aha's Origin Story: About the Co-Founders
Behind every great company is an even better story, and aha Pure Foods is no exception. Through insurmountable challenges and relenting friendship, this company was born on a foundation of passion for health and nutrition that can be shared by all. It began with the cancer diagnosis of a man named Wayne Garland. Wayne was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was given only six months to live. With this terrible news, Wayne decided he was going to cure himself naturally. He traveled across Asia and conducted research for nearly thirty years and gained extensive knowledge on the science of naturopathy. While there, he adopted the philosophy by Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”, which eventually saved his life. When abroad, Wayne learned that diet is the key to lasting vitality and optimum health. And with that philosophy, he dove into insightful research on the countless diets that different cultures have pursued. Wayne’s naturopathic research lasted about thirty years and left him with great knowledge of nutrition. When he came back, he decided he wanted to integrate these powerful vegetables, herbs, and spices he discovered into the standard American diet. It was important to him to change the ways Americans eat and cut out processed foods since it was a large portion of the average American diet.
While Wayne dealt with the hardship of his cancer, chef Alfie Crescentini was also dealing with health difficulties of his own. It was an average day for Alfie toiling over new recipes in his kitchen. He was deep into his work when all of a sudden, he started profusely sweating and felt severe pain in his abdomen. He was raced to the hospital when doctors discovered he had a heart condition called the widow maker. Alfie was in disbelief. Not long ago he was having a perfectly normal day before discovering this severe heart condition and a risky surgery that could threaten his life. He overheard the doctors discussing his condition, and they didn’t sound optimistic. He even heard one man say from afar “Poor guy he’s got no chance. He’s not going to make it”. After frightening scenarios of the surgery ran through his head, Alfie said goodbye to his wife for what he thought was the last time. Seven hours later, Alfie opened his eyes. He made it through the surgery. The doctor came over to him happily and exclaimed his recovery was nothing short of a miracle. Then, Alfie heard his words of caution. The doctor said, “You know I didn’t cure anything, all I did was fix your plumbing, and if you continue your lifestyle, it will happen again, and the second time you won't make it. But it's your life. It's your decision.” After this experience, Alfie regretted never heeding the advice from his good friend Wayne about changing his diet. He was finally ready to listen and try to eat cleaner. Alfie gradually weaned off of meat and dairy products and has surpassed the time the doctors thought he had left. Alfie is extremely healthy to this day and was delighted when Wayne came back from his research to ask him to start making these powerful soups that supercharge the immune system.
Alfie began making soups for locals in the community who were sick using the powerful ingredients discovered by Wayne. Demand for the soups continued to increase through word of mouth. Eventually the two friends banded together to create the impactful business that flourished into what it is today: aha Pure Foods.
All other information was retrieved from the interview conducted with Chef Alfie Crescentini.