April 3rd, 2018
Beauty

Wellness

Wellness is not just a trend, it’s a lifestyle and it’s big business. Gwyneth’s GOOP just raised 50 million in series C funding, Amanda Bacon was an early adopter with her Moon Juice line, my vegan daughter is a by Chloe and Ella Mills fan, and Bobbi Brown is launching a lifestyle company called Beauty Evolution—just to name a few.

I eat well, work out, and live a very eco-conscious lifestyle, but still, I’m not as invested in wellness as I could be. Would love your thoughts on this.

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  • How funny! I just sent a booking request to a medical spa in Germany for a one week detox. I am hoping to reduce my sugar intake and snacking habit. I am interested in seeing if a week long reset really makes a difference.

    MMSApril 3rd, 2018  9:29 AM

     
  • very interested…would love to see any info your daughter has included on the site..books, restaurants, stores etc

    susanApril 3rd, 2018  10:10 AM

     
  • I’m very interested in wellness, fitness has always been an important part of my life, and I try to eat healthy most of the time. When my athlete husband was diagnosed with a heart blockage five years ago, we upped the ante on healthy eating. After his surgery, we attended healthy eating workshops run by qualified dietitians, and open to patients and family. We didn’t really believe we’d learn anything new. But it was extremely helpful, if only to take the hot air out of some of the more popular diet and wellness fads that were popular 5 years ago.
    I am so very skeptical of health and wellness pronouncements by celebrities, and have pretty much lost respect for several whose health solutions seem so pat, and whose selling of their wellness ideas is so very zealous. Zealots of any stripe make me nervous, I guess.

    Sue BurpeeApril 3rd, 2018  10:41 AM

     
  • the words “big business” are key as there is so much out there that is not based on science & facts. It’s Buyer beware for all of us. I am not a professional but someone who is keenly interested in living a long & healthy life It’s essential to investigate the claims made on beauty & wellness sites as so many of them just aren’t based on science. I am committed to my team of health practitioners which includes an acupuncturist, osteopath, an RMT & a functional medicine doctor.

    Vancouver readerApril 3rd, 2018  10:56 AM

     
  • Hello Preston, I am interested in this space and about being empowered to make informed decisions, however it does feel so very much a first world obsession particularly when aligned with multi million dollar businesses. I can only imagine a world where our sisters in third world countries who struggle for their actual existence could flourish if we could join as a global movement and direct these discretionary dollars to their needs. Surely this would be the true definition of “wellness” that we are all seeking. After all, we have the luxury to go for walks, eat nourishing foods (sans sucre on a good day!) and sleep in our comfortable beds without having to direct millions to private equity backers. I am a long term reader (albeit first time commenting) and very interested to know if you and your readers would be open to exploring this notion of mutual wellness beyond our own immediate needs …. together x

    CateApril 3rd, 2018  11:11 AM

     
  • I have maintained a life long interest and practice of yoga and meditation (over 35 years)…As an elite athlete, yoga and meditation helped me to be focused, flexible of mind and body and develop awareness of self. It also saved me from extreme disappointment at becoming injured and shifting life goals. It helped me though a devasting explosion that nearly killed me. With each of these traumas and all life events in between, my practice of self care has affected all parts of myself; mind, body, soul. The beauty is that my sense of health and well-being clearly affects those around me from the animals I no longer eat, to my family that I surround myself with in an uplifting energy to strangers I come across. Now 53, I am strong, centred, joyful and excited about life. Like anything worth while, it takes time and practice . I am interested in more environmentally friendly clothing and home furnishings so feel free to share your scoops!

    Brenda MurphyApril 3rd, 2018  11:14 AM

     
  • I believe in ‘radical self care’ and try to devote some time every other day for full immersion into a wellness practice. For me that means 20 mins of morning journalling or meditation, acupuncture, restorative yoga, working out, ecstatic dance, massage or just some simple stretches to calming music in my home. I am a single mom of young twins who works fulltime and is in university part time. Finding a wellness practice and sticking to it (plus eating well and getting lots of water) is my key to harmony…and ultimately benefits my family too!

    Karen in TorontoApril 3rd, 2018  11:39 AM

     
  • So much to say on this subject, so I’ll edit Suffice it to say that I believe in moderation of all things….and enjoying life.
    Because I live in one of the “centers” of this movement, dinner parties have gone from my young days of BYOB to BYOF (Bring your own food).

