Bart Maes, founder of Amanprana:
How it all started
In 1999 I sold my share in a medium-sized enterprise that specialized in petroleum products and kerosene heaters. I gave myself a seven year sabbatical, read 600 books on nutrition, attended conferences on nutrition, became a vegetarian and wrote articles on food and energy for journals both at home and abroad. I started Amanprana because my daughter had serious concentration issues at school and had developed an allergy to cocoa. After devoting much blood, sweat and tears to research and by switching to omega oil, a cacao-free diet and exclusively eating organic foods, we managed to solve my daughter's concentration disorder and her cocoa allergy. That proved to be a revelation, and I wanted to use this experience and the knowledge I had gained on nutrition to find a balance between commerce and giving something back to the community.
Amanprana launched with Okinawa Omega Oil. I improved the omega composition of the omega oil my daughter took, enriched the omega blend with herbs, and introduced eight naturally-occurring types of vitamin E and a large amount of carotenes. My wife and I started off on a small scale in our living-room and garage, but it was not long before our home became too small and we were gradually given more shelf space in the shops. Then a friend gave me some literature on saturated fats and palm oil. My first thought was, 'but surely saturated fats are unhealthy?' I approached the reading material with scepticism, but within a few months my opinion had changed. I took an in-depth look at saturated fats and came to the conclusion that they contained many properties that were unknown to most people. In fact, I realised that saturated fats were actually extremely healthy. This conclusion was diametrically opposed to the conventional view in nutrition, but I decided to transfer that knowledge to anybody willing to listen. And so we started off with coconut oil and palm oil, and then the products followed each other in quick succession. Profits had ceased to be the primary motivation for me, with the concept of healthful nutrition now being the objective. Our 'Save the Sea' promotional campaign was a logical next step. In Sanskrit 'aman' means peace or tranquillity, while 'prana' refers to life force, which brings us to 'serene vitality'. We were also one of the very first companies to use biodegradable labels.
Food as medicine
That nutrition is the essence of health was a firm tenet of Hippocrates, philosopher and father of Western medicine. He placed the emphasis on hygiene for both the patient and the physician. Healthy eating and drinking habits, the importance of fresh air, the self-healing capacity of the body and ensuring proper balance (homeostasis) were the pillars of the therapeutic approach advocated by the Greek physician (c. 460 - c. 370 BC). Hippocrates famously said: 'Let food be thy medicine'.
Mother Nature gives us foods that contain powerful and health-giving properties. The principal causes of Western ailments are food and lifestyle, while refined ingredients probably contribute to the root of most diseases and poor health suffered in the West. For example, when whole-wheat flour is refined into white flour, 80 percent of all minerals, 90 percent of all vitamins and nearly all the fibre are removed in the process. As a result our energy levels can no longer cope with our fast pace of life. Until the start of the 20th century healthy food underpinned all curative treatments. The radical schism between nutrition and health that occurred in the 20th century is why, in spite of massive advances in medicine, we are unable to prevent 70 percent of premature fatalities that result from Western diseases. I would like to conclude with a quote from the two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling: 'Optimum nutrition is the medicine of the future'.
Good health isn’t simply a matter of finding the right drug or right operation, but a complex process of accepting responsibility for your own life. Lynne McTaggart Health journalist, author and researcher, Wimbledon, United Kingdom
- Food as unprocessed as possible
- Food as medicine
- Always lactose-free and *gluten-free (except for wheat germ)
- Always 100% organic (certified by BE-BIO-02 and
USDA by TÜV NORD INTEGRA),
vegetarian, vegan and superfood
- Never contains junk food, isolates, chemical
preservatives, aromatic additives, flavoring
agents or colorants
- Where possible, always fair world and
- Fair trade