Darin Olien examining cacao pods in Indonesia (Photos: Shakeology)

Darin Olien is “The Ingredient Hunter.” He’s spent much of the last decade circling the globe, traveling to the most remote areas on the planet, in search of the ultimate super foods.

As the developer of Shakeology, the “healthiest meal of the day” shake from fitness behemoth BeachBody (the people who brought you P90X), Olien wanted only the absolute healthiest, most nutritional ingredients for the product. Ingredients that have very powerful antioxidant and adaptogen abilities like acai berry, Camu-Camu, maca root, and Sacha Inchi.

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Olien often helps the locals set up farms and create jobs to sustainably supply these nutrients

Successfully Used for Millennia

And because you can’t just head down to the corner store for those things, since 2006 he’s been trekking to tiny, isolated villages around the world, and meeting with the local medicine men and shamans to discover what foods they’ve been using to heal and promote health for centuries. Foods that western civilization has never been exposed to, but, as Olien tells me, could hold the key to untold health and wellness.

“This is not us coming up with some magic effect from these foods,” he says. “It’s observing what these ingredients provide, and being humble to what these people have been using successfully for millennia. That’s the power.”

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“Profound results”

Some of the 70 or so ingredients he has included in Shakeology have caused “incredible and profound” results according to Olien. He’s seen people who were overweight with dangerously high cholesterol drop significant weight and 80 or more points on their cholesterol levels once they drink his shakes. Enough that they can get off their prescription medications.

The newest ingredient he’s tracked down that has him excited is moringa. Olien found it in Senegal, South Africa, and it delivers 10 times the calcium of milk, 20 times the vitamin A of tomatoes, a huge dose of antioxidants, minerals and all the essential amino acids. And Olien plans to add it to Shakeology’s recipe as soon as he can.

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A Cure for Disease?

So does Olien think these Super Foods he’s finding that have been passed down through generations from shaman to shaman can do more than just lower cholesterol and make us feel better? Absolutely. He’s been working with Dr. William Li at the

Angiogenesis Foundation, and they’ve found that some of these nutrients Olien found can actually inhibit angiogenesis, and without getting into a long and complicated medical explanation, that means they can shut off the things that cause certain diseases, including cancer.

But before you start planning your immortality, Olien’s probably got a few more trips to make, a few more medicine men to talk to, and a few more plants to find.

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