Healthy Lifestyles

Top 10 Wellness Travel Trends for 2014

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 by

With so much interest in wellness travel, I'm pleased to share the “Top 10 Wellness Travel Trends of 2014”. The forecast is based on year-long research and data collection in which I've consolidated trends across several industries to bring practical knowledge to both individuals and businesses.  

I'd like to encourage consumers and businesses to think of vacation in new ways. Our data shows that consumers view vacations as an important way to improve health, happiness and productivity.  Vacation trips are often a catalyst for transformation and consumers view wellness travel as a personal investment.  Vacations are no longer a luxury, they are a necessity for well-being.

Top 10 Wellness Travel Trends for 2014
Mind Matters: 
Consumers have caught on to mindful vacations that offer mental restoration.  Practices learned on a trip such as meditation, yoga, qi going and journaling can be incorporated at home to help manage stress, improve cognitive capacity and maintain emotional equilibrium. 

The Rise of Wellness Travel Agents
With the growing interest in trips to enhance mind, body and spirit, wellness tourism has created a new niche for travel agents to grow or expand their business while offering a personally and professionally rewarding career specialty. 

La Local Vita: 
Consumers have developed a deeper appreciation for locally relevant and authentic experiences with an emphasis on living  “la local vita” (the local life).  Mindsets have shifted away from tourist behavior to a keen interest in community-based exploration where getting to know the locals in a meaningful way sweetens the experience. 

Breaking Bread With Wellness 
Food tourism is a big trend intersecting with wellness travel. In addition to the physical aspect of sustenance; food tours, cooking classes, agriculture and farm-to-table experiences speak to the emotional, social, intellectual and sustainable aspects of well-being. 

Vacation RX: 
“Take 2 weeks and call me in the morning.” Physicians are now prescribing vacations as an antidote from stress.  Doctor’s orders for physical activity in parks are also being written to help combat obesity and diabetes in children. 

Looking for Personal Enrichment
With the understanding that wellness is more than fitness and nutrition, consumers are choosing trips that either focus solely on personal enrichment or as a part of their travel plans.  In search of fulfillment and meaning, many consumers are viewing vacations, weekend getaways and retreats viewed as a catalyst for change. 

Slow Travel: 
Have you ever felt pressured to run through your vacation checking off sites to see and things to do? Slow travel advocates changing the pace in order to sip, savor and revel in the vacation experience. 

Affluent & Altruistic:
Spurned by personal growth and discovery, affluent travelers value experiences connecting them to charitable causes and local communities. Volunteering on vacation has become increasingly popular and research shows altruism can improve well-being. 

Burgeoning Secondary Wellness Market: There is a large segment of travelers who may not opt for wellness retreats or tours but are committed to maintaining their healthy lifestyle on the road. Air transit and hotels are investing resources to attract these guests that are both business and leisure travelers.

Spas on a Mission:
The spa industry is staking a claim on wellness tourism and on wellness in general. Eager to shake the image of pampering for the affluent, spas are repacking and rebranding as wellness providers to attract a larger market.

To request a free download of the Infographic “Top 10 Wellness Travel Trends for 2014” or for more information on wellness travel, please visit www.wellnesstourismworldwide.com.  

The Spa Industry Looks Well and Good

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 by

ispaAfter attending the 2013 International Spa Association (ISPA) annual conference, it certainly was apparent to me that all is well and good in the wellness industry.  From my observations, the $14+ billion U.S. market looks to be growing at a steady and healthy pace. “Things certainly are looking up.” Said Roberto Arjona, General Manager of the legendary Rancho La Puerta Resort and Spa. “We have not seen reservation bookings for our resort like this since before 2008 and we are now over one hundred percent capacity going into next year.”  Rancho La Puerta is not the exception. According to ISPA’s 2013 research, people visiting day spas, hotel and resort spas, and destination spas are all on the rise from 156 million in 2012 to 160 million in 2013 and spending has increased to an average of $87 per visit ; almost a two percent increase over the previous year. ISPA organizers said conference attendance was also back to pre-2008 numbers with packed educations sessions, and a busy expo floor showcasing interesting new products and services. I have been coming to this show for several years and here are some of the major observations I see trending in the wellness space:

Going deeper

It appears that spa product companies are becoming more intelligent and in touch with ingredients that promote healthy-aging rather than anti-aging. In previous years it was sometimes difficult to find truly natural and organic brands that were not greenwashing.  Labeling is a tricky thing and not many brands carry certifications such as USDA organic, Ecocert, or Natrue to verify their claims of being organic. This is because many are small boutique brands and find certification expensive. I did see a lot of companies claiming to be eco-friendly or natural and when questioned further most had intelligent responses and provided a deeper back story on sourcing and manufacturing.  

Evidence and Earth Based

I saw a lot of brands promoting benefits of natural ingredients such as seaweed, oils, stem cells and anti-oxidants. Although these ingredients have been used in spas for years if not decades, it seemed that there are more or perhaps I am just now beginning to recognize them. The science and evidence based elements of research as it relates to natural and organic based skincare regimes is more apparent and bringing about a new products that are very interesting including brands like OSEA, Dr. Hauschka, and Pino. However, with the FTC green guidelines recently released it is important that brands be aware that any eco claims that cannot be backed are subject to fines.

Bathing popularity

Kniepp claimed their sales of salt bath products have doubled in the past year due to the growing awareness of the ability to re-mineralizing the body through salt mineral bathing.  Salt products harvested from salt mines of the Himalayas or from European seas such as Kerstin Florian seemed to be more prevalent. I love salt baths and think they are a great component of a healthy regiment. But hearing that salt demand is on the rise globally is concerning. I hope the purity is maintained while the mining of this is also environmentally conscious.

Oil overflowing

It seemed like every other vendor was promoting essential oils which I think is a good thing.  For years many aromatherapists have claimed the healing benefits of essential oils.  I ran into an old friend Michelle Roark, the founder of Phia Lab, who was a professional skier, engineer, and now perfumer. She is doing energetic measurements of essential oils in kilojoules. She claims she has scientific proof of the calming or energizing qualities of oil frequencies. Here reports should be public soon and will demonstrate scientific proof of health benefits in using essential oils which is quite exciting and I am sure will be welcomed by the aroma therapy community.

Wellness Tourism on the Rise

My favorite session was on the growth and expansion of Wellness tourism presented by Suzie Ellis of SpaFinder. She spoke on “Why You Should Care About Wellness Tourism: Latest Research on the Global Wellness Tourism Market - And How Spas Can Benefit.” She covered the distinctions of medical tourism vs. wellness tourism. Susie said medial tourism focuses on reactive, symptom based medicine that people travel to another state or country to fix and heal. This includes cosmetic surgery, cancer treatments and organ transplants. Wellness tourism promotes a more proactive and less invasive approach that promotes a healthy lifestyle focusing on physical activity, diet and personal development or mind body experiences.  This has become a $439 billion dollar global market with major potential. It encompasses not only spa but alternative medicine, active lifestyles, yoga and mind body fitness which are all overlap the LOHAS market.

I was very impressed at how far the industry has not only grown but also how LOHAS values on wellness have become more integrated.  It appears that spa goers have become more conscious of how they surround themselves in spa settings and what type of ingredients they are putting on their skin and the spa companies are responding.  The recession has made brands and properties smarter in their decisions as it relates to communicating their mission to consumers and property greening as it relates to dollars and cents.  Although work still needs to be done, I look forward to what the industry has in store in the coming years.

 

What's On For Serious Global Foodies In The Next Weeks?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 by

food festivalThese are the key foodie events that conscious consumers should keep an eye out for in August/September. You'll find the range of aroma and flavour experiences from local and regional foods, as well as a focus on seasonal cooking, within the field of healthy lifestyles and full-flavour living. See you there my dear LOHAS blog readers!

August 10, 2013  Cardigan River and Food Festival - Cardigan, Ceredigion, Wales

August 17, 2013  Franschhoek Winter Wines 2013 - Franschhoek, South Africa

August 19-23, 2013 International Conference - Ecological Organic Agriculture Yaounde, Cameroon

  • Encourage Agriculture/Livestock
  • Encourage Income Generating Activities
  • LCDEC Mobilising Savings and Delivering Micro-Credit
  • Local Development Planning
  • Encourage Gender Equality
  •  Women Training and Empowerment Project (WTEP)
  • Encourage Adult literacy
  • Working With Communities In HIV/AIDS Prevention And Care
  • Encourage Skills Development
  • Encourage Institution Building

August 23-26, 2013  Real Street Food Quarterly Festival - London, England

The Real Food Festival is also about creating a level playing field upon which even the smallest producers can offer their fabulous, lovingly nurtured food and drink to a huge number of potential customers. What drives them to do this is the desire to show everyone the importance and enjoyment of eating food that has been produced cleanly and sustainably, where the producer gets a fair price for their goods.

August 29-30, 2013  Whisky Live - Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

September 2-4, 2013  Food and Hospitality Oman - Muscat, Oman



September 5-7, 2013  Chocolate Salon - Mexico City, Mexico



September 5-7, 2013  Expo Café - Mexico City, Mexico


September 6-8, 2013  Niagara Food Festival 2013 - Welland, Ontario, Canada

September 7-8, 2013  Franschhoek Uncorked 2013 - Franschhoek, South Africa

September 8-10, 2013  Specialty Chocolate Fair - London, England: Hosted by award winning Patisserie Will Torrent and featuring demonstrations showcasing the latest techniques and trends from the Academy of Chocolate, Damian Wawrzyniak, Valrhona, Alistair Birt, Cocoa Bond. (industry only, good for food writers!)

September 9-12, 2013  Fine Food Australia - Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

 (industry event only & great if you’re a food writer.)

