The long road to ideal food Ice hockey legend Truntschka Lavita

The long road to ideal food Ice hockey legend Truntschka Lavita

La Vita Ice hockey legend Gerd Truntschka developed the "health cocktail" LaVitaThe long way to the ideal diet of ice hockey legend Truntschka Lavita

Thursday, 07/02/2020, 3:55 p.m

40 years ago, Gerd Truntschka was a world-class ice hockey player. Today he deals with healthy and balanced nutrition. His credo: With lots of fruit and vegetables instead of pills against colds and infections. After years of experimenting and optimizing, he believes he has found the ideal nutrient cocktail.

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At half-time there was a wedge of lemon to suck on, but no sip of water. And after the game, the young lads grabbed a soda or Radler. Pretty bizarre from today's perspective, but apparently not uncommon on Bavarian amateur soccer fields in the 1970s. Today, ice hockey legend Gerd Truntschka, who also played soccer until he was a teenager, has to laugh about such experiences. After all: “In ice hockey we were allowed to drink water on the bench back then, and tea and glucose were served in the dressing room at the break.”

He also remembers a fondue evening after training with amusement. The meat felt like lead in the stomach – the game the next day lacked the usual liveliness. Healthy and above all targeted sports nutrition? Back then none. More than 40 years later, the 60-year-old can look back on two careers: he became a world-class player on the ice, and as an entrepreneur he developed the “health cocktail” LaVita: “My goal was a micronutrient concentrate that contained all the important vitamins and trace elements. And in scientifically tested dosages.”

Pills against infections? No thank you!

The young national player got his first ideas after he switched from his hometown club EV Landshut to the Kölner Haie. His parents had instilled in him an awareness of healthy eating: "When roast pork and schnitzel were still the culinary crowning glory, there were already pasta and vegetables at home." Condition was the be-all and end-all: top players like him had to play about 100 matches a year, almost every third day an encounter.

No wonder that the strained organism took its toll towards the end of the season. The cracks dragged themselves from infection to infection with dwindling defenses.

"Why don't you react proactively, but always only when something isn't working properly?" he asked himself. And: "How can I get through the season healthy with better methods?"

So he put together his own mix: plenty of vegetables and fruit, pasta and other carbohydrates, especially whole grains, very little meat and, following the eating trend of the 1980s, "a brutal amount of muesli". At a world championship in Moscow, for example, he ate almost nothing else. Teammates from Canada had brought vitamin supplements with them, which he also took, as well as other dietary supplements such as magnesium tablets, calcium and zinc. The range of pills had nothing to do with "natural" and that bothered him enormously.

Fascinating effects of micronutrients

Truntschka found much better inspiration in the books of nutrition pope Max Otto Bruker, who propagated whole foods rich in vital substances. Micronutrients are essential fatty acids, vitamins, trace elements, phytochemicals. They control the complex metabolic processes in the organism and play an important role when it comes to strengthening the immune system, endurance and concentration or – important for high-performance athletes – rapid regeneration after competitions.

"Individual synthetic vitamins lack the synergies of natural foods," Truntschka recognized. He cites a study published in the journal "Nature" according to which seven milligrams of vitamin C from an apple has the same antioxidant effect as 200 times the amount of the isolated vitamin. "There's more to fruit and vegetables," he explains. Later he got to know the health support of phytochemicals such as polyphenols: "A fascinating phenomenon that is still being researched further."

He hired a nutritionist to deliver directly to the players' dressing roomThe long way to the ideal diet of ice hockey legend Truntschka Lavita

The implementation of the Bruker theses required corresponding high-quality organic products, but finding them was not so easy more than 30 years ago. In addition, the tightly scheduled daily routine of the young father did not allow much: training in the morning, then moving for his further training as a businessman, at half past five training again until the evening. Therefore, with the support of his wife, he hired a fruit and vegetable dealer who delivered directly to the players' dressing room, and increasingly convinced teammates and supervisors of his catering philosophy. Until he had established himself as the nutrition expert of the troops.

At the same time, he experimented at home in the kitchen. Dunk into dozens of studies, talked to nutritionists, medics, biologists, naturopaths, food technologists. Almost memorized the handbook of orthomolecular medicine. And finally had almost everything together to implement his idea of ​​a natural health cocktail without additives. Theoretically at least: Because there was still the offer to take on a managerial position in the club after the player's career.

For three years we tried, improvised, optimized

The curiosity to create something of my own prevailed. Together with a food technician, he produced the first 1000 liters of the health juice according to his own recipes: "All natural ingredients, optimally matured and grown locally if possible." A three-year test phase followed, with trial and error, improvisation and optimisation. First the composition wasn't ideal, then the consistency wasn't right. Everything finally fit: "We had found a perfect composition of regional vegetables, fresh fruit, valuable herbs and vegetable oils."

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His basic principle: with just one tablespoon, you can meet the daily requirement of all important vitamins and trace elements from more than 70 purely natural ingredients. "Today, scientific studies prove," he emphasizes, "how well the ingredients are absorbed down to the smallest cell." His feeling was correct, the years of work had paid off.

Instead of credit, you pay the costs yourself

Truntschka went on a tour of Germany with his product. Cleaning doorknobs, calling, convincing people around him. He initially sold 300 bottles a month. Soon there were more: it actually worked. After three years he paid himself a salary for the first time, he had covered the start-up costs with his reserves from the professional time. No credit, no standardized business plan, no foreign investors. In 2017, more than a million bottles of the juice concentrate were sold for the first time. Clients include prominent athletes and healthcare professionals. Next to the company headquarters in Kumhausen near Landshut, a new building is being built for the more than 100 employees today.

Before his 60th birthday, Truntschka had wondered if he would eventually lose his drive. The successor is settled: his son-in-law has been with the company for 16 years and is already managing director alongside him. But his enthusiasm does not seem to be drying up: "Many people are unsure what constitutes a healthy diet," says Truntschka. "Eating healthy is very simple: all medical professionals in the world agree on that."

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