Our Founder – Mike Thelen
Rai Din Thai was founded by the late Mike Thelen in 2017, to pursue his dream of creating the ultimate all natural, superfood, Sprouted Black Rice Powder.
Mike valued life and the importance of health.
His mission was to search, discover, and source unique whole foods from around the world, that would allow all of us to not only live life, but to live it to the fullest.
His passion took him to war torn African countries, the mountain ranges of China, the rain forests of South America, and the isolated farming communities deep in the jungles of Asia.
He introduced revolutionary natural products to boost energy, immunity, organ functions, and even prevent some cancers. Of all of Mike’s discoveries, he was most proud of Sprouted Black Rice Powder and its potential.
Throughout his travels, Mike had yet to discover a complete, whole food that could be sprouted for easy digestion with the antioxidant potential, and nutrient density of sprouted black rice. By freeze drying it, Mike realized he could fulfill his vision of feeding the world.
The long shelf life, and nutrient density allowed Sprouted Black Rice Powder to not only be distributed to anyone seeking longevity, and overall health benefits, but could also be supplied in famine relief efforts across the globe.
Regrettably, Mike did not live long enough to see his vision fulfilled. However, the company that he founded, Rai Din Thai, is now making his dream a reality.
Mike Thelen Rai Din Thai’s visionary founder, with a
crop of Jiaogulan herb.
You can listen to Mike being interviewed by Kimberly King of Mother’s Markets, where he articulates his vision for Sprouted Black Rice Powder and its incredible health benefits.
Mike Thelen radio transcript on sprouted bllack rice powder
Hello I am Kimberley King and welcome to the Mother’s Market radio show.
On today’s show there is an incredible superfood called black rice and one company has a mission to help feed starving children all around the world.
Listen up and find out what you can do to support this worthy cause.
Michael has been in the health food industry for over 20 years, serving in many capacities from the wholesale side, as both national and international director for supplement companies.
Michael’s passion for healing moved him to begin seeking out rare and exotic superfoods, which has led him around the world and he’s now the largest raw material supplier of sprouted black rice, bran complete, in the US, and we welcome him to the Mother’s Market Radio Show.
Michael How are you?
Good. How are you?.
I’m doing great thanks.
Why don’t you fill in our audience in a little bit on your mission before we get to the show’s topic.
Our mission as you know was covered in that little introduction. Our mission is to really establish an avenue for complete foods. It comes under a lot of titles. Now you hear the word functional foods. In fact that’s a category, now in Whole Foods they have a specific category called functional foods. Whole Foods, Super Foods you hear a lot of you know kind of different markers for that arena of supplement.
What we’re really after is trying to go to different regions of the world and find functional foods that serve a purpose not just for nutrition, not just for survival, but as you’re consuming them for nutrition can actually remedy problems that you have in your metabolic processes.
So what we want to do, our key is to try to bring those foods in the exact form that they exist in the culture of origin. So we’re trying to you know a lot of companies do things that they find something that’s great in another land, and then they start looking OK how, what do we do to make it easier to ship. How do we cut down the weight. How do we get past the FDA you know in a cheaper way. So that leads to kind of like a degradation of the food itself. So our main goal is to find these super functional foods and bring them as close as possible to this country, in the origin that they exist in the culture where they’re consumed.
So today we’re talking about the benefits of black rice. And so I wanted to start by asking you what is sprouted black rice and why does it need to be sprouted?
The main reason is for example where we first encountered this super functional food was in the mountainous regions of northern India. It’s kind of it’s called the black rice state. It could be northern India, northern Thailand, northern Burma, all our rice happens to come from Thailand. But when you go to these regions they don’t eat anything that’s classified as a seed. We have a lot of cute names for things that are seeds. We call them legumes or nuts or rice kernels. These are all seeds. Seeds are heavy with a component called phytic acid. It’s provided by nature. What it does is it keeps a seed from breaking down.
So if every time a seed hits the ground from a plant, if there was no phytic acid the seed would lay on the top of the ground, and it would sprout without any you know supportive soil or moisture and the seed would just die laying on the surface of the ground. And all plant life would die basically. So nature provided phytic acid within the seed. Phytic acid is an enzyme inhibitor. So the presence of phytic acid keeps the seed from sprouting to life.
Now phytic acid is neutralized by lack of light, so darkness and moisture, so the seed can fall from a tree, lay on top of the ground, and not sprout. Over time dust, wind, animals makes the seed get buried in the soil, so it’s not exposed to light. Then when it gets moist that phytic acid is neutralized and that seed comes to life and grows a plant. It works great for seeds. It’s horrible for humans. So that same phytic acid that inhibits enzyme release in a seed, also inhibits enzyme release and activation in the human body. So it actually prevents digestion of the very foods that we’re eating.
