Stephen Manderson, also known as Professor Green, shares his thoughts on gut health, mental health, the passion behind his business Aguulp and his amazing plans for the future

Reflecting on a year that was unexpected for all of us, Stephen Manderson joined Happiful’s podcast lineup in late 2020 to share his life-long journey with gut health, the reason he’s a continual work in progress and his academic hopes for the future.

While lockdown loomed large in the Manderson household during 2020, it didn’t put a stop to Stephen’s ever-growing work portfolio, he explains. He’s a musician, documentarian, mental health advocate and now, the co-founder of two businesses both established over the past year.

The first business, Aguulp, is the product of his own experience and learnings around his own gut health, and the second Giz and Green, is an evolving food and takeaway business, developed by Stephen and his close friend (“and the hardest working woman I know!”) Gizzi Erskine. Both businesses, he shares, are absolute passion projects.

Aguulp, conceived by Stephen and former Special Forces soldier Kevin Godlington, was borne out of the need for a solution to providing gut, brain and immunity supplements in a formula that helps people nuture their digestive and mental health, taking into account the way we live today, and the connection between the gut brain axis.

Stephen’s own experiences of ill gut health started when he was only six months old, resulting in an operation. He was then diagnosed with IBS at just five, and struggled massively with his health, resulting in an operation and subsequent infection in his early thirties that changed the way he looked at gut health and, as a result, the impact that eating well and supplementing could have on his mental health.

“Gut health has always been a bit of a thing for me, even before I really thought about it,” he says. “After the operation I took it upon myself to learn about the gut and its workings and everything that I could take to possibly help.” His study and reflections around his own health circumstances led to a conversation with Kevin Godlington, who was particularly interested in the mental and gut health connection. The result is Aguulp.

Sharing that away from his professional career, he is also a personal work in progress, Stephen explains that therapy and exercise are a vital part of his wellbeing toolkit and thanks his partner Karima (the couple are now expecting their first child) for showing him a way to find balance amongst the busyness of his life in the public eye.

“I’m really fortunate to have met this incredible woman who came into my life and said ‘No, we’re going on holiday and you’re not working while we’re there,’” he says. “We actually went away and I was able to function better in the time that I was working, because I was taking more breaks, I saw more of the world and had more fun. I was more relaxed and much happier.”

“I’m just really grateful for that lesson,” he reflects. “The world’s not going to stop and I’m not going to lose all my work if I say no to one job, because it’s one job too many.”

With parenthood on the horizon and a full plate work-wise, Stephen reveals that he also has other big plans for the future, including releasing more music, writing for others, looking at how Aguulp might work with Food Banks, and studying Child Psychology in the coming years.

Listen to Stephen’s episode here.

Find out more about Aguulp and follow Stephen on Instagram.

To find a therapist, visit Counselling Directory

To find a nutritionist, visit Nutritionist Resource