The Greener by mikesanye


Collaborating to design a better future.

 Health & Wellness

Table of contents

About The Greener Grass ...................................................................................................................3

Vessel .......................................................................................................................................................5

The Smart Shopper ...............................................................................................................................8

Fluid Replenish .......................................................................................................................................11

Peanut Knows! .......................................................................................................................................13

MealMaster ............................................................................................................................................15

4 Trends driving Health & Wellness .................................................................................................17

5 Health & Wellness consumer archetypes ...................................................................................22

4 Scenarios for the future of Health & Wellness...........................................................................28

Health & Wellness                                                                          The Greener Grass

Vertically oriented beverage innovation: ........................................................................................34
An interview with Amelia Bay

Drink better, live better: .......................................................................................................................38
An interview with VeeV co-founder Courtney Reum

Cereal box makeover: ...........................................................................................................................44
Kellogg’s Kris Charles

Eat your (fruits and) vegetables: .......................................................................................................46
An interview with The Produce for Better Health Foundation

West Paw Design: .................................................................................................................................50
Care for your pet, care for your planet

Handcrafted, organic dog biscuits: ...................................................................................................53
A conversation with Robbie Dawg President Lisa Fortunato

Wellness in the workplace: .................................................................................................................57
FRCH’s Sarah Phillips

Breaking through the myths: ..............................................................................................................60
Men’s Health’s Alan Aragon

WheyUP founder Erik Rothchild ........................................................................................................65

Healthy living delivered: ......................................................................................................................69
An interview with Door To Door Organics

The Best Offense is a Good Defense:...............................................................................................71
An interview with Paul Sparling from the Cincinnati Bengals

Contact The Greener Grass ...............................................................................................................80

Health & Wellness                                                                  The Greener Grass

About The Greener Grass

Our Manifesto
                                                      Phase 1:
The Greener Grass uses our resources to initiate
positive change by opening discourse, connect-        Research & Interviews
ing people, and becoming a conduit for new
thinking and discussion that leads to positive        Phase 2:
outcomes.                                             Analysis & Themes
Why are we doing this?
We started The Greener Grass as a way to
                                                      Phase 3:
become part of the community. Our goal is to          Product & service concepts
connect people that are doing and thinking in-
teresting, progressive things and figure out how
our skills can mesh with theirs to create a better
future for all of us. Life is changing faster every
day, and this is a way for us to learn more about
how and why it’s changing.
What is it, exactly?
The Greener Grass combines interviews with
experts with our analysis to uncover the com-
mon themes and trends within the seven topics
we’ve decided to cover. From there, we draw
on our experience as designers, engineers and
strategists to create ideas for products and
services that could make a positive impact.

Who are we?
The Greener Grass is a self-initiated project
from Kaleidoscope, a design strategy and prod-
uct development firm with offices in Cincinnati,
New York, and Detroit.

Health & Wellness                                     The Greener Grass

Vessel: Your Drink

From speaking with people like WheyUP
founder Erik Rothchild, VeeV co-founder Court-
ney Reum, and Amelia Bay’s Jason Crandall, we
realized that there’s no such thing as the perfect
drink for everyone. There’s no mass market for
beverages, but instead millions of individuals,
each with their own unique functional needs,
taste and consistency preferences- so we cre-
ated Vessel.

Vessel is the ultimate in personalized bever-
ages. It’s Your Drink. It’s exactly what the name
implies: a system for you to create a drink that’s
yours and yours alone by combining flavors
and ingredients. It frees you from the tyranny
of lowest common denominator marketing that
produces the same products year after year
without ever really innovating.

                                                      Vessel is the ultimate in
                                                      personalized beverages.
                                                      It’s Your Drink.

Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

Vessel has three components: Base, Flavor, and
Agent.                                                Vessel has three components:
Bases provide a combination of nutrients for
                                                      Base, Flavor, and Agent.
your lifestyle that are at the foundation of the
                                                     cha/vanilla? Coming right up. Or just plain
drink. The Active Woman Base might be heavy
in iron, calcium, and protein, while the Mature
Man base could focus on zinc, saw palmetto,          Agents are the active ingredients that deliver
and B-vitamins.                                      the functional benefits you need. Vessel has an
                                                     enormous variety of Agents, from vitamins and
Flavors are responsibly-sourced, organic ex-
                                                     minerals to protein to caffeine, taurine and gin-
tracts of botanical and agricultural products that
                                                     seng, that can be assembled in a nearly limitless
allow you to tailor the drink to your tastes- no
                                                     range of combinations.
matter how exotic they might be. Wheatgrass/
mango/oatmeal? No problem. Cranberry/mo-

Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

The components come together in a resuable,        The hook on the underside of the lid addresses
Lexan container, sold separately from the Base,    another common complaint. Screw tops are
Flavor and Agent. The container features details   no good, because they get lost easily. Drink-
that are the product of detailed ethnographic      ing bottle usually feature a tethered cap that
research on athletes and other performance         doesn’t get lost, but it’s always in the way.
enthusiasts.                                       Pull-top valve enclosures used on many sports
                                                   drinks are a hassle. Vessel’s lid is easy to open,
For example, we saw that one of the shortcom-
                                                   but hard to lose.
ings with a lot of powdered drinks is that they
don’t mix very well, leaving unmixed gunk in the
bottom of the glass. The small perturbation on
the bottom of the Vessel container serves as an
agitator that helps mix the contents when shak-
ing- no more gunk at the bottom.

Health & Wellness                                  The Greener Grass

The Smart Shopper

The Greener Grass wouldn’t be complete
without some tangible artifacts inspired by our
collection of interviews with experts in the field
of health and wellness. As product developers,
we’ve combined our skills in strategy, design,
and engineering to bring you concept solutions
that we think can improve our society.

The Smart Shopper is a grocery carrier that
helps shoppers make better food decisions and
promotes well-balanced nutrition. The core user
is an urban female professional, most likely an
Average Achiever or Progressive Professional,
who leads a busy life and needs an efficient way
to shop. She wants to add more variety to her
diet but doesn’t know where to start.
                                                      The Smart Shopper is a grocery
As we learned from our interview with Produce         carrier that helps shoppers make
for Better Health, people have a hard time
getting enough fruits and vegetables in their
                                                      better food decisions and pro-
diets. To help solve this problem, the inside of      motes well-balanced nutrition.
the Smart Shopper is divided into 6 sections to
help one buy a variety of foods and maintain a       We also learned from the PBH and Kellogg’s
balanced diet.                                       that consumers can make nutritious choices by
                                                     staying well informed. To support this, the Smart
                                                     Shopper features a grocery list that doubles as a
                                                     reference guide, with tips and information about
                                                     a variety of foods. Educated on how to choose,
                                                     prepare, and eat these foods, shoppers will feel
                                                     empowered to buy healthy options knowing
                                                     how they can fit into their lives.

Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

                    The Smart Shopper features a gro-
                    cery list that doubles as a reference
                    guide, with tips and information
                    about a variety of foods. Educated
                    on how to choose, prepare, and eat
                    these foods, shoppers feel empow-
                    ered to buy healthy options know-
                    ing how they can fit into their lives.

Health & Wellness   The Greener Grass

Health & Wellness   The Greener Grass

Fluid Replenish

Water, or sport drink, or both? Consumer confu-
sion is a big issue in health and wellness, so we
propose a solution. The FluidReplenish Patch
tells you the best formula to rehydrate after a
workout. Wear it on a core arm muscle during
your exercise and watch it track the nutrients
lost through your sweat. Water, sugar, and
sodium are core components to rehydrating the
body, but athletes don’t know which to use or
when to use them.

Each fluid has its advantages - water for rehy-
drating and sports drinks (sugar and sodium)
for re-energizing and retaining fluids longer
- just read the three bars after the workout and
reach for that combination in your fridge. For
example, this runner needs a combination of the
                                                        The FluidReplenish Patch tells
two drinks based on the bar readings: the ‘so-          you the best formula to rehydrate
dium’ and ‘sugar’ show he needs a sports drink          after a workout. Wear it on a core
to refuel, and the almost full ‘water’ bar tells him
to finish that water bottle he already has and to       arm muscle during your exercise
fill it up again. A full bar on the patch reads 24      and watch it track the nutrients
oz. of fluid.
                                                        lost through your sweat.
To use FluidReplenish, wear one patch for
each workout in your routine to learn the fluid
formula that fits you. Then, write down how
your body needs to be replenished after your
workouts and make rehydrating properly a
part of your everyday routine. As your fitness
improves, track your changes in hydration with
the FluidReplenish Patch.

Health & Wellness                                      The Greener Grass

                     Just read the three bars after
                     the workout and reach for that
                     combination in your fridge.

Health & Wellness   The Greener Grass

Peanut Knows

Food allergies can be dangerous. Constant
vigilance and scrutiny of diet demands an
awareness of ingredients and close attention to
package labeling. This can be challenging and
frustrating, particularly for parents and caregiv-
ers of young children. According to the Mayo
Clinic, peanut allergy affects approximately 1.5
million people in the United States. As the most
common cause of life-threatening allergic reac-
tions (anaphylaxis), peanut allergies account for
80 percent of fatal or near-fatal allergic reac-
tions each year.

                                                      The Peanut Knows is a friendly
                                                      little fellow that can detect the
                                                      presence of peanut and peanut
                                                      trace in food products.

Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

Nothing can replace the knowledge and devo-
tion of parents and caregivers, but perhaps            Small, cordless, simple, easy
some additional assistance that supports this          to use and cute. Peanut Knows
vigilance could help. Peanut Knows might just
be that helper!
                                                       serves as reminder to take care
                                                       when serving food to small chil-
The Peanut Knows is a friendly little fellow that
can detect the presence of peanut and peanut           dren that may have food allergies.
trace in food products. The electronic nose
sniffs out the culprit and alerts the user, helping   Small, cordless, simple, easy to use and cute.
to prevent allergic reactions.                        Peanut Knows serves as reminder to take care
                                                      when serving food to small children that may
The concept is a form metaphor to the                 have food allergies.
elephant’s affinity for peanuts. This elephant
pendant, when placed on the side of your dish         Similar detection devices exist today, such
(bottom button is depressed), ‘sniffs’ for pea-       as FQSI’s SensorfreshQ Freshness meter that
nuts. If peanut content is detected, the ‘mouth’      measures bacteriological activity on uncooked
lights up.                                            meat and poultry.

Health & Wellness                                     The Greener Grass

Meal Master:
Life at the office in 2017

Life at my company sure has changed in the last
10 years! I am the healthiest I have ever been
since the company subscribed and promoted
the Meal Master wellness plan. Ever since,
everyone who has signed onto the plan is feeling
great, being more productive, and I can’t even
remember the last time I had a sick day! Haven’t
heard of the Meal Master system? Let me tell
you how it works…

When you sign on, you’ll begin meeting with
a nutritionist quarterly who will help you to
establish a set of realistic goals you’d like to ac-
complish through your diet- for me, it was losing
weight early on, and then later maintaining my
ideal weight. They’ll help you set your individual
goals, and that information goes into the Meal
Master software program guide. It’s great! Just
download it to your phone and laptop, and you’ll
have your nutrition information at your finger-
tips as you go throughout your day. And since
you’ll take your phone wherever you go, like the
grocery store, you’ll have a guide right there in
your hand.

                                                        And since you’ll take your phone wherever you go,
                                                        you’ll have a guide right there in your hand.

Health & Wellness                                      The Greener Grass

Our company also bought a Smart Vendor for
our floor. This was such a lifesaver! For those
who sign onto the program the Smart Vendor
displays on screen only the choices it has avail-
able that fit into your diet according to your
goals (thanks to Blue Tooth!). Oh sure, I’ve seen
all the choices that Adam has when he steps
up and gets a snack, but I’m perfectly happy
without the temptation. Believe me, ignorance
is bliss!

Exercise offers a whole other range of options
for subscribers. Feel like you never have time to
exercise? As part of the wellness plan the com-
pany has bought several new ExerChairs. These
chairs allow you to comfortably pedal while
you work, right at your desk! Again, Bluetooth
signals to your laptop how many miles you have
pedaled each day, and adjusts your diet allow-
ance accordingly.

And if that weren’t enough, our company has
daily exercise breaks. It’s like recess all over
again - each day there’s a different group activ-
ity in our fitness room. Yoga, Pilates, aerobics
and spinning classes are just to name a few.
Our company also installed a new 30 minute
work out circuit with free weights and exercise
equipment. I feel so energized afterwards, even
if I don’t break a sweat.

Overall, our company has saved money by
incorporating the wellness plan and reduced
health care plan costs (which have risen 20+%
each year nationally). It’s a win-win for every-     Bluetooth signals to your laptop
one: I feel great, am more productive while          how many miles you have pedaled
working, and have likely added years to my life
- all while saving my company money on insur-
                                                     each day, and adjusts your diet
ance premiums. Thanks Meal Master!                   allowance accordingly.

Health & Wellness                                   The Greener Grass

The future of
health & wellness:
4 scenarios
Asking yourself “What If?” can be a powerful
tool for looking into the future. We’ve created a
few scenarios that paint a picture of the future
of health and wellness along a variety of very
different paths. Some of them might seem far-
fetched, but use them as stimulus for disruptive,
innovative thinking. No matter what you come
up with, stranger things have happened. Ask
yourself how your organization, friends, or fam-
ily would respond. Create your own scenarios.

Health & Wellness                                   The Greener Grass

Spearheaded by the latest advancements in life       Markets quickly change shape in response. Tra-
science, anti-aging treatments become afford-        ditional age-based segmentations collapse into
able to nearly everybody in Western economies.       three segments: children, adults, and the very
The effects are startling.                           elderly. Social dynamics are transformed equally
                                                     rapidly, changing the playing field dramatically
With the aid of anti-aging treatments, consum-       for dating, athletic competition, and other insti-
ers are effectively frozen in time. Baby Boomers     tutions. Even family is affected: parents look the
always say they don’t feel a day over 30, and        same age as their adult children.
now they don’t look a day over 30 either. The
treatments are safe, easily administered at
anti-aging clinics that are similar to the ones of
today, and affordable to anybody with a middle-
class income.

Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

  Scenario #2:
  Locals Only
In the wake of countless food safety scares, Eu-   Prices rise substantially as a result of rising raw
ropean middle class consumers reject anything      materials costs, but profits stay about the same
not locally sourced, with Americans following      for manufacturers and distributors. The balance
closely behind. Only low-income consum-            of power shifts in favor of local producers of
ers are forced to buy products sourced from        raw materials and other inputs, who control the
abroad, leaving producers scrambling to retool     resources that consumers demand.
their infrastructure in response. When the dust
settles, few of the old guard companies are left
in positions of dominance; the majority of mar-
ketshare is captured by once-small companies
that were able to scale up their operations to
meet demand.

Health & Wellness                                  The Greener Grass

With insurance costs spiraling out of control,    Unwilling to take the chance of hiring someone
and absenteeism and other health-related          that will be sidelined by wellness issues- wheth-
issues dragging productivity down, employers      er mental, physical, or emotional- employers
take action. Employers have run credit checks     are demanding access to detailed, private
on prospective employees for years, employers     information about your wellness. If they’ll be
are taking it once step further by running com-   billing you at an hourly rate, they want to know
prehensive wellness checks on candidates.         how many hours you’ll be missing next year
                                                  from that bad back of yours. They want to know
                                                  how well you’ve handled stress in the past, if
                                                  you’ve seen a mental health professional (and
                                                  why), and how that will affect their bottom line
                                                  in the future. The net result is that younger, but
                                                  less experienced candidates sometimes make
                                                  the cut over a more experienced applicant with
                                                  potential wellness issues.

Health & Wellness                                 The Greener Grass

  Scenario #4:
  The Bad Old Days
Faced with too many products, treatments,
services, and fads that promise everything and
deliver nothing, consumers reject health and
wellness across the board. We look back on to-
day as the peak of health and wellness adoption:
from here, consumers slide back into their old
habits. They know fast food isn’t great for them,
but at least they understand it. They know they
should be exercising, but without any idea of
where to start, they just give up and do nothing.

Health & Wellness                                   The Greener Grass

Health & Wellness
Four archetypes
These archetypes represent some of the many          Our 5 Health & Wellness Themes & Trends were
segments of health and wellness consumers.           the first part, and the third part will be a series
Please don’t mistake this for a comprehen-           of scenarios that outline some possible direc-
sive overview of the category, because it isn’t.     tions for the future of Health & Wellness, so be
Instead, use it as a starting point for your own     sure to check out everything if you enjoy this.
initiatives. This is only a snapshot. Take what we
have and build on it- and if you can share the
results with us, please get in touch and let us
know if it helped. This is the second part of our
Health & Wellness analysis.

Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

  Archetype #1:
  The Champ
A subscriber to magazines like Men’s Health       There aren’t very many Champs, but they’re
and avid consumer of energy drinks, The Champ     very influential tastemakers and gatekeepers.
represents health & wellness as fitness and       They’re always doing research, reading labels,
nutrition. To The Champ, the body is a machine,   comparing results with their peers, and they
and getting optimum performance from that         serve as sources of information among their
machine depends on giving it the best inputs.     not-so-hardcore friends. The Champ is a leading
The Champ sets the bar high for him/herself,      driver of adoption and opinion among main-
looking to pro athletes for fitness routines.     stream consumers.

