Just like many other temporary notions and fads, "wellness" has become popularized in the last few years. Everyone from public corporations like Kellogg with their healthier Kashi brand (read more) to supplement companies like Herbal Life (read more) are staking claim to being a healthier choice. Everyone wants a piece of wellness, and why not, it makes generally unhealthy people feel healthier. However, the "wellness" word has created so much buzz here in recent years, that the general public has lost sight of the definition and what wellness really means.
Adding the suffix "ness" to any word adds the meaning "state or quality of" to the word. For instance adding the suffix "ness" to the word "fresh" would be defined as the state of being fresh: The apple was crisp with freshness. The same grammatical rule applies for adding "ness" to "well". Wellness is defined as the state of being well.
So many products and services have labeled themselves as wellness brands in an attempt to take advantage of the public's lack of knowledge in the misuse of this important labeling. Being in the wellness class, especially if you are a nutrition brand, requires that a few compulsory measures be met. It is our job as the consumer to ensure that we are doing the proper investigation necessary before consuming food that can potentially cause food allergies and illness. Most importantly we want to ensure that what we are eating is nutrient dense and well worth the money that we are spending. Let's face it, food isn't inexpensive! Investing in the proper fuel for our bodies is a no-brainer.
We are what we eat, or so the saying goes. Regardless of how you interpret this statement, there is truth to this. This statement means so many things for so many different people, but the inconvenient truth is that wellness is modified to suit the individual based on whatever is easiest for them. For example, most people would accept a brand if it were labeled "healthy or NON-GMO" without a true NON-GMO stamp issued by the FDA. Myself, the people I have educated, and all of the people that are part of the Anti-Monsanto project would want to see the FDA approved NON-GMO label and a proper list of ingredients being used in the product being sold to us. This is a predominant factor in being a healthy, wellness focused consumer.
If the brand was not a physical product and instead a food service provider (i.e. restaurant, caterer, or store) staking claim about being a NON-GMO/organic food service offering; I would do my homework. I would want to know: Who owns the company? What is their educational background? Who are their affiliates? Where is the product being sold sourced from? Is the person(s) that owns the business healthy? Does the person(s) practice the same wellness ideals at home and with their families that they promote and sell to the public?
So become a healthy consumer. Feed your children the healthiest foods. As a nutritionist I urge people to understand the consequences of what uneducated food choices mean for the future of our human existence. Regardless of how resilient we may feel in the moment, unhealthy eating and lifestyle choices take a toll on our lives. Research in the understanding of the role of nutrients on DNA stability, repair and on the different gene expression processes recently have become more prominent in nutritional science. Considering that there is wide variation in the ability of nutritional factors to modulate the expression of detrimental or protective proteins at an individual level, the concept of "diet-medication" are presently being developed in the light of a better understanding of nutrient-gene interactions for our children and children's children.
Many people are pushing for nutrition to be taught as part of the customary education that our children receive (I am one of these people). The dilemma that we face in doing so is that we presently have an unhealthy generation of parents raising children that have the potential of becoming educated about nutritional wellness. This could cause a struggle that many people in America are unwilling to face. However, I believe that starting with the seed will enforce the proper labeling of food, thereby allowing consumers to make better informed decisions when purchasing food for their families.
Below are some links to help you take action now. Shop NON-GMO Project verified and verify your products before you buy them (NON-GMO applications for google smart-phones & NON-GMO applications for Iphones):
Remember that food is medicine and to eat as if your life depended on it.
- Dawn Molina