Darin Olien is a special kind of ingredient hunter. Since 2006 he’s been traveling the globe -- trekking into remote villages around the world and meeting with local medicine men and shaman in search of super foods.
Superfoods is a term used to describe food with high phytonutrient content, and foods which have high concentrations of essential nutrients that we need to promote good health. The ingredients Olien hunts down are used in a shake he developed called Shakeology, which he develops for fitness brand BeachBody.
Given indigenous people’s experience with exploitation by westerners how is he able to convince these medicine men to give up their secrets? He tells Discovery that he approaches the project with a sense of humility for the relationship that has existed for millennia between these people and plants.
It probably helps, that unlike many of his bioprospecting counterparts in the chemical and pharmaceutical world, he’s not just a biopirate. When Olien finds an ingredient he thinks would be perfect for Shakeology he works with the locals to create farms to harvest the ingredient in a sustainable fashion, providing jobs and much needed income to these isolated areas.
Read the rest of the story on the superfoods Olien is bringing to market in the Discovery story, Nutritional “Indiana Jones” Searches Remote Jungles and Mountains for Super Foods, by Eric Rogell.