Cody Blatt has answered his own calling.
When he was young, he self-describes himself as obese, yet he taught himself to pay attention to balanced nutrition and to reading labels. This lead him ultimately to what he says “might have looked sketchy” as he sold people (including law school professors) powdered products out of his locker. It began with a fellow law school classmate noticing Cody’s habit of constantly drinking strange-looking shakes, to others lining up to sample them.
A native Cincinnatian, Blatt graduated from Walnut Hills, went on to George Washington University, and then to UC’s law school. He is on a hiatus from UC as he ramps up what started as his own passion project — mixing ground fruits and vegetables, something he started awhile ago between semesters. Fast forward, a college friend, Joshua Schuman, will move from the Northeast to join this venture that Cody named ilixer.
It is a business for customers who are nutrition and healthy eating advocates.
Blatt gets excited when he talks about his three favorite ingredients: shiitake mushrooms, non-Dutched cocoa, and masa blue corn. While many of us don’t think hard enough about what we put into our bodies, Blatt is staking his claim on paying attention to the benefits of feeding oneself right.
“I heard about a new generation of products that advertised themselves to get all of your nutrition in a day,” he says. “The vitamins and minerals were coming from synthetic sources. On top of that, they were not using a single fruit or vegetable. This was against everything that my parents had taught me. This inspired me to say, ‘What if I could make my own?’”
Blatt was inspired by his younger days, which could be painful as he was often teased about his weight.
“It was difficult with name calling and insecurities,” he says. “One kid was so bad that I had to sit with my mom and the principal.”
When he went to college, while he had lost weight, life had changed. He was excessively busy. Most students grab burgers or eat whatever is handy. He knew this style of eating didn’t work for him.
What he ultimately developed is now known as ilixer: It’s chocolate-cinnamon flavored and is both vegan and gluten free. As a true meal replacement made of real food, it can also be used in recipes. It is made with fruits, vegetables, and super foods, and contains all 27 critical recommended nutrients. It is also willingly in the most highly regulated category that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversees, which is the category of food, versus supplements or meal replacements. This means that when drinking ilixer, one is actually eating real food, not a synthetic.
When asked if it is a weight-loss product, he chuckles and describes one of his customers who has terrible Mondays and has no time for meals and another who mixes it at her desk. While he says that many lose weight with it as part of their diet, that is not its express purpose. It is truly about nutrition and eating well.
“When I first created it, it was for my own lifestyle trajectory; by then I was already thin and wanted to stay at my healthy weight. It is a lifestyle product. People use it to replace unhealthy meals [and] save money at $3.92 per meal with five meals per pouch,” he explains.
While Blatt’s mind is on new products and flavors, it is also squarely on his work with The Brandery, who will help to guide him as he scales the business. What started as passion for his health has become very much about the health of others as well.