Wellness Warrior: Ben Warren
A golfing injury first prompted Ben Warren to look into the impact of food on our health - since then he's studied holistic nutrition and is the founder of nutrition company BePure. He says a wholefoods diet and movement through exercise are essential to his everday wellness.
Tell us about your background before you started BePure.
Before starting BePure, golf was really my thing. It was when I was working as a pro-golf coach at university that I hit a roadblock with some serious back issues that impacted my health and performance quite badly. After seeing loads of different specialists, from chiropractors to physios and osteopaths, I ended up seeing a nutritionist in a bit of a desperate move for a solution. Surprisingly enough she was the one that helped me the most! She suggested that I had a dairy intolerance. I didn't really believe her at first, but being quite scientifically driven I asked if there was a test I could do. I did the test and sure enough I had an intolerance. This really opened my eyes to the world of nutrition.
What were the major nutrition and lifestyle changes you made as part of that?
Well I cut out dairy for starters. I was fascinated to find out how my dairy intolerance was having an effect on my body. My experience was that when eating foods that caused inflammation, specifically in the small intestine, it started causing leaky gut syndrome and destabilisation of the muscles that support the back and pelvis. With cutting out dairy I found I not only healed my back, but it also helped in healing my gut - I stopped bloating and flattened my abdominal wall - and my allergies and life long asthma disappeared to.
After having this direct experience with the profound effect of food on our health, I decided I had to dedicate my life to learning about the body. For me it was more important to teach people about health and what to eat rather than how to hit a golf ball.
Since then I've been working as a clinical nutritionist for the past 13 years. Through this I began studying the nutrient density of our foods and realised that they contained very low levels of vital minerals and vitamins for health. With further investigation I found out that this due to nutrient deficient soils. This was how I came to develop the BePure nutritional support range. I believe if we can't get the nutrients we need for optimal health and wellbeing from our food in the modern world, we need to get them from somewhere else
Tell us about the mission and values of Be Pure and about how the brand has grown.
The advice I've given to support the health of every person I've worked with over the past 13 years has been different. This has really driven mine and BePure's mission to build the future of personalised health. We are all unique, -our genetics, our lifestyles and our environments are all completely different. Because of this the cause of our health concerns are almost always different, as are the solutions.
For me, my back issue was caused by a dairy intolerance. I would never say that everyone in the world with back issues has a dairy intolerance. It's highly likely that both the cause and the solution would be very different. We're all unique.
This is a story we work to tell with our online health and wellness education pieces on the BePure blog, at my seminars and in the BePure clinics. We emphasise the importance of self awareness and testing to get to the true root of your health concern and with this we're able to support people with far more personalised, effective solutions.
What are the core aspects of personal wellness for you today and how do you ensure you make time for them, for yourself and your family in the midst of a busy business schedule?
For me it's about keeping my nutrients up and eating a wholefoods diet that serves my body best (I thrive most on a protein based diet) - and moving my body often with exercise. I also live on my 15 acre, organic permaculture farm in Havelock North where we grow nutrient dense food and I love spending time with my two girls and wife Lynda.
If you could choose one wellness tip for men in particular to stay healthy, what would it be?
For men, the health concerns that they are specifically prone to include heart attack or heart disease that can come out of nowhere, and prostate cancer, which is the number one registered cancer for men in New Zealand, and type two diabetes. It's very difficult to provide just one tip, but ultimately it's about stabilising your blood sugar levels by eating right for you, and upping your nutrient levels to minimise serious health risks and increase your energy.