Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog


By Carly Price, August 10, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Carly Price

We love our producers, suppliers and vendors and we think most of them have some pretty interesting stories behind their products too. We’re sharing some of our favorites here in an ongoing series.

In 1999, a devastating diagnosis led Andrew Abraham to become a physician and create the world’s first organic ready-to-drink nutrition shake.

During his senior year of high school, Andrew was faced with a rare cancer that required aggressive chemotherapy. During treatment, he relied on liquid nutrition and was appalled to find the only ready-to-drink options were made with specific ingredients that many physicians consider a “no-no” for cancer patients, including high-fructose corn syrup and artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors and colors.

“After an exhaustive search, I couldn’t find anything better, so I started blending my own organic shakes at home,” Andrew explains.

During the next decade, Andrew survived cancer, finished medical school, earned an MBA and became a family physician, yet little changed in the world of ready-to-drink shakes.

So Andrew decided it was time to develop Orgain.

After tireless hours of experimentation, 55 formulations and five blenders, he perfected a smooth, great-tasting blend of organic whey, organic brown rice and organic fruits and veggies and bottled it for grab-and-go convenience.



“We hear one resounding word all the time: Finally!” Andrew says. “People are so happy to find our product.”

Orgain was developed with a complete nutrition profile suitable for almost anyone, and it’s become the go-to drink for many athletes and physicians. It also continues to play a vital role in the lives of people with illnesses that affect appetite. Through organizations like Feeding America, the company donates thousands of cases of Orgain every year to cancer patients with financial hardships.

Do you have an Orgain story? Tell us about it!


