative meals.
It’s important to learn to expand your grocery list when you go shopping so that you’re not buying the same things all the time.
Explore the produce section of the grocery store or the farmers markets and try something new. I understand completely that this can be scary, but it’s important to do so you don’t feel despondent about your lack of choices.
CV: In addition to writing cookbooks you also own Sweet Debbie’s Organic Cupcakes, a bakery in Los Angeles. How did your consumers react when you revamped your recipes to remove allergens?
DA: They were thrilled! So many people have intolerances, allergies, Celiac disease and other digestive issues that make going to a conventional bakery a nightmare.
I relieve them of this stress by providing a safe haven.
CV: Do you have any advice for would-be vegan entrepreneurs who might want to open their own bakery?
DA: Be ready to make it your life’s purpose because you will be working long hours every single day for a long time.
CV: What is your favorite vegan indulgence?
DA: My Chocolate Cream Pie with Seed Crust. And yes, it’s in the book!
CV: What vegan product could you not live without?
DA: Coconut Milk Yogurt. By the way, coconut is not a tree nut as many people assume. Coconut is a drupe, or a one-seeded fruit.
CV: In your wildest dreams what will your life look like in 5 years?
DA: I will do what I’m doing now, maybe on a bigger scale. And that is helping people live their healthiest and most vibrant life.