The Bryants began their new business, Bryant Foods, LLC, in spring 2017 with the goal of introducing people to healthier food choices.
Alyssa, 27, is a self-taught, certified health coach and the principal cook for Bryant Foods. She says that she became interested in healthy eating after she was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, which causes inflammation in the digestive tract, at the age of 14 and was then hospitalized when she was 19 years old.
"It was only by healthy food choices that I was able to regain my health," she says, "and I want to bring that to others because it's hard to find and it increases the quality of life."
As a way to combat the illness, Alyssa says she chose the specific carbohydrate diet, which limits most carbs, because she says it worked best of all the other diets she tried in managing her symptoms.
She taught herself how to make gluten-free foods with no refined sugar, white flour, wheat, barley, rye, grains, oats, corn, and no processed or refined foods.
She cooks with chicken, eggs, non-processed plant-based foods, and nuts such as almonds and cashews, and honey and fruit as a sweetener.
"We (also) got the idea to create the business because of high food costs associated with my dietary constraints precipitated by Crohn's disease," she says.
Jon is a Madison native with a bachelor's degree in culinary arts, which he received in 2013 from the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus.
"I wanted to support my wife, and being a trained chef, I knew I could help her navigate the food maze with respect to reading and understanding food labels and ingredients," he says.
"I also knew it would be cost-effective if I started eating healthy foods, which would cut down on our overall food bills."
Jon handles the business side of Bryant Foods while integrating technology systems that increase efficiency and speed of baking time. He also utilizes his culinary skills in the test kitchen to create and experiment with new products.
Currently, Bryant Foods is a cottage-food business, which means the couple can prepare baked goods such as their raisin cookies, chocolate-chip cookies, cinnamon raisin almond bread and waffles in a home kitchen. They are looking to expand into other product offerings when they get a commercial kitchen.
A cottage-food business isn't without challenges, Jon says. The couple is only able to sell directly to consumers, and they aren't allowed to sell their food outside of Mississippi or even advertise their products in the traditional ways. Despite the challenges, though, he says a lot of people love what Bryant Foods is making.
"We've had a lot of repeat customers come back," Jon says.
"They've really enjoyed the cookies, especially. We've had people buy three or four boxes of the waffles, too. It's been fantastic."
"It's these recipes—they don't even taste like they're good for you," he says with a laugh.
For more information, find Bryant Foods on Facebook and Instagram, and visit bryantfoods.com.