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Meet Audrey Dunham

Today we’d like to introduce you to Audrey Dunham.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Growing up, I had two passions in life: fitness/nutrition, and baking! For many years, I felt the two contradicted one another – that you couldn’t possibly be a fit, healthy person and also be a baker, without resorting to baking things like protein brownies made with artificial sweeteners. I spent most of my 20’s involved in the fitness industry. Not only did I train and compete in seven fitness competitions, but I also earned certifications in both Sport’s Nutrition and Fitness Training. Finally, after my seventh and final competition, I realized my life was completely out of balance. I missed being able to eat birthday cake on my husband’s birthday, and it killed me each time I had to turn down a cookie that my grandmother, my mom or a friend had baked, all because those foods weren’t allowed while in training for a fitness show. Therefore, I began a quest to change the way I looked at food and what it meant to be a truly healthy person.

After doing a tremendous amount of scientific research as well as SOUL searching, I discovered the plant-based lifestyle, which changed everything for me. I earned a certification in Plant-based Nutrition through Cornell University’s online program, launched a blog, AudreyDunham.com, as well as a YouTube channel (Audrey Dunham), where I share vegan and mostly gluten-free recipes as well as lifestyle tips, and, I launched the decadent cookie kit company, Peanut’s Bake Shop, named for one of my husband, Jeff Dunham’s, famous characters. The message I share now is that there’s always room for treats each and every day, just so long as the food we choose to eat the majority of the time consists of whole, minimally processed foods that come from the ground. After all, who wants to live a life that doesn’t leave room for a good chocolate chunk cookie now and then?

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There are so many mixed messages in the health and nutrition world. Every few years a new trendy diet comes along… Adkin’s, Paleo and now Keto. All these diets do is create confusion and frustration for the average person who simply wants to look good and be healthy, because none of these diets are sustainable for the long haul. I used to be one of those people. I wanted to try every trendy diet that came along because I so badly wanted to get the results they all promised, which was to lose weight quickly and effortlessly. Ultimately, most people are miserable on these diets because they all involve a massive amount of restriction, especially when it comes to eating carbs. I could never stick to those diets because I felt so deprived, therefore, I hired a coach and began competing in fitness competitions, just so I could gain a sense of control and force myself to stick to my low carb diets. After becoming educated in plant-based nutrition, it was clear there’s a reason we crave carbs so much – it’s because they are the body’s natural fuel source. They are the easiest type of macronutrient for our bodies to convert to energy. The issue is most people eat the wrong TYPE of carbohydrates as well as consume large amounts of low quality and unnecessary protein and fats, therefore they end up struggling to achieve their health and weightless goals.

Alright – so let’s talk business. What else should we know about you and your career so far?
My cookie kit company, Peanut’s Bake Shop, is special for many reasons. Not only are the cookies you’re able to bake extremely decadent, but they’re surprisingly made with high-quality ingredients such as chickpea and oat flours. These cookie kits are 100% vegan / dairy-free, gluten-free, nonGMO, soy-free, and nut-free (yet made in a facility where nut products are used) making them the perfect cookies for those with dietary sensitivities or preferences. HOWEVER, I know when most people hear “vegan and gluten-free”, they expect a food to taste “blah” or at least a step down from the original versions. I used to be one of those people! Therefore, when I created these cookie kits, my goal was to not only help people make the best vegan and gluten-free cookies they’ve ever tasted but some of the best cookies period, regardless of the v/gf factor. I’m happy to say that the feedback from our Peanut’s Bake Shop consumers has been phenomenal, and so far it seems I have achieved my goal! The added bonus: these cookie kits are extremely easy to make. All you need is a little water and oil and about 15 minutes. They’re easy enough for bakers of ALL levels! The current flavors that I offer are: Chocolate Chunk, Midnight Chocolate Chunk, and Cinnamon Oatmeal, all available on PeanutsBakeShop.com and Amazon.com.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I have many wonderful memories of childhood! My parents made every birthday and holiday feel so special, and every June we took a family vacation of some sort, whether it be a trip to Hawaii or a simple road trip to a national park. We created many fun memories over the years, and I know I was/am tremendously lucky to have such fun and loving parents.

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