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Commentary: Wellness in L.A.

Los Angeles, land of the green juices and free-trial yoga classes.

Walking on a busy street in Los Feliz with friends, I noticed a common word scattered throughout the city. Wellness shots, wellness yoga, wellness supplements and a book of wellness mantras.

What exactly is wellness? Being healthy? Why do we consume so much kale and green juice? As a regular consumer of both, I wasn’t sure so I asked someone who I know would be: my grandmother.

My grandmother convinced me to stop wearing skinny jeans because they constrict blood flow to the legs. She’s a vegan and does yoga on a daily basis. She’s also the happiest person I know.

If wellness had an entire page in the dictionary, there would be a picture of my smiling grandmother, probably holding a head of lettuce and throwing back a wheatgrass shot. So I decided to ask her.

“I do yoga because it’s unity. It’s a higher concept than health. It’s wellness for the mind and soul,” she said. “Young people don’t always understand that. They do it to be fit.

“And I think green juices are great! I think it’s good that people are drinking them more,” she said, laughing. “Wellness to me is in the mind, body and soul. It’s a combination of all three, to be well. It’s especially popular here. I’m not sure why. But who doesn’t want to be well?”

Right on, grandma.

Regardless, my mind couldn’t help but wander to a different idea. Maybe this entire health trap is just that, a trap. Maybe green isn’t so great. Maybe this idea is persuading us to buy magical crystals that “heal”, when they don’t actually do anything at all. Maybe we’re not getting any younger or more beautiful. Maybe wellness is a destination that we’ll never reach.

Looking at my grandmother laughing and embracing life in her 60s and her excitement towards a healthy DIY Windex alternative she found on Facebook, I wasn’t sure if I cared.

Wellness is in the eye of the beholder. And like my grandma said, who doesn’t want to be well?

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