Sunday, May 26, 2019

More Than Just Natural Foods: Omega Fosters Wellness Through Education and Personalized Service

by Sheila Julson

Omega Health Foods owners Eyadiel Varkey “E.V.” Uthup and his wife, Achiamma “Joy” Uthup, had enjoyed successful professional careers, but the mental and physical stress that accompanied their work eventually took a toll on their health. The Uthups eventually discovered natural remedies that improved their own wellness, and they developed a passion to help others naturally achieve good health. Today, the Uthups, along with their daughter Julie Uthup, provide high-quality vitamins, supplements and natural foods—and expertise on how to select the best products—at their shop in Bethany.

E.V. worked in electronics and technology for major companies, such as Lucent Technologies and AT&T. One of his duties as a manager was to set up a project in Toronto, which involved frequent travel from his Oklahoma City home to Canada. “My stress level rose, and it eventually affected my health,” he reflects.

Meanwhile, Joy worked as a registered nurse in the gastroenterology department at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, in Oklahoma City. Nursing in a hospital setting requires long hours of excessive walking and standing, and Joy experienced painful inflammation that affected her ability to walk.

In 2003, Joy heard about mangosteen juice, a fruit product known for its high antioxidant properties. “I began using it, and within 10 days I felt the pain go away,” she says. “I told my husband about it and we both started drinking the juice. That was the beginning of our belief in natural products.”

Joy and E.V. researched and incorporated holistic therapies, vitamins and supplements into their lives and saw their health greatly improve. In June 2007, the couple heard about Council Health Foods, a store on the verge of closing. They approached the owner to discuss purchase. By July 1, they were the proud owners of the store, which they renamed Omega Health Foods.

E.V. operated Omega full time while Joy continued to work in nursing, helping at the store part time after her shifts. Solid store growth allowed her to retire from nursing in 2013 to work at the store full time. Julie, who worked in the regulatory department for a pharmaceutical company in North Carolina, returned to Oklahoma City in 2013 to help her parents set up and operate the store’s new computer system. “I had only planned on staying for a couple of months, but I fell in love with natural health and ended up staying,” she says.

Julie is the office manager, and E.V. and Joy assist customers. The 2,500-square-foot store—expanded in 2012 from the original 1,500-square-foot space—offers high-quality vitamins and supplements, such as Nature’s Plus, NuMedica and EuroPharma. Joy keeps her nursing licensing current, which allows her to purchase professional-grade supplements available only to licensed practitioners. Customer favorites include Nature’s Plus Gold vitamins; ProMax progesterone cream; and Curamin, by EuroPharma.

Omega Health Foods also offers homeopathic products and shelf-stable natural foods, including organic cereals, juices, gluten-free items and personal care products. There is also a cooler with kombucha and health drinks for purchase.

The Uthups strive to provide excellent service; a quality they feel sets them apart from other health stores in the area. Customers rely on Joy’s 25 years of nursing experience, and E.V. notes that they take the time to really listen to their customers and assess their needs before making recommendations, without pressuring them. They host free educational seminars on topics such as immune health, protein, nutrition, wellness, cancer, inflammation, stress and natural products.

E.V. and Joy, both in their 60s, say they feel great and do not take any prescription medications. After witnessing first hand how nature’s remedies led them to overcome health challenges, they take satisfaction in helping others achieve wellness. “We believe we’ve made an impact in so many people’s lives through education and by offering these products,” E.V. enthuses. He’s inspired by stories he hears daily from people that feel better through natural products found at Omega Health Foods.

Julie agrees, “When people tell us how much better they feel, or how their sleep improved, and they return to the store and bring their families, we feel like we’ve made an impact on people’s quality of life.”

Omega Health Foods is located at 2427 N. Council Rd., Bethany. For more information, call 405-495-9420 or visit their Facebook page

Sheila Julson is a Milwaukee-based freelance writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazines throughout the country.