We had the opportunity to sit down with Stewart Brown, founder of Genuine Health. We love this brand and their new fermented proteins product range and couldn’t wait to hear more about the inspiration behind these gut friendly protein products. You can find them here.
Well TO Do: What was the inspiration for starting Genuine Health? What was your first product?
Stewart Brown: I started off in the industry with my own retail supplement stores called Supplements Plus. I sold greens+ in my stores, actually it was 25 years ago this year when it launched. Customers just kept coming back & talking about how much better they felt, how when they took greens+ they just felt so much better. More energy, less colds and flu’s and just overall feeling so much better mentally. I just wanted to help more people feel that way, so I started selling to other stores around Toronto. Then in 1999, I sold my stores and formed Genuine Health with greens+ as our first product, and it just exploded across Canada from there.
WTD: We were so lucky to hear about it at your Studio KO event, but please tell our readers about your fermented range!
SB: It’s amazing how many people have food intolerances today. How many people just don’t feel right eating certain foods. Avoiding this, avoiding that, dairy, gluten, soy, corn, etc. This got us thinking – something is wrong here. If you’re eating healthy foods, we should be able, within reason of course, to eat them without problems. This led us to thinking about the gut, digestion, people not feeling good or quite right and it made us realize what was missing in so many peoples diet, fermented foods. Fermented foods use to be a staple across the world in people’s diets. It’s absent now in so many if not all, especially ours here in North America. So this lead us to learning and being so excited about what fermented foods do.
If we think of our gut as a garden, it should be flourishing with biodiversity, lots of different bacteria. What has happened over time is that our inner gardens have been clear cut. We have lost the biodiversity which causes the “soil” in our inner gardens to be damaged. There are two things we love about our fermented products. First, fermentation acts as a fertilizer to the damaged soil in our inner gardens so that we can get our guts flourishing with diversity again. Having healthy soil is so important for our gut and its happiness.
The second thing that fermentation does is it makes ingredients more absorbable and easily digested, no bloating when you take a vegan protein or even dairy if your susceptible that way. It actually helps your body get more out of its protein, up to 40% more when it’s a vegan protein, or 20% more on a dairy protein. Fermented is just better all-around and nobody does fermentation like Genuine Health. We are the fermented experts.
WTD: What inspired the Studio KO event – and aligning boxing with fermented protein?
SB: Boxing has become a popular workout in Toronto and across the country with more individuals interested in implementing it into their fitness regime. After a challenging workout, it’s important to refuel your body and have protein to repair muscle tissue within 30 minutes of a workout – so it was a great opportunity to introduce and educate participants about our fermented range, as fermentation allows you to actually absorb the protein and nutrients in your supplement – all without the bloat.
WTD: We hear “fermented foods” and “superfood” a lot these days. What is it about fermentation that made you pursue fermented proteins, whether as a powder or the yummy protein bars? What is the next “superfood“?
SB: For us, it’s really about loving how you feel and when you digest better, absorb more and aren’t bloating, you just feel so much better and have so much more energy. That’s why we love fermentation. When people talk about the latest and greatest superfood they are usually talking about one single food or ingredient. To be honest, we’re not really into the next superfood. The reason is we think that you should be eating a balance of things that are good for you and when a superfood comes out people tend to go crazy and eat a ton of that item. All the research shows the more balanced, the more variety, and the more colours you consume in your diet – the more results you will see and the better it is for your body.
WTD: We got to take home a sample of the fermented whole body NUTRITION with greens +. How did Genuine Health come up with this formulation and the amazing flavours?
SB: It took quite a few years, but basically the concept was to take the tried and true greens+ formula and amplify it with fermented ingredients. We know that greens+ works and that it has been proven by 9 research studies to increase energy, balance pH, improve vitality and build healthy bones. We wanted to take that up a notch by adding in the goodness of fermented foods to add the amazing benefits we talked about above. So we worked hard on it to get it rich in veggies and polyphenols and also to have fermented essential fatty acids, fibre and the rich wonderful nutrients. We are proud of the flavouring on all our products. We have been told often that our products are the best tasting….we tend to agree J
WTD: Where do you source your ingredients and what are the most important attributes?
SB: When it comes to ingredient sourcing, we like to say that we are non-discriminatory. We source from all over the world. When it comes to food, we 100% believe that local is best for nutritional quality as well as environmental impact. However when sourcing ingredients for supplements, it’s not quite the same. We can’t source Siberian Ginseng in Southern Ontario unfortunately. So for us, the most important thing is to make sure we are testing our ingredients from wherever we are sourcing them. Every region in the world has their own issues, so we make sure that we are constantly testing our ingredients to meet our efficacy and purity standards.
WTD: If you could give WTD readers one tip to eat and snack healthier, what would it be?
SB: Eat more (and a variety of) fruits and veggies! There is a reason that we are told this from a young age. The plant nutrients in fruits and veggies have an enormous impact on our health and even feed your gut bacteria. This is the reason that our flagship product greens+ has stood the test of time and is turning 25 years old this year. It is a super concentration of fruits and veggies that has a proven effect on your health.
WTD: What’s next for Genuine Health?
SB: We’re really excited about the microbiome these days; we really see it as altering the way people should think about and look at their health. The microbiome are the microbes that are all over the human body. We are over 10% microbes and they really play an important part in our gut health and are overall wellbeing. We’ve just launched a probiotic that will help seed the gut, fermentation helps nourish the soil of the inner garden, probiotics will help see the diversity of this garden for better digestion and better health.
WTD: What’s exciting you most right now about the Toronto wellness scene?
SB: Just how fast its growing. When I started in this industry, people used to look at you like you are a freak if you were into health and wellness. We were definitely the minority. I love to see how much more mainstream it has become and also how younger and younger generations are seeing in the value in eating well, exercise, supplementing and living a balanced life. The long term preventive effects are enormous.
Thank you to The Publicist Group for setting this up with Genuine Health and for the fabulous photos.