LYFE Fuel: The Ultimate Plant Fuel for Life

9 min read

key takeaways:
  • His experience of living in Italy, extensive nutritional  research, and personal experimentation inspired Chris to switch from a carnivorous diet to fueling up with plants.
  • Busy lifestyles lead to unintended health consequences that can be improved through whole food nutrition.
  • LYFE Fuel along with the LYFE Transformation program was created to help anyone transition from a standard American diet to a healthier lifestyle. 

LYFE Fuel Founder, Chris Manderino, shares his personal transformation from NFL fullback to plant-based nutrition expert and entrepreneur.  Learn why upgrading the fuel you put in your tank will have the biggest impact on your health.

LYFE. What does it mean? Why are we here? What is our purpose?

These are the questions that mankind has struggled with since the dawn of time.

I’m no enlightened philosopher, but the common consensus is that put simply, life is all about the pursuit of happiness.

The key word being pursuit, which means the action of following or chasing someone or something; to continue along a path.

In other words, “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

So the question really becomes, what can we do each waking moment to give us the happiness that we so desire?

For me, the meaning of LYFE is to “Live Your Fullest Everyday.”

Life Fuel vs. LYFE Fuel: What's The Difference?

If there's one thing that I learned in my journey from being a walk-on at the University of California, Berkeley to making it to the NFL, it's to never lose sight of your vision and to have a very clear purpose in mind before pursuing any goal.

During the most difficult times, it is this purpose (a.k.a. Your "Why") that will help you overcome the countless obstacles you face along the way.

At LYFE Fuel, it was critical for us to integrate our "WHY" into everything we do.

It's why we chose, LYFE Fuel (not Life Fuel) as our brand name and the outstretched arms in the shape of a Y as the core symbol in our tree of LYFE logo.

For us, this "Y" is the single source of truth that guides our decision-making.

It's the recipe behind our success and the thing that continues to separate us from the competition.

We started LYFE Fuel back in 2016, long before "plant-based" became en vogue.

The decision for us was a simple one.

There was simply an overwhelming amount of evidence demonstrating that plant-based fuel was a superior choice for both performance and the planet.

The initial concept for LYFE Fuel was to create a delicious and nutritious all-in-one shake that would restore the essential nutrients missing from modern diets without trading health for convenience.

From the very beginning, we've been on a mission to create the cleanest, most nutrient-dense fuel on the planet and to build a brand of purpose that empowers our community to "Live Your Fullest Every Day."

Now, five years in and ready to take a big leap forward in our journey, I'm proud to say that being a bootstrapped small business taught us a lot!

There have been many great wins and also some tough setbacks, all of which have made us stronger and closer to achieving the long-term vision we have as a company.

From beginning to end, LYFE Fuel exists to provide the education and nutrition that we need now more than ever.

What Does Living Your Fullest Every Day Mean?

This means different things to different people.

To me, as a founder, husband, and leader, it means waking up with energy, investing in my health, striving for constant growth and improvement, embracing change, doing things I enjoy, and spending time with the people I love.

These are the things that give me purpose, provide a sense of fulfillment, and make me feel alive.

In my personal journey I have found that there is one underlying factor that significantly impacts everything else; my health.

It’s ironic that the one thing that is so fundamental to our livelihood is something that most of us know so little about.

There are so many conflicting messages on how to live and eat healthily.

Each new year brings about another fad diet, fitness trend, or newly discovered supplement that claims to be the secret to looking and feeling great.

The truth is, there is no magic bullet and fads will continue to come and go without any sustainable results.

The only way to achieve lasting results is to live by a set of principles that guide behavior to instill healthy habits, which ultimately shapes who we are.

It’s impossible to follow every piece of health advice out there and doing so, may actually be unhealthy as this TED TALK by AJ Jacobs points out.

Why Living Like an Italian Is the Key to Longevity

So, what are these “principles” that lead to health and longevity?

In 2004, Dan Buettner teamed up with National Geographic with that specific goal at hand.

Their mission was to identify pockets in the world where people live longer, healthier lives compared to here in the U.S. In these “Blue Zones” they found that people reach age 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States and maintain a high quality, active life.

My experience living abroad in Italy opened my eyes to the stark contrast between our two cultures and some of the reasons why despite America being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, we are one of the sickest.  

Many of my personal observations were in line with what the researchers discovered in their study.

How could a country that we identify with pizza, pasta, gelato and chain-smoking actually be healthier as a population than the U.S.?

3 Key Principles for Better Health

It's pretty simple. If you want to feel better, look better, and get more out of life, start following these 3 tips immediately.

1. Walk More and Seek Out Opportunities to Move Your Body

Too many of us move from one box to another without taking the time to move naturally.

We go from home to the car, to work and back with very little physical activity and movement in between.

Walking for just 30 minutes per day can have profound health benefits.

The grandmothers in Italy walk to the market every day to get fresh produce and groceries they use in their simple and delicious dishes.

2. Eat Nutrient-Dense Whole Foods

In Italy, the food is simple but extremely high quality.