September 11-14, 2013  26th Paisley Beer Festival - Paisley, England



September 12-15, 2013  Mondial de la Biere - Mulhouse, France

LOHAS Food Trends

Sunday, May 5, 2013 by

I am fortunate to be able to connect with various experts in a variety of LOHAS related categories as well as research various articles predicting what to expect as new opportunities and market trends in the growing LOHAS market. Based on my discussions and findings, here are a few things that I think stand out in the organic and natural food vertical of LOHAS:

1.       A growing awareness of ingredients and sourcing – organic, GMO, fair trade

Those who are opposed to genetically-modified organisms in their food — everything from grains to fish — are getting louder and their concerns heard as demonstrated when, anti-GMO activists hijacked Cheerio’s Facebook page. But following the defeat of California’s Proposition 37, which would have been the first legislation to require GMO labeling, the community is bound to get noisier than ever.

2.       Closing the Price Gap on Organic

Consumers will be able to find certified organic products in all sections of the supermarket and pharmacy.  Expect an evolution of other industry sectors, such as organic personal care, pet food (more like pet treats) dietary supplements. What manufacturers create or retailers carry all depends on the target customer. Capturing discriminating LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability) customers goes well beyond one person: it spreads to their families and pets.

3.       Accessible Organic

Larger organic production, from farm acreage expansion to processing facilities, will translate into organic landing where it is most needed: schools, hospitals, food banks, convenience stores and in mainstream America’s home. Some communities are better served by organic than others, but organic will continue to pop up as distribution channels increase beyond grocery stores. New markets will open to organic food growers, makers and sellers as consumers look for cleaner food beyond grocery stores.

4.       Gluten free integrated into all food options and will be a common part of menu options

The gluten-free market, by comparison is expected to have reached US$1.3 billion in sales by 2011. However, the gluten-free market, which is still in its early growth, is expected to achieve higher growth rates (31%) from 2011 to 2014. Sales in the category have doubled in the last 5 years and are expected to double again in the next 3 years to $5.5 billion by 2015. The new ‘gluten-free’ is already here. With food allergies rising worldwide — at least seven per cent of Canadians have a food allergy — more companies will build facilities dedicated to manufacturing foods free of allergens like dairy, peanuts, egg, soy and shellfish.

5.       Healthy Fast Food - Other Chipotle type chains on the rise.

According to Baum & Whiteman, other chains are following suit, but need to make sure they capitalize on more than just comfy décor and made-to-order food: Companies  will needs to wear its heart on its sleeve … incorporating not just value, but values. Expect more fast food chains to promote sustainable food choices and friendly casual atmospheres. Giants like McDonald’s are embracing this with their new calorie information menus

6.       Food waste awareness on the rise

Americans throw out nearly half of their food, tossing up to 40 percent in the garbage each year, according to a new study. That adds up to an estimated $165 billion according to Natural Resources Defense Council. As more people seek to squeeze money out of their budgets this will be scrutinized as more become aware not to mention restaurants that may waste more .

7.       Chia seed and fermented beverages rule

The nutty tasting Chia seed has more protein, energy and fiber than any other whole grain. The seed is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Three ounces of Chia contains the same amount of Omega-3 fatty acid as 28 ounces of salmon, as much calcium as 3 cups of milk, as much iron as 5 cups of raw spinach, and as much vitamin C as seven oranges!   Chia drinks & oils have seen over a 1000% growth in 2012 according to SPINS. No, we’re not talking about the kind you grow in a pot, but 2013 is all about adding the chia seed to your diet.

8.        Chill out power drinks

In a rebound from power shots such as 5 hour energy and Red Bull there are now drinks that promote relaxation using supplements and herbs. The drinks, which evolved in Japan as far back as 2005, contain no alcohol but some have melatonin, a hormone that can cause drowsiness for those suffering from insomnia and high stress.

9.       Sustainable seafood continues to grow  

According to the National Restaurant Association’s chef survey, sustainable seafood is a top trend among chefs. And sustainability initiatives, such as the well-known Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, report an increase in the number of chefs and operators following their guidelines.

10.   Organic soil promoted as carbon reduction

According to the Organic Center Analyzing  international experts headed by scientists from the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) in Switzerland have concluded that organic agriculture provides environmental benefits through carbon sequestration in soils. Not only are their health benefits but global environmental benefits.

11.   Increased Demand on Transparency

Consumers demand transparency they will come to know what organic means across categories such as personal care, household cleaners and dietary supplements. Natural retailers are already at the forefront by using shelf talkers that tell the story behind the products. Manufacturers only have so much room on labels but can provide more detailed information on their website, Facebook and Twitter. Social platforms will allow consumers to become educated on organica. Companies such as Stoneyfield Farms and Nature’s Path are leaders in this.

 

Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, LOHAS.com and LOHAS Journal the past 9 years Ted Ning is widely regarded as the epicenter of all things LOHAS leading many to affectionately refer to him as ‘Mr. LOHAS’. He is a change agent, trend spotter and principal of the LOHAS Group, which advises large and small corporations on accessing and profiting from the +$300 billion lifestyles of health and sustainability marketplace.  The LOHAS Group is a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets.  For more information on Ted visit  www.tedning.com

LOHAS Health Trends

Sunday, April 28, 2013 by

wellness trendsI am in a unique position to view various market verticals and get some ideas on what are trends for various elements of LOHAS. Here are a few I think to be on the lookout for in the health and wellness space.

Happiness and Health

More of us will see happiness as key to achieving good health and vice versa. We will increasingly understand that happiness and health go hand in hand. There have been several studies indicating the connection between these two vital factors.

Mindful Living

Just think about the last time you ate your meal in peace. Mindful eating involves savouring every bite without distraction from electronics, whether phones or TVs. But this type of mindful living will also follow us through our everyday errands — mindful shopping, for example, means not overspending and buying only what’s needed to feel fulfilled at that moment.  Mindful Stress Reduction research has shown to be highly effective in teaching responsible in the health management, vitality and healing.

Nature As An Antidote

More people are looking at nature as an escape from noise, pollution and traffic and overall brain fatigue from the numerous stimuli we face daily that lead to stress. A recent study from Scotland claims that you can ease brain fatigue simply by strolling through a leafy park. The premise is that “grounding” the body to the earth’s surface stabilizes natural electrical rhythms and reduces disease-causing inflammation. Footwear companies such as Juil are using this concept for thier products and providing copper pressure points on your feet and ground you to the electromagnetic field of the earth. Its all about remembering to connect with the relaxing and energizing qualities Mother Nature has always provided.

Detoxing the home

For most, a new year means cleansing our bodies and getting rid of junk from our diets and kitchen cupboards. But detoxing in 2013 will also be about detoxing our homes and the environment around us. Consumers and brands are both turning to chemical-free and toxin-free products to use everyday. This means opportunities for green cleaning companies such as Method, Ecover and Seventh Generation.

Fitness Self-monitoring

In the past data was commonly equated with tech nerds. Today data is king and will go mainstream thanks to an increasing number of smartphone apps that help you easily store data on your own behavior via collection of wearable devices, from Nike Fuel to LarkLife, that do all the work for you.

Your Favorite Class Will Go Mobile

Mobile, portable classes are the wave of the future — thanks to the rise of beloved celebrity teachers who can’t be everywhere at once. Set up your iPad for a yoga class with the simulated feeling of individualized attention. Open up your laptop and decide what kind of class you’ll do that day — on your own time.  Providers include MyYogaOnline, GaiamTV and YogaVibes, Hotels, for example, are designing guest rooms to accommodate people doing yoga or cardio, or providing workout videos, while some airports, like San Francisco International Airport, even offer yoga rooms.

Healthy Hotels

In 2013 and beyond, what constitutes a true “vacation” will be redefined and “hospitality” will be rewritten. We’ll see an explosion of new “wellness everywhere” hotel chains and environments becoming more mainstream. In the past, gyms and spas have been positioned as mere amenities, but now these walls are being conceptually (and literally) broken down. Established hotel chains are re-branding around wellness and it’s not just about fitness. Customized food and beverage offerings (gluten-free and vegan menus) are becoming standard fare, and hotels are jumping into the juice-themed vacation frenzy.

Adult Playgrounds

Cities worldwide are trying to tackle obesity and overall inactivity by designing playgrounds for adults. These workout spaces are meant to eliminate cost and accessibility limitations and help adults get more active. In 2012, New York City opened its first adult playground and plans to create two dozen more.

Yoga Continues to Grow

Yoga booming – The latest “Yoga in America” study, released by Yoga Journal shows that 20.4 million Americans practice yoga, compared to 15.8 million from the previous 2008 study*, an increase of 29 percent. In addition, practitioners spend $10.3 billion a year on yoga classes and products, including equipment, clothing, vacations, and media. The previous estimate from the 2008 study was $5.7 billion.

Standing Desks

If research has shown us anything in 2012, it’s that sitting at our desks with poor posture is slowly killing us. As we head into the new year, experts at JWT predict more upright desk features for offices across the country. Companies like Ergotron have already created standing workstations with cart-like features.

 

Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, LOHAS.com and LOHAS Journal the past 9 years Ted Ning is widely regarded as the epicenter of all things LOHAS leading many to affectionately refer to him as ‘Mr. LOHAS’. He is a change agent, trend spotter and principal of the LOHAS Group, which advises large and small corporations on accessing and profiting from the +$300 billion lifestyles of health and sustainability marketplace.  The LOHAS Group is a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets.  For more information on Ted visit  www.tedning.com

The Willing Way

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 by

Long time LOHAS ambassador and advocate, Academy Award nominated actress, author, eco activist, mental health awareness spokesperson, mother, and healthy lifestyle products entrepreneur, Mariel Hemingway has co authored, "The WillingWay; Stepping Into the Life You Were Meant to Live" by Changing Lives Press.

It will be released nationally on March 29, and was co authored by her partner, Bobby Williams with whom Mariel speaks nationally on all things LOHAS.

This life affirming book includes strategies to optimize ones quality of life by fortifying the connection inside (through yoga, breath work, cultivating joy and mindfulness) and to the outside (by walking, hiking, staying curious), etc..

While on book tour for The WillingWay and the impending release of the Oprah Winfrey executive produced documentary, Running From Crazy, Mariel will stay happy, healthy, and nourished by enjoying Mariel's BlissCuits.

