Not Indistinguishable, but BETTER

When people try our samples, the thing I hear most often is, “Wait, that’s gluten free?” I always explain that we pride ourselves on being indistinguishable or better than the items gluten counterpart. Each treat or bread is its own molecular gastronomy experiment. We get curious and start to investigate. We hypothesis by putting it all down on paper. On paper, we try to make sure we have all the right parts in balance. Sometimes, what looked good on paper doesn’t work in the kitchen. Sometimes we must conduct several trials, but in the end, we come up with something indistinguishable or better. What makes this process better than anything in the world is that I get to do it alongside my son, J.

For our customers, who must be gluten and dairy free, I bet the thing you get asked most often is, “Wait, what do you eat?” I know that your diet probably doesn’t look anything like the typical American diet, but it’s better. I know you feel better. When J started his special diet, his food choice was extremely limited because of rigid and restricted behavior. He only wanted to eat orange foods. I know some toddlers go through phases, but only a parent of a child on the spectrum understands the anguish of having a child refuse to eat. They won’t eat when they are hungry. Immediately after starting his special diet, the variety of foods he’d eat expanded. It was like a door opened to the world for us. For those of you who must be gluten free, think about all the food you enjoy now that you never heard of before. Now at our house a weekly menu might have tamales, bibimbap, katsu, Indian Curry and Thai curry, not only eaten by J but probably prepared too. He’ll eat anything green, not because he HAS to but because he enjoys it.

In those early days when J was a toddler I thought my fight was to make him J indistinguishable from his peers. I have regrets. I always have loved and adored my son but there have been times in the last 20 years when I felt like I was in mourning for the son that could’ve been or should’ve been. I feel guilty about it, because of what I know now. I don’t have a son that’s indistinguishable from his peers. I have a son that’s BETTER.

I don’t have to nag to get him to clean his room. J’s room is always in order. I’ve got BETTER.

I get to share music with him. I’ve got someone with the complete Beatles, U2, Disney, Elton John and Billie Joel canon memorized. He could write a book. I got BETTER.

I don’t need a calendar or calculator. I’ve got J.  I got BETTER.

I’ve never had to break up fights between my sons.  J’s taught his brother to be a compassionate and caring man. I got BETTER.

Just like you, I have a son I can laugh, learn, and goof around with. Who cares if we are not walking around pretending to be normal? Normal is average. I got BETTER.





Job Opening at the Brownsburg Farmers Market

No Label at the Table Food Company primarily looks for individuals with Autism, Asperger’s and PDD-NOS-ages 16 and up

We are a scalable social enterprise. All of our employees are paid employees. Our goal is not only to improve autism awareness but change the perception of the public of the capability of people with disabilities.

We are currently looking for someone from Hendricks County to work at the Brownsburg Farmers Market 3:30- 7:15 pm, Thursdays through Sept 7, 2017

This position is for point of sale at the market

Responsibilities are to greet customers, maintain a clean and organized stand, and taking money in the form of cash or mobile checkout.

Must be able to make change and comply with hygiene and safety standards set by the Health Department (gloves, hats, handwashing station…),  and have own transportation.

* We can make accommodations and provide on the job training for all of these tasks

**This job has two variables. We can not control, weather and the public. Six weeks in, we’ve experience flooding, thunderstorms and chilly wet 50 degree temperatures. I am sure hot and humid days are to come. Everyone at the markets is very kind, but they are curious. The public asks questions. Interactions leads to better awareness. Someone appropriate for this role must have a higher social anxiety threshold. You don’t have to be verbal, but you have to be comfortable interacting with constant flow of people. We can shorten shifts to help with anxiety load. We can teach a sales script, but customers won’t necessarily stay on it!

If you think you’d be a good fit or someone you know is, please contact us via the website contact us tab

Thanks, Shelly, Founder of No Label at the Table


Mondays are for Marathons

Next finishing May 6th #glutenfree #dairyfree #nolabelatthetable #fishersfarmersmarket #carmelfarmersmarket #carmelmarathon

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Something weird happen a couple of Mondays ago, before the markets opened for the summer. Something really weird. I was running a quick 3 miles, because I was tapering for a race in Carmel the next weekend with my sons. Honestly, it was 3 miles because I did not have time for anything else because No Label at the Table had to be ready for the farmers markets. The weird thing was it wasn’t any ordinary Monday. It was Patriot’s Day. I was doing my 3-mile taper run while the Boston Marathon was happening 936.2 miles (.2 miles are very important to marathoners) away. I had forgot all about it. Weird.

The Boston Marathon has defined spring for me for the last 2 decades. You just can’t sign up for Boston. You’ve got to not only run another marathon but do it fast enough to qualify. If you’ve made it to Boston you’re “for real”. You’re serious. It’s attainable goal but you have to be better than most people out there. It’s reachable for nonprofessional runners. It meant I wasn’t just a housewife running away from autism momma drama, I was a serious runner, a marathoner, an elite marathoner. Running was all mine. I started training to run away from my problems but quickly I began running to be someone. All the medals and PRs meant that I could do something that was all mine and had nothing to do with autism. 

