The BALANCE #Wellness100
We turned to a combination of Balance staff, freelancers, well-known and well-placed friends of the magazine to deliver our final 100. However, we’d love to know what you think – vent your spleen/shower us with praise on Twitter at @BalanceLDN.
100 – EMILY PENN (below) – She’s dedicated to developing solutions to environmental challenges, and organising the world’s largest community-led clear up.
99 – SARA PASCOE – The one-two of the book and tour of Animal proved an empowering hit, with fellow stand-up Katherine Ryan calling her ‘the voice of our generation’.
98 – DOMINIKA MINAROVIC & ELSIE RUTTERFORD – Founders of Clean Beauty, a brand that uses 100% natural ingredients.
97 – PAUL SINTON-HEWITT – The man behind the parkrun phenomenon has got, it is reckoned, more than a million people running regularly all over the world. Quite a feat.
96 – EMMA GONZALEZ (below) – Following the high school shooting in Florida, Emma co-founded Never Again MSD, to campaign for tighter gun laws.
95 – CARMEN ARISTEGUI – Mexican journalist Carmen works tirelessly to expose tyranny and corruption.
94 – RENEE ELLIOTT – The Planet Organic founder has succeeded in offering the widest range of organic food possible.
93 – LAUREN ARMES – She set up Welltodo, a global wellness news platform and industry resource.
92 – RANGAN CHATTERJEE – Promotes a down-to-earth, holistic health programme through his ‘Four Pillars’: eating, sleeping, movement and relaxation.
91 – POORNA BELL – After Poorna’s husband tragically took his life, the author campaigned for men to talk openly about depression.
90 – HUSSAIN MANAWER – East London poet and the first British Muslim to go to space, he’ll dedicate his trip to those living with mental health issues.
89 – VANDANA SHIVA – The radical eco-feminist activist is a ‘rockstar’ of the GMO protest movement.
88 – LeBRON JAMES (below) – The King isn’t on this list just because he’s one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He’s included because he’s helping to change society: his eponymous foundation has pledged $41million to send more than 1,000 Akron youths to college. That’s 1,000 youths who have the chance to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, heck, anything they want to be, all thanks to Lebron wanting to make a positive difference.
87 – MICHAEL POLLAN – Author and professor Michael thoughtfully explores the ethical bonds that connect our bodies, farms and food and then explains his findings in a reliable, engaging and never preachy way.
86 – BLAIR IMANI – Activist and author of Modern HERstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History, due later this year, Blair founded feminist organisation Equality for HER while at university and has worked with GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) to continue elevating the stories of gay people of faith.
85 – THE SLUMFLOWER – This Londoner curates a 100,000-strong audience where she blogs, presents and hosts radio shows about things that matter in the world of wellness. She focuses on pushing the need for empowerment in every aspect of people’s lives, a trait which has made her a millennial mastermind.
84 – ALAIN DE BOTTON – Philosopher, TED-talker and big-issue tackler, Alain has tried to make people think outside the box ever since his 1997 book, How Proust Can Change Your Life.
83 – YAEL COHEN BRAUN – After her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, Yael founded Fuck Cancer, an organisation that activates millennials to engage with their parents about early detection.
82 – KRIS CARR – Ex-actress Kris produced documentary Crazy Sexy Cancer after being diagnosed with a rare form in 2003.
81 – RUPAUL (below) – First drag artist to receive a Hollywood star, thanks to tireless work for the LGBTQ community. Jane Fonda praises a ‘man of great depth, incredible intelligence and compassion’.
80 – GAZ OAKLEY – There are many benefits associated with veganism, to the individual’s health and the environment, and Welshman Gaz is bringing it to the masses via his YouTube channel Avant Garde Vegan, sharing incredible creative recipes and getting others to follow suit.
79 – EMMA GANNON – No one articulates the fact that the internet is both awesome and socially dangerous more entertainingly than Emma in her book Ctrl Alt Delete and on a podcast of the same name. Born in 1989, the same year the web was invented, her second book The Multi-hyphen method: Work Less, Create More & Design A Career That Works For You will inspire you to find your own definition of success.
