Weight-loss journey leads to launch of Orston-based muesli brand Growli Foods
A man who underwent a life-changing weight loss transformation has launched a business based in Orston.
Dave Carr, 49, launched Growli Foods, a supplier of muesli that offers a nutritionally complete meal, in December.
After incorporating his creation into his diet, Dave says he feels fitter now than he has for 20 years, saying: “It’s a massive change. I feel superb at the moment.”
Since he was 14, Dave has had a keen interest in exercise and nutrition, even writing his own e-book called Lean And Clean in 2004.
Dave began his working life as a personal trainer, before a tragedy led to depression that caused him to give up on health and fitness almost completely.
He said: “Instead of hitting the bottle like a lot of people would and drinking myself into a stupor, I just ate and ate and ate.
“When you’re putting weight on so unhealthily, when your body is not designed to put on that kind of weight, because my body was trying to control it to some degree, you don’t realise you are putting the weight on.”
By early 2019 he weighed 15 stones (212 lbs/96 kg) at 5ft 10ins tall.
He said: “I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror or how I felt and had lost all my body confidence.
“On holidays I would sit in the sun with a T-shirt on no matter how hot it became, I was simply quite embarrassed by myself. My overall health and well-being wasn’t great and things needed to change and quickly.”
A turning point came when he saw pictures his son had taken of him after a day out, where Dave also noticed that he was constantly out of breath.
He said: “Because I was so embarrassed, I thought, now is the time to change, but instead of following all the information and knowledge that I knew from being a personal trainer, getting great results with clients, I listened to advice off YouTube and I just fell into the same trap as many other people and I wanted to lose the weight at any cost as fast as I can, and I just chose all the wrong diets.
“So, I lost a lot of weight, but I also lost a lot of muscle mass. I became even more unfit, if anything.”
Because he owned businesses in the polished concrete industry, he sought to create a nutritional shake that he could drink while at working on sites. By chance, he watched a documentary on Bircher muesli and found the idea appealing, but was wary of the amount of sugar in commercially available muesli.
Dave said: “The thought of a muesli packing in loads of flavour, giving me flexibility and, more importantly, being chewable and satisfying was a real game changer.
“Within a couple of hours, I’d worked out a formulation for what I believe is the most complete and nutritious form of muesli on the planet. I crammed it full of wholegrain cereals and seeds and researched the best forms of proteins for both vegan and non-vegan variants.
“During this time, I only thought of making this super muesli for myself, I never expected to be supplying to others.”
During lockdown, Dave took to eating his creation four or five times a day, alongside frequent exercise.
He said: “Within a week of starting this new diet, I felt very different. I felt stronger, I experienced more endurance and a desire to work harder than my last workout.”
The pandemic brought additional challenges for Dave to overcome.
He said: “The major complication I experienced during this time was getting the ingredients I needed together during the restrictions of the lockdown. Suppliers were either part manned or completely closed but within two to three weeks I had managed to put together enough ingredients to give everyone on my list at least a week’s worth of Growlies to try.
“Then I got really stuck into the investment and planning stages, ready for manufacturing a class leading nutritional product. I was exhilarated. It was complicated and a challenge of course, but nothing I hadn’t experienced before with my other business ventures.”
As well as being full of organic whole grains and seeds for sustained energy release, Growli contains more than 26 vitamins and minerals with antioxidants and phytonutrients.
Dave said: “The good thing about Growli is, it doesn’t have to be just a shake. You can start as a base muesli. I make muffins, pancakes, waffles, ice cream with it.”
Dave has even taken to using it when making a korma curry for his son.
He added: “We have put it into all sorts. It’s very versatile.”