Meat consumption is significantly lower than it is in the U.S. and people generally consume a diet rich in plant-based foods that provide healthy antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals.

Related Post: Essential Nutrition for Optimal Wellness

3. Avoid Ultra-Processed Foods

In the face-paced world of today, it's nearly impossible to completely avoid processed foods unless you're growning all your own food.

The problem with this on-the-go lifestyle is that it creates the need for fast fuel which often means trading convenience for health.

Busy lifestyles make it challenging to prepare wholesome, delicious and nutritious meals so instead we reach for what is quick and easy.

The majority of convenient foods lack real nutrition and contain more harmful ingredients than health promoting nutrients.

In Italy, you won't find a fast food joint on every corner and it's still common practice to enjoy an hour or two in the afternoon to enjoy lunch and dinner around the table with friends and family.

What I noticed while living abroad in Italy is that people generally walked more, the food was simple and of higher quality, portion sizes were smaller, they ate a predominantly plant-based diet, there wasn’t a fast-food joint on every corner, they had tight-knit social groups, a sense of community, and people took the time to enjoy life, be present, and slow down.

It’s no wonder that by comparison, the U.S. has a population of ⅔ being overweight, ⅓ of which is considered obese, whereas in Italy, less than half the population is overweight and under 10% obese.

The Cause for Plant-Based Nutrition

Shortly after returning from Italy in 2006, I took a job working for a nutraceutical company in the obesity medicine and weight loss surgery space.

The obesity epidemic in the U.S. was at an all-time high with no signs of slowing down.

Additionally, diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and other chronic illnesses were also skyrocketing.

Despite the advances in western medicine, our health was deteriorating at an alarming rate.

So what was it that was making us so sick?

The answer? Our FOOD!

Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.

- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

As one of the leading countries in meat consumption per capita in the world, we have literally become a society of pigs and cows.

In addition to declining health, the industrial raising of livestock for food and the clearing of forests to support this growing demand is the second leading contributor to greenhouse gases, resulting in more harmful emissions than the entire transportation sector combined.

The documentaries “Cowspiracy” and “What the Health” do an excellent job at shedding light on this global issue, which is one of the most pressing social and environmental concerns facing society today.

How we choose to address this issue will determine the future of our planet and life as we know it.

I'm convinced that changing what we eat is the number one thing that each of us can do to restore our health and save the planet.

As a lifelong athlete, I always considered myself to be in good health.

However, it wasn’t until after my professional career as an NFL Fullback that I truly began to understand the impact that diet has on health and performance.

Having bulked up to a massive 240 lbs to be competitive at my position required me to consume an extraordinary amount of calories every day.

The focus was much less on the quality of food.

It was all about quantity.

Eating this way was exhausting.

I had constant heartburn, felt tired and sluggish after meals, and had pain and inflammation throughout my body.

The common prescription for dealing with these symptoms was pharmaceutical drugs and pain medication, which did little to nothing to address the root cause.

Even though I had reached a state of elite-level athleticism, I began to question whether I was actually “healthy”.

Unhappy with the way I looked and felt at this size, I decided to make some changes. 

My desire to change compelled me to start with the science.

I began to study various dietary and training theories to get educated on the subject.

I read over 50 different books from all the best dietary experts, bodybuilders, exercise physiologists, and nutrition scientists.

Despite a myriad of varying viewpoints, there was one fundamental theme that most experts seemed to agree upon.

The consensus was that eating a predominantly plant-based diet is the most important thing you can do for your health.

So that’s exactly what I did.

Making the shift from eating animal protein at every meal and guzzling down whey protein shakes to build muscle wasn't a simple adjustment.

It certainly wasn't a transition that I was able to make overnight.

For me, it was a gradual process that adapted and changed over time as I experimented with various diets to find out what worked best for me and fit with the lifestyle I wanted to achieve.

I tried everything from the Zone, to paleo, to slow-carb, low-carb, low-fat, keto, pescatarian, vegetarian, flexitarian, the cabbage soup diet, the South Beach diet, the spartan diet, the warrior diet, you name it.

My primary objective to this dieting roller coaster was to gain a better understanding of how each diet affected the way I looked and felt.

My conclusion was that there is no one perfect diet.

What works for me may be different than what works for someone else.

I learned that the real secret to attaining optimal wellness was not in any one diet but rather in being more mindful about where our food comes from and know the source of the fuel I was putting in my body.

Diets tend to have a short-term frame of mind and temporary results.

For sustainable results and to thrive, what I needed was a set of principles to guide my choices and behaviors.

What I needed was to live a LYFESTYLE committed to health with the objective of optimal wellness and high performance.

I didn’t just want to survive, I wanted to THRIVE!

Having finally cleaned up my diet, I was feeling great and was in the best shape of my life, however, there was still something lacking.

Constantly on the go and traveling frequently for both business and pleasure, I found it difficult to find convenient and healthy options to fuel my body and mind throughout the day.

