Is Healthy the New Wealthy?

Jonathan H Cortez, Kamla Persaud-Reddy, Tyler Moore, Rafael Hernandez, Monica Y Yamauchi
Muma Case Review  •  Volume 6  •  2021  •  pp. 001-021
Can a mission, driven by passion, become the healthy option for starting a dynamic business?
Jeremy Hall was a successful businessperson who owns real estate, insurance, and holistic coaching companies. He relocated from Boston to Tampa Bay in 2010. Life was busy, fast-paced, and Jeremy was not feeling well for several years. Unfortunately, in 2013, at the age of 45, Jeremy’s entire life came to a screeching halt when he was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC). UC is a debilitating autoimmune disease that affects the entire gastrointestinal system. It is characterized by progressive mucosal inflammation of the intestines, bloody diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, and fever. Despite medical therapy, Jeremy was in severe abdominal pain and acute flare-ups which led to frequent hospitalizations. Jeremy felt hopeless about his future and fell into depression.
Six years later, inspired by a documentary on the dairy industry, Jeremy decided to give up all dairy products and switched from a vegetarian to a vegan diet. Within a few weeks, Jeremy’s symptoms had improved; he was not experiencing abdominal pain or diarrhea. To Jeremy and his physician's surprise, the follow-up colonoscopy revealed significant improvement of his intestines. Jeremy attributed his remission to the dietary changes and was committed to helping others. He enrolled in numerous training programs regarding nutrition and the concept of "food as medicine." He wanted others to know that many common chronic diseases can be prevented, treated, and potentially reversed through a healthy lifestyle and whole-food plant-based diet. Jeremy made it his life's mission to inform and educate his community.
Jeremy and his wife Alexa decided to open a whole food plant-based vegan restaurant that focused on healthy eating and education. In July 2019, that vision led to the opening of "Green Life" restaurant in Sarasota, Florida. Within a few short weeks, the business grew, and Jeremy partnered with local area healthcare professionals, lifestyle experts, and nonprofit organizations to promote healthy eating and living. The year 2020 started with great hopes; however, the restaurant came to a grinding halt as the nation was gripped by the COVID 19 pandemic. During the pandemic, it became clear that individuals with chronic medical conditions incurred higher morbidity and mortality. At the same time, a local restaurant founded on the grounds of health promotion and disease prevention had to be closed due to pandemic-related loss of business. How could this type of healthy restaurant business flourish during a pandemic? How could some vital "green" flow back into Green Life restaurant?
Green Life, USF EMBA 202, Restaurant, Vegan
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