These consumers are like mechanics on a NAS-
CAR team, constantly evaluating new products
and activities, looking for something to give
them an edge. They hold manufacturers to the
highest standards regarding sourcing, ingredi-
ents, and performance, but they’re more than
willing to pay a premium for it.

Health & Wellness                                 The Greener Grass

  Archetype #2:
  The Explorer
The Explorer is a xenophile, always looking for     The key to engaging The Explorer is to create
new, different experiences. Explorers look at       rich, multi-sensory experiences that take them
health & wellness as a journey, not a destina-      to another place. Use sound, scent, and tactile
tion. They love trying new products, services,      elements in conjunction with visual components
and ideas, especially those from other cultures.    to bring something new and different for The
For The Explorer, health & wellness is most defi-   Explorer.
nitely as much spiritual, emotional and mental
as it is physical. In comparison to The Champ,
The Explorers expectations are relatively mod-
est, because they evaluate health & wellness
offerings as a holistic experience, not simply on
the results.

Health & Wellness                                   The Greener Grass

  Archetype #3:
  The Retrofit
Health & wellness is part of nearly every             Retrofits keep an open mind. They’re always
demographic segment, not just the young. The          learning: about new products, new activities,
Retrofit represents the face of health & wellness     new sources of information (and how to use
among the older members of the population.            them), and about how to keep their minds, bod-
Their motto is “Living stronger, longer,” and         ies, and spirits well.
they’re dedicated to making the most of their
older years. Retrofits show us that health &
wellness is for everybody, that it’s empowering,
not intimidating.

For Retrofits, wellness isn’t just taking vitamins
and exercising, it’s about a positive outlook
that’s the foundation of their entire lifestyle.
Retrofits recognize that although they’re older, it
doesn’t mean they have to sit in rocking chairs
doing crosswords and knitting for the rest of
their lives like their parents did.

Health & Wellness                                     The Greener Grass

  Archetype #4:
  The Progressive Professional
The health & wellness lifestyle isn’t a sacrifice   The Progressive Professional will spare no ex-
for The Progressive Professional, it’s a lavish     pense in spoiling him/herself and his or her pet.
indulgence. They work hard, and look to health      Just as she wants to balance her life, she wants
& wellness solutions to temper the stress of        her pet’s life balanced as well so she shops at
their intense work environment. They represent      retailers like WestPaw for products that mean
the new, luxurious face of health & wellness that   something. They’re happy to spend significant
doesn’t ask consumers to make tradeoffs to be       amounts on the latest supplements, personal
well.                                               care products, spa/gym memberships, massage
                                                    and relaxation therapy, or anything else that
                                                    balances out their life and takes the edge off the
                                                    stress of their professional life.

Health & Wellness                                   The Greener Grass

  Archetype #5:
  The Average Achiever
Not everybody in the health & wellness space          attainable, not an idealized figure in a magazine.
is a superhuman fitness guru. In fact, most of
                                                      As such, she’s a key influencer, and an important
them are just average people who are mak-
                                                      part of the health & wellness adoption cycle. To
ing progress slowly but surely: The Average
                                                      engage The Average Achiever, give her informa-
Achiever. These consumers emphasize the
                                                      tion that’s relevant, concise, and actionable,
maintenance and preventive care component
                                                      but never overwhelming or intimidating. Give
of health and wellness- not everybody wants to
                                                      her solutions that are digestible, tangible, and
The Champ.
                                                      straightforward, but still effective, with measur-
The Average Achiever has been trying to make          able results that help her see that she’s making
health & wellness part of their life for years, but   progress.
hasn’t really gotten on board until just now. Al-
though it might seem like she’s a laggard, she’s
actually an early adopter among her group of
friends. She’s the catalyst that gets her friends
involved, whether that means starting a run-
ning club, making a book of healthy recipes, or
recommending a new supplement. Her friends
listen to her because she represents something

Health & Wellness                                     The Greener Grass

Four trends driving
health & wellness

Health and Wellness is a huge topic, with a
nearly infinite number of facets, each with its
own unique nuances and challenges.

That said, we identified four trends that cut
across just about the whole category, with
profound implications for category players. We
believe that these trends are more than just
flash in the pan fads, but instead indicators of
fundamental changes in the way we approach
Health and Wellness

Health & Wellness                                  The Greener Grass

  Theme #1:
  Confusion is the problem,
  authenticity is the answer
One of the main issues confronting consumers
is an overabundance of contradictory informa-        With hype and overstatement
tion, and a lack of resources for evaluating that    running rampant through the
information. One minute running is good, the
next minute it kills you. Wine is healthy today,
                                                     category, the key to earning the
deadly tomorrow.                                     consumer’s trust is authenticity,
People are bombarded by information from             transparency, and honesty.
every direction: in media, on the shelves, word
                                                    With hype and overstatement running rampant
of mouth, and every other channel. In the face
                                                    through the category, the key to earning the
a staggering array of products and services that
                                                    consumer’s trust is authenticity, transparency,
can be overwhelming and intimidating, many
                                                    and honesty. Nobody expects health and well-
simply give up. They know that half the informa-
                                                    ness solutions to be perfect, they just want the
tion is good, they just don’t know which half.
                                                    truth. Only by being honest can health and well-
                                                    ness providers build dialogues and relationships
                                                    with consumers.

Health & Wellness                                   The Greener Grass

  Theme #2:
  Corporate wellness is gain-
  ing steam and here to stay
Insurance costs are higher than ever, for both
individuals and institutions. Absenteeism           Saddled with these expenses,
continues to be an issue, and productivity dips    employers are turning to proac-
severely for workers that are suffering from
chronic ailments. Saddled with these expenses,
                                                   tive wellness programs to create
employers are turning to proactive wellness        a healthy workforce.
programs to create a healthy workforce.
                                                  Corporations are responding with a variety of
“Corporate wellness programs are very popular.    comprehensive wellness programs that increas-
Of course, being in HR, we see insurance costs    ingly address more than just preventive health
going up and employee absenteeism on the rise.    care. They emphasize holistic wellness: stress
So we started a wellness program to try and       management, healthy relationships, fitness,
combat all of these things. And Its definitely    even good personal finance habits. These pro-
about keeping the employees healthy, but not      grams aren’t a fad, but simply the first genera-
just physically healthy.”                         tion corporate wellness initiatives.
Sarah Phillips, FRCH

Health & Wellness                                 The Greener Grass

  Theme #3:
  Sourcing matters

We heard again and again that sourcing is a key
part of many health and wellness brands. Once         in the wake of product recalls
an invisible piece of the supply chain that con-      and safety scares, sourcing is
sumers didn’t know or care about, in the wake
of product recalls and safety scares, sourcing
                                                      now scrutinized.
is now scrutinized. They want to know exactly        Perhaps the most meaningful facet of sourcing
what ingredients go into their products, and         scrutiny is that cost is no longer the primary
where those ingredients came from.                   factor. Consumers are increasingly willing to pay
                                                     a premium for sourcing they feel good about.
“You’re going to see costs rise in all kinds of
                                                     With the health of their families on the line,
products that were formerly sourced in China,
                                                     peace of mind is something that commands
because it’s a massive industrial country with
                                                     significant value.
cheap labor. If you lose that supplier, costs are
going to go up across the board, not just in food.
So is the customer going to be willing to pay
the higher price? I don’t see where they’ll have
much choice.”
Jason Crandall, Amelia Bay

Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

  Theme #4:
  Consumers are more
  sophisticated than ever
Health and wellness consumers are smart and
getting smarter. They’re also skeptical. They’ve      Empowered by the social media
been burned by decades of hype and overstate-         and other parts of the internet,
ment, thousands of products and services that
don’t work, frustrated by bureaucratic insurance
                                                      they’re reading labels, asking
and healthcare systems.                               questions, and talking about it
People are looking deeper. Empowered by the           with the rest of the world.
social media and other parts of the internet,
                                                     proceeds,” whereas ours is very tangible and
they’re reading labels, asking questions, and
                                                     specific, and nobody can really question where
talking about it with each other- and the rest of
                                                     it’s actually going.”
the world. They’re responding to the informa-
                                                     Courtney Reum, VeeV
tion overload by using the tools at their disposal
to dig through everything and help each other        For people shaping the direction of health and
make sense of it all.                                wellness products or services, it means that
                                                     consumers will hold you to increasingly high
“We wanted to make it ring true and hit home,
                                                     standards. They’ll see any inconsistencies or
because consumers are very astute. People
                                                     inadequacies out there, and let you know about
are going to wise up to claims like “a portion of
                                                     them. Do the right thing and listen.

Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

  Theme #5:
  No more tradeoffs

The next stage in the evolution of health and
wellness will come when health and wellness          The next stage in the evolution
no longer means sacrifice. This evolution will       of health and wellness will come
come in two ways. First, consumer attitudes will
change: they’ll begin to enjoy things that used
                                                     when health and wellness no lon-
to be chore, such as exercise and healthy foods.     ger means sacrifice.
Second, providers of products and services will
create new offerings that are more sophisti-        Like “glamorous green,” the next generation
cated, bringing to market experiences that don’t    of health and wellness products will engage
require sacrifice.                                  users with rich, blissful experiences that bring
                                                    them closer to optimum wellness. It’s the best
“All of the ingredients we use are human grade,     of both worlds: foods that are delicious and
they are of the highest quality. I guarantee that   seemingly indulgent, but rich in nutrition. New
some people don’t even eat the high quality         activities that stimulate our minds and bodies
bacon we use.”                                      while bringing us together to have fun. Corpo-
Lisa Fortunato, Robbie Dawg                         rate wellness programs that make everybody
                                                    feel better about their work life while reducing
                                                    expenses and improving the bottom line. The
                                                    list goes on.

Health & Wellness                                   The Greener Grass

Vertically integrated
beverage innovation:
An interview with
Amelia Bay
The world of beverages moves faster than            back together into a super concentrated extract
most, and few parts of beverage move faster         that ships in a drum to the bottler where water,
than tea. Fueling much of the category’s growth     sugar, and whatever else is added to bring it to
is the furious pace of innovation, in terms of      a ready to drink state, then it goes in bottles and
ingredients, sourcing, extraction, packaging,       onto the shelves.
and just about any other dimension you care
                                                    What products are out right now that you’ve
to measure. Amelia Bay, a vertically integrated
                                                    worked on?
extraction company, has been at the forefront of
                                                    Unfortunately, we have non-disclosure agree-
this growth, and AB’s Jason Crandall was kind
                                                    ments with all our customers. But, they’re big
enough to tell us about it. Be sure to check out
                                                    companies- a lot of the major brands you see on
the Amelia Bay site for more details. Thanks to
                                                    the shelf right now.
Jason for his time and attention.

                                                    One of the unique things about Amelia Bay
First of all, can you just give us some back-
                                                    is your vertical integration. Can you tell us
ground on Amelia Bay?
                                                    exactly what that means?
We are an extraction company. We extract all
                                                    What that means is that we have nobody we
kinds of botanical products, mostly in tea. We’ve
                                                    buy from except for tea plantations in Indonesia,
been doing this for about 10 years now, and as
                                                    Argentina, China, Africa, etcetera. We’re certi-
the market’s changed, we’ve changed too. Now,
                                                    fied organic as well as fair trade, and what that
we’re almost more of an engineering firm than
                                                    means is that we buy organic products, bring
anything else, catering to the beverage industry,
                                                    them in, process them, extract them, formulate
whereby we bring in all sorts of agricultural
                                                    them, and ship it to the bottler.
products like tea, coffee, pomegranates, mate,
you name it. We extract these products right        In the past, if you wanted to formulate a bever-
here, concentrate them and formulate these          age, you’d go to a flavor house that buys differ-
materials into finished beverage products. So,      ent flavors, and they all buy from one another,
a customer could come to us and say “I want         and you’d have five different companies in the
to launch this tea or tea/juice blend,” and we      middle. Where with us, there’s nobody in the
would source all the leaf tea from different        middle. We buy from the growers, do all the
parts of the world, we would source the juice       processing, and ship to the bottler.
or fruit, bring them in and do all the extraction
work here, process all the components and           That sounds really powerful, because it en-
polyphenols in the components, then put them        ables you to have strict control over the entire

Health & Wellness                                   The Greener Grass

“chain of custody” for the whole product.             snake oil?
It absolutely does, which is why we have non-         Unfortunately, you have to do your homework.
disclosure agreements. A lot of people ship in        Anything that’s a functional beverage, for
their own ingredients, we don’t even source           example, our customers aren’t allowed to put
them. They have a specific tea or fruit from a        any health claims on the label. That’s the ruling
specific plantation that they want to do. They        by the FDA. You can say that such-and-such is
ship it into us, and we do all the extraction work.   in the product, but you can’t say what such-and-
All these formulas are owned by our company,          such does. So in a way it’s good, and in a way
but they’re unique to a specific customer, and        it’s bad.
we can’t copy that for anyone else.

We’re focusing on health & wellness trends in          So is the customer going to be
both beverage and society in general. What
trends are you seeing right now?                       willing to pay the higher price? I
People are interested in what they’re putting in       don’t see where they’ll have much
their bodies. They’re interested in reading labels,
in reading about polyphenols, in functional
                                                       choice. The more heat that gets
foods that provide a health benefit, and I think       put on China, the more toys that
you’re going to see that continue to grow. Now
whether that’s just tea, I don’t know. Tea will
                                                       get recalled, the more dog food
continue to grow, tea juice blends will continue       that gets recalled, these are all
to grow, mate, any of these things that were           costs that are incurred, and they
previously considered nutritional supplements,
you’ll see more of them in the beverage and            have to go somewhere.
food industry. I don’t think that will backslide.
The selection is going to grow and change, I          For someone that’s interested in learning about
don’t think people are going to go back to order-     what they’re putting in their body, the informa-
ing a Coke. Their days are sort of numbered.          tion is out there. It’s on the internet. You can
But you see major players like Coke and Pepsi         learn about all these things, but you’ve got to
launching more functional products. It’s a big        take the time to learn about it. And none of it’s
change in the industry.                               under the ruling of the FDA, they’re not govern-
                                                      ing what you can and can’t eat, so you have to
Is there a lot of hocus pocus? Yeah, there is. But    do the homework.
there’s a lot of legitimate companies out there
making a lot of legitimate products. The energy       Food safety and other sourcing issues have
drinks launched it in the 90s, like Red Bull. Why     been in a news a lot lately. Has that affected
drink something else when you can drink a Red         your business at all?
Bull that will energize you and do all this other     Of course it’s affected us, like anybody else.
stuff? It’s grown and evolved from there into all     China is a huge supplier of tea, and we’ve had to
sorts of market segments, like Whole Foods.           pretty much quit buying from China. It’s not that
                                                      we’ve ever had any problem, but just to avoid
You mentioned all the hous-pocus out there.           any problems, don’t buy from China. Buy from
How can people sort through all the informa-          Japan. Buy from Africa. They all sell green tea.
tion and get through the hocus-pocus and

Health & Wellness                                     The Greener Grass
Amelia Bay continued                                    36

It’s more expensive, so it’s raised our costs, and      bottle of Coke. They’re quadrupling their costs,
that gets passed onto the consumer, although            but there must be people buying it. Go to Whole
not a great deal. But we quit buying from China,        Foods. It costs five times more to shop there
because it’s not worth the hassle of having             compared to any other grocery chain, and that
someone come to us and say that such-and-               comes from reputation and quality of product.
such is in our tea.
                                                        Tea has been growing really fast over the past
Are consumers willing to pay that price pre-            decade or so. Can it continue to grow like this
mium?                                                   forever, or will it plateau soon?
Sure. All these companies, toy companies for            Right now, tea is continuing to grow. We’ve
example, they’re not making toys in China
because it’s a better way to do it, they’re doing it
because it’s less expensive. You’re going to see
costs rise in all kinds of products that were for-
merly sourced in China, because it’s a massive
industrial country with cheap labor. If you lose
that supplier, costs are going to go up across the
board, not just in food.

So is the customer going to be willing to pay
the higher price? I don’t see where they’ll have
much choice. The more heat that gets put on
China, the more toys that get recalled, the more
dog food that gets recalled, these are all costs
that are incurred, and they have to go some-
where. It’s just Econ 101.

                                                        shipped more tea this month than we ever have
Yeah, it seems like people are beginning to
                                                        in the history of the company. Will it continue? I
realize that there’s no free lunch, that if they
                                                        don’t know. We’re always looking at doing new
want higher-quality materials, there’s going to
                                                        products, and we’ve changed a lot in the last
be a cost.
                                                        year. We’re not just tea, we’ve gotten into lots
The customers that we’ve added in the last year
                                                        of functional beverage products to satisfy the
are choosing to use raw materials that cost
                                                        growing demand. Like I said, I don’t think people
probably four or five times the raw materials
                                                        are going to switch from functional products
we’ve used in the past. Which is really inter-
                                                        back to drinking Coke or Pepsi, but will it con-
esting to me, because the housing market has
                                                        tinue to be just tea? Of course not. People will
crapped out, the stock market is kind of “eh.”
                                                        find new products. Like stevia. Are you familiar
There’s a lot of uncertainty, but people are put-
                                                        with that?
ting massive amounts of money into their prod-
ucts- and it’s not just tea or food ingredients, it’s
also the packaging- the bottles, the labels, the
type of packaging they’re using, it’s outrageous-
ly expensive compared to what they were using
a few years ago which was just like your basic

Health & Wellness                                       The Greener Grass

It’s a sweetener, right?                                The last question I had is, what separates good
Well, you’re not supposed to call it a sweetener.       tea from great tea?
But it’s a long time sweetener that been used           It depends what the consumer wants. The tea
forever, but there’s laws that say we’re not sup-       that we provide is not the biggest selling tea
posed to use it in products because of the sugar        in the country. The biggest sellers would be
lobby in this company. There’s laws against             Nestea, which if you ask me is more of a tea
using the word “sweet” next to “stevia.”                drink than a real tea, but they sell more of it than
                                                        anyone else. That’s junk, you might as well be
Wow, really?                                            drinking a Coke.
Oh yeah. That’s why you never see any products
with it. But stevia alone is getting a lot of atten-    So the concept of what good tea is or what great
tion. There’s just all kinds of things, not just tea.   tea is continues to change. Great tea, in the eyes
Look at what’s happening with pomegranates,             of a tea taster or a taste buyer would be more
with acai, mate... Is it going to plateau? Will         like the high end stuff from India and Indone-
people get sick of hearing about these things           sia that mostly goes to the European market.
that are so hot right now? Yeah, I think they           Most of the great teas don’t come to the United
will. But is the core idea of functional foods and      States. But that’s through the eyes of a connois-
beverages going to go away? No.                         seur.

