3.4.2022

The FOND Founder Story

By Alysa Seeland

The cliff-notes:

As a young mom, I found myself in need of emergency surgery and in fear for my life - all due to digestive issues! When I woke up, I made the decision to invest in my wellness from the inside out starting with bone broth. 

Knowing gut health is fundamental to total body wellness, I developed the FOND bone broth flavors from a place of necessity and with a refusal to compromise (no yucky ingredients and DELICIOUS!). 

The full story:

The story, just like FOND itself, begins in Texas. After giving birth to my first baby, I found myself in need of emergency surgery, all due to digestive issues. When I woke up from that procedure, the surgeon told me that we needed to schedule a follow-up procedure for my gallbladder. And I thought to myself - “this cannot be the trajectory of my life.” In my mind, this second procedure was just not going to happen. 

So I started searching for anything that I could find to heal the gut. I discovered Sally Fallon’s books - Nourishing Broth, as well as Nourishing Traditions - and I absolutely wore the pages out cooking all the recipes in them. Anything that could heal my gut, I tried. 

My journey for healing food also led me out of the grocery store and down to the farmer's market.  For me, sourcing has been part of this journey from the beginning. 

 

Along the way, I found bone broth. The more I made it, the more I saw the connection between what we eat and how it’s grown or raised. I sourced everything from the farmer's market, and this meticulous sourcing practice is something we continue with today.

From there, I went on a five-week bone broth diet post-surgery - I knew that I needed the extra nutrition in an easy-to-digest form. But I also knew that if I needed to drink bone broth every day, it had to be delicious, it had to be interesting, and it had to offer me some variety. I started with clear liquid soup, then moved to pureed bone broth soup, then bone broth-based stews.

These requirements led me to come up with what would become FOND’s core five flavors - Youth Tonic, Liquid Light, Mother’s, The Spur, and Spring Clean (formerly Trolley Dodger). 

 

Each one was truly born out of a personal need, based on what I was going through with my health at the time:

  • I wanted some more vitamin D and iron, and I couldn’t eat a lot at the time, so I threw shiitake mushrooms and sage into a bone broth and Youth Tonic was born. 
  • I was also dealing with a lot of inflammation, and I knew that turmeric would help with that, so I added turmeric and cracked black pepper into the broth - formulating what is now Liquid Light. 
  • I was struggling with bacterial overgrowth and candida - my body had been through a lot between the emergency surgery and the associated medications - so I combined lemon, garlic, radish and onion into a broth. Originally called Trolley Dodger, since it was meant to help you avoid that feeling of being hit by a bus, it’s now called Spring Clean. 
  • At times, my digestion couldn’t handle garlic and onion, so I made an infusion of fennel, apple cider vinegar, and bay leaf to add to the broth. This would come to be known as Mother’s, and it’s a very calming, healing option, especially for the first 40 days postpartum. 
  • And finally, I’m kind of a picky eater, but there were certain foods, like beets, that I knew I should incorporate because they are so good for you. So, I threw them into the bone broth, and it was a great way to get the benefits of the beets (like the nitric oxide), without having to prepare them! This combination of beets, serrano, and poblano would become The Spur. 

During this time, I was so tired and needed nutrient-dense food that was easy for my body to digest and for me to prepare. After completing my five-week bone broth diet, I felt better than I had in my entire life, and I just couldn’t believe it. It was my first real experience of my body taking the reins and healing itself, and it was so empowering. It made me wonder whether other people recognized that their body had an innate ability to heal. 

So, I started asking around - “do you know about bone broth?” “Have you tried it?” “Do you make it?” and I heard one of two responses from every single person. The answer was either “Ewwww, no. Why would I ever make that?” or “You know what - I do make it, but it doesn’t even taste good. It takes a long time, and I’m stuck babysitting this pot for 24 hours.”

This was back in 2015, before the modern-day, store-bought bone broth craze really got started, so I just took my flavors down to the farmer’s market. We rented a little commercial kitchen one day a week to make our broth, and then brought it to the market and started giving it out to people. It was incredible to see their faces when they tried the bone broth for the first time. Since then, it’s been a wild ride, but that look and their feedback is still what keeps me going.

 

Part of my “why” was seeing that ‘ah-hah!’ moment when someone would try FOND and realize that something so good for them could also taste really good. And that was truly beautiful. People think that decadence is a slice of chocolate cake - and it can be - but sometimes it’s a strawberry that’s still warm from the sun when you eat it. It’s that closeness to the food that is so meaningful for me.

I love to garden, and I love to be close to the land, and for my food to be as close to the land as it can be. And I know that’s not possible for everyone, so another reason we started FOND was to give that farmer’s market access and quality to everyone. Not everyone has access to a farmer’s market, so our mission has always been to use the freshest ingredients possible in our bone broths. We use the best chicken and beef we can find, then combine it with all fresh, organic herbs, and we make our broth in a beautifully shelf-stable format so that anyone can have access to it for a long time (at least two years unopened!). 

 

As I have worked to build this business, my health has been a journey - I’ve experienced a miscarriage, post-partum depression, Lyme disease, and adrenal faituge, to name a few. But the constant healing elixir, with me through it all, has been bone broth.

In 2015 and today, bone broth is a real need. Even if people don’t know that they need it yet - eventually they discover it. So we continue to innovate, experiment, and release new flavors to meet a whole range of different people where they are now. The entire experience of FOND is designed to be a welcoming, nourishing one. We like to say - ‘no diet needed, all diets welcome.’ Come as you are and we will handle the rest - we’re here to make your life better with each sip. 

Cheers, friends!