8 February, 2016
Last week I went to listen to clinical nutritionist Ben Warren of ‘Be Pure’ fame speak at one of his several North Island talks.
Before committing to this event, I had sporadically seen Ben’s ‘sponsored’ words of wisdom creeping up on my Facebook feed. However, a recent bout of low iron and B12 through pregnancy peaked my interest.
A few friends had shared Ben’s thoughts on Facebook, and with a following of nearly 25,000 people, I wanted to find out for myself what all the fuss was about.
Ben’s talk was hosted at Auckland Grammar School. It was a sticky, summer evening and walking to the theatre I was startled by the jubilant screams of fifty borders enjoying the swimming pool. They reminded me of the intense energy of youth.
As the crowd flooded in to the theatre it became clear they were probably not the section of society who could most do with hearing Ben’s thoughts. He later referred to us as ‘the healthiest 1%’. A mix of high-fashioned young and famous, dripping in Karen Walker and espadrilles, and studious middle aged women with notebooks and pens. Oh shit, I guess I’m drifting into the later crowd.
The Bachelor and Matilda were there, looking shiny and energised.
Ben starts by explaining to the crowd that he is all about ‘fantastic health’, sustainable clean diets and what we should be eating for the long term.
He has a charming British infused kiwi accent and I observe myself agreeing and nodding along with everything he says.
Before long Ben invites The Bachelor up to talk about his clean living regime. As quick as a whip he pounces up on the stage, a thick mop of dark brown fringe emotionally sweeping across his brow.
I try very hard to dislike the guy, but the more he speaks the more I’m drawn by his magnetism. Ben and The Bachelor assert that if we exercise 10 hours a week and follow the clean diet we will reach super-human levels of energy. My iron deficient body lurches in hope.
The Bachelor says his most frequently asked question is how to define your six pack (abdominals). He goes on to explain the science of body fat and how his favourite exercise are ‘burpees’ – a dreadful cardiovascular exercise which involves someone jumping up in the air then dropping in to a push up and back up again in to a jump, over and over and over again.
Unenthused memories of frosty early morning netball trainings from some previous life are exhumed. My cynicism towards him is revived.
After a quick ‘shout out’ about his new book, the Bachelor sashays back to his seat and Ben continues.
Ben speaks extensively about his background qualifications, which include a master’s degree in nutrition and being mentored by some of the best sports science and performance professionals in the world.
He now lives in Havelock North with his family on a sprawling 15 acre organic farm, which provides them with 80% of their food. He is a strong advocate of developing your own soil and fresh produce. His ‘Be Pure’ clinic is also located in Havelock North and he has a staff of nutritionists, a chemist and even a GP within the team.
Ben’s discourse keeps coming back to the same focus.
How good can you feel?
What is the best way to grow old?
What energy levels are possible?
These are great questions to remind ourselves of daily. Ben is able to break down his purpose and explain the science is layman’s terms, which is refreshing. I feel a close alignment, because a lot of these directions are also how we set the scene for our yoga practices.
I came home from the talk inspired and with many ideas, so I thought for convenience sake I would summarise these for you in to my Top Five key points -
# 1 Detox, detox, detox.
A reason that our immune systems don’t work as well as what they’re designed to is that we bombard ourselves with too many toxins, and the liver has a hard time keeping on top of all this. If you do any of the following things, you should consider a detox:
- Drink coffee or other caffeinated drink regularly
- Drink alcohol
- Crave sugary foods, breads, biscuits, high carbohydrate foods
- Eat gluten
- Drink fizzy drinks (excluding fizzy water)
- Eat processed foods
# 2 Eat green leafy vegetables three times daily.
Think, green smoothie, green smoothie and more green smoothie! Kale, spinach, broccoli, collards, and lettuces, greens are the best foods to help improve your health, because they are brimming with fibre, minerals and are nutrient-dense. They may help prevent heart diseases, diabetes and even cancer. So get that Nutri Bullet blending!
# 3 Exercise, every day.
The positive influence of daily exercise is unbounded. Compared to our ancestors of one hundred years ago, our bodies live relatively sedentary lives.
Every day we must endeavour to use the body’s full range of motion and allow bodily systems to be cleansed. Exercise is also helpful for keeping regular bowel motions, which Ben suggests we should be seeing 30cm of daily!
As we age, we should view our mobility as a ‘use it or lose it’ scenario. Only a small amount of regular exercise is required to have the desired effect. You don’t have to be up at 5am with The Bachelor doing burpees – there are more gentle ways to move prana through the body.
# 4 Supplement your diet.
Many New Zealanders are deficient in essential nutrients and minerals, especially vitamin D, iodine, selenium and B12.
After analysing hundreds of diets on high tech software, Ben had a light bulb moment that although people were eating the right foods, he believes soil quality and therefore food quality has deteriorated markedly.
To make up for this lack, he has gone about designing a range of high quality multi vitamins to support his clients back to greater health. After the talk, half the audience was queuing up to purchase these tailor-made enhancements, which do seem very appealing.
# 5 Eat Whole, natural foods that make you feel full the longest.
Nek level – beyond the detox – Ben’s underlying tenant was we need to avoid alcohol, processed food, gluten and refined sugar all together – although he did acknowledge that going ‘cold turkey’ on all of these, all at once, would be a tough mountain to climb.
However, if our intention is to experience this state of 'unbounded energy', then these gold standards are what we need to work towards. Unlike Moses on the mount, Ben is honest about human attachment and habits. Sugar is everywhere, it’s delicious and the brain has only fond memories of it, so giving it up can be a tough cross to bear.
The promise of this holy land of unbounded energy will be enough to keep the curious marching.
I was surprised and grateful to have my name drawn out of the hat to win a month long meal plan program designed by Ben.
As timing would have it, I will be in Hawkes Bay next week, so I’m endeavouring to make an appointment at the Be Pure clinic and see how these strategies might be best applied to my own current life situation and pregnancy.
From my yoga perspective, there is no such thing as a coincidence and I feel the universe drawing me towards this body of knowledge. Perhaps like my mother forecasts, I will spend a lot of money on expensive wee. Or perhaps, just like that friendly Bachelor, I will feel like a million bucks and be catapulted in to the glory world of unbounded energy and high performance.
A high performance Mum.