At What Price Wellness
Earlier this year I came across an article touting a rather well known “wellness guru” here in Los Angeles. The article documented a day in the life of this hippie chic goddess as if she lived amongst clouds, unicorns and rainbows. An enviable life filled with a thriving wellness business, a home in one of the country’s most desirable zip codes, a beautiful family and kundalini yoga classes. Of course, her golden child attended the yoga classes with her. I found myself desiring her ‘have it all’ existence. The article also outlined what this superwoman ate in a day. Her food tab rings in to the tune of over $700 per week and listed ingredients such as reishi, ho shou wu, quinton shots and chaga as part of her daily ritual. Most people can’t pronounce those things much less know where in the world to obtain such foreign foods. Being steeped in the health and wellness culture for quite a long time, I have actually heard of and tried many of them. A few are even sitting in my kitchen cabinet.
Yet when I looked at the photos accompanying the article, there was something missing from this woman’s pictures. A smile. Sure in one of the photos she pasted on a smug, almost holier than thou grin and of course the good lighting made it seems like she was surrounded by the glow of heavenly angels. However, despite her so-called amazing life, the most important ingredient seemed to be absent – joy. It got me thinking – does all the money and access to amazing over the top herbs and healthy food really bring us more happiness? Do we need to be spending gazillions of dollars to realize the best versions of ourselves?
Before I knew it I became very upset that the media was promoting this as the new path to not only health, but happiness. I’ll be the first to admit that maintaining a clean and junk food free diet does make me feel amazing and help me tackle the tasks of my day. I am off when I overload on sugar, salt or manufactured foods. However, I try to remind myself that it’s not about restriction. It’s about balance. And indulgence when necessary. This woman’s idea of indulgence is a few small pieces of homemade low-glycemic chocolate made with her company’s proprietary heirloom raw cacao (which can be all yours for $2.50 per OUNCE), chaga mushroom (yours for about $13 per ounce), and sprouted rice protein. You’re looking at one expensive piece of chocolate.
There is already so much noise out there in the health and wellness space about what to eat, how to workout and what type of lifestyle to adopt to become stronger, fitter, better, faster. All I’m asking is to use some of your own innate wisdom to know that feeling vibrant and alive doesn’t require big bucks or exorbitant amounts of time. The idea that the average working woman or full time mom (which is its own job) can maintain the decadent, self absorbed health habits of the Gwyneth Paltrows of the world, along with all those she pays to help her sustain such a regimented routine, is a pipe dream at best. Be discerning when you read about the latest health and wellness trends and as challenging as it may be, don’t compare yourself to some of the gurus out there marketing potions and powders that while healthy, are super indulgent. I know from first hand experience the more control I try to wield over my health regimen, the less joyful I become. In those moments, I set down my jar of mushroom powder, take a walk, pick up a beer and burger, and get back to the real world and what’s important to me – laughter, sharing, movement and balance.