Brytlife Foods specializes in delicious, creamy dairy-free products. Brytlife began in 2014 when Lita Dwight, an animal adoring vegan foodie, wanted to create a product that was delicious, decadent and decidedly kinder than traditional dairy yogurt.
“I only had 2 real passions growing up: animals and biology. I’m not sure why, but I was fascinated by how the body works, so I remember telling my parents at age 5 that someday I would grow up to become a veterinarian.
For various reasons that didn’t happen, but I never lost my passion and so, in the middle of my legal career, I quit my job to join the post Bacc premed program at Hunter College. I had decided I would become a doctor, but the medical profession’s emphasis on prescribing drugs for every single ailment was not my idea of healing, so, even before I graduated, I enrolled at Institute for Integrative Nutrition to start a corporate wellness practice focused on healing with foods.
As the practice grew, I continued to study and the more I studied, the more it became clear that eating more plants was the best way to prevent almost every chronic disease we face today. As my curiosity increased, so did my appetite for all thing nutrition-related. I read books like: The China Study, Meatonomics, Fit from Within, Skinny Bitch and watched films like: Forks over Knives, Food Inc., Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. But on April 15, 2014, I watched a film that would change the course of my career and my life, and, ultimately, would give birth to Brytlife: Vegucated.
Vegucated is a documentary film about three individuals who agree to adopt a vegan diet for six weeks. It doesn’t sound difficult to watch, but when the story turns briefly to the treatment of farm animals being “processed” for food, I experienced a life changing moment. The factory farm footage zooms in on a tiny nameless piglet experiencing the excruciating pain of having certain body parts removed so that his beautiful little body could be converted into slabs of bacon. It’s not that I hadn’t seen factory farm footage before or that I didn’t realize that farmed animals would experience pain as part of the production process, it was simply that, at that moment, I not only felt this little guy’s pain but I internalized it in a way that would make me instantly and gladly give up animal products forever.
At that point, I knew I had to get involved more directly to make it as easy as possible for everyone to adopt a plant-based, vegan lifestyle, not just for their health, but for the sake of millions of suffering animals. I wanted everyone to understand that eating vegan food is NOT a sacrifice but a joy! So what could I do? What could I offer? I was just a former lawyer turned “nutritionist” with no food manufacturing experience at all!
Almost two weeks after watching Vegucated, I saw an undercover video that would provide all the guidance I needed. The video captured workers on a bucolic dairy farm in New Mexico committing the most vile and barbaric acts of animal abuse I had ever seen.
That was it! DAIRY!! The animal agriculture industry is a nightmare for all farmed animals, but dairy cows spend up to 8 years of their lives hooked up to mechanized pumps while each year suffering the indignity of being forcibly impregnated only to give birth to baby calves that are immediately snatched from them at birth and, if they are male, exported to the veal industry for slaughter. After their miserable 8 year existence, they are sent to slaughterhouses to be processed for dog food. What a miserable life!
It did not take long before I identified a dairy product that could have a positive impact not only on people’s health, but, most importantly, on the poor dairy cows as it is a dairy product consumed by millions of people each day – Greek style yogurt. The recipe took over a year to develop but it was worth the wait (and I hope you agree). We have now branched out and, in addition to offering 5 flavors of yogurt, we also offer specialty cheeses like Bleu, Cheddar, Feta, Havarti and Gouda. And we won’t stop there.
So you would think the story of how Brytlife got its start ends here but to bring this story full circle, I must add this wonderful piece of karmic beauty that I only recently discovered.
In the Fall of 2017, while I was visiting my Uncle who lives in North Carolina, he told me a story that I had never heard before. My dad and he (and their 2 sisters) grew up on a dairy farm in Massachusetts and the two boys milked the cows every morning. One morning my uncle and dad were walking towards the barn when they saw my grandfather collapse from a massive heart attack. It seems his heart gave out as he lifted a veal calf onto a local restauranteur’s truck. My grandfather was 57 years old. I only discovered the circumstances of my grandfather’s death during that visit with my uncle and several months after being inspired to start Brytlife, so it seems like sweet karmic completion that I would stumble upon a career in the non-dairy industry and now have the opportunity to save even one veal calves life. Although I hope to save many many more.”