When a new member joins the EPIC team, their first assignment is always to understand the company values and sear them into the depths of their soul. The company values, as Taylor likes to remind us, are a moral compass to help guide all our actions and decisions as a company. On an all-company conference call on my first day, I was asked if I could recite the values from memory yet. From the pause in my voice, it was obvious to everyone the new guy was trying to pull up the values on his computer. My first test as the new kid at school, and I had the nerve to ask if it was open-book.
The one value I had committed to memory though was the first: Feed Others as You Wish To Be Fed. When we talk to retailers about why they should carry EPIC, we don’t just show them charts and graphs, we share stories with them about you all, our consumer. We tell retailers about our experiences at events sampling for people who’ve never tried EPIC before. We share stories from our most ardent fans on social media. We try and impress upon them that today, consumers are certainly eating with their heads -- dissecting ingredient labels, poring over macronutrients -- but more importantly, y'all are eating with your hearts. You want your food choices to represent who you are, what you believe, and the impact you want to have on the planet. You want your food choices to be bigger than you. You’re an embodiment of that first value, Feed Others As You Wish To Be Fed.
No time does that value ring truer than when you become a parent. In 2016, five EPIC team members, myself included, fell victim to Bacon Lust, welcoming five baby cubs into the world in a span of 6 months.
I knew parenthood would change my life, and I was anxious about the change. Like many on our team, I’ve always prioritized my nutrition, my food values, and my fitness. I was worried about balancing these priorities with parenthood and quietly wondered if this anxiety just proved how selfish I was. As it turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong. My personal nutrition and fitness didn’t suffer after Alex was born, it's just forced me to simplify. No time to overthink your meals and workouts when you’re drowning in sleep deprivation and spit-up.
And while I don’t think it’d surprise anyone to hear we eat a lot of EPIC, parenthood has only increased how often the team gets “high on our own supply”. Katie depends on the Salmon and Turkey Strips since they can be opened with one-hand, clutch when juggling babies and proteins. My wife Michelle loves the Chicken Bites as her emergency I’m-nursing-and-can’t-reach-anything-outside-of-arms-length-snack. And this commitment to high quality food extends beyond our snacking. Katie’s decided that organic vegetables/fruits and grass-fed meats have gone from ‘nice if available’ to ‘mandatory’ now that she’s nursing.
Clint explained that since a majority of Vivian’s food is homemade, it’s forced him and his wife Lauren to prioritize whole-foods in their diet so they can buy groceries and eat as a family. Turns out our commitment to our personal health wasn’t challenged, but rather emboldened by parenthood. We weren’t too selfish after all, but rather selfless for our offspring.
In the wild, wolf cubs are raised by the entire pack. Non-birth mothers help nurse, and males compete to help babysit. We’re not quite nursing one another's babies (yet?!), but we’re certainly leaning heavily on one another as we embark on the poop-laden journey that is parenthood. Thankfully, EPIC’s values, the moral compass of our professional lives, is one that suits this personal journey just as well.