Imagine feeling great throughout your workout, thanks to that healthy (and tasty) pre-run fuel you took before heading out the door for some miles. This is what Denise and Kara Steely — the mother-daughter baking duo behind DoughChicks — wants for all of us. It’s what drives them in creating their nutrient-dense and convenient food “for busy and active people.”
Our food will sustain your blood-sugar level while giving you the fuel needed to get through the day with natural and delicious ingredients,” says Denise, a longtime runner who has struggled at times with low-blood sugar. “There’s always that balance of, when do I eat and how much time do I need to let that settle and be able to go out for a run and not crash. It was really difficult for me. So I started thinking, I need to do something here, I need to fix my breakfast.”
She started experimenting with more granolas, using chia seeds and extra flaxseed meal and less sugar and more nuts “because of all the protein you get with that.”

“I got it down for myself … I could go out mid-morning, do a long run and be fine,” Denise says.

“For me, it’s the Midnight Crunch, our dark chocolate granola, before a big run. I always have that with Greek yogurt,” Kara adds.


Kara Steely
Another popular runner-friendly item: pancake and waffle mix. “I think we came up with a really excellent combination of flavors and texture,” Denise says. “We’ve been excited about that.”

Denise and her daughter Denise, 33, recently made the trek north from Kalamazoo to join Heather in the studio and talk about their running journeys and how they decided to create a business focused on baked goods that are good for us. {Click on the player above to listen to their conversation} Their family long has been an active one; Kara and her sister Bailey, 24, grew up watching their parents run races and participate in other outdoor activities (and took part themselves). Today, the family remains active, enjoying the outdoors in southwest Michigan, and Kara and her mom aim to run a half marathon together once a year.

The business originally started in Wisconsin, where they lived at the time, and started with more traditional bakery treats: think scones, biscotti, bread…Today, with their business based in Kalamazoo, DoughChicks products are all dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free. The pair talk about how a friend with celiac disease helped them think differently about their products.

DoughChicks products — their latest creations are breakfast cookies called SolComets — are available at area farm markets and natural health stores. And Denise and Kara have plans to expand further.
*If you enjoy what you’re hearing on the Michigan Runner Girl show, we’d be so grateful if you’d take a few moments to write a review on iTunes. This will help more runners and Michigan lovers like yourself find the podcasts. Thank you!! Also, the quickest way to get the podcasts is to subscribe to the show via iTunes or via Stitcher or your favorite podcast app. 

A special thanks to Mike Moran, Mike Youker and Jonny Tornga of Quarter After Productions in Traverse City, Mich. for producing the show. Check out this studio’s work here.

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