Good Investors Love Good Businesses…and Good Businesses Love the LOHAS Accelerator

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 by

Author: Cissy Bullock, Awesome LOHASIAN and CEO LOHAS Asia

We’ve got some seriously good news for LOHAS companies, because if you’re working for a sustainable future of our planet as well as your bottom line, there is a new generation of investors looking to help you expand across the globe, improving the lives of even more LOHAS consumers. LOHAS companies are already seeing rapid growth. Success stories like Patagonia and the delicious Innocent Smoothies prove that mission-based companies with LOHAS values embedded at their core, make very attractive investments.

The rise of conscious capitalism,  whereby consumers, producers and investors assess economic decisions based on their impact on the triple bottom line of People, Planet and Profit, rather than just economic growth, is frequently cited as one of the megatrends for this decade. As part of this, more and more individuals are recognizing the benefits of Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS), and are seeking out more eco friendly, socially aware and sustainable products/brands to support a more balanced way of life. Take a look out of your window any morning before work, you’ll see more and more people walking, running and cycling; if they’re putting that much effort into their health, you can be sure that it’s not the only thing they’re consciously doing to improve their lives.

According to research by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), 56 million consumers in the US, a massive 18% of the population, are LOHAS consumers and the market is estimated to be worth USD290 billion. Across Asia – the worlds fastest growing consumer market – the LOHAS movement is spreading rapidly amongst cultures who have lived with health and sustainability values, and the importance of balance, in their hearts for centuries. LOHAS Asia was set up in response to this movement, helping good companies grow alongside the Asian LOHAS community.

16% of Asian consumers, approx. 300 million people, are LOHASIANS. Ask a resident of one of Tokyo’s bustling city streets what LOHAS stands for and 70% of them will be able to answer correctly. No real surprises, then, why Coca Cola chose Japan to test launch their ‘I LOHAS’ mineral water in their cornstarch, eco-crush PlantBottle.

Across the rest of Asia, awareness of LOHAS is growing, and in China alone, the number of LOHAS consumers is estimated to be 110 million. As environmental concerns escalate, such as those associated with the recent choking smog in Beijing that led one US embassy employee to famously tweet the message “Crazy Bad” in one of their daily air quality posts, health and sustainability will only become more important factors influencing individuals’ consumption choices.

Sustainable product innovation is being driven by the enormous market opportunity that exists with Asian consumers and increasing numbers of LOHAS entrepreneurs are responding with new and exciting market disrupting businesses. LOHAS Asia has members with a widely diverse range of products like Shokay, a yak down fashion brand which supports the herding communities which supply the fiber, to Saught who makes jewelry forged from old Cambodian landmines while supporting mine clearance programs, and eco-friendly household cleaning products made exclusively from soapnuts, called Soapnut Republic. Last year LOHAS Asia provided funding for Arterro, a sustainable art company.

The investment community is studying these exciting developments with interest, looking for conscious capitalists who are aligning purpose with profit. These investors recognize that good businesses make good investments, music to the ears of LOHAS entrepreneurs looking to scale their business, but concerned that the cost of investment is a lessening of the values upon which their company was founded.

With LOHAS companies looking for investment and LOHAS investors desperate to find the best opportunities within the market place, we put together the LOHAS Accelerator program, a business incubator that brings LOHAS companies together with an extraordinary team of cross-industry experts from Accenture, Google, Ogilvy & Mather, Silicon Valley as well as some of our own successful LOHAS entrepreneurs.

The LOHAS Accelerator team provides LOHAS companies with all the training, advice and support their business needs to develop a business plan into an investment winning pitch ready to present to venture capital funds.

LOHAS companies that are based in Asia, or have an Asian element of their business (supply, production, plans for expansion) can apply to pitch their business to our panel of LOHAS investors. Provided they can make a captivating business case, they could receive investment of anywhere between USD50,000 to USD10 million.

I spoke to one of the LOHAS Accelerators consultants, Chen Ley Ong, a triple-bottom line Silicon Valley angel and Cradle Fund mentor, "It's exciting to be a part of LOHAS Accelerator program because it brings forth the new wave of entrepreneurship – enterprises with a mission that benefit society and environment, i.e. social enterprises. The traditional business model is no longer a sustainable option. The LOHAS Accelerator program prepares entrepreneurs to shape and grow their enterprises in a healthy and sustainable manner."

Our last round saw the successful investment of $100,000 in LOHAS Hub Member, Indosole, who craft a range of fashionable and functional footware from old motorbike tires, which are salvaged directly from landfills, sanitized, and then transformed by the Balinese community who make them. This investment has helped them transition to a larger production facility in Indonesia, allowing them to increase inventory, attract further investment and build their team of quality staff, brand awareness and sales.

“Application to the LOHAS Accelerator was one of the best business decisions I have ever made.” Kyle Parsons, founder of Indosole, “The process was smooth, comfortable and very supportive from start to finish. The LOHAS Accelerator gave me the ability to identify my business model and then put it into action with experienced and professional consultants from Accenture; and all for free! Fortunately for Indosole, we got the funding we needed to grow our business. Additionally, we gained a strategic partnership with a group of people who genuinely care and have the ability to take our business to the next level in SE Asia.”

These are truly exciting times for the LOHAS movement, the companies working for our planet as well as their profit margin and the consumers who are trying to live a little more LOHAS. The unique LOHAS Accelerator program links the new wave of social entrepreneurs to enlightened investors and the skills and experience of experts from some of the world’s top companies. If you are interested in learning more about the LOHAS Accelerator, either as a LOHAS business or a LOHAS investor, please contact Cissy from LOHAS Asia.

 

Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, LOHAS.com and LOHAS Journal the past 9 years Ted Ning is widely regarded as the epicenter of all things LOHAS leading many to affectionately refer to him as ‘Mr. LOHAS’. He is a change agent, trend spotter and principal of the LOHAS Group, which advises large and small corporations on accessing and profiting from the +$300 billion lifestyles of health and sustainability marketplace.  The LOHAS Group is a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets.  For more information on Ted visit  www.tedning.com

LOHAS Forum 2012: NativeEnergy Releases CO2 Report

Friday, October 5, 2012 by

>> Download the 2012 LOHAS Forum CO2 Report

The annual LOHAS conference is one that I look forward to. LOHAS is an acronym for lifestyles of health and sustainability. It refers to the substantial market for products and services, ethically delivered, for consumers especially concerned about wellness and corporate responsibility. It is the market at “the Intersection of Personal and Planetary Heath,” as Gwynne Rogers of the Natural Marketing Institute put it.

LOHAS attracts the friendliest assemblage of conferees I have encountered. Perhaps it is all the yoga and healthy eating that makes attendees so cordial. Perhaps it is their determination to make the world a better place. Often when people advocate “change,” what they mean is the other guy should change. At LOHAS, the notion of change is often aimed at oneself.

LOHAS features talented business leaders like Kevin Rutherford, CEO of Mrs. Meyers, and Kim Coupounas, co-founder of GoLite, sharing insights. Douglas Gayeton, author of the Lexicon of Sustainability, is using the power of words to “activate change and transform societies.” His vehicles include billboards, social media, pop up shows, and PBS short films.

And this year, as in previous years, marketing experts, like Suzanne Shelton of the Shelton Group, dissected the “green market” and offered useful counsel on how to attack it. For example, inspire don’t educate. Don’t make the problem seem so big an individual can’t do something about it.

Personal conviction is the trump card at LOHAS, and it this seems to explains the abounding goodwill at the conference.

The conference was held in Boulder, Colorado, which is one of those supremely livable small cities and thus an appealing destination. We were there just before the forest fires arrived. The Mountain West is dry country and, to my thinking, increasingly vulnerable to climate change.

This year, as in previous years, NativeEnergy was the carbon offset sponsor, providing offsets from our signature Help Build™ projects to balance the greenhouse gas pollution from conference-related travel, lodging, and operations.

>> Download the 2012 LOHAS Forum CO2 Report

 

About NativeEnergy
NativeEnergy is an expert provider of carbon offsets, renewable energy credits, and carbon accounting software. With NativeEnergy’s Help Build™ offsets, businesses and individuals can help finance the construction of wind, biogas, solar, and other carbon reduction projects with strong social and environmental benefits. Since 2000, NativeEnergy’s customers have helped build over 50 projects, reducing more than 2.5 million tons of greenhouse gases, and the company has over 4 million tons under contract. All NativeEnergy carbon offsets undergo third-party validation and verification. Learn more at www.nativeenergy.com.

5 Ways to Get to Know Your Customer and Be a Conscious Leader

Friday, September 28, 2012 by

If you're in business, you should know your current customers. Sounds like common sense, right? Believe it or not, many companies cannot clearly identify their buyers. In fact, in a perfect world, you should know them by name. One of the best ways to be a conscious leader is create a buyer persona that defines the person behind who your product or service is trying to reach. A buyer persona is not just another marketing buzzword, but a useful and strategic tool to help you connect with your audience and develop lasting, more meaningful relationships.

A buyer persona exemplifies the real person you need to influence and is developed from research and conversations with actual customers.  It enables you to determine your potential audience to target marketing efforts toward this specific group.

Once you really get to know your buyer, like where she shops, what she eats and what she does for fun, creating content that speaks to her will be as easy as talking to a good friend. You’ll feel like a proud parent when you’re done creating this wonderful person, so give him or her a name!  Are they a Jane or a Jade? Don’t forget to name your different personas to really bring them to life.

Here are some simple steps to create a buyer persona who wants to follow your lead:

1.     Find out the Facts.

Finding out specific demographic information about your buyers will help you visualize who they are and create a realistic picture about their needs, wants and goals.

  • Are they male or female?

  • How old are they?

  • Are they married?

  • Do they have kids?

  • Where do they live (city, suburb, rural)?

  • What’s their education level?

  • What is important to them?

2.      Understand their Daily Life.

Now that you know the facts, put yourself in their shoes. Knowing their habits, lifestyle and daily activities will help you create a consistent message about why your product or service is useful and how it positively impacts their daily life.

  • Do they work?

  • What do they do for fun?

  • What are their hobbies?

  • Where do they shop?

  • What music do they listen to?

  • What do they read?

