Why We Started SANS

A healthy meal replacement that gives food to those in need.

I have not always been a health and wellness fanatic. Far from it. I have always struggled with my weight and for most of my life have been on the “huskier” side of things. I never paid much attention to ingredient labels or thought a lot about what was in the food that I was putting into my body. My lack of education and misplaced trust in large food companies was partially to blame, combined with a demanding job, trying to make time for friends and family, and if lucky, a hobby or two.

All of this began to change when I began working with an individual named Mark Martin several years ago. Mark was the healthiest “real” person I’d ever met, I thought he was a weirdo. At the beginning of our friendship, I would tease Mark about the “strange” foods that he would eat. Mark and I were junior level investment bankers, putting in an insane number of hours at work. I didn’t need to add the complexity and hassle of trying to eat healthy to my daily grind. Quite frankly, I didn’t know how Mark did it.

Over time I learned that I was the fool, not Mark. I slowly started to make changes to my diet, with a focus on eliminating highly processed foods and added sugar wherever possible. I began to see meaningful changes in my body and my mind. I had a new mental clarity and physical ability to enjoy activities that I used to love. I reacquainted myself with tennis, a sport that I grew up playing, and at the age of 36, I’m playing better than I ever did in my youth.

As part of my crash course in nutrition, I learned that the typical “Western” diet is largely to blame for our increasing rates of diseases. Fat was falsely demonized in the late 1970s, and the American food industry responded by taking the fat out and adding tons of sugar. Unfortunately, our bodies process sugar that occurs naturally in foods (e.g., an apple) much differently than added, unnatural sugar (e.g., corn syrup). When we started eating less fat and more sugar, a few things happened: (1) we all got fatter; (2) type 2 diabetes among adolescents became a “thing,” and (3) rates of cardiovascular disease increased.

The more I learned, the more frustrated I became with “big food” and their lack of regard for America’s health. After discovering what was making our country so sick, I also began reading a book, called “Start Something that Matters” by Blake Mycoskie. In this book, Blake shares his story of how an experience he had while in vacation giving shoes away in Argentina ultimately led to his founding of TOMS, a business with a revolutionary, socially conscious business model. While reading this book, the idea for SANS was birthed. I thought to myself –

“What if we could come up with a delicious, well-balanced meal that makes it super simple for people to eat healthy. And for every package we sell, we can give a meal to someone in need”

When this idea popped into my head, I was already well-aware of the magnitude of the global hunger. I made my first trip to Haiti when I was 12 years old and I currently teach a class at a business school in Haiti every January. As the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with nearly 60% of the population living below the national poverty line of $2.41 a day, Haiti is a place where I thought my idea could have a meaningful impact on people.

My eating habits had completely changed, but as a consumer, I was dissatisfied with my options for eating a great tasting, enjoyable meal on the go. I wanted a product that allowed me the luxury of not having to think about what to eat — — I just wanted to eat real food, real fast, with no hassle. Mark, who by this time had become a very close friend, emphatically shared my pain and my desire for a product that made it easy to eat real, whole foods.

I knew we weren’t the only ones and decided to do something about it.

With the collective effort of my Co-Founders and Advisory Board, we started SANS to address two significant problems:

(1) The prevalence of unnatural, harmful foods in our diet, and

(2) Worldwide hunger

This fall we are launching a line of meal bars made from only all-natural ingredients with no added sugar. Our goal is to finally make it easy to eat healthy. A meal replacement without all the junk, delivered to your door.

Learn more at www.sansmealbar.com and follow us on Instagram @sansmealbar.