Local bakery PHÖD makes its mark in Tucson's vegan food scene

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Selena Quintanilla | The Daily Wildcat

PHÖD Bakery energy bars for sale at Scented Leaf on Sunday, Sept.18. PHÖD Bakery is run out of the owner's home kitchen, but its products are available on its website and on campus at The Scented Leaf. 

The future of protein bars—here in Tucson, at least—has evolved to consist of primarily wholesome and organic superfoods, thanks to PHÖD.

Christa Parsons launched the homemade health food bakery with her husband Jon back in 2013. PHÖD specializes in vegan food, protein-packed snacks, energy bars and "pro-nuts" (healthy baked doughnuts).

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Christa originally experimented with baking at an early age with box mix cakes.

"It was fun to make [treats] for my family, especially when they raved about how good they were," Parsons said.

It was Jon, though, who introduced her to new, healthier ways of baking.

"[Jon] helped me transform my lifestyle, and six years later, we're still going strong,” Christa, who bakes every PHÖD product, said.

In addition to operating PHÖD, the Parsons own a personal training center.

"Our clients would bring in the typical protein bar loaded with a paragraph of unpronounceable ingredients," Parsons said. "I thought I could make something that would be tasty, but would have minimal ingredients.”

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The products, baked in the Parsons’ home kitchen, have less than 10 ingredients, all of which are organic, pronounceable and identifiable. Christa uses beans, specifically, to build the PHÖD bar's base. Using beans as a primary ingredient allows the bars to be a natural, plant-based source of protein perfect for an after-workout snack.

"Beans are a superfood — full of protein, fiber and other micronutrients," Christa said. "I learned how to take beans from traditionally being savory to sweet and delightful."

Between baking and personal training, Christa and Jon both deliver their products to the Tucson area and now ship them to customers all around the country.

Surrounded by college students, the Parsons make it easy to order their products online or via text. PHÖD aims to work with student’s schedules and delivers fresh-baked protein snacks to the doorstep of multiple apartment complexes every week.

PHÖD also takes part in the weekly UA farmers market located on the Mall. The bakery sells its products, spreads the word about healthy living and shares tips about going vegan.

For the past three years, University Boulevard's The Scented Leaf teahouse has sold an assortment of PHÖD products. Christa said The Scented Leaf has gone through all the label changes and recipe improvements PHÖD has made. The tea shop originally started with a weekly order of one dozen energy bars, but now it's up to 34-45 dozens of bars per week.

The Parsons plan to expand the bakery's operations outside of their kitchen in the future.

“I see us in a quaint spot and storefront near the UA,” Christa said. "Starting small, but offering more options and flavors to our current products, like the pro-nuts — endless flavor combos.”

PHÖD products can be purchased on the bakery's website, at the Scented Leaf or at the Parsons' personal training center.


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