3.      Discover their Challenges and Needs.

Businesses in the LOHAS marketplace understand that it’s not just about selling products or services, but solving problems and fulfilling needs. How does your offer help solve a problem in your buyer’s life? Get specific about it. For example, if you sell organic coffee beans, think about how your beans meet your buyers desire to be healthy.  Create messaging that speaks to the benefits that your organic coffee has on a person’s health rather than how your beans are the “best” or “most unique” beans out there.

4.      Identify How they Search.

Understanding how your buyer finds and consumes info is essential to being found by the right audience. Do they search in Google? Are they active in social media? If so, are they more likely to spend time on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest? Do they ask friends and family for referrals, or read online reviews from consumers?  Do they read industry blogs? Do they attend LOHAS conferences? Once you know how they find information, you can focus on reaching them in the right channels.

5.    Say Hello!

Now, take a look at all the information you’ve gathered. Chances are, you’ll have a clear picture of your ideal target audience. Once you know whom you’re speaking to, don’t forget to say hello! It’s easy to have a conversation with your customers thanks to social media. Make it a priority to spend several hours a week just being human and talking to your audience through social media channels.  It’s also a great way to ask direct questions to get authentic feedback about your products and services.

As a content marketing agency, we work with entrepreneurs and busy marketing directors who are passionate about what they do, believe their brand story is worth telling and care about building meaningful relationships with their clients. Let us know how we can help you!

LOHAS and Kopali promote healthy eating for children with a special offer!

Sunday, May 20, 2012 by

Kopali ChocolateLOHAS and Kopali Chocolates are working together to benefit inner city kids' discovery of good food - with a special offer for you!

For a LIMITED TIME ONLY, buy a 12 Pack Chocolate Banana for only $2.92 each – normally $3.99! Kopali will donate 100% of the profits to The Sylvia Center, Inspiring Children To Eat Well.

 

Blended sweet rich and deep in flavor, Kopali Chocolates are organic and fair trade certified, and are crafted entirely at the point-of-origin for exceptional quality and the positive social and environmental impact that Kopali was founded to create.

We are proud to partner with Kopali in this initiative and to invite you, through delighting in this pure luscious chocolate goodness, to join us in helping to create a healthier, more sustainable and compassionate world for all.

  More on Kopali Chocolate Banana
Perfectly balanced dark chocolate over soft, chewy, sweet banana which serves almost as a “caramel” center. Crafted purely from 100% real organic fruit, with absolutely nothing added.

 

  • 100% organic, pure and natural
  • Single-origin dark chocolate from Peru
  • No refined sugars, no cholesterol, no trans fats
  • No dairy, no animal products, vegan, gluten-free
  • Only 120-140 calories per serving
  • Fair trade, directly supporting small farmers

 

Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, LOHAS.com and LOHAS Journal the past 9 years Ted Ning is widely regarded as the epicenter of all things LOHAS leading many to affectionately refer to him as ‘Mr. LOHAS’. He is a change agent, trend spotter and principal of the LOHAS Group, which advises large and small corporations on accessing and profiting from the +$300 billion lifestyles of health and sustainability marketplace.  The LOHAS Group is a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets.  For more information on Ted visit  www.tedning.com

LOHAS Wellness Trends

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 by

wellness trendsAfter scanning health and wellness trends for 2012 here are a few that caught my eye along with my own perspectices that are LOHAS related.

1. Yoga & Meditation as Mainstream Treatment: Interest in alternative treatments will experience a second surge. Even though interest in alternative treatments is already high, more people, practitioners and patients will be willing to experiment with new remedies, activities and lifestyle changes to avoid these kinds of medications. A study[10] finds that of the 41 million Americans that use mind-body therapies like yoga or tai chi, 6.4 million are now doing them because they were “prescribed” by their medical provider.  Yoga, tai chi, qigong, Feldenkrais, guided imagery, acupuncture and other practices will continue to gain attention due to their ability to calm, soothe and attend to medical situations such as chronic pain, hypertension, obesity and stress. With returning PTSD suffering Iraqi war veterans and stress brought upon with tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes there will be a greater interest in how trauma affects us both personally and in our institutions, including our workplaces and schools and how to respond in effective ways.

2. Awareness & Prevention Will Have a Renewed Focus: As chronic diseases account for many of our healthcare issues and costs there will be a revitalized focus on preventative medicine. Anticipate the integration of wellness programs into businesses by employers and provide resources programs to encourage better health and prevention. This was predicted in our 2011 wellness trends but anticipate stronger campaigns on all fronts as health becomes a larger issue for society.

3. The Empowered Consumer Continues to Rise: The DYI trend among consumers will continue in 2012. And technology plays a large role here. Research shows that 80% of U.S. Internet users claim to have used the web to search for health-related information and answers. And that is just search. Many platforms from interactive healthcare kiosks to social media to personalized health sites are allowing consumers to empower themselves. As consumers increasingly turn to self-service technologies and channels, the entire healthcare industry has a tremendous opportunity to reach, engage and interactive with today’s empowered consumer. And that will yield some powerful results from consumers to doctors to advertisers.

4. Family Wellness Travel: The boom in solo travellers continues to rise for wellness holidays but more families are now searching for these types of getaways. Parents want their children to be healthy on holiday and also keep busy with plenty of activities so they don’t get bored. More resorts are also introducing healthy children’s menus so they can learn good habits early. Parents also want to be able to enjoy holistic activities and spa treatments, whilst their children are staying active.

5. Retail Plays an Increased Role: In response to the DYI demand from consumers in-store clinics and healthcare kiosks will play vital roles to connect with consumers for better healthcare access, awareness and treatments. Consumers are still frequenting brick-n-mortar stores; connecting with them while they are there offers great opportunities for healthcare providers, advertisers and the retail locations.

6. Holidaying with Health Gurus: Top health and fitness experts now work at some of the leading resorts around the world. More people want to receive dedicated support and guidance from the best in the industry; wellness retreats are bringing in the top yoga teachers, nutritionists, doctors, personal trainers and more health gurus to raise their game. Clients want to be inspired and informed so that they can lead a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle when they return home. Expect more tailored programs to be developed such as ones provided at Tao Inspired Living or Rancho La Puerta.

7. Obesity Awareness: Losing weight will continue to be the primary reason consumers seek personal training support as the public responds to the expanded messaging concerning the dangers of physical inactivity and obesity. The recently released Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index report that showed a modest improvement in the nation’s obesity rates for the first time in more than three years is a very encouraging sign. However, the fact remains that three out of five Americans are still overweight or obese, requiring more work to be done. 

8. Whole-life training: Lifestyle/ Wellness coaching will become a bigger trend with more personal trainers, fitness centers and spas looking to holistically improve client lifestyle and expanding their education and training to include this skill set. There are efforts to clearly define the parameters of coaching and help distinguish coaching (which is future-focused) from other professional services like counseling (which delve into a person’s past). The medical industry and academic groups are examining the value of wellness coaching. Harvard Medical School (www.harvardcoaching.org) now underwrites an annual conference on coaching’s role in healthcare. One of the many research initiatives being analyzed by the International Coaching Research Forum (U.K.) is developing coaching as a global, academic profession. Companies like Wellpeople.com (U.S.) offer certified on-site or virtual wellness coaches for spas, hospitals and businesses. Anticipate fitness facilities to hire nutritionists and other allied healthcare professionals such as physical therapists and psychologists to serve the expanding needs of their health-conscious members including wellness, nutrition, and stress-management programs.

9. Community Collaboration: Access to fitness services and education will continue to expand in local communities including activities in gyms, parks, and recreation centers. Local leaders are taking a more active role to address health issues in their communities. This includes proactive measures through school-based education programs and engagement with low-income and at-risk families. The Canyon Ranch Institute provides Life Enhancement Programs in underserved communities of the South Bronx, Cleveland, and Tuscon to prevent, diagnose, and address chronic diseases.

10. Healthy Fast Food: There will be a greater push to keep students and employees healthy. This will mean a closer examination of cafeteria food in schools and on-site vending machines in work places, including information on how eating patterns create stress, obesity and health and behavior problems. As more people recognize the failings of fast food and food processing companies expect vendors to upgrade their product offerings to develop and market products that are not only healthy but actually promote health.

11. Clean Eating Focus: The food-health connection will be very important. As we learn more about "clean eating" -- consuming foods without preservatives, chemicals, sugars and other additives -- our habits will change as we read labels even more carefully and appreciate the rewards of more energy and fewer chronic illnesses. Along with clean eating, we will also become aware of the problems associated with GMO crops that have been over-hybridized by corporations for fast growth and easy harvest. The Non GMO projectThe Institute for Responsible Technology and others are working on raising awareness for consumers on the hazards of GMO foods on the environment and health.

12. Evidence based Spa Therapies: There has been a significant amount of efforts put forth by skincare companies and alternative therapy groups to provide research backing the results of treatments. SpaEvidence is a web resource that gives the world easy access to the “evidence-based medicine” databases that doctors use, so they can search thousands of studies evaluating which spa modalities are proven to work, and for which exact conditions.

Feel free to add any that I may have missed.

 

Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, LOHAS.com and LOHAS Journal the past 9 years Ted Ning is widely regarded as the epicenter of all things LOHAS leading many to affectionately refer to him as ‘Mr. LOHAS’. He is a change agent, trend spotter and principal of the LOHAS Group, which advises large and small corporations on accessing and profiting from the +$300 billion lifestyles of health and sustainability marketplace.  The LOHAS Group is a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets.  For more information on Ted visit  www.tedning.com

American Ingenuity

Friday, November 4, 2011 by

Contributed by Scott James

EPA designThis month I spoke with Matt Bogoshian in DC. He is the Senior Policy Counsel for the Environmental Protection Agency. One of the ways I reconcile being apolitical and staying as far away from DC as possible is because I know I have kindred spirits like Matt fighting the good fight there. He works quite a bit with businesses, so I asked him about CSR this month.

Scott: Tell me about a company that is doing something in CSR that would be a model for the future.

