Breast Cancer Awareness Month: A Dallas survivor turns her healthy snack into a business.

Morning After

Elaine Pearlman has always loved snacking on granola. She used to buy granola at Bluebonnet Cafe in lower Greenville (which is now Whole Foods) but started noticing that their granola was making her gain weight.

Elaine enjoys cooking so one day she decided to stop buying granola from the store and just made her own! That way she can be in control of what gets put into the granola that she eats. Elaine became the granola lady!

“I don’t know why! I just like the crunch and the taste of it and I was sort of obsessed with it,” said Elaine.

Life was good until one fateful day three years ago when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. A moment everyone who gets the call remembers vividly. Elaine was in California at a family function when she received the news.

“It’s hard to talk about,” Elaine said, reluctant to talk about her breast cancer journey. It’s still a painful memory for her.

She was shocked, as anyone would who gets the news that they have cancer but Elaine was especially shocked because she lived such a healthy lifestyle. She ate well, exercised frequently, she doesn’t drink much or smoke…so why her?

Elaine found out she’s a carrier for the BRCA2 mutation. She never tested for the gene because there’s no history of breast cancer in her family.

“At that point, it became a more serious diagnosis,” Elaine said, “that’s when we decided to go with a bilateral mastectomy.”

Through her battle with breast cancer, Elaine was now loaded with all these dietary restrictions. She couldn’t have sugar, dairy, soy or gluten…so Elaine and her daughter got to work on a granola recipe that Elaine could eat. It gave her something to do and turns out…the granola tasted amazing!

Elaine shared it with all her friends and was eventually introduced to her future business partner, Tiffany Lustig.

Tiffany came to Elaine with a proposition to turn her granola into a business for academic purposes. Tiffany was in an executive MBA program at SMU and needed to create a business plan for a business that didn’t exist.

Tiffany said, “the professor was very reluctant. Like, granola? How many granolas are out there?”

What cemented the idea to get the business up and running was a blind taste test with all the granolas on the market and Elaine’s homemade granola. Turns out, Elaine’s was the best! And from there…Park Lane Pantry was born.

They started at local farmer’s markets and eventually caught the intrigue of a major Texas supermarket. Now you can find Park Lane Pantry at all Central Market locations!

Tiffany states their granolas are preservative-free, along with being soy, dairy and gluten-free. It’s vegan-friendly and they use monk fruit as a zero calorie sweetener (pretty much a safe snack all-around to have!)

And in the spirit of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Park Lane Pantry has partnered up with Trove Floral to launch a limited-time (online only) pink pack of Elaine’s Granola. A portion of the profits will go to the Dwight Powell Children and Family Support Fund at UT Southwestern’s Simmons Cancer Center.

Elaine’s now cancer-free and wants to give back, “it’s my personal gift to others to have a health, delicious snack.”

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