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Shaina Sidoti, 26, has carved out a place for herself in Rochester’s food industry by promoting a caveman’s diet.
The Penfield native owns Effortlessly Healthy LLC, the first paleo meal delivery service and food truck in Rochester.
“It’s really good for people on the go; you don’t have to just follow the paleo diet,” she said. “A lot of the people are customers with us because they appreciate the convenience more than the paleo.”
The paleo diet reflects the eating patterns of early humans: Fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood and nuts are favored over processed foods, including grains and dairy products.
The company prepares about 900 paleo meals a week for its delivery service and, depending on its events schedule, anywhere from 40 to 4,000 meals from the food truck alone. It officially launched last August and has two full-time employees and seven volunteers.
The path to owning a food truck was unpredictable, but Sidoti always felt a sense of purpose.
Sick of high school, she graduated in 2004 at age 16 and took classes at Monroe Community College. Two weeks before she was to receive her associate degree, she dropped out and took a job at Frontier Communications Corp. as a customer service and sales representative.
After a year and half, Sidoti took a job as a personal assistant for the owners of World Martial Arts Inc. in Victor. There she learned aspects of running a business, including bookkeeping. After a year she joined Black & Blue Steak & Crab as a bartender, and she finished her associate degree from MCC in 2010.
Sidoti went on to complete a bachelor’s degree in health care administration at SUNY College at Brockport in 2012. At the same time she interned in the quality assurance department at Strong Memorial Hospital.
Finding few opportunities in her field after college, she waited on tables until she got a break in an unexpected place. The chief financial officer of Strong Memorial sat at one of her tables one day, and he told her he would put her resume into the right hands.
“I was waitressing, and I said I’m just going to be positive, be happy and take every opportunity as an experience to hopefully meet somebody that can help (me),” she says.
With her foot in the door, Sidoti became the administrator of human resources and space planning in the department of surgery at Strong last April.
Diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, Sidoti joined a friend at a CrossFit gym, where she first learned about the paleo diet. It has acquired a following in the roughly 10,000 CrossFit gyms around the world. Sidoti followed a purely paleo diet for six months, and her arthritis was nearly alleviated.
“I preach paleo at this point,” she says. “When a way of eating literally changes your life—from taking these medications that make you feel like death to putting your disease in remission and not requiring medication—you start to tell the world.”
The change in her health helped her focus on her career. Sidoti bought a 1978 recreational vehicle to start the paleo food truck last summer, later taking out a loan and upgrading to a more efficient custom-made food truck.
“You can either go two ways: You can give up, or you can keep going,” she says.
Sidoti’s focus is to promote healthy eating through her meal delivery service. She started operating Effortlessly Healthy full-time in September and quit her post at Strong in October. Scott Baker, a long-time friend and cook, has helped her from the beginning. In December, as business expanded, the firm started selling its meals at a grab-and-go window at Boulder Coffee in the Rochester Public Market.
“I essentially have three different companies: I have my catering, my food truck and my meal service,” she says.
It’s been six months, and Sidoti is excited about the future.
“You can have anything you want in life, as long as you believe in yourself and never give up,” she says. “I think to be a successful person you should have other people in mind. I truly want to help people live happy and healthy lives.”
4/11/14 (c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email email@example.com.