Matt: Staples and Wegmans are two recent examples who, in a partnership with us, worked collaboratively with the thermal paper manufacturers to explain that a key to their business model is supplying products that people want to buy because they are safe and healthy. The retailers convinced these suppliers that thermal paper with bisphenol A (BPA) does not meet their needs as it is associated with adverse effects in the environment and may be problematic for people. Thanks to these business leaders, the EPA is now examining 19 alternatives to BPA with the active engagement of the full supply chain.

Scott: So Staples and Wegmans have made a real commitment to that project.

Matt: Yes. I’d like to see a corporate model for the future that incorporates sustainability much more broadly and deeply than what some might consider CSR being capable of doing.  Model companies in the future will be ones that make more money than their competitors by producing products and services that directly or additionally address social and environmental needs.

Scott: Tell me about a specific CSR effort in another country you find inspiring, that could serve as a model for the US.

Matt: Our sustainability efforts with American manufacturers routinely afford us an opportunity to see the positive effects of corporate sustainability efforts both domestically and abroad. Take Steelcase Furniture in Grand Rapids, Michigan as an example. Under our Green Suppliers Network program – which is designed to improve manufacturing supply chains’ process efficiencies and environmental performance – we’ve seen their sustainability efforts result in $1MM+ annual savings for seven of their powder coating lines. Steelcase has now taken these lessons learned and is applying them to their operations in Germany, France, Mexico and China.

We also watch with interest the water conservation efforts of Coca Cola and other large corporations as they demonstrate sound corporate social responsibility for water conservation in India and other countries.

Scott: And how about the other way around? Is anyone internationally watching the US for CSR inspiration?

Matt: Yes, sometimes we learn from our friends abroad about efforts underway here in the US which inspire them, and give us extra energy to expand what we have already begun to do. Brazil, Chile and Singapore were excited to find out from us about one of our newer efforts called E3, which stands for Economy, Energy and the Environment. E3 draws together the resources of five U.S. federal agencies, the utility industry and local communities who then work together to help tune-up factories to reduce wasted time/motion/material/energy to help them become more profitable and sustainable at the same time.

Scott: Wow. That’s a lot of coordination! Tell me another example of what we are doing right here in the US.

Matt: Well, the EPA has a mark, a label called Design for the Environment (DfE). We evaluate products that have been designed or reformulated to contain safer chemicals and allows these products to display the label.

More than 500 companies with serious CSR leadership have reformulated more than 2,700 products to meet EPA’s stringent, science-based criteria so that their products can display the DfE label. They do this because they see a substantial return on their investment and the DfE label opens doors to new markets.

Scott: What new markets?

Matt: States and municipalities adopting green purchasing requirements, retailers who demand greener and safer products to enhance their sustainability profiles, and citizens who want products that are safer for their families and the environment. Companies large and small – from Colgate-Palmolive, Clorox, S.C. Johnson to Jelmar (CLR products), Phurity and Earth Friendly Products – are willing to invest heavily to earn the DfE label. DfE also fuels innovation among chemical manufacturers, such as BASF, Dow, and Akzo-Nobel, who have developed chemical ingredients to meet the stringent DfE criteria for use in DfE-labeled products. So in addition to gaining new market share, the DfE label helps companies meet independent sustainability measures like the Dow Jones Sustainability index.

Scott: OK, let’s talk about where we could improve. Could you illustrate one of our failures and what we can learn from it…where we are not succeeding as much as we could?

Matt: We have collectively failed to build genuine American consensus between citizens, businesses, governments, NGOs and others that ensures America will continue to be the leading economy and example for decades to come. The world is evolving from the agricultural, industrial and information ages toward the age of sustainability and we want to continue to lead in this new age. The good news is that useful lessons can be drawn from the many innovative sustainability efforts already underway by people and organizations throughout the nation.

Scott: In that vein, what question are we not asking ourselves that we should? And what would you imagine the results to be if we did ask ourselves that question?

Matt: We should be asking ourselves, “Is there a smarter, more sustainable way, to make and grow the things we need?” Sticking with the manufacturing sector as an example – with the possible exception of the electronics industry – many manufacturing processes have changed little over time. This may be due to unchanging manufacturing specifications, economic uncertainties or just plain human reluctance to change. Whatever the reason, these barriers are man-made and must be overcome.

If we answer that question with American ingenuity and innovation, we will see our manufacturing sector grow and lead our economy toward the kind of long term strength and prosperity we have come to enjoy for so many decades.

 

Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, LOHAS.com and LOHAS Journal the past 9 years Ted Ning is widely regarded as the epicenter of all things LOHAS leading many to affectionately refer to him as ‘Mr. LOHAS’. He is a change agent, trend spotter and principal of the LOHAS Group, which advises large and small corporations on accessing and profiting from the +$300 billion lifestyles of health and sustainability marketplace.  The LOHAS Group is a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets.  For more information on Ted visit  www.tedning.com

How LOHAS Fits With Occupy Wall Street

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 by

Occupy Wall StreetThis last week I had a chance to listen in on a discussion with some of the leaders of the Occupy Wall Street demonstration happening in New York. Unlike many of my Facebook friends who have been quite vocal on the demonstrations, I have been a bit of a quite bystander on the sidelines not really understanding what to make the protests nor clear on who is exactly leading the viral movement or what it really stands for. Furthermore, I did not see how the Occupy Wall Street movement and the LOHAS intersect. By being a part of this conversation with those who not only were sleeping in the park but actually leaders of the NY Occupy group I hoped would bring some answers to these burning questions. The first thing that struck me about the representatives of the demonstration was how young, energetic and passionate they were for their cause. All were in their twenties and full of zeal. Each of them wore several hats of responsibility ranging from tactical to basic services. One was part of the kitchen/comfort team that provided infrastructure needs. Another was a recent grad who has large student loans and was on the communications team for outreach and press. Another was a facilitator of meetings and responsible for damage control. They gave the ground rules of how there were going to interact with the business audience that I was a part of and did so in an untypical way. For example if you liked something you waved your fingers up. If you didn’t, you waived them down. The business group asked them what their demands were and they replied that there were no demands right now as they recognized that this movement/demonstration was still evolving and they did not want to be compartmentalized to specific demands yet. They explained that the movement is open source movement that focuses on equality and sharing for all involved. They said they had been mentored by those involved in the recent Egyptian movement and recognized revolution theory and practice must work in parallel and not one after the other. I think this is one of the most difficult things to understand from the outside looking in. The fact that this movement is being created on a completely seperate set of standards and rules are a bit perplexing. This certainly is a fluid movement that we are witnessing ebb and flow before our eyes. The Occupy Wall Street representatives spoke of a new breed of activism they were creating and were preparing for a long haul. One interesting thing I noticed is that they were not seeking money from the business audience which I would expect they want. This was the SVN conference with many investors and socially responsible entrepreneurs who were already active participants in the Occupy Wall Street movement. I couldn't think of a better place to ask for cash. But they didn't see it that way. They said they had $500K in a fund and were afraid it would get too large and unruly to manage. Instead they were asking for gifts of service and hard goods rather than money. One said ‘Giving money does not provide control by the giver once the check is passed. This is the mode of the traditional economy which we are protesting against.’ They want to promote and develop a new form of economy - a gift economy. What they said they needed most were the gifts of hard goods like strong and warm tents for the winter, food and supplies, educational training and more action oriented people to join them. They also want a gift economy website and a new open source web that was not draconian dominated by large search engines like Google. I found this discussion to be quite informative and gave me a better understanding of the thinking of the leadership. The open source and evolving platform is definitely new and challenging for institutions to understand since there are no demands. It is also challenging to hear what they are for rather than see what is reported on the news and see the hand made signs of what they are against. Listening to this meeting helped me understand their thinking a bit more. For those who want more information The Occupy Wall Street general assembly has a call to action document online at www.nycga.net.
 
Save the dates
On November 5th Occupy Wall Street asking everyone to move their money from the large banks to credit unions and community banks. The large banks continue to thrive while many are starving. Everyone has a credit union near them even if they don’t know it. For a list of national credit unions visit - www.thecommunitybanker.com/cu_links

Another option is a community bank which is one that supports investments locally. www.findabetterbank.com/community_banks_credit_unions.html

On November 17th they are planning a large scale demonstration. They want to disrupt all the bridges in the U.S. This is meant to have the 1% feel the pain of disconnection and cut off as the other 99% feel. People feel like their lives are falling apart and they want others to get a taste of that.

What The Occupy Wall Street Movement is Asking
The representatives were clear that you don’t need to spend the night in the park although you are welcome to do so.  This is not about just occupying a square but also occupying hearts and minds of people. They ask all who support their cause to be visible! The Occupy platform in new and is a new way to approach the current economic problems that is open source – use it! Participate!
 
To learn what events are happening and where go to www.occupytogether.org

To promote an event and needs of demonstrators go to www.occupywishlist.org/tos.html 
 
One person in the business group asked about the potential anger and backlash from the Nov. 17th planned protest and disruption by those who are not part of the 1% yet are affected and caught off guard and in the crossfire. Their response was that the demonstrations need to be adjusted to various situations and reminded everyone that this is a work in progress and is open source. Another asked if there are there concerns with infiltrators. The Occupy representatives recognized that security is a challenge but also pointed out that it is difficult to penetrate a horizontal model with no top down leadership. If there were people planning to undermine initiatives it is easier to see who they are and point them out to everyone involved. A question was raised on the relations with the NYPD union and if they are backing the Occupy movement and the concerns with police brutality. The Occupy representatives replied that the union publicly does not support them but police individually do. However the New York correctional facility union is publicly backing Occupy and is providing food for those camping out. This is probably putting some pressure and scrutiny on the NYPD union for their position. The question of police brutality came up and what they are doing about it. They also acknowledged that both sides have been the facilitators of abuse and that educating protestors on how to behave was a high priority.
 