78 – GWYNETH PALTROW (below) – After three decades as an actress, Gwyneth has announced she’s taking a break to concentrate on her lifestyle company Goop. It started 10 years ago as a newsletter offering New Age advice and, despite some criticism, is now a major player in the market.
77 – SOPHIE SCOTT – BALANCE editor and founder continues to make a difference to the wellness and wellbeing of Londoners. Feedback from readers has been overwhelming.
76 – TARA STILES – Drawing on her background in choreography, Tara created Strala Yoga, a revolutionary approach to get people moving and healing their bodies.
75 – SUSIE ORBACH – Aside from Sigmund Freud, Susie is probably the most famous psychotherapist ever. She founded the Women’s Therapy Centre and is author of Fat Is A Feminist Issue.
74 – ALICE LIVEING – London’s most famous PT now extols the benefits of weight-bearing exercise and strength training for women.
73 – ROBERT HOLDEN – A psychologist, author and broadcaster, Robert aims to improve lives by promoting happiness. He also launched the NHS’ Stress Buster clinic.
72 – MALALA YOUSAFZAI (below) – From Taliban shooting victim to Nobel laureate, political activist and now PPE student at Oxford, she’s a worldwide inspiration.
71 – ANTHONY JOSHUA – In a world that’s dominated by shady practitioners and vituperative trash talk, world boxing champion Anthony has conducted himself with class and authority, making him an inspiration. The 28-year-old turned his life around – he’d previously been facing prison for intent to supply – through boxing.
70 – JOE ROGAN – Alongside a packed CV which runs to stand-up comedy, acting, and UFC colour commentary, Joe is best known for his essential podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience. He advocates the health benefits of cannabis and killing what you eat as an antidote to factory farming.
69 – WIM HOF (below) – Extreme athlete, Wim, has an unrivalled ability to withstand icy temperatures. The Iceman, whose philosophy is dubbed Inner Fire, does this to boost his immune system. He believes with the correct breathing, his feats can be emulated by anyone.
68 – PRINCE EA – Activist and enlightened spoken word artist launched powerful video Dear Future Generations, Sorry, which garnered 300 million views on social media.
67 – MICHAEL ACTON SMITH – Co-CEO of Calm, Michael made his name in the UK with children’s game, Moshi Monsters.
66 – CLERKENWELL BOY – Anonymous London food critic, he recently launched the charity, #CookForSyria.
65 – TARA BRACH – Founded the Insight Meditation Community and authored Radical Acceptance, which taps into the idea that only by accepting oneself can change begin.
64 – DAVE ASPREY – Inventor of Bulletproof Coffee, and whose own journey to health involved a diet rich in fats, Dave is aiming to live to 180.
63 – BYRON KATIE – Depressed and angry, Byron underwent a radical transformation back in 1986 when she claimed ‘suffering is optional’. Since then, her army of followers practise the process of self-enquiry: The Work.
62– TAMARA ARBIB – Co-founder of plant-based brand Rebel Kitchen, Tamara is on a mission to redefine health and ethical business practice,
61 – JON KABAT-ZINN – The godfather of mindfulness, he consciously decoupled meditation from its Buddhist background in a bid to make it more mainstream in the West.
60 – RICKEN PATEL (below) – Founder and president of Avaaz, a campaigning organisation site which boasts 44 million members, he’s been named Ultimate Game-changer in Politics.
59 – DAVID SPENCER-PERCIVAL – Successful entrepreneur, David sold everything to start again. Now he’s turned his hand to botanicals, launching No1 Rosemary Water.
58 – CHARLIE DARK – Run Dem Crew founder Charlie used to run at night because he didn’t want people to see him. He now works with ASICS to popularise an inclusive approach to running.
