[Photograph: Purely Elizabeth]

Elizabeth Stein was working as a holistic nutrition counselor when she decided to start a food company. "Providing guidance toward a healthier lifestyle was something that was really important to me," she explains. To that end, Purely Elizabeth launched in 2007 with a line of baking mixes that were vegan, sugar- and -gluten free, and organic.

"The idea was to get people in their kitchen and get closer to their food," Stein says, adding, "If we all cooked at home, we'd be a lot healthier!" However, she quickly came to realize that many of her customers were interested in buying food that was ready to eat and since, as she says, "so many of the gluten-free and vegan products on the market were overly processed and didn't taste good," she expanded into ready-to-eat granola made with healthful ingredients like amaranth, chia, and quinoa.

Now the granola, in flavors like Pumpkin Fig, Blueberry Hemp, and Cranberry Pecan, are her best-selling product.

In addition to an online shop and information about her products, the Purely Elizabeth site includes resources for healthy living, like recipes and two free
written by Stein, Hemp Seeds and Winter. She explains that she "wanted to have this platform to educate and encourage people to live a healthy lifestyle." That doesn't mean one has to be fully committed to veganism or life without gluten to enjoy her products though. "I like to think that our products are for those living a healthy lifestyle, but the products just happen to be gluten free or happen to be vegan," she says, "I think anyone who tries the granola instantly falls in love."

About the author: Stephanie Klose has more mustard than you. You can follow her on twitter at @sklose.


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