So how does LOHAS fit into this? A challenging question to say the least. LOHAS is not only about healthy living and environmentalism but also social justice. When someone sees injustices they are typically inclined to act whether it be fair labor practices with coffee, child labor, blood diamonds, animal testing and all other forms of injustice that so many LOHAS products promote that they are against. Clearly there are a lot of people in pain and there is a feeling of imbalance and pain which has people seeking answers to the very complex process that got us to where we are.  LOHAS can help shape this movement and direct it. LOHAS is not just about the sale of products and services to the Whole Foods shopper. It can be used as an agent of change. Because this is open source movement it can be whatever we want it to be. I think we all agree that there is something quite interesting happening here and we are watching something happen in our country that we have not seen for a long time. We can’t put the genie back in the bottle. There is something going on. Those who believe in LOHAS principles needs to speak out but do so in a way that maintains balance in a situation that is ripe for polarity. If we do not we risk falling into the quarrels of black and white when everything is really grey. We must work on maintaining a voice to ensure there is a balance with in the movement. We must integrate both the qualities of defiance and protest with those qualities of bridging process and nurturing. It is easy to get caught up in our differences and overlook our similarities. We have become a country of residence instead of citizens who are active in our community and ensuring it improves for all.  Our power must serve our purpose not the other way around. We aspire for that perfect life where all are equal, the environment is clean and we are at peace. But to have that happen we need to get involved. We must expand our way of thinking since our old methods of structure clearly need an upgrade. This is what I believe the Occupy Wall Street is demanding. So is this what we have been waiting for? I ask for those out there to participate in some form to help shape this in a LOHAS way. Initially it looks a bit fragmented and dysfunctional and perhaps it will dissipate as time goes one. But that is what they said in Egypt. Stay informed on the matters, talk about it with others and educate them on the details. If you choose to get involved more by moving your money or donate gifts of goods and services to the cause or camping out and being an active demonstrator I applaud you. Being active in a LOHAS way can assist in the transformation of our world into one that provides healthy living and sustainability for everyone.

Here is MSNBCs Ryan Ratigan losing his cool but he does have a point. 
 

 

Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, LOHAS.com and LOHAS Journal the past 9 years Ted Ning is widely regarded as the epicenter of all things LOHAS leading many to affectionately refer to him as ‘Mr. LOHAS’. He is a change agent, trend spotter and principal of the LOHAS Group, which advises large and small corporations on accessing and profiting from the +$300 billion lifestyles of health and sustainability marketplace.  The LOHAS Group is a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets.  For more information on Ted visit  www.tedning.com

Mindfulness in the Workplace

Monday, October 24, 2011 by

Meng and I Ted Ning LOHASI recently had the opportunity to present at Naropa University in Boulder with Google’s Chade Meng Tan who has a job that I wish I had. He gave me his business card and his job title is Google’ Jolly Good Fellow (which nobody can deny). Really! He is one of the earliest engineers hired by Google and his job description is "Enlighten minds, open hearts, create world peace". I had a chance to speak with him about his role and his goals. The guy is a real gem - funny, unassuming and very approachable.

How did you come up with your job description?
One of the unique work policies at Google is the ‘20 percent time’. This means that throughout your work time at Google they allow employees to work 20 percent on anything that they want. One day I went on a walk and decided that I want to work on world peace through compassion.

That is great. Many people have dedicated their lives to this cause. How does yours differ?
My approach is a little different since I am an engineer and hardwired in logic and practicality. I want compassion to be a part of modern day living in the U.S. I believe that in order for this to take root it needs to have proven positive results.

Wouldn’t we all? Do you have an example of this?
In 1927 Harvard created the fatigue lab and wanted to study exercise to prove exercise is healthy. At the time this was thought of as nonscientific and no one would support the funding of the research. The only support they got was from the Army. The study had some amazing results and found that a fit person is a fit person is physiologically different from an unfit person. Today health is universal and everyone knows the following: 1. Everyone knows health is good. 2. All know how to get fit and information is available and accessible. 3. People can do it at work. 4. It is completely integrated into society. My goal is to apply the same principles to meditation.

That would be great! There are plenty of people who are stressed at work don’t you agree?
Yes indeed. At Google people wear stress as a badge of honor to show how strong they are and how much they can endure. I want to change the concept of stress reduction to a model of success. I want to create this to be customer focused and the by product will be world peace.
Meng at Naropa
So world peace is a bi product and not the focus?
Yes mindfulness leads to emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence, if properly trained, leads to inner peace, inner joy and compassion.  All 3 are  needed. Inner peace alone will not do it. You must have all 3 at a global scale.

How do we implement this?
At Google we have the motto launch early and launch often. Some other engineers and I sat in the room trying to figure this out. We created the ‘Search Inside Yourself’ initiative and a building authentic relationship course and empathy course. This helped create the Google University.

Impressive! What does the ‘search inside yourself initiative’ teach?
The search inside yourself initiative focuses on attention. A calm and clear mind creates the foundation. How this is done is through mindfulness. Moment to moment non judging attention. A study was done on the brain. The amygdala is part of the brain that contains our emotions. If you perceive a threat your amygdala takes over. People with mindfulness training can downgrade the amygdala take over. When meditating we are calm and joyful. This joy is non energetic, is highly sustainable and subtle therefore takes a quite mind. This inner joy can be called on demand. Happiness is not what we pursue but what we allow.

And what do we do with our attention?
We create what I call ‘high resolution perception’. This causes subtle changes in process of emotional perception. We can experience the detection of emotion and create the option of choice. This leads to emotional mastery and develops confidence. Body emotional awareness increases empathy. Empathy reflects others emotions in and on my body and therefore I can view the emotional process. Emotions are physiological processes, and recognizing that allow us to change from ‘I am angry’ to ‘I am experiencing anger in my body’. The emotion is not a part of being. Kindness and goodness are mental habits. Compassion fosters habit of helping others. These are trainable. If you want to be happy change your interactions with others. What you think you will become.

How do you bring this to the corporate world?
We must bring science and statistics to it. We need to own the knowledge and be customer oriented and meet people where they are in order to have it be applied to daily life easily.

How can it be communicated in business to those who don’t believe in the theory or think it is too strange?
There are 3 things that need to be implemented to be affective. The first thing is the correct language. Language is extremely important. We cannot go beyond the current level of expertise of people or it will be over their heads. At Google ‘deeper awareness’ training has been reworded to ‘high resolution perception’ training. This is much more acceptable to employees and human resources department. Remember human resources is coming from a place of caution and risk prevention for the company. Therefore you need to have empathy for their point of view in order for them to support a companywide initiative. Secondly, we need to use the minimum affective dose. If we overdose we will push people away. We teach people a simple 2 minute meditation exercise. This is about the same amount of attention time that my 12 year old daughter has for this so I think it is a short enough time for people to practice. Thirdly, is to get an appropriate instructor. You need someone with a deep practice who owns the science and provides credibility and speaks the language of the audience. Saving the world will fail as a goal. But if you work on mindfulness and compassion it will be a byproduct of the end results.

 

Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, LOHAS.com and LOHAS Journal the past 9 years Ted Ning is widely regarded as the epicenter of all things LOHAS leading many to affectionately refer to him as ‘Mr. LOHAS’. He is a change agent, trend spotter and principal of the LOHAS Group, which advises large and small corporations on accessing and profiting from the +$300 billion lifestyles of health and sustainability marketplace.  The LOHAS Group is a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets.  For more information on Ted visit  www.tedning.com


 

CAM: It's not Magic, It's Medicine

Friday, September 23, 2011 by
Like the LOHAS movement itself, integrative medicine is also on the rise despite recent economic trends and challenges.  As Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) becomes more mainstream, skeptics of integrative medicine have also become increasingly vocal.  Thousands of years and countless studies support the efficacy of treatment options within fields like Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), though often critics of holistic medicine focus their attention on newer, less researched, and less regulated fields that remain on the fringe of holistic medicine.Botanical Medicine  

In response, many CAM users may speak with an unyielding defense, enthusiasm, and "belief" in alternative medicine.  However, bundling the "fringes" of holistic alternative medicine along with more credible CAM options may actually confuse new patients about what is appropriate for their conditions.  Moreover, adamant "belief" of users may misrepresent the science and rigorous training of licensed CAM providers.  

Whether seeking to manage a chronic condition or support to maintain healthy lifestyles, there are a number of CAM alternatives that effectively meet patients' needs.  For companies seeking access to credentialed CAM providers, CAM PPO of America, Inc. offers access to a national network of CAM practitioners.  Because of the emphasis on healthy living through lifestyle management, including non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical alternatives, investing in integrative medicine options offers an innovative addition to an overall CAM PPO of America, Inc.green business strategy.  

Top LOHAS-ish Fall Conferences for 2011

Thursday, August 18, 2011 by

LOHAS crowdHere it is mid August and already I have to start working on my conference attending schedule for the fall of 2011. It seems like I have to do this earlier and earlier each year primarily because there are so many LOHAS oriented conferences being added or are catching my attention that I did not know of before. I have done a post on what events I think are important the past 2 years and here is my 3rd installment of top green/health and wellness/social enterprise/sustainability/leadership conferences worth considering as you plan your conference schedule for the fall.

For those new to the conference scene, there are two seasons – fall and spring. There are associations and organization that provide 1 or 2 events a year usually during those months. This is primarily because summer is a time when many set up personal vacation time and winter has more holiday time and weather issues.

Conference strategy
In determining which event is best for you take a look at the speakers and topics that will be presented. It is also important to look at the sponsors and how the event is presented via the event website. This will give you a feel on the type of companies that will be attending the event and what type of audience the event is trying to attract. By viewing the agenda content you can get an idea on how in depth they plan on going on topics. Also look at the networking opportunities that are in the program. Some events consciously embed them in the program via receptions, meals and outings and others do not. It is really up to you to make the best of the time for your own networking purposes.

On site
I find attending events to be incredibly stimulating. However I also find them to be extremely exhausting. Make sure you eat right, drink plenty of fluids, keep to a good sleep schedule and maintain a steady energy balance. For the large trade shows make sure you wear comfortable and supportive shoes for those hours on the exhibit floor. There are plenty of after party events to attend at which you can have some great business talks. It is up to you to make sure you know what formula works best for you. Set up meetings in advance if you can. That way you have some anchors to build the rest of the day's plan around and not get too lost in the shuffle of things - especially if they are large trade shows.