So sprouting is a way of neutralizing that phytic acid. So that all the enzymes become active, do what they’re supposed to do, break down the food, and now this food is bio available for our body just because phytic acid is neutralized. So that’s why we sprout it, so that it can be a raw food but it’s yet available for the human body to consume.
Wow that’s fascinating. I’ve never heard of this, and that’s amazing and it’s natural.
Because there’s a lot of things products out there that are called sprouted products and all they’re doing is soaking them in water. And because there’s no real FDA standard for sprouting yet, so they soak stuff in water, and you know put it in a package and call it sprouted.
Well if you don’t see a sprout on it, it’s not a sprout because the phytic acid isn’t neutralised till there’s a sprout on the seed.
That’s when that life force when that sprout breaks free from that seed, that’s when you know phytic acid is neutralized. And this is a big concern now because it’s not just like the hip thing to do because you know diverticulitis; I don’t know if you’re familiar with that? This is a serious condition so people can go, people that have diverticulitis can eat sprouted seeds, but they can’t eat non sprouted seeds. So you go in and somebody that has a serious condition or maybe their kid has diverticulitis and they’ve been told to go out and look for sprouted foods. They’re going out and looking for a bag of sprouted seeds and they’re trusting that it is sprouted. Well there’s no standard for that yet. That just might be a seed soaked in water. So it’s really a key issue for us.
How is this eaten traditionally?
Traditionally the first time I had it was in northern India, like it’s not Northern I don’t even think they call it India like you say I’m in India, they look at you they don’t know, they are just mountain people.
But I saw the symbol, I don’t know how to translate the symbol, but I saw the symbols everywhere. You know it’s all the characters. Everything is labelled by characters. And I saw this character everywhere and I started recognizing it because it was in so many places. So I was doing another job for another company scouting a source up there, and I saw on the menu there was no pictures there, as no English you know, I was trying to order some food.
I was really hungry, tired and I saw that same symbol. So I just ordered just based on the symbol. It came on an opaque plate, it had candles under the plate, so it’s glowing up through the plate; and it was just the black rice with all the bran intact which we’ll get to later, none of the bran is removed, and it was sprouted, but it was roasted.
So they take every seed they eat, in fact I ate sprouted coffee fruit up there. Everything they eat is sprouted in this village, which was traditional. That’s how until we needed to ship things like really far and you know make money off things, everything was eaten sprouted. The seeds were stored for planting, and sprouts were eaten. So I started eating that. It was just amazing. I was lit up. I mean energy and I can feel that it’s like sounds like an exaggeration, but I could feel it digesting as it hit my stomach. Like you know how stuff sits, it’s gone. It goes down – it’s gone. It just disperses. So they like to roast it. You’ll see out on the farms like where they sprout like if you go into where they’re sprouting in the village, they’ll be eating it raw. Fresh sprouts, just like taking it as they’re working, just putting it in their mouths and eating it.
But if you go into a restaurant they like to roast it, adds a little flavour and you know a little crunch and people like crunch So but it’s always eaten sprouted. But it’s sometimes raw sometimes roasted depending on where you are.
So how is this different from the black rice you find in grocery stores and the ones that we cook.
The biggest difference is the rice that is sold as a food, it’s got an FDA classification as Cargo Rice. Cargo rice by the FDA classification needs to have a three year minimum shelf life because it has to be harvested, bagged, shipped and go through distribution and get on the shelf. So they need to be able to last that long.
The black rice in its true, pure form is so rich in essential fatty acids and different types of oils, it’s really suspect to rancidity, so it will go rancid really fast. So the FDA won’t allow whole black rice to be shipped in Cargo Rice form to this country because they’re afraid it will go rancid. So in order to ship black rice and sell in the United States, a minimum of ninety five percent of the bran has to be milled off the rice kernel and the bran is where all the good stuff is. Rice is all white on the inside, it’s all just starch, which is by the way until rice is harvested, it’s liquid that starch, its liquid starch until you break the lifecycle of rice, that’s when the starch hardens and it becomes a kernel. So all rice is white on the inside. The different colour of rice is nature’s idea of how to keep this seed alive and protected through its lifecycle.
So not only do they mill 95% of the bran off, they’re still a little worried about rancidity, because when they were doing 95% milling, and they were bringing into the country and putting it on the shelves and it was in bags, they were seeing the bags swell because it was still even with 95% it’s so rich in oils which is the good thing. It’s so rich in oils that they were seeing the bags swell from the rancidity. They also started demanding some type of treatment whether it be a heat treatment or some type of treatment to the rice, in you know in addition to milling all the bran off. So when you buy black rice for food even though it’s better than eating white rice, it’s a fraction of how the food really exists in its true form.
