Health Podcast Post

Maui Wildfire Relief with Jaron Lukas

George Grombacher August 23, 2023

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Maui Wildfire Relief with Jaron Lukas

LifeBlood: We talked about helping with the maui wildfire relief efforts, specifically helping the over 3,000 displaced dogs by donating over $30K in dog food, the impact healthy food can have on a dog’s life and health span, key differences between brands, and how to get involved, with Jaron Lukas, serial entrepreneur, Founder of the sustainably-focused dog food brand YumWoof.       

Listen to learn about why dog food doesn’t need to be dog food!

You can learn more about Jaron at, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Jaron Lukas

Jaron Lukas

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
John Lucas is the founder of the sustainably focused dog food brand young Wolf, and they are donating $30,000 of dog food to relief efforts for the Maui wildfire victims. John reached out to me a couple of days ago telling me about what they’re doing and wanted to have him on the show to talk about it. So welcome, Jaron.

Jaron Lukas 0:25
George, thank you so much for having me, covering what we’re doing in Maui. And I’m excited to be here.

george grombacher 0:32
Yeah, yeah, me too. I appreciate it. So John, tell us a bit about your personal lives more about your work and why it is you’re doing what you’re doing? Yeah, certainly,

Jaron Lukas 0:41
well, my name is Gerren. Lucas, and I live in Austin, Texas. And, you know, on a personal note, very big comedy fan, lover of nature, like I love hiking, I love traveling the world, that’s always been a big part of my life. And, you know, I, I’ve had quite the journey, you know, as a daily meditator that has it for about five years now, that has really, I think, played a really important part in where I’m at today, because I like to joke with people that I started out as an evil investment banker in oil and gas. And that actually isn’t that part. That’s a joke. That is true. And, but the funny part is that people who knew me back then would probably be surprised to see what I’m doing today. And so, you know, I started out in finance, I eventually moved to New York City where I started one of the first venture capital backed Bitcoin exchanges. And I ran that there from 2013 to 2016. I eventually figured out that that wasn’t going to fulfill me. And so through that whole process, and selling that company in 2016, to crack in it, it kind of led to this personal journey where I first realized that all of my skin allergies are actually food allergies. So like doctors are shooting me up with all sorts of steroids and stuff. And just turns out if I don’t eat nuts, seeds, and eggs, I’m perfectly fine. So you know, that revelation combined with really starting to feel like even though tech I do think helps the world, I don’t think that it helps the world in the most fundamental ways. Like, at the end of the day, people’s health and happiness really does rely on nutrition. And so that’s what led me into this deep dive that after, you know, learning, I have these food allergies, really starting to see the importance of of nutrition. I ended up doing this deep dive on 3000 clinical studies since really starting to form Yum, woof. So Yum, woof is my dog food brand, that my wife and I run in Austin, and we make all natural, non GMO air dried dog food. We have a variety of really cool, nice products. And really, I think one of the reasons people come to us is we we use what I’ve called cocoa mega super fats. And so like absolutely no seed oils, we’re super anti seed oils, our never list of ingredients is very long, too. So you know, everything’s low carb, which I think speaks to the fact that we don’t use fillers. But all of this has really kind of, I’ve tried to summarize it in this book that I wrote and launched earlier this year called the canine Coco mega effect. And in that I really talked about what fats to feed our dogs to help them live longer. And I also kind of zoned in on this coke Omega effect, which has, over the past three years really recent research supporting how combining coconut oil and omega threes in both dogs and humans have these synergistic properties with each other on the actual, like biochemical level, so like, when we eat them both at the same time, all these reactions are happening that resulted in greater microbiome diversity. So anyone who wants to nerd out on that, feel free to read my book, I go into 162 clinical studies on that topic. But you know, we we’ve really tried to create our food around that really tried to perfect it in every way as possible. Some, some would argue we’ve over perfected it. And I would certainly argue that at this point. But you know, just trying to do the best we can and really follow our passions and my passion. So you know, now, as you mentioned, this month, we just announced that we are donating $30,000 worth of our dog food to Maui, the Maui Humane Society in particular. And, you know, really, really happy to be doing that. It was kind of a crazy story on how this all happened. Basically, an LA tan talent manager friend of mine or Gelbe introduced me to Chef Gordon. Herb is super passionate about Maui. And so his kind of passion. I’ve been to Maui and I absolutely feel a connection to it too. I think almost everyone I meet who has gone to Maui feels this way. Some would argue because it has some of the newest volcanic land on Earth that there is like a spiritual kind of element to that as well. Definitely an interesting part of it. And, you know, Earth connected me with this guy, Shep Gordon in Maui. So, people who don’t know sharp go watch the documentary Mike Myers did on him called Superman edge, you’ll learn how he’s been Alice Cooper’s manager since before Alice was famous in the 60s up until today, they’re still best friends. But this guy like basically moved to LA one day I met Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, the first day he was there, and the rest was kind of history. And now, you know, many call him the unofficial mayor of of Maui, and he’s hooked us up completely, like he hooked us up with the foundation we need on the ground. He hooked us up with this company, Rome, Maui, that is shipping our food there, you know, something that’s not cheap to do. So thankful to have them because we couldn’t have done it without Rome. And so they’re going to be carrying our food to, to Maui on their Boeing 730 sevens. And, you know, we’re, we’re just really happy to provide high quality food to all these dogs there, there are 3000, at least that we know of 3000 displaced dogs on Maui. You know, a lot of them, when you start to see the pictures and hear the stories, there is a big fire out there. So there are a lot of burned paws, a lot of even more serious injuries. And, and these are, these are dogs who have been displaced from their families. So you know, you you We had these people who were living happy dog families on on one day and the next. They don’t know if their dog is alive. They don’t they certainly aren’t there to feed their dog. And so that’s the role that we’re trying to step into temporarily play.

