Leveling up our science
On our Indiegogo, launched May 9, 2016, we wrote:
What we stand for.
This is about more than quoting studies, or even staying up to speed on nutrition, genetics, and biochemistry. It’s about partnering with research institutions themselves to conduct studies, and using this knowledge to fuel every iteration of our formulas. "Perfect" doesn’t exist, but through science, personalized variations, and constant iteration, we believe we can get damn close!
Leveling up your health
Do you know the difference between Vitamin K1 and K2, or what cholesterol actually does in the body? Do you make good healthy food at least occasionally? If not, let’s talk! We want to teach you to fish, not just give you one of ours. Through writing, podcasts, videos and a supportive community, we’re committed to helping you level up your entire healthy lifestyle.
Leveling up the food industry
We’re open-sourcing the whole manufacturing process to let you into our world. Why? Because we want you to expect more from the entire food industry. The food manufacturing and distribution industries need a massive overhauling if we’re going to tackle the huge environmental and social issues of food. Let’s set the bar high.
"I absolutely love your mission, views, the fact that you are so knowledgeable [...] and that you are clearly so dedicated to making a truly effective product.[...] Making sure there is a reason for each ingredient included is key rather than throwing every 'modern fad' foodsupplement into the product."
- Katie Schroeder, Yogi
Then on June 3, 2016, we posted:
“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” ― Albert Einstein
In search of optimal
As life keeps getting busier, more than ever, we need a simple solution for health. Health gurus claim to have the secret to perfect health—the one diet to rule them all. Most food companies are happy to indulge us with health claims, while the FDA guidelines themselves seem to indicate that we’ve got it all figured out.
But over years of studying nutrition, I’ve realized that the more we know, the clearer it becomes that we’re just beginning to understand nutrition.
On the plane back from Austin, Texas, after attending the Paleo F(x) conference with a bunch of fellow nutrition nerds, I reflected on my conversations with Robb Wolf, Dr. Chris Masterjohn, Ben Greenfield, and other leaders in the nutrition space. I was reminded for at least the hundredth time how much I still have to learn.
If the smartest minds in nutrition don’t have all the answers, it stands to reason that the best and most responsible food companies should have some humility as well. The reality is that our current Ample isn’t the be-all, end-all “super meal”. I believe it’s the best and most nutritionally complete meal available today, but it still isn’t perfect.
Our mission isn’t to simplify “pretty good” nutrition. It’s to simplify “optimal” nutrition. That’s an audacious goal because it’s currently impossible. But the only way to get there is to admit what science knows, and what it doesn’t, and to recognize that people’s nutritional needs are varied.
We’re playing the long game. If we’re going to significantly raise the bar in optimizing people’s nutrition, it’s going to require more than great ingredients. It will require multiple versions of Ample. It will require groundbreaking research. And it will require an amazingly supportive community.
Nutrition is personalized, but we’re all human.
Do you do keto or carb-backloading? Are you paleo or vegan? Do you want to lose weight or put on some pounds? Do you even lift, bro? Do you even have time to care?
If you haven’t given a single thought to these questions, have no fear. You’re probably doing something more epic with your time than reading nutrition articles! But you can feel confident that nutrition nerds have your back.
We created Ample to be super healthy for the vast majority of people. When you start with a comprehensive set of quality ingredients that have integrated with humans over millions of years of evolution, you already have a food that’s better than almost everything else on the market.
But while the desire for convenient nutrition spans all the way from the professional athlete to the desk jockey, the search for the “best” diet for this or that is necessarily personalized.
So in order to be the closest to “optimal” for every variance, we will be crafting a few versions of Ample. And, though a “perfect” diet may be nothing more than a fantasy, we’re likely to get pretty damn close to optimal with only a few versions of Ample.
But how do we know for sure?
Food is medicine.
It was 2013, while working in an operating room, when I realized just how much responsibility food companies truly have. I worked for Ethicon, a $3 billion company under the Johnson & Johnson umbrella. For two years, I stood in during every type of operation from open-heart surgery, to colon removal, to gastric bypasses. One day, a friend of mine and general surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic lamented that around 90% of his cases were lifestyle-induced.
To borrow from Spiderman here:
Food is powerful. A poor diet has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, not to mention a lack of energy to live life to the fullest.
It seemed crazy to me then (and even crazier now) that almost no food companies measure the health effects of their own products. We know that what gets measured gets managed. But if the only measurements a food company takes into account is the frequency someone buys, then it’s no wonder that we’re left with sugary foods designed for addiction rather than health.
If all of us food companies wait on the sidelines for scientists to “figure it all out”, we’ll be waiting forever. If we cherry-pick studies that allow us to claim healthfulness, then we’re being deceitful. For Ample, neither of these options are acceptable.
That’s why we’re currently establishing relationships with both formal research institutions for peer-reviewed studies, as well as citizen science and quantified-self groups for more than just anecdotal evidence. Our studies will start small with limited scope at first, with our objective to begin to understand how Ample affects measures of health, weight, productivity, and even elite performance. For Ample to really be optimal, we’ve got to commit to scientific studies.
But even the most nutritious product falls short without the support of a badass community—the final key is building a strong and supportive Ample team.
Strength in numbers.
To sustain optimal nutrition, fostering a badass, supportive community is absolutely critical. Since starting a CrossFit gym outside of Nashville (and coaching at 5 other gyms since), I’ve noticed something. New clients initially show up for the workout, but it was only with the support of an amazing community that they keep coming back.
Ample isn’t just for hardcore athletes and nutrition nerds—it’s for anyone who needs “healthy” (in whatever context) to be easy. With a strong community, we want Team Ample to be a place for paleo people, vegans, and people who just don’t have time to plan what’s for lunch. We want Ample to be a place where you can learn about nutrition, talk to other Ample users, and of course, share hilarious memes and GIFs! Teams succeed when they work together, and people achieve success with the support of others. We want to build a healthy community that can be a positive tool to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.
How we’re leveling up.
The truth is, I’m just tired of a mediocre food industry with low standards. We have lofty objectives: leveling up your health, leveling up our science, and leveling up the food industry itself. We want to set the bar high, and realize that it’s going to take the help of the best minds in nutrition (who know considerably more than I do), plus an incredible community, of which you are now a part. So thank you so much for your support!