57 – EMILY SKYE (below) – The Australian fitness star, who has over two million Instagram followers, is an influencer who has spoken candidly about her recent postnatal depression and the importance of mental health.
56 – DAVID ATTENBOROUGH (below) – Just when it seemed that the nation’s favourite nonagenarian couldn’t do any more to promote conservation, 91-year-old David gave us Blue Planet II and unleashed a swell of interest in marine biology courses and radical campaigns to ban single-use plastic. The most influential environmentalist on the planet.
55 – RUSSELL BRAND – The comedian’s Trews channel on YouTube asks big questions, inspiring an entire generation to think differently.
54 – DELICIOUSLY ELLA – Struck down by a chronic illness, Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, as a student, Ella Woodward found her cure, her blog and ultimately, her business, in the plant-based diet she subsequently adopted. As well as a string of successful cookbooks, she’s recently opened upmarket delis in London with her husband and business partner Matthew Mills.
53 – BRUCE PARRY – While everyone thinks they could do more to protect the environment, few champion sustainable living like Bruce. A former Marine, his work as a documentary maker has taken him around the world spending time with government officials, drug manufacturers and cattle ranchers.
52 – DAVINA McCALL (below) – She quickly became a household name in 2000 as the presenter of Big Brother, but Davina had battled alcohol and drug addictions and anorexia to get there. To this day, she’s a big advocate of a healthy lifestyle – both physically and mentally.
51 – DANA FALSETTI – Although currently embroiled in a legal case with corporate giant, Alo Yoga, Dana is much more than a symbol in a battle for yoga’s soul. A body-positive, plus size practitioner, she is both an influencer and inspiration to many in the yoga community. Dana has recently added the podcast Deep Dive to her repertoire.
50 – PHARRELL WILLIAMS – He founded the charity From One Hand to AnOther which offers disadvantaged kids the tools they need to succeed in life.
49 – SERENA WLLIAMS – One of the greatest tennis players of all time, Serena campaigns for social change, providing support for victims of abuse.
48 – JIMMY KIMMEL (below) – The chat show host’s impassioned stance on the Affordable Care Act and gun violence makes him an inspiring presence on US TV.
47 – DAN SIEGEL – Changing the body is one thing; what about altering the physical structure of the brain? Enter psychiatrist Dr Dan’s Mindsight, a learnable skill to help us overcome ingrained behaviours.
46 – HEMSLEY SISTERS – Jasmine and Melissa are pioneers in the wellness movement that started in the kitchen and moved into everyday life.
45 – RYAN COOGLER – Directed top superhero film Black Panther. Proof, if needed, that it’s not just white men who can make and act in must-see movies.
44 – ESTHER PEREL – Belgian psychotherapist Esther delves into relationships, exploring tension between the need for security and the need for freedom.
43 – BEN GOLDACRE – Doctor, academic and author Ben has built his career on unpicking dubious claims made by pharmaceutical firms, journalists, politicians and others.
42 – BRIAN COX – His ability to reduce very complex ideas into relatable anecdotes helps us understand how we fit in with the universe.
41 – STEPHEN FRY (below) – Following what he described in his blog as an ‘attempt at self-slaughter’ in 2012, TV’s favourite polymath has done much to raise public awareness of depression (in his case cyclothymia, a form of bipolar disorder). His words will undoubtedly have saved lives – which makes him more than deserving of a place on our list.
40 – VIVIENNE WESTWOOD – Punk icon and activist, these days Dame Vivienne is focused on charities protesting at climate change and GM food.
39 – Dr RUPY AUJLA – ‘Helping everyone lead happier, healthier lives using food and lifestyle medicine,’ is his aim. Good on this GP.
38 – JOAQUIN PHOENIX – Vegan since the age of three, Joaquin works hard to spread awareness about animal abuse and to promote veganism.
37 – ADAM HILLS – Last Leg host has raised the profile of the Paralympics, while removing stigmas associated with disabilities.