george grombacher 7:18
Well, thank you for doing that.

Jaron Lukas 7:21
It’s my pleasure. Well, this whole thing, because I’ve been spending the last year and a half, really trying to figure out what the greater purpose that I wanted yum within my own personal life to serve. When I’m 80 years old, what do I want to look back and see. And, you know, I’ve I’ve been spending a year and a half really trying to figure this out. And this, you know, I’m a very, I don’t like to call myself an environmentalist. I like to call myself a lover of the planet. But I’m certainly concerned about everything that’s happening with climate change. And, unfortunately, I came to the realization that I can’t stop it. So the one thing that I know is going to happen is as this keeps getting worse, more and more families are going to get displaced along our lifetimes, you know, as ocean levels rise, and the majority of humans live near near sea level. So, you know, unfortunately, I think it’s pretty reasonable to assume that people are going to get displaced for many hundreds of years to come. And so I’ve put it as really young Wolf’s mission to keep stepping in on that are so this whole thing has inspired me to form the yumbo of cares charity foundation, which is something that we’re going to be doing in the next few months ahead. We’re actively working on that right now. And part of the goal that we’re going to have there tying into Yarmouth is continuing to help in these disaster relief situations predominantly as a cause of climate change,

george grombacher 9:03
makes a ton of sense. So, you may have told you may have mentioned this, why why dogs, you could have made any kind of food Geron

Jaron Lukas 9:13
you know, the the bond that humans have with dogs has been going on for 30,000 years now. I think it’s such an important part of my human experience and 40% of Americans at least that’s like the percentage of Americans who have dogs. So, and it’s not going away, like I when I left tech, as I mentioned before, I wanted to do something that was in an industry that is always going to be here. In fact, that’s one of my real gripes about crypto. That’s kind of a whole other conversation. But anyone who you know, wants to spend an hour with me chatting about that we’ll learn that. You know, I don’t like industries that are kinda like here today gone tomorrow. I don’t like industries that are kind of like based on asset value appreciation, I prefer something where it’s serving a basic human need. It’s always going to be here. And when you look at, you know, the last 12 or so 1000 years of human history, the same basic needs ever since the agricultural revolution are pretty much the same. And dogs have been with us since before that. And so when you look at what humanity has become, and dogs role in that, I think they play a permanent place in our hearts. It’s something where any, you know, any dog lover, is, you know, knows that there’s this bond that we can feel. And the thing is, is that most dog food out there is absolute garbage. You know, all you have to do is go to Petco or PetSmart, or most veterinary clinics, unfortunately, and you’ll, you’ll see some of these brands like Hills Purina, all dry kibble is bad I go, that’s one of the first things I talk about in my book, because we all kind of recognize that it’s highly processed. And you know, anyone who looks into hot extrusion, which is the cooking method, it’s like, we’re pushing foods, or we are not doing that. But, you know, yumbo fuses so much better air drying method. But you know, the dry kibble manufacturers, they’re pushing these ingredients through, through these machines, they’re grinding machines at high heat and high pressure. And not only does that grind the nutrients down, but it actually oxidizes all the fats. And so my book being primarily about Super fats, as I you know, these Coco mega super fats, well, you know, oxidizing fats is a huge problem, because it turns them into free radicals. And so when free radicals essentially tear cells apart, so that’s a big reason why so many dogs get cancer these days. It’s a big reason why we see so much disease like even to renal failure, you know, you wouldn’t think that like kidney disease might have to do with free radicals and dry kibble, but it absolutely does. And so these are, these are complex topics. But there’s a there’s a solid reason why feeding our dogs natural food, helps them live at least two years longer. And always, it always makes me a little sad, disappointed when I’ll talk to someone who has a seven year old dog. And, you know, they’ll say like, oh, well, he’s getting old. And I’ll ask what they’re feeding them. And it’s usually one of these offer mentioned brands who have, you know, just not even not only is it dry kibble, but just absolutely terrible ingredients. So, you know, those same dogs could probably be living five years longer, when, you know, I hope to educate more people on that, that’s, you know, been a big part of my personal life mission over the last few years. And, you know, but we can take more and more steps. I mean, the step one is just like not feeding our dog dry kibble. The second step is, is like going towards one of these better cooking methods. Low temperature, fresh food, dehydrated food, freeze dried food, or my personal favorite air dried food, these these cooking methods, take away a lot of the problems associated with just all all these vet bills that that people have to pay. So those are things that really drive me there. They’re big reasons why I started the company. And if, you know, people can tell I’m obviously a huge dog lover. And so I’ve just decided to follow my passions and do things that are going to fulfill me and dogs are certainly that.

