Nutrition & Healthy Eating: What Does the Future Look Like?
Collaboration Takeaways

The Global Wellness Collaborations bring industry leaders together in meaningful dialogue to share ideas and best practices for navigating the COVID-19 crisis around a specific industry segment.

Topic: Nutrition & Healthy Eating: What Does the Future Look Like?
Date of Discussion: June 9, 2020
Countries/Regions Represented: Antarctica, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belgium, Bermuda, Bhutan, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Nepal, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, UAE, UK, US, Viet Nam, Zimbabwe.

  • I’ve witnessed many times when people have changed from a processed or nutritionally lacking diet into a more clean, healthy, vibrant, nutrient-dense diet, and many of their health problems disappear. I think our bodies are innately able to fix themselves when we feed them with the right resources. So, I have developed a deep belief in how food impacts our health and wellbeing.
  • I think that nutrition has previously been considered as boring, when actually, there is a real treasure trove of delight.
  • Everyone’s needs are very personal. So, finding a one-size-fits-all is impossible.
  • COVID seems to be changing quite a bit for us. There’s going to be a mindset shift, and it’s giving us a very different perspective on how we view and use food.
  • Good nutrition has suddenly been seen in the light of life and death.
  • Having a strong immune system was mentioned on our previous call in April with people rushing to supplement themselves with vitamins, minerals and IV infusions.
  • I think there will be opportunities now in teaching people how to cook and more emphasis on cooking classes and how to prepare nutritious food from scratch.
  • I work with a diet and fitness center program where the focus is on lifestyle change by providing a full immersion environment to our clients where they leave their home environment and are with us for, on average, three weeks. We prove that with a multidisciplinary approach, which focuses on medical nutrition, fitness and behavioral health, lifestyle changes are possible.
  • I really feel that it’s so important to provide a healthy environment. When we look at longevity, as exemplified by the Blue Zones around the world, there’s such a strong connection between living in a healthier environment and being able to live a longer and healthier life.
  • I have been doing quite a bit of telehealth, and I’ve seen some of my clients struggling at home—gaining weight and having difficulty doing regular exercise because their gyms are closed.
  • One thing I learned is that success depends quite a bit on people’s problem-solving skills. Those that were able to problem solve were much more likely to have success in this challenging environment of being home.
  • As I have been watching the news and reflecting on developments, I was very pleased to see how there seemed to be some healing happening with the environment with fewer aircraft flying, etc. It seems like the earth was starting to heal. And I really wish that this change will be a positive and sustained one. However, I’m worried about how, in the past, globalization resulted in poorer—not better—nutrition.
  • Studying the gut microflora is very important. That’s one way to see that wholesome food is really what promotes health. Having a stable microbiome will actually help mind and body stability.
  • In order to have a healthy microbiome, we need healthy soils and a healthy planet. The future, as I see it, is that wellness will necessitate healthy food. But in order to do that, we have to address the whole agricultural system. For me, the future of wellness is through the medical use of food.
  • We are a spa clinic here, but we are on an organic farm, so we produce our own food. We’ve seen that people are eager to have this kind of food. So, we are delivering this food now to the city.
  • There is also a movement toward clean food. Your body has a pH that’s more basic to fight against inflammation. There’s a movement to encourage people to eat fresh vegetables, fruits and organic in their diet.
  • I think that in the future we will see many more health coaches. You know, they say that chronic diseases are currently projected to account for almost three-quarters of all the deaths that happen worldwide.
  • Health coaching and nutrition coaching will be something that will really have an uptick in the future.
  • I received a prescription that really spoke to me as an individual. It took into account the big picture, including relationships, spirituality, career, environment and nutrition. It was really about the whole person.
  • Access in poor communities and communities of color is a huge issue. When I talk in Cuba, I really talk about a lot of these issues.
  • We all have land in some way, shape or form, whether it’s a small piece or a big piece. We need to start thinking about what are the small steps that we can be taking and really start applying it in each and every cultural setting.
  • We need to start breaking down a lot of the barriers that have been formed throughout the years due to slavery, poverty, and racism. There’s been some really powerful things that have been happening in communities.
  • I appreciate you bringing up the racial issue and the issue of people’s lack of access. It is something the Global Wellness Summit and the Global Wellness Institute are committed to doing better. We feel that we have not done very well in this arena. At our past Summit, the two areas specified where major improvement is needed in the upcoming decade were “wellness for all” and “wellness for the planet.”
  • An overarching question is really how nutrition and healthy eating are being redefined by this pandemic. Are people paying attention to different things? How is this going to impact the future?
  • We’re hearing more about cytokine storms, which is where the immune system is overreacting and is out of control and creating inflammation. It’s stimulated by inflammation itself.
  • What is an anti-inflammatory diet? What is pro-inflammatory? We know that anything that causes oxygen radical formation like oxidative stress, fried foods, red meat, excessive alcohol consumption, stale foods and so on, are pro-inflammatory.
  • Anti-inflammatory agents such as turmeric, as well as a lot of particular herbs and spices that have an anti-inflammatory effect, are coming more onto the nutritional radar.
  • There are core principles—nutritional principles—that underpin the Mediterranean diet that also underpin the Japanese diet and elements of personalized Ayurvedic diets.