Health is going to be at the forefront of food          Great tea in the southeast, which we provide
forever. It’s not going to change. People want to       a ton of, is your standard sweetened black tea
live longer and be healthier. It’s going to grow        with sugar, and that’s great in the southeast. So,
and change as new products get developed. The           it means different things to different people.
process we use for stripping polyphenols out of
agricultural products is an amazing process that
wasn’t around a few years ago. The technol-
ogy is going to grow, too. It’s not going to just
be that new foods are found, it’s going to be
the technology to get the nutrients from those
foods. It’s all growing.

Health & Wellness                                       The Greener Grass

Drink better, live better:
An interview with VeeV
cofounder Courtney Reum
We’re very excited to share this interview with
Courtney Reum, cofounder of VeeV. VeeV is
                                                      After about five years of doing that, four years in
the world’s first açaí spirit, but it’s more than
                                                      New York and one year in Sydney, I had always
an innovative beverage. What’s so compelling
                                                      focused on the consumer products space.
about VeeV is the fact that the company is built
                                                      I worked on the Procter & Gamble/Gillette
on authenticity, honesty, and a foundation of
                                                      merger, and more notably worked on a bunch
values that are incredibly rare, even in compari-
                                                      of startups. I did the first Vitamin Water deal
son to other sustainable products. I feel like I
                                                      where a little private equity shop in San Francis-
asked Courtney some pretty tough questions,
                                                      co put in $20 million and took out $600 million,
questions that most other companies would
                                                      I did the IPO for Under Armour, then in spring
have dodged or given me a canned answer to,
                                                      of 2005 worked on the Allied Domecq/Pernod
but Courtney never did. Not only is that refresh-
                                                      Ricard merger, which was a $12 billion deal. In
ing, but as consumers become increasingly
                                                      the context of that, doing the due diligence, I
demanding of so-called sustainable companies,
                                                      looked at the space and said “Wow, a Bacardi or
I think it will give Veev a long-term, sustainable
                                                      Diageo would never do something as innovative
competitive advantage that will lead them to
                                                      as Veev for a variety of reasons.”
success. Please do yourself a favor and check
out what he has to say. Visit the VeeV site for       They’re very slow to market, it takes a lot of
more information at http:/    /          money for them to give a new product a chance,
                                                      and they’re very risk averse. There’s a liability to
Can you tell us the VeeV story in a nutshell?
                                                      it, because if you’re Bacardi, you can just launch
I started this company with my younger brother
                                                      Bacardi Super Melon Gold and you don’t have
Carter. We’re both original Chicagoans, and
                                                      to take the chance of launching something like
moved out to New York when we were 17 and
                                                      VeeV. Now, it probably won’t be a home run, but
18 to go to Columbia. I’m two years older, so
                                                      it will probably be a double or a triple, so they
I’m 28, he’s 26. After college, we kind of always
                                                      usually just stick with brand extension or line
knew we wanted to do our own thing, but when
you’re right out of college, you don’t have any
skillset, any contacts, or any money, so it’s prob-   On the flip side of that, as a consumer living in
ably not the best time to jump right in. I decided    New York, I was usually drinking Red Bull and
I was going to take the finance route, so I went      vodkas because I was tired from work all the
to Goldman Sachs, where I was doing invest-           time. I was just really bored with the things
ment banking, and my brother followed.

Health & Wellness                                     The Greener Grass

I was drinking. So the combination of those           movement for 20 years, because I’m only 28,
things made me think it would be great to come        but our parents always raised us to be conscious
up with something different that, as our motto        and aware. They instilled us with the idea that
suggests, was a better way to drink.                  what affects one of us affects all of us. There
                                                      was that element where I asked if the alcohol
So we just started out on that idea of a better       business was really what I wanted to do. If so,
way to drink, without any real proposition or any     I wanted to make it a little more meaningful, a
particular ingredients in mind. The first step was    little differentiated, and nobody in alcohol space
to backsolve and figure out which ingredients         was doing anything remotely green or eco-
would fulfill that proposition. The first one that    friendly. We’re really trying to be the first, be the
came to mind was açaí, the Brazilian fruit. My
brother and I discovered açaí on a surfing trip        Our distillery is the only one in
in 2003 and really loved it, and when did a little
research, we said “Wow, this is the next big           America that gets at least 25% of
thing.” You see that it has all the attributes of      their power through wind genera-
pomegranate, but it’s much healthier and has a
better backstory from Brazil. We saw that it was
                                                       tion, and their distillation uses
about to explode, so that became our keystone          about 200% less energy than a
                                                       traditional hot still.
So what are some of the properties of açaí that
make it that perfect keystone ingredient?
                                                      pioneers. I’m sure- hopefully- people will start
Açaí is filled with antioxidants- 57% more than
                                                      copying us if we have any success. If Bacardi
pomegranate. It’s also generally touted as the
                                                      and these other companies start mimicking
most well-rounded fruit or vegetable on the
                                                      VeeV, that’s good for everybody and the planet.
planet. Whereas if you eat an orange, you get
                                                      Our motto is “Better your life, your conscience,
a ton of vitamin C but very little else. If you eat
                                                      and your cocktail.”
açaí, you get very real amounts of protein, fiber,
essential fatty acids, and antioxidants. They call    On the green front, our biggest initiative is that
it the Amazon Viagra, “nature’s vitality” in the      we donate $1 for every bottle we sell, right off
Amazon, and it’s incredibly healthy.                  our top line, back to the rainforest where açaí
                                                      comes from, to help offset our carbon footprint
It only grows in the Amazon rainforest, and if
                                                      and help provide sustainable, organic açaí
all that wasn’t enough, Oprah just named it her
                                                      through a farming project that we co-fund with
number one superfood. So that’s what got us
                                                      Sambazon, who is the main purveyor of non-
started with açaí. We really liked it because it
                                                      alcoholic açaí juice. If you saw our press kit, all
has a healthier taste profile- very exotic, like a
                                                      our materials are on recycled paper printed with
dark berry with a hint of chocolate, but it also
                                                      soy ink. Everybody in the company either drives
has a taste that’s just familiar enough yet just
                                                      a hybrid or is carbon-neutral. Our distillery is the
exotic enough that it’s a little different.
                                                      only one in America that gets at least 25% of
Obviously sustainability is a core part of the        their power through wind generation, and their
VeeV brand. Can you tell us more about that?          distillation uses about 200% less energy than a
I don’t profess to be a member of the green           traditional hot still. The last thing is that VeeV is

Health & Wellness                                     The Greener Grass

the only alcohol brand that’s a member of Busi-         One of the really remarkable things about
ness for Social Responsibility, and several other       VeeV is that aside from having really innova-
leading green organizations like Co-Op America          tive, functional ingredients, it’s all wrapped in
and Social Ventures Network.                            a great brand. Is “glamorous green” important
                                                        to VeeV?
VeeV launched in May of last year in Los An-            It’s really important. As you pointed out, that’s
geles, a couple months after that in San Diego,         been the shortcoming of a lot of green products.
about two months ago in San Francisco, and              There’s been this trade of between high-end
actually as we speak, in Miami.                         and green: is this going to be luxurious, or is it
                                                        going to be green? The two have been mutually
My understanding is that acai production is
limited to Brazil. With that in mind, can you
talk about your long-term sourcing strategy?
Açaí is only available from the rainforest in
Brazil. That’s the only place it grows. If you ask
people in Brazil, they think China’s going to start
growing it, but it’s unlikely that will actually hap-
pen. There’s a bee that’s key to the fertilization
and pollination process that they don’t think the
Chinese will be able to mimic, so it’s only from
the rainforest. In some ways that adds to the
mysticism, allure, and exoticism of the berry.

There’s been this trade off between high-end
and green: is this going to be luxurious, or is it
going to be green? The two have been mutually
exclusive for a long time, and people are just          exclusive for a long time, and people are just
starting to find ways to use green to add to the        starting to find ways to use green to add to the
brand rather than make it a detraction.                 brand rather than make it a detraction.

In terms of sourcing, currently less than 1% of         There’s a fashion designer named Linda Lou-
all the açaí that’s out there is currently utilized.    dermilk that we do a lot of stuff with, and she
So there’s a ton of wild, unharvested açaí, so          coined the phrase “luxury eco.” She’s the first
there’s no issues with sourcing or anything to          designer in her space to have very high end
worry about as far as cutting down trees or             clothes that are also very eco-friendly. I’d put us
anything. In fact, the açaí boom has been really        in the same category. Our brand is very appeal-
good for the rainforest. As we all know, the            ing and high-end, but we’re able to capture both
Amazon rainforest became deforested because             the high-end and green markets without asking
it was planted with soy and other agribusiness,         people to make a sacrifice or tradeoff.
but the way açaí is harvested is sustainable. You
                                                        Corporate social responsibility is getting a lot
kind of cut these little branches at the top of the
                                                        of press right now. How does CSR play out for
tree, you don’t actually cut down the tree or do
                                                        VeeV in comparison to mainstream products?
anything else to harm the surrounding flora or
                                                        Do you see CSR as a competitive advantage for

Health & Wellness                                       The Greener Grass

VeeV?                                                  effort.” If you did anything, they gave you a
Yes, I definitely see it as a competitive advan-       pat on the back. But now they’re asking a lot
tage. With all due respect to what anybody is          more questions.
doing, because even small things are great if          For sure. From our side, we do a lot of events,
they help further the cause, when I see brands         so we get lots of calls from people that ask use
that I know are not making money say “A por-           to sponsor their “green event.” And even just
tion of the proceeds go to charity,” I’m a little      six months ago, we probably would have said
skeptical. What does that really mean? First of        that if you’re doing any kind of green event, we
all, if they’re not making any money, so 100%          probably want to be a part of it, but now we
of zero is still zero. Second, “charity” is kind of    have to ask what you’re really doing. Just having
a nebulous thing, and maybe I’m a cynic, but
unfortunately there’s a lot of charities out there
that don’t use their money wisely. So our mis-
sion was to make it a really real, digestible story.

We wanted to make it ring true and hit home,
because consumers are very astute. People
are going to wise up to claims like “a portion of
proceeds,” whereas ours is very tangible and
specific, and nobody can really question where
it’s actually going.

There’s companies out there like 1 Percent For
The Planet or Patagonia that are donating 1% of
their sales. We’re donating $1 dollar for every
bottle, which is a heck of a lot more than 1% of
                                                       recycled napkins isn’t enough, you know?
our sales. A bottle goes for $34.99, and that’s
the end price, not the price we sell it for.           On the other hand, I do applaud anybody for
                                                       taking the first step and doing something. It’s
We wanted to make it a very real amount, so
                                                       just that using recycled napkins doesn’t consti-
nobody could accuse us of not being green or
                                                       tute a green event, and I can’t sponsor every-
not living up to what we say we’re doing. To
                                                       thing, but it’s certainly better than nothing.
have this go back to the rainforest where açaí
comes from, and for it to help offset our carbon       One of the challenges for niche, lifestyle
footprint and provide sustainable açaí, that’s         brands like VeeV is “crossing the chasm”:
a much tighter, more tangible and real story.          making that transition to a mainstream
We wanted to make it ring true and hit home,           product without losing the credibility of the
because consumers are very astute. People              core consumers that got them there in the first
are going to wise up to claims like “a portion of      place. Do you see that as an issue for VeeV in
proceeds,” whereas ours is very tangible and           the future?
specific, and nobody can really question where         Well, it’s hard for me to say because we haven’t
it’s actually going.                                   crossed that chasm yet. But if you look at our
                                                       press, the events we’ve attached ourselves to,
Consumers used to give companies an “A for

Health & Wellness                                      The Greener Grass

the celebrities we’ve been mentioned with- like       man side of it.
we were just in People for doing Matthew Mc-
                                                      I’m really impressed with your honesty. It
Conahaughey’s birthday- it’s been people like
                                                      seems like you’re doing everything you can to
Drew Barrymore, Adrian Grenier, or Leonardo
                                                      make VeeV 100% authentic and transparent.
DiCaprio. We’re not selling our soul just to get
                                                      Is that a key part of your brand?
someone to hold a bottle, it’s people that know
                                                      Yeah, it really is. For example, any celebrity you
VeeV, they’re often very green conscious. I don’t
                                                      see with VeeV, if you ask them, I guarantee they
know the answer to your question, but I hope
                                                      know what VeeV is.
that by doing it the right way, we’re aligning our-
selves with the right people and making it more       The worst thing you can do in general as a mar-
authentic and it will resonate with consumers as
it becomes a more mainstream product.                  We are what we are, and we
The unfortunate reality is that the green prod-        aren’t what we aren’t, and being
uct space is full of myths, hype, and snake oil.       honest about it is the only way
How can consumers sort through all of it?
At the end of the day, it’s got to come down to
                                                       to do it. People will see that our
consumers being more educated and having               product is authentic, and even if
a more discerning eye. There will always be
people claiming things, that’s just the nature of
                                                       we have shortcomings, we’re of-
industry.                                              fering a better option.
All we can do is be very honest about what we
are and what we aren’t. If someone asks me if         keter is mislead the consumer. As soon as you
this is healthy alcohol, I don’t know about that.     cheat them, or make them feel like they were
It’s still alcohol, and over the course of time, it   duped, you’ll never get them back. That’s the
will do more harm to you than good. But is it         last thing we want to do. We are what we are,
healthier? Is there a little bit of nutrition? Are    and we aren’t what we aren’t, and being honest
there better quality ingredients, meaning 100%        about it is the only way to do it. People will see
natural or organic, thus making it a better op-       that our product is authentic, and even if we
tion? Absolutely, and I would never advertise it      have shortcomings, we’re offering a better op-
as anything other than that.                          tion. Whether it’s the product, or as a company,
                                                      are we perfect? No, but we’re absolutely not
I would put it in the same category as red wine.      fake, and that’s the human side of it.
A couple glasses in moderation can be good.
We’re providing people with a better option.          Will the competition adapt to these new con-
                                                      sumer expectations, or are they always going
We are what we are, and we aren’t what we             to be stuck where they’re at?
aren’t, and being honest about it is the only         I hope so, at some point. But having dealt with
way to do it. People will see that our product is     them, and it sounds like you have too, there’s
authentic, and even if we have shortcomings,          just so many layers of the onion to peel back.
we’re offering a better option. Whether it’s the      You can get me on the phone like this and I’m
product, or as a company, are we perfect? No,         going to be honest with you, but if you go to
but we’re absolutely not fake, and that’s the hu-     Procter & Gamble and ask them about the

Health & Wellness                                     The Greener Grass

trans-fatty acids in Pringles, you’re going to have    Our launch strategy is to deepen before we
a tough time getting someone on the phone              broaden, and we’re looking to expand our pres-
that’s going to really level with you. Half of it is   ence in the markets we’re in. For example, in
that you can’t even get the person on the phone        Los Angeles, we’re in all of the tastemaker and
to speak to them.                                      influencer spots, but we’re not everywhere, so
                                                       that will start to trickle down into other markets.
So I don’t know if they’ll ever get there, but the     We’re expanding into Miami this month into the
only way it will work is if consumers demand           end of the year. Looking into 2008, we’ll be ex-
it. If consumers demand authenticity and real          panding into Chicago and Vegas, and New York
answers, then I think someone’s going to have          will definitely be on the docket shortly thereaf-
to step up to the plate and talk to you about
Pringles or Twinkies or whatever.                       I don’t know if they’ll ever get
It seems like these big, public companies just          there, but the only way it will
don’t have it in their DNA to be as responsive
as consumers are asking them to be.
                                                        work is if consumers demand it.
That’s the advantage of being a small com-              If consumers demand authentic-
pany, we can be nimble and change course. We            ity and real answers, then I think
haven’t drastically changed course, but you’re
always navigating the waters and adjusting              someone’s going to have to step
a little bit. It’s not always an advantage to be        up to the plate.
small, but being nimble and quick to react is
what we bank on.
                                                       ter, and a number of other areas like Colorado
So what’s next for VeeV?                               and Arizona.
I’ll tell you what’s not next. There’s currently no
                                                       VeeV has worked because we’ve expanded
new products in development, because I think
                                                       fairly aggressively to expand into four cities in
VeeV is already unique enough. It’s already chal-
                                                       six months, but we haven’t tried to overdo our
lenging enough to get the word out about VeeV
                                                       presence in any of those. We’ve just gone after
in the right way that we don’t want to confuse
                                                       our demographic, the right demographic- the
the market. At least in the next 12 months,
                                                       people that set trends. It makes it a lot more
there’s no plans for any new products.
                                                       digestible to go for that market and hope it
                                                       trickles down. We just don’t have the budget of
                                                       bigger companies, so we have to do it smarter
                                                       rather than just with more dollars.


