The Healing Power of a Plant-Based Diet with Sunwarrior’s Denley Fowlke

October 27, 2014

JOHN SHEGERIAN: Welcome to another edition of Green is Good. Today we’re so excited to have with us Denley Fowlke. He’s the co-founder and owner of Sun Warrior. Welcome to Green is Good, Denley. DENLEY FOWLKE: John, how are you? JOHN SHEGERIAN: I’m great. Thank you so much, and thanks for coming on our show. Like I told you off the air, our family are big fans of Sun Warrior, and we’ve used your product for years, so thank you for coming on and sharing the Sun Warrior story with our listeners. Before we get talking about your great company, Sun Warrior, I want you to tell the Denley Fowlke story. Talk a little bit about your journey growing up and leading up to the founding of Sun Warrior, and what your story is a little bit. DENLEY FOWLKE: OK. I guess it starts off when I was just a kid, a young kid. My folks had fruit stands, a small fruit market. I grew up in that, and as I got older, the fruit stand grew. They started selling other things. You’ve heard the saying “You are what you eat.” Back then, I was a Twinkie, I was a Coke, and I was a puff of smoke. I got sick early in life. I developed asthma, bronchitis, and all those things. My mother read a book by Ann Wigmore; I’m sure you’ve heard of Ann Wigmore, the wheatgrass juice lady. Back in the ’60s, she read this book about growing wheatgrass juice, so my mother grew wheatgrass juice for me. She made me drink it. I couldn’t believe I was drinking it, but something happened to me. I felt better. After I drank the first drink of that, I’m going, “Wow, it’s like euphoric.” I linked that what I put in my mouth had something to do with how I felt. It changed my life, in a way. Then I grew up and got married and we started having kids, and we had twin daughters, baby twins, and they were sick right off the bat. Because I had health problems, they had health problems, so the nut doesn’t fall too far from the tree. They had diarrhea; they threw up all the time, as babies do, and icing on the cake they had respiratory infection a lot. So, what do you do when you have a little tiny baby sick? You take them to the doctor and they put them on antibiotics, they get better, and about a month later, they’d be sick again. We got in a cycle, about every month we’d have them back to the doctor to get them over this respiratory croup, cough, pneumonia type of stuff. It got to be like three weeks between doctor visits, and then every two weeks between doctor visits. The time was shorter and shorter all the time between doctor visits, and it got to the point where if they were not on medication, they were sick. They had to be on antibiotics all the time, and that’s when the light turned on for us. We’re going, “Wow, maybe there’s something wrong with our babies.” They were getting worse and worse, and we felt like they were dying. So, we took them to the specialist, and he tested our babies, and he goes, “Wow, your girls have cystic fibrosis.” We were shocked, obviously. We knew a little bit about cystic fibrosis. My sister had a baby die from CF a few years prior to that, so we were a little bit concerned, you might say. We didn’t know what to do, and I was still in the produce business back then. I met an older gentleman, I made friends with him, and I told him. I shared what my dilemma was. I didn’t know what to do about it because the doctors wanted our babies to be on higher medication. They said, “That’s the first thing we need to do, put them on more meds.” Einstein has a saying that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over again and expect different results. To me, it made zero sense, putting our babies on more medication. They were getting worse. They were dying. They weren’t getting better. It just made no sense. They said our babies would never live past their late teens, never have children, never have a life, really. They would have to live in a bubble, so we obviously didn’t know what to do. This older gentleman, I told him our situation. He says, “I have someone I want you to meet.” He took us up to lady north of Salt Lake, and she sat us down, she looked at us, she looked at our babies. She says, “If you kids will do what I tell you to do, I’m going to make you a promise. I promise you that you will never have your babies back to the doctor or the hospital ever again if you do what I tell you to do.” We’re going, “Well, that sounds good. What do we do?” She goes, “Well, don’t you know? Your after lies in nature.” She basically put us on a fresh raw fruits and vegetable diet. When she told me our after lies in nature, it took me right back to my wheatgrass juice days with my mother, and how much better it made me. We bought in on it, and we felt like we had no other way to go. And so it changed our lives. We turned on a dime. From that moment on, John, we became the neighborhood weirdos, and we still wear that name proudly. We’re still weird, but now it’s kind of the chic thing to do, and it changed our lives and it put us on the path. JOHN SHEGERIAN: How many years ago was that, Denley? DENLEY FOWLKE: John, it was about 36 years ago. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Wow, so your daughters are older women now. DENLEY FOWLKE: Yes. They didn’t keep the doctor’s prediction. They’re 37 years old now, and they each have seven kids. JOHN SHEGERIAN: You have 14 grandchildren, Denley? DENLEY FOWLKE: No, I have 21. I have a couple other kids. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Oh my gosh. You have 21 grandchildren, but the twins have 14 among them. DENLEY FOWLKE: They do, and if we would have lost those kids, just think of what would have been such a tragedy, a loss in our family. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Oh my gosh. What a story. Wait a second. So, your daughters grew up to be healthy, vibrant women because of the new diet, and are they still eating and living that way? Are you and your wife still eating and living that way all these years? DENLEY FOWLKE: Jen and I, we live that way. A lot of our diet is raw. We’re pretty well for the most part vegan most of the time, and it has changed our lives. Our girls, they married guys, and of course they’re regular guys, but they still have to watch what they eat. Their kids are healthy, and they’re doing well. They have the basics. We taught them the foundation of health. You teach them the principle, and then they govern themselves. That’s our philosophy. JOHN SHEGERIAN: That’s such a great, heartwarming, and wonderful inspirational story. Let’s talk about your great brand. For our listeners that just joined, we’ve got Denley Fowlke on. He’s the co-founder and owner of Sun Warrior. To learn more about his great and amazing and important products, please go to www.sunwarrior.com. So, when did you start Sun Warrior? Now I know why you started it, but when did you get it started and how did you get it started? DENLEY FOWLKE: Well, we started it about seven or eight years ago, I guess. I met a guy down in the raw foods festival in Sedona, Arizona, I think probably about eight years ago now. This guy is a big guy. He’s a bodybuilder, and he’s sitting there, and he goes, “Hey, I think you skinny little raw fooders are protein-deficient. You run around here like a bunch of ittie bitties.” I’m going, “I beg your pardon? I eat my raw foods. I have everything I need, thank you very much.” I went and had my protein amino acid profile checked, and yeah, he was right. I was missing some amino acids. He’s a bodybuilder, and his name is Nick Stern. He’s my partner now. He goes, “Hey, let’s start a company. I want to start a company that has a good-for-you protein, something that’s going to be raw, it’s going to be vegan, and it’s going to be good for you.” The other stuff he had been taking, the whey protein and the soy and all that other stuff, he said, “Man, it’s killing me. My joints are breaking down, I get gas and bloating, and I just want a good, healthy something for me.” It took us about a year to really come up with our protein that tasted good. We knew it had to taste good and still have the living components of a good, healthy, nutritional food, so that’s what happened. We took off from there. JOHN SHEGERIAN: So, talk about the great products. I’m on your website now, and again for our listeners it’s sunwarrior.com. I’m on your products page. Share with our listeners these great products and why they’re superior to anything else that’s out there. DENLEY FOWLKE: So, we started off with protein, and that was our flagship. Our first protein was sprouted fermented raw rice protein, and it was unique because it tasted good and people did so well with it. It did, it took off. Then, after that, we got thinking, and we realized that bodybuilders taught us that it’s good to cycle from one protein to another. So, we came out with another amazing protein, and it’s our Warrior Blend. It’s pea, hemp, and cranberry protein. Gosh, it’s smooth, it tastes good, and it took off, and it’s actually taken over. Our Warrior Blend tastes good and it blends up smooth. Anyway, as a protein, it took off. Then we got to working on other products because we want to have it all. We next came out with greens. We have a green product that’s amazing, John. We grow up here in the mountains of Utah in this volcanic rich soil, that’s so mineral rich that the greens pull all these minerals into the plant, into the blade of the grass. What’s unique about our greens is a large portion of our greens is the juice powder, and the juice powder is much more nutrient-dense than just grinding up the grass into powder. We’ve had ours tested, and we’re at the top of the chart for chlorophyll in our greens and superoxide dismutase — it’s an anti-aging factor and good for the immune system — in our greens. It’s really, really high in nutrients. We recently added one thing. It’s moringa leaf. I’m sure you’re familiar with moringa leaf powder, which is an amazing thing by itself. So, we have moringa with it, too. They’re organic and they’re raw and nutrient dense. We dry them at about 80 or 90 degrees. They’re still raw. Then we have probiotics with them, too, because probiotics and friendly bacteria in the gut is so important and helps digest the greens. We don’t get enough greens as a society. If you’re green inside, you’re clean inside. They truly are amazing. