After we had heard David Wolfe give his presentation at our new favorite raw food restaurant “The Organic Garden” in Beverly Mass, Dave and I both knew that we would transition our already healthy diet into the organic raw vegan diet that David spoke about. In fact, our friend Neil, who has also been head chef at Living Nutz for the past 6 years, instantly went raw overnight after we told him about what we had learned!
David also inspired us to learn about wild edibles and due to the fact that we live in Maine, wild edibles are abundant, including many types of seaweeds, greens and berries.
The friends that we had made at the Organic Garden began taking trips up to Maine to pick wild foods with us! It seemed like our whole world changed with just a simple transition of diet. Suddenly we had a lot of new friends and a lot of new interests that went along with what we viewed as the most ‘evolved’ health diet. Yoga, Qi-gong and meditation became commonplace and after about a year of being nearly 100% raw organic and vegan, our mindsets changed and we began to ponder ways that we could take our new diet and lifestyle to the next level.
The summer of 1998 brought a family trip to Alaska and a reunion of healing that my parents, brother and myself all desperately needed. I had grown distant from my family and this trip brought us all together again and due to the love and inspiration that we all felt on this trip we decided to form a business together based on the hemp plant which we all knew to be very healing. Aside from the rich Omega essential fatty acids contained in hemp, we also knew it to be a plant that had the potential to be a huge contribution to environmental concerns due to the fact that it has over 25,000 known uses including solutions that ranged from ending deforestation because hemp can easily replace trees for paper and other textiles, to producing hemp bio-diesel for .30-.40 cents per gallon. We knew that by working with this plant we could bring more awareness to the world about the multitude of benefits it had to offer.
Thus we formed the “Maine Intellihemp Company”. In it’s incipient stages the Intellihemp body care line consisted of lip balm, healing salve and massage oil. All of the recipes that my mother formulated, my brother perfected. After the creation of this line my mother got the product into six different health food stores. Once I took over sales, I used some innovative marketing methods to bring it into close to 1500 store in a year and a half! The product did great in the alternative mainstream markets we chose because we educated people about facts such as the first American flag was made from hemp, the declaration of independence was printed on hemp and it used to be a federal law in the mid 1700’s that farmers had to grow hemp! Not many people knew this and even to this day most don’t.
The Intellihemp Company is what motivated Dave and I to form a new company in the year 2001 that reflected our very passionate love of the raw food diet. Most people don’t know that before we started selling Nutz, we created a line of organic raw cereals and granolas. This was just before “The Almond Brothers” line came into existence!
More about how Living Nutz sprouted into business in part 3!