BY MARY JO SPIEGEL
Vigilant Eats is more than the name of Doug Siegel’s company—it’s his food philosophy. Headquartered in Siegel’s Bloomington home, Vigilant Eats markets Superfood, a vegan-certified, non-GMO (genetically modified) verified, gluten-free, organic oat-based cereal.
“To be in the high end of health, you need to be vigilant for yourself,” Siegel says. “You have to know where your ingredients come from and take responsibility.”
Before moving here in 2008, Siegel, a 40-year-old musician and artist, also studied nutrition in New York. Experimenting with cereal mixtures for his own health, he hit on a blend of oats, goji berries, cinnamon, cacao nibs, and hemp flour with natural sweeteners including yacón root. Friends urged him to make “Doug’s Daily Dose” available commercially, and in October 2011 the cereal, rechristened Superfood, went to market.
“Going from idea to market is a lot of work,” Siegel says. “You have to source ingredients, co-packers, suppliers, design. You have to figure out if it’s feasible. How much is it going to cost?”
So far Vigilant Eats has sold more than 80,000 of the distinctive three-ounce orange cups of Superfood cereal, retailing at about $4 apiece. “There’s nothing else on the market like it. There’s a spoon inside—you just add cold water,” Siegel explains. “I want people to eat better and live better—here’s an easy, convenient solution.”
Kelsey Keag, a fan of the food, maintains a gluten-free diet due to celiac disease—a condition that a recent study funded in part by the National Institutes of Health suggests is widely undiagnosed. “When I found Superfood at Bloomington Bagel, I was so excited I loaded up!” Keag says. “It’s difficult to find convenience foods that are healthy and gluten-free.”
First distributed out of California, Superfood has spread to health food stores and coffeehouses across the nation. Soma Coffeehouse and Juice Bar was an early Bloomington retailer of the cereal. “When we tasted it, we knew customers would love it,” says store manager Jess Goodwin.
Siegel plans to add a bulk Superfood option soon and has recently expanded his Bloomington workforce. “Right now it’s like two full-time jobs,” Siegel says of being Vigilant Eats’ CEO. “One day I will get back to my art and my music.”
Click here to learn more about Vigilant Eats Organic Superfood Oat-Based Cereal, including local retailers.