Navigating Wellness With Dr. Roizen

Navigating Wellness With Dr. Roizen

They say the first impression is a long lasting one. I would agree with that when it comes to my first meeting with Dr. Roizen. My prelude to the introduction began in late 2012, two years before the official launch of my company’s first product line, in an attempt to create a healthy disruption within what was known as an oversaturated and famously unhealthy snack category.

I was vigorously looking for an independent 3rd party to help my team and I formulate a snack bar made from whole food ingredients and probiotics that would stand out from the crowd. The supportive team of Ganeden Biotech company, Michael Bush and Joe Bradley, were in on my idea of crafting nutritionally sound snacks and pointed me to the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute.

Cleveland Clinic already had an established nutrition program and its own certification – Go!Well. I was eager to work with outstanding dietitians and nutritionists like Dr. Sukol that helped guide EFFi Foods’ R&D team back here in Los Angeles.

Go!Well has rigorous nutritional guidelines that most of the products out there would have a hard time complying with, definitely losing their self-proclaimed “healthy” title along the way.

The marketing efforts of many companies rely heavily on gimmicks. Confusing promotional messages pour heavily into the minds of consumers: the “natural” and the “wholesome”, the “real” and the “balanced”. In the chase of one-sided benefits like ‘energy’ or ‘protein’, producers pack their products with behind-the-scenes type of ingredients like sugar alcohols, artificial sweeteners, liquid fiber from starches, thickening gums and stabilizing agents. The front of the package screams “High Protein” or “Healthy” but the back of the package doesn’t lie.

The process we embarked on with the Go!Well program wasn’t easy: there were many rounds of adjusting our recipes and many back and forths that took several months. The belief that gimmicks die out eventually and real things have longevity carried EFFI Foods’ team and myself through that ‘extra mile’ we chose to walk.

In 2014, our team was invited to participate in the Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Continuing Education ‘12th Annual Dr. Roizen’s Preventive and Integrative Medicine Conference’ where I heard Dr. Roizen’s presentation on human health and longevity. Being obnoxiously curious and hungry to learn more, I was so enthralled by the information the speakers provided, especially the clean-cut breakdown of supplements and its respective industry.

Dr. Roizen unbolted some “truths” and broke apart many marketing traps. I found it not only educational but also clarifying. In the age of information, I value the quality of it. It saves us from many mistakes, cuts the learning curve and even saves money.

In the noisy world of megalomaniacs whose truths are heavily biased and nepotistic, the real thing is hard to distill. Yes, honesty is still gold.


• On plant-based nutrition:

Carina Ayden: Change, known to be unsettling for many, is an important part of life. Despite the wall of resistance, it happens all around us with exponential progression. Some industries succumb to change faster than others. Finally, it’s happening in food. Recent FDA, United Nations and American Heart Association reports unanimously agree that a plant-based diet is healthier for people and our planet, still leaving some burdened with a “heavy” question about protein.
Does eating a balanced plant-based diet sustain the human body’s protein needs?

Dr. Michael Roizen: Although the words “balanced diet” are not a favorite term, a plant-based diet is balanced for protein and other key health factors. Some key plant-based foods are nuts, legumes, and grains (such as quinoa and chia seeds).


• On environmental factors:

CA: Everything from monetary currencies, words, and even some well-known truths get denominated with time. I believe the phrase ‘climate change’ needs to be rebranded because it became vapid and trite. It doesn’t penetrate consciousness with concern. Instead, the emphasis should be put on the major side effects of climate change – pollution.
Please connect the dots between human health and pollution? What are the main health risks?

Dr. MR: The main connection is that pollution is aligned to human inflammation which is a major health risk.


• On food and chronic pain:

CA: Can the food on our plates affect chronic pain?

Dr. MR: Definitely.

CA: What are the main mechanisms by which food can alleviate or worsen the pain?

Dr. MR: The best thing to “alleviate” pain are Omega 3’s which can be commonly found in walnuts and flax seeds.


• On supplements:

CA: During your 12th Annual Personalized, Preventive, and Integrative Medicine Conference (The Future of HealthCare: Focus on Women’s Health) in your discussion you put a special emphasis on the efficacy and quality of supplements. The supplement industry is oversaturated and not regulated by FDA. What is the best practice for consumers to navigate this market in search of high quality supplements?

Dr. MR: High quality supplements do support living younger and living longer. Although we have performed plant visits to better understand the manufacturing process and quality for supplements, we have not provided consumer instructions on how to differentiate vendors.


• On Go!Well program:

CA: Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute established dietary guidelines and its own certification program Go!Well. But in order to have a real effect on food consumption, according to United Nations, dietary guidelines need to have clear links to food policies that are actually implemented – from school and hospital meal standards to advertising and industry regulations.
How does the Go!Well program disseminate its healthy nutritional guidelines across those mediums and beyond?

Dr. MR: Although the Go!Well program has been around for a few years we have not focused yet on program dissemination. We are seeing our partners leverage the program for success and begin to extend this important knowledge to more and more consumers which is exciting.


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