“I’ve been studying food and nutrition for 25 years on my own,” she said.
Arnoff said the business came when she decided she wanted to eat something healthier for herself.
“I’m a diabetic and I decided I wanted to eat a more allergen-free gluten-free diet,” she said. “I started looking at the products available to me and I concluded I wanted something more healthful. So I decided to make my own bars,” she said.
Arnoff said it didn’t start as a business, but kind of grew organically.
“Basically I started making my own and friends and family were all saying they’re very tasty, you should sell these!” she said. “So my husband and step daughter, friends and family have been supporting me all the way. They’ve been so supportive in bringing my product to market and so far things are going really well.
Penny’s is a state and Sharon certified home business, but Arnoff said she’s already looking to expand her operation and is looking at retail locations. She said she’s had so many nutrition and health food stores carry her products, she wants to bring her food to more people.
“We are hoping to expand,” she said. “We are expecting expansions of the business will come soon and we’ve been looking at larger commercial spaces.”
Right now, Arnoff said she has three varieties of pastry bars for sale, chocolate, apple cinnamon and mixed berry. She said she chose the ingredients and flavors for simplicity, and made each one as healthy as she can.
“Penny’s is all about the ingredients and the food itself,” she said. “I’m only using ingredients that I can source as pure and most are organic. I don’t have an organic certification just yet but I’m hoping to acquire that in the coming months. For example, I’m using straight fruit in the bars because I want to provide people with food, not pseudo food.”
Arnoff added the preparation is very important. For example, you can eat as many flax seeds as you want, but if they are not ground up she said the body does not digest them well and cannot absorb their health benefits as easily.
“You can see that if you’re paying attention,” she said.
Arnoff also said she mixes her ingredients to have the slowest possible glycemic load, which is a measuring system for how fast a human body can absorb the glucose, or sugar, in a particular food.
“All too easily a person will eat a simple carbohydrate,” she said. “I’ll just use a cupcake for an example, but when you eat one you’ll get a spike in blood sugar levels and get a drop-off peak that is not particularly helpful in providing energy. You end up with a slump after that drop off where you feel tired and could take a nap or anther cup of coffee.”
Arnoff said she designs the recipes to have a very slow glycemic load, which in turn provides much more stable energy.
“Between the fiber, the protein and the low glycemic sweeteners they won’t give you that tiredness at the end of the day from eating simple carbohydrates.”
Arnoff said Penny’s is available at many health food stores, and college campuses, like the University of Connecticut, the Rhode Island School of Design, New Leaf in Needham and the Good Health Store in Quincy. She said she’s currently looking to expand into grocery stores.
“For folks who live in Sharon, they can order from me directly and I’ll deliver them myself,” she said.
Penny’s Gluten Free’s contact information can be found here and is open by appointment.