Get to Know Dr. Onyx Adegbola of Casa de Santé
Dr. Onyx Adegbola, the founder of Casa de Santé is a physician, former pharmaceutical executive – and mother of triplets. (As a mother of twins, I bow down to her on this point alone!) She has witnessed the effectiveness of the low FODMAP diet within her very own family and founded and now runs the online resource, Casa de Santé.
She produces and offers FODMAP Friendly Certified low FODMAP products, other products suitable for the low FODMAP diet as well as e-books, meal plans, articles and more. Onyx has also developed a Casa de Santé smartphone app, which contains meals plans, shopping lists, recipes, videos and ways to track your bowel movements, digestive symptoms, mood and more.
We love doing interviews with movers and shakers within the low FODMAP world and Onyx was an early adopter and pioneer. Here we took the time to chat with this very busy entrepreneur.
Dédé Wilson: Onyx, let’s start at the beginning. Tell us about why you pursued jobs within the medical industry and also a medical education?
I’ve always been interested in health & helping people so becoming a doctor & then working in the pharmaceutical industry to get lifesaving drugs approved was a natural fit.
How did you first hear of the low FODMAP diet?
I was looking for help for a sibling with digestive issues. This was a new issue within my family. My sibling is a physician as well, and the main issue was bloating after meals, initially treated with charcoal tablets, but this resolved on a modified low FODMAP diet.
If you are willing to share, please tell us about utilizing the low FODMAP diet within your family. And tell us how the idea for Casa de Santé come about?
The low FODMAP diet was very effective for relief from gut symptoms, but finding products in stores that were low FODMAP was very challenging. A lot of time (spent) reading labels and frustration. That was the genesis of starting Casa de Santé.
The low FODMAP diet gives relief to 75% of people with IBS, but it can be difficult to find low FODMAP products without onion and garlic, for example, in the supermarket. There was really a big need for products that made the low FODMAP diet easier to follow.
While making the leap to a food business was quite a transition and a steep learning curve, I’ve worked in various executive business related roles in the pharmaceutical industry for many years so I was not completely new to business per se.
I also approached Casa de Sante from a food is medicine perspective so we try to develop a holistic connection to our customers and give them advice & tips for managing IBS. Click To Tweet
We work with dietitians to make a number of free resources available including our apps, ebooks, etc that help people manage their gut issues.
For us, it is not just a transactional relationship of selling products but it is all wrapped up in how can we help you with your gut issues so you feel better. 10-5% of people is the US have IBS. So that’s a lot of people with a disease that has a tremendous impact on their daily life. Gut health is more than probiotics, kombucha & bone broth. It’s making sure you can actually eat without feeling uncomfortable afterwards. And we are on a mission to make it possible for people with digestive sensitivities to lead normal, healthy lives every day.
How do you decide which low FODMAP products to create?
We pick products based on customer need. Our customers reach out to us directly and make suggestions, sometimes down to very specific single ingredient requests. If there is enough interest and we can make the product, we will.
Tell us how you decided to have your products FODMAP Friendly certified?
We felt that that would give us credibility, give our customers peace of mind & make it easy to find our products in store.
I am sure you hear from your customers. Are there any particular things that you hear again and again? Either sticking points for folks on the diet, or products or services that they are looking for or most thankful to have?
A lot of our customers are thankful that we are providing low FODMAP Certified food options so they are able to eat with confidence. Customers are often happy they have options to liven up boring and bland meals. All of our products have been very well received.
Who is your typical consumer for Casa de Santé?
Our typical customer is someone on the low FODMAP diet or who has gut issues or a family member with gut issues, who is looking for delicious, clean-label, gut-friendly foods.
As a doctor, you have a certain perspective on this diet, its use and possible future applications. Where do you think we are going with the low FODMAP diet? Do you think it will become better known, more widely used and/or also that new uses will be discovered?
I think the low FODMAP diet will become better known over time. I see awareness rising within the medical community. However there is a perception that it is a difficult diet to follow, and as more low FODMAP options come on the market, it will be easier to be compliant.
What is most gratifying for you as a low FODMAP entrepreneur?
Getting calls and emails from customers saying what a difference we have made in their lives is pretty gratifying and keeps me going.
Can you tell us anything about new products or services that might be coming soon from Casa de Santé?
Our customers have made it clear to us that they want us in brick & mortar stores so that’s where we will be putting a lot of our focus in the short term.
Onyx, thank you so much for your time and we look forward to seeing your products in stores far and wide.
To see some of Casa de Santé’s products in action, check out our recipes, such as Low FODMAP Thai Curry Tofu & Green Beans. More recipes to come!