My experience as a nutraceutical sales rep for Metagenics opened the door to functional plant-based nutrition.  During my time working with functional medicine experts and bariatric surgeons, I learned about key nutrient categories that the majority of Americans aren't getting through food alone, even when following a healthy whole food plant-based diet.

This promble becomes even more pronounced when following a more restrictive diet like veganism or keto because we miss out on important nutrients from foods that we’ve consumed for thousands of years.

Nutrients like prebiotic-rich fiber, essential omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, magnesium, and others become more difficult to get through diet, which is why many vegans experience the symptom known as a failure to thrive.

In an attempt to fill these nutritional gaps in my own diet, I found myself taking a handful of supplements each day and sucking down numerous whey protein shakes that often left me gassy and bloated.

I was finding that eating healthy was becoming just as much of a chore as eating to play in the NFL.

Physically I was on the right side of the health spectrum - I was being proactive about my health by being mindful about how I was fueling and moving my body.

It was simply part of my lifestyle now.

But, keeping up with the daily supplement regimen was downright dizzying.

My medicine cabinet was beginning to look a lot like someone who was suffering from chronic illness.

Plus, I had no clear way to measure whether all the pills and shakes were actually having the intended effect.

Looking for answers, I began to dig even deeper into the manufacturing processes and ingredients within the products I was taking.

What I learned was shocking!

Why I Believe LYFE Fuel is the Future of Nutrition

Turns out that all the pills, powders, and capsules that I was taking were derived from synthetic ingredients that come with a lot of chemical additives and hidden excipients...many of which aren’t listed on the label because there is no federal requirement to do so.

I learned that 99.9% of supplements on the market are made using the same methods, the majority of which are petroleum-based chemical compounds and not derived from real whole foods.

I began searching for a complete product that addressed these concerns but failed to find anything on the market that delivered what I was looking for - a complete solution that provided all the essential nutrients that every human needs to look, feel and perform their best.

Given my experience within the functional medicine and clinical nutrition settings, I was looking for a product that was created using evidence-based science, not just flashy marketing, but failed to find anything on the market.

As the story with all great business ventures goes, there was a problem I was trying to solve and couldn’t find a solution for.

So, we decided to create it.

And thus, LYFE Fuel was born.

LYFE Fuel is our solution to many of the health challenges that exist in modern western lifestyles.

The food we eat today isn't as nutrient-dense as it was 50 years ago.

Combine this with the fast-paced lifestyles we live which leads to less than desirable food choices and you get the public health crisis we find ourselves in now.

We want to change this.

We believe healthy and convenient can and should go hand-in-hand.

Taking a holistic and comprehensive approach to wellness, there are three core pillars that guide us on our mission; quality, efficacy, and sustainability.

By starting with nature's finest ingredients that are clinically studied for efficacy and third-party tested for purity and potency, LYFE Fuel has created a revolutionary approach to wellness.

When you put the best fuel in your tank, you get more out of life.

LYFE Fuel is the resulting culmination of my personal quest for living a fulfilled, purpose-driven, and healthy lifestyle.

It was created for like-minded individuals seeking to optimize wellness through real whole food nutrition instead of chemically-derived synthetic supplements and ultraprocessed packaged foods.

Created by nature. Rooted in Science. Designed for Modern Lifestyles - LYFE Fuel is premium plant-powered fuel for high performing humans.

As LYFE continues to evolve, our goal is to create a holistic wellness platform through which we share our passion for living an active and healthy LYFESTYLE with the world while striving to make a positive impact on the planet and build the future we imagine.

As a company, we are committed to sustainable and conscious commerce, producing comprehensive, high-quality, efficacious products, and building a culture of giving.

We are thrilled to share LYFE Fuel with the world and hope you will join us on our mission to inspire and empower change toward a healthier future by producing the most nutrient-dense products on the planet.

I've personally experienced the transformative results of fueling my body with real whole food.  It has had a marked improvement on my physiology, biochemistry, and overall wellbeing. 

Most importantly, I'm constantly inspired by the incredible stories shared by friends, family, and others in our community that have also transformed their lives through the power of plants!

It's my life's purpose to inspire others to join the movement toward conscious consumption, living mindfully, and knowing that what we choose to put in our bodies is the ultimate decision we can all make for our health and the future of humanity.

I invite you to join us on this mission by taking back control of your health so that you may live out your true purpose and finally discover what the meaning of life is for you.

Every Journey Begins With Just One Step

Getting started on a whole food plant-based diet is now easier than ever with LYFE Fuel's comprehensive nutrition program.

The LYFE Transformation Program was created to help you make healthy and sustainable changes that will amplify your health and empower you to live your fullest everyday.

The 21-day program distills years of nutritional research and personal experimentation into an easy-to-follow program that will guide you along your journey toward improved health & happiness.  

Start Your Transformation

Disclaimer: The LYFE Fuel blog is for informational purposes only. The information does not serve as a replacement for professional medical advice or treatment. We kindly ask you not to ignore professional medical advice because of any information you’ve read on If you have any concerns about your health, please consult a physician or appropriate health care expert.