Dr. Alison Levitt preferred prescribing food, not pills.
She reminded her patients, “What you put into your body will affect how you feel, your energy level and your sense of well-being.”
One of her favorite ingredients is flaxseed, which she prescribed to patients over the years because she considered it to be a nutritional powerhouse.
To show her patients how good it can be, she began giving away her special, homemade flaxseed crackers. The seeds are first sprouted and then slowly dehydrated, seasoned with herbs and spices. The result was a cracker free of sugar, rice, yeast and gluten.
Before long, she was selling them to friends and neighbors. By 2009, sales were soaring. But what was good for business wasn’t great for the doctor’s practice. Levitt preferred dealing with heartbeats to working on spreadsheets, and began seeking a partner to help the enterprise grow.
Enter Donn Kelly, a food marketing and business consultant who met Levitt one afternoon in a neighborhood dog park. Kelly was intrigued by Levitt’s innovative snacks and recognized their potential. He took the product — Flackers — out of the clinic and into area food co-ops through the company Doctor in the Kitchen. Within the year, Lunds, Kowalski’s and Whole Foods Markets had them on their shelves.
As demand grew, so did the need for more kitchen space. They first worked out of Muddy Waters in Minneapolis before moving in 2012 to a manufacturing facility in Eden Prairie.
“Because this is a sprouted, then dehydrated grain, the production method is simple, but not an industry standard,” Kelly explained. “I had been delivering the crackers to the stores myself, but it was time to find a distributor.” The company is in the process of moving once more to a larger local site.
The timing for this product couldn’t have been better, according to Kelly. “Flackers entered the market just as consumers were looking for delicious, organic, super-healthy snacks that are gluten-free, grain-free and work in paleo diets [that exclude grain and processed foods].” Today, Flackers can be found in more than 2,000 stores nationwide.
Levitt, having moved to Florida, is less involved in the company, but continues to post on her healthy living blog hosted on the Doctor in the Kitchen website. Kelly has taken the reins as CEO, but gives much credit to Clair Mavity, marketing operations manager, who manages the day-to-day operations.
The six different varieties of crackers — rosemary, savory, dill, sea salt (the most popular), cinnamon and currants, tomato and basil — are packaged in 5-ounce bags and retail from $6 to $7. For a complete list of availability, see drinthekitchen.com.