Why the Founder of ‘MindBodyGreen’ Prizes ‘Wellth’ Above HealthMarch 2nd, 2016
Jason Wachob has accumulated quite the resume: college basketball player, cookie entrepreneur, and now media publisher and CEO. Now, he wants to add something else to his resume: “wellth.”
The term doesn’t refer to getting rich or achieving the perfect beach body. No, to Wachob, “wellth”—also the title of his latest book—embodies a life lived to its fullest, healthiest potential, and will mean something different to everyone.
It’s a theme that dominates “MindBodyGreen,” the popular wellness website Wachob founded in 2009. We caught up with him to find out more about his personal wellness philosophy, how yoga changed his life, and the best part about working at “MindBodyGreen.”
The story of your personal journey to health is a big part of your book. What started you down that path?
I played college basketball at Columbia, and in the offseason I did weight training and cardio for an hour a day, a routine I stuck with up until my mid-thirties. I used to think that if you looked good in the mirror, you were healthy, but I’ve since come to believe that health is more nuanced than that.
In my mid-thirties (I’m 41 now), I was running an organic cookie company and trying to raise capital when I discovered I had two extruded discs in my lower back pressing on my sciatic nerve. I could barely walk and almost had back surgery. Looking back, it was probably related to stress, combined with the fact that I was flying almost 150,000 miles a year. Being 6’7″ and scrunched into airplane seats didn’t help.
One doctor told me that yoga might be a way to avoid surgery. So I started practicing daily, and was very surprised that within weeks I was feeling better. From there, I got interested in a more holistic lifestyle. I ate organic and ditched toxic household products. I began to meditate. I started a gratitude practice. And after just a few months, I completely healed my back (without surgery). The rest is history!
How has your new approach to health changed other aspects of your life?
As I mentioned, I used to think if you looked good in the mirror then you were healthy. I think most people start out thinking that health is about the body (and that it’s largely driven by vanity). What I know now is that health (and happiness) is all connected through a combination of mental, physical, spiritual, emotional, and environmental well-being.
There are so many different dietary and health trends out there. Any common misconceptions you’d like to shed some light on?
To me, there’s no-one-size fits all approach to wellness, and anyone who’s promising a silver bullet is selling snake oil. I think we each have to find what works best for our own lifestyle and keep it simple. Michael Pollan said it best: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
What’s the best health advice you’ve ever received?
“It’s all connected,” from my dear friend and personal doctor, Dr. Frank Lipman—he was talking about stress and how it affects our health.
Since founding “MindBodyGreen,” your life must have changed immensely. Could you share a few insights you’ve learned from the experience?
I absolutely love what I do and LOVE that I get to meet and work with amazing people who are inspiring others to live better lives. I believe that we’re a combination of the five people we spend the most time with (which is something I talk about in “Wellth”). And being in the “MindBodyGreen” world allows me to spend quite a lot of time with awesome people who constantly inspire me!
What does true “wellth” mean to you?
I think true wellth is something that is 100 percent unique to each individual and that every person who reads the book will have a different takeaway on what the term means to them—so I’m going to leave it at that.
Get your copy of “Wellth: How I Learned to Build a Life, Not a Resume” here.
Photo credit: Jason Wachob