*Update, I received a letter (dated November 23rd, 2013) from Todd Fitts the owner of Improv’eat, stating he wanted me to retract my blog post below and issue him an official apology!
See a copy of his threatening letter to me below:
First of all I do not take to threats very well, as you might want to research my background a little better Mr. Fitts. Secondly, do not tell me to remove a piece of evidence without presenting contradictory evidence of your own. Present legitimate test results in writing, not a pinky swear from your supposed unnamed vendor, and I will gladly present it with all the other facts outlined in this post in a fair and unbiased way.
Per the request of Mr. Fitts I have removed all images of Improv’eat’s products.
I think this letter by Mr. Fitts presents a very clear picture of what he is all about and the products he represents. I have received harassing and threatening e-mails from his minions, and had to threaten legal action in order for them to stop. I find these tactics highly offensive, and a black mark on the health industry as a whole. A good company with a solid reputation, backed by high quality products would never act in this way. I’m truly saddened that it has come to threatening letters instead of what is the most important matter, providing the public with a high quality health product. May I say Mr. Fitts it appears your time and effort are focused in the wrong area.
Start of original story:
It has gotten pretty hot lately on Facebook and some blogs between Julian Bakery’s Paleo Wraps and Improv’eat’s Pure Wraps. The big stink seems to be who has the right to reproduce and sell these coconut derived wraps. As most of you know, I use Julian Bakery products myself and with my clients with great results. But I was a Pure Wraps promoter when they first came out and referred the product to many people. Anyone who is familiar with my Primal Power Method series and blog knows I’m the Switzerland of the Primal/Paleo community. Because of my background as a former Special Agent with the FDA and US Department of Health and Human Services, I’m very skeptical of all food products. Everyone also knows I’m not afraid to voice my opinion, even if someone’s feelings get hurt. Heath, the owner of Julian Bakery, has learned this first hand and he respects me for that.
Here is a little background on my experiences with both Paleo Wraps and Pure Wraps:
I was first introduced to Pure Wraps about a year ago at the Weston A. Price Foundation Conference. I particularly liked their curry version, as it was different from the other coconut wraps I had tried in the past. While visiting their booth at the conference I found that they sold their wraps at Jimbo’s in San Diego, which is my primary healthy grocery store. Unfortunately, when I searched for them in my local store I couldn’t find them and discovered from the store manager they were on backorder. Around a month later I got my hands on my first batch and bought both the straight coconut and curry flavors. I definitely liked them and began to recommend them to clients as a great alternative to grains, which I teach are something to avoid in today’s foods due to many inflammatory issues caused in the human digestive system.
Shortly after I started purchasing and recommending Pure Wraps, things started to get interesting. First they were always sold out and I could never find them, secondly I started to have an immune reaction to the product. The first part was understandable because it was a new product, but the second concerned me. I noticed I would become asthmatic; my eyes would burn and I would get a headache after eating the Pure Wraps. I even went as far as to eat them on an empty stomach to make sure it was not another food item I was reacting to. Sure enough it was the Pure Wraps, which I found strange, because I have no allergies to coconut or sea salt. With this reaction I knew immediately something was amiss about the product and I stopped recommending it and took it off my Facebook page. Everyone knows I take a great deal of care recommending products due to my background. Matter of fact, I believe I’m the only person in the Primal/Paleo industry who extensively tests products on myself before selling or recommending them. Needless to say, if it doesn’t pass my quality standards it will never be mentioned or recommended in any of my writings.
The strange thing is, after I noticed I was having a reaction to the Pure Wrap product, it flat out disappeared off the market and has not been seen for around a year now. Being a former criminal investigator for the government, this raises all kinds of red flags with Pure Wraps. So it was off my list of products and would not return considering my experience with them and unexplained disappearance. Recently, I found out from tests that Julian Bakery conducted on Pure Wraps paper in the packaging tested positive for chlorine, which possibly explains the physiological reaction I had. I’m not stating this as an absolute fact, but the coincidence is an interesting piece to my story. The above reaction I had is consistent with an allergic reaction when being exposed to chlorine according to www.healthguideinfo.com:
The following symptoms may be present in people who have an allergy to chlorine and are exposed to the chemical by means of swimming, ingesting water, or using a chlorinated bleach:
• Skin rash or itch - An allergy can cause the skin to appear red and blotchy and can cause itching or soreness.
