When I was a little girl, sick with an upset stomach, my Jamaican-born grandmother served ginger tea. She unconsciously created in me a lifelong appreciation for the value of food as medicine.
Food heals. It’s easy to forget that. It’s time we remember.
This summer I sat in on multiple discussions among public health leaders and policy influencers on the topic of childhood obesity. None were willing to even say that processed food and its advertising significantly contribute to the problem. Is it that because children are a lower priority than commerce—or is it simply that at this time, short-term investment outweighs investments long-term?
If, as recent medical research suggests, 90% of our health is tied to the flora in our digestive system, why aren’t we talking more actively about food as medicine? It’s time to elevate that discussion.
Public health advocates have an astounding lack of sophistication about what it takes to reach into the hearts and minds of people, finding within us a desire to want to improve our health by eating better. Leaving aside for a moment poverty, violence, racial and educational inequality (after all, what we eat is reflected by all of those conditions), what we eat is informed by our cultural influences. It’s time for informing everyone. It’s time for creating a culture that cares about food and its impact on health.
Policy change and consumer demand take place in the context of cultural shifts. Social media, television, billboards, radio and word of mouth, all need to reach people where they live. How to change, and what to do must be the background noise wholesale jerseys of our lives. It’s time to influence the “in between moments” for better decisions about health.
As an eternal optimist, I believe the desire to be our best self is innate in us all. We want to be connected to what makes us feel energized, calm and healthy. It’s time to stop misleading people about what produces health.
If you have a product, an idea, or a behavior to communicate that helps people be their best selves, it’s time we work together.
My work can make yours better.
I know from my time at Nielsen, working on creating a culture of health and on initiatives like the Partnership for a Healthier America “Drink Up” project that messaging must be informed by data on who does what, where and when. The way we talk about health must take into account attitudes and how those manifest in observable behaviors. The words and images that reach people are most effective when they tap into unconscious desires. It’s time we reach deep.
Together let’s create a culture where grandmothers and all of their offspring appreciate the power of ginger tea. It’s time.
I look forward to working with you soon.