“The café was actually inside the hotel. There were two guys at the desk, and we went in and ate our food. We kind of just got our bearings. It was our first night in town,” she said while reflecting on her trip. “And then we’re leaving and we have to walk out through the little front office of the hotel again. And these guys were sleeping on their beds, which were just mats on the ground and their office, where they worked, and lived, was also their bedroom. It just reminded me that we really don’t need much to live. We just think we do.”
The uplifting spiritual journey tested the conceptual artist — she attended the University at Buffalo and majored in art history — and yoga devotee — she can strike a mean tree and downward dog pose — through physical and mental challenges. She survived the feat of climbing Triund, a sacred mountain in the city of Dharmsala, and participated in the tradition of Moksha, a mantra for spiritual cleansing in the Ganges River.
The life-changing experience became a now or never opportunity to brand her gluten-free baked goods to the rest of the world, and under a new business name Deenie Bakes.
While living with gluten intolerance — the inability to digest gluten, a protein found in foods like bread, pasta and cookies — most of her life, Goerss-Barton has found great substitutes to work with, such as brown rice flour in place of wheat flour and Tapioca in place of starches.
Gluten-free “Twinkies,” bread, and a play on “Nutter Butter” cookies, which she calls her “Notter Butter” cookies, are specialties courtesy of Deenie Bakes. Currently, her vegan doughnuts, gluten-free Twinkies, and bread are all being sold at the Lexington Co-Op in Buffalo.