Leadership
Women in Green - August 30-31st Santa Monica CA
Focuses on women in leadership positions that promote green business. Although all the speakers are women you don’t need to be of the double X chromosome to attend. This is the second year of the event and according to people who attended last year it was about 200 people. This year there should be more.

Conscious Capitalism - OCT 12-14 Austin TX
You need an invite to attend this prestigious event that brings many CEO’s together to discuss conscious leadership within organizations. It is a relatively small event with around 200 attending. John Mackey of Whole Foods co-founded this and has people ranging from the CEO of the Container Store to Jean Houston speaking on how business can drive conscious change.

Green
Green Initiatives Conference Sept 29-30th Ft Lauderdale FL
A new event on my radar that has some interesting presenters and sponsors. The event team that is putting this on look like they have a tech background and may be one of the main focuses of the event. There are larger corporations participating such as DOW, HP and Coca Cola. It looks like they will focus on sustainability within larger companies and case studies from experiences.

SXSW Eco Oct 4-6 Austin, TX
SXSW music festival looks to sing a new green tune this year with the addition of a green event. Former LOHAS speakers who will be presenting include Simran Sethi and Philippe Cousteau. This is thier first year and the B2B event looks interesting. A great idea tagging it onto SXSW.

Opportunity Green Nov 9-10 Los Angeles, CA
OG is in its 3rd year and brings together green business and sustainable design in LA. They have about 800 attendees from all walks of life – corporate, entrepreneurs, media and of course Hollywood. They hold a great green design competition and it is a high energy event with interesting sessions and booths ranging from LED lighting for studios to BMW to water filters.

BSR - Nov 1-4 San Francisco, CA
The big one for the larger corporations that has been around a long time focusing on the corporate responsibility of multi-national corporations. Last year they had over 1000 in attendance. If you are looking to connect with the bigger companies on CSR initiatives this is the one to check out.


Funding and Finance
SOCAP Sept 7-9 Fort Mason, San Francisco CA
A vibrant event focusing on investing into social entrepreneurship. This event brings together large funds and banks with social entrepreneurs. Competitions on business plans are submitted ahead of time for a competition for funding and there is great education on raising capital for the startup and social enterprises.

SRI in the Rockies OCT 2-5 New Orleans, LA
A flagship event for social responsible investing(SRI) that brings SRI funds together with financial advisors. They also bring in a mix of speakers who focus on humanitarian, social and environmental impacts such as Jane Goodall, David Bornstein, Hunter Lovins and Bill McDonough. If you want insights on SRI and where it is headed this is THE event to attend.

Slow Money OCT 12-14 San Francisco, CA
Slow Money is a network of food activists, investors and entrepreneurs who nurture a range of conversations in order to actively develop funding and investment channels for local and sustainable food enterprises. Like Slow Food, they have local gatherings and a larger main event promoting a slow and steady investment into businesses who are seeking an alternative to the conventional Wall Street type investor.  Speakers include David Suzuki, David Orr and Vananda Shiva.

Investor's Circle OCT 26-27 Philadelphia, PA
A membership organization that  support a great entrepreneurs that are addressing social and environmental issues. They look at 10-15 high impact deals that are seeking investment.  They also provide a due diligence process that starts once the event is complete. It is about 200 people in attendance who are angel investors, fund managers, family office managers, foundation executives and trustees, wealth, financial and philanthropic advisers and their clients and other accredited investors.

Industry Specific
EcoTourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference Sept 19-21st Hilton Head SC
With over 30 inspiring sessions, 50 leading industry partners, and impactful and engaging keynote presentations, the ESTC 2011 (Hilton Head Island, SC, USA, September 19-21, 2011) sets the platform for ongoing dialogue promoting innovative ideas and practical solutions, driving change in global tourism.

Expo East Sept 22-24 Baltimore MD
Attended by as many as 25,000 industry professionals and featuring thousands of exhibits, Natural Products Expo East is the largest natural, organic, and healthy products trade show on the East Coast. With the newest and best-selling products and branded ingredients available this show features the best in organic at All Things Organic/Organic Products Expo-BioFach America, offers an extensive retailer training program and provides an advocacy platform through a strategic partnership with Natural Products Association East. Natural Products Expo East is ranked as one of the top 200 tradeshows in the US.

Greenbuild Oct 4-7 Toronto Canada
Greenbuild is the green building industry's can't miss event. It's where we go to learn about what's new in green building practices through the extensive educational sessions, see the latest technology and innovation in the exhibit hall, and perhaps more importantly, where we go to do business.  Greenbuild is a one-stop shop for credential maintenance. From pre- or post-show LEED workshops to sector-specific summits, from green building tours to concurrent educational sessions, you will find the education you need at Greenbuild. Most sessions at Greenbuild will be approved for continuing education credits for LEED and other professional credentials, allowing you to maintain your credential with ease.


Beauty/Wellness
Natural Beauty Summit Oct 6-7 NYC
This is a smaller and formal event for the natural and organic beauty industry that brings together the mission driven companies such as Dr. Bronners and Weleda with the larger corporations such as Este Lauder, L’Oreal and Avon. It is more of a lecture format and a lot of presentation intake. If you are a data hound you will get your fill. If you are a networker you will need to work for it but there are good connections to be made. The group is a bit insular if you are an outsider but if you are seeking to enter the luxury skincare market it may be worth considering.

Green Spa Network - Oct 9-12 Sundance, UT
This event is made up of a group of spa resorts and products that want to go the extra mile in promoting green efforts in the spa industry. The event has about 100 passionate people who want to move the spa world in the direction of holistic and sustainable integration. They are a very open and friendly group that welcomes newcomers (and new members). Plus the events are always at pristine green resorts.

ISPA - Nov 7-9 Las Vegas
If you are in the spa industry you have to go where everyone goes which is the International Spa Association Conference. Every other year they have their annual event in Las Vegas which brings investors, products and service providers, spa techs and directors together. This is THE most well groomed event I have ever experienced with exhibitors providing facials, teeth whitening and massages. There is good data provided on the spa world and great sessions specific to spa owners and employees. ISPA provides great data on the spa market as well. 

Social Venture Network Oct 27-30 Philadelphia, PA
SVN is a membership organization of successful social entrepreneurs ranging from Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, creators of Ben & Jerry’s, to Van Jones, former Green Czar to Obama, to Tom Szaky founder of Terracycle. It mixes sustainability with community building and innovation and a ton of passion. You can’t leave this event without 2-3 bonding hugs. It is a great place to seek mentorship, collect ideas and also potential funding from successful entrepreneurs and community leaders who are interested in helping others. This overlaps with the Investor’s Circle previously mentioned.

Net Impact Oct 27-29 Portland, OR
Net Impact is a large event that brings 2500 students and corporations together. They have chapters associated with Universities all over the country with a large membership and the event focuses on social enterprise, green business strategies, and nonprofit work.

Public Events
Yoga Journal Conference Sept 18-25 Estes Park, CO
For yoga die hards and trainers interested in the business of yoga or just to improve their own yoga practice. Famous yoga instructors such as Rodney Yee, Sean Corn and Shiva Rae have taught classes here. There is a vendor area as well.

Greenfestivals
Greenfests are the creations of Green America and a designed to celebrate green and diversity in various regions. Their flagship event in San Fran pulls in 30,000 attendees and they have some amazing keynote speakers such as Dr. Weil, Deepak Chopra, Amy Goodman, Jim Hightower and many more. Companies large and small mingle together with the public selling their products and services. I think these are great not only to see what is being sold but to see who is buying and the similarities and differences each region has as it relates to green. There is always a colorful audience at Greenfestivals.
New York  10/1-2
Los Angeles  10/29-30
San Francisco 11/12-13

Bioneers San Rafael, CA 10/14-16
Bioneers is where ecology meets activism meets celebration. I could spend hours in the parking lot just reading all the bumper stickers on people’s cars (mostly hybrids). If you are into fighting injustices of the underserved, hearing the wisdom of traditional cultures and the stories of animals and unique journeys of people this is an event for you. There are workshops on business, youth, art, peace and more.  It draws about 3-5,000 who are all there because of the larger mission Bioneers embodies. Networking is great but you will need to be selective on who you connect with since there are so many types of people there.

 

Of course these are just a few of the many events out there of interest to me. There are many others that are international that I did not include. If there are any other events you see I am missing please feel free to comment and add.

 

Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, LOHAS.com and LOHAS Journal the past 9 years Ted Ning is widely regarded as the epicenter of all things LOHAS leading many to affectionately refer to him as ‘Mr. LOHAS’. He is a change agent, trend spotter and principal of the LOHAS Group, which advises large and small corporations on accessing and profiting from the +$300 billion lifestyles of health and sustainability marketplace.  The LOHAS Group is a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets.  For more information on Ted visit  www.tedning.com

Crowd-Sourced Moo-Lah for Food Pioneers

Friday, July 29, 2011 by

By Nathan Rice of Haberman

Where does a pioneering filmmaker with the idea to celebrate agriculture in the U.S. go for funding? What about a scientist with an innovative plan for improving the growing potential of urban gardens? What about someone kicking around a design for a new farmer’s market? Kickstarter.com, or its crowd-based funding brethren Kiva, is a great place to start. Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com) is a relatively new website designed specifically to support the funding of creative projects. These projects can range from promising innovative concepts to some that might be categorized as duds. That is the beauty of the system – those with a pioneering attitude and an entrepreneurial spirit can both get funding, while kicking the tires on an idea at the same time.

The inspiration behind Kickstarter is to get a large community of people backing a project in an all-or-nothing funding style (i.e., only fully-funded projects receive the money donated to them). Users of the platform offer various incentives to encourage backers to rally for their product. These incentives can vary significantly – a personal visit from the funder to report the results directly to you, a DVD of a documentary of a film, a personalized thank you card, or in one case of a $1 donation to help scientists study soil saturation in an urban garden – “a wink and a nod for being sustainable.”

