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Dining in Shanghai: A Gateway to Holistic Wellbeing

Dining in Shanghai: A Gateway to Holistic Wellbeing

Embracing the Yin and Yang of Shanghai Cuisine

Growing up in the foothills of the Himalayas, I have many fond memories of accompanying my grandmother into the fields to care for the plants and herbs she grew for food and traditional remedies. We cooked simply with these natural ingredients and used many as herbal remedies. When my grandparents were ill, they relied in part on India’s ancient system of medicine, known as Ayurveda, which combines plant-based goodness and holistic health practices to promote whole-body wellness. They lived the Gandhian way – at one with nature and the bounty it provided.

So, you can imagine my excitement when I joined Amway and learned that their health and well-being experts are finding innovative ways to integrate old-world knowledge about plants and holistic healing with modern health and wellness products. It’s truly the best of both worlds.

This journey started way back in the 1940s when Amway founder Carl Rehnborg created the Nutrilite line based on his observations living and working in Shanghai. He was inspired by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practices after seeing how rural people integrated plants into their health and wellness habits and the power these botanicals wielded in their day-to-day lives. That experience formed the foundation of Rehnborg’s philosophy on holistic wellness, which Amway has added to over the years with practices such as organic and regenerative farming and research into the gut microbiome to create product formulations that marry the best of old-world knowledge with scientific R&D.

Bridging Ancient Wisdom and Modern Science

I recently had the chance to chat with two of Amway’s holistic wellness leaders – Jia Chen, VP of Marketing and VP of Innovation & Sciences East Hub, and Shyam Ramakrishnan, Director of Emerging Markets Amway Innovation and Science. Both work with the teams that are building on traditional knowledge and finding unique ways to integrate ancient medicine into modern holistic nutrition products. They took the time to share their insights on the role of botanicals in today’s wellness products and the difference they can make in our journey to optimal health.

Jia explained that TCM refers to the more than 2,000-year-old practice which is based on a set of interventions designed to restore balance within the body. “TCM treats the root cause of diseases as well as the symptoms, and its flexible nature allows for personalized treatments,” she said. “This ancient Chinese wisdom practiced for thousands of years is now widely accepted as an alternative supplement to support healthy living, and the practice continues to develop and modernize over time.”

Shyam added that, like TCM, Ayurveda is a holistic approach to health and well-being that emphasizes the balance between the mind, body, and spirit. “Ayurveda originated in India over 5,000 years ago and translates roughly to the ‘science of life’ or the ‘knowledge of longevity.’ It views each person as a unique individual with a specific constitution or dosha,” he explained. “Ayurveda focuses on disease prevention by promoting healthy lifestyle practices including dietary choices, exercise, meditation, and herbal remedies. It uses a wide range of herbs, roots, leaves, and other plant parts to nourish the body, strengthen the immune system, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, and promote vitality.”

Preserving Tradition, Embracing Innovation

Both Jia and Shyam emphasized Amway’s thoughtful approach in respecting the authenticity and efficacy of traditional practices while catering to the needs of modern consumers. “For example, we use high-quality, traceable natural ingredients paired with traditional manufacturing techniques that are adapted to modern process engineering,” said Shyam. “We have created our own unique blends of ingredients, carefully selected to work together while staying true to Ayurvedic principles. And we have incorporated scientific research and modern knowledge to validate the efficacy and safety of the products. This helps us build trust and confidence among ABOs and consumers.”

Jia shared how Amway integrates traditional TCM wisdom with modern life science in developing their Nutrilite products. “To ensure the quality of our ingredients and products, we established the Amway Botanical Research Center (ABRC) in Wuxi, China, which uses modern sustainable farming techniques to produce key ingredients such as goji berries, Chinese wolfberry, evodia, and chrysanthemum,” she explained. “We’ve drawn inspiration from the accumulated wisdom of countless generations of scientists and practitioners to develop a diversified product range supported by our best-in-class R&D capabilities.”

Unlocking the Power of Ancient Botanicals

Both Jia and Shyam are passionate users of the products they help develop. “I love our TCM Eye Health Tonic to help reduce eye fatigue and dryness,” said Jia. “It’s a combination of lutein, zeaxanthin, chrysanthemum, and goji berry. The other product I use often is Qi and Blood, which is designed to boost energy. I make a special drink to help me feel more energetic in the afternoon.”

Shyam shared his personal experience as well, “I incorporate Chyawanprash, Ashwagandha, and Triphala into my routine, and I have really benefited from increased energy levels and improved gut health.”

As Shyam explained, modern medicine is starting to recognize the importance of a holistic approach to health and wellness, and it’s validating these traditional perspectives. “As we grapple with an increased burden of chronic illnesses, a more preventative approach is becoming increasingly relevant. And with concerns about side effects from pharmaceuticals, many people are turning to natural remedies that have been used for thousands of years.”

He added, “When used alongside conventional medicine, traditional practices can provide complementary treatments to improve health outcomes. And what I appreciate most is that many ancient practices teach people that they can take greater responsibility for their own health, which can really lead to a sense of empowerment and improved self-care habits.”

Embracing the Holistic Culinary Journey in Shanghai

The rich cultural heritage of Shanghai cuisine is a testament to the city’s role as a gateway to holistic wellbeing. From the fiery dishes of Sichuan to the delicate dim sum of Cantonese cuisine, the diverse flavors and techniques of Chinese culinary traditions are a celebration of the yin and yang that defines the Middle Kingdom.

As you step into the bustling streets of Shanghai and immerse yourself in the vibrant food scene, remember that dining is not just about satisfying your taste buds. It’s a deep-rooted cultural experience that invites you to connect with the wisdom of the ages. By mastering the art of Chinese dining etiquette, you’ll not only savor the exquisite flavors but also become an active participant in the rich heritage that has nourished bodies and souls for millennia.

Whether you’re enjoying a meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant or a humble street stall, approach it with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Engage with the local culinary traditions, understand the significance of each gesture and nuance, and allow the holistic essence of Shanghai cuisine to enrich your journey to wellness.

As you explore the One Dragon Restaurant and immerse yourself in the flavors of Shanghai, remember that you’re not just indulging in a culinary experience – you’re embarking on a transformative journey that connects the ancient wisdom of the East with the modern pursuit of holistic wellbeing. Savor each moment, embrace the yin and yang, and let the harmonious blend of flavors and traditions nourish your body, mind, and spirit.

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