Breaking Social Norms
Story & Photos by Lisa Anderson
1,508 Experiments: Healthy Cheese Inventor Almost Quit Before His Big Discovery
Imagine being 26 years old with three young children at home, and a panel of doctors tell you they think you have an incurable disease and to come back when you lose bodily functions. They’ll probably be able to give you an exact diagnosis, then. That’s exactly what happened to Marilyn Lahr in the early 1970s. When she climbed into her car, something snapped, and she wasn’t going to lie down and take it. “I just made up my mind that there was something out there that was going to make me well again, and I began a quest of living naturally.
“I’m 78 years old. I’m on no medications. I have no major health problems. I’ve never had an organ fail me or anything like that.”
Marilyn has been involved with multiple companies over the years. She’s been a part of advisory boards and has studied alongside their scientists and doctors. “Along the way, I’ve found something that has obviously helped me, but just a little over a year ago, I met this man.” She points to the 79-year-old man seated next to her.
Angelo Morini is the founder and CEO of Anutra® Grains: World’s Healthiest Whole Food™. It took several conversations before he told Marilyn what he did, but as the information poured out, she thought, “This was the answer to my prayer when I was 26 years old.”
Now Marilyn is the Vice President of Marketing for Anutra®, but Angelo’s story starts even further back than Marylin’s quest to live a healthier life.
“In 1963 I worked for my father,” Angelo begins. “I was going back and forth commuting in a station wagon. My dad couldn’t really pay me very much money, like five dollars a week.”
His father owned four grocery stores, but in a world where big supermarkets were beginning to take over, Angelo’s dad was struggling to pay his 100-plus workers. Angelo, who lived in Pennsylvania, had just returned from the Navy and was studying to be a doctor—hence, his daily commute.
To earn a little more money and to help his dad’s stores, Angelo began selling pizzas. The only problem was their pizza supplier refused to deliver pizzas any other day but Thursday. The pizzas would often sell out by Saturday, and Angelo was getting frustrated with the poor service.
He convinced his father to allow him to make the pizzas in their bakery and sell them in the store. The smells wafting from the basement kitchen were enough to increase business for his father. As the pizza demand grew, Angelo struck out on his own, and he found himself with another supply problem.
The local cheese maker refused to make mozzarella, and the castoffs from his Swiss cheese, called grinders, weren’t enough to keep up with Angelo’s demands. “I went outside to a farm area, and I put my foot up on this fence. I was looking at these cows eating grass. I said, ‘Gee-whiz, cows are eating grass, and we make cheese out of the milk. Why don’t I find a way to get the amino acids out of the milk?’ I did it after 1,507 experiments.”
And just like that, a healthier cheese was brought to market. It’s a bit like the TikTok videos where we “get to the good part,” but Angelo almost gave up one experiment before he cracked the code. “It was New Year’s Eve, and everyone was going out. I had a date with this girl in Washington, D.C., and I call her up about 10:00 and said, ‘I’m sorry. I just can’t make it because I’m on the verge of a major discovery.’ I was desperate.”
At this point, his brother, a chemical engineer, was telling him to quit, and Angelo had been hearing about several other people across the globe that were trying to do the same thing. “It was 1:30 in the morning, and I was thinking, maybe it’s the last night I do this.”
Angelo had nailed the flavor, but he couldn’t get the shreds to melt. That was until that night on the 1,508th try, when the cheese expanded and then melted. That fateful night eventually brought about the public company Galaxy Nutritional Foods, which, interestingly enough, went public in 1987 on the Thursday before Black Monday (a stock market crash that occurred when the DJIA lost almost 22 percent in a single day). However, the company survived the crash. “We ended up selling in 30 countries. We were the largest company at what we did.”
Galaxy Nutritional Foods is the maker of Go Veggies®. “In 2002, I was pushed out. Serendipitously, I received a phone call from Dr. Norman Borlaug, who won the Nobel [Peace] Prize,” states Angelo.
That phone call is the reason Anutra® exists. Dr. Borlaug asked him to investigate the ancient grain Salvia Hispanica L. (aka chia) and find a way to bring its beneficial properties to market.
Now, Angelo and Marilyn are on a mission to bring good health and help small businesses and solopreneurs, and they have even partnered with the charity organization Hope Springs International.
“We’re so proud to say that the home of the world’s healthiest food is here in Ocala,” Marilyn concludes.
To learn more about Angelo and Marilyn visit anutra.com.