Ah, cleanses. It’s been over a year since I did my last cleanse — mainly because, well, I’m not a huge fan of cleanses. But leading up to my latest vacation, I decided to do a short one to prepare myself for the days of decadence ahead (and yes, lose a quick few pounds). That and I was curious about Kaeng Raeng, an affordable vegan and gluten-free detox cleanse developed by entrepreneur, writer, certified personal trainer and animal rights activist Lindsay Reinsmith.
Kaeng Raeng is basically a 3- to 6-day supply of raw, freeze-dried fruit in powder form. One order comes with a giant portable bottle and three flavors. You can mix the powder with water for a “juice” or blend it with fresh fruit or non-dairy milk to make a sweeter, more substantial smoothie.
The flavors are quite delicious, but the consistency could be a deal-breaker for you. I found that when I mixed it with water, it tasted more like a fiber drink than a juice, but it was more convenient to make at the office. When I blended it with ice and almond milk, it made quite a yummy shake, but I had to make it at home. Ultimately, I found the 3-day Beginner cleanse (it comes in three levels starting at $69.99) to be an affordable, flexible and easy way to do a cleanse. I also appreciated that it was made from local (California-grown) ingredients.
A quick note: Despite the fact that it’s marketed as a “meal replacement,” I think it’s important to point out that drinking Kaeng Raeng alone will likely not give you enough calories for your day. I snacked on raw nuts, fruits and vegetables in between smoothies to ensure I was getting enough calories and didn’t feel deprived of chewing.
Now, after reviewing the product, I was even more interested in the entrepreneurial story of the woman who developed it. Lindsay Reinsmith was not a lifelong fitness and nutrition guru. Instead, she was a busy Stanford student and financial advisor who didn’t have a lot of time to invest in healthy living (natural foods and sleep included). But living in Northern California and reading “Skinny Bitch” set her on a path to wellness — and sparked a pretty smart business idea. Below, our Q&A session:
TDO: What led you to create Kaeng Raeng?
LR: I have always loved raw food cleanses and do them often, but I found them very difficult to stick with while I was working long hours or traveling. As someone who exercises regularly, I was frustrated at the difficulty of obtaining protein while on a raw cleanse. I wanted to create a meal replacement smoothie that was filling, nutritional, and affordable [and] that could help anyone complete a raw diet.
TDO: How did Kaeng Raeng evolve from a personal passion into a business?
I did a lot of research about raw food detoxes as a way of undoing the previous two decades of poor choices, [and[ I started making smoothies that I could take to class or work to stay healthy while being busy. At the same time, advising natural foods businesses gave me some unique insight into what makes these companies succeed and what makes them fail. … I noticed that there was a fairly large gap in the luxury cleanse market: There were plenty of very expensive, delivered-to-your-door juice fasts and a lot of cheap, dangerous detox pills and powders, but nothing in between that brought high-quality ingredients to consumers in an affordable and convenient way.
I actually posted on Facebook that I had lost eight pounds in one week using my raw food recipes and was bombarded with requests for others to try my “product.” The financial crisis hit and all of a sudden I became an entrepreneur! We ended up doing three different beta tests where we offered the product to the public for free in exchange for feedback, and this lasted about five months. We had nutritionists, dieticians, M.D.s and health coaches all involved in perfecting the formula.
TDO: What did you major in at Stanford and how did that help you?
LR: I actually majored in Political Science which has contributed more to the success of my business than I could have imagined. As a social scientist, you are tasked with analyzing data and making decisions to improve the outcomes of future problems. It also taught me to be a better writer and analytical thinker. In addition to Poli Sci, I took a number of economics, accounting, and computer-science classes, all of which have helped me run everything from inventory management to tax preparation to building the website for my own business.
TDO: So, how does Kaeng Raeng work?
LR: Kaeng Raeng follows the principles of a raw vegan diet whereby you abstain from cooked and processed foods and flush your body with 100% natural ingredients. This helps release toxic build-up from your system via the digestive tract.
TDO: Why is Kaeng Raeng freeze-dried?
LR: Making the product freeze-dried wasn’t originally in the plan. However, when I realized how much money I could save the customer by reducing the volume and weight of the shipped product, it was a no-brainer. The reality is, when you buy bottled juice and have it shipped across the country, you are largely paying for them to ship you water. I thought that was silly, so I made ours in powder form. Kaeng Raeng has no preservatives. It is raw, real food, so as soon as you add it to liquid, it will spoil within 12 hours.
TDO: What’s next for you and Kaeng Raeng?
LR: First and foremost, I am dedicated to the company’s original mission: to bring high-quality health to consumers in a safe, convenient, and affordable way. I’m also a vegan and animal rights activist and have used Kaeng Raeng as gentle encouragement for others to embrace a plant-based lifestyle. We actually give a portion of every sale to the Humane Society of the United States. I’ve made a lifetime commitment to natural health and veganism and will stay active in those fields indefinitely.
For Kaeng Raeng, we’re launching our soy-free “green smoothie” in a few months due to popular demand. We’re also working hard to getting into more Whole Foods stores nationwide so customers in every region can find us locally. And we’re committed to supporting small farmers and continuing to buy our produce locally and sustainably. It’s an expensive choice for us, but it’s worth it!
Interview has been condensed and edited.