Instead of working as an industrial engineer for electrical engineering at RWE or E.on, I founded a food start-up with friends. In this article I will tell you how it came about and why of all things food.
My course of disease as a trigger
If I hadn't been sick all the time, I probably never would have dealt with the topic of nutrition. Medically, often only symptoms instead of causes of my diseases were fought and my image of the omniscient doctor gradually began to crack. Of course I was aware that exercise, psyche, physical disposition, living conditions, nutrition and much more influence health. But all areas except nutrition were abstract and difficult for me to measure. How should you know exactly how your psyche is and whether this has an influence on your illness? So I took the subject of nutrition as my point of view is that it is so easy to measure and you have maximum control over it. One could simply measure which substances the body is missing, supplement them and adjust one's diet accordingly. At least that's what I thought.
Food supplement - more bad than good
First I started to have detailed blood analyses done to check my mineral levels and possible nutrient deficiencies. The result was not surprising: severe magnesium deficiency, slight anaemia, vitamin D virtually non-existent and much more. So I tried to fight these deficiencies with numerous dietary supplements - with moderate success. But why? After further research, I came across more and more scientific publications expressing doubts about the isolated increase of individual micronutrients. Even science has not yet been able to fully explain why this is the case, as complex interactions are involved that make causal links difficult. In addition, factors such as eating habits and the efficiency of nutrient intake add to the complexity of the whole story. Fighting a nutrient deficiency with tablets alone therefore did not seem to be the right solution. A holistic approach was needed.
The way to Superfoods and co.
Not surprisingly - but revolutionary for me - the idea was simply to put naturally very nutritious foods on the plate that could increase bioavailability with a natural combination of macro- and micronutrients. So the search for the ultimate superfoods started and led via algae, chia seeds and acai berries to Hemp seeds and raw cocoa. But it also led to an intensive examination of the subject of nutrition in general and made me think.
If everyone theoretically knows that daily nutrition has a significant impact on our health and well-being, why are there so few who actually implement it? Why do millions of people in Germany suffer from diabetes and continue to live on fast food? In addressing these questions, I came across many contradictory and controversial trends, diets and practices from the field of nutrition science, all of which propagated the alleged solution for healthy eating. It was precisely this opaque and complex situation that suddenly made the subject of nutrition so interesting for me.
Fascination of nutrition vs. compulsory subject electrical engineering
During my studies, I soon realized that this new topic made more sense to me than calculating open-circuit voltages in transformers. So I had the idea to transfer my analytical skills, which I had acquired during my studies and research, to another field. While this idea became more concrete, Mathias (later co-founder of the nu company) and I were in the final phase of our master thesis in England. When we presented our work at our institute back in Germany, the time had come: After the lecture on "Charging strategies for electric cars" I revealed to my professor that we were determined to develop healthy Chocolate bars to manufacture. Nobody could have put more scepticism into words than the horrified looks of the professor and the supervisors. I had to put up with a few questions - even from family and friends: "Why don't you start with a well-paid engineering profession after this long and hard study? But I had already answered these questions for myself long before.