“It has shaped my life and it's what encouraged me to look at our industry, our great industry being health and wellness, as an environment where I wanted to spend all of my time. So when it became my career, it was just the greatest gift and the greatest joy, and I really attribute that to being born into this way of living,” said Whittel.
Staying true to her ‘wellness explorer’ title, Whittel recently traveled to Cameroon in West Africa to learn more about spice fruit.
“I felt really compelled to go to Cameroon and go to the source of where these spices came from, somewhat like the way I would go to India and would learn about turmeric and all of the different spices and the curries and how the spices and the herbs are their medicine, or when I would go to Okinawa, one of the islands where the people live to be over a hundred, where there's the largest [group of] centenarians.”
Whittel said while she has met a lot of inspirational women throughout her travels, one Cameroonian woman stood out.
“There was this incredible woman and her name is Philomina. Philomina is a dietitian and she's also a woman who has been dedicated to the health of everybody around her her entire career,” explained Whittel.
After spending some time with Philomina, the two formed a partnership that begins with the sourcing of raw material in the villages in Cameroon.
“So our supply chain goes from these women in these small villages through Philomina, through the government, and it's going to be imported here into the US,” explained Whittel. “So she is one example, I could give you a hundred examples of incredible women that I've met around the globe that really sort of bring the whole supply chain and nutrition and well-being to the forefront.”
Whittel is currently gearing up for an event at the General Assembly of the United Nations that will focus on compassion and empowering women to become leaders.
“We have to have seats at the table and the men need us to do that as well, so that we can bring different solutions to the scenarios. We need the diversity, just like nature needs diversity, just like our microbiome needs diversity.”