Diabetic Entrepreneur Brings Zero-Carb Pizza Crust to Evansville
by John Pena on Mar 08, 2022
ZeroCarb LYFE and its creator, Mohamed Aly, are happy to call Evansville, Indiana home. The sense of community and the not-too-big yet not-too-small town feel makes for a great place to build a life and a new business.
But it was a long and winding road that brought Mohamed to the tri-state area, even for someone who likes challenges. A native of Egypt, Mohamed spent his early years in Saudi Arabia and then moved back to Egypt to attend Cairo University. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in Accounting, but if you’ve had the opportunity to meet him in person, you wouldn’t be surprised to know that he was a comedic actor and achieved a level of fame in Tunisia. Acting and writing are his passions, and part of the reason he moved to the U.S. in 2001 was to study film directing.
But in true movie plot-twist fashion, he instead began working in a pizza parlor. His sister, who happened to be on the Atkins diet, asked if he could create a low-carb pizza. This sparked a dream to create a delicious low-carb pizza crust everyone could enjoy. Spending hours in the kitchen, Mohamed discovered a love of cooking he didn’t know he had and saw how this opportunity could change people’s lives. Although the first attempt wasn’t a success, that didn’t stop him from pushing forward and creating something worth sharing with the world.
In 2006, Mohamed was diagnosed with diabetes. Wanting to improve his health caused a significant shift in lifestyle and food choices. Not willing to give up pizza, he came up with the idea of what we now know as the ZeroCarb LYFE crust. He tried multiple different versions of the crust before finding the perfect combination of chicken, salt, olive oil, and spices. He asked his then-wife to have her coworkers try it on one condition… she couldn’t let them know it was a chicken-based crust. Most of them reveled over the innovative concoction and delightfully approved of this gluten-free, zero-carb crust. He continued to make it at home under the radar.
At the end of 2010, one of Mohamed’s friends told him that he was sitting on a “million-dollar idea.” As the idea continued to grow, he reached out to one of his cousins in 2012 to talk about the opportunity of officially selling zero-carb pizza crusts, and they became partners. Mohamed left his job and opened his own restaurant in Chicago. “It’s not just about the calories; it’s about what’s inside the product,” is his mantra for serving food. The restaurant’s keto customers loved it and became very loyal and dedicated fans. Due to unforeseen circumstances, however, Mohamed had to make the difficult decision to close the restaurant., But, on the day of the announcement, they experienced the most sales ever.
But when one door closes… a connection to Evansville’s ThoughtFire, a company dedicated to helping unlock potential and achieving breakthrough results, started a collaboration. One that led to Mohamed choosing to move to a smaller city and a calmer, laid-back start to a new life. Ever a risk-taker, Mohammed recalls, “I loved it from the first time I came.”
It helped that Evansville has a history of helping small businesses thrive and that there are multiple small businesses successfully operating in this area. His first ZeroCarb customer was the Evansville-based Azzip Pizza, which now features 10 locations in Indiana and Kentucky that offer a ZeroCarb crust option. Several other local pizzerias have since followed suit.
Since relocating, Mohamed has jumped into being an active member of the Evansville society and wants to affect others’ lives in a positive way. He’s especially involved in the downtown community and the innovative spirit that is promoted and growing daily. His caring attitude toward helping others can be seen by his involvement in sponsoring local youth sports and being a member of the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership.
In his quest to help people enjoy delicious (yet healthy and clean!) food, Mohamed is a regular guest on WEHT’s Local Lifestyles with Ange Humphrey. He loves cooking for groups and individuals and showing them how to create simple, clean recipes that are inclusive for various dietary restrictions.
The future is bright for the business as Mohamed looks to introduce ZeroCarb to other cities and states. His goal is that when someone hears the name “ZeroCarb” they understand it to mean quality, trust, and a company that’s a leader in every aspect of the healthy food industry. It looks like things are moving in that direction and although it might be a wild ride, this risk-taker is ready for the opportunities that await!
We’d love to get ZeroCarb LYFE crusts into a restaurant near you! If you know of a restaurant that would be the perfect hangout to serve our inclusive, gluten-free, zero-carb pizza crusts, fill out our contact form, and we’ll be sure to reach out.
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