    KathyApril 3rd, 2018  11:52 AM

     
  • I like what Cate said…very much. And couldn’t agree more. Clean water, basic health care etc. for all. Not millions spent on “dust”.

    KathyApril 3rd, 2018  12:25 PM

     
  • Cate, you are so right in your response. These are indeed “first world problems” which is a phrase we use frequently in our home in an effort to put things into perspective. I do think it’s important to look after ourselves so that we can better serve others, but our community should be a larger place.
    I watch what people spend on their pressed juices, etc & wonder how much they spend to help those who don’t have that option, who struggle to just put food on the table. Balance in all things…
    I also had to laugh at Kathy’s response as I too live in one of those centres where the list of what people will eat is often shorter than what they won’t.

    Vancouver readerApril 3rd, 2018  12:33 PM

     
  • I gave up dairy a year ago except for a sprinkle of parm on my pasta. Feel really good.
    I just signed up for a 10 day holistic clean eating detox. Lots of green veggies, juice ,fruit and fish & detox tea.
    I hope to feel wonderful after come out if it giving up all processed sugar for good.

    SusanApril 3rd, 2018  2:33 PM

     
  • I’m sorry for over commenting, but I feel I want to say something about so-called “juice cleanses”. Juice, even green juice contains a high amount of sugar – and you miss out on the protein and fiber that’s in the whole vegetable. Your body (liver and kidneys) cleanse’s itself. The best way to get rid of sugar cravings is too not to eat sugar… period, or reduce it greatly. Whether it’s processed or natural, your body interprets it as sugar and has the same exact insulin response. If you really want to reduce sugar cravings, go for lower glycemic index foods in the fruit, vegetable and fruit category, meaning they contain less natural sugar and cause less of an insulin rise, and then subsequent drop which is what causes one to crave more sugar.

    KathyApril 3rd, 2018  4:07 PM

     
  • It’s tricky to navigate the emerging wellness movement, because the sheer amount of money being invested draws in a mixed bag of “experts”. Goop is one such mixed bag, isn’t it? I appreciate the promotion of a pleasurable rather than severe healthy lifestyle, but a lot of the advice screams snake oil salesman. Chantal Bacon documented her daily diet in a magazine a while ago, and it was made up of these insubstantial broths and bizarre powders and tonics. There are some odd-sounding diets that are nonetheless perfectly healthy and delicious, but I just don’t buy this one. As for veganism, those dietary restrictions don’t automatically confer wellness benefits, as diehard vegans argue, nor is it inherently unhealthy, as some of its detractors would claim. Actually, that’s also the gist of the wellness movement. It’s not an intrinsic physiological, ecological, or moral good. It seems like it has the potential to do good, but for now, a lot of the more prominent voices in the wellness movement are needlessly neurotic at best, or at worst lack scientific literacy.

    IoApril 3rd, 2018  5:10 PM

     
  • I am a first time commenter as well, and feel compelled to weigh in. What an interesting comment thread! To get the full disclosure out of the way: I do live in an affluent area (though am not “affluent” myself, though am certainly more fortunate and first world than the majority of women globally who don’t have the time or resources to engage in the kind of self-care some commenters about are disparaging. Since January, I have taken up meditating daily (which is, of course, free), switched to an all natural beauty and hygiene routine after a breast cancer bout of my mother’s prompted me to examine the chemicals going into and into my body, and have begun eating in a more healthful way. I practice yoga regularly (also free), and am interested in Ayurveda (an ancient system of wellness and self-care which is certainly not limited to “the rich,” and yes, make myself a green juice each morning, which has fiber, healthy fats and no sugar in it (got the recipes from “celebrity” nutritionist Kelly LeVeque’s website. What intrigues me about some of the comments here is how much disdain they project, and how much of a zero-sum game the idea of wellness that some of the commenters seem to hold is. The founder of moon Juice is a single mother with a thyroid condition who started her own company and whose herb supplements, though they have cute names and are cleverly marketed, are not “crazy,” but rather a choice someone is free to make if they’re interested in adding certain ingredients to their diet. Shouldn’t we, as women, be applauding other women who are creating businesses that aren’t harming anyone and are actually helping to wake our Western culture up to feminine self-care? Because I take care of myself, am I a first world narcissist? No, I am also a volunteer, artist, mother and employee. Because Gwynyth Paltrow is creating conversations around cutting edge research on a new product or idea related to self-care, does that make her a “snake oil” saleswoman? I say good for her and thanks for the ideas, whether or not I love all of them! I think our culture is still, unfortunately, not supportive enough of women taking the time in general to care for themselves. It’s easy to bash it, or label it as narcissistic or indulgent, but I think it’s important to examine what we’re really saying with those labels. Also, this is certainly a first-world fashion site, which I enjoy visiting and get great ideas from! I can’t afford most of the clothes featured here, but that doesn’t mean I pooh pooh Preston — on the contrary, I admire, thank and celebrate her! Why should other women who market and write about ways in which we can genuinely feel better — and I think most of it IS based in solid research, by the way, at least what I’m finding — be treated any differently? Food for thought, and don’t mean to be disrespectful to anyone, just wanted to float a slightly different point of view.

