Five Minutes With: North Texas Father and Son on Bringing the Family Together with Tasty, Healthy Treats

by Jordan Maddox on August 13, 2021 in Food+Drink, Living Texas,

Delicious home-baking that is actually healthy? Surely, that’s a fantasy we’d all like to be true. Well, thanks to a father and son duo out of Flower Mound, Texas, it is now reality.

The miracle workers are Dr. Surinder Kumar and his son Daven Kumar, who have teamed up to create TruEats, a line of health-conscious baking mixes that fit many restrictive diets. 

TruEats’ waffle and pancake mix is suitable for restrictive diets. This is a breakfast treat for anyone, regardless of dietary needs. Courtesy photo

Growing up in India, Dr. Kumar developed a severe digestive issue that every Western medicine-practicing doctor he visited saw as a death note. So, he turned to the Eastern medicine of Ayurveda — an ancient and natural system. It gave him his life back.

Enlisting the help of his son, Dr. Kumar went on to create low-sugar, make-at-home baking mixes and a zero calorie sweetener. Their products are a wonderful example of East meeting West as the products are inspired by both Ayurveda and Western nutrition sciences. The mixes are naturally vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free, GMO free, dairy free and soy free with high protein and fiber. The one thing they’re not free of is taste!

Dr. Surinder Kumar, a nutrition scientist and Indian American, founded TruEats and used his knowledge of ancient Indian medicine alongside his formal education in Western nutrition to develop a line of tasty, healthy mixes. Courtesy photo

With tasty and beneficial ingredients, TruEats is designed to make living with dietary restrictions easier to accommodate. As someone with a digestive ailment that requires dietary alternatives, take it from me – the TruEats products I have tried do not upset my stomach, which is a rarity, and they satisfy my sweet tooth.

What inspired you to create TruEats?

Dr. Surinder: The passion for creating great-tasting, nutritious products was ignited long ago. My father was diagnosed with diabetes when he was young in India. At the time, people knew very little about diabetes in India. My father set out to teach himself through Ayurveda. He was told he wouldn’t live to 30 but he lived well into his 70s.

When I came to the US, I learned about the modern science of nutrition by completing my PhD. When I retired, I used the Ayurveda I learned from my father along with the modern Western science of nutrition to create healthy products. I designed the products to be not only diabetic-friendly but also suitable for those with celiac disease, gluten intolerance and other dietary and lifestyle choices.

One of the highly-anticipated releases by TruEats was their brownie mix. The cakey center satisfies those too-often brownie cravings, while providing nutritional value. Courtesy photo

What are Ayurvedic traditions and how do you use them in your products?

Surinder: ​​I grew up in India at a time when there were very few doctors trained in Western medicine. Most relied on Ayurveda, meaning “science of life,” which focuses on nutrition, exercise and spirituality. Everything you put into your body has a direct effect on your health and well-being, both physically and mentally. 

My first experience with Ayurveda was when I was five years old. I had a severe digestive ailment. My mother took me to several doctors of Western medicine who told her, “Take your son home and let him die in peace.” Eventually, my parents found an Ayurvedic medicine man who prescribed a diet of lentils, rice, yogurt, and a paste of natural herbs. By following this diet, I survived my illness. 

Ayurvedic belief is “when the diet is wrong, medicine is of no use.” When developing our product line, we carefully select ingredients that are known in Ayurveda to promote good health.

Dr. Surinder and Daven Kumar, father and son, created TruEats together. With their collective marketing and nutritional education, they launched an innovative line of healthy cake and bake mixes for consumers to enjoy. Courtesy photo

What is your experience mixing business with family?

Daven: Our relationship is pretty unique. We don’t have to spend a lot of time discussing what the other one is thinking, or how they plan to fulfill their respective responsibilities. We both trust the other to get the job done. The one negative is finding that separation of personal and professional time. It’s hard to be at a family gathering or coming over with my kids and not get sidetracked with business talk.

There is a stigma around “healthy” dessert options because they often don’t taste good. Does your product break this mold?

Surinder: Better-for-you treats often come free of something. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they come with a positive health benefit. 

We purposefully selected ingredients that provide positive health benefits rooted in Ayurveda and proven through modern nutrition science. We made sure to develop each product in collaboration with experts in culinary to ensure that TruEats is great-tasting.

TruEats takes an Eastern medicinal approach to creating delicious mixes for Western nutrition as a way to promote beneficial ingredients rather than nutritionally neutral alternatives. Courtesy photo

How do you think your product will influence the health food market?

Daven: At the end of the day, we want consumers with dietary restrictions to feel included again. We all have at least one family member that has their own foods that only they eat because they have to eat nutritionally, and the taste-penalty is so significant that no one else wants to eat it. That is our aspirational vision – bringing the family back together again through food.

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Cover photo courtesy TruEats

Jordan Maddox is an Editorial Intern at Texas Lifestyle Magazine and a senior at the University of North Texas in Denton, studying Journalism. She spends most of her time writing, but she fills her free time either out in nature or exploring North Texas for unique restaurants, coffee shops, museums and activities