Be Nice: Love Your Guts
We are Jesse and Kate Watson, founders of Nicer Foods. Jesse is a former corporate software guy who was burned out on coding and wanted to create something meaningful that changed people’s lives. Kate is a registered dietitian with a sensitive tummy who wanted to make life easier for people with IBS, celiac, and other special digestive needs.
We're asking for your help to fund our Kickstarter project to create a protein bar for the hundreds of millions of people like Kate, who need to limit which foods they eat for the sake of their digestive health.
These days it's possible (though still challenging) to find a bar that leaves out gluten, dairy, soy, and corn... But Nice Bars are the first and only bar in the US designed to be low in fermentable carbs, also known as "FODMAPs".
What are FODMAPs?
FODMAPs is an acronym that stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides Disaccharides Monosaccharides, and Polyols.
But wait—don’t worry, we’re not going to flood you with scientific jargon!
Jesse found out in a very personal way what FODMAPs were during their Mexican honeymoon:
“Kate had so much abdominal pain and nausea that she couldn’t leave our hotel room. We began looking at options like whether to check into a Mexican hospital, or cut our trip short and go home.”
It turned out later it was not parasites or food poisoning as they feared, but Kate’s IBS flaring up from eating the wrong foods, in her case, FODMAPs.
Simply put, FODMAPs are certain carbohydrates that may be poorly absorbed in the intestines of people who have sensitive digestive systems or IBS. Because the FODMAPs aren't well absorbed, they stick around and feed bowel bacteria, which leads to gas, bloating, abdominal pain, and irregularity.
Worldwide rates of IBS are estimated to be between 9-23% of the population, or upwards of 1 billion people, many of whom are undiagnosed.
That said, given how many people are cutting back on wheat and dairy nowadays, it's not too surprising to learn that both wheat and lactose-containing dairy products contain FODMAPs. According to a recent study, one in four people who claimed they had gluten sensitivity actually had symptoms that were more likely related to FODMAPS.
Unfortunately, FODMAPs are also present in many common "health" foods, and gluten free products. Examples include:
- dried fruits
That’s just to name a few. While sensitivity to FODMAPs is highly individual, some FODMAPs aren't well digested by anyone—just think about what beans to do most people!
The Low FODMAPs Diet
Jesse personally witnessed how impactful this diet was for Kate.
“When Kate and I got back from Mexico, she started the low FODMAPs diet, and the results astounded me. Within days, she felt better than she had in years.”
Thanks to research from Monash University in Australia, an increasing number of people with IBS and other GI sensitivities are finding their freedom with a low FODMAPs diet. Research shows that 75% of people with IBS experience significant relief in symptoms on this diet.
This diet is indeed changing people’s lives.
To be clear, Nice bars do not treat, cure, or prevent any illness or condition. Rather, they simply omit ingredients that many of us have found irritate our guts. The low FODMAPs diet is not a simple diet, and to receive the full benefits of it, we recommend consulting a dietitian.
In fact, it is exactly because the low FODMAPs diet is not simple that we were inspired to start Nicer Foods, and start creating food products low in FODMAPs.
“Cooking from scratch isn't always convenient or possible for those of us with busy lives,” Kate explains. “Once we began perusing nutrition facts carefully, we discovered there are very few premade food products that are low in FODMAPs.”
We are creating healthy, natural food products for people with food sensitivities, sensitive digestive systems, and IBS. Our products will be free of additives, preservatives, and common GI irritants like corn, soy, dairy, and FODMAPs, so that the hundreds of millions of people with these sensitivities have more options.
That said, our bars aren’t just for people with IBS or food intolerances, they are for everyone who cares about their digestive health!
Along the way, we want to raise more awareness about the low FODMAPs diet, especially in the United States. There is already much more awareness of the diet in the UK, and in Australia where it originated, but in the United States, most people still aren’t aware the diet exists, or how powerfully it is changing people’s lives.
In addition, our dream is to produce lots of FODMAP Friendly food products including protein shakes, sauces, mixes, and much more! Our first round of bars is only available in the US, but we are already investigating international options in Australia, and possibly the UK.
How Your Pledges Will Be Used
We need to raise $12,000 for:
Recipe development and testing for more delicious bar flavors
- Shelf-life testing so we can ensure freshness and give correct expiration dates
- Advertising so that we can get enough orders to produce these bars in high volumes, thus allowing us to offer them at lower prices, and package the bars in super cool professional wrappers, as shown below:
Stretch Goal: $20,000:
- We have gotten a HUGE response to our product from people all over the world, especially in Australia and the UK. $20K Allows us to jump right into international production, offering products to Australia and the UK within 3 months
"Hey, Nice Tote!"
One of the prizes, in addition to the bars themselves, is this "nice" little tote! It's perfect for groceries, fresh produce, and for carrying all the bars you're going to be getting if you contribute more than $25 to our campaign!
Our Deepest Appreciation...
Goes out to all these wonderful people who are supporting us in our mission to help people with IBS and sensitive digestive systems, and to hopefully one day make a livelihood doing so:
- Chris Taylor and Rose Hall at Adventus Films, for making us a better Kickstarter video than we could have dared imagine
- Cathy, Larry, and Anita Watson, without whom, none of this would be remotely possible
- Mike Gulbin, for fervently supporting us in so many ways, especially in our secret "mastermind" group
Kathryn Daffodilprettyhooves Courtney, for cheering us on in our endeavors, even as we feared we were as crazy as a bag of cats
- Patsy Catsos, for being an amazing trail blazer and role model in the IBS and FODMAPs community, and for her wonderful mentorship and support in this venture
Jen Gulbin and Mat Peppard for all the early rounds of feedback on design and verbiage and for fearlessly cheering us on
- Tracy Hall for being our very first backer!
- Heather Jacobsen from Stuffed-Pepper for giving us the space for this wonderful guest blog post
Heather from Living Happy with IBS for her fantastic review!
- All our friends and family who have supported us in so many ways
We've been asked by a few people for detailed nutrition information... Here is the nutrition facts label that our current bar is going to ship with:
Risks and challenges
From a competition standpoint, there are many nutrition bars on the market, however, there are no other protein bars in the United States designed to be low in FODMAPs, or that cater specifically to people with sensitive digestive systems.
There is the possibility that our expected shipment dates will be delayed, if there are delays getting the product from the manufacturer, or delays in getting specialty ingredients from suppliers. But we have done our best to make accurate projections based on the data we have.
Another risk is that the recipes we've developed won't "scale up" the way expect with our co-manufacturer, and thus won't taste as good as the (numerous!) experiments we've conducted in our kitchen. This is why we're ordering small sample batches to start with, and engaging with the FODMAPs community to sample our bars and send us reviews.
Finally, there are risks around shelf-life, as we aren't adding any preservatives to our products. Part of the reason we're raising money on Kickstarter is to perform shelf-life testing with a third party company so we can anticipate how long our long the bars will last, project inventory levels properly, and print useful expiration dates.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (33 days)