    A Bedford readerApril 3rd, 2018  5:58 PM

     
  • I love all of the comments; a recent addition to my wellness program is purchasing my vegies from the local organic CSA. I am eating (and blending) more greens than ever. And I feel good that I am supporting the small farmer and supporting growing practices that are good for soil and water resources. I do not consider mass market “dust” purchases part of my wellness plan. I care about what is real over time, not just what’s new and sellable.

    lydiaApril 3rd, 2018  6:35 PM

     
  • Here’s 2 cents from a 74 year old cancer survivor, still going strong and still very interested in health, fashion and beauty. Please pay attention to Cate. Please know that health and wellness is not a monetizing opportunity. Please do not believe everything a beautiful movie star tells you. Question what “feels better” really means – this is so subjective, so not measurable. Re-read Sue Burpee. Finally, dear MMS, I hope you find what you want in one week in Germany and I say again, pay attention to Cate.

    Susan GosmanApril 3rd, 2018  11:43 PM

     
  • Having grown up in Eastern Europe in the 80s, I am well familiar with the concept of living a moderate life style and being satisfied with the resources one has in hand. Out of lack of information and means, we could not get carried away by the fads or even stick to a given style of living be it vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, etc. But we did know about the value of being active and walked everywhere, were fortunate to not have fast food available, and wore comfortable clothes (as something fancier usually wasn’t available). I am in no way glorifying those days, it wasn’t easy life, but am trying to retain a few pearls of wisdom that came from the days of my youth: eat everything, but in moderation; remain active as much as possible and as long as possible (and not necessarily via rigorous exercise in spandex), and try to keep a sense of humor (most of the time). Wishing well to you, Preston, and all the fellow blog readers!

    IrinaApril 3rd, 2018  11:56 PM

     
  • I only wish we could get together with a pitcher of margaritas, guac and chips and discuss this at length! I have to say I understand and relate to what Sue, Vancouver, and Cate are saying. Only in a country as free, wonderful, rich, and safe as ours could we see an explosion in an industry that sells and promotes ‘feeling good and staying well.’ I see this as an extension/outgrowth of the beauty business in general but geared toward a new generation of consumers. After decades of focus on eye shadow and blush colors, then a vast array of cremes and oils to maintain our skin health, the ‘new beauty product’ is health, and well being/happiness. I believe in living healthfully and believe it’s not terribly complicated. Mainly it takes discipline. Not to say there isn’t always something new to be learned about what we consume and how we live. Personally, I steer clear of advice from “celebrities” on all subjects – and I would never show favoritism toward any business/product/cause simply because a woman owns it. Is this new explosion of ‘self care’ products a reflection of our culture’s current obsession with the self? Very possibly yes. A reasonable effort in taking care of oneself is healthy and good; an obsession with it is narcissistic and unadult. Like most things, it’s a matter of balance, but it seems a disproportionate amount of young consumer budgets are being spent on ‘health food business” vs. other life necessities.
    All this being said, I have a few life rules for my own health and well being:
    Know your family’s health history and make adjustments in your diet/exercise/vitamins based on that. Take care of your mind, body, and spirit. Try to maintain the same healthy weight, +/-5 lbs, for most of your adult life (post babies). Buy good groceries and cook at home + carry your lunch to work. For every day life, cook simple meals of protein, vegetables, grain or potato. We eat grilled salmon at least once a week; I never drink soda; only eat real food, not processed. Figure out a meal routine and stick to it – for my husband and I, it’s breakfast followed by coffee, lunch, wine or cocktail, and then dinner. Occasionally have dessert. Work hard at whatever your work is. Stay physically active (sitting is the new smoking). To reduce stress, laugh more and turn off the news, and nurture your closest relationships. Play golf or tennis, swim or bicycle – get out of the yoga studio for awhile and do something aerobic and outdoors. Feed and live your faith. Take time every day to contemplate blessings and seek God’s direction.
    As always, Preston, I thoroughly enjoy and appreciate that you offer a meaningful and stylish blog with great conversation!

