Photo of Indulge Right products contributed.
Written by Ben Hensley
For many lovers of sweets, the idea of sacrificing flavor for health is appealing right up until it’s actually attempted. Sugar has always been the staple ingredient for the sweet tooth, whether it’s in cookies, caramel or chocolate. Varouj Kachichian of Fresno aims to change the narrative.
Founded on the ideology of food as “medicine,” Indulge Right offers gluten free, sugar free, soy free alternatives, high in fiber, to promote a healthy lifestyle while still being able to enjoy the indulgence of sweets.
Born in the Middle East, Kachichian attended culinary school in Italy before moving to the United States and operating several businesses in the Bay Area. He moved to Fresno in 2002, and began catering as a personal chef in 2004 through his business Kasabella Catering.
That was before he discovered he had a gluten sensitivity.
“My cholesterol was so high that at one point the doctor couldn’t measure it. I had a bunch of issues like joint pain and inflammation coming from a really bad pool of genes,” Kachichian said, adding that alzheimers and other neurological issues ran in the family.
After going gluten free, his pain disappeared, and after reintroducing gluten, the negative effects, including the effect of “brain fog” had returned.
“I didn’t know what it felt like or what it was,” he said, explaining that when he cleansed himself of gluten, the problem went away.
“That led me to creating my current business,” Kachichian said. “I think everybody agrees on the fact that sugar is the leading cause of obesity,” he added, noting that in just five weeks, he was able to drop 25 pounds, simply by changing his diet.
Since then, Kachichian has created a line of fiber-based, inulin-based, alternative sweeteners, ranging from dairy-based caramel and chocolate sauces, to non-dairy alternatives of vanilla bean caramel sauces and even a chai spice sauce.
Inulin is a starchy substance found in a variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs, and promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria that aids in digestion.
“Part of the uniqueness of the products is that we don’t use any flavoring, so the chai spices are coming from the spices that we grind in-house right before we use it,” he said. “You’re getting all the fresh spices in there.”
Indulge Right also offers recipe-specific flours for cakes, pies and biscuits, and whole grain flour, as well as all-purpose flours for baking.
Kachichian offers caramel candies when the company sells their products at farmers markets, and hopes soon, the company will offer candy bars and bites.
In addition to their regular products, Indulge Right will soon release a more budget-friendly line of products.
“We are about to introduce our white label; because our products are really premium, we’re trying to also cater to those who are more budget sensitive,” he said, adding that many recipes call for far fewer ingredients when his sauces are used.
“Ultimately, it’s plant-based sugar alternatives that are mostly non-digestible carbohydrates,” Kachichian said. “Ultimately, it’s just like eating multi-fiber – which inulin is a fiber – without giving you the side effects or aftertaste.”
The inulin-based product uses no thickeners, additives or preservatives, cutting down on the various negative effects that can be found in many alternatives.
The company also hopes to begin wholesale shipping soon, targeting both the Los Angeles and Bay Area markets.
“It’s actually supporting the human body from the inside out while supporting your habits,” he said. “Because at the end of the day, most people are not willing to give up their habits.”
Kachichian, having a sweet tooth himself, hopes his company will help drive fellow indulgers toward the goal to end the obesity problem.