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Man turns addiction into opportunity to help others in the form of ice cream

George Haymaker said Re-Think Ice Cream is a 'kinder ice cream' as it is kinder to the tummy, the cow, and the environment.

EL DORADO HILLS, Calif. —

George Haymaker turned his addiction into an opportunity to help himself and others by creating a "tummy-friendly" ice cream.

Around 10 years ago, George Haymaker, the founder CEO of ReThink Ice Cream, was struggling with an addiction to pain medications and alcohol. 

As Haymaker began recovering from his addiction, he turned to ice cream as a substitute for the sugar found in alcohol. But the more he indulged, the more he began feeling and showing the effects of all the sugar found in ice cream.

“I thought to myself, this is not sustainable; I’ve got to apply my tools of recovery to total health of mind, body and spirit,” Haymaker said. “Because of that, I started watching what I was eating and looked around for healthier ways to indulge.”

As Haymaker looked for a healthier ice cream, he struggled to find one he liked as brands that were low in sugar or nondairy didn't provide the taste or texture he craved.

That was when Haymaker had the idea to create a healthier ice cream that still tasted great and had a similar texture.

"An important part of staying sober is to give back, which makes those of us in recovery feel good about ourselves," Haymaker said. "I created ReThink Ice Cream as a platform to help others."

The original premise of ReThink Ice Cream was to create an ice cream that was healthier, but still tasted as identical as possible to Häagen-Dazs. As Haymaker began talking with others, he realized many people had issues with digesting dairy.

"We found this issue to be important to our consumers," Haymaker said. "That was when we began rebranding Rethink Ice Cream as a 'kinder' ice cream."

ReThink Ice Cream is "tummy-friendly" as it is lactose-free, low in sugar, low in carbs, low in calories, does not use sugar alcohols, and uses A2/A2 dairy from cows making it easier to digest.

"There is really no one in the market that focuses on being tummy-friendly, so we were excited we could make this happen," Haymaker said.

According to Haymaker, Re-Think Ice cream is a 'kinder ice cream' as it is kinder to the tummy, the cow, and the environment.

The company was originally based in Napa before Haymaker decided to relocate to El Dorado Hills in 2021.

"In terms of business, relocating to the Sacramento area was a good move for us as there is a broad demographic to test our products with," Haymaker said. "We want to try to own this market and become Sacramento's ice cream company."

According to Haymaker, customers can find ReThink Ice Cream across the Greater Sacramento Region at every Raley's, every Bel-Air, Sac Co-Op, and Davis Co-Op. Haymaker said he hopes to bring ReThink ice cream to more stores in Northern California and online soon.

Watch more from ABC10: 4 ways to improve gut health | Meg Unprocessed

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