  • We also need to learn more about nutritional transition—the globalization of Western-style, fast foods. We need to be aware that some foods overlook our genetic heritage, and that influences what we can metabolize best.
  • One example is the popularity of lattes and cappuccinos in China and Japan. The genetic reality is that 60 percent of East Asians are lactose intolerant.
  • Indian food is actually very nutritious on its own with fresh food and vegetables. So, to help people in India lose weight, all I’ve done for them is literally portion control.
  • It’s literally about keeping yourself integrated and knowing your genetics. If you’re an Indian, eat your local Indian foods, there’s nothing wrong with it. And don’t just follow a fad.
  • I stay very closely in touch with my grocery stores. In my area, they are making changes. They have reduced their sugar and sweets aisles, and they are increasingly giving space for vegetables. I have noticed less red meat, and more space is being given to white meat.
  • There are encouraging signs about protein.
  • We are seeing a shift in more land space being given for farmers’ markets, for teaching people how to cultivate and create gardens in their own backyards or even inside their homes. There are clear ways to grow things inside your home too.
  • Culturally relevant diet based on high plant intake, low animal protein, healthy oils, legumes, fresh vegetables and fruits. These are common to the Japanese diet, Mediterranean diet, etc. and are the core of wellness nutrition.
  • When I’m coaching, I always start with mindset. If a person isn’t ready, and they don’t know what they don’t know, it’s hard for them to make a shift.
  • One of the things I’ve actually seen quite a lot of since COVID is a growing mistrust in governments and big corporations. Also, there is more emphasis on how they are treating their employees or their customers.
  • I think it relates to the point about there being so many different diets and viewpoints about what to eat and not eat. The more that we’ve listened to experts, whether that be through advertising or from company headlines or food producers, what has happened is that people have lost confidence and connection with their own bodies and minds.
  • And we’ve seen this on a number of these Zoom calls, and it relates to a variety of sectors of the global wellness economy. People are beginning to feel more empowered themselves to take charge of things because they have been forced to by virtue of being quarantined and isolated from others.
  • Having to figure out how we are going to eat. How are we going to exercise, and how are we going to take care of ourselves? People may be realizing that they may have the tools to do that even though they had become reliant on external forces. People beginning to take back their personal responsibility, I think that’s a real silver lining to this.
  • This globalization, where Western diets were being adopted in Asia, was very difficult for Asians. For instance, creating recipes like smoothies with local ingredients is a challenge. It has become important for locals to become aware again of what they have in their backyard—and much of it has more healing power than what is available in the West.
  • It is back to nature. Start to grow your own plants, question ingredients, and not just in food. Cleaners, toiletries, use what you have locally.
  • Labeling is an issue. I’m a vegan. I’m keto. I’m paleo. I think we’re moving away from these labels, which I think is a good thing. There is more of an understanding that everyone is an individual and needs to find what is best for them.
  • What I’m finding with COVID is there is a lot of talk about people making bread and their comfort foods. I think people are becoming more aware of how their psychological and emotional states are impacting their eating.
  • In my area, people seem to be planting their own food more nowadays. For those, like me, who have small spaces, you have vegetable towers or salad towers. That is something that we have been promoting during the lockdown. It’s just a small drum-like—three feet by three feet—and allows for pockets of different vegetables.
  • One of the things I see in terms of the future is that people are beginning to understand more clearly that there is a major role for nutrition in regards to boosting immunity.
  • Many people seem to be going back to the basics using their indigenous foods. Eating whatever is local.
  • A trend I am seeing is people going back to plant-based foods. Even in the supermarkets where I live in Nairobi, the supermarkets are doing food delivery of plant-based foods. I think they’ll need to develop a multi-faceted approach where the farmers, the manufacturer, the supermarket, and the community are talking and working together to make immune-boosting foods a priority.
  • I’ve been supporting a lot of our local farmers, and I really believe we need to eat with the seasons. Seasonal produce is important for a healthy lifestyle for long-term change.
  • I appreciate that there’s an opportunity here to put together a nutrition initiative for the Global Wellness Institute. (Joy Menzies) We would like to call it Nutrition for Healing. Maybe bringing in some of the people that we’ve had on the call today will help us understand what we need to be doing as an industry—how we can help people in our industry move forward with nutrition offers or deliverables.
  • We’re looking to develop a couple of things in probably the first year. There’s a lot of aspects to nutrition, and we want to keep it nice and simple. We want to come up with something that is simple for everybody and a global message that we can maybe deliver to all of our partners in the industry. Another idea is to perhaps create a guide for hotels and restaurants and other facilities, to develop a healthy menu that’s going to be interesting.
  • Nutrition is used for healing activity when we eat nutrient-dense, vibrant, energetic food. I really think that the point of the term “healing” and “nutrition” is that they go together. And I think adding the term “healing” raises the vibration of the term “nutrition” to a point where people begin to become more interested.
  • We need to lose the word diet, which people often relate to deprivation. This must be about better choices, a better life that is more vibrant. So that’s the approach that we want to take with this.
  • There’s so much obesity in the world. There’s hunger and so many health problems. This came up in Dr. Ken Pelletier’s Wellness Master Class the other day, and the question was asked, has the wellness world made a difference? And his answer was very encouraging. Dr. Pelletier felt that what the wellness world has been doing has made a huge difference. If we hadn’t been doing what we are already doing, we would be in much worse shape.

