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iHeartMD: How My Travels Led Me to Entrepreneurship

iHeartMD: How My Travels Led Me to Entrepreneurship

March 31, 2014
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I recently co-founded a company: iHeartMD. It’s a new wellness subscription box service that curates the latest and healthiest ingredients, products, and information on the market, focusing on THREE pillars: nutrition, fitness, and wellness. It’s a venture I may never have started had I not created The Cultureur last year, so I feel especially thankful to each and every one of you who has supported me along the way. While I still intend to continue posting on my labor of love, The Cultureur, I want to take a minute and describe the what, why, and how of my new startup.

Coming from an international development, journalism, and diplomacy background, I’ve extensively worked with the topic of malnutrition, but mostly subnutrition in a developing context. To better understand our food culture, I received my certificate in nutrition from Cornell University so I could clearly grasp the effects of malnutrition in all its forms. So often the idea of malnutrition is only associated with developing countries, but according to the World Health Organization (WHO), malnutrition is the gravest single threat to global public health, including developed countries such as the United States. Recently, I was struck by the idea that I have always scoped out distant shores to make a difference when at home in the U.S., the issue remains just as pressing, but on the opposite side of the spectrum (overnutrition).

I started mulling over the idea some more and reflected on my travels, thinking of creative and innovative ways in which I could bridge the knowledge gap that so often surrounds healthy living and clean eating. Malnutrition is an issue that can affect everyone–rich and poor, men and women, young and old–all in different ways, permeating into all aspects of our lifestyle. As I continued to flesh out the idea, I consciously started to think about the differences between the eating habits and lifestyle choices between Americans and Europeans, particularly those in the Mediterranean region, considering how low the incidence of heart disease is in that part of the world. More than the statistics, I’m drawn to the Mediterranean diet, lifestyle, and the accompanying eating habits — it’s not just about consuming olive oil, hummus, and fish, it’s also about striking a balance between proper nutrition, regular exercise, and mind/body relaxation, and understanding that our daily food choices equal our lifestyle. Now if only we could help institute siestas as a custom in the United States…

WHAT is iHeartMD?

To implement iHeartMD, I teamed up with a group of cardiologists throughout the United States and created what I like to call a basic Mediterranean-inspired food education in a box. Every month, we send our subscribers a box full of 5-8 heart healthy products, ranging from food/drink to fitness to wellness. All our recommendations are approved by our panel of 10 cardiologists and backed by research and scientific literature, allowing people to discover new products and to de-clutter the health and lifestyle market so they can cut through the noise of marketing gimmicks and lofty advertising claims. So often I’ve found it’s not that people don’t want to eat healthy, but they don’t know how to start, which is why I wanted to simplify the process and ensure they’re receiving all the right information.

iHeartMD -- March 2014

iHeartMD — March 2014

In addition to the physical box, the option to learn why the products are heart-healthy and how you can incorporate them into your lifestyle is available through our members-only digital content. Our exclusive range of online content includes:

  • healthy recipes
  • nutrition tips
  • lifestyle advice
  • infographics: hard to understand concepts simplified in a visual format
  • travel guides: healthy dining options around the world, retreat giveaways (trying to get more Americans to relax and travel abroad — just a beautiful byproduct)
  • Q&A sessions with my co-founder and cardiologist: you can send in your questions and we’ll choose the most popular ones to address

As a way to give back to the community, it was important to me to align iHeartMD with strong social values, so for every box sold, we donate $1 to organizations and charities that work with obesity and hunger issues in the U.S.

We’re also looking to bring that same wellness education to corporate culture, so we offer business accounts that allow companies to bulk order iHeartMD boxes for their employees and/or clients.

WHO is iHeartMD for?

The way we see it: everyone has a heart, so everyone can benefit. That’s why we’ve created a lifestyle that you can never be too young or too old to adopt. 

With the convenience of the Internet, we’re hoping to reach out to everyone in every corner of the United States, so this conversation alienates no one and helps everyone. While iHeartMD is only available in the U.S. at the moment, we do have plans for expansion, as we continue to spark a global conversation on clean eating and healthy living.

If interested, check out www.iheartmd.com for more information and to get started. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email me at nyssa@iheartmd.com. Starting in April, look out for a new healthstyle tip every week on The Cultureur and the iHeartMD blog for the next few months. Subscribe below or on the right to ensure it’s delivered to your inbox every week.
For all subscribers of The Cultureur, enjoy 20% off any plan with code: THECULTUREUR.

Related links on the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/26/health/mediterranean-diet-can-cut-heart-disease-study-finds.html?_r=0
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/mediterranean-diet-helps-women-live-longer-better-study-article-1.1507462
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mediterranean-diet/CL00011

Check out a few iHeartMD reviews : 1) The World Wanderer and 2) Chic Galleria

 

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