But this year, I forgot all about Boston. Something happen. No Label at the Table happened. Since January starting this business has been my focus. My goals have not been inward but on getting my guys to work. Instead of tempo runs and speed work outs, I was focused on my guys skills set. How was I going to get them to their full potential? I feel so much healthier.

Missing Boston this year gave me the opportunity to run a race with sons. How lucky am I?  The Carmel Marathon was amazing. I’ve run plenty of small town races that have been a mess. The Carmel Marathon was professionally done.  Loved it and will register next year. Dorothy had it right there’s no place like home. Carmel Marathon organizers thanks for being inclusive and having the adaptive group. I got to share the day with my J man.  He had a PR!!!!

Next finishing May 6th #carmelfarmersmarket #fishersfarmersmarket #nolabelatthetable #dairyfree #glutenfree

A post shared by shelly henley (@nolabealatthetable) on

As I was pounding the pavement dragging J man’s little,but bigger brother through the course, I knew this is where I should be. I am lucky enough to live in a place that will embrace my guys and No Label at the Table. In years past when I wasn’t in Boston for the race, I’ve felt sad and down. I’d mope around thinking I was missing out. Not anymore, I’m where I should be, with my sons in a place that’s going to welcome No Label at the Table.  I may not have clicked ruby slippers, instead running shoes, but I had an epiphany like Dorothy. I realized all that I had been looking for can be found at home.

I don’t have to be in Boston to know I’m “for real”.  I’ve set a new goal and timeline with plenty of autism momma drama. I am going to stay focused and believe in us. Come see us at the markets as we cross my new finish line, a retail space.  Carb Load with us!!!!!! 


Here Comes the Bride and a Man Coming Into His Own

Every night I go to bed relieved that nobody’s figured I don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve never run a food business before. I am just figuring it all as I go, which has led to many 18-20 hour days. There have been many times that I’ve thought WHAT WAS I THINKING!?! But 6 weeks in and with 6 employees, I know I’m doing something right because I’ve been watching my son transform into the man I knew he could grow to be!

In the last 6 weeks, my son has matured in ways I never expected or imagined. J like many on the spectrum has rigid and ritualistic behavior. It’s always just been part of the package for us. Every morning for last 7-8 years J has the same routine to get ready in the morning. There’s a script we say the same thing every morning. We follow the exact steps every morning. If the steps are interrupted, he has to start again. My husband has his part in this routine. Last Friday, that’s the day in the kitchen, he sent my husband the following texts.

                                He then proceeded to just get dressed without the script. We never thought we’d live without the script. The rigid and ritualistic behavior that we thought was imbedded, just disappeared. He hasn’t needed the script since!


Notice the time on the text. 7:27 am. J does not have to be to work until 10 am. The kitchen is a 10-minute drive from our house. He now wakes up with a purpose. Six weeks ago, I was bribing him to make it down the stairs for school work at 10:30 am. The other morning, I found him in the kitchen a 7:10 making a shopping list. He was dressed ready to go with no script. He was upset that Costco did not open until 10 am.

The other thing that’s happened, which chokes both my husband and I up is that up until 6 weeks ago my son lived a life of almost total social isolation. He spent most of his days with me. He hung out with his brother and dad on the weekends. If he wasn’t with us, we were paying someone to be with him. We even thought about hiring someone to be a friend. We’ve been lucky enough to be getting some press. A reporter asked him this week, “What do you want people to know about No Label at the Table?” I held my breath, because I didn’t know what was going to come out. He said, “I bake everything with my friends”  FRIENDS , he has friends.

It’s not only his team in the kitchen, but people in the community. Whether we are at the library or Whole Foods, people are recognizing him. They give a wave and tell him he makes the best snickerdoodles they’ve ever had. He walks taller and so proud of himself. Meaningful work gives him a greater sense of self-worth.

This week, he’s meeting with a bride for a wedding testing! My husband and I are astounded that he gets to be involved with someone’s special day. How cool? 6 weeks ago, on a Friday, he would’ve been watching you tube videos. It’s unbelievable to us that he going to be able to be a part of people’s special occasions.

So as we prepare for another market, I’ll keep pretending I know what I’m doing, Because I know what I am doing is helping my son become the man he was meant to be. Other parents don’t be afraid to do what I’m doing! In six weeks my son’s whole world has changed. He’s out in the world instead of being completely isolated. He walks taller. He has friends and is part of team.  I am so much less frightened about his future.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us. Thank you to everyone who has shared our news stories.  Come to the markets this weekend, we will be selling cupcakes made from the leftovers of the wedding sampling.   Coconut cremes, Hummingbird, Yellow and Lemon All Gluten & Dairy Free!