• Watery, red, and itchy eyes - A chlorine allergy that affects the eyes can be treated with antihistamine eye drops.
• Runny nose or sinus problems - Pain in the sinus cavities and a runny nose sometimes indicate an allergy to chlorinated water or products.
• Breathing, wheezing, and other asthma symptoms - Exposure to chlorine can hinder an allergic person’s ability to breathe properly and may also cause the onset of asthma.
See below for the test results (as provided by Julian Bakery) of packaging paper in Pure Wraps and Paleo Wraps. (Pure Wraps are the brown paper, Paleo Wraps are white paper)
In addition to the above test results, I found this interesting piece of information talking about how the owner of Pure Wraps wants to make his wraps in isolated areas of the Philippines (I would guess the jungle) in 20 to 40-foot shipping containers. Hmmmm… I’m pretty sure that is against every importation and manufacturing law in the United States. Here is the link below:
Fast forward about 6 months and after interviewing Heath Squier, CEO of Julian Bakery, I found out he was making a coconut-based product called Paleo Wraps and getting ready to launch the product. So I gave it a try and had none of the problems I had with Pure Wraps. It was a different product though it has a different consistency and taste as Pure Wraps.
From what I understand, even though Pure Wraps has not produced a product in nearly a year, they are not happy Julian Bakery came out with their own version and has been throwing all kinds of patent infringement claims all over the Internet. Here are some of the details I have been able to glean off the Internet, primarily off of Pure Wraps’ Facebook page. Below is a (by Heath Squier) rebuttal to the claims Paleo Wraps are infringing on the Pure Wraps patent:
Todd Fitt’s claimed that the Paleo Wraps copied his product, which product is the subject of a patent application in the Philippines. He’s claimed all along that you copied him, which violates his patent rights. First, he has no patent rights to speak of, simply a patent application. Second, Todd was asked how the Paleo Wraps violate his rights, assuming he had any. His response was that he couldn’t disclose his patent application because the information was secret. How can Todd claim his rights are being violated when the very information that was supposed to have been copied were kept secret. Now that this application has been published, he still does not want to disclose how his supposed rights are being violated.
1. Todd’s patent application as it appears on the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines’ (“IPO”) e-Gazette for patents dated 9/23/2013, Vol. 16, No. 104: http://onlineservices.ipophil.gov.ph/PatGazette/
What’s very interesting about Todd’s patent application is that he never mentioned any prior art relating to his invention, which normally is the case for those who file legitimate patent applications. The reason for disclosing prior art is that the inventor wants to establish novelty, among other things. However, in Todd’s case, he didn’t even disclose any such prior art, giving the impression that this invention was truly one of a kind, which is not the case.
For any patent to be granted, one has to show, among others, that it is novel and not obvious. The examiner came out with a list of prior art in the section entitled “Relevant Docs.”
2. Todd filed his Philippine patent application on 2/9/2010.
a. Here’s the abstract of the patent application:
“xxx The process basically involves extracting and cleaning young coconut meat, blending the coconut meat and its filtered coconut water with the appropriate amount of salt, spices, herbs, fruits and vegetables per the formula, pouring the blended mixture onto the baking sheet to a pre-determined thickness and placing the baking sheet into the oven to dry at a pre-determined temperature and a period of time.”
b. The main ingredients listed in Todd’s patent application are “young coconut meat, salt, and coconut water.”
3. There is a video that presents how to make coconut wraps (BeeRawAu, Coconut Wraps, www.youtube.com [online,video], December 9, 2009), which is very similar to Todd’s “invention” and uploaded prior to Todd’s patent application.