Wow this is interesting. We have to take a quick break, so stay with us right now. Don’t go anywhere, we will be right back. More with Michael Thelen.
So what makes black rice a superfood?
Well I think you know superfood is a term that’s thrown around a lot. A lot of things have come under the umbrella of superfood just because you know they do one or two things good. I think the reason this is a superfood is because it is a total functional food. It basically does everything good. Everything you can walk down the aisle in a store and you could buy 7, 8, 10 bottles for specific causes or specific remedies to a specific problem you have physiologically.
This product has all that in one food. It’s nature’s complete food. In fact our mission statement is reviving humanity’s relationship with nature’s most complete food. It has a lot of antioxidants like before now antioxidants have always been in a snack. So like blueberries high in sugar or if you have a diabetic kid you know you don’t want to pump him full of blueberries. How do you get antioxidants into a diabetic child?
Well this is a protein bound antioxidant. So the antioxidants are released in a different place. It’s low in sugar, it’s high in fibre, it’s gluten free, it’s got a complete, stunning amino acid profile so you can find you can gather a bunch of bottles off the shelf and look at it and it still doesn’t stack up to this. So I call it a superfood because it represents so many categories and so many effects on the body and you can remedy so many causes with it. Plus it’s a food.
You can live on it. You could treat a lot of causes. You can still get those 10 bottles. You could treat 10 causes that you have that you need to remedy physiologically, but you’re still not eating any food. You’d still have to still eat a sandwich, you still eat food or still have some clean protein. This is a food and covers all those other functions. So to me that’s a true superfood.
It takes care of things. It just problems. It sends messages to the body to correct itself but it’s still a food. You can live on it. You can. In fact we have a lot of you know there’s the survivalist thing going on. We have a lot of companies that they’re just you know they’re thrilled about this just because it could be stored as a survival food. You can pack this in your warehouse have nothing else this and water and you could survive. It’s a complete food and yet it’s medicinal. OK. So the one of the first companies to trust us and bottle this and do some of the heavy lifting for us is Eclectic Institute. And in their statement on the bottle you can read it. Let your medicine. Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food. This is a classic example of that statement. It is your food and it functions as a medicine. It is your medicine and it functions as a food. So to me that’s what the true definition of a superfood is.
I like that too. And it does you know it speaks to itself both. You know it’s the round, the boomerang effect.
What is bran complete and why is bran so important?
Bran complete is what I referenced earlier when I was talking about the difference between the Cargo Rice that is Black Rice that you can get in the store and then our product. Bran complete is as the rice grows the same way as growing in the field all the bran surrounding the rice kernel is left on. We have a special milling process. All it does is pull the husk off the rice and all that bran is left on. Bran is where all the nutrition is, everything is in the bran of course, because it’s not just a catchy name bran.
So the bran is in the bran that antioxidants, which are also called anthocyanins is they’re in there in the bran. Most of the protein is in the bran, the circulatory abilities that it has, all the neuro regulators, everything’s in the bran.
What health conditions can be improved with this product? Now this is in the meat potato.
You know it’s a long list and then you know we have to start quoting scientific studies. But I can reference without trying to make it all about our product. It’s common scientific knowledge that any health condition can be improved by antioxidants. We all know what antioxidants do. So it’s anything from anti-aging, to over toxicity, to immune modulation. Antioxidants do all that. So any condition that you have, antioxidants can improve.
I can reference an example though, we do a lot of work with some cancer clinics in Europe. These clinics their major problem is in AIDS clinics as well. Their major problem is trying to get their patients to maintain lean body mass. They have a problem where if they can’t eat food and swallow it, they get sick, they just can’t get it down. They take isolated protein supplements and the body just flushes it right out with no absorption at all. So they were at a lecture we were doing, I think it was in China and they just decided to give it a shot. You know like they listen to the spiel and like OK whatever you know let’s see if it works. They had tremendous results with their patients you know, maintaining lean body mass, and they were trying, they were writing me and everything very excited, and they’re saying now we just have to figure out why.
Well no matter how clean your food is when you eat food, when it starts to digest there is a toxin released. For most of us when we’re in a healthy state, the body can handle that release of toxins; it’s no problem. But when you’re in a condition where you’re taking a lot of drugs for what’s wrong with you or chemotherapy, your body is in a high toxic state. When that food starts to digest and that toxin starts to be released, your body sends out an alarm and it flushes that food without absorption, because it’s trying to keep the toxins down, because you’re already you know in trouble.