Health & Wellness                                      The Greener Grass

Cereal box makeover:
An interview with Kellogg’s
Kris Charles
A few weeks ago, we posted about a new Kel-          ing; 84 percent find them easy to understand
logg’s program called Nutrition at a Glance. We      and 82 percent would like to see it on even more
were lucky enough to speak with Kris Charles,        product packaging.
spokesperson for Kellogg’s, who told us more
                                                     Because health and wellness is so trendy right
about the program and how the brand continues
                                                     now, a lot of “healthy” products are just gim-
to stay focused on health and wellness.
                                                     micks, leading to skepticism among consum-
What inspired Kellogg’s to initiate the Nutri-       ers. How do you ensure that shoppers take this
tion at a Glance program? What problems              innovation seriously?
were your consumers having that led to this          The Nutrition at a Glance program is an
new labeling solution?                               education tool for consumers, not a marketing
Kellogg was founded on the principles of health      campaign or “gimmick” as you say. With so
and wellness more than 100 years ago. We have        much confusion about nutrition in the market-
a long history of putting helpful information on     place, it is appropriate for manufacturers like
pack, and this is a natural step as we continue to   Kellogg to provide the facts to help consumers
build on that foundation. Research showed that       make more informed choices about the foods
time-pressed consumers want quicker, easier          they eat. Since we are sincerely trying to help
ways to make informed nutrition choices. The         educate them rather than tell them what to do,
Nutrition at a Glance panel empowers consum-         we expect that consumers will take this effort
ers to make individual choices by showing them       seriously.
how a food fits into their daily diets.
                                                     You’re encouraging others in your industry to
Kellogg’s pioneered a similar labeling pro-          join in your efforts. What progress have you
gram in Europe. What did you learn there that        made there? How will this system be carried
helped you implement this program in the US?         over consistently to other brands?
Although it’s a seemingly obvious takeaway, we       While we’re not able to speak for the whole
learned that awareness drives the acceptance of      industry, industry-wide progress has certainly
this type of program. We surveyed 500 adults in      been made. We’ve discussed this approach with
Europe a year after launching the program there,     other companies at ongoing industry forums,
and we learned that consumers have high rec-         shared learnings from other markets where
ognition and understanding of the Nutrition at a     we’ve launched the Nutrition at a Glance pro-
Glance program. In fact, 80 percent of European      gram, and are encouraging their use as a stan-
consumers said that they are aware of the label-     dardized labeling method. In fact, General Mills

Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

announced that they would adopt the same             To that end, in June 2007, we announced that
front-of-pack labeling approach this past July.      Kellogg is changing the products we market
                                                     to children under 12 and how we market those
We’ve seen that in the U.K., where currently         products. We established an internal Global Nu-
more than 50 companies have adopted the              trient Criteria standard (Nutrient Criteria) based
Nutrition at a Glance tool. And top retailer         on a broad review of scientific reports. Kellogg
Tesco is now using them on all of its packaging.     will apply the Nutrient Criteria to all products
Hopefully, we’ll see similar levels of adoption in   marketed to children around the world. Those
the U.S. We will continue to work with others in     products that don’t meet the criteria will either
the industry to bring forth information to help      be reformulated to meet the Nutrient Criteria or
consumers make better informed choices about
what they eat.                                        Since we are sincerely trying to
The Nutrition at a Glance program is a step           help educate them rather than tell
in the right direction to giving consumers
key information about their diets. What are
                                                      them what to do, we expect that
Kellogg’s long term goals in terms of nutrition?      consumers will take this effort
The Kellogg Company was founded more than             seriously.
100 years ago with a foundation in health and
nutrition. In fact, our founder, W.K. Kellogg said
“We are a company of dedicated people making
                                                     they will not be marketed to children under 12
quality products for a healthier world.”
                                                     by the end of 2008. (Kellogg currently does not
                                                     advertise to children under 6.)

                                                     The Kellogg Global Nutrient Criteria will also
                                                     guide targeted future innovation and product
                                                     development. Over time, the company will work
                                                     toward providing consumers even more product
                                                     choices with enhanced nutritional value.

                                                     As a company, we believe the notion of balance
                                                     _ or “calories in, calories out” _ must remain
                                                     the central tenet of any long-term solution to
                                                     global obesity and weight management. We
                                                     have a long-standing commitment to helping
                                                     consumers successfully manage both sides of
                                                     that equation.


Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

Eat Your (Fruits and)
Vegetables: An interview
with the Produce for Better
Health Foundation
My mom always knew what she was talking              The Greener Grass aims to understand trends
about. Ninety percent of Americans don’t eat as      in health and wellness. What changes have
many fruits and veggies as they should, and the      seen between now and when the PBH was
Produce for Better Health Foundation is working      founded in 1991?
hard to change that. The Greener Grass got a         The big change is the new health initiative that
chance to talk with Jill Le Brasseur to learn more   we started, Fruits & Veggies – More Matters.
about how they’re working to help Americans          It was developed in response to the increased
lead healthier lives.                                recommendations for fruits and vegetables in
                                                     the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans,
Produce for Better Health is the “go-to” re-         which recommends different amounts of pro-
source and promoter of fruits and vegetables.        duce consumption based on a person’s age, sex,
For people that aren’t familiar with PBH, give       and activity level. The Dietary Guidelines for
me some background on your organization.             Americans have been published jointly every 5
Produce for Better Health Foundation was             years since 1980 by the Department of Health
incorporated in 1991 to help take the 5-A-           and Human Services and the Department of
Day program to a national level. The 5-A-Day         Agriculture. Those guidelines provide authorita-
program started at the state level in California     tive advice for people 2 years of age and up on
through the Department of Health, and it was         good dietary habits and how they can promote
transferred to the National Cancer Institute to      health and reduce the risk of major chronic dis-
be taken nationally. PBH acted as a connection       eases. So, Fruits & Veggies – More Matters was
between the National Cancer Institute and the        the next step from 5-A-Day because it wasn’t
fruit and vegetable industry. That was our core      enough to say everyone needs 5 servings, the
for quite some time. Coinciding with the de-         amounts varied based on a person’s age, sex,
velopment of the new Fruits & Veggies – More         and activity level.
Matters initiative, our main federal partner right
now is Center for Disease Control and Preven-        Its difficult to say that any one particular fruit
tion. We work with the fruit and vegetable           or vegetable helps with any one disease, but
industry to spread the word that more matters.       it’s the totality of fruits and vegetables in the
We do this through supermarket retailers, edu-       diet that is helpful in the prevention of many
cational materials and public relations.             diseases.

Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

So it was a transition towards a broader             debut of our video center. We plan to use the
recommendation? Was 5-A-Day too rigid of a           video to provide consumers with education on
guideline?                                           fruits and veggies they may not have purchased
That was part of it. Our new website speaks di-      before. They will demonstrate how to check for
rectly to the consumer. This is something that’s     ripeness, proper storage, preparation, and more.
new for us. We want to help people achieve           You’re not going to buy a fruit or vegetable you
their goal of increasing the amount of fruits and    haven’t tried before if you have no idea what
vegetables their families are eating everyday.       to do with it. Our video center is going to give
We want to provide tips and recipes featuring        people the education they need to try these
produce to make it easy for them to add more         things.
fruits and vegetables at every eating occasion.
                                                     Please tell our readers a little about your
Most Americans don’t get enough produce in           National Action Plan, which calls for a new ap-
their diets. What are the major factors that         proach to promoting produce. What were the
have lead to this problem?                           failures or limitations of past approaches?
We think convenience is the driving factor. More     The National Action Plan was developed not
women are working outside the home; children         long after the 2005 Dietary Guidelines were in-
are busier than ever. In our research, when mom      troduced. Its an outline of all the things we think
works outside the home, the family eats fewer        need to be in place for there to be an increase in
fruits and vegetables – the time just isn’t there.   the consumption of fruits and vegetables in the
Our most recent research suggests that moms          U.S. The Plan isn’t really a new approach, its just
need innovative ideas on how to get their family     a more comprehensive one. Research that we
to eat more fruits and vegetables. That was part     conducted indicated that the 5-A-Day program
of the inspiration for launching the new website.    did a wonderful job of letting people know that
Also, a lot of people don’t realize that its more    they need to be eating more fruits and veg-
than just fresh produce – all forms of fruits and    etables. Where it fell short was in getting people
vegetables count. We can get more of them            to actually eat the additional produce. We’re
into people’s diets when they realize it can be      hoping with Fruits & Veggies – More Matters to
as easy and convenient as microwaving some           go directly to the consumer, offer tips, recipes,
frozen vegetables or warming up some canned          advice, answer questions, and try to make fruits
vegetables. It doesn’t always have to be fresh to    and vegetables more accessible and achieving
“count.”                                             the goal of increasing consumption easier for
                                                     people, particularly moms and families.
There aren’t many things more convenient
than an apple or a banana, they come in their        Self-efficacy is a big predictor of one’s ability
own packaging and are ready to eat. Yet some-        to eat their daily recommended amount of
how we’re drawn to granola bars or cupcakes.         produce. Can you describe this concept a little
That’s true, but I think a lot of people see the     more and tell us how this plays into your action
“self-packaged” fruits as either a breakfast item    plan?
or just a snack. We give people tips and ways        Sure. Self-efficacy is the confidence in one’s
to use fruits and vegetables on our website that     ability to eat fruits and vegetables in a variety of
may not have occurred to them before. One            settings. We want to help moms achieve their
thing we’re really excited about is the upcoming     goal of increasing the amount of produce their

Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

families are eating by providing them with tips      industry’s finest marketers and chefs with the
and recipes designed to make adding those            produce industries most innovative fruit and
additional fruits and vegetables easier for them.    vegetable suppliers at the CIA’s facilities in Cali-
That includes fresh, frozen, dried, and canned       fornia. The focus for Produce First is on increas-
fruits and vegetables, as well as 100% juice.        ing produce menu offerings, to provide restau-
Every time mom adds just one more fruit or veg-      rant guests with the flavors that they crave and
etable to her family’s meals, we’re moving the       the healthy options that they really deserve.
needle on fruit and vegetable consumption. We
                                                     Sometimes when I go to a restaurant, the
want to give the consumer the confidence they
                                                     option to get a fruit cup with my sandwich
need to deal with any kind of fruit or vegetable
                                                     isn’t always celebrated the same way that the
they come across and to instill that fun aspect.
                                                     French fries are.
Have a little fun, try something new.
                                                     Yeah, first of all it’s cold, and a lot of times you’ll
Packaged foods use graphic design and big ad         want something warm. But a lot of restaurants
budgets to get consumers’ attention. What are        are stepping up to the plate and offering more
the challenges with promoting fresh produce?         healthy options. You’ll see the option to substi-
Obviously, the lack of packaging materi-             tute salads or apple slices for French fries. Most
als makes finding a place to display the logo        restaurants now are offering a vegetable of the
and product information an issue. That’s one         day that can be substituted for a starch like po-
reason we provide a retail tool kit to markets. It   tatoes, rice, or noodles. These things really help
contains pre-designed marketing materials, Fruit     health conscious diners get the vegetables that
& Veggies – More Matters messages to be dis-         they would be serving themselves at home.
played near the fresh produce. We provide copy
and visuals to the members of PBH. We have
radio spots that can be tweaked and personal-
ized to each market. We have roll bags with our
logo to carry forward the message. These are all
things they can display near the fresh produce,
because there isn’t a nice box to print big yellow
letters on for an apple or a banana. But its not
just fresh, we want to remind everyone that all
forms count – fresh, canned, frozen, dried, and
100% juice – so you’ll find our message all over
the supermarket.

Restaurants don’t serve as much produce
as compared to meals that we prepare for
ourselves. What actions are you taking to help
them improve their menus?
We have a wonderful program called Produce
First! American Menus Initiative. It’s a collabo-
ration between PBH and the Culinary Institute
of America. Produce First! joins the food service

Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

One problem that we’re seeing is that people          Thanks for talking with us, Jill. Is there any-
don’t know how to filter all of the health            thing else you’d like to add?
information they are receiving. With so many          When the 5-a-day program and the PBH started
options available to them, what advice do you         back in 1991, there was strong scientific evi-
have for people trying eat healthier?                 dence between fruits and vegetables and cancer
The most basic advice I can offer is that all of      prevention. Since that time, the role of fruits and
the legitimate recommendations out there say          vegetables in prevention has gotten stronger,
we should be eating more fruits and vegetables.       helping to prevent quite a number of diseases.
Its really difficult to say that any one particular   Its difficult to say that any one particular fruit
fruit or vegetable helps with the prevention or       or vegetable helps with any one disease, but
treatment of one particular disease, but the          it’s the totality of fruits and vegetables in the
inclusion of fruits and vegetables in total in the    diet that is helpful in the prevention of many dis-
diet is linked to the prevention of many dis-         eases. Today, we know that more than 90% of
eases. This is not only because of the vitamins,      adults and children do not consume the amount
minerals, and phytochemicals that fruits and          of fruits and vegetables recommended to them.
vegetables provide, but it’s also because of what     Just eating more, just making a start at what the
they don’t have in them – no saturated fat, no        guidelines recommend for you is a step in the
cholesterol, and no sodium. When people eat           right direction for good health.
more fruits and vegetables, they also have a
natural tendency to eat less of other less nutri-
tious foods.

So it’s as much about replacing the bad stuff
that we eat as it is getting the benefits of fruits
and veggies.
Right, and we have a lot of tips for that on our
website. The first example that comes to mind
is mashed avocado – use it in place of higher
fat spreads like mayonnaise or sour cream on a
sandwich or in a dip.

Health & Wellness                                     The Greener Grass

West Paw Design:
Care for your pet, care
for your planet
Today we are speaking with the President of          Tell me more about what it is like working at
West Paw Design, Spencer Williams. West              West Paw and how wellness manifests itself
Paw Design manufactures the highest quality          at West Paw Design- the more holistic idea of
dog and cat toys and bedding, all at their facil-    wellness, energy efficiency of the warehouse,
ity in Bozeman, Montana. Thanks to Spencer           to employee wellness, and the actual products
for taking the time to tell us about West Paw        you design and manufacture.
Design- to learn more about this truly innovative    What we created when we built this building
company, read on...                                  in 2001 was a variety of things. We needed
                                                     a larger space to manufacture but also really
Hi Spencer, thanks for speaking with us. First,      wanted to have a space that all employees, re-
can you tell us more about the history of West       gardless of their position would feel comfortable
Paw Design?                                          working in and enjoy their days. We created
West Paw Design is a high quality pet products       an environment here that is very conducive to
manufacturer. We are based in Bozeman, Mon-          great work quality and allows people to also
tana. We make about 99% of all of our products       enjoy their own personal space. Essentially what
in the factory where I work at Bozeman. It is a      we created was a building that is very energy
really innovative company in that we can do          efficient, as well as being very brightly lit, has a
a lot of things; we have really great business       lot of natural light coming into it, throughout the
processes that allow us to get to market with        factory as well as in the offices. What we used
quickly with new products and to get them            in the construction was a tilt up concrete panel
directly into our independent dealers hands. We      wall system. They are walls that are about a
also have very great manufacturing processes         foot thick, they have concrete on both sides of a
which allow us to make a great quality product       insulated foam, insulation piece that goes inside
that serves a wide range of needs for dogs and       the walls. These walls were assembled in about
cats. We manufacture them right here so we           four and a half days onsite for our whole factory
can watch the quality and the safety of the prod-    which is over 15,000 square feet. It allows us
uct. We know how it is being made and we can         to have a space that is very well temperature
also market it very, very well from this location.   controlled both in summer and winter. It allows
It is a company that does what manufactures          for a lot of light coming though, with the big
used to do which is design, make, and sell their     windows that we placed high up on the walls. In
own goods.                                           the offices we did the same thing with letting a
                                                     lot of natural light in.

Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

The building is surrounded by a lot of great         in our products. When we design products we
green space, trees, and even the break room          use the highest quality raw materials and that
exits out onto a large patio where we all can just   is a big buzz word today. People are wondering
enjoy summer barbecues, lunch, or just hang          about these products that are being made today
out in the sun and take a break from work. We        for children and for pets and what is the quality
wanted that space to speak to everyone’s work-       of the raw materials that are being used. We
day that it doesn’t have to be the old grind. We     as the manufacturer can attest to the quality
want people to come here and enjoy their day.        because we source them directly. That really
                                                     can allow us the confidence to be able to tell
As far as wellness that we do, we have all sorts     the consumer that our products are made with
of ideas that we think are important. We have
implemented here. All of our water is filtered,       There is some real positive energy
we drink great quality water from every facet in
this building so that people can have access to       that is standing up and listening
healthy water. We have snacks, a great break          to a new tune, and doing some
room, great employee benefits, one of which we
pay for. All of our employees to do prescribed
                                                      really great stretches. We don’t
exercises or stretches every hour. We put on          want people to overexert them-
a random bit of music for one minute over the
loud speakers throughout the company and
                                                      selves, we don’t want people to
people do stretches that are prescribed for their     burnout. As a result, we have em-
particular work. There is some real positive          ployees here that have been here
energy that is standing up and listening to a new
tune, and doing some really great stretches. We       for more than a decade and that
don’t want people to over excerpt themselves,         is just unusual in manufacturing
we don’t want people to burnout. As a result,
we have employees here that have been here
for more than a decade and that is just unusual
in manufacturing today. We have gotten some          the utmost quality, for the safety of your pet.
great kudos for being innovative with the way to     We don’t want your pet to ingest something
have fun and keep people safe.                       that may be toxic in their bodies. Likewise, in
                                                     the design of the products we make them very,
How would the products you sell help promote
                                                     very durable both from the shapes that we
health and wellness in pets?
                                                     make but also the craftsmanship quality and
When you think of pets, one of things we find
                                                     the handwork that goes into all of our sewn
is that they are very closely linked in peoples
                                                     products. It is really unmatched in the industry.
minds to children. Some people who do not
                                                     That allows the product to hold together much
have children and they have elected their pets
                                                     better, which makes a safer toy for dogs to play
to be their children. There is this very close
                                                     with. Cats too, they ingest a lot of catnip when
mentality there. What we find is that people de-
                                                     they are playing with toys, or maybe sprinkled
sire to buy products for their pets that promote
                                                     on their scratching posts. We usually only certi-
wellness, that promote safety and fun, play and
                                                     fied organic catnip and we always have. This
comfort. Those are all things that we look for
                                                     isn’t a new trend for us, we were using certified

Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

organic catnip back in 1996. This is a foundation        about their pets at West Paw. We have a lot of
at West Paw.                                             friends who share those common interests. We
                                                         do all of our testing here because we want to
Tell me more about Zogoflex. What is it?                 be sure that if we can stand behind a product
Zogoflex is our proprietary material. It is a plas-      and if we are all pet lovers we can attest to the
tic that feels very soft like rubber. It is a material   quality and safety of the product. There are very
that we developed to do many, many, things.              few testing labs for animals. In my view I’d much
We wanted a product to be guaranteed it was              rather test with a dog that is happy and loved
so durable. That didn’t exist on the market. We          than one that is in a research type of environ-
wanted to come into the market and say that              ment.
any dog could chew on this and it would last, if
it didn’t, we would stand behind it with a 100%          I would assume then that you can bring your
guarantee. We have done that very success-               pet(s) to work?
fully. Our returns on this product are o.6%. We          Yes one can. We do find that it is like bringing a
also designed this product to float in water, to         kid to a candy store. So, we don’t see as many
bounce on the ground, to be very soft on the             pets in the office as one might think. All the toys
dogs mouth, to have all of these properties as           around are a bit tempting for them.
well as to have more human based properties
                                                         How have the recent recalls both the children’s
if you will. The material is FDA compliant. It is
                                                         toys and pet foods affected your business?
very safe. Secondly, it is a recyclable material.
                                                         How do you think it will affect the pet care
Of course dogs don’t think about recycling but
their owners should. We do have the capability
                                                         It definitely has been a boom to our business.
of taking all of these products, and we can make
                                                         We have always been making high quality US
brand new parts out of them, 100% recycling
                                                         made products. When people starting wonder-
of old material. This is an innovation that we
                                                         ing about imported products and their quality,
brought to the pet industry. We thought why
                                                         we saw more and more products being pur-
have a product that is creating a lot of waste.
                                                         chased from us. In the summer there was some
With Zogoflex we engineered it to reduce waste.
                                                         news about a large pet chains and the concern
We also engineered it so that we can make this
                                                         that some of their toys may have heavy metals
product in Montana. Rather than importing the
                                                         in them such as lead. There was a great concern
product from around the world, and having long
                                                         about safety there. Needless to say, more and
lead times. That is difficult for a lean manufac-
                                                         more people seem to seek us out everyday. In
turer like West Paw Design. We wanted to have
                                                         fact, this past October represented the largest
something that was immediately available to us
                                                         month on record for our company. We are very
so that we can control the process and likewise
                                                         confident that what we are doing well is that
we are not shipping the raw goods and finished
                                                         we are providing high quality and safe products
product around the world and expending a lot
                                                         to consumers around the world. We have done
more energy than is necessary.
                                                         that from the beginning. We are really excited
How to you test these toys?                              that we can do more and that offer these prod-
Well, we have a pet loving crowd at West Paw             ucts. The more people that have our products
Design. As you can imagine, we have a lot of             for out pets the safer their pets are.
great testers here. People are very passionate

Health & Wellness                                        The Greener Grass

Handcrafted, organic
dog biscuits: A conversa-
tion with Robbie Dawg
President Lisa Fortunato
Robbie Dawg Inc. was founded in 2003 in                I had worked there for three years and I was
Brooklyn, New York. They handcraft their dog           angry and upset. I said to myself, “I’ll never work
biscuits and cat treats using only high qual-          for anyone again.” I made a list of ten different
ity, organic, human grade ingredients. Robbie          jobs I could do to be independent. The tim-
Dawg was founded out of love and concern for           ing was such that I said, “I’m gonna make dog
Lisa’s Tibetan Spaniels, Robbie & Lulu. Lisa has       biscuits.” I knew after the party for Robbie, that
created a truly unique company. She is also            I could have done just that but I wouldn’t have
the author of The Everything Cooking for Dogs          been motivated enough at that time.
Book. Thank you Lisa, for speaking with us.
                                                       I was lucky because I had a good severance and
First of All, tell me a little bit about Robbie        that allowed me the time to create recipes and
Dawg. How did you come to be doing what you            the develop a business plan. I started baking in
are doing now?                                         December of 2003 out of my apartment. I live
                                                       in Brooklyn, NY and have less than a 60 sq. foot
Sure. My background is actually Graphic Design,        kitchen. All through 2004 I baked out of my
Marketing, Fundraising, Special Events, and            apartment. Eventually, it became insane. I have
things like that. In 2003, I was the director of       a little more space than the average New Yorker,
annual giving for a private school in Brooklyn.        but between the flour, the boxes, the bags, and
It was because of my background, and the fact          the orders and everything else it got to be too
that I hadn’t had a dog since I was a kid, that I      much. At that point it was either we needed to
wanted to throw a party for my dog Robbie, who         get a contract baker or become a manufacturer.
was turning a year old.
                                                       My Husband, I credit him with two very impor-
I went looking for some type of goodie bags            tant things; one, he was the one that said we
for the party and I couldn’t find anything that I      should go organic and we started organic from
liked. I said to myself, “Well okay, I like to bake,   the beginning. Two, he said I think you should
I can certainly make some biscuits.” I looked for      stay in control of the product and become a
recipes and couldn’t find anything that I liked so     manufacturer. So, we refinanced the mortgage
I created my own recipes. All of the dogs loved        on our apartment and then found the space
it, all of the owners were telling me how much         where we bake now. We have been in that space
their dogs loved it. There was a good buzz about       for three years now. We renovated the space,
the biscuits.                                          put everything in from new floors, to air con-
                                                       ditioning, to ovens, the whole gamut. We have
The following week, I was laid off from my job.

Health & Wellness                                      The Greener Grass

doubled our sales each year. Right now we sell        few that actually uses animal proteins. We use
to about 700 stores and 45 states. We just keep       chicken, we use beef, we use bacon. Dogs are
on growing each year.                                 carnivores and they do enjoy that. A lot of other
                                                      companies just make biscuits that are peanut
So, tell me a little bit more about your line of      butter or apple, etc. They don’t have that meat
dog biscuits & cat treats.                            flavor or the meat that dogs are looking for. That
Since our inception, everything has been organ-       is another value that makes us stand apart.
ic. In all of 2004 and 2005 we did everything by
hand, and we were using organic oat flour and
organic wheat flour. In that time, I ended up get-
ting another dog, Lulu. She has a really sensitive
                                                       When you check out what dogs
digestive system. She is allergic to wheat. We         are going through; how many
had a lot of people, and this is before the big
recall, say to us, “ my dog is allergic to wheat,
                                                       dogs do you know that have
oh my dog has an upset stomach.” As a result           cancer, have diabetes, are over-
we decided to do everything wheat, corn, and           weight, or have other major
soy free. The flour that we use is organic brown
rice flour, we use organic baby oats, and we use       health issues. I believe, it really
organic oat flour. That is our base. Then we also      stems from what they eat.
use organic cheeses from Wisconsin, grass-fed
beef from Colorado, organic unsalted peanut
                                                       They aren’t making the choice,
butter from upstate New York, we use chicken           the human is making the choice
that is hormone and antibiotic free, we use
                                                       for them.
bacon from Applegate Farms which is nitrites
and nitrate free. All of the ingredients we use
are human grade, they are of the highest quality.     Give me some more detail on why you choose
I guarantee that some people don’t even eat the       to go organic.
high quality bacon we use. We also never add          As a family, the more I researched, the more
salt or sugar. We are really staunch about not        and more our family was eating organic foods.
doing what is the trend right now which is to         I recently wrote a cookbook, which contains
make biscuits look like bakery treats, which are      recipes from biscotti, to biscuits, to main meals.
sugary, iced treats, with sprinkles and things like   They asked me to do a whole section on nutri-
that. It really makes me crazy. Dogs are so much      tion. I certainly don’t claim to be a nutritionist
smaller than us. You wouldn’t give a two year         or anything like that but I did a lot of research.
old an iced doughnut with sprinkles because           The more and more I read about what they do to
they would be bouncing off the walls. Why             products, what they do to animals, what they do
would you give something like that to your dog?       to the environment and everything else it is re-
Dogs, just like us do not need all of that added      ally bad. When you check out what dogs are go-
salt and sugar. Another thing that also makes us      ing through; how many dogs do you know that
unique is that we do not use wheat gluten, we         have cancer, have diabetes, are overweight, or
don’t use any preservatives, flavors, additives,      have other major health issues. I believe, it really
dyes, colors, or anything artificial. Compared        stems from what they eat. They aren’t making
to other small companies, we are one of the           the choice, the human is making the choice for

Health & Wellness                                     The Greener Grass

them. Whether you are buying something be-            which was typically made with MSG and other
cause it is on sale, or whether you are buying it     artificial ingredients is now making organic Beef
because you are not reading the ingredients, or       Broth. I think that is great. I think the pressure
whatever your making that choice for your pet.        is such now that people want that choice. For
                                                      example, yesterday I was at Costco and I saw
When I was spending time researching that             that they had a lot more choices in the organic
information and looking at the entire food cycle      section. When I was checking out I said to the
of the dog food industry, it has really changed       cashier, “Oh I see that you have a lot more
in the last 50 years and there is more and more       choices in the organic section. Do you find that
stuff in dog food. I think that is really having an   more people are buying organic?” She said,
adverse affect on our dogs health these days. In      “Yes! The more items we bring in, the more we
fact, my father-in-law called this morning. He        sell.”
had taken his dog to the vet and he has Colitis
and he also has a tumor. He is having trouble
going to the bathroom. He is only eight years
old. The bottom line is that animals, just like
people, every factor, from diet, to smoking, etc.
can impact their health.

We choose to go organic because we wanted to
provide something that if you had the time you
would make for yourself. We provide something
that is pure, simple, and of good quality. You are
getting a great product.

After the big pet food recall, how did that
chance things for your business? How do you
think that will change the future of how people
select food for their pets?
                                                      Where do you look for inspiration? Are there
In an ironic twist of fate it has actually been
                                                      people, books, or websites that you find espe-
really beneficial for us. Sales have gone up tre-
                                                      cially inspiring?
mendously. In October we exhibited at an indus-
                                                      I definitely try to stay aware of many different
try pet show. It was one of our best shows ever.
                                                      trends. I follow the gourmet food market, I fol-
I think that Is because everyone is much more
                                                      low trends in packaging, I follow trends in flavor
aware of ingredients, not only in pet food but in
                                                      combinations. I try to stay aware of trends from
their own food. I think what is happening is that
                                                      small to large companies. I like to read about
larger companies are realizing that this is what
                                                      what other companies are doing. I keep a close
we have to do. Most of the big lines are owned
                                                      eye on a few to see what they are doing; how
by even bigger corporations, that have like 20
                                                      they are progressing, how they are changing,
different divisions. I think the awareness is only
                                                      and what they are trying to do. I am also a mem-
going to be beneficial. When I go to the grocery
                                                      ber of the Organic Trade Association (OTA) so
store myself, I walk down the isle and I’m like
                                                      I like to follow what is going on in the organic
“Oh gosh, they are going organic.” For example,
                                                      lines, what they are doing, what is available, etc.
a “big food company” that makes Chicken Broth,

Health & Wellness                                     The Greener Grass

Beyond that, I look into the areas of ingredients   I read on your website that you give back to
and things like that. I try to stay on top of all   non-profit animal rescues. Tell me more about
those different trends. I even watch a program      that.
called Unwrapped on the Food Network. It is         One of the rescues we frequently give to is Bide-
a great show, they focus on a different type of     awee which is located in New York, they have
food each episode and they show small and           3 locations, two on Long Island and one in New
large companies. It really inspires me. It makes    York City. When I was a kid I grew up on Long
me think about how our company can grow. Like       Island my high school was across the street
us, some of these companies started in a small      from Bideawee. I would go there everyday after
kitchen too.                                        school. Finally in ninth grade my Mom gave me
                                                    her approval and I was able to get my dog Maxie
It is really the entrepreneur that creates change   from Bideawee. Once we started baking here in
that affects everyone. It is the small companies,   our facility, I knew I wanted to do something. Ev-
not the big ones. That is our mission as well.      ery month we donate over 30 pounds of biscuits
                                                    to Bideawee. We have done that every month
                                                    from the start. After they found out about my
                                                    cookbook, they asked me to write a column for
                                                    them, for their website. It is everything from a
                                                    recipe to a helpful hint. I was actually asked by
                                                    another company called Wrapped In Kindness.
                                                    They sell treat totes & various other items to
                                                    help families that cannot afford major surgery
                                                    for their pets. We also support a lot of local

                                                    Tell me how I can order the biscuits.
                                                    You can order them online or you can look up
                                                    the stores on our website, in your zipcode, that
                                                    carry our products.


Health & Wellness                                   The Greener Grass

Wellness in the workplace:
FRCH’s Sarah Phillips

FRCH Design Worldwide is an international            What’s the reaction been so far?
architecture, interior and graphic design firm       Since our kickoff on October 19th, the reaction
serving some of the world’s most recognized          has been really good. I’ve seen people wear-
brands in the retail and hospitality markets.        ing the pedometers we gave out and everyone
Recently they’ve instituted FRCH Fit, a wellness     seems interested. Many people have told me,
program designed to help their 275 employees         “We needed this” or “I’m glad to see this.” We
be physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.    had a lot more people interested in being on the
We’re excited to talk with Sarah Phillips to learn   committee than we could take on.
more about the program.
                                                     One of the big challenges with wellness
First of all, tell us a little about FRCH Fit and    programs is that they can be hard to measure.
what inspired you to start the program.              How will you know when the program is suc-
Corporate wellness programs are very popular.        cessful?
Of course, being in HR, we see insurance costs       Hopefully we can see our insurance costs go
going up and employee absenteeism on the rise.       down and less sick days used. We also hope
So we started a wellness program to try and          to offer individual health assessments, blood
combat all of these things. And Its definitely       testing, cholesterol tests, etc. These types of
about keeping the employees healthy, but not         results FRCH would not see, they’re just for the
just physically healthy. We plan to offer a new      individual. Hopefully they can use their results
initiative each quarter focusing on a different      to keep an eye on their personal goals or identify
type of wellness. Our first two will focus on        potential problems.
physical fitness and nutrition, but we also want
to spend some time working on emotional well-
ness and stress management, financial stability
and planning, and community involvement.
We want a well-rounded approach. We like the
name FRCH Fit because we can tailor the name
to what type of fitness we’re looking at for a
quarter – Financially Fit, Emotionally Fit, etc.

Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

Are there any risks or drawbacks to having a          Again, just some manageable tools and tips to
wellness program?                                     help point people in the right direction.
We plan to keep our initiatives manageable
                                                      So would you say that you see it as your re-
and encourage small steps to change, so we
                                                      sponsibility to help?
don’t anticipate any risks. For example, our first
                                                      I think so, that’s fair to say. We think it’s a smart
initiative was to get everyone thinking about
                                                      business decision.
physical fitness, so we gave every employee a
water bottle and pedometer, and our literature
included some walking routes downtown. Just
walking around at lunchtime could help get
your blood pumping and clear your mind. But I’d
advise anyone with serious health issues or con-
ditions to see their physician with any concerns
about starting a workout program.

This pedometer is a nice piece of product
design. Its just a detail, but its important for a
creative company to have a nice looking prod-
uct for it’s employees.
We definitely took that into account. Everyone
here is so creative and so visual that we knew if
it didn’t look nice it would be ignored. Branding
is one of the services our firm provides, so we
knew how important it was to create and iden-
tity around the wellness committee. It needed to
have a sharp look and I think it turned out nicely.

Why do you think the trend in health and well-
ness is so prevalent now?
Some of it still comes back to the bottom line
and reducing costs and absenteeism. But we
also want to keep people happy and provide
people with resources to encourage a healthy
lifestyle. Nowadays people get so busy and are
always multitasking, and as a firm we want to
make things easier for them. A lot of people
may want to stay healthy but don’t know how or
don’t feel they have the time. Cooking a healthy
dinner after work is a daunting task for some,
but if we provide “quick & easy” recipes it might
be more manageable. Maybe you don’t have
time to schedule an appointment for a flu shot,
so we brought a nurse in to do them on-site.