Comments in the Zoom “Chat”

  • What about the negative role of US government funding for agriculture, which makes corn, soy, wheat, etc., very economical and promotes the ingredients for high glycemic foods?
  • How can you compete against the agricultural industrial complex that focusses on profits over health? Just go to any store, and all the snacks are near the checkout counter? Should we be taxing highly processed foods?
  • Healthy eating is about going back to basics. Unfortunately, scientific and evidence-based information has been lost in food fashion and for fads, hence the notion that eating healthy is expensive.
  • Disease usually begins in the gut.
  • Low-income people are often left out of the wellness movement.
  • I read one study that said that medically appropriate diets in hospitals could save 25 percent of healthcare costs.
  • An alkaline diet is vital to our bodies.
  • The use of Glyphosate (weed killer) is the number one cause of chronic disease.
  • There is no debate about eating organic foods or free-range protein (if you eat meat). However, the two key considerations I see are the quality of the soil and minerals and personalizing a person’s eating plan to match their DNA and blood work.
  • Ayurveda and Chinese medicine are ancient medicines, and Occidental medicine is more to cure not to prevent.
  • I think we need more evidence base and science in wellness to look at genomic or other influences and interactions with diet, including the gut microbiome.
  • I see that my clients do better (lose weight, especially belly fat and normalize blood sugars and lipids) when they go back to heritage foods.
  • Our microbiome can be modified in five days.
  • Genetic testing, although expensive, would offer a more personalized option to develop a successful eating plan.
  • Indigenous eating is important! In Cuba, we talked about what was in the foods and medicinal plants that had been eaten in the past and who can they connect with in the community to learn how to bring these plants back.
  • What about the lack of soil and microflora with hydroponic methods? The group seems to understand the role of the microbiome to lock micronutrients into produce. Would love to hear the group’s thoughts on growing in a nutrient slurry versus soil.
  • To look at the future, we need to consider personalized medicine and the insights available through technology. Individual genetic testing layered in with microbiome, hormone, nutrient testing and analysis can then heal with conscientiously produced food.
  • What I see as one primary part of the future is engaging people to use their own character strengths and intrinsic motivation to set their individual health and wellness path.
  • We need to leave the model of “an expert tells you what to do.” It has to be tied to a person’s values and their intrinsic needs. Changing the language of “what’s wrong with you” to “what do you see for your path” is something I am passionate about.

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