A few examples of some kick-starters from food pioneers shows the great thinking and innovative concepts seeking crowd-sourced funds:

small farm risingSmall Farm Rising is a documentary short “inspired by first generation farmers who are redefining agriculture in America.” It is also a recipient of 103 microloans totaling more than $14,000 to help get the film finished. They blew past their goal of $9,000, giving these filmmakers both the funds and the inspiration to carry out their objectives. Thanks to the micro investors on KickStarter.com it looks like the  story will get told.

Even the big boys are getting involved. Earlier this year, Sundance Films partnered with Kickstarter and Facebook in an initiative to help their aspiring film makers get a leg up through crowd-based funding.


 

Seeing GreenSeeing Green: The Value of Urban Agriculture is a research project designed to “measure storm water management potential of two urban farms; Brooklyn Grange (a rooftop farm) and Added Value (raised beds) in NYC. The project is currently $2,600 short of its $12,000 goal. This looks like a cool project but fundraising is still fundraising whether it is online or offline – investors need to be inspired.





 

Atwater Village FarmAtwater Village Farm Market (Northeast Los Angeles) is billed as a connection point between neighborhood, community, city and the environment. The village is projected to allow for “a healthy lifestyle to be sustained or developed,” a truly LOHAS-inspired goal. The group behind the idea is seeking funding to purchase things like refrigeration, food storage and equipment. The project has already received donations totaling  $11,000 but is still short of its  $20,000 goal with 34 days to go.

As innovators seek funding to expand their ideas and grow the market-share and awareness of Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, digital, crowd-based funding offers exciting possibilities.

 

Ted Ning is renowned for leading the annual LOHAS Forum, LOHAS.com and LOHAS Journal the past 9 years Ted Ning is widely regarded as the epicenter of all things LOHAS leading many to affectionately refer to him as ‘Mr. LOHAS’. He is a change agent, trend spotter and principal of the LOHAS Group, which advises large and small corporations on accessing and profiting from the +$300 billion lifestyles of health and sustainability marketplace.  The LOHAS Group is a strategy firm focusing on helping companies discover, create, nurture and develop their unique brand assets.  For more information on Ted visit  www.tedning.com



 

 

Tales from the Medicine Trail with Chris Kilham.

Thursday, June 23, 2011 by
The below article is brought to you as part of elephant journal’s ongoing coverage of LOHAS Forum. For our complete coverage, be sure to follow elephant on Twitter and Facebook.

"Change your words, change your world." 

Chris Kilham opened his talk by asking how many of us live on earth and how many are human beings. The majority of us repsonded in the affirmative. He then pointed out that we face an interesting future--is it going to be the beaming passion world of Buddha or dark and destructive? It's up to us to choose--and act.

Chris has a unique job working in the field of plant medicine, or Integrative Alternative Medicine. He chose this field because he believes we need good health options and believes death is the effect of pharmaceutical medicine. His natural medicines are used worldwide. Besides discussing four important medicines, Chris told us how the medicines are locally grown and harvested providing the tribal cultures with a healthy livelihood and the ability to sustain the lifestyles of community and village they have lived for centuries.

In one village, the chief asked that Chris take their picture. When Chris asked why, the chief said that he wanted the world to know they exist. Imagine, these tribes living far from civilization in a world untouched by phones and televisions and Internet access! The tribe's 103-year-old shaman, an amazingly powerful but petit woman, gave Chris what he took to be his marching orders. Not knowing anything about Chris, she simply said, "you bridge worlds, this is important for you to do," as she pointed her little old finger at him. Chris has since become a driving force to communicate and foster greater understanding between cultures.

The first plant Chris spoke of was Kava, harvested from Vanuatu in the South Pacific Islands. Vanatu means "land eternal" and at least for now, much of it remains unspoiled. The entire region is lush and beautiful with fresh drinkable water directly from lakes and streams. In the 1990s Chris and others worked to make Kava easily available to the 9.9 million Americans suffering from clinical anxiety. In Vanatu, the locals take a Kava break at the end of the workday by boiling up the roots, then sitting around and sharing about their day. Kava roots are often given as show of friendship and used as wedding gifts. 

Duke Medical Center conducted two studies, one on the use of Kava on anxiety, and one that showed no liver toxicity from use of Kava. One week before the studies were reported, "out of a no where" came a study that 20 people in Europe suffered liver toxicity from Kava. That news halted the Kava industry and it's taken years to disprove that study and get Kava acceptable again. When Chris had the opportunity to drink fresh Kava root from a coconut in the village, he felt peaceful and chilled out. Locally, the tribe also uses Kava for dispute resolution. To send off Chris and his colleagues, the tribe danced them off the island for a mile to the sea, stamping their feet and shouting. Imagine if we lived with such enthusiasm and joy and showed such appreciation for our guests!

Chris then discussed Maca, from the Peruvian Andes. Maca is a restorative turnip-like plant root. For the people of the Andes, growing and harvesting Maca means they don't have to work in mines in miserable conditions. Maca is an energizing, super food, which radically enhances libido without toxicity. Keeping up with tradition, women shamans of the tribe put their blessing on the Maca as part of the harvest.

Chris moved onto the subject of antidepressants, claiming that the entire category of antidepressant drugs are every bit as effective as sugar-based placebos. He recommends eating an M&M or Altoid instead. :-) Far in the northwestern parts of China locals harvest Rhodeola rosea, a profound antidepressant that works better than placebos, and doesn't creative the side effects often present with drugs. The locals have just two months to harvest enough Rhodeola to earn their year's living and provide enough for worldwide consumption. Chris calls Rhodeola rosea a gateway herb. By taking Rhodeola, you get a sense of well-being, vitality, of being plugged in and have the energy to do a lot. And that, Chris says, is what we need for these times--to feel good and do a lot. Sadly, many people today simply feel crappy.

Finally, Chris talked about Cat's Claw, an anti-inflammatory herb that comes from the Amazon. All degenerative diseases involve inflammation so coming up with anti-inflammatory drugs is a big driver in pharmaceutical industry today. But Chris pointed out that drug development is driven not by a love of humanity but by patent law and many, if not most, drugs come with side effects, which Chris points out are really effects, not just an aside. Cat's claw, which is the inner bark of a vine, is the most potent and safest antii-inflammatory available today and has been used successfully to cure some forms of cancer. 

In closing, Chris pointed out that if we don't mitigate the destruction of the Amazon rainforest (which could be destroyed by 2030 if we continue the path we're on), we'll lose 20 percent of the world's oxygen.

"This is our time," he says. "It requires boldness, energy, and that we throw ourselves into this work with everything we can bring to the table."


Lori Batcheller is a freelance writer, yoga instructor and registered massage therapist who focuses on health, well-Lori Batchellerbeing, and sustainable living. www.lbcreative.com.






Tune Up to Success with Freddie Ravel

Thursday, June 23, 2011 by
The below article is brought to you as part of elephant journal’s ongoing coverage of LOHAS Forum. For our complete coverage, be sure to follow elephant on Twitter and Facebook.

Lori BatchellerLatin Jazz musician Freddie Ravel set the mood for this green conference with upbeat jazz synthesizer and said thank you in over half a dozen languages, which set an atmosphere of inclusion. As it turns out, in Chinese LOHAS means happy life and I believe that living a healthy and sustainable lifestyle will certainly lead to a happy life for the earth and its inhabitants. Freddie literally brought us all (several hundred) into harmony by tuning us to the frequency used by every orchestra before they begin to perform. 

Recently, Freddie spent two weeks playing with Carlos Santana at the Hard Rock Cafe. Over the two weeks he spent there, he realized that what he once heard as noise-people, machines, music--was in fact all music. If we're really listening, says Freddie, music is everywhere. 

Our own music begins in the womb with the beating of our heart, and then we become a duet with our mother's heart, When we are born, we enter the world as a "little musical masterpiece." We enter, says Freddie, listening and expressing. We are given two ears and only one mouth, he says, because listening is harder than speaking. 

Freddie asks us to think about who we are and how we lead. How we listen and collaborate. How we conduct our daily life. What is our score. 

Without all four working together on a master level--harmony, rhythm, melody, and score, we are not working completely.

Freddie then put forth the five most important words for the sustainability conference, "How may I help you?"

He then played a latin version of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart--another way to contribute to the upbeat atmosphere of this conference. 

He ended his talk with a wish that felt like a blessing--"May you always sing your melody, live your rhythm, and celebrate the great score that is you.

This I believe, is how change will happen. Each of us tuning into all of mankind and the world, knowing ourselves, and daring to sing our songs and live our greatness. 

Lori Batcheller is a freelance writer, yoga instructor and registered massage therapist who writes about health and wellness and sustainable lifestyles. www.lbcreative.com.



Thinking About Integrative Medicine

Monday, May 23, 2011 by

As forms of integrative and alternative medicine become more widely available within mainstream health care, many people may find themselves confused about what the options are and who should be providing them.  If you're looking into finding new options to explore healthy living, you may also be wondering about how to ensure your health care is in appropriate hands.

Training and background varies among health care professionals, including complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners.  As with any health care, it's important for patients to remember that qualifications matter very much.  You  wouldn't want your neighbor pulling your tooth just because he has a comfortable chair and a set of pliers, and conscious consumers like you probably wouldn't want to entrust the recommendation of herbs or supplements to just anyone either.  

A common misconception about holistic alternative medicine is that because it’s naturally based, it’s without risk.  With any medicinal products there can be interactions with prescriptions, side effects, and contraindications.  Only providers well versed in current research who have in depth education in CAM possess the credible knowledge to offer safe and effective treatments to patients. 

Licensure remains the gold standard for health care professions, even as holistic alternative medicine practitioner licensing varies from state to state.  Licensure ensures  that providers attended accredited education programs and qualifications are in sync with industry standards.  In the U.S., currently, 17 states and the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands license Naturopathic Doctors (NDs), and the vast majority of states have regulations in place for Acupuncturists and Dieticians.  

Whether you are seeking lifestyle counsel, homeopathy, dietary advice, acupuncture, or another service, it is advisable to select licensed providers to help you accomplish your healthy lifestyle goals.  If you hope to garner more than healthy living tips, although unlicensed providers may be appealing (and sometimes more affordable), it’s worth investing a little time into credential checking to ensure the best results.