Category: Supplier Stories




Linda Nagy says ...
Yes, Yes, Yes. My husband had cancer and won't eat or drink Ensure or Boost. He loves Origain over ice in the morning instead of breakfast while I am having my coffee. It is a great meal substitute for him. He is now gaining instead of loosing. Can't decide which flavor is the best.... THANK YOU.
08/12/2012 4:36:00 PM CDT
Dr Samy Farag says ...
Orgain is a great product that i am advising my patients to use ;all the time it is all natural' no chemicals and it is a complete meal substitute and gives energy specially to people who lost thier apetite or just dont eat enough , it has been reported that orgain is being used by a lot of atheletes because it gives them energy to excerise , Orgain does not cause any of the side effects of other products like ensure that raises the blood sugar and gives gases and diarrhea
08/13/2012 10:25:46 AM CDT
Barry Lubotta says ...
I have been an Orgain user for two years and must have gone through 50 cases by now. As I live in Toronto, I've had to travel to Buffalo, NY and purchase 6-10 cases at a time from Wegmans. Now I've got others hooked on it as well. What I love about Orgain is that it is satisfying and has healthy ingredients. When I have 3PM hunger, I reach for an Orgain because I know I'm getting 16gms of protein as well as the other good stuff. At home I keep about ten cases at a time, and regard it as my emergency food supply if for some reason store food is not available. In the winter when it's nice and cold outside, I keep several Orgain in my car and often have one when I'm driving home after a hockey game because I know my body needs protein. My mother is diabetic and has been told to drink En..... which of course is drink that was formulated years ago to a price point with no regards to its real health benefits, regardless of what the ads say. Gradually I've been able to wean my mother off that drink and replace it with Orgain, which she now loves. I think the drink has been of help to her overall health. The Mocha flavour is my current favourite - it should be illegal to drink something this tasty and have it be good for you at the same time. So yes, overall I would say I'm a fan. Barry Lubotta
08/13/2012 11:04:57 AM CDT
nikki.newman says ...
@BARRY - Thanks for the feedback! Be sure to check with our stores in Toronto to see if they carry Orgain as it might save you a trip! Find your closest store at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/list.
08/13/2012 11:49:14 AM CDT
Abby Nagy says ...
Our family would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to Dr. Abraham and Orgain. A few years ago my Father-in-law, Don Nagy was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. Like all cancers, this one is devastating. After many rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and even a stem cell transplant Don’s body, especially his kidneys, had been through the ringer. During his most recent treatments he lost his appetite and went from 215 pounds down to just 150 pounds. Between diet restrictions and medications one of the only things he can drink and that tastes good is Orgain. After sharing them with his physician, he was practically ordered to keep drinking them. He drinks at least two a day between trying to eat his meals. He has tried other drinks/shakes and this is the only organic drink with such incredible nutritional value that tastes really good! We are blessed that he was introduced to them…and we highly recommend them!
08/13/2012 4:39:41 PM CDT
lauren says ...
No one is answering the question as to whether it is gluten free...with so many illnesses linked to gluten and celiac this needs to be addressed...
08/17/2012 3:47:05 PM CDT
Maureen Browne says ...
Will there be a dairy free Orgain drink? It would be great!
08/17/2012 3:50:11 PM CDT
Jennifer says ...
I am addicted to Orgain!! I absolutley love it after a work out and for a snack during the day!!!
08/17/2012 4:17:54 PM CDT
Vicki Lefler says ...
Thank you Dr. Abraham for this product! Our whole family relies on these daily for quick grab and go nutrition on the road and before work and / or exercise. They hold you over for many hours. Would so love a dehydrated powder version (possibly raw?) that can be mixed with only water for air travel (no liquids allowed anymore) and for longer shelf storage. If you can put your thinking cap on and solve this one for us we would be ever so grateful! XXXOOO The Leflers
08/17/2012 4:25:12 PM CDT
jerry bickle says ...
I drank two today. Buy them by the cases. Recommend them to everyone I know. Amazing product.
08/17/2012 4:38:25 PM CDT
nikki.newman says ...
@LAUREN and @MAUREEN - Thanks for your questions! I have contacted Orgain for direct answers to your questions. Stay tuned!
08/17/2012 4:45:45 PM CDT
Fran Rush says ...
When will you work on a non-dairy version?
08/17/2012 5:08:05 PM CDT
Nancy says ...
OMG! What an uplifting & inspirational story... I haven't tried the shake, but plan to. I have been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition causing inflamation in my body & have been making my own shakes & trying to eat an anti-inflamatory diet. Hearing Dr. Abraham's story & the ingrediants of his shake makes me smile!!!
08/17/2012 8:06:58 PM CDT
John says ...
My mother has a cyst on her pancreas. She has had bouts of pancreatitis. As a meal replacement the "Establishment" recommended Ensure as a meal replacement, because that is what they use in the hospitals. I did not like the ingredients in the Ensure so I asked at Whole Foods if they sold a natural meal replacement. They introduced me to Orgain. Now I use it too!!!!! I think it is great.
08/17/2012 8:10:33 PM CDT
Elizabeth Zapata says ...
I have cancer 4 times, and l believe in natural drinks. I will like to try. Thank you for gReat THIS DRINK
08/17/2012 9:10:18 PM CDT
Kathy Furlong says ...
Thank You for posting this information! I'm headed into Whole Foods for my weekly shopping tomorrow & I will definitely give this a try. My husband has cancer & this will be so helpful for his nutritional needs! THANK YOU!!
08/17/2012 9:17:12 PM CDT
lisa says ...
my precious son was diagnosed with burkitt's lymphoma and we're struggling with eating and his weight. he doesn't like any of the "prefab" drinks so we've been mixing our own...i'm going to try orgain! they sound delicious AND, more importantly, nutritious.
08/17/2012 10:15:17 PM CDT
Laurie says ...
Good for you, Dr. Abraham! The fewer lemmings in the world, the better.
08/17/2012 10:47:38 PM CDT
kim duncanson says ...
beautiful marketing - packaging -- but whey is not for most!
08/18/2012 7:12:26 AM CDT
shelia Cantrell says ...
Is orgain good for a patient who has MS and is alo Vegan? She eats no dairy products.
08/18/2012 9:21:47 AM CDT
LeeAnn Augustine says ...
My mom is pre-diabetic and needs to gain weight. Would Orgain be something she should add to her diet?
08/18/2012 3:20:04 PM CDT
Patty Klemen says ...
This is the best gluten-free high protein drink! It is smooth and tasty - I crave it and usually have one carton a day. It leaves you feeling satisfied both in appetite and the knowledge that you are providing your body with 16 grams of protein and lots of vitamins. Thank you Dr Andrew Abraham!
08/18/2012 8:01:41 PM CDT
jerry bickle says ...
I don't see any wheat derived ingredients in this product for those who have gluten sensitivites. Therefore, unless you're deathly alergic and can't drive by a wheat field with the windows down, you'll probably be just fine. These days, gluten which has been eaten for centuries has become the latest way to market "healthier food" by being gluten free. Avoiding gluten has the benefit of causing people to eat less refined carbs, which is great since carbs make you FAT, cause insulin resisitence and high sustained glucose levels, which keep you FAT. So please keep avoiding the gluten and all the unhealthy carbs that they are associated with and you will feel better. But if you're just eating the same garbage because it's made with rice flour instead, are you just fooling yourself thinking you're eating healthy? I have no doubt that some people have alergies to things like gluten or peanuts because these are in our garbage eating fast food chain and have been for 30 years. Let's just not fool ourselves into thinking these things are healthy choices because they are made with rice or some other grain or seed.
08/20/2012 9:40:41 AM CDT
nikki.newman says ...
@LEEANN - Thanks for your question. I would highly recommend talking with mom's doctor before making any changes to her diet!
08/20/2012 12:40:15 PM CDT
nikki.newman says ...
@LAUREN - I was able to get in touch with Andrew and he confirmed that Orgain is gluten free and they are in the process of obtaining their official certification.
08/20/2012 12:43:23 PM CDT