Helping others often starts with yourself first. That’s exactly how one man’s passion project blossomed into a successful business model that mobilizes thousands of people across the United States to take control of their wellbeing.

Upon returning home from college, self-taught pastry chef Brandon Thomas discovered that there were no healthy dessert options in his local neighborhood of Memphis. He had recently undergone a huge weight-loss journey, winding down from 300 to a lean 175, and was mentoring middle school students on nutrition and fitness through the Memphis Grizzly Foundation in Soulsville, in addition to many adults in the community.

However, the percussionist-turned-scientist was at a loss of where to find a craving fix that wouldn’t set him, or his clients, backward.

This necessity was the impetus for his creation of Memphis-based Guilt Free Pastries, a healthy dessert spot that offers vegan, gluten-free, and refined ingredient-free goodies that are loaded with key superfoods, rich in Omegas and Fiber.

Brandon began experimenting with different recipes while renting out kitchen space at a local boutique grocer. When shopping for bulk ingredients one day, he was approached by a salesman who offered to buy whatever he was making.

“That conversation changed the whole trajectory of my business plan. We spoke it

into existence in that parking lot, and everything manifested a year later exactly as I had envisioned.”

Brandon takes this same wholesome yet logic-based approach to the consulting side of Guilt Free Pastries, where he works with individuals and food establishments to draft realistic plans, rooted in attainable goals and healthy mindsets.

Brandon compares it to a freeway traffic jam. “If you focus on the stress points, you’ll never get anywhere.”

Although Guilt-Free Pastries services the Memphis area, the majority of bakery sales are generated from many other states, reflecting greater demand for dessert options that can satisfy cravings without the guilt, while supplying substantial nutritional value.

“I see it as I just had a nice salad and now I’m going to have this pastry that’s almost equivalent to the health benefits of other foods.”

The lifestyle guru is a fan of intermittent fasting and gets the majority of his calories from plant-based foods, emphasizing nutrients such as Selenium, vitamin D, and Calcium, to name a few. He keeps his Caribbean-influenced meals simple, sticking to hearty staples like beans and kale.

Our bodies are the most advanced piece[s] of technology on this planet,” Brandon explains, and so we need to sustain them

with care. Enjoying quality food without guilt is a piece of that puzzle.

His exercises are comprised mostly of calisthenics: strength training that relies only on a person’s body weight. This allows the muscles to stretch, and stay agile and flexible for long-term wellness.

Notwithstanding, Brandon’s love of cycling is what truly helped him lose all the weight. He enjoys regularly strolling through downtown, by the U. of M. area, and out around Shelby Farms.

Brandon’s biking adventures don’t stop there. Guilt-Free Pastries holds a weekly bike meet-up every Sunday, from May to July, by their storefront. Their mission: to inspire people to get up and move. To accomplish this, GFP provides free bike rentals and adequate staff to assist those of all levels. Their normal loop is about 5 miles.

While the chef treasures every item on his menu, he admits that the avocado brownies and vegan snickerdoodle cookies take the cake as best sellers.

Connect with Guilt Free Pastries at:

Facebook guilt free pastries
Instagram @guiltfreepastries
Twitter @gfp_eatmorefat
Visit at

By Shlomit Ovadia
Photo by Tindall Stephens