Traveling and needing to be gluten-free can often be a pain. I try to pack a bag with homemade food on my way out somewhere. That’s the easy part. It’s coming home from Italy or New York or even from Seattle on the ferry that’s the hard part. I’ve been staying somewhere that’s not my home, generally without a kitchen or refrigerator, and I can’t pack bags full of my own food. Long plane flights and traffic can leave me hungry and cranky if I’m not prepared.
Sure, there are now plenty of gluten-free treats on the market and in airports. But I don’t want to eat brownies or muffins that often. Why has gluten-free come to mean only baked goods? I would like real food, prepared without preservatives or sugar, food that is really meant to feed me on long airplane rides and when I’m in the car between meals.
Thank goodness for Primal Pacs.
I first tried Primal Pacs on our flight to Italy in September. Looking for a snack with lots of protein and something guaranteed to be gluten-free, I asked Michelle at Nom Nom Paleo for advice. “Try to find a Primal Pac. They’re made in Seattle!” Luckily, a store near where we were running errands the day before our trip carried them. I snacked on one on our long flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
Primal Pacs contain chewy, delicious beef jerky made of grass-fed beef, almonds and macadamia nuts, the loveliest dried mango and cranberries, sweetened with apple juice instead of sugar. This is the best meal-on-the-go I’ve ever eaten. And since they stay fresh for awhile in the sealed bag, I saved one for the long plane ride home. I found myself excited to eat one again. And I was in Italy.
This is why we’re happy to announce that Primal Pacs is our latest sponsor.
We’ll let them tell you more about themselves. We love how thoughtful everyone at Primal Pacs is about the food they make for us.
Why did you invent Primal Pacs?
I (Matt) grew up in a ranching family. I got to witness first hand the issues facing cattle ranchers in todays market. Its a tough way to go. I wanted to help make the industry better. Along with that my dad and my uncle made tons of elk, venison and beef jerky from an old family recipe. That stuff was delicious. When I began to adopt a paleo, real-foods focused diet, I wanted to follow the family tradition, but make a version that didnt have any sugar or added sweetener of any time. Thats hard work, let me tell you, but it makes us even prouder of our product. There is no sugar, sweetener, MSG, gluten or artificial ingredients of any kind in our jerky. I havent seen another product out there like ours.
Can you tell us about the sources of your ingredients?
We take a ton of pride in sourcing our ingredients, especially our organic, grass-fed, grass-finished beef. Like I said, I grew up in a ranching family, so its absolutely key to me to support small ranches that do it right. We only source our meat from ranches that raise their animals humanely and follow sustainable agricultural practices. We work with great organizations like The Western Sustainability Exchange, a group that works with family ranches to help them switch to sustainable agricultural practices so that their livelihood helps the environment and is actually more profitable for them. Little guys cant compete with big CAFO operations, and we certainly dont need any more of those anyway.
We have spoken and shaken hands with the ranchers who supply our beef, so weve seen first hand that our beef really is raised on grass and only grass. A lot of beef labels may say grass-fed but you really have to research to get the real story — much of the cattle marketed today as grass-fed spend their time in feed lots being fed large amounts of hay, rice bran, almond hulls, even chicken feces and other assorted feeds that the USDA allows to be called grass. That doesnt cut it for us.
The rest of our ingredients — macadamia nuts, raw almonds, apple-juiced sweetened cranberries and dried mango — are also 100% organic. People are always surprised that beef jerky and mango go together, but once they try it, they start asking us if we could sell just the mango. Maybe one day.
Why are your products gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free?
About six years ago, I learned about the Paleo diet from the owner of Urban Crossfit, the Seattle Crossfit gym I attend. The idea of eating foods that our bodies evolved to eat made so much sense to me, and Ive never been healthier or felt or performed better. The gluten free/paleo has dramatically decreased the inflammation and irritable effects I unknowingly was experiencing from my old diet. But finding real, healthy food that you can eat when youre running around, travelling or just too busy to cook is a huge challenge. So I started making Primal Pacs to fill that need.
Can you tell us the story of a customer happy with your food?
Honestly, its hard to pick just one story because we get so much incredible feedback. We hear from elite athletes who use Primal Pacs to fuel or recover from tough workouts, from firefighters and rescue workers to rely on Primal Pacs for real food options when they are working 24 hour shifts and saving lives, from people just starting to change their diets who are thankful to have a snack option and from busy travellers who thank us for saving them from the horrors of airplane food. But really, the stories that mean the most to us probably come from regular people who are able to feed themselves and their families with nutritious, real food when life gets too hectic. It feels good knowing that you make a difference in everyday lives.
Why is the work you do important to you?
There are so many reasons why Im so passionate about this product. Like I said, knowing that I can help so many people get access to real food no matter their situation feels pretty good. And running a business that supports family ranches who treat their animals humanely and are good to the environment really inspires me. I could talk about the importance of sustainable agriculture for hours — youd probably need a Primal Pac just to get through my diatribe. Combining those two passions makes me a pretty lucky guy.
Primal Pacs is doing a giveaway for 3 lucky winners. Each winner will win a small pack, a large pack, and a jerky-only pack, plus a t-shirt or tank top (winner’s choice).
Simply leave a comment here about why this food intrigues you.
Even if you don’t win, Primal Pacs is running a 10% off deal for the next 7 days for readers of Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. When you check out, use the code “GlutenFree.”