OUR STORY

 

KOYAH Founder Marcus Houtsma and His Dad Elroy

My Grandpa died from a heart attack when he was 62. So, when my dad needed open heart surgery at the age of 57 and then, just a year and a half later, was diagnosed with Colon Cancer, all I could think of was what it would be like if he went the way of my grandpa. For all 29 years of my life, he has been an incredible role model and inspiration for me so the thought of losing him weighed heavy on my heart.

After having a portion of his colon surgically removed and battling through chemo-therapy to eliminate the cancer, I suggested my dad try to improve his diet by eating more whole, plant-based foods (especially fruits and veggies) based on a book I had recently read called “How Not to Die” by Dr. Michael Greger (of NutritionFacts.org). My siblings and I, together with my mom, pitched in and bought him a Vitamix blender hoping that green smoothies would be a simple way for him to get more fruits and veggies into his diet. However, he wasn’t used to the frustration of washing, peeling, dicing, and all the messiness that goes along with making smoothies and after a few weeks the blender went unused.

Being somewhat entrepreneurial, I decided to put my 6 years of experience working in the food industry towards creating a product that could help him. Something that would remove the hassle from eating fruits and veggies, but still provide him with as much of their nutrition as possible. It also had to be organic and made completely from whole, plant-based foods with no fillers, sweeteners, or “flavors” of any kind. Oh, and they had to taste good, because my dad is a picky eater!

I came up with my first two organic green smoothie powders – Pineapple Kale Banana and Mango Kale Lemon – and my dad could just add them to water and shake them up. No prep, no blender, and no clean-up. He now sends me pictures like these all the time to prove he is drinking them😊:

Ice Fishing On an ATV trip in Alaska On a Cruise

It has been a year and a half since he was first diagnosed with colon cancer and after going through chemo therapy, there has been no recurrence of the cancer and his doctor tells him his blood results are looking very good. Here’s to hoping all continues to be positive with his health!

If these smoothies helped my dad get more fruits and veggies into his diet, I thought there might be others they could help as well. Since September of 2016 I have been putting all my energy and passion into KOYAH (the story behind the name). As a brand, we are committed to making convenient, nutrient dense products that only contain whole, plant foods with zero additives of any kind. We are on a mission to get more organic fruits and veggies into more people’s diets!