May 24, 2017
by julia ford-carther | February 28, 2014 | Food & Drink
Fitness and nutrition enthusiast Ashanty Williams set out to satisfy her all-natural appetite, and ended up creating the ultimate Miami beach snack.
Ashanty Williams stocking up on fresh local produce at Robert Is Here.
Raw, vegan, gluten-free, and delicious—this may sound like a health-food skeptic’s oxymoron, but for Ashanty Williams, founder and creator of the SuperfoodBar, it’s the basis of her business success. And it’s tasting quite good.
Two years ago, Williams couldn’t find a satisfying snack that didn’t wreak havoc on her system.
“I [was] doing more outdoor activities—cycling, road biking, hiking—and for that, you need to take something with you on the road when you go for the 70-mile rides. I tried a couple of bars. They never made me feel good, always bloated. What really killed me was the aftertaste.”
Naturally, Williams, a Miami Culinary Institute graduate and fitness fanatic, began developing her own bar that was nutritionally purposeful and satisfying, and one that people would actually want to eat.
“What I put in it, everything is there for a reason,” explains Williams of her SuperfoodBar. “The Spirulina [Recovery flavor], for example, has spirulina, hemp seeds, chia seeds—everything that helps you recover after a workout. Spirulina helps you detoxify naturally. The oil of the hemp pampers your cells, so all the muscles you just tore apart lifting weights, running, whatever you’re doing, are being pampered so they grow back more rejuvenated. The chia seeds help you stay hydrated.”
Each of the four flavors, which also include Goji Antioxidant, Cacao Power, and Almond Energy, delivers taste and efficiency without relying on preservatives, refined sugar, or carbloaded fillers.
Williams has stuck to the same recipes since the beginning. At the time, while working at MCycle Gym in South Miami, she witnessed many members experience nutritional struggles similar to her own. “I was working the front desk in sales,” she recalls. “But every time anyone had a question about what to eat or not to eat, the trainers would send them to me.”
Her fitness community became a makeshift test group for new flavors, and then a loyal customer base, sustained by Miami’s recent spike in health-conscious living. “People’s eating habits are changing completely,” Williams observes. “Everyone is more health-conscious the right way. Before, it was the trend of low carbs, no fat, no sugar. Now, people understand eating something good and feeling good.”
Eat4Life, her health and fitness company, distributes SuperfoodBar to more than 90 locations throughout South Florida, and this year entered into a nationwide distribution deal with Smoothie King. This month, she launches the Shanti Bar, named in part for her and its Indian meaning of “peace and balance.”
“After [being] in the market, I have experienced more of what people want,” Williams says. “The Shanti Bar is going to be that bar with everything—everything for a purpose. It’s going to be a protein bar [with] 15 grams of plant-based protein. You don’t see that in just any bar.” Add to that pumpkin seeds (for vitamins A and K), sunflower seeds, almonds, unsweetened coconut, and superfoods like hemp, and the Shanti stacks up as a super natural meal supplement.
The benefits are palpable. “People tell me, ‘You have changed my life with these bars,’” she says. “[I’m] humbled.”
photography by nick garcia