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Is there such a thing as healthy pasta?


skinnypastaGluten may be a dirty word in Los Angeles these days, but this Canadian company wants to get Angelenos hooked on pasta again. Better-for-you pasta, of course.

Gabriella’s Kitchen Skinnypasta just debuted its high-protein, low-carb spaghetti and linguini in the LA area—with a food truck that’s giving out free samples of the products around the city, and distribution through Pink Dot.

And while its name suggests a focus on weight loss, the company is making a big push to show athletes, fitness pros, and yogis as its main consumers. “It wouldn’t be enough for me if I was skinny but not healthy, or skinny but not strong,” says Skinnypasta founder Margot Micallef, a bikini competitor and race enthusiast who uses the “S” word purposefully.

Carbs from Calgary

Micallef created Skinnypasta with her sister Gabriella, who was diagnosed with cancer. Both had begrudgingly given up pasta in the name of good health. “There was nothing out there, so we had to create it,” Micallef says.

Though Gabriella later died from her disease, she lived five years longer than expected and her story now serves as her sister’s inspiration. “[Gabriella] broke all the rules, and that’s what we’re trying to do: break all the rules,” Micallef says. “I want everyone to feel good and love life and eat well with the people they love.” Skinnypasta is now sold in stores across Canada and the push into LA is its first US presence.

skinnypasta

Food facts

Skinnypasta has lots of different pasta products—from fresh noodles to prepared pasta meals—but it’s launching its Skinnypasta High Protein line in LA first.

The line is like upgraded whole wheat noodles, made with wheat but also peas, egg whites, and soy protein isolate. A serving contains just 10g of carbs compared to regular whole wheat pasta’s 40–50g, and at 13g, about double the protein. Micallef emphasizes the clean quality of the ingredients, too, like the absence of additives or preservatives, although soy protein isolate is one ingredient that gives many nutritionists pause. “The soy protein we use is non-GMO like all of our ingredients, and is a high quality source of digestible protein isolate,” Micallef says.

Surprisingly, it really does taste and hold sauce like real carbtastic pasta, which Micallef credits her Italian mother for, saying no product goes to market until it’s “mama approved.” (No closing your eyes and dreaming of the real deal while chewing on gummy black bean noodles necessary.)

Where to twirl your fork

To get the word out, Skinnypasta has dispatched a neon green food truck to sit outside of grocery stores, gyms, college campuses, and corporate headquarters. Rather than selling products, the truck is distributing chef-prepared samples for free, and giving out cards with Skinnypasta’s supply information so those who fall for it can nudge their local grocery managers to order it. (Grassroots grocery store targeting!)

The pastas are also available on their website and through Pink Dot starting in June, and Micallef says they’re targeting more stores like Whole Foods and Gelson’s, “where people shop when they’re hoping to get better nutrition.” —Kara Griffin

For more information, visit www.gkskinnypasta.com or follow their food truck at @skinnypasta

(Photos: Skinnypasta)