When you can’t find what you need, you make it yourself. At least, that’s the philosophy founder Sarah Gordon used to launch Square Organics, a line of portable, protein-filled bars that fill you up with simple ingredients that won’t weigh you down.
“I’m one of five kids and was involved in sports growing up, so protein bars were a go-to for our family,” Sarah said. But when it came to her favorite snack, Sarah’s body had other plans. “As I got older, my asthma breathing issues got worse; by my early twenties I was on five harsh medications and in and out of the emergency room.”
When a nurse recommended Dr. Mark Hyman’s book, Ultraprevention, Sarah experimented with an elimination diet. “I made a complete lifestyle overhaul,” Sarah said. “After six months of removing inflammatory foods, I was able to get off all of my medications. To this day, I don’t even have a single inhaler in the house.”
Nixing gluten, dairy, soy, and processed sugar meant there weren’t a lot of ready-to-eat snacks on the shelf so Sarah set out to develop a bar of her own. It took 18 months of trial-and-error in her apartment kitchen before the first flavor—Chocolate Coated Coconut—was perfected and ready to launch. This flavor uses organic coconut nectar to sweeten every bite, and has officially reached fan favorite status.
Although the business is thriving today, Sarah still navigates the feelings of overwhelm just like any working mom. “My constant challenge is balancing motherhood and the responsibilities of running a fast-growing business,” she said. “I think most women feel the need to do everything, and I’m no exception. I feel guilt when I’m at the office late at night, which is then mirrored by the guilt I feel when home with our daughter and there's a never-ending list of things to do at Square. I try to remind myself if this were easy, everyone would be doing it.”
If protein is the cornerstone of a balanced meal, why should a balanced snack be any different? Square uses sprouted brown rice protein across all products because it’s easier to digest, minimally processed without heat or chemicals, and has an amino acid profile that rivals animal protein sources. “In other words,” Sarah says, “you eat a bar and it holds you over for hours!”
Clean up your act
From the beginning, Square has prioritized quality ingredients like organic coconut nectar, coconut oil, and gluten-free oats. “We wanted to ensure we had the right balance of nutrients, particularly for satiation, but also gave greater attention to the sourcing and processing of those ingredients,” she said.
“We wanted to ensure we had the right balance of nutrients, particularly for satiation, but also gave greater attention to the sourcing and processing of those ingredients.”
Sarah and her husband, Andrew, still formulate every new flavor and use ingredients that can be found at natural markets, like cashew butter, amaranth, and sprouted brown rice. “It’s the reason our bars have that homemade, real food taste, and why you won’t find mystery ingredients like natural flavors or sugar alcohols that originate in a lab.”
Freedom for all
Square bakes a social mission into each bar by supporting Not for Sale (NFS), an anti-human trafficking nonprofit that believes every person deserves to be free. “Our relationship with NFS started about six months after our launch via a simple tweet. We learned there are more slaves in the world today than at any point in history—human-trafficking is the second fastest-growing black market industry,” Sarah shared. Today, Square Organics contributes 1% of its net sales to NFS.