36 – AMELIA FREER (below) – Her diet ideas, based around seasonal veg, cutting out dairy, sugar and wheat, have made her the A-list nutritionist.
35 – STELLA McCARTNEY – Fashion designer Stella has long been praised for championing sustainable, cruelty-free fashion.
34 – TIM WESTWELL & SEBASTIAN POLE – The men behind herbal tea giant Pukka remain 100% organic and Fairtrade.
33 – DAVID LYNCH – Having stressed everybody out for years, film director David has made it his goal to calm us down by promoting TM.
32 – CHRIS ANDERSON – His not-for-profit Sapling Foundation produces the free TED talks which receive around one billion views per year.
31 – ELLE MACPHERSON – The Australian supermodel is a staunch advocate of a clean, green life.
30 – PAUL McCARTNEY (below) – Such is the international, inter-generational reach of the former Beatle that when he speaks, the world listens. He has proved himself an indefatigable promoter of the vegetarian lifestyle and launched ‘Meat-Free Monday’, and recently the short film One Day A Week. Some years ago, he even told off the Dalai Lama for eating meat.
29 – LENA DURHAM – In a world of airbrushed covers and Instagram filters, Lena’s dedication to body positivity is refreshing. Her unashamed approach to illustrating it’s normal for women not to resemble a Victoria’s Secret model has been evident. Since the nude scenes in her TV series Girls, she’s appeared in an unedited photoshoot for underwear brand Lonely and encourages girls and women to love their bodies.
28 – MARIANNE WILLIAMSON – She leapt to popularity after an early-90s appearance on Oprah when she discussed the book A Course In Miracles, written by Helen Schucman, who claimed it was dictated to her by Jesus. Marianne’s influential brand of New Age spiritualism divides opinion, but book sales suggest she has many fans, being the author of four New York Times bestsellers.
27 – AL GORE – Former US vice president’s work in climate change activism, including the film An Inconvenient Truth, won him (jointly with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Its sequel was released to much praise last year.
26 – JESSICA ALBA – The Sin City star parlayed Hollywood fame into hard-nosed business success with the launch in 2012 of The Honest Company, which sells ethically-sourced household and beauty products. It’s had its troubles along the way, but the business is still valued at $1billion.
25 – RUBY WAX (below) – Via her own battles with depression, comedy legend Ruby has moved into the field of Mindfulness and mental health advocacy. Her latest book, How To Be Human, will, she says, ‘help upgrade your mind as much as you’ve upgraded your iPhone’.
24 – TIM FERRISS – Lifestyle design guru Tim’s business podcast has been rated #1 in its field many times and is the first to be downloaded 100million times. Wow.
23 – MARION NESTLE – Veteran nutritionist Marion is hugely authoritative on public health, particularly on the sharp practices of food giants.
22 – BRENE BROWN – Life coach Brene has carved out a niche best summed up by her 30 million viewed TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability.
21 – GABBY BERNSTEIN – Spirit junkie Gabby is a New York Times bestselling author, particularly popular with young, female professionals.
20 – KAYLA ITSINES – She founded the Bikini Body Guide and changed the face of women’s fitness, amassing 9.2 million Instagram followers.
19 – JK ROWLING – The woman behind Harry Potter has given away $160 million to good causes helping many single parent families and disadvantaged children.
18 – JUSTIN TRUDEAU – The Canadian prime minister is one world leader worth looking up to, as he fights for health and home care for all Canadians.
17 – ELLEN DEGENERES (below) – With the reach given by her still-popular talk show, Ellen is a passionate LGBT activist and her veganism has given the lifestyle a real boost.
16 – SHERYL SANDBERG – Facebook COO’s non-profit initiative Lean In has helped millions of women balance success in their work and family lives.
15 – BILL GATES (below) – The Gates Foundation has billions to improve lives and does just that, immunising millions of children and saving many lives globally.
14 – DEEPAK CHOPRA – Although trained in conventional medicine, it’s his espousal of the alternative variety that has earned him both fame and notoriety.