george grombacher 14:02
Well, I appreciate that you you answered a lot of my questions as curious about the air drying the air drying of food, what the what the opposite of that is and that it oxidizes the fats. That’s really, really interesting. And it certainly doesn’t surprise me. When I say dog food, you know, I use that as a negative term for all food. It’s like dog food because you know, kibbles or whatever it is, it’s absolute crap and processed food if I a processed food exclusively, I would die easily five years before I’ve showed if not many, many years before, so why wouldn’t my dog? Yeah,

Jaron Lukas 14:39
that’s really funny. You say that George? Because I, I Yeah. We do kind of talk about dog food as a bad thing. And the funny thing is, is especially just I hear this over and over again, people say, you know, I feed my dog better than me. And so you, you know, maybe in the future Dog Food will be considered like, okay, like you’re just eating fast food like no man, you should eat some dog food like get Let’s Get Healthy here.

george grombacher 15:09
Stop the insanity, have some dog food instead. Maybe you think, what’s what’s, what’s the odds on that? Jaren?

Jaron Lukas 15:18
I’ll work on it. I’ll try to push culture in that direction.

george grombacher 15:22
Perfect, perfect, perfect. And I also really appreciate that you’re doing your daily meditations for five years. And of course, you would think if I’m 80 years old, or when I’m 80 Looking back over my life, what do I want to have done? So what a wonderful thought exercise? And what a wonderful thing that you’re doing, of putting your money where your mouth is, and your food where dogs who are need their mouths are? So how can people help? How can they get involved?

Jaron Lukas 15:52
Well, I encourage viewers to please go to Jumbo, we’re basically explaining, you know, what yum was doing there. And then we’ll we’ll optionally for anyone who so chooses have a way for people to donate, so that more dogs can keep getting fed there over the next few months. And yeah, I really appreciate anyone who can contribute, participate, or just even help us get the word out, like, you know, definitely sharing, you know, all of this that we’re doing with friends goes a long way and helping us achieve our mission and just getting more dogs fat in Maui.

george grombacher 16:30
3000 dogs is, that’s, that is a lot. Do you have a sense of and y’all have already donated $30,000 worth of food? How, how many days worth of food is that for 3000 dogs?

Jaron Lukas 16:49
Well, and especially since our food is very high quality, it’s um, you know, we’re going for the nutrition play. And luckily, these dogs do have, you know, they I don’t think they’re they Fortunately, there are lower quality options that will maybe fill in any gaps. But you know, I think that we will really play a substantial part in this first month, that, you know, they’ll have our food at the Maui Humane Society. I’m hoping to send five times more food there in September. So that’s really my mission. I am, like doing a bunch of reset, reach out to people to hopefully achieve that. And, you know, $30,000 is, it’s, you know, I know that I came from crypto in the past, but like, that is a lot of money for me. And so for for my wife and I and so, you know, we’re doing as much as we possibly can. But we want to just because like we really set up everything that’s needed to get food delivered to dogs, including, like getting it flown there. You know, we’re really trying to do everything we can to help and just keep getting more food over there. Yeah,

george grombacher 18:03
I appreciate it very much. Well, Jaron, thank you so much for coming on. If you enjoyed this as much as I did, sharing your appreciation and share today’s show with somebody else who appreciates good ideas, who loves dogs, who loves dogs and appreciates good ideas go to yum Woof woof

Jaron Lukas 18:24
ay ay b if they can’t if they can’t remember it. Now then, I think I think that’s good. But yeah, everyone go to yum I’m Jaron Lucas on Instagram and shoot me a DM if I can help or your dog related nutrition questions. I also do 10 Nutrition calls every week. So like, I talked to pet parents who have whose dogs have some of the craziest allergies, diabetes got health issues, like all pancreatitis, I mean, the list goes on. But yeah, if you have a dog and you’re not quite sure what to do there, and like maybe that’s haven’t answered it or like you don’t want to pay for expensive vet bills. I can give you some some pretty knowledgeable feedback on your dog’s nutrition.

george grombacher 19:17
Awesome. Well, again, yum And then learn all about everything else that Jared has been talking about and have, find a deeper appreciation for the importance of feeding your dog quality food, just like it’s really important for you to feed yourself quality foods. So again, young and I’ll link everything else in the notes of the show. Thanks again, John.

Jaron Lukas 19:46
Thanks so much, George for having me.

george grombacher 19:49
And until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

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