Dame Anita Roddick, 1942-2007

My definition of health is expansive: it includes all the activities we engage in to preserve and enhance our personal and the public’s health. One influence on my health-worldview was Anita Roddick, the founder of The Body Shop, who sadly succumbed to a brain hemorrhage last night in a good-die-young scenario.

Dame Anita was passionate about Green (decades before the current craze), human rights, and transparency for her entire life. She founded The Body Shop in 1976. I first encountered Dame Anita in 1986 when I moved to London and lived around the corner from The Body Shop on King’s Road in Chelsea. There, I got my first whiff of two products I still use: fuzzy peach oil and peppermint cooling foot rub.

While the press dubbed her as “capitalist with a conscience” and the “Queen of Green” for decades, she also made a huge contribution in re-positioning beauty for “the rest of us” — eons before Dove’s Real Beauty campaign. I’ve always liked Ruby, the Rubenesque mascot of The Body Shop:

Dame Anita privately lived healthfully with hepatitis C for 36 years. She wrote in her blog earlier this year, “I live with a sharp sense of my own mortality, which in many ways makes life more vivid and immediate. It makes me even more determined to just get on with things.”

Her legacy, to quote the great Dame herself: “Get informed. Get Outraged. Get Inspired. Get Active.”

Amen, Dame Anita. Peace be with you.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: Adopt Dame Anita’s approach to life: “Get informed. Get Outraged. Get Inspired. Get Active.” Remember that health is more than medicine, doctors, and hospitals; it’s how you live (including but not limited to what products you buy and what food you eat) each and every day. After a tough day, try the Peppermint Cooling Foot Lotion—although it’s meant for the feet, it contributes to positive mind-body health.