    PaulaApril 4th, 2018  2:05 AM

     
  • I think much of what I read about wellness plans consider our bodies barely operating machines that can’t function without tons of tinkering. I don’t think we need to cleanses and colonics to function- our bodies eliminate waste on their own. I find the obsession with “toxins” strange and medically unfounded.

    My mother always told us “moderation in all things, including moderation.” I try to eat a lot of vegetables , fish, eggs, and fruit, and avoid meat. I try to have a regular and varied exercise schedule. I also eat sugar, and pasta, and drink alcohol. If life gets in the way of exercising for a few weeks, I try not to stress about it.
    I think health is good , but the obsession with wellness can be a bit boring. Go to yoga. Then go get a glass of wine with a friend after.

    EBApril 4th, 2018  3:40 AM

     
  • Thank you for these thoughtful comments—such a wonderful community of readers. I will add to the thread this weekend.

    PrestonApril 4th, 2018  6:09 AM

     
  • Very interesting reading all the comments. I think we need to understand that each of us is different and what works for one person, is not necessarily the solution for another. So, while someone may give up gluten or dairy in the name of wellness, another person may find other issues with other foods. We all struggle with what our bodies need and what works for one will not work for all. That said, we all should find a fitness program we love. For me, it is walking but someone else may find this is not enough.
    As I age, am confronted with some health issues that are making me take a look at my eating habits. What foods willl naturally lower my blood pressure? What foods will help increase my bone density? Perhaps drinking more tea and less coffee, and drinking more water in general. And eating less sugar. And trying to enjoy food that we do eat. It is so hard not to obsess about these things. It is important to find the joy in life and to have balance. We all struggle with this in our own way. Thank you Preston for reaching out and giving people a spring board for discussing this topic. Very interesting to think about this and read other’s comments.
    (My doctor has told me repeatedly to start mediating and I just haven’t been able to do it! I’d much rather take the time to read a good book-but perhaps I can find the time to do both)

    Paula BApril 4th, 2018  6:41 AM

     
  • As I approach my mid-forties, I admit I look to make lifestyle choices that benefit my health and yes, my appearance. Obviously they’re intrinsically linked. What has helped me most was reading The Well Path, by Jamè Healey, M.D. You can take or discard any or all of her plan, but her most important point is that we want our body to be in a state of homeostasis, which needs to start on a cellular level. Very basic stuff that we all probably learned in 7th grade biology, yet it really gave me a reset in how I approach food, etc.

    ErinApril 4th, 2018  11:49 AM

     
  • Since my Minimalism kick, I had been thinking over the past months about my grandparents. (I am so guilty of being sucked in by the marketing of Wellness.) Then I realized that my grandparents lived their lives by the rules of moderation. Not sure many remember what that was. I had even forgotten. I am making an effort to find moderate old school habits that check all the wellness boxes without getting sucked into the trends. I knew Bobbi Brown was launching a Wellness site and of course GP, Elle, even India Hicks is getting into organic/tech beauty. My grandmother used Camay soap and paste deodorant and lived 98 years and was beautiful. It must be my age as to why I am thinking things out now and feeling differently about things. I grew up in the retail world. I love consuming. I love glossy magazines. I love new. However, over the past year I have grown skeptical of everyone selling something. I get that people want to create and produce items but I guess I realized I don’t need it all. I do want to live healthy and well, but on my own terms without lots of crutches that really add no value and instead become clutter. I loved seeing the comments of “mature” women who have been there done that and my “new” thinking is heading in the direction of those wise women. Love your posts and their relevance.

    Amy RichrdsonApril 4th, 2018  12:52 PM

     
  • As someone who’s suffered from chronic inflammatory health problems, I could not agree more with all the readers who stress the critical importance of diet, exercise, and stress reduction, whether in the form of spiritual practice or creative activity. You really don’t know how important your health is until it’s taken away from you, and honoring the best practices for your physical well-being makes a world of difference in how well we’re able to show up for ourselves and for others.
    That said, I’m skeptical of the idea of “wellness” as someone’s brand extension, no matter who it is. Wellness is a practice and a routine, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get the benefits from it. Making it into an expensive trend is a turn-off; it also discourages too many people from taking the small steps they might try to make their own lives better.

    C.MicholApril 4th, 2018  1:19 PM

     
  • Wellness = The Emperor’s new clothes for the 21st century!!!!

