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University of Puget Sound, Business Leadership Program Mentor Introduces Heart Healthy Cookie
By Trail Staff on 04 Dec 2003

Many University of Puget Sound students have noticed a new cookie choice available in the Student Union Building, Papa Giki cookies. These new cookies offer students the choice of a healthy dessert, and their success has made UPS the largest seller nationwide of Papa Giki cookies.

Papa Giki cookies, named after owner Jim Sola's grandchildren's pronunciation of "Grandfather I want a cookie," actually began with the help of UPS students.

Sola is a mentor in the Business Leadership Program, recently earning himself the title Mentor of the Year Students in the Business Leadership Program, acting as his advisees, have helped him along since the start-up of his corporation last spring.

Students have done tasks such as researching how to form a limited liability corporation, devising how to trademark Papa Giki and formulating ways to market the actual cookie. Students were even there to help make the first commercial batch at BunsMaster Bakery last spring. Since then, the cookie has become available at companies and stores such as Weyerhaeuser, Capitol One, the Wilshire Grand Hotel in Los Angeles and The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, among others.

Despite the assistance from students, the idea of the "healthy hearty cookie" was Sola's alone and inspired by the loss of his father at a very young age.

"The idea of the cookie began for a few reasons. My father's early death at age 39 from heart disease and my brother's quadruple bypass at age 45 made me realize I didn't want to end up in that position," Sola said.

He wanted to have healthy eating habits and prevent heart disease in not only himself, but others as well. However, it was not until his retirement from Weyerhaeuser and the birth of his twin grandchildren that he developed the actual cookie. Sola wanted his grandchildren to be able to enjoy cookies and not have to consume the trans-fatty acids found in other cookies. So he made the Papa Giki Heart Healthy Whole Grain Cookie.

The cookie's signature claim is that there are no unhealthy saturated fats, no trans-fat, no partially hydrogenated fat, no cholesterol, less sugar and no refined flours.

"The saturated fats in the cookie come from the coconut which is actually a medium chain saturated fat, which cannot be stored in the body as fat, but is immediately used in the body as energy," Sola said. "There is also saturated fat in the chocolate, but it is stearic acid, a natural fatty acid which does not increase cholesterol." The cookies also use ground flaxseed containing Omega 3 fats, which The American Heart Association labels as fat supporting heart health.

In spite of all these healthy ingredients, a most important factor to students is the great taste. Sophomore cross-country runner Chelsea Bell is a big fan of the cookies. "I'm a healthy eater but I often feel like it's hard to find healthy food that tastes good. These cookies are an exception. They taste great," said Bell.

Director of Dining and Conference Services Bruce Bechtle noted that there are negatives, as well as positives, to the cookie. "This cookie has some health benefits, which is always good, but as with all things it comes down to choice. If you are watching calorie intake and want this cookie as a dessert it may not be the choice for you," he said. "If you want the heart healthy benefit of Omegas then maybe it is a good choice for you."

For this reason Sola currently has plans to debut a new sugar-free, low calorie, health hearty cookie in December. Sophomore Kali Seisler plans on leaving heart-healthy Papa Giki cookies out for Santa Claus.


The News Tribune - Tacoma, WA Cookie rookie finally creates healthy treat that tastes good
DAN VOELPEL; The News Tribune; Jan 30 2004

At 40, Jim Sola did two things you generally don't associate with a man that age. He suffered a heart attack, and he started baking cookies. That was 1983.

Today, Sola's still around to talk about how both adventures led to his latest venture into the health food business with "Papa Giki", which Sola describes as "the decadent heart-healthy cookie". Sounds like an oxymoron. But it's not. The soft, heavy oat fiber cookies seem too sweet to be healthy.

Even the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has put Papa Giki on the menu for the 3,000 employees at its Seattle headquarters."As a health care institution, we're interested in people's well-being," said Jan Oliver, the center's food service manager. "We always want to offer healthy alternatives. " That was one of the impetuses for using this cookie. It will satisfy the chocolate craving. It's got a bit of a decadent flavor. It's not totally guilt-free, but it's a good start."

Sola's heart attack got him started searching for ways to live longer by eating better. "My father died of a heart attack at 39. So it was really a genetic thing," said Sola, a Dash Point resident. "I started to do research to see what I could do to survive this thing."

