Hi, I’m Ashley, founder and creator of Vedder's Sweets. I am here to share my desserts, healthy eats, passions, and my personal story with you all, so you can join me on my mission to transform the way we eat - without having to sacrifice taste, flavor or enjoyment!
WHERE IT ALL BEGAN...
Growing up, the kitchen was the hub of the home. It’s the place, where my grandma, mom, and I tested new recipes, laughed, joked, connected, and nourished our bodies and souls. In fact, my mom was such an advocate of home-cooked meals that she started her own catering business and assembled her own cookbook for the local community. This aspect of my upbringing allowed me to view food differently - as nourishment, medicine, and fuel rather than a quick fix, last thought, or resorting to fast food out of convenience.
When I gave birth to my first child, Hudson, I realized that what I ate was more important than ever. It made me look at the U.S. food industry and culture. Fast food outlets on every street, sugary refined treats used as rewards, unhealthy food advertising disproportionately shown on kids TV, microwaved meals, food colorings, pesticides causing behavioral issues, and food-related illnesses everywhere we turn. It’s a bleak picture. I wanted my children to have the best start in life, which meant providing for them the best food to support their development. After all, good physical, cognitive, emotional health equates happiness. Motherhood is when I really kicked off my quest for healthy eats.
MY INSPOAt the age of 37, my husband, Justin, was diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disorder. Parkinson’s. If you know anything about Parkinson’s, you know how awful this news was to receive. It's a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement and cognitive functionality, caused predominantly by genetics, as well as potential environmental factors, like exposure to toxins.
When we got this news, it really ramped things up for me. I knew that there was no known cure for Parkinson’s, but there were things one could do to delay or offset symptoms - the first being a nutritious and mindful diet. I became obsessed with researching food - which foods had medicinal properties, brain-protective qualities, cognitive decline, inflammation, etc. I noticed that when I gave my husband certain foods, like organic cold pressed celery juice, he’d be noticeably lighter and sharper. On the other hand, some foods caused him to have trouble concentrating and remembering things. This is what led me to create Vedder's Sweets.
THE ORIGIN OF VEDDER'S
One evening, after a lovely healthy meal, my family and I decided to treat ourselves to some frozen yogurt with candied toppings. Immediately after eating it, we started feeling ill and it lasted well into the night. We were bombarded with stomach pain, headaches, and mood swings. We had been on an ultra clean eating streak with a nutritionist and amidst the Whole 30 Challenge with a group of friends, so we knew the cause was this splurge on froyo. After some research, I learned about the connection between refined sugar and a wide range of cognitive and physical ailments, ranging from depression to ADHD to memory loss to neurodegenerative diseases to accelerated aging.
Woah, I was mind blown. That was the day that I decided to create a change.
I created Vedder's Sweets as an all-natural vegan "nice cream" brand that utilizes fruits and vegetables. There are no preservatives, food colorings, dyes, pesticides, or dairy - just natural and flavorful ingredients for a decadent treat that doesn’t cause upset stomachs or negative side effects.
Since my husband’s diagnosis, I have dedicated my life to helping him get better through food. After realizing how powerfully medicinal food could be, I decided to create this blog to share my favorite immunity-boosting and brain-protective recipes that have helped my husband maintain his health, despite his diagnosis. Vedder's Sweets has provided an avenue to directly help people eat better, without sacrificing taste or flavor. I want to extend my findings in my research to you, by offering healthy recipes, advice, budget-friendly options, and easy food swaps that you can integrate into your diet to stay healthy and happy for good.
As we get prepped for Justin's second brain surgery at the beginning of 2021, I'll leave you with this: What you eat today decides your health tomorrow, so choose wisely.
“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” - Hippocrates