    Claude RemainsApril 4th, 2018  6:03 PM

     
  • Some very interesting comments…I enjoyed reading.

    Sometimes I think the whole “wellness” trend is very selfish; sometimes I think it is totally self-indulgent; often I agree with those who call it a third-world issue.

    I am interested in health as well…I will be 67 next month, and I want to stay mobile and as sharp mentally as I can. I think being as totally involved as some are in the “wellness” arena leaves no room for anything else! When do these people have time to live and enjoy? That too is important in the grand scheme, isn’t it?

    bisbeeApril 5th, 2018  10:20 AM

     
  • I like the comment ‘our bodies are designed to function without a lot of tinkering.’ ‘Wellness’ has become huge business. Just look at the huge section at Whole Foods dedicated to supplements, lotions, juices, powders, etc. Even the cleaning products are described as ‘healthy.’ Most of us know someone who was super healthy, did everything right, watched every calorie, and dropped dead unexpectedly at age 50. We can’t recast our genes/DNA, but we can respect it and work with it. I think the most important thing is to know your family’s health history, enlist the care of a good doctor, and take personal responsibility for our physical and mental fitness. Obesity is the number one health problem and most health problems can be alleviated by maintaining consistent healthy weight. My father in law was an orthopedic surgeon and said 90% of patients’ orthopedic issues were due to excess stress on their joints due to excess weight. All the juice cleanses in the world won’t substitute for self restraint and exercise. Healthy, optimistic attitude is huge. Today’s young adults are targets of a barrage of negative, oppressive, guilt ridden messages. No wonder they are seeking serenity! My namesake grandmother, a sturdy German/English/Welsh woman, lived to age 93 with her mind and body in tact, in her home, with the help of a walker. Her idea of a diet was to skip the ice cream on her pie. Her drink of choice was a double old fashioned. At Christmas, even as kids, we drank Tom & Jerry’s made with heavy cream and bourbon and ate tons of cookies. She didn’t always make her annual check ups. Both my husband’s mother and mine drank while pregnant. NONE of this is advisable and we know better now, but it goes to show that good health is not contingent on special potions or supplements. Establishing common sense life routines, keeping abreast of legitimate medical research, regular visits to the doctor, and keeping our hearts and minds healthy and happy are, to me, the fundamentals.

    PaulaApril 6th, 2018  12:16 AM

     
  • So many insightful comments! I can only offer my own immediate situation. I became a vegetarian almost 6 years ago, and am so happy with it. Developing a collection of recipes which suit my lifestyle was the biggest challenge. There is a magnitude of cooking blogs, websites and books out there now, however, which really help in that regard. This adventure in eating has really expanded my interest in eating whole foods and limiting processed food to the greatest extent possible, also in developing an understanding of food as fuel to my body. I don’t think I would have developed this interest pre-vegetarian. I also work out 30-40 minutes a day, a habit I don’t see ever stopping.

    I recognize that there are barriers that prevent many people from adopting healthy lifestyles in this country, as well as internationally. I wish I had the answer to these issues. They are simultaneously simple and complex in origin, as well as in solution, in my opinion.

    AprilApril 6th, 2018  11:13 AM

     
  • Fascinating times we are in and so easy to be swept up in an obsessiveness around wellness. I too adhere to moderation in all things (successful 90% of the time). Cate – thank you for reminding us about the bigger picture, and needs beyond our own. I am with you. And let’s not forget the needs are not just half-way around the world, but in our own ‘hood. Plenty of opportunity to encourage and help wellness efforts in our local cities.
    Preston-keep asking the questions.

    JulieApril 12th, 2018  8:36 PM

     
  • Let me just say that I’ve been a reader of KIC off and on for a few years. I came across this post today and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading the comments. The comments are thoughtful, intelligent, and well written. It’s so refreshing to read the thoughts of other who actually write in complete sentences and who could respectfully disagree with each other without be crass or rude.

    After reading each comment, everyone makes very valid points about the whole wellness trend. I am in my late 40’s and a lot of what we’re seeing is not new. It’s just that a lot of what’s trending today in the sphere of wellness was often seen, in years past, as a “fringe industry”. Personally, I do like to partake in “indulgent” wellness activities and products from time to time, but ultimately, I know that a good balanced diet, exercise, spiritual growth, and a connection to the community around me (to include helping those who are less fortunate) is key to a good life.

    Cheers to Preston for her wonderful blog!

    SondraApril 27th, 2018  7:17 AM

     

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