Shari, the owner and founder of Heavenly Free From, has been a chef for over 15 years and loves creating foods from her ideas of flavours that should go together well.
The introduction of intolerances in to her life, lead Shari down a different path of experimentation, trying to recreate favourites in to something that wouldn’t cause an intolerance reaction within her body.
It was in 2008, whilst working as a chef, that Shari started to realise that she had suddenly become lactose intolerant.
This slowly progressed to dairy as a whole…..
And then gluten…
And then that came to include things like malt vinegar, oats (yes, even gluten free), eggs, soy, chilli and coffee!
All of the symptoms for each intolerance would differ, so it took some time to work it all out through a process of elimination and listening to her body.
The one key factor was stomach issues.
Shari has since undertaken study in the of area nutrition, to include understanding health and nutrition, herbal & nutritional sciences, vegan & vegetarian nutrition, raw food nutrition, personal nutrition, sports nutrition and gut health.
Whilst no expert on these subjects, Shari does offer guidance in a local health food store in Daventry, where she works part time as their in house taster chef.
During Shari’s time at the health food store, it became apparent that her tasters were becoming popular with both the staff and regular customers, and that it was something to look forward to when paying a visit to the store.
The customers knew that whatever Shari cooked, it would be suitable for both gluten free and vegan diets.
For over 5 years Shari had dreamt of having her own food business, whether that was a restaurant, a food van, or a home based start up. It didn’t matter, just as long as it was her own.
But the time was never right, or the set up wouldn’t have been feasible.
Until December 2018.
The unfortunate, and unexpected, passing of her beloved dog meant that the open plan kitchen at home could now be registered as a food kitchen with the local council.
And so, in January 2019, Heavenly Free From was born.
The registration to the local council was sent off on the 3rd January.
Over the course of the month, Heavenly Free From started to take shape, formulating recipes, tasters, testing use by dates, sorting out necessary paperwork, working on the website content and so much more!
February came and an appointment was set with the local Environmental Health Officer to come and do their assessments.
And then it was official!
Heavenly Free From was a licensed kitchen and could start selling!
Sheaf St Health Food Store in Daventry was one of the first ever stockists of Heavenly Free From, after the owners noticing continued requests for gluten free produce.
Throughout 2019, Heavenly Free From gained several more stockists, including a shop in Rugby, a cafe in Glastonbury and a cafe in Twickenham.
But then 2020 came, a year that changed a lot for a lot of people.
Shari became increasingly busy with some other work she had been doing for almost 5 years, and something had to give.
We could only manage baking on a Sunday, to send out on the Monday - there was just no other time.
So, when 2021 came around, we decided it would be best to change focus.
Share was invited to do a talk on the impact stress has on gut health (and overall health), and during her research for the talk, her passion for learning was ignited once again.
This was after seeing a gastroenterologist in March 2020, as Shari was starting to react to more and more foods, knowing something wasn't quite right.
I'm sure we've all heard it though - "It's just IBS, there's nothing we can do".
Shari wasn't going to settle for that. After a year of just 'putting up with it', imediately after that talk in March 2021, Shari signed up for a Level 5 qualification in Gut Restoration. Completed in just 2 months as she threw herself into it, Shari qualified in May.
But a spark had been lit. Shari had applied for a scholarship on a Nutritional Healing Practitioner course in April, and was surprised to have been awarded with a 50% scholarship to start in May.
The love of learning didn't stop there and Shari signed herself up for several more courses including Dale Pinnocks Medicinal Culinary course too.
During all of this, Shari decided to start Gut Fitness as a new focus, but will be continuing Heavenly with future book launches and more.
And so, the journey continues….!
March 2009 - Dec 2018
Owner and Founder of Heavenly Free From