By Fei Nie

The Magic is in the Mix

When I was growing up in Michigan, a small town mid-western boy, my parents brought home some modern art and hung it up in the living room. It was a colorful print. A collage of images. I recall it visually containing some heavy metal gears from an engineered industrial machine, dinosaur bones, and flowers amongst other things.  A part of this print was a mysterious phrase written by the artist, “Adjust or Become Extinct.” This phrase became a kind of family motto, a secret code that my siblings and I would joke about and reference when things were changing or about to change in our lives or the lives of people around us.

Like many early impressions from our youth, this motto has always hung around and informed my work. Our lives are not static, they are dynamic. I love the idea of adjusting to the ever-evolving life in front of us, unfurling like a fern leaf. Life changes and the longer we live it the more we can perceive the hidden natural patterns. 

My research then took me over the Himalayan mountains into China, where I continued my study of Classical Chinese Medicine.

Eventually, this small town mid-western boy grew up and went away to college to study Evolutionary Biology. Living away from home for the first time, my life really began to change when I met a Yogi from India. He first taught me about Yoga and Ayurveda (which embraces healing with herbs and food, not with the drugs or pharmaceuticals I knew and trusted). The core of yoga is to maintain health with proper diet and exercise. I studied and practiced yoga and Ayurvedic medicine for about 25 years in addition to food science.  As a professional, I then began to formulate health and wellness functional foods for companies around the world. I realized this was the critical first step and what most people needed – clean food and a well-balanced diet. My research then took me over the Himalayan mountains into China where I continued my study of Classical Chinese Medicine. Here again, we have an ancient and traditional healing system based primarily on body movement and well-balanced nutrition with botanicals to maintain health. What I have learned is that the only difference between the Chinese and Indian systems was really the culture and language. These two ancient civilizations have inspired and are the foundation of my work. They are both inspired by plants and the beneficial ways people can use them.