EPC (Eat Play Crush) Nutrition, Real Ingredient Performance Food was founded by Mary Shenouda, an industry respected performance chef and nutrition specialist to some of the top athletes and entertainers since 2012.
Mary Shenouda formulated and self funded the launch of Phat Fudge (the first product she made available for public purchase) after years of working with professional athletes and entertainers through her Elite Performance Agency.
She saw firsthand the importance of a holistic and inclusive approach to performance and the challenges that high-octane humans face in staying healthy and injury-free and was dissatisfied with the options available in the market at the time.
In true entrepreneur fashion, she started Phat Fudge out of her apartment individually filling (with a ketchup bottle over a scale), sealing (amazon bought heat sealer), boxing (individual stickers), and shipping orders every week while still also supporting her client load to be able to fund Phat Fudge, putting every penny back into the business.
Her efforts were recently highlighted in Arnold Schwarzenegger's latest book, Be Useful where he dives a little further into her background from sickness to health to taking risks and seizing opportunity to becoming the expert in performance nutrition.
EPC Nutrition products have been used one on one with Mary's clients which include NBA Champions, WWE Stars, Marvel Actors, MLS Athletes, High-Octane Entrepreneurs, Olympic Athletes, and so on before becoming a product available to the market, meaning they have been proven in the field (no pun intended) for over a decade and personally formulated by Mary Shenouda.
Our products are now used across every major sport at the professional, college, and HS level as well as by everyday people from the health conscience individual, weekend warrior, busy parent, firefighter units, military, to even doctors who carry it in their practice after being customers themselves.
EPC Nutrition's belief when it comes to performance nutrition is that if you have a body, you are performing at some level so whether you're a world class athlete or not, the same quality ingredients and food-first approach applies.
You would be hard pressed to find someone as passionate to the craft of performance nutrition as it relates to gut health and overall wellness with the depth of experience, clients, and dedication as the person behind EPC Nutrition.
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About Mary Shenouda, Founder
I was in the 2nd grade, (oh yeah, it goes way back) sitting in the Nurse’s office in excruciating pain, barely able to keep my eyes open.
Walking there had taken an act of God, but when the Nurse took my temperature it clocked as normal so she was sending me back to class.
My eyes were filled with tears, both out of frustration from not being believed but also because it felt like ice picks were being hammered in and out of my head, but to add insult to illness the nurse told me to stop making up stories to get out school.
I barely made it around the corner before BAM, projectile vomit was all over the front desk and the nurse was on the phone with my Mother in record time.
How’s that for making it up, Lady?
And so it began – decades of pain and sickness while doctor after doctor told me that it was all in my head, completely psychosomatic. I was prescribed every medication and coping pain killer under the sun. I had so many blood samples drawn that I speculated that I was actually keeping a small town of vampires alive.
You learn to live with all the symptoms, and begin to wonder if it is indeed, all in your head. Pain becomes your normal and you’re led to believe that you have to start your day with pill to get through it.
By age 23 my body decided to turn up the volume, doing whatever it could to get me to find the source. I spent the year with my skin completely inflamed, from head to toe.
Anywhere my skin was touched, an inflamed print would be left. Doctors again would doll out prescriptions in lieu of answers. The steroids I was put on to reduce my skin’s reaction left me a pile of depression on the floor, gaining weight rapidly.
My 24th year was my record number in ER visits from vomiting induced blackouts brought on from my migraines, only to be asked over and over as though I was ‘making up stories’ about what drug I allegedly was OD’ing on.
Again, I had more tears in my eyes, but this time instead of pain, I felt angry. Really angry, and helpless. I’ve had enough.
I had a melt down in the ER as they finally believed I wasn’t lying about my monster migraine and were about to treat me once again with heavy duty pain killers which put me into a panic (my reaction to painkillers were almost as bad as the migraine) so pulling at the IV in my arm before they could put the morphine into my body, I yelled: I WANT TO KNOW WHY I HAVE THESE MIGRAINES!
I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, and on top of that, feeling like the marvels of modern medicine had forsaken me.
The rage led to the realization that it was up to me, that it was time to take my health and my diagnosis into my own hands and to seek my own answers.
After going down the internet research hole, I sent out my own lab work after learning that standard blood tests related to certain food intolerances can be up to 60% inconclusive.
The results came back, I was a Celiac*, in addition to having a severe Casein and Soy intolerance.
News like this is the opposite of winning the lottery unless you have a positive outlook on food and its potential to make you healthier and so I saw the challenge as a culinary opportunity!
*What is a Celiac? The word “Celiac” has a Greek origin – It comes from the word ‘Koiliakos’ which means hollow and refers to the way an individual with Celiac disease can eat but remain malnourished when gluten is present in the diet. The root word made more and more sense as I learned that there is so much in our accessible and daily food supply that cause this ‘hollowness’ in our digestion.
I finally had answers, or at least partial answers, to what the root cause of my ailments over the years, and immersed myself into the world of modern American food to learn how what we eat today affects the human body.
What was the conclusion of my extensive research, medical study reading, and late night Googling?
I learned that all of my allergies and ailments could effectively be ‘cured’ through the adoption of the Paleo Diet, based on quality meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, tubers and seeds.
Simply changing the way I ate, without the use of any prescription drugs reversed my symptoms within months. A lifetime of pain and sickness began to disappear; migraines, hives, nausea, depression, digestive issues, muscular and joint pain, all gone.
Once I began regaining my health, sharing my story via Instagram, and reinventing my favorite dishes from childhood, the requests from professional athletes, well-known authors, actors, and even world renown Chefs came rolling in for private chef work and culinary consultations.
During this time, I was still working in corporate America at a tech job that I loved but knew I had to choose one and after a happenstance moment with Tyler Florence at The Ferry Building (ask me about it, it is entertaining), I decided to go all in on my journey as a private performance chef advocating the power that whole foods has when it comes to health and vitality.
Worth mentioning: I don't believe that the paleo diet is the cure all for everyone but it is what started the path that led me to where I am today and how I seek to understand nutrition on an individual level because what works for me won’t work for you and what works today may not work in 6 months.
After 12 years in the game and many accomplishments later, I am just as passionate if not more than when I started about approaching performance on an individual level vs a one-size-fits-all approach.
The rest of the story continues to be written through my efforts personally and through the efforts of our incredible customer and one on one clients as they reach new heights, break records, bring home championships, extend their careers, secure strong contracts, and set new standards of performance in and out of their sport.
You can follow along with me on social media, @paleochef across all platforms.
Check out the agency, my other business, at EPC.com and subscribe to my podcast.