Health & Wellness                                     The Greener Grass

How do you show people that this program             alone! We have a great committee that works
isn’t just lip service to a current trend?           on this, with a representative from each of our
I think we have to continue to find resources and    studios and departments. That helps us spread
new information to share. Just introducing one       our message and brings a lot of different ideas
idea and leaving it alone won’t give the program     to the table.
success. We plan to get a site up on our intranet
                                                     Thanks for talking with us, Sarah. It was great
that can keep people involved with a lot of
                                                     to learn about FRCH Fit and how you’re helping
revolving content – different recipes, neat links,
                                                     your employees lead healthier lives.
and other resources. We definitely don’t want
                                                     Thank you.
to just throw these pedometers at everyone
and not bring it up again for a couple months
until our next initiative. We don’t want to throw     Maybe you don’t have time to
it in anyone’s face but we want to try and keep
                                                      schedule an appointment for a flu
information available to them. We’ve also en-
couraged the employees to email our committee         shot, so we brought a nurse in to
with any ideas or feedback, so hopefully that         do them on-site. Again, just some
will help keep people engaged and interested.
                                                      manageable tools and tips to help
Do you have any advice for our readers who
are interested in creating their own wellness
                                                      point people in the right direction.
There are a ton of great resources and tools
online that help you come up with ideas and
get started. If you don’t have a lot of money
to spend, you can get creative. With Wellness
Programs becoming a trend, you can find free
or inexpensive offerings. Local gyms will be
happy to partner with you to offer discounted
rates to your employees. Most restaurants have
healthy menu options, you could research the
local lunch spots and come up with suggestions
on what to order. Organize an exercise group
to walk or bike after work. And you can’t do it

Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

Breaking through the
myths: An interview
with Men’s Health’s
Alan Aragon
We’re very happy to present this interview with        ally healthy people all the way up to amateur
Alan Aragon, Men’s Health writer, personal             and professional athletes, so I cover a range of
trainer, author, and all-around fitness guru.          healthy to the elite fitness crowd.
What makes Alan so remarkable isn’t that he’s
                                                       Also, I wrote a book that was released in Febru-
so full of facts, because there are plenty of
                                                       ary of this year called Girth Control. It’s what I
people toiling away in a lab that are full of facts.
                                                       wish somebody wrote when I was beginning to
What makes him so valuable is that he’s able
                                                       get interested in nutrition as it applies to fitness
to present this technical, scientific information
                                                       and exercise. It’s kind of a fitness and body
in a way that’s not only digestible to a general
                                                       re-composition book- not so much about “This
audience, but entertaining. We really appreci-
                                                       is how you perform better in a marathon or at
ate his time, and suggest that you check out his
                                                       baseball,” but “This is how you lose fat or gain
website, and read his new book, Girth Control.
                                                       muscle. Here’s all the research on proteins, fats,
I was initially exposed to your work through           here’s the information on all the supplements,
Men’s Health, but tell us a little about who you       the popular diets and their pros, cons and ap-
are and what you do.                                   plications.” I dedicated the whole first section
I have been in the fitness industry, starting off      of the book to gaining knowledge, and how to
as a personal trainer, since 1990. I’ve been in        interpret information that you come across.
private practice with nutrition for about seven        How do you gain a level of expertise in the world
to ten years, depending on whether you count           of fitness and nutrition? How do you decipher
working with clients in the rec room of your           the good information from the crap, how do you
apartment building, and I currently have a pri-        critically evaluate research? That’s the founda-
vate nutritional counseling practice in Thousand       tion of the book, and what makes it unique. I
Oaks, California. I also have distance clients         teach people how to critically analyze the info
pretty much all over the world: Japan, Australia,      out there, then I dive into it. It’s available on my
New Jersey, all over. When I’m not doing that,         website.
I’m writing for Men’s Health, and when I’m not
                                                       Yeah, and that’s one of the things that really
doing that, I’m writing a research review project
                                                       challenging for people: the body of research
that I’m going to launch in December. That will
                                                       isn’t static, there’s always something new
force me to stay abreast of all the research as
                                                       coming out that could contradict what you
well as offer it to the public.
                                                       heard before. How can people sort through all
The primary audience I work with are gener-            of that without being an expert?

Health & Wellness                                      The Greener Grass

That’s a huge question. You have to ask yourself        for athletic performance and what works for
a few questions: Is this primary research that          body recomposition. Can you look at what
you’re reading, or is it secondary information? In      works for athletes and extrapolate that into
other words, is this straight from the investiga-       something that works for a general popula-
tors as it was published on a study index in            tion?
Medline, or is it more of a journalistic/editorial      The simple answer to that is, yes, if there’s some
interpretation of it? Or worse, is it just some-        sort of understanding that there will be a learn-
body’s hearsay or gossip-based opinion? You             ing curve, and a gradual curve of progression.
have to make that judgement.                            People get into trouble when they just adopt the
                                                        competitive athlete’s regimen right off the bat
If it’s a secondary interpretation, you can’t
really take it at face value. The only thing you         Worrying about how much fat
can accept at face value is primary research
from the investigators who did the study. Then           you burn during exercise is just as
it becomes a matter of assessing the strengths           silly as worrying about how much
and weaknesses of the study.
                                                         muscle you build during exercise.
Unlike other subjects, everyone seems to think           Exercise is a stimulus for adapta-
they’re an armchair nutritionist that will chime
in with their two cents. What makes people               tions afterwards, it’s not a time
think they’re entitled to assume that role?              to make the changes while you’re
The field of nutritional advice is really unique,
because everybody eats. Whether you’re a nu-
                                                         doing it.
tritionist or not, you eat. Because of that, people
feel entitled to give their opinion in a way that
                                                        without any sort of gradual introduction. People
they don’t on, say, law or engineering.
                                                        do just tear the pages out of the magazine and
And beyond that, people have emotional and              say “This is what Dorian Yates, Ronnie Coleman,
psychological attachments to their own habits.          Forrest Griffin, Wanderlei [Silva] does, so that’s
In my opinion, it’s human nature to project that        what I’m gonna do,” and that’s where they run
on others, especially if you’re doing it in an          into problems.
altruistic sense where you say, “Well, I’ll tell this
                                                        Athletes are maybe doing the nutrition thing,
person what worked for me, and we’ll take it
                                                        at best, 50% correct if they’re well read. The
from there.”
                                                        danger zones are that athletes typically don’t
The other factor there is that it’s kind of glamor-     get enough bone-building nutrition, and some
ous to be a fitness or nutrition expert, because        athletes that are vegetarian lack iron, zinc, B-12,
then you’re valuable and you get some atten-            things like that. But athletes that are not well-
tion. Everybody has eating issues, so if you can        read in the nutrition realm, they really don’t do
be known as the guy that knows a lot, there’s           it right. A lot of athletes get to where they’re at
some sort of a natural social being fulfilled           in spite of what they do, not because of what
there.                                                  they do.

You made the distinction between what works             You also have to take into account the ge-

Health & Wellness                                       The Greener Grass

netic component, and the athlete’s ability to         When you increase your ability to exercise pro-
withstand a protocol rather than thrive on the        ductively, then everything else falls into place.
optimal one. There’s a lot to consider. I’m not
                                                      You can also think about it this way: Worrying
going to say that most athletes don’t know
                                                      about how much fat you burn during exercise is
what they’re doing, because they have a better
                                                      just as silly as worrying about how much muscle
natural instinct and are in better touch with their
                                                      you build during exercise. Exercise is a stimulus
bodies that most people, but you have to keep in
                                                      for adaptations afterwards, it’s not a time to
mind that maybe 50% of all athletes are really
                                                      make the changes while you’re doing it. That’s a
setting themselves up for failure in the long term
                                                      completely misguided objective.
because of improper nutrition.

Is information overload an issue for athletes          People need to scapegoat certain
I don’t think so. Athletes are often very obses-       foods just like they need to glorify
sive about what they do, so if they take an            the magic bullets. Like dietary fat
intense interest in the nutrition side of things,
they’ll either read up or hire someone like me
                                                       is easy to point the finger at, be-
to coach them through it. It ends up integrating       cause it’s fat- and people want to
into their program pretty nicely, but athletes
who have just randomly chosen a protocol,
                                                       avoid fat. Human nature is to sim-
things will start to show their ugly face in the       plify things as much as possible,
long term. And that’s a problem in at least half       but things aren’t always simple.
the athletic population.

On that note, one of the things you wrote that        Everyone wants to look like a sprinter, and
I really enjoyed was your “Myths Under The            sprinters never train in that low zone, and they
Microscope” piece on low-intensity cardio. Can        never train fasted. That’s something to think
you tell us about that, and what it means?            about. Nobody wants to look like a marathoner,
This is the basic idea: People have mistakenly        but the common dogma is to train like one.
come up with this idea of the “fat burning zone,”     There are other variables, but I think that illus-
where if you train with any more intensity than a     tration is solid.
low to moderate pace, you’re tapping into other
                                                      One of the other things I liked a lot was your
bodily fuel sources other than your stored body
                                                      article in Men’s Health “Five Food Rules To
fat. And while that’s true, to a certain degree,
                                                      Break.” How do myths like this get started,
the fat that’s burned during exercise is really an
                                                      and why do they persist so long?
insignificant part of losing fat over a period of
                                                      People need to scapegoat certain foods just
weeks or months.
                                                      like they need to glorify the magic bullets. Like
The majority of fat that you lose comes in be-        dietary fat is easy to point the finger at, because
tween your workouts. So, your workouts should         it’s fat- and people want to avoid fat. Human
be looked at as triggers for what happens in the      nature is to simplify things as much as possible,
other 22 or 23 hours in the day. The objective of     but like you said, things aren’t always simple.
using bodyfat for fuel isn’t really conducive to
                                                      Like with dietary fat, you can indeed try to go as
increasing cardiovascular or muscular fitness.

Health & Wellness                                     The Greener Grass

low fat as possible. Avoid bacon, avoid ground        with great physiques. We’re visual animals. We
meat, avoid dark meat, cream, sauces, dress-          put all our stock in the guy with the six pack and
ings, and so on, but then you run into problems       the veins. People haven’t been taught to ques-
too. For example, if you don’t take in enough fat,    tion everything, that it doesn’t matter how awe-
you won’t be able to produce a normal level of        some looking the guy that’s telling you this stuff
testosterone. If you never take in the healthy        is. They go through the path of least resistance.
fats- avocado, fish oil, nuts- then you’re not pro-
                                                      As a culture, or even a species, we love tradi-
tecting yourself against cardiovascular disease.
                                                      tion. We love the status quo. We just take things
But back to the question, these myths come up         at face value. It’s kind of cynical way to look at
because, first of all, people try to oversimplify     human thoughts, but it’s my guess as to why
information that’s inherently complex. That’s         myths persist.
why I have a career, because I have enough
                                                      The other reason they persist is that people
nerve to sift through all this information, and get
                                                      can succeed on a lot of suboptimal things,
to the truth.
                                                      nutritionally speaking. The myths don’t have an
The second reason is that people want to blame        immediate way of revealing themselves as false,
stuff. Carbs are the devil, fat used to be the        because people can scrape along and tolerate
devil. It’s only a matter of time before people       suboptimal protocols. They don’t reveal them-
point the finger at something else. There will be     selves on an immediate, acute, catastrophic
a cyclical finger-pointing between carbs and fat      basis like the world of medicine. There aren’t a
from here until eternity.                             whole lot of medical myths out there in com-
                                                      parison to food, because there’s a lot of leeway.
Well you pointed out in your article, even
protein gets a bad rap- people think it’s bad for     Living in the valley, anti-aging clinics are
your kidneys.                                         something you’ve probably come across. What
Actually, you’re totally right. Protein gets the      do you see as the future of hormone replace-
stamp of, “You’re going to get osteoporosis and       ment therapy.
your kidneys are going to fail.” That’s a myth        With proper physician care, and with a regular,
that’s perpetuated by the conservative, clinical      frequent, diligent monitoring of key indicators-
community. The fact of the matter is, if you          cardiovascular health, especially- conservative
don’t get enough protein, your bones will suffer.     dosed hormone replacement is not dangerous.
Getting enough protein is just as getting enough      It really does improve a lot of the general health
calcium. There’s synergy between protein and          indexes of people who are basically getting beat
calcium intake that’s the best possible thing         up by age. So, there is science to that, and there
for bones. It’s complex: people ask “protein or       is a certain degree of health benefit to be gained
calcium,” when the answer is that both acting         from sustaining optimal levels of hormones-
together synergistically is optimum for bone          testosterone in particular.
                                                      I think it will boil down to a philosophical
Why do they persist? I have this theory that the      decision of whether you want to go au natural
better your physique, the dumber you are. I’m         and not put the Rogaine on your head, so to
kidding, because I know lots of smart guys with       speak, or whether you want to let nature take
great physiques, but people just listen to folks      its course. I really don’t know what the level of

Health & Wellness                                     The Greener Grass

mainstream interest is in the hormone replace-       Like the ones you get at Wal-Mart for $20?
ment therapy thing. I would imagine that a lot       Yes. It’s called “bio-electrical impedance,” and
of the more affluent populations in Southern         it’s just notorious for being inaccurate. Espe-
California, for example, would be more prone         cially when you’re looking at a group of subjects
to trying it. I just don’t see a mass of people      where there will be major body water and
pouring into the clinics, although I haven’t         hydration measurements doing on. So people
looked at the statistics as far as that industry’s   should be more skeptical. Skepticism of fitness
growth rate. I can only throw my opinion out         and health information is your best weapon. Be
that people aren’t generally open to the idea of     motivated to investigate.
messing with themselves hormonally.

For women, though, the whole HRT thing is al-         You can bash science all day
most a given: Menopause happens, it’s estrogen
replacement therapy time. With men, it’s not re-      long- that this study was
ally a socially acceptable thing to say that when     funded by the dairy council or
your testosterone drops, it’s time to get your in-
jections. A lot of that is because male hormones
                                                      whatever- but science beats
are totally abused by certain populations to the      the hell out of hearsay or
point that there’s this unshakable taboo, and it
tends to overshadow the safe practices of HRT
                                                      personal anecdote.
that do exist, and do improve people’s health,
performance, body composition, outlook on life,      Scientific research is not bias-free. It’s not free
and everything like that.                            of financial interests. It’s not free of study design
                                                     flaws, and it’s not perfect. But it’s the best tool
Well that’s about all I have. Is there anything      that we have for getting closer to understanding
you wanted to add?                                   the way the body works, the way that nature
I just want to say that anything is learnable. The   works. You can bash science all day long- that
ability to examine the strengths and weaknesses      this study was funded by the dairy council or
of research is completely learnable. You read the    whatever- but science beats the hell out of
intermittent fasting thing I wrote, right?           hearsay or personal anecdote.

Well, there was this internet community that
really latched onto this one study that showed
that one meal a day gave better body composi-
tion results than three meals a day. But when
you look closely at the method they used to
measure the results, they used a consumer
scale that you might have.

Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

An interview with
WheyUP Founder
Erik Rothchild
It’s no secret that beverage is an extremely
competitive category, with incredibly fast-paced        I have a lot of seniors here in
innovation and product development cycles.              Phoenix that are hooked on
We think of it as a little crystal ball: if it’s big
in beverage, you can bet it will be big in other
                                                        WheyUP because their doctors
categories in the next year or two. And if there’s      are recommending to their
any one trend or theme that’s dominant in bev-
erage, it’s health and wellness. From functional
                                                        elderly patients that they
energy drinks to organic teas and fair trade cof-       consume more protein.
fee, beverage is at the forefront.
                                                       sales keep increasing. If the tests continue to go
One of the coolest products we’ve seen                 well, they’ll increase the number of stores with
is WheyUP, an innovative protein energy                WheyUP, and they have 3500 stores in the US.
drink with a light, juice-like consistency. Erik       I also sell online through my website, as well as
Rothchild, founder and owner of WheyUP, was  , which is one of the biggest
kind enough to spend some time talking to us.          supplement resellers in the world. I also just
Be sure to check out the WheyUP website for            finished a distribution deal with someone in
more information. We really appreciate Erik’s          Canada, and I’m in the process of doing a deal
time, and wish him the best with WheyUP.               in Australia. So I’m starting to get some global
First of all, tell us a little bit about where
WheyUP came from, where we can get it, and             The way I came up with it was just in my
all that.                                              kitchen. I’m an amateur boxer, and I’d train
WheyUP is a non-carbonated, sugar-free,                in the morning, and read in Muscle & Fitness
energy drink that has 20 grams of whey protein         magazine that they’d recommend 20 grams
in it. It’s the first of it’s kind that combines the   of protein before and after you work out. So I
benefits of two. I launched it in Phoenix, and         wanted to have protein for my workout at 5:30
it’s been in a retailer called Hi Health that has      AM. I’d take a blender, a sugar free energy drink,
53 locations in Phoenix. It’s become one of the        some strawberries for taste, and put a scoop of
fastest selling drinks in their 35-year history,       whey protein powder in there. For six months
it’s really taken off. I’m testing it this month in    or so, I just blended up my own combination of
the top 200 GNCs in the country. I’ve been in          a protein energy drink. Going into the stores,
there for about four weeks, and every week the         like GNC, I couldn’t find anything like that, so I

Health & Wellness                                      The Greener Grass

just figured I’d do it myself. A lot of people have   tell you how much I like it. I’m in the car right
asked me why nobody else did it first, and all I      now drinking one, and I’ve got four empty ones
can say is, “I don’t know!”                           on the floor of the car.” I said, “Man, you are a
                                                      fan- but you’ve gotta clean up your car!”
I originally intended it to be just a pre-work-
out drink, but it’s turning into something with       It seems like consumers have become more
mass appeal. It’s turned into a great diet drink,     aware of protein in the last couple of years,
because it’s like getting up in the morning and       and they’re integrating it into their diets more
having a cup of coffee with a scoop of protein in     than ever. What are your thoughts on that?
it. It has 20 grams of protein, 1 gram of carbs, 90   The one thing I definitely want to stress is that
calories, no fat, it’s sugar-free, and in one shot    I’m by no means a scientist or a
you get protein and energy. So I’m hearing that       dietician. I’m just truly a guy who
a lot of people will have one for breakfast, and it   read stuff and was the first to put
takes them all the way to lunch.                      this combination together. But, I’ll
                                                      tell you that being in this industry
What’s the reaction been like so far to               for 16 or 17 months since I came up
WheyUP?                                               with this concept, I really believe
The neat thing about it is that it’s taken off in     that protein is the next “it” ingredi-
a very grassroots way. A lot of people have           ent. You’ve got Accelerade, which
found out about me like you did, through the          is basically Gatorade with protein,
web or whatever, and they’ll call me up and           you’ve got Special K’s K20, a pro-
get on board. Right now I’ve got a few Olympic        tein water, there’s a protein soda.
athletes that I’m endorsing, I’ve got a Para-         As you mentioned, more and more
lympic athlete on the Mountain Dew tour that          people are realizing the overall
I’m sponsoring. He rides his wheelchair on the        health benefits of whey protein.
skateboard ramp on these events, and I’ve been
sending him about 25 cases for every event up         For example, I have a lot of seniors
in the athlete’s tent. He says the skaters are just   here in Phoenix that are hooked
freaking out over it, because all they’re getting     on WheyUP because their doctors
at these events is Mountain Dew and Pepsi, and        are recommending to their elderly
these guys are athletes- they want something          patients that they consume more protein.
with protein in it.
                                                      Yeah, it’s good for offsetting osteoporosis.
I’ve got little pockets of MMA and UFC fighters       It’s good for that, and it helps maintain the
that are drinking WheyUP. I’ve got a camp down        deteriorating muscle mass that everyone goes
in Athens, Georgia, called The Hardcore Gym,          through as they get older.
where Forrest Griffin came from. I’ve been talk-
                                                      One of the unique things about WheyUP is its
ing to Adam Singer, he’s a huge fan of WheyUP,
                                                      light consistency, as opposed to the shake-like
and I think WheyUP is going to sponsor the
                                                      consistency that you usually see in protein
Hardcore Gym.
                                                      drinks. How has that played out for you?
Oh cool, they’re good guys.                           Well, my original concept for WheyUP was in
Yeah! When I first talked to Adam, I asked him        a 16 oz. can, because that’s what all the other
what he thought of the drink. He said “Let me         energy drinks are in. I was thinking it would fit

Health & Wellness                                     The Greener Grass

in well at a convenience store or whatever, and         crash that they do from other energy drinks.
I actually brought the first version out in like        There’s two things that could explain that: First,
that. But like you said, and I didn’t realize this at   it’s not loaded with sugar like a lot of them are.
the time, once people who were familiar with            Also, there’s the protein, so your body’s digest-
protein drinks see the word “whey” on a can,            ing something.
they thought it was a thick shake because they
                                                        In a lot of ways, beverage leads the rest of the
couldn’t see inside of it. So that’s why I switched
                                                        food world in health & wellness trends. What
to a plastic bottle, so you can see the consis-
                                                        are the big trends you see right now?
tency right away.
                                                        Well, to be honest, I don’t know if I’m the best
Why did you choose whey protein, as op-
posed to rice, soy, casein, or any of the other          Protein is going to be found in
Whey is the most popular form of protein in              a lot more mainstream drinks.
the fitness industry. If you go into any GNC or          You’re going to start seeing pro-
health food store, the majority of what they sell
is whey protein. The reason being, especially
                                                         tein added to not just drinks, but
for a pre-workout drink, is that whey is the form        all kinds of products.
that your body absorbs the most quickly. So it’s
ideal for a pre-workout drink, but if you were
going to have protein before you went to bed,           person to answer that question, because this is
you’d want casein protein, because it absorbs           just something I came across myself by creating
the slowest.                                            it in my kitchen. As far as someone who has 20
                                                        years of experience in the beverage industry,
Are you interested in developing other prod-            I don’t. But I’ll go back to what I said earlier:
ucts with different kinds of protein or ingredi-        Protein is going to be found in a lot more main-
ents?                                                   stream drinks. Fortunately, I was first to market
Yeah, sure. I’d like to do a powder form of             with this combination. But you’re going to start
WheyUP, so you can just mix it with water on            seeing protein added to not just drinks, but all
your own, I’d like to do a natural version, an “ex-     kinds of products.
treme” version that has creatine for the ultimate
pre-workout drink. Some people, maybe 1 in 20,
don’t like caffeine, so maybe I’ll do a version
with another stimulant.

The energy part of WheyUP is from B vita-
mins, right?
Yes, B-12, B-6, taurine, and some other things.

So pretty much the standard energy drink
Right. But it’s interesting, I’d like to do some
research on this, because I hear it a lot, people
who drink WheyUP say they don’t get the same

Health & Wellness                                       The Greener Grass

WheyUP seems to primarily target a hardcore          One of the toughest parts of working with
fitness enthusiast right now. What are the           enthusiast markets is getting into mainstream
challenges there?                                    distribution channels without losing the cred-
Well, I don’t know that I’d say hardcore, but I      ibility of the enthusiasts. Is that something
definitely am targeting a core fitness enthusiast.   you’re concerned about?
But I’m finding that that ranges from 50 year        I do see that as a challenge. I’ve thought about
old guys in the gym 3 days a week to bodybuild-      that, because I’ve had interest from Sam’s,
ers that live by their supplements and workout       Wal-Mart, Target, and places like that which are
schedule, to runners, bikers, skaters, a really      very mainstream. But I’m starting to see more
wide spectrum of people in the fitness industry.     and more products like Muscle Milk, Lean Body,
                                                     protein powders, bars, and things like that sold
                                                     at Sam’s Club. Those fitness people are shop-
                                                     ping at Sam’s, and I think it’s the retailers that
                                                     are reacting to consumer needs and the fitness
                                                     lifestyle that people are adopting. The retailers
                                                     are carrying more and more of those products,
                                                     so I don’t know that it’s a negative for me to
                                                     advertise in Muscle & Fitness but have that
                                                     bodybuilder be able to buy WheyUP at Circle K
                                                     when he goes to pump gas. It’s becoming more
                                                     and more acceptable for these fitness enthusi-
                                                     asts to find their products at mainstream retail.


Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

Healthy living delivered:
An interview with
Door To Door Organics
Door to Door Organics delivers fresh organic        greener good. Our focus is to build a model of a
produce and groceries to customers in Colo-         company that is being as responsible as it can
rado, Michigan, Pennsylvania and the Ohio River     be. For example, we are going to try to make
Valley. With a core emphasis on operating a         all of our own biodiesel fuel from recyclable
zero waste, socially conscious business model,      oil from local restaurants. Currently we are
Door to Door supports organic agriculture and       sourcing our biodiesel from JatroDiesel, an Ohio
the people who keep it real. TGG interviewed        based equipment manufacturer and biodiesel
Isaac Foust of Door to Door Organics.               producer.

How did you be come involved in Door to Door         As far as being socially respon-
I met Door to Door Organics in Colorado. They
                                                     sible, my goal is in three years
were looking for a source for organic coffee for     to have my warehouse 100%
their customers. My father-in-law is a coffee        off the grid.
importer, working with growers in Chiapas,
Mexico. Door to Door found that their custom-
ers really enjoyed the coffee, so they went         With the increasing cost of energy and climate
ahead and carried it. Through that relationship     concerns, home delivery presents challenges.
I became a Door to Door customer and began          How do you address issues of making your
to order boxes from them. When I learned            service cost effective and being socially
that they are a zero waste company and had          responsible?
environmental and socially conscious intentions     We can make our business cost effective by
I became really interested. Upon talking with       keeping our overhead low and the focus of our
them further, I ended up managing their ware-       business very specific. We are providing organic
house for a while. As the relationship grew I was   produce. I have a warehouse and delivery ve-
offered the opportunity to open a Door to Door      hicles so my overhead stays low as compared
Organics hub wherever I wanted to.                  to a grocery store. I do not have to have a staff
                                                    of employees and stay open everyday, all day
Door to Door is an organic produce delivery         long. I have lower operating costs than a grocery
service that delivers to people’s homes and of-     store. The website we use is really nice. It puts
fices. We also deliver to schools, hospitals and    everything together for my customers in a way
drop-off locations as well. Our goal is to be a     that is very understandable.
little more directed to making a change for the

Health & Wellness                                   The Greener Grass

As far as being socially responsible, my goal is     You really have a lot of passion for this project.
in three years to have my warehouse 100% off         What is driving that?
the grid. Right now what we are doing is running     In my personal habits and consumption I
our vehicles on biodiesel. We also have a zero       became more interested in organics and whole
waste model. We compost and recycle at every         foods the more I learned about them and expe-
opportunity in our operation.                        rienced the difference of organic foods. A great
                                                     example is oranges and especially strawberries.
What are your plans to “get off the grid”?           They just taste so much better. There is more
We intend to build a green building for our Ohio     and more research that confirms the higher
River Valley operation. I have been given a really   nutritional benefit There is a perception that
big boost in confidence from the models that I
have looked at. If we can be as successful here
as our business in Colorado and Michigan, then
I am certain we can achieve this goal.

Speaking of locations, from your website I see
that you serve many different areas. How does
Door to Door make that work?
There are main hubs. The Philadelphia hub is
the original Door to Door and serves most of our
east coast customers directly. The Door to Door
in Colorado is the second one. We now have an
Ann Arbor, Michigan hub and the Ohio River
Valley hub just starting in Cincinnati. Basically
we deliver within a three hour radius of a hub.

                                                     organic foods are more expensive than conven-
                                                     tionally produced foods but I don’t think that is
                                                     always necessarily the case. Local farmers are
                                                     often more than “organic” and they don’t always
                                                     buy into the official government “Organic”
                                                     stamp. We talk to local farmers and understand
                                                     what they are doing and share that with our
                                                     customers. Our goal is as much local sources as
                                                     possible. The goal is to know our farmers. Re-
                                                     sponsibility does not have to fall by the wayside
                                                     in order to have a successful business. We have
                                                     a very open door policy that helps the custom-
                                                     ers understand the value we provide. For me, I
                                                     am really interested in more than just delivering
                                                     produce. I am interested in building customer


Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

The Best Offense is a Good
Defense: An interview with
Paul Sparling from the
Cincinnati Bengals
In The Greener Grasses continued effort to           So to start, what made you go into Athletic
interview experts and connect people that are        Training?
doing, and thinking interesting, progressive         I had an interest in going into athletic training
things we called upon a local authority in the       back in high school when I was too small for
health and wellness community, The Cincinnati        football, too short for basketball, and too slow
Bengals’ Head Athletic Trainer, Paul Sparling.       for track. So it kind of limited my options. I had a
                                                     coach there who was great and he asked me if I
For you health conscious people, Paul has time-      would help him out as a manager, so I toted the
less words of wisdom- and for you sports fans,       clipboard and the stopwatches, but then at the
it’s just cool to hear directly from a member of a   end of the season he asked if I was interested
professional club.                                   in athletic training. I had no idea what athletic
                                                     training was, or what it meant. He spent $10 and
As you mention the title                             sent away for a home correspondence course
                                                     from Cramer products, one of the original prod-
here is Bengals Athletic                             uct manufacturers for athletic training supplies
Trainer. It unfortunately                            and I absolutely fell in love with it. With the con-
                                                     cept of seeing injuries, trying to prevent them,
is a misnomer, in the                                treating them when they happen, everything
old days simply calling                              from open wounds to sprained ankles to torn

somebody an athletic                                 rotator cuffs and all the sort of thing and really
                                                     enjoyed being involved in athletics without
trainer would suffice,                               having to let any physical limitations get in the
but in this day an age                               way of my participation. So I did that through
                                                     high school, I was a nine-letter winner in high
the head athletic trainer                            school all as an athletic trainer. And interest-
for an NFL team does                                 ingly enough Don Brown who was a sports
                                                     director up at one of the local television stations
much more than just the                              up in Dayton, Ohio where I went to High School,
standard injury care and                             reminds me of this he was a junior when I was

prevention.                                          a senior in high school and he asked me what I
                                                     was going to be when I grew up and I told him
                                                     my goal was ultimately to become the

Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

head trainer for the Bengals. Little did I realize   reason I decided I wanted to go there is because
that I would end up putting my self on a path        I figured if there facilities were good enough for
that would get me there.                             the Bengals to go there for training camp, it had
                                                     to be good enough for me, and maybe I’d have
Tell us about your educational background.           a chance to meet the head athletic trainer, little
I worked as a student trainer and manager at         did I realize that I would ultimately become the
Dayton Stebbins High School, where I went to         head trainer.
school. Then I went to Wilmington College I
                                                     How did that happen?
received my undergraduate degree at Wilm-
ington College of Ohio. It was a triple major        It turned out the Bengals were looking for a
of industrial education, health education, and       laundry boy to do laundry during training camp
athletic training, and then I ultimately received    and they in the past has always hired somebody
my master’s degree from The University of            from the student trainers. At the college there
Cincinnati in health administration. The reason      were three kids ahead of me by seniority that
I chose Wilmington was two-fold. One because         had the rights to be offered the position first,
it was a smaller school, at that time you had to     and they all turned it down and I jumped at the
have a teaching degree in order to sit for the       chance, and after about two weeks of doing it
certification test, because essentially we are       getting done 3 or 4 hours before the guys in the
teachers, unfortunately I think the National         past used to, the equipment manager asked me
Athletic Trainers Association has gotten away        to start helping him in the equipment room so I
from that concept and quite honestly you can         was fitting helmets and shoulder pads, chang-
see a difference in students today than what         ing cleats and that sort of thing and then Marv
you had 25 years ago because now they do not         Pollins who was the long time trainer there with
have to have that teaching degree. But the other     the team at the time said “When you’re done
                                                     helping out in the equipment room, why don’t
                                                     you come in here and help me out in the train-
                                                     ing room”, once he found out I was a student
                                                     trainer. So the next thing I knew I was taping
                                                     ankles and mixing Gatorade and cold whirlpools
                                                     and making ice bags and stuff. They took me
                                                     on a couple of road trips that year, I worked all
                                                     the home games, and in the next year they let
                                                     me hire a couple of high school kids to do the
                                                     laundry, so I still oversaw that but was work-
                                                     ing as a student assistant trainer in the training
                                                     room and just kinda fell into it, right place at the
                                                     right time.

                                                     Has the Head Athletic Trainer role changed
                                                     from when you first started out at Wilmington
                                                     to where you are now?
                                                     It is a unique position. It’s changed it’s evolved

Health & Wellness                                    The Greener Grass

a significant amount. Probably 25 years ago the       lights and lock up the doors and then come back
head trainer would spend 70% of their time            in March when the players started coming back.
out in the training room actually administering       Nowadays there is no such thing as an off-sea-
treatments and such, and 30% of the time in           son; we just call it the “non-playing season,”
the office. Unfortunately now it’s almost reverse.    - affectionately. You’re taking care of all the guys
Now you spend 70% of your time in the office          that were injured during the year; you’re doing
doing administrative duties, 30% of your time         off-season surgeries and doing their re-habs. To
out in the training room actually treating, and       prepare for free agency, injury evaluation physi-
fortunately we’ve got good assistants and stu-        cals on the players you’re considering bringing
dent trainer interns that carry out the appropri-     in. You’ve got the NFL combine, which is held
ate treatments. That’s the big change I’ve seen.      every February, where you are looking at the po-
                                                      tential draft eligible players - doing physicals on
What is a typical week like for you during the        them. And then you’ve got the draft, and then
season?                                               mini-camps and then you’ve got the OTA days,
It’s 7-days a week, there is no such thing as a       which are basically organized team activities
day off. You use the day after the game as the        – that’s a nice way of saying practices, and then
starting point, which is a Monday. You’re taking      you’re getting ready for training camp. So you
care of all the bumps and bruises that occurred       don’t have that long lull, and it makes it a little
from the day before, scheduling MR’s or x-rays,       bit more of a challenge. You do what you can to
or administering treatments, and whatever else        manage your own personal schedule.
needs to be done. Tuesday is a player off-day,
but for players that are injured, they are required
to come in and do treatments. And in addition
                                                       Nowadays there is no
to treating the athletes, we also give our best        such thing as an off-
forecast for who’s going to be available during
                                                       season; we just call it the
the week and who is likely gonna be not able to
play on Sunday, because that obviously plays a         “non-playing season,”
great deal in the game planning. Wednesday is a        - affectionately.
full practice day; you’re here from 6:45 am until
about 5: practice, treatments, and I’ve got doc-
tor clinic here first thing in the morning they see
if there is anything else that we missed earlier
in the week. Thursday is the same way. Friday
is a lightened, shortened version of that where
you practice, but they are in shorts and helmets,
there is no hitting on Fridays. Saturday is a walk-
through and Sunday is the game, then you start
the whole process over again.