13 – ANDY PUDDICOMBE – An early adopter of mindfulness he co-founded Headspace in 2010 to demystify meditation. It’s proved irresistible worldwide.
12 – TONY ROBBINS – He left home at 17 with nothing and built a business with an annual turnover of $6billion based on his brand of positive thinking.
11 – PRINCE WILLIAM – The second in line to the throne has continued the work of his late mother through mental health charity Heads Together, opening up discussion on grief and bereavement.
10 – PRINCE HARRY – Following his experience of serving in Afghanistan, Harry has become a powerful advocate for mental health and has spoken movingly of his own depression.
9 – ARIANNA HUFFINGTON – Since selling The Huffington Post for $315million, the irrepressible Arianna now focuses on Thrive Global, promoting health and wellness.
8 – TARANA BURKE – The first to use the phrase ‘Me Too’, way back in 2006, the African American civil rights activist coined the expression to raise awareness of assault and sexual abuse in society.
7 – ELON MUSK – Tesla supremo Elon is a key player in renewable energy and recently unveiled, in Australia, the world’s largest-ever Lithium-Ion battery.
6 – DWAYNE JOHNSON – The uber-ripped, former WWE star is carving out a reputation as a gym guru and motivational man mountain of some repute. His message reaches over 96 million on Instagram.
5 – JOE WICKS
Spreading his gospel of exercise and healthy eating through Instagram and Snapchat has transformed Joe from just another personal trainer to The Body Coach and today’s king of fitness. Lean In 15 was the best-selling non-fiction book of 2015 despite being published just three days before the year ended.
4 – BARACK OBAMA
Who doesn’t think of Obama and sigh wistfully? Aside from being one of the more beloved former leaders of the free world, he continues to have a positive impact. His nonprofit Obama Foundation aims to provide a ‘platform for young, up-and-coming leaders’ and a glance at the website, shows it doing just that.
3 – DALAI LAMA
Tibet’s spiritual leader, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has taken his philosophy of non-violence and environmental concerns around the world. His writings have made him a symbol of the quest for inner peace. The purpose of life is ‘to be happy’, he says.
2 – OPRAH WINFREY
In the same way The Beatles helped turn a black and white world to psychedelic technicolour, Oprah Winfrey changed our relationship with mental health, ensuring more of us express how we’re really feeling. While not the first person to talk about self-help and personal development, no one has had such a positively devastating impact. Oprah used her influence to champion authors, books and therapy on her epoch-defining TV show, while encouraging viewers generally to do the right thing. Still a major force for positive change, particularly through her series of audiobooks with Deepak Chopra, could she be the first female US president?
1 – JAMIE OLIVER
When it comes to our #1, we wanted to flag just a few of his achievements:
2002: Fifteen: the restaurant and social enterprise that trains young people for a career in food.
2005: School Food: Jamie calls on the government to act on the state of school food. Then Prime Minister commits £280m to improve school food and The School Food Trust is established.
2008: Fowl Dinners: TV show reveals shocking conditions of battery-farmed chickens, resulting in a 50% increase in sales of free-range eggs and higher-welfare chickens.
2012: Food Revolution Day: annual childhood obesity campaign sees more than 1,000 events take place across 66 countries, celebrating the power of good, fresh, real food. By 2016, 1.4 bn participate on Twitter.
2013: School Food: the government announces food education is compulsory for Key Stages 1 to 3. Healthier school meals are also made free for infant children, resulting in an uptake of 85%.
2015: Jamie’s Sugar Rush: TV show launches Jamie’s campaign on excessive sugar. He introduces a levy on sweetened drinks in his restaurants, and is joined by other UK restaurants. Meanwhile, schools are required to offer one or more portions of vegetables or salad every day,
2016: Sugar drink tax: As a result of Jamie’s campaigning, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announces a sugary drinks tax in the budget to come into effect in 2018. The money raised will be used to fund sports and breakfast clubs in schools.