Unpacking Wellness and Nutrition
Why we need to go back to basics with wellness
By Patricia Romero, Heal Collective
The current state of the wellness industry
The wellness industry is growing at an exponential rate. It is expected to grow up to £632 billion by 2021, which is £100 billion more than in 2016. British consumers are expected to spend £487 per head each year, according to GlobalData.
On the flipside, whenever there’s a trend going on, such as ubiquitous superfoods, ‘vagina steaming’ or ‘detox juice cleanses’, mass marketing follows. In the US, the wellness industry – worth $4.2 trillion – is now way ahead of the diet and pharmaceuticals industries.
What is the definition of wellness?
Despite the great numbers above, wellness is very personal to each and every one of us. Nobody’s on the same journey, which is why the ‘one-size-fits-all’ concept keeps some of us from working towards a better version of ourselves.
When Marialuisa and I started thinking about heal collective last year, our goal was to build a community that would enable long-term changes through inner reflection, compassion and self-discovery. That’s how we define wellness: through awareness and getting the tools to build a healthy lifestyle, and through connecting with your personal goals and beliefs to make transformational changes.
This is not just something that applies to our way of being but also our way of eating.
With so many mixed messages about nutrition often leading us to have a short-term end goal, we overlook lifestyle changes for long-term wellbeing. Instead, there are no quick-fixes when it comes to health: it is a life-long lifestyle journey.
The Importance of Food
In order to get all the benefits from food, it is best consumed unprocessed, with the exception of virgin oils and processing through culinary methods. Food variety is also crucial, as it will not only provide more nutrients we need, but also make it a fun process.
As Michael Pollan wrote in his bestselling book In Defense of Food:
“Most of what we’re consuming today is not food, and how we’re consuming it — in the car, in front of the TV, and increasingly alone — is not really eating. Instead of food, we’re consuming “edible food-like substances” — no longer the products of nature but of food science. Many of them come packaged with health claims that should be our first clue they are anything but healthy. In the so-called Western diet, food has been replaced by nutrients, and common sense by confusion.”
We are bombarded with messages into thinking that a certain food or diet will cure us of our ills such as stress, fatigue, anxiety and depression. But it is only by eating the whole matrix—food in its entirety and natural variety—that we can begin to address problems through food.
Once we start to unpack the complexity around nutrition, we can start to see that food in itself is simple—a way to not only nourish our bodies, but also as a way to come together as a community and uphold emerging values of sustainability, such as sourcing organic produce and reducing plastic waste. We only need the tools to learn about what the basics really are, and how to follow the seasons to ensure we create fresh and nutritious meals.