What is a typical week like during the
During the off-season, years ago, about a week
after the season was over you could turn off the

Health & Wellness                                     The Greener Grass

When did the off-season phase out like this?          the season as well as during the off-season.
This change occurred gradually, over about            And they are again full-time college students
the last 10 years. The OTA’s changed, free            as well, so this is considered an internship for
agency became a big deal about 15 years ago,          them. Many of them get college credit for it and
off-season conditioning has become more of a          it really gives them a head start in what their
standard around the league, I mean years ago,         going to do and what they want to be when they
when the players were not making the kind of          grow up. I’ve got a list of student athletic trainer
money they are now, a lot of the teams had the        interns that have worked with me over the past
philosophy, and Paul Brown certainly had it, that     15 years and on that list there are physical thera-
the players during their off-season need to be        pists, there’s a physician, there are chiroprac-
preparing for life after football. That football is   tors, there are professional athletic trainers- you
considered a short-term occupation, and you           name it , we’ve seen our guys graduate and
better be preparing for that by doing intern-         move onto other fields related to athletic train-
ships and that sort of thing. Nowadays, with the      ing, and we’d like to think we’ve played a little
minimum salaries being what they are, if you are      role in where they’ve gone.
fortunate enough to play for several years, you
can really prepare yourself quite well financially,   One of the things The Greener Grass looks at
where you don’t have to do those kind of things       it is how to help consumers sort through all
during the off-season, and you can kind of pick       the information out there. How do you find out
and chose what you want to do. So that has            about methods and products that are relevant
definitely changed.                                   to your field and how can the average con-
                                                      sumer learn from those methods to evaluate
How has this change affected your role?               products and services for themselves?
As the responsibilities have expanded, the            The consumers that I have obviously are my
administrative aspects of the head trainer’s po-      athletes. And we do everything we can to pro-
sition have expanded. It’s forced us to increase      vide up-to-date research on given techniques
our staff, which has been good because it frees       and given products. There tends to be a general
me up to do the other things I need to do.            perception that if the team is doing it there’s
                                                      got to be a newer way to do it. There are gurus
How big is your staff?
                                                      out there that get their hooks into these players
In addition to myself I have two full time as-
                                                      and sell them on ideas that they’ve got a better
sistant trainers, and then I have a season-long
                                                      mousetrap or they have this better supplement
full time fellow. It is a fellowship that we offer
                                                      or they have this better exercise technique and
to a person who has already graduated, already
                                                      what have you, and sometimes it can become
has their license and is certified. They work with
                                                      a little overwhelming when you’re continually
me during the season, and we try to help them
                                                      bombarded by it. We have found that most of
at the end of the season get hooked on with
                                                      the other stuff that’s out there isn’t tested, isn’t
another NFL team or into a college setting. We
                                                      researched independently, doesn’t have a lot of
started that last year, and the guy that we had
                                                      scientific data to back-up their claims, it’s one
last year we got him a full time position with the
                                                      fad after another. This year it will be this, next
Tennessee Titans. And then in addition to the
                                                      year it will be that and by and large, the things
fellow, I have four college student trainers from
                                                      that are time tested, and have research behind
local colleges and they work with me during
                                                      them, are the things that are consistent, safe,

Health & Wellness                                     The Greener Grass

and effective.                                           How do you address this topic with your
Supplements are a common product between                 Number one we provide educational opportuni-
professional athletes and average consumers,             ties to the athletes a couple times a year. I will

 If you’re looking for an                                meet with all the players in a team meeting and
                                                         review the latest research on certain items and
 answer in a bottle, you’re                              just kind of give them a general warning. The
 looking in the wrong                                    league has set-up a hotline so athletes can do it
                                                         either themselves or bring it to me, a particular
 place.                                                  item that they are considering taking and the
                                                         hotline people will go ahead and research what
what are your thoughts?                                  is listed in the ingredients and determine if there
The problem with supplements is that they’re             is anything banned on it. The unfortunate thing
not regulated by the FDA. So as a result they do         about it is they always throw the caveat (be-
not have to adhere to the high standard of purity        cause these things are not regulated), it’s called
as well as demonstration of true effectiveness.          “buyer beware” and the athlete is responsible
And as a result you get a lot of guys bringing           for what they put in their body, and that’s the
in supplements that say it’s going to do this or         one disadvantage to it.
it’s going to do that and it only has this in it or it
only has that in it. Often times those items have        Tell us about your methodology when you rush
materials in them that are actually banned by            onto the field to treat a player.
the league, although they may not be listed on           You try to get them as comfortable as you can,
the list of ingredients, and that is the problem         and then come up with a game plan on deter-
you run into. I call it the Wild Wild West – any-        mining what approach you’re going to take to
body can put anything in a bottle, and put on            getting them off the field, are you going to send       #1 preventing them
a label that it only has this in it, but it’ll do that   them in for x-ray? MRI? Do we have to use a
for you, and there is absolutely no oversight, no        stretcher? or can we walk them off? Do we use
                                                                                                                 from hurting them-
restrictions, no regulation, so quite honestly our       the cart? All of this has to be determined in a         selves anymore
philosophy as a team, and mine as a parent is            relatively short period of time. When you’ve
that there is no shortcut. If you’re looking for an      been doing it for a couple of years like I have, it’s   #2 evaluating what
answer in a bottle, you’re looking in the wrong          not that difficult.
place. The old standards of hard work and eat-
                                                                                                                 you are dealing with
                                                         You have to make sure somebody’s taking care
ing healthy still are the tried and true techniques
that work. Nothing in a bottle is going to take          of getting the crowd away from you, so you              #3 putting together
somebody who is a marginal NFL player and                can make good decisions and sometimes you
                                                                                                                 a game plan on how
                                                         do have to ask players around what they saw,
turn them into a good NFL player, unless there is
something illegal in it like steroids. There is just     because more often then not somebody else               you’re going to address
no shortcut to it.                                       saw it or heard it. A player may say “I felt like I     it.
                                                         got kicked” and somebody else will say, “no he
                                                         didn’t get kicked he was out in the open”. The          And then get them off
                                                         more information you have when you get there
                                                         the better, and then it’s a step-by-step process.       the field and keep the
                                                                                                                 game going.

Health & Wellness                                        The Greener Grass

How is the relationship between the athletic          lingering symptoms and they’re exercising, they
trainers and officials?                               actually pro-long those symptoms. So it is a well
The officials are great. They will never, ever        thought out approach. The league did a good job
pressure or push the medical people to move a         last year of reminding the coaches, trainers, and
player before they are ready. It’s a good under-      physicians of the importance of never allowing
standing that we have. And we don’t tell them,        competitive decisions to affect medical care,
well I take it back, sometimes we do tell them        and I’m proud to say that here that’s never been
what to call when it comes to penalties if they’re    a problem.
missing them. But they don’t interfere with us so
                                                      Football players are big guys with famously big
we are good with that.
                                                      appetites. What efforts are made to support
Concussions are a common injury associated            healthy weight gains and loss?
with football, how do you determine the sever-        Yeah, we do have some big guys, they do have
ity of the athlete’s condition?                       big appetites. We have a dietician who is on
They’re not as common as you would think, it is       retainer who is a consultant but will work with
fewer than a dozen a year per team.                   our players, those who either request, or those
                                                      that we direct to the dietician. We are able the
It is a very specific examination that we do on       ensure guys that are gaining weight or are losing
the field. The old days it was how many fingers       weight are doing it in a healthy, and safe, and
do I have up and who are we playing and what’s        appropriate manner. We will also look at play-
the score – there is a lot more too it now. We are    ers’ family history, if they have family members
looking for finite, cognitive function in terms of    that have suffered from coronary heart disease,
reaction, emotion, memory recall, things of that      heart attack, high blood pressure, high choles-
nature.                                               terol; we assess that in when we are assessing
                                                      the athlete. So in addition to not only treating
Before we allow them to return we utilize a local
                                                      football related injuries or illnesses we also treat
neuropsychologist who has provided baseline
                                                      and manage the non-football issues.
evaluations of each player, (which is basically a
brain function test) and we don’t allow them to       Fluid intake, to manage muscle cramps, is an
return to the field until that player has returned    age-old debate in fitness, what formula do you
to their baseline. We routinely wait 48 hours af-     prescribe to your athletes? Strictly water, or
ter the player has suffered the injury before we      sport drinks, or a combination of both?
do a retest to see if in fact they have returned to   We do an educational session at the start of
their normal brain function. If they haven’t, then    training camp, talking about heat illnesses, and
we hold them in terms of any practice activities      we include muscle cramps, heat exhaustion, and
until we retest them and see that in fact they        heat stroke. Most muscle cramps are related
have returned to their normal function level.         to dehydration although not all of them are. So
If they have any lingering symptoms such as           sometimes it is a misnomer to tell people that
a headache, dizziness, nausea, insomnia, then         all you need to do is to drink more fluids be-
we will not only limit their practice, but actually   cause that is not always correct, and also it’s not
limit their physical activity, restricting them       just a matter that you’re drinking it’s a matter of
from engaging in even cardiovascular workouts,        what you’re drinking.
because we want to keep the blood pressure
down. Studies have shown that if they have

Health & Wellness                                     The Greener Grass

The important thing is not just the fluid but             Throughout your initial injury evaluation and
what you have in it. Gatorade is the name brand           basic rehabilitation of athletes, and how your
that the league has endorsed and it’s endorsed            athletes follow your instructions, is there any-
for a number of reasons. One of which, their              thing (a product or service) that would make it
products are backed-up by science, it’s not just          easier for everyone involved?
a beverage company that went into sports; it’s a
sports company that went into beverages. Spe-              The easiest thing would
cifically designed for athletes and in our particu-
lar environment. We do know that in addition
                                                           be for people to get
to fluids they also need sodium and potassium.             out of their head think-
I can remember when I was in high school, they             ing that there’s a better
were just at that time getting away from giving
athletes salt tablets before they’d go out on the          mouse-trap, a better ma-
practice field, and the theory was that again it’d         chine, or a better exer-
help prevent cramps, well actually they had part
of it right, the sodium was true, they did need
                                                           cise, or a better drug, or a
that, but they also discouraged water intake,              better whatever, to think
which they needed as well. Gatorade corrected
                                                           that’s going to somehow
the concept, and we call it “it makes water work
better”, yes it has a significant amount of water          shortcut biology –
in it, but it also has potassium in it, and it also        because it’s not there.
has sodium in it, and it also has sugars in it. If it’s
not palatable, they won’t drink it. So we again,
subscribe to using a significant amount of the            Everyone is looking for a short-cut or a magic
sports beverage drinks, Gatorade in particular,           elixir, or some super new machine that will cut
water as well.                                            your rehab time in half, accelerate your recovery
                                                          – let me dispel all of that crap, because that’s
But again, there’s immediately an assumption              what it is. The bottom line is, the body will heal
if they guy’s cramping it’s because he’s not              if you let it. The most important thing that we
drinking enough. Often times there are other              do is to optimize the conditions for the body to
nutritional deficits that need to be addressed,           heal itself. If we do that, the body will heal as
or it can be a case where an athlete is taking a          fast as it is going to and no amount of medicine,
supplement that pre-disposes them to muscle               exercise, different kind of electrical stimulation
cramping, and through education, we’re able to            treatment, or other voodoo is going to change
get them out of that cycle of putting themselves          that. It’s not a glamorous thing to tell play-
in a bad spot.                                            ers, but it’s reality. Hopefully over time we’re
                                                          able to educate these guys to understanding
                                                          that there’s no magic, there’s no shortcut. It’s
                                                          interesting to hear players say “Man, what are
                                                          we doing using ice? Ice has been used for years,
                                                          why do we still use it?” It’s real simple. It’s
                                                          called, it works. The body hasn’t changed. The
                                                          body’s reaction to hot, the body’s reac

Health & Wellness                                         The Greener Grass

tion to cold, it’s a physiological response that       will do just as much as what you bought. It’s a
is consistent, it works, and that’s why we do it.      never-ending thing that we just continue to have
And again, unfortunately it doesn’t have all the       to educate as best we can.
bells and whistles, it’s not glamorous, and it’s
                                                       How does the NFL support the physical fitness
not fancy, and it’s not chic, if you will – but it’s
                                                       and emotional wellness of players transition-
                                                       ing to life after professional football?

 The most important                                    The league does not get enough credit for the
                                                       programs that they offer for the athletes. Not
 thing that we do is to                                only in terms of how to deal with life while
 optimize the conditions                               they’re a professional athlete but also how to
                                                       transition for when they are no longer a profes-
 for the body to heal itself.                          sional athlete, by encouraging them if they
                                                       haven’t gotten their degree to get their degree,
How do you address the fact that there is no           to provide internship opportunities during the
shortcut to recovery?                                  off seasons- during the time they do have an off-
The ideal thing is word of mouth. You get a            season, to begin to think about what they want
couple of name athletes, veterans that have            to be when they grow up – is kinda as I put it.
been around, that will take the younger guys
                                                       So it’s more of a league initiative than a team
under their wings. And that will help in some
instances, but it’s a never-ending battle. There’s
                                                       Correct. Each team now has a player develop-
one manufacturer of a modality that actually
                                                       ment coordinator, where one of their roles is to
called me and told me that what I needed to
                                                       help the players deal with issues that come up,
do was to get this machine, and put it on David
                                                       to help facilitate the managing of the educa-
Pollack’s neck while he was in a halo, and it
                                                       tional opportunities, and they’re mandatory now
would cut his rehab and recovery time in half. I
                                                       – they didn’t use to be mandatory for the players
mean it’s nonsense, the kid had a broken neck.
                                                       to go through. We ourselves last season hired
Everybody’s looking for a quick fix, and part of
                                                       a psychological consultant to assist us as well.
it’s our environment we live in, look at what’s
                                                       The idea is to have a well thought-out, well-
on television, look at what’s on the radio, look
                                                       rounded, multidisciplinary approach to help the
what’s in the magazines. It’s “take this pill,
                                                       athletes both on and off the field.
and you’ll lose all the weight you want, and
you’ll look like this...Use this machine...Do this
exercise...Take this supplement...and you can
heal things in half the time.” That’s what they’re
told, and ultimately that’s what they’re sold,
and when you’ve got guys that have significant
amounts of disposable income, I tell the players
when they bring in some of the things that they
bought I say you know what I’ll make you a deal,
you give it back, and I’ll give you my machine for
half the price, and it’ll be a shoebox wrapped up
with foil with some wires coming out of it which

Health & Wellness                                      The Greener Grass

What can younger athletes (in all sports) do to        coaches that the player needs rest – rest is a
make themselves more injury-free?                      dirty four-letter word in some peoples’ minds.
Understand that any time that you are involved         The way I see it, rest can also mean “Resume
in a physical activity there’s risk of injury. It      Exercise below the Soreness Threshold – r.e.s.t.”
happens. Obviously eating properly is a benefit,       Which means, rest doesn’t need to mean that
proper conditioning, proper warm-up, proper            they’re laying on a couch watching T.V. and play-
cool-down, all of those sorts of things are ap-        ing video games, it can often times mean that
propriate. I think in some ways we’ve almost           you simply just back down contact, or you don’t
gone from one extreme to the other, and I don’t        have as much running, you don’t have as much
say the club here, I say society in general, in that   pounding.
I think in many instances, whether people want
                                                       It’s hard because so many of them have the
to believe it or not, there’s the risk and there’s
                                                       mind-set, “I need to do more, more, more – I
some evidence of episodes of over-conditioning
                                                       need to work harder, harder, harder” – I disagree,
/ over-training, that are actually making players,
                                                       I think you need to work smarter, smarter,
                                                       smarter. There’s a balancing act that you have
 The idea is to have a well                            to take into account. As I see it now, the way
 thought-out, well-round-                              things have evolved it used to be that training
                                                       camp was to get players into shape to play,
 ed, multidisciplinary                                 that’s not true anymore. If you don’t come into
 approach to help the                                  shape in training camp – you’re gone. I think

 athletes both on and off                              there is a tendency to over-train, and when you
                                                       get to training camp if you have over-trained;
 the field.                                            you’re going to struggle getting through training
                                                       camp. Not because you didn’t do enough, but
                                                       because you did too much.
or anybody, more pre-disposed to suffering in-
jury. The body can only endure so much. When           And finally, on a lighter note, if you added
you’re off-season gets shorter and shorter and         up all the rolls of tape you have applied to
shorter, the physical demands get greater and          athletes, how many times would it circle the
greater and greater. I think there has to be an        earth?
awareness that there has to be a proper balance        We use on average an excess of 50 miles of
of ensuring that athletes have the opportunity to      tape a season –that includes training camp and
fully recover from the rigors of a season, before      mini-camps. That’s a lot.
they start training for the rigors of the coming
season. And that’s something that we are con-
tinually looking at, the strength and conditioning
coaches continually are reviewing what they
did last year, what they did the year before,
looking at injury patterns with us in the medical
staff and seeing if there are things that we can
and need to do to perhaps offset the mind-set
of more is better. More is better to a point. But
there is such thing as too much. If you tell most

Health & Wellness                                      The Greener Grass

The Greener Grass

General inquiries
Demetrius Romanos, Vice President of Design
205 West 4th St, Suite 900
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Health & Wellness                             The Greener Grass

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