Balance October 2017 - 42

TRUE COLOURS

Is
wellness
racist?
It's time to take
the whiteness out of
wellness and avoid a
one-shade policy
words by
SALMA H A I D RA NI

S

piralizer? Check.
NutriBullet? Check.
Avotoast? Check.
Even if you weren't
an #eatclean devotee
or didn't go on a
juice cleanse, chances are, they've found
themselves on your kitchen worktop,
Instagram or let's face it, your belly.
There's no doubt that the wellness
movement has shifted from a trend to
arguably a national preoccupation. It's
now a $3.72trillion industry - and growing.
But while we might be encouraged to load more colour
on our plates (here's looking at you, #eattherainbow), it's
hard to overlook the irony: why aren't more people of
colour in the movement visible? At present, there's not
one leading wellness figure that deviates from the norm:
white and middle-class. If #OscarsSoWhite, there's no
doubt that #WellnessSoWhite either.

HEALTH MATTERS
Much of the criticism levelled against wellness has
rarely, if ever, questioned the movement's drastic
lack of diversity. Instead, the backlash predominantly
centres on how clean eating promotes disordered eating.
Leading wellness figures without credentials have
also come under fire. But the absence of non-white
faces deserves as much discussion and headline space.
So why is this still being met with a wall of silence? It's
concerning when Person(s) of Colour (PoC) could benefit
from the movement even more. Black and minority

ethnic (BME) communities face a greater risk of heart
disease and obesity, according to the British Nutrition
Foundation. They're also significantly likelier to be
diagnosed with a serious mental health illness and to
be over-represented in mental health institutions.
When yoga, for one, has been found to reduce anxiety
and depression, why then do I still find that I'm the
only brown body in the room?

LONDON'S WELLNESS MOVEMENT
There's no doubt that the capital's health scene can be
intimidating for the average person. Be it Bikram yoga
or a cold-pressed juice launch, I've long felt conspicuous
as often the only PoC there. London might be one of the
most ethnically diverse cities in the world - 44% are
now BME - so why then am I still often the only one or
at least one of a few? Businesswoman Keisha Henry, 31,
just about 'got used to being the only Woman of Colour
in a class' despite practicing yoga for eight years. Does it

October 2017 BA LA N CE

Ethnic foods
- which PoC
were once
shamed for
eating - have
now been
repackaged
and rebranded
to the masses
as part of the
wellness trend.

45



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Balance October 2017

Balance October 2017 - 1
Balance October 2017 - 2
Balance October 2017 - 3
Balance October 2017 - 4
Balance October 2017 - 5
Balance October 2017 - 6
Balance October 2017 - 7
Balance October 2017 - 8
Balance October 2017 - 9
Balance October 2017 - 10
Balance October 2017 - 11
Balance October 2017 - 12
Balance October 2017 - 13
Balance October 2017 - 14
Balance October 2017 - 15
Balance October 2017 - 16
Balance October 2017 - 17
Balance October 2017 - 18
Balance October 2017 - 19
Balance October 2017 - 20
Balance October 2017 - 21
Balance October 2017 - 22
Balance October 2017 - 23
Balance October 2017 - 24
Balance October 2017 - 25
Balance October 2017 - 26
Balance October 2017 - 27
Balance October 2017 - 28
Balance October 2017 - 29
Balance October 2017 - 29
Balance October 2017 - 30
Balance October 2017 - 31
Balance October 2017 - 32
Balance October 2017 - 33
Balance October 2017 - 35
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Balance October 2017 - 37
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