A New Leaf Turned…

At LeafSide, we believe there must be better ways to do food — the most important daily necessity at the heart of health (literally!), and in turn, quality of life.  

“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.”

― Herophilus, 4th century BCE

As longtime adherents to whole-foods, plant-based eating, over the last 20+ years we’ve tried every time-saving trick and hack that we could find to regularly eat healthy food, while leading busy lives.  But a no-compromises solution still proved elusive.

One day we decided to write down what would be needed to finally solve this daily problem.  There would have to be a way to eat that meets all these five requirements simultaneously:

  1. Superior Nutrition — based on the best nutrition science consensus
  2. High Convenience — ready in minutes & near-zero overhead (no shopping, prep, etc)
  3. Great Taste & Variety — healthy & delicious eating without monotony
  4. Affordability — cheaper than typical restaurant meals, especially fast food
  5. Eco-friendly — minimal or positive environmental impact at scale

After years of obsessively working on this problem, scouring the latest nutrition research, and using a “first principles” approach uncommon in the traditional food industry, LeafSide was born.

What We Do

LeafSide now makes healthy eating easy and accessible with shelf-stable 100% whole food, plant-based meals, which are ready to eat in minutes with no real work or effort.

We currently have 4 meal types: smoothies, soups, sweet-bowls, and savory-bowls — all designed by professional chefs to taste great, while delivering the leading nutrition science of the global bestselling book  How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Dr. Michael Greger.

Matt Sedlacek, Founder

My journey of plant-based discovery started in 2007 after watching a short video called Meet Your Meat, about the suffering created by animal agriculture. This awakened within me a deep sense of compassion for animals, and had such a profound impact that I immediately switched to a vegetarian diet.

Back then my go-to solution for healthy eating was making smoothies. For fun I created the website PerfectSmoothie.com, to share everything I was learning about nutrition, blenders, and time saving tips. Being one of the first websites about smoothies at the time, it grew to reach over 3 million visitors.

After launching another website called BestBlender.com in 2012, and teaching so many people about using their blender to prepare quick plant-based meals, I realized that most people still didn’t have the time to do all the shopping and planning involved in something as simple as making smoothies and soups, let alone normal meals. Additionally, I learned most people were confused about nutrition and unsure if they were eating the right foods to be healthy.

Inspired by this problem, LeafSide was founded in 2015 with the purpose of finally creating a solution for convenient plant-based eating.

Around the same time I became aware of a documentary called Cowspiracy. This opened my eyes to the negative impacts of the dairy industry, which inspired my transition to being vegan / plant-based. Being someone who requires facts and data, I saw the potential of the film to help influence many people, and have since helped organize screenings of Cowspiracy and What the Health in multiple countries.

The hardest part about transitioning to a vegan / plant-based diet for me was giving up dairy and cheese, which was made surprisingly easy after seeing Dr. Neil Barnard speak about the addictive nature of dairy and the damage it causes to our bodies. Every once in a while I’ll indulge in vegan ice cream or pizza, which taste amazing!

LeafSide Favorites: My favorite way to get the Daily Dozen is with a smoothie and a savory stir-bowl.  Having a sweet tooth, I’m addicted to the Kale Krush smoothie, and will have that as my first meal and usually rotate between the savory stir-bowls as my second meal.

More background: LinkedIn

Dr. Kai Wu, Co-Founder

Back in paleolithic times or what felt like it (i.e. pre-Internet/web), in the snowy northern state known as Canada, I went vegan for ethics and ecology, catalyzed by reading Diet For A New America.  The health benefits of a whole-foods plant-based diet came shortly afterward: a few weeks after cutting all meat and dairy, while walking home from school, I remembered breathing easily through my nose and smelling clearly, for the first time.  Decades later, I’m still grateful that the best diet for our shared planet and our fellow animals, is also what’s best for our bodies — as amply evidenced by personal experience, the growing ranks of elite-level vegan athletes, and a rising tidal wave of nutrition science.

Food-wise, after several physics and engineering degrees and always having a busy schedule, my daily meals evolved to have two features: first, optimize every meal to a single container (into a blender or a pressure cooker pot), and second, only use the highest nutrition ingredients (i.e. superfoods like oat groats, black beans, kale, avocados, nuts, berries, etc), especially those highlighted by Dr. Greger and NutritionFacts.org

Nevertheless, expecting everyone to quickly and effectively change their diet was unrealistic. For plant-based newcomers, the practicalities were daunting, and I often wondered what, if anything, would work for most people. Healthy whole foods in the produce and bulk sections would always take more effort and skill than the easy but highly processed options on supermarket shelves.  And without support, many people were overwhelmed daily by an entire industry and culture of cheap fast food, deliberately made addictive with added sugar, fat, salt, and artificial flavors.

The real-world solution was simple but not yet easy: make truly healthy food even more convenient than fast food. Befriending fellow expat Matt in Berlin inspired new ideas on healthy convenience, and we soon teamed up on what’s been the biggest adventure of our lives. 

LeafSide Favorites: the Mint Chip smoothie, for a massive antioxidants package. 🙂 The Berry Medley and Cacao Raspberry sweet-bowls are also regular go-to’s, and the Creamy Forest Mushroom still surprises me with its rich taste. The Black Bean & Tomato soup readily serves as either a “super-hummus” bread dip, or fantastic addition to whole grains like oats or sprouted-grain bread.

More background: LinkedIn