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Talk about these products. These greens, peppermint and ormus greens natural. I’m looking on your site right now. How do people take them and how many times a day, and what are the benefits they’re going to get from these kinds of products? DENLEY FOWLKE: OK. Good question. What I personally do — everybody does it different — but before I even get up and go exercise at the gym, I get a big tablespoonful of greens and put them with pure water, and I blend them up, and I put our liquid minerals with our greens, which makes it really alkaline, gives you energy, and alkalizes your body and mineralizes your body. Then I have greens at night before I go to bed with minerals again, because you’re so mineralized, it helps you sleep at night. It’s a natural source of vitamins and minerals. They’re so rich. It helps your friendly bacteria grow. Friendly bacteria has to be nourished too, so all the minerals that I take nourish the friendly bacteria and helps it to grow. After my workout, then it’s time for my muscles to uptake protein. We’re ready to go. Our protein absorbs and assimilates so well. It’s really changed my life, giving me a complete amino acid profile into my diet. We have to have protein for our skin, our hair, and our fingernails, along with the minerals, and hormones and enzymes. With our greens and our minerals, we’re approaching just about everything the body needs. Then we came up with some other things. We feel like our nutrition should come from plants, so same with our minerals. Our belief is our minerals should come from plants, not like the Great Salt Lake or the ocean. Plants is the best source of minerals, and so our Liquid Light has our minerals and it has folic acid naturally occurring in it. Folic acid delivers all nutrients into the cells. It’s a transporter of nutrients, so we’re taking our minerals with our greens. It delivers all of that into the cells. If you take vitamins, which we have a raw vitamin, I take raw vitamins with our Liquid Light, and it goes right into the cells, cellular delivery. Unless we get cellular delivery, we’re wasting our money, really. It just goes right on down the system and right on down to the alligator farm, so we want to absorb and assimilate all those things. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Denley, we’re down to about four minutes. Where can our listeners buy your products? I’m on your site. It looks like they can buy it on your site, but can they find it in retail stores, or is it only from your site and they have to go to sunwarrior.com? How does this work? DENLEY FOWLKE: We are in most of the Whole Foods. I don’t think we’re in the Florida region yet, but most Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe countrywide, and we are in a lot of the smaller health food stores. We’re in quite a few thousand stores now, so we’re pretty easy to find. If you can’t find, we have a store finder or locator on our website, or you can order it from our website easy, sunwarrior.com. JOHN SHEGERIAN: So, it’s either on the website or in Whole Foods or other great local natural food stores close to wherever our listeners are. DENLEY FOWLKE: Yeah, Vitamin Shoppe. We’re getting into some of the GNCs, and we are expanding. We’re just getting into Wegmans in the Northeast, and smaller chains around the country. We’re pretty easy to find. JOHN SHEGERIAN: Denley, we’re down to about three minutes or so. Two question: A) talk about what’s this activated barley and why is that so important, and B) what are your users coming back and telling you? At the top of the show, you gave an amazing story about your wonderful daughters who went on to have great lives and 14 grandchildren between them now. Talk a little bit about what the people who are using your great Sun Warrior products, how are they coming back, and what are they sharing with you in terms of how it’s changed their lives? DENLEY FOWLKE: OK. The activated barley is a sprouted barley seed fully fermented. It’s raw, and it’s loaded with beta-glucans, so it’s a good pre-workout and good post-workout, and it levels blood sugar. If you have low blood sugar, you’re tired, activated barley levels and brings it up. Or, if you have high blood sugar, it brings it down, so it levels your blood sugar. It’s dynamite. It’s a health food. It really is. It’s really good for your blood sugar. People that use our products — we have testimonials all the time, kind of like changing lives, and it really is. People from all walks use our products. We have athletes, we have soccer moms. My grandkids drink that stuff up like crazy, and I think that’s why they’re so healthy. We have Immune Shield, which is our silver product with our folic acid. It really works. We never had to take our kids back to the doctor again, and that’s what we’re saying. We have everything that the body needs, and you don’t have to go to the doctor for every little thing. I don’t think it’s good for you. I mean, there are cases when you need to, but I’m saying why not do it the natural way? The body recognizes natural nutrients. We have people talk about their hair and how it’s all changed, and their skin has improved, and their hair, skin, and nails. I can’t keep up with my fingernails; I have to clip them all the time now. It’s life changing, and people with low blood sugar and low energy, you know the difference when you take something that’s natural and good for you. JOHN SHEGERIAN: That’s so great, and we’re so appreciative of you, Denley, for you coming on today’s show. For our listeners out there that want to learn more about Sun Warrior or buy their great products, you can go to www.sunwarrior.com or other great food stores in your area, such as Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe, and others. Thank you, Denley, for being a sustainability leader and an inspiring eco-preneur. You are truly living proof that green is good.