He tried baking muffins and cookies with only healthy ingredients. "They were so bad my daughter would throw them against the wall, and the dog wouldn't even eat them," he said. "But I got better at it over the years."

Then in the summer of 2002, the retired Weyerhaeuser Co. finance manager went on a boat trip to Canada with his twin brother. Carl, who had quadruple heart bypass surgery at age 45, works as food services director for the ritzy Wilshire Grand Hotel in Los Angeles.

"I made cookies for him every day on the trip, and he knows food. He went crazy over the cookies," Sola said. "He wanted to take the recipe back to his hotel, and I said, 'Over my dead body!'"

Instead, Jim Sola found a willing partner in Stephen Wurster, owner of BunsMaster Bakery in Lakewood. "What caught my attention to it is the fact that it is a healthy cookie," said Wurster, who hadn't sold such a product in 22 years in the baking business. "I mean, it sounds crazy. But once he started doing his selling pitch on me, and then being involved in it, I could see it's a great idea."

Wurster ships in Sola's trademark mix from an Oregon mill, then adds the ingredients to produce the chocolate chip, coconut, almond and raisin Papa Giki. Then out the door they go for sale through the food service outlets at the University of Puget Sound Student Union Building, Weyerhaeuser and Capitol One in Federal Way, Fort Lewis espresso stands and the Brown's Point General Store among other locations. They sell about 1,000 of the thick, 3-inch cookies a week at UPS and 1,200 to the cancer research center.

"If you eat this cookie, you'll consider it a meal," Sola said. "It's a breakfast alternative. That's what most people use it for." The health secret, he said, lies in the flax seed, which gets touted in some studies as having a positive effect against chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

You soon might find Papa Giki for sale in more stores, individually wrapped with its own new label.

How did Sola come up with the name Papa Giki? He didn't. That came awhile back from one of his twin grandchildren, now 3 1/2. Shelby, who spoke well, could say, "Grandpa, I want a cookie." For Sebastian, the same sentiment came out "Papa, keekee."


PRESS RELEASE May 19, 2004

Health Mania Natural Foods Company announces Internet Sales of their Decadent Whole Grain Cookies at www.papagiki.com. Now available with free shipping.

Tacoma WA (PRWEB) May 19, 2004 -- Health Mania Natural Foods Company, dba Papa Giki™, announces their Decadent Whole Grain Cookies are now available online at www.papagiki.com Customers enjoy free UPS ground shipping during the introductory period and a discounted price for gift packaging in a beautiful wicker basket.

Papa Giki™ Heart Healthy Flaxseed and Whole Grain Cookie Mix is also available for purchase.

Papa Giki™ created their high fiber whole grain cookie with improved health in mind. Each 2.8 oz. cookie contains 6 grams of fiber from Flaxseed, Oats, Wheat, Rice, and legumes.

Papa Giki™ Decadent Whole Grain Cookies are baked by independent companies from California to Washington. Well known customers include the Wilshire Grand Hotel, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Puget Sound, Weyerhaeuser, Capitol One and many hospitals in the Puget Sound area.

Papa Giki™ Decadent Whole Grain Cookies are a FRESH BAKED, healthy grab-and-go meal. The cookies contain no trans fat and no unbleached wheat flour (a refined flour) that many people mistake for a whole grain product. It is the only cookie available that is truly an alternative for a nutritious breakfast.

Other values include:

  • No cholesterol
  • No partially hydrogenated Fat
  • No refined white flour or unbleached wheat flour
  • High Protein
  • 100% Whole Grain Mix
  • Contains Omega 3 and lignans from flaxseed
  • Low glycemic response

Papa Giki™ started business in 2003 after pressure from friends and family to share his prized recipe. Many companies have tried to introduce a healthy cookie but none had the taste and texture of a Papa Giki™. Customer reaction is a consistent "I can't believe it tastes this good!" Soon more flavors will be added and also a lo-carb alternative. Company founder, Jim Sola, suggests you visit his web site www.papagiki.com for information about natural foods that reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Health Mania Natural Foods Company is located in Tacoma, WA. You can contact founder Jim Sola by sending an email to jim@papagiki.com.

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