4. The same coconut wrap process is highlighted in the following blog post dated 9 March 2009: http://www.gorawhavefun.com/raw-tortilla-recipe-using-coconut-meat/#more-1626. The main ingredients that Todd spells out in his Philippine patent application are young coconut meat, coconut water, and salt. Todd states further that in addition to the main ingredients, other spices, herbs, fruits, or vegetables can be added. The May 2007 internet post shows the same main ingredients of young coconut meat, coconut water, and salt, and adds a spice, cayenne. The May 2007 internet post also lays down the same procedure as that explained in Todd’s patent application.
Meat of 7-8 young coconuts
2 Red Bell Peppers (de-stemmed and seeded) torn into smaller pieces
4-5 soaked sun dried tomatoes
Celtic Sea Salt
Blend all ingredients well in a Vita-Mix or other high-powered blender. Do a taste test: if you want the tortillas to be sweeter– add dates, raisins or agave; if you want them to be more savory–add a dash or two more of the salt. Spread thin on Teflex sheets and dehydrated for 10-12 hours at 118 degrees. You may want to flip them over after 8 hours. Store in a ziplock bag at room temp and they should last for a couple weeks. These make amazing wraps or snacks!
5. Another earlier post (10 May 2007) on an online forum shows the same process and product, which can be found here: http://www.rawfreedomcommunity.info/forum/showthread.php?t=208
For the samosa wraps:
2 cups young coconut meat
1 ½ cups coconut water (or more)
½ teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon sea salt
In a Vita-Mix or high-speed blender, puree the coconut with the coconut water, cayenne, and salt until completely smooth. Using an offset spatula, spread the coconut very thin on Teflex-lined dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 115 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 to 4 hours, or until the surface is dry. Carefully flip over and peel away the Teflex sheets. Dehydrate further on the screen only, just to dry the underside, 15 to 30 minutes longer.
6. The 10 May 2007 post was actually based on a recipe in a book entitled “Raw Food Real World”, authored by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Melngailis that was published in JULY 2005. The link to the pertinent page of the book is: http://books.google.com/books?id=OuoOrPoFOBAC&pg=PT238&lpg=PT238&dq=raw+food+real+world+coconut
7. Part of the prior art that the examiner discovered was another book, The Art of Raw Living Food (Heal Yourself and the Planet With Eco-delicious Cuisine)
This book was authored by Doreen Virtue and Jenny Ross, and published on September 1, 2009, which again was published before Todd submitted his application on February 9, 2010.
The book highlights wraps with different flavors, particularly the curry flavored wrap that Todd used to sell: http://books.google.com/books?id=1VesjYo46BIC&pg=PT63&lpg=PT63&dq=doreen+virtue+and+jenny
The reason I’m posting this information is I think it’s important it gets out, as I’m not sure how someone can claim no one can reproduce coconut wraps because you have a patent application for it in the Philippines. That would be similar to saying you have created a new bread product and no one can make bread but you.
Another reason for sharing this is to inform my followers and clients to avoid Pure Wraps, which is not hard because there is not product to avoid! As I discuss in many of my writings, be very careful with the supposed healthy products as well. Just because a product makes all kinds of claims to be healthy and/or organic doesn’t necessarily mean the claims are true. Especially a company that claims to be a bastion of health and is acting like a bully claiming they are the only ones who can make a certain type of product. That doesn’t seem to me to be a company primarily interested in your health, but rather more interested in profit.
Am I taking sides on this issue a little bit? Yes, but it is from first-hand experience with both products. I feel the position Pure Wraps is taking is actually bad for the Primal/Paleo movement as it comes off childish and unprofessional. If you have a good product that you are proud of, let the consumer decide. Put all your efforts in promoting your product and selling it. Attacking other manufactures of a similar product is putting your efforts in the wrong place.
The bottom line is that I will continue to use and promote Paleo Wraps, because they are a good product and actually exist. Not sure how you can cry foul when you are not even producing a product and have not for a year.
My goal is to always inform you as a consumer and provide you with the best products that I have personally tested and use. A number one rule of mine is to never sell, endorse, or promote a product I do not personally use. You would be surprised how many companies have approached me to try their product and then once they learn of my background and how I test the products, the products never seem to find their way to me in the mail.
I will continue to test and review products as I know my customers, followers and Primal/Paleo enthusiast find the information incredibly helpful when making better health choices.