8. BEATING THE FOOD GIANTS
To me, beating the Food Giants consists of having strong public support for your products and the support of the scientific community, including university researchers as well as the FDA people.
By 1993, my little bakery that started In 1976 with 10 people and serving about 12 stores had grown into a Midwestern success story. We had won four Entrepreneur-of -the-year awards from various organizations. We had been written up in all the major newspapers in the country at one time or another. My wife and I had done dozens of TV talk shows and hundreds of radio talk shows. Natural Ovens had grown to serving more than 1,000 large supermarkets in Northern Illinois, Southern Minnesota and nearly all of Wisconsin. Natural Ovens sales totalled $8 million in 1992. We were receiving on the average of one offer per week to sell out. To one and all, we said our company was not for sale to anyone at any price at any time.
The high point of my life came on April 1, 1993, when I attended the Annual Convention of Experimental Biologists with 7,000 other scientists. Nine papers were presented on flax seed — the little seed that I had rescued from oblivion in 1986 was now on the front burner at many research institutions, including the FDA. Each research group had good things to say about flax seed. The FDA also presented four favorable reports on the results of their two-year investigation of flax seed.
Drs. Babu and Jenkins from the FDA found that levels of 1.25 and 2.5% flax in the diet stimulated the immune system and that higher levels would reduce mitogenic activity in cases where the immune system was over activated, such as people with food allergies.
Drs. Kaup, Hight and Rader found that flax increased Vitamin D levels and decreased urinary losses of calcium, magnesium and phosphates. In other words, Max increased the retention of calcium, magnesium and phosphate.
Drs. Jenkins, Mitchell, Grundel and Blakely found that ground flax seed did not have any negative effects on any of the major enzyme systems, such as liver and Intestinal microsomal cytochrome P-450, aniline hydroxylase, benzephetamine demethylase, or glutathione-S transferase. They did not find that flax seed lowered blood Vitamin E levels, as fish oils do.
Drs. Obermeyer, Warner, Casey and Musser found that flax is very high in lignans and that lignans have anti-tumor activities and may be linked to a low incidence of breast and colon cancer. They also discovered that flax contains an anti-oxidant that is as good or better than BHA and is found at a very high level of 800 ppm.
Other researchers at the conference found other good results with flax seed. Drs. Thompson, Orcheson, Rickard, Seidl, Cheung, Luvengi and Fong found that 10% level of flax seed in the diet of rats could mimic the results of Tamoxifen, the leading mammary cancer drug. They found the side effects of flax were much less than the side effects of Tamoxifen.
Drs. Watkins, Tomeo, Struck and Bierenbaum from the Kenneth Jordan Heart Research Group compared bread containing 30% flax seed to whole-wheat bread. They found that flax-seed bread was much superior to whole-wheat bread in lowering total cholesterol, LDL and lipid oxidation products. The flax seed also raised HDL and Vitamin C levels in the blood.
Drs. Bohannon, McFarland, Crews, Ferrin and Patzlaff from South Dakota State University found that adding 8% flax seed to the diet could help correct the diabetic conditions caused by a high-fat diet. They found that the moderately high level of flax was better than the same level of oat bran in lowering triglycerides, total cholesterol and LDL, and had favorable effects on insulin activity.
Drs. Haggerty, Harris, Greaves, Wilson and Alexander from the Midwest Research Institute found that the lignans in flax were very stable and could be stored lor long periods of time.
What more could any food researcher want than being validated by so many members of the research community? This validation represents a victory for all the people who have supported my ideas by buying Natural Ovens products for the past 17 years. The customers and the company are beating the Food Giants by discrediting the Food Giants' policy that the more people eat, the better off they are. By our success, we are showing the Food Giants that the American public is a lot smarter than they think we are.
My next step in beating the Food Giants is to start a special outreach
program of teaching other people how to bake breads like Natural Ovens. I am
really disappointed that even though I am financially successful, not a single
food company has tried to copy me. I have given away our recipes in past books I
have written, I have called and written them, to no avail. And I have taken much
shelf space in the grocery stores from them, but they won't respond. Perhaps if
I can help regular people start hundreds of bakeries like Natural Ovens all over
the U.S., they will listen. If they won't respond, I hope you will join us in
teaching the food industry the lesson that they must make food good for people's
health or be sunk by the clamor of intelligent people buying healthful products.