So what turns out to be the case with this is because it’s a whole food, and because the antioxidants are bound in the protein when this food starts to digest and those toxins are released, so are the antioxidants. So the Antioxidants neutralize those toxins. The body doesn’t sound the alarm, goes ahead and absorbs the protein. Now all of a sudden these patients are maintaining lean body mass and they’ve never been able to accomplish it before.
So it’s like you have and what they’re doing is you don’t need to do anything with this. It’s in a powder form as you guys see you put it in purified water. They’re taking two tablespoons you know three or four or five times a day, you know doing the multi meal ism practice and they’re maintaining lean body mass and then of course their chemo’s working better, their drugs are working better because the system is fed. There’s less stress because of the starvation effect. So it’s a domino effect and everything works better.
Congratulations. So how is this the perfect food?
OK the perfect food. I’m going to go with transport. If you fly to northern Thailand you could eat this food, exactly as it’s supposed to be eaten. What we do is get it here so that you can eat it as close to possible how it is culturally correct in the origin of growth. So what we do is, I talked about the special milling process, we leave the bran on. We sprout it to neutralize the Phytic acid, but then the most important thing is we freeze dry it.
So if you were to dry this, you would lose a lot of the enzyme effect. You would you know a lot of the you know powerful nutritional effect would dissipate. So we freeze dry. This freeze drying takes all the moisture out of it. It preserves it in its original state. So you can get this product basically it’s fresh. It’s exactly like you would consume it over there based on the freeze drying. And that’s a three day process. We get it from the farm to our mill, in one day, it goes into the sprouter the next day, it goes into the freeze dryer the very next day, because they’re all on the same site. This is all completely our project we control from the farm to the freeze dryer. So from the time this rice is picked, in three days it gets into this bottle. So it’s a perfectly fresh food as well.
And you mix it with water?
You can mix it with water, you can bake with it, you can put it in the cookies, into breads and soups. The easiest most convenient way because there’s no toxicity, so we don’t want to put it in capsules because you can take as much as you want. So the easiest way is just to take water stir in the water and drink it. But you can put into smoothies for kids. What we are we have a big program going with autistic children. They mix it in yogurt. So you just take you know whatever flavour yogurt they want. It mixes great. They eat it. It’s we’re having amazing results with this program we’re done with autistic children as well.
Is this is a complete protein?
It is a complete protein. The amino acid profile is outstanding. It’s well balanced and we haven’t messed with it. We haven’t altered it. We haven’t tried to boost one amino acid for one cause or another. So the good thing about a complete amino acid profile, it hasn’t altered, is your body is going to decide how it needs to be used. So when you do a full antioxidant profile your body takes it and says OK I need a little more of this or I need a little more of that. So we’re not making a decision for you, your body’s making that decision.
So it’ll balance that out?
Tell me a little bit about your famine relief.
Our famine relief project. What we really want to do and when we were all sitting around saying OK do we want to you know because we knew we were going to beat our head against the wall. Anything new and hard and that nobody’s done before, if nobody’s done it before, it’s either because it’s not any good or it’s extremely difficult. Or this only knew it’s because it’s extremely difficult. So when we’re sitting around trying to decide whether we’re going to make this commitment or not, we started thinking about famine relief.
We were meeting with a rice co-op up in northern Thailand and there was a guy there coming they were trying to turn black rice into the new food, and we’re trying to explain to them why a price wouldn’t be successful of food you know in that in a big way that they wanted to be. It takes longer to cook, a list of examples.
And we were trying to say that like really you should support a company that wants to make it a Neutraceutical and they’re talking about why. We’re like okay like you could go to see all these companies, you know putting money into sending white rice to starving children. It’s got no nutrition. They ship it whole, it’s heavy to ship, most of the money that people donate to feed children to grow that rice, goes into shipping, because it’s incredible you know cost to ship heavy rice. This is reduced in size by 12 times from what it is, the moisture is taken out of it, and it’s cheaper to ship. All of a sudden, we start going we could be like feeding children, you know so yeah we’ll go through all this. But our real goal is you know this stuff makes incredible cookies. We can we want to start a direct ship we’re working on it. We’ve got the groundwork laid on a direct ship charity. So we’re making cookies out of this stuff. And if you want us let’s say you give 100 dollars. You don’t have to just wonder where it goes. You can go on the web site buy a hundred dollars worth of cookies, and pick the village you want those shipped to.
