Sep 1, 2011

More Than Just Herbal Supplements and Diet Pills

Sardar Reza has been the owner of the Health Nut for 14 years, but his passion for a healthy lifestyle started when he was only a boy in India. Just by sitting down and talking with him, it's obvious that Reza is no amateur when it comes to herbology and the like. Glancing at the tens of thousands of different items inside the Health Nut, which resides on Main Street, Reza can tell you what every product aims to assist with. The herb Chinese ephedra is most commonly used for weight loss, reducing mucus and giving more energy to its user. Dong quai root helps balance women's hormones, in addition to a few other specialties.

And the Chakra energy candles help with, well, positive energy. The Health Nut opened 25 years ago under another owner, but Reza has treated it with true passion and care by expanding and growing the store to what it is today. It appears that most of his life revolves around the 'Nut, as he is the sole owner and main body who runs the shop. Reza sat down with Patch this week to discuss how he got into the herbal industry, why he's behind a healthy body and how today's society is ruining that lifestyle. Patch: What inspired you to get into the health industry? Sardar Reza: Well, I'm very passionate because I grew up with it. My family's from India, and I grew up with a lot of herbs and homeopathy. We hardly went to the doctor. My mother was the one who would actually treat us, and we personally grew a lot of herbs in my parents' home. Patch: So that's pretty much the reason why you purchased the business from the previous owner? Reza: Of course, because I was looking for a business like this. I saw an ad in the newspaper, and I came in, and I really, really liked the environment and the shop.

The store was a bit smaller then, but I actually made it a lot larger and nicer. We actually moved from the original site to Main Street. It was Health Nut, also, but it was right there on West Mountain Street. When we came to Main Street, it had new facilities, and we got probably 50 percent more product than when I purchased it. Patch: When did you move into this location? Reza: Five and a half years ago, going on to six. I'm very happy because this is a 150-year-old building. It has a lot of history with Civil War and things like that. It is a historical preserve building in the government books, and we were able to buy it. I spent about $110,000 to renovate it. Everything is new here now. We preserved everything outside, so we kept the history intact. It's really nice, and I'm very happy about that. Patch: One of the different types of products you have are gluten-free products, which is one of the latest crazes in food. Why do you think that is? Reza: Because people never really knew before that gluten would be very, very allergic to some people. And it is true that the generation before us never had the gluten intolerance because their diet was a lot better than our diet. They used to eat natural, a lot more fruits and vegetables. They used to cook more at home and things like that. If you go back 30 years, you can see what I'm talking about, but in today's society, we're really, really busy.

We're running around like crazy, taking care of business instead of taking care of our health. I mean, if you have a car and if you don't maintain your oil or the maintenance schedule, you're in trouble. But in our health, we don't see that because nobody says that: to change your oil every 3,000 or 5,000 miles. But our health actually craves for good, nutritious food, and what nutrition does in our health is not only reduce our hunger, but it also works in different places. Certain nutritions fight cancer, certain nutritions reduce blood pressure, certain elements of food raise your blood pressure, certain foods raise your blood sugar, certain foods reduce your blood sugar, certain foods support your pancreas, certain foods support your liver and keeps it clean, certain foods clean our skin. But we don't eat those foods in today's society, especially among young people. We are known to eat pizza, hot dogs and all-sugar drinks. It has nothing but saturated fats and carbohydrates. It reduces your hunger, it makes you satisfied that you're not hungry anymore, but your body is extremely craving nutrition that we need, and that is why when nutrition lacks, we have different problems that come into our body. So that's the main problem: We are basically not getting good nutrition, and that's when the health food store kicks in. Nutritional supplements are not a choice anymore in today's society.

You have to have some sort of nutrition because, even if you eat fruits and vegetables, it can be highly chemicalized in today's society since a lot of pesticides genetically modify the food. That reduces the strength of the nutrition. Our soil is not as rich as it used to be, so it's kind of hard for us to get the nutrition from our diet, even though we eat a regular diet. Unless you eat organic, and of course, organic food is produced without many chemicals at all. In today's society, that's the best possible source of food. So that's when supplements kick in really, and that is why our bodies are allergic to so many different things that the generation before did not have. Disease used to be a lot less before today's society because of our diet and stressful life. Patch: And you also offer cosmetics, too? Is it just organic makeup? Reza: Mostly we carry the natural, organic products where 99 percent of them are chemical-free cosmetics. One of our best sellers in that family of products is the deodorant. Regular deodorant has lots of chemicals, and lots of people are allergic to it, so a lot of people come in here and say that they get rashes, so we have natural deodorant. Kids and adults can use it. Patch: What are some of your best-selling products? Reza: Multivitamins. That's a basic product, and people like to take multivitamins because of their lack of nutrition and because they're eating junk food and fast food.

Fast food doesn't have a whole lot of nutrition, so they want to get at least some nutrition from their multivitamin. Patch: Do you have any latest craze products? Reza: The HCG [Diet] was on the TV, and Dr. Oz talked about it for weight loss. It's been a craze product for a while. It's settled down a little bit for now, and probably a year before, it was Acaiberry, which came from Brazil. It's another berry, like blackberries. It's actually good because it has seeds. Patch: Do you have a regular customer base? Reza: Absolutely. We have third-generation shoppers stop in our stores. The grandkids are now shopping here, so the store has a very, very good reputation in the neighborhood. Our whole goal is that we always control one thing, and you can call that quality control: We treat our customers just the way we want to be treated in the health store when we go because it's our health. It's not something we are playing with, like your motorcycle or your home.

This is your health, so we try to be as clean as possible, as friendly as possible and as informative as possible. We often give a lot of reading material to our customers, because we believe an educated customer is the best customer in the world, as far as health goes. And I'm not a professional doctor, but I do have a lot of what I call experience, and I've done a lot of seminars. I read a lot of books to figure out information on the industry, and I believe it will pick up a lot of people by recommending things that help them. People come back because it works for them, and I learn a lot from my customers because they come here, bragging about one thing, saying, "This thing is awesome!" The Health Nut is located on 933 Main Street and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The store can be reached at 770-498-6922.

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