Vaibhav Garg, the founder of Purecise, on plant-based sports supplements, reversing lifestyle disorders with science-backed nutrition, and working with Barcelona and the IPL.
Vaibhav Garg dove into clinical and sports nutrition having been an athlete his entire life. Originally a biomedical and biotechnology engineer, he wanted a way to manage his injuries better, and thus turned vegan in 2014. The results, he says, were immediate and shocking.
“Not only was I feeling more energetic and lighter, it was as if all my old injuries had disappeared,” he recalls. This gave birth to Purecise, a plant-based supplements and nutrition brand aimed at maximising sports potential and reversing lifestyle disorders. “Slowly, I started applying the plant-based principles with my clients.”
Based in Gurugram, Purecise caters to more than 5,000 families and 300 sportspersons. Garg says it came about as a result of “figuring out how we can perfect the daily ingredients and supplements being consumed in the typical Indian household for maximum benefit, without any side effects”.
“We created a tool to make the drinking water alkaline, a cooking oil that doesn’t get oxidised upon heating, and then the huge range of plant-based supplements,” he explains. Garg says humans are fundamentally herbivores and cannot sidestep the fact that we’re supposed to eat, and thrive on, plant-based food.
To unlock the true potential of the body, it needs the right kind of fuel. The Purecise founder takes the example of athletes like Martina Navratilova, Virat Kohli, the Williams sisters and Lewis Hamilton to show how cutting back meat can help with performance and longevity. “Whether plant-based products are better is an understatement,” he says, “because they are the only products that must be consumed.”
He adds that the majority of media messaging and marketing has misled people with the positive health effects of meat and dairy consumption, a result of the ad industry being sponsored by these sectors: “The reality remains that we are herbivores and our body’s physiology functions at its optimum best when we consume plant-based foods.”
He explains that we need to break these myths created to push products for financial gains. “Not only does research back this, but in my practice alone, I have seen how this way of living has helped reverse disorders like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer,” reveals Garg. “You need to feed the body what it understands. If we consume meat, it is like fuelling a petrol vehicle with diesel.”
Athletes are the best examples of this, according to Garg. The sports performance nutritionist has worked with professional cricketers, including South Africa’s Morne Morkel, West Indies’s Andre Russell and India’s Irfan Pathan, MMA fighters like Vinicius Moreira, Gary Mangat and Tatiane Brutos, footballers and tennis players.
The cricket and football case studies were a result of working with the Indian Premier League franchise Delhi Daredevils and Barcelona’s Escola academy in India, respectively. “Working with the sports franchises, leagues and training setups has been exciting for me,” Garg tells me. “From working with young athletes at the grassroots level to the pros, it has helped me up my game.”
Purecise has aided gym-goers eating meat thrice a day in transitioning to a vegan diet with successfully muscle gains, helped reverse type 2 diabetes in three months, as well as assisted in curing heart disease and PCOS through science-backed nutrition.
“Besides advocating the plant-based way of eating, I am also an advocate of the alkaline way of consuming food,” says Garg. “This involves plant-based consumption, but also drinking water of a higher pH value. I have had tons of athletes come back to me and ask me: ‘Why do we athletes not know about this?’”
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For Purecise, science-based nutrition has always been the major emphasis. This means clinically researched products made from high-quality raw materials in the most sustainable conditions locally possible. While there is a focus on sustainable packaging, technical and logistical challenges make it harder to implement on every product.
The supplements come in plastic bottles because they need to be secured without any moisture exposure. But some products are available in recycled paper packets (such as tea) and cardboard packaging (like the alkaline water stick). The brand also uses HPMC vegetarian capsules, eliminating the use of gelatin.
Garg wants to be the go-to person for people seeking food-related guidance. In a few years’ time, he envisions Purecise as a market leader, with every household in India using its products. “My brand and I are driven by passion and the need to affect a positive change. Nothing else matters.”