Liam Frumkin is fast becoming known as a valued entrepreneur with an inspirational story. After suffering from an eating disorder in his early teens, the Winston Salem, NC college student found his life spiraling out of control until he finally sought help and made life-changing progress. Well, Frumkin doesn't just define himself by the bold way he raises awareness about anorexia in men; He is also the brains behind AHAV's edible cookie dough products.
M&F sat down with just 19-year-old Frumkin to follow his hopeful journey and these attractive looking macros.
Anorexia nervosa is understood to be a serious mental disorder that causes a person to restrict their food intake, resulting in significant weight loss. Sufferers may skip meals, obsessively count calories, and exercise excessively. For Liam Frumkin, all of these symptoms became part of a stuck and dangerous lifestyle. "I would say things started to become a problem in my freshman year of high school when I was 13. That was in 2016,” says Frumkin. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) reports that about one in three people with an eating disorder is male. For Frumkin, who feared gaining body fat, his days revolved around a lack of self-esteem around his body image. He woke up, skipped breakfast and went straight to the gym. Sometimes these workouts lasted six hours, and didn't end until, according to Frumkin, black spots were floating around in his vision.
Thankfully, in 2019, Frumkin came to the realization that something had to change. “I remember that moment clearly,” he says. "At the beginning of summer I was sitting at the family table and my parents asked me if I would like a bite of an Oreo, my favorite candy when I was younger. Of course I said no, but I remember thinking, 'When will I ever allow myself to eat even one bite that I actually crave?' That night, I came to the conclusion that the only way I would allow myself to do that was if I planned a day where I would cast aside all my food phobias and just eat whatever I wanted. I decided my first such day would be my birthday. The week before my birthday I reduced my daily calorie intake to 300 calories and the day before my birthday I ate absolutely nothing. I remember that I couldn't sleep that week because my stomach was in so much pain from not eating. Eventually, "cheat" day came and I went absolutely insane. I ate everything I had craved for the past three years. I honestly think I ate over 10,000 calories that day! But that night, my body clearly wasn't prepared for the insane intake of calories it needed to digest, so I spent the whole night throwing up all the food I'd just shoved into my body. It was so incredibly miserable. After that night I woke up, went downstairs and asked my parents for help.”
Liam Frumkin learns to deal with his diagnosis of anorexia.
Frumkin was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and learned that there is hope for those who fight negative thoughts every time they think about food. "One of the most important things I learned is that this fight is so much easier to win together than alone," he says. “During my senior year of high school, when I was just beginning to get medical help, I decided to do this thing called the Student Speaker Series, where a student can apply to give a speech on any topic they want stop in front of the whole school. Furthermore, the student body has no idea who will be speaking and what they will be speaking about until the chosen person takes the stage. Without thinking much about it, I decided to apply with a talk about my eating disorder journey. I was chosen to speak. I can say with confidence that this speech was the bravest thing I have ever done in my life. After I talked about my journey, dozens of people I had never spoken to before came up to me, hugged me and told me they were going through the same thing. For the rest of the year we all became close and helped each other get through each other's daily struggles. That was the moment I decided to find a way to spread awareness about eating disorders and do my part to make the world a better place.”
Liam Frumkin's Fit Cookie Dough is made with "love".
As the thought leader behind the AHAV (Hebrew for love) brand, Frumkin, who now lives in Washington, DC, saw a need to create healthier treats. "Frankly, whenever I went to the grocery store, I was so blown away by how many of these 'healthy' snacks had crazy ingredients I couldn't pronounce," he says. “So I did a lot of my own cooking in junior year of high school using simple, real ingredients. After months of really just eating chicken, broccoli, and rice, I started experimenting with treats I'd been craving. One of my biggest cravings has been edible cookie dough. So I started by just throwing some healthy ingredients in a blender and trying to make something that resembled the taste of cookie dough. This took a while. First I used chickpeas so it just tasted like dessert hummus. I finally came up with a great recipe that is based on oatmeal and uses only 5 healthy ingredients. For a year the cookie dough was my dessert and something I would eat to satisfy my own cravings. It wasn't until the summer after senior year that I started distributing and selling it.”
In fact, AHAV Edible Cookie Dough Bites are high protein and vegan. They're lower than many of the leading "health bars" at 260 calories for 60 grams and have less sugar too. "I'm still shocked that many of the supposedly leading healthy snack brands contain as much sugar as candy bars!" says Frumkin.
Because it's oat-based and low in sugar, AHAV cookie dough is a great low-carb option for athletes or anyone looking to track their macros. Unsurprisingly, then, these edible cookie bites are starting to stand out. Frumkin doesn't just have his goodies in stores, but since they've also caught fire on social media with food criticism influencers like TikTok's Keith Lee, he's gone from being a one-man band to managing a growing team. A portion of the proceeds will also be donated to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).
There is hope for people with eating disorders
“NEDA has definitely helped me on my journey,” says Frumkin. "I found what was most helpful was reading the wills of others who had battled eating disorders and realizing that I am far from alone! I get messages almost daily from others who have suffered from eating disorders. It's honestly the most rewarding part of the business. matter how busy my day is, I always make time to personally respond to every single email. It's mind blowing how many meaningful conversations I've been able to have just because of a connection through a healthy snack!”