(Pictured above: Dr. Monica Randles and Dr. Andrew Maternowski)
by Sarah Anderson | photography by Two Eagles Marcus
After meeting in med school at Michigan State University 28 years ago, this dynamic duo has been completely in-sync. What began as a passion for health developed into a company that specializes in vegan “meat”, or meat that is gluten-free, soy-free and corn-free. After years of witnessing diet-related illness in patients and having personal experience with the effects of a plant-based diet, Dr. Monica Randles and Dr. Andrew Maternowski launched their company, Nutcase Vegan Meats.
The couple’s business journey began when Monica herniated two disks; as a result, she suffered from back pain. She went on a clean-eating diet, free of meat, dairy, sugar and caffeine, which completely alleviated her pain. When their daughter decided to go vegetarian, the family fully transitioned into a plant-based diet. After a year of being vegetarian and dairy-free and not finding any satisfying meat substitutes, Monica wished for just one meatball on her birthday. Andrew took to the kitchen to create a nut-based vegan meatball. The couple continued experimenting with nut-based “meat” recipes and would often share their products with their friends. With the urging of their friends and some know-how from a family member in the food industry, Monica and Andrew launched Nutcase Vegan meats.
Looking back at this decision makes the couple laugh. They were both working full-time, she as a pediatrician and he as a hospitalist, and had two teenagers in the house. Adding a business to the mix certainly didn’t simplify their lives, but the timing was right, and they were passionate about bringing a quality meat substitute to the market. After tacking on a business partnership to their 25-year marriage, they appreciate that they know exactly what to expect from one another as business partners because of how well they already know each other as life partners.