Five things that make me glad I'm part of the natural products business.
1. I’m thankful for clichéd topics. I know this is a bit off the topic, but if not for clichés and the ability to repeat them, I wouldn’t even be writing this Thanksgiving blog.
2. I give thanks for a business that focuses on people’s health while trying to make money doing so. In the current climate it’s fashionable in some circles to talk in disparaging tones about the 1%—and, let’s face it, most of the people who founded or who run the companies in the natural products field fit into this category—but without profits and the powerful motivation they provide there would be no ingredients or products for consumers to use, or for me to write about.
3. When I’m at mile 60 of a bicycle ride, I’m grateful for all the cool energy products available today. When I started riding seriously back in the 70s, marathon runners talked about “hitting the wall” as if it were some sort of mystical divide, beyond which lay a sepia-colored wasteland of exhaustion. Salt pills had been issued to troops working hard in hot climates for many decades, and Gatorade had already paired salt with sugar. But it was a bleak landscape compared with the vast array of beverages, bars and gels from which an athlete, or an average consumer, can choose today. Products are even tailored now to specific energy needs: ramping up to an event, competing, recovering, or just getting a boost at the office. It’s a long cry from a Coke and a peanut butter sandwich with which we had to content ourselves back in the day.
4. I’m thankful for the strong partnership companies in this business have with university researchers, which advances the knowledge base in service of human health. I’m not knocking other fields of research, but I feel good about being in a business in which we are trying to find cost effective ways to help people lead healthier lives and take proactive control of their health, rather than research ways to fix them when they are already broken. Or, God forbid, research ways to make better weapons to kill them more efficiently.
5. And finally, on a personal note, I’m thankful for the work this industry has provided. Almost two years ago I was part of the flotsam left over from the sinking daily newspaper industry, and most of the people I knew were fellow unemployed journalists, who, like me, were starting to suspect that they no longer had a place in this world. Now I know a whole new universe of intelligent, vibrant, happy people who are doing great things and who love what they do. Those of you who have attended an Engredea/Expo West show know what I mean; the building is bursting at the seams with positive energy.