I’ve shared the short-but-sweet Pure Food story.
This is a deeper look into how and why I started Pure Food.
Let’s start here …
My Quest to Learn, Create, and Improve
I caught the entrepreneurial bug shortly after graduating from Michigan State with a business degree in 2003.
On top of working full time in the marketing/advertising industry, I started all types of “side hustles”:
- I sold rare books on Amazon (when Amazon was just a bookstore!)
- I bought pallets of broken fitness equipment, fixed them and resold them on eBay
- I did freelance work writing greeting cards
- I launched a blog called The Healthy Eating Guide
This last one is important to note. I had always been into fitness because I played a lot of sports growing up … but I quickly discovered I didn’t know a thing about nutrition.
After researching and writing over 300 articles for my website and becoming a human guinea pig for various dietary approaches, fitness regimens, and supplements, my science-backed articles on health and nutrition got published on some pretty big sites (Entrepreneur, Greatist, Business Insider, MindBodyGreen, to name a few).
How Pure Food Started
I didn’t start Pure Food in a brilliant flash of insight. It actually began in 2014 as a pretty crappy idea (a “spice of the month club”). Fortunately, I wasn’t too proud to share my idea with a group of people much smarter than me and they told me in so many words that I needed to either re-focus or keep my day job.
After 3-4 “pivots” (the oft-overused business term), I finally realized something: I needed to stop trying to create a product and instead develop a whole new category, in the words of marketing guru Seth Godin.
You see, I couldn’t find a single protein powder that didn’t have some type of filler, “natural” flavor, sweetener, or other junk ingredient. On top of that, I learned that 98% of protein powder companies source most of their ingredients from China (that’s why those big tubs are so cheap).
So I decided to create the world’s first Plant-based Protein Powder with 100% Organic, Real Food Ingredients + Probiotics. No added sugar, gums, “flavors”, or other junk.
Surprisingly, nobody else was doing it. Sure, plenty of companies used “clean protein powder” and “sustainably sourced ingredients” in their marketing materials … but none of them were actually practicing what they preached (those ingredient list and nutrition labels are objective sources of truth!).
I spent the next 6 months testing different ingredients, vetting suppliers, and analyzing unique combinations of real, superfood ingredients.
In August, 2015, I launched our first product, Pure Food Cacao Protein Powder. I filled, sealed, and packed the first 500 bags myself (took me almost a month). Then came the second one, Pure Food Vanilla Protein Powder in January, 2016.
My Crash and Burn
Amidst all this craziness, I was still working full-time at my “real job” in downtown Detroit. I’d be gone from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. most days and would come home (exhausted), cook dinner and put my toddler son to bed, and then work on Pure Food on nights and weekends.
Shortly thereafter, I started experiencing some major health issues–debilitating fatigue, extreme joint pain, GI problems, weight loss, etc.
Two years later, after seeing several specialists, I was finally diagnosed with an autoimmune condition called reactive arthritis. It was triggered by a foodborne pathogen (I got salmonella poisoning from a jar of almond butter!).
A New Life
I started eating way more fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods and eliminating foods and drinks that my body wasn’t tolerating anymore after I got sick (dairy, corn, alcohol). I always knew from my research that a plant-based diet of real, unprocessed foods was the healthiest way to eat … and I really started to feel the effect of these life-altering foods.
Shortly after, with my wife’s support, I did something I had never done in 20+ years of working … I quit my job.
It was a scary choice–but an intuitive one–and my intuition has never failed me when it matters most.
From that moment until now, I learned an incredible amount about myself and what it means to really live.
There’s a reason I’m sharing all this with you:
I believe each of us has at least one special gift or talent to share … that thing that drives us to be our best self while serving and making the world a better place.
After 40 years on this earth, I am well aware of the things I’m not so good at: small talk, driving the speed limit, doing my taxes …
But I have become pretty darn good at creating natural health products that can help you improve your body and mind and unleash your limitless potential.
And, we give back. Since day 1, we’ve donated 5 meals to hungry families in need for every sale through our partnership with Forgotten Harvest/Feeding America. We have donated over 60,000 meals to date!
That’s why I created Pure Food in a nutshell.
I invite you to try our products and see for yourself how much better you can feel.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story. I hope you give us a chance to become part of yours.
Founder, Pure Food