“I wanted to show that every one of us has the capacity to live a life free of chronic and preventable diseases, and to raise healthy children, on any budget.”
Name: Agatha Achindu
Occupation: Wellness entrepreneur, founder of Yummy Spoonfuls
I’m originally from Cameroon, and I moved to the US in the 1990s. For years, I had begged my parents to come here because I’d seen American magazines and everyone in them looked so beautiful. But when I came here, people didn’t look vibrant or happy, in a way I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
When I went to the grocery store the first few times, I kept thinking, “Where’s the food?” The produce was in a little corner and everything else was prepackaged. I started connecting the dots between the food people were eating and the way they looked and felt.
I grew up knowing that food is medicine. I’ve been cooking since I was nine years old. I didn’t learn everything I know when I was in Cameroon or Nigeria, but the thing that’s always stayed in the back of my head is that people at home, rich or poor, were always happy. And I think that’s because they were taught generational health, that holistic health and sickness are a choice.
From generation to generation in America, people aren’t taught the things that make them healthy, so they can’t teach their children. Health is almost left to fate. People have an assumption that they’re going to get sick a few times in their life, and they can’t do anything to prevent it or feel better. But our bodies have the capacity to heal when we change our everyday choices.
So, I started recommending that my friends make certain little changes, and soon I became their go-to person for wellness questions. I started doing more research, then began hosting free workshops to teach people to read food labels and cook with fresh ingredients. Today, that doesn’t sound out of the ordinary, but back then it was.
When I got pregnant, I started looking into the baby food space, which I'd never paid attention to before. I remember going to the grocery store and finding canned baby food on the shelf that had been packaged two or three years ago! That was not okay with me.
So, I started teaching people how to make food for their kids. When I realized I had an audience of about 40,000 moms, it occurred to me that this could be a business. A comment from one workshop attendee planted the seed for Yummy Spoonfuls: she wanted the convenience of someone else cooking this good food. And moms should never feel any guilt because they don’t want to cook all the food.
With my company and all my free teaching and recipe sharing, I want to help my community thrive. I went to the Institute of Integrative Nutrition because I wanted to show that every one of us has the capacity to live a life free of chronic and preventable diseases, and to raise healthy children, on any budget.
My purpose is to help people live a whole, full and vibrant life. To me, that means nutrition and exercise, but also the mind and the way we manage stress. It means reducing toxins in the everyday environment and getting plenty of fresh air. It means supporting the immune system by maintaining healthy gut bacteria. It means sleep and rest, our relationships, our work life, and our spirituality. All of these pillars affect all of our being.
And an often-overlooked part of health is joy and balance. If you’re on a strict diet plan that you hate, you’re not enjoying your life. This moment is all you have. If eating vegan makes you happy, eat vegan. But if it’s forced, you’re missing your purpose.
Life shouldn’t always be about discipline. Discipline is okay for work and order. But for your everyday life, you want to get to a place of joyful rest. To live fully and vibrantly, we need to slow down.
Every day, I get messages that people changed their habits and their health because of something I taught. It brings me joy because I’m making a difference in somebody else’s life. That kind of success is different from the money I make. I call it peaceful success.
We have to slowly start changing what’s valued in our community, and it starts with everyday choices in our homes.