Thursday 10th July sees the launch of Bite The Sun (BTS), a unique, grassroots health empowerment initiative based on an innovative social media platform – all from an initial suggestion to update a section of the ANH-Intl website! We believe that BTS represents a step-change for personal health management in the 21st century, offering unparalleled opportunities for transformation and achievement beyond what users ever thought possible. Will you join us on the journey?

From snowball to avalanche

Mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow. The Food4Health section of the ANH-Intl website aimed to educate the public as to what foods are healthy and why, to enable people to take control of their own health “by using wholesome, natural foods, food ingredients and other nutrients [combined] with other lifestyle approaches that will help to maintain good health”. Ultimately, the goal of Food4Health was to “help trigger a shift away from pharmaceutical drugs as the primary means of healthcare”.

But that was set to change in December 2011. That’s when ANH-Intl’s executive & scientific director, Rob Verkerk PhD, noticed that Food4Health would benefit from the addition of elements of psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) and the ancestral/evolutionary approach to nutrition. When Rob asked executive co-ordinator, Meleni Aldridge, to update the Food4Health campaign, she didn’t expect to found an entirely new entity that would take nearly 3 years to bring to fruition!  Neither did she expect, all these months later, to be just over a week from launching a potentially game-changing health empowerment initiative as part of a team that includes, among others, ANH-Intl founder Rob Verkerk PhD, nutrition and PNI practitioner, Adele Wolstenhulme and Bite the Sun clinical advisor, Leo Pruimboom of the Natura Foundation.

Perfect timing

The timing of the BTS launch couldn’t be better. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), rates of chronic disease aren’t so much creeping up as shooting skyward – all in the face of heavily promoted government healthy eating advice. The WHO estimates that 63% (36 million) of the 57 million deaths worldwide were caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in 2008, the most recent year for which comprehensive figures are available – a proportion that will only have increased since then.

Indeed, the WHO appears to have been calling for something like BTS when it observed, in its Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2010, that “community-based NCD programmes both inform and support national action towards appropriate policy formulation...Effective community-based NCD interventions require...meaningful community participation and engagement...and active partnerships among national authorities, nongovernmental organizations, academia and the private sector.” It’s no exaggeration to say that BTS, a natural offshoot of non-governmental, education and advocacy organisation, ANH-Intl, has the capacity to make vital contributions in all these areas.

What’s Bite The Sun all about?

For a start, the clue’s in the name, because it denotes a life so vital and energetic that you feel powerful enough to ‘bite the sun’. Hence, the core ethos is about providing a myriad of tools for people to achieve and surpass their health goals – to metaphorically ‘bite the sun’! The BTS website itself is bursting with easy to follow information, articles and recipes that provide consistent advice across the three ‘rays of health’: food, activity and rest. On becoming a member of the community, you’ll gain access to a personal dashboard that allows you to log and track your health status, monitor your metabolic risk and see where you’re at with your emotional health.

The heavy graft is seamlessly carried out by an integral app, the Bite Monitor – patent pending! – that translates the data you enter into easy and intuitive graphical displays. Imagine being able to instantly see what your food, activity, sleep and relaxation techniques are really doing for you. Or perhaps more importantly, what they’re not doing for you if that’s the case! You get to view your archives too, so you can see exactly what progress you’re making along the way, especially if you’ve been incorporating some of the lifestyle shifts abundant throughout the site.  If you prefer, you can go down the purely data-led ‘track me’ pathway to vital health, or you could choose the softer, more intuitive ‘engage me’ pathway.

Crucially, BTS harnesses the power of social media in a positive manner. As a member of the BTS tribe, you’ll be plugged into a worldwide community of like-minded, health-aware or health-desiring people, with almost endless possibilities to share information, ideas and experiences — as well as strengthen local communities in terms of products and services. Imagine what Facebook was like back in the ‘good old days’, prior to the naked greed of its post-stock market flotation era. Well now imagine something similar, but focused on health in its myriad aspects. (And no cat pictures.)  What’s more, if you opt-in, your completely anonymised data will be used for research into the multi-modality diet, lifestyle and emotional shifts explored by BTS – research that could be instrumental in changing public health policy for the better.

Keeping information alive through community

Another reason that BTS is so vital right now is because it helps to counteract the baleful effects of the European Union’s (EU’s) Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation (NHCR), which promises an almost information-free future for EU citizens in terms of the health benefits of foods and food ingredients. Let alone similar clampdowns on freedom of speech with regard to natural health that are following suit on other continents. If we’re to keep alive the type of health information so threatened by the dead hands of the regulators, the community-based nature of BTS, enabled through innovative use of social media, will prove invaluable.

So: Bite The Sun could just be the perfect antidote to, and the philosophical opposite of, some of the EU’s (and other country’s) worst infringements of personal freedoms. Here's your chance to release your true potential, to have fun in the process – and if it's your desire, enjoy the unravelling of a ‘Mark 2 You’!

Why not join us on the journey? The BTS team can’t wait to welcome you to a truly world-changing health initiative!

Register your interest on the imminent launch of Bite the Sun.


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