Natural Foods Merchandiser

40 Under 40: David Wolfe

David Wolfe
Author, founder
Sunfood Nutrition
Lakeside, Calif.
Age: 37

When David Wolfe wrote his first book about raw foods 15 years ago, he single-handedly began a trend that has since spread to kitchens everywhere, from communal hippie crash pads to the mansions of the Hollywood elite. Wolfe, now 37, published The Sunfood Diet Success System in his early 20s, and soon after founded Sunfood Nutrition, one of the oldest Internet retailers of natural products.

" For me, raw foods were a natural progression," he says. " I was always a hippie at heart. My parents are medical doctors, but I never took [allopathic] medicine. Step by step, I was guided to organic foods and then to raw foods, and for 15 years my diet has been entirely raw." Wolfe is also responsible for helping popularize several ‘superfoods' in the natural products marketplace, including goji berries and cacao beans.

Wolfe is recognized as the leading authority on raw foods philosophy, and has written extensively about raw foods and health in the books Eating for Beauty (North Atlantic Books, 2003), Naked Chocolate (North Atlantic Books, 2005), and Amazing Grace (North Atlantic Books, 2008). He believes that a balanced raw diet can not only detoxify the body, but also boost energy and restore health on a molecular level.

In addition to running, Wolfe lectures frequently, leads raw-foods adventures and retreats around the globe, writes poetry, plays drums in a rock band, and has found time to earn degrees in engineering, law and nutrition. His latest project, tentatively called The Longevity Method, is a program designed to help everyone, from naturals newbies to advanced students of nutrition, live longer and fuller lives.

If that weren't enough, Wolfe is also the founder of The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation (, a nonprofit whose goal is to plant 18 billion fruit trees in areas where they'll have the most benefit—including homeless shelters, drug rehab centers, public schools and international hunger-relief sites. " Since I was 14 years old, I've been inspired by self-help literature, and that genre has radically affected my life in positive ways," Wolfe says. " It's helped me to find my purpose and live my dream, which is to share the joy of living food and life-force energy."

What are the biggest challenges facing the naturals industry? From an entrepreneur's perspective, the challenge is convincing investors and venture capitalists to put more money in our industry. At the same time, we have to prevent the corrosion of what we really stand for and make sure that government agencies don't water down the organic standard.

As a little kid, you wanted to grow up to be … When I was 4 years old, I knew my destiny was public speaking. When I was 10, my family went to the Del Mar Fair, and I saw a guy selling a Vitamix blender and doing his spiel and thought, that's what I'm going to do. It's almost like ecstasy, such a bliss state to be in front of a thousand people sharing what I love.

Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 8/p. 38

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