He was a triathlete and a competitive runner. She was an Ironman contestant and a bike racer. Adhering to conventional wisdom, they believed that a vegetarian diet was the “clean” way to live, both physically and spiritually. And as high-functioning athletes, they carb-loaded with the best of them while consuming minimal fats.
Despite their rigorous regimen, Taylor Collins and Katie Forrest were plagued by various digestive disorders and inflammation. So they pushed further, into veganism, and then even further, into raw foods only. They even created and marketed a raw vegan bar for on-the-go athletes like themselves.
But if anything, their health worsened. They finally consulted a holistic practitioner, who had one salient and unexpected prescription for them: “Eat red meat.”
So they turned their entire approach upside down and embarked upon what is commonly recognized as a Paleo diet—healthy animal fats, grass-fed protein, and leafy vegetables. And in short order they were leaner, faster, and stronger than they had ever been, and their maladies disappeared.
Now they needed a high-protein portable food source that fit with their new regimen. “We recognized the times that we pushed our bodies the furthest—100 mile bike rides or hiking the backcountry—were also the times that we had the least accessibility to nutrient-dense animal protein,” says Katie. “It was clear that we needed something convenient and on-the-go to fulfill our bodies’ cravings.”
And so, Collins and Forrest founded EPIC, which they see as an opportunity to establish a brand that offers healing and health for humans, while also supporting humane animal husbandry and contributing to the planet’s survival.
They began by developing the world’s first 100 percent grass-fed meat bar with nuts and fruit, available in 11 flavors including Bison Bacon Cranberry and Chicken Sriracha. The goal was to use a humane, pasture-centered supply chain featuring only ethically sourced whole-food ingredients. They helped ranchers convert to a pasture-based livestock model and encouraged biodynamic ranching practices. Through this process, they discovered they could also have a positive impact on local ecosystems—and even the world at large.
Taylor explains: “We have learned that livestock can create a net positive return on the environment when the animals are managed in a way that replicates their natural behaviors. We used to think that meat was unhealthy for people, that fat was something to be afraid of. Now it is the cornerstone of our diet. We used to think that meat was bad for the environment. Now we recognize that animals are not the problem, that it’s people’s management of those animals that determines the environmental impact.”
Partnerships with a handful of non-profits with similar missions, including The Savory Institute, The Global Animal Partnership, The Certified Humane Project, and the Marine Stewardship Council, allowed them to amplify and expand their efforts.
As their arsenal of products grew to include bone broth, snack strips, rendered fats, and the aptly-named Hunt and Harvest mixes, so too did their “wolfpack” of like-minded souls, fiercely committed to making their contribution to this earth-restoring crusade.
Collins and Forrest speak as one on this: “We love that EPIC truly represents our personal values—it doesn’t feel like a job, it feels like an opportunity to work on and toward something bigger than ourselves. It gives us a greater sense of purpose.”
Web exclusive recipe! Smoked Red Lentil Soup recipe featuring EPIC bars.