The quest to achieve corporate wellness - to have a lively and energetic workforce, where morale is high and productivity is strong - starts with a fundamental rule: Educating employees about nutrition, and eliminating the false choice between great taste and great health.
Corporate wellness is not about a management philosophy or an economic model, for which the equations (no matter how elegant or balanced, in theory) do not square with reality. And that reality is simple: If given a choice between a delicious (but unhealthy) snack or treat and a healthy alternative (which tastes like "medicine"), people will forgo the latter and consume the former.
The responsibility for companies with a vested stake in promoting a culture of corporate wellness - and every business now has an interest in that goal, thanks to healthcare reform and the ability to reduce costs by having healthy employees - rests with emphasizing the basic principles of nutrition.
For example, an hour-long seminar from an in-house nutritionist, who can showcase foods and products to buy and others to avoid, is far more valuable than spending tens of thousands of dollars on, repeat visits to doctors and hospitals. These places treat symptoms; they do not provide a roadmap for good health or a nutritional plan for a positive lifestyle change.
I write these words from personal experience and professional responsibility, as the Founder of Wonderfully Raw Gourmet, I give people the chance to enjoy organic, gluten-free and vegan snacks, treats and bite-size morsels of great taste.
In so doing, I have a recommendation (to employers and employees) and a comment (about the way we, as consumers, think of nutrition in general). First, a recommendation: In educating your workers about nutrition, have them do the easiest yet most important thing possible -- get them to read the ingredients of the foods they buy.
Aside from influencing the flavor of a particular food, the ingredients reveal the quality of that item and a brand's attitude towards the public. If the nutritional profile reads like a laundry list of chemicals then the product is not only unhealthy, it is an indirect statement of fact.
They show that the finest, all-natural ingredients are not a priority for the company, while racking up sales is. If workers know what foods to buy - and which ones they should discard - a company will make a huge leap forward, on behalf of the collective wellness of its employees.
Concerning attitudes about nutrition, my advice to companies and consumers alike is equally straightforward: Nutrition is not a euphemism for medicine. Nutrition is, instead, an invitation for creativity - and an opportunity for people to shop with a renewed sense of knowledge and confidence.
Again, I abide by these words because I live, in spirit and action, by their meaning. (My flagship product, Coco-Roons, is my contribution for the public, in this regard, which contains organic maple syrup - as compared to agave and its high amount of sugar - coconut oil and other strengths from Mother Nature.)
Put a different way, people need practical choices, not an either-or choice between "medicine" and "dessert." Therefore, yes, read the ingredients of various items; but also recognize that, when done with creativity and flair, the best snack and treats - the comfort foods we crave - can be healthy and delicious.
The priority for citizens and companies, right now, amidst a health crisis where obesity is an official disease of epidemic proportions and Type 2 Diabetes continues to strike millions of Americans (many of them teens or younger), is to understand the true point about wellness.
That it originates from the earth, comes together in a test kitchen (my "laboratory") and reaches the public - at supermarkets, specialty shops and online - through a vast channel of distributors, volunteers (who run in-store demos) and people who share a passion for education and great food.
If employers and employees learn these facts - and remember, food should be fun, to make and enjoy - then corporate wellness is both achievable and the ultimate proof that you can be good by eating well, that you can indulge - and honor the fullness of that ideal - without compromising your health.
You will, enhance your health - you may very well begin the process of healing your body - by savoring newly created combinations of vegetables (as snacks) and vitamins and minerals (for treats).
This summons to delicious nutrition is a moment for everyone - companies, families, couples and individuals - to rethink the foods we love, and embrace an additional set of items we are sure to enjoy. From there, corporate wellness is both a cultural milestone and a welcome reality.
About the Author:
Sequioa Cheney, Founder of Wonderfully Raw Gourmet, which creates a series of distinctive, delicious, organic, all natural snacks, treats and bite-size morsels, which are also raw, vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free.