And we were in that meeting in and the guy was asking me like he says well OK so I need a comparison because he was trying to do the economics of it. He said I need a comparison. How many bowls of white rice compares to one of your cookies? I couldn’t even give him an answer. I said there is no comparison. This is complete nutrition. One cookie will though they’ll be better fed in one day from one cookie, than they have from weeks and weeks of white rice, as white rice has no nutrition, it has a glycemic effect, and it’s promoting diabetes. This is low glycemic, it’s high in protein, it’s got all the nutrition. I can’t even give you a comparison.
And he stood up and walked out. I thought he was mad, but he didn’t come back in. His secretary came back in and said you know throw the other people out. We’re going with those guys.
So our real goal is famine relief because you know life is short. You know it’s a struggle to make money on anything, but you know if you have a greater goal, then you can get through all those you know bumps and head knocks that you go through.
And that’s why we like this team effort and that’s why people like Mothers and other stores and just the industry in general, it’s one thing to go in and try and tell them to sell this because you know I want a new Jaguar. But it makes your day pleasant, when you go in and you say well look we need you guys, because this is where we want to get to. This is what we want to do, but we won’t get to there without you guys. We need you guys to sell us. We need you guys to make this popular. We need you guys to you know explain the riches of this, so that we can get there, so that we can get to famine relief because this could change kids’ lives.
You can see your passion and I love that. Thank you for your time.
A message from our Chairman – Dr Kasit Phisitkul
On behalf of Rai Din Thai, I’d like to welcome you to the home of the world’s best organic, Sprouted Black Rice Powder.
When we first met Mike, we were captivated by his vision, passion and knowledge, and his dream of introducing such a nutritious, functional food to the world.
Two years later, we are now shipping tonnes of this antioxidant and nutrient rich superfood all over the globe and improving the diets and health of thousands of people suffering from obesity, inflammation, gut issues, Type 2 diabetes, and even certain forms of cancer.
Caring for our rice farmer cooperatives lies at the core of Rai Din Thai’s brand values. I’d like to thank all our Thai farmers for taking such care in producing this organic, bran rich, black rice, and also all of our clients and customers around the world for supporting us in making Mike’s dream come true.
Dr Kasit Phisitkul
Dr Kasit Phisitkul
Chairman Rai Din Thai
Dr Jaroslav Boublik – Scientific Advisor to Rai Din Thai
B.Sc.(Hons), Ph.D. (Med), AACNEM, MRACI, C.Chem. MICRS
Dr. Jaroslav Boublik was educated in Melbourne, Australia, and gained his B.Sc. (Hons) from the Department of Chemistry, Monash University, in 1981 and Ph.D.(Med) from the Department of Medicine, Monash University, in 1985.
He is an Associate Member of the Australian College for Nutritional and Environmental Medicine, a Member of the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, and a Chartered Chemist. He is member of the Monash University and Fulbright Alumni Associations. He has held a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Neil Hamilton Fairley Postdoctoral Fellowship, and was an R. Douglas Wright Fellow.
Dr. Boublik has conducted research at Prince Henry’s Hospital Medical Research Centre, The Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry in China, The Salk Institute, La Jolla USA, and the Baker Medical Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia. He has been an honorary lecturer at Monash University’s Department of Chemistry, published over 30 peer reviewed and invited articles in scientific journals, presented almost 40 scientific papers at research symposia, and is an inventor on four patents. He has been nutritional adviser to several elite athletes, including Olympic medalists.
Dr. Boublik is a consultant to the nutrition R&D sector and has been a board member of several companies in nutritional medicine, complementary medical research and development and water-related technologies. He has published widely on the subjects of performance nutrition, hydration and water quality.
Dr Boublik has worked with a number of companies in the network marketing and direct sales industry and has a deep understanding of what leads to product success in these industries, both from the perspective of product development and product messaging. He has successfully created and managed several highly successful product ranges in these industries and is passionate about the power of person-to-person communication to foster product understanding.
Dr Boublik has been active in consumer product research and development and has created successful products in the nutritional supplement, beverage, functional food and skincare and transdermal categories. Between 2008 and 2017 in the USA he developed dozens of new products for client companies in nutrition, sports performance, hydration and functional foods.
Dr. Boublik spent three years as Lead OHSE Auditor for Australia’s peak scientific and industrial research organization, CSIRO, and this gave him deep insights into human behavior in a research environment and an understanding of environmental issues facing modern organizations.
Dr. Boublik’s latest research focus is on medicinal use of cannabis extracts for a range of therapeutic targets. This work, done as Chief Scientist for the LeafCann Group, heralds a new era of plant-based medicine for Australia.
Dr Jaroslav Boublik
Rai Din Thai’s Scientific Advisor