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“Amway Answers”

Jan.10
2011

Weighing in on Vitamin D

Editor’s Note: This blog post originally appeared on the Amway Answers blog.

In late November, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report that questioned the need for higher levels of Vitamin D intake.

Mainstream media picked up on it, and experts on both sides of the debate weighed in. Anytime the results of more than 1,000 published studies are considered, conflicting opinions will surface, so Marc Lemay, Ph.D, a senior scientist at the Nutrilite Health Institute who helped formulate Nutrilite Vitamin D3 plus K2, gave his honest assessment. We are republishing it, in Marc’s words, below:

What’s this about Vitamin D in the news?

The IOM recently updated the recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) for Vitamin D and Calcium, raising the Vitamin D to 600 IU per day (800 for those older than 70), which is three times higher than the previous RDA.

Then why do so many vitamin D supplements provide 2,000 IU or more per tablet?

Vitamin D first became well known in the 1920s for its effects on bone health when it was discovered that milk fortified with a small amount of vitamin D (100 IU per cup) could prevent the bone disease rickets in children. Later research showed that vitamin D has other important health benefits at doses far higher than that. There are many vitamin D scientists who recommend 2,000 daily IU of vitamin D3 for everybody age one year or older. Some scientists recommend more than that: The Vitamin D Council recommends that most people get 5,000 IU per day.

It is safe to take 2,000 IU every day?

As always with supplements, check with your doctor if you have a medical condition. The IOM states the Safe Upper Limit of vitamin D at 4,000 IU for persons age 9-69. A recent benefit-risk assessment by the Council for Responsible Nutrition found an even higher upper limit to be safe. My personal recommendation? Check with your doctor and get your current vitamin D level tested. A good level to strive for is 40-80 ng/ml (nanograms per milliliter), measured with a 25-hydroxy test.

Why would anybody take more than what the IOM recommends?

There is much evidence that vitamin D helps with more than bone health and that it plays an important role in multiple body parts and functions. The strongest evidence is that people with higher levels of vitamin D are at lower risk of many types of cancers, especially colon and breast cancer. This evidence is mostly laboratory and population-study based, meaning that no pivotal double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have established that link. Those studies would be too long, expensive and morally questionable to conduct.

How much should I take?

Talk to your doctor. The IOM and other health organizations make general, population-wide recommendations. Your doctor will make the right recommendation for you. For most people, 2000 IU per day is a good start.

A few other important considerations:

  • Some people don’t need to supplement during the summer if they get regular sun exposure.
  • Vitamin D works with other micronutrients, most notably magnesium. There is some suggestion in scientific literature that people who are high in vitamin D and low in magnesium are at higher risk for developing kidney stones. If you take extra vitamin D, it’s a good idea to supplement with magnesium.

How much vitamin D do you take?

I take two to three tablets of the 2,000 IU Nutrilite product once or twice a week. On weeks when I get to spend more time at the beach, I take less. I also get my vitamin D level tested, and it’s hovering near the lower recommended limit at 40 ng/ml.

Thanks to Marc LeMay and Joel Van Kuiken for making this post possible. The views expressed here are Marc’s and do not necessarily reflect an official position taken by Amway. Glass of milk photo by Filomena Scalise from FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Jan.06
2011

Fly Away

Editor’s Note: This blog post originally appeared on the Amway Answers blog.

This morning, I was singing along to the radio with my three- and four-year-old backseat passengers. As we drove past Amway’s world headquarters, one of our favorite songs about flying came on, and I was reminded of the many distributors I’ve met in the last five years who Amway has helped take flight – in their lives, businesses and their self-worth.

Then, I arrived at my work station to quite a different perspective on flying.  I opened the program I use to follow the online conversation about Amway to the following Tweet: “Oddest airplane seatmate greeting ever: ‘You don’t do Amway, do you?’ (Prior flight apparently featured a nightmare neighbor.)”

Next came, “So, if one were to wear an Amway t-shirt, one could avoid being bothered by fellow passengers?”

People can be clever – and sometimes I have to laugh. People can be cruel – and sometimes I want to cry. Either way, it begs the question whether Amway business owners are more agressive than any other businessperson who loves their product and is passionate about what they do. I seriously doubt it.

No matter what I think, I’ll still remind people that our Rules of Conduct,* in the “Responsibilities and Obligations of All IBOs: Professionalism” section, addresses this. So, if you think it’s a serious enough problem with someone, we hope you’ll let us know. The rules state:

  • An IBO shall at all times conduct himself or herself in a courteous and considerate manner and shall not engage in any high-pressure tactics, but shall make a fair presentation of the Corporation’s products, services, and/or IBO Plan, when and where appropriate.
  • An IBO never imposes himself or herself upon prospective IBOs or customers. At all times he or she is courteous and considerate of the prospective IBOs or customers and, if the prospective IBOs or customers indicate a desire to terminate a conversation/presentation, the IBO immediately does so and leaves the premises.

For an Amway business to take flight, customers are necessary. We want our distributors to find and serve them in a way that feels good to both parties, and we work hard to teach them how with free training online, via video and instructor-led. That’s just common sense that creates a smooth and happy landing for all.

* The link provided here is to the Rules of Conduct for Amway North America. Rules and enforcement procedures vary by market, but all are designed to create a fair business atmosphere for everyone involved. Also, the image in this post provided by photographer Arvind Balaraman from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Jan.05
2011

Resolutions, Smesolutions

Editor’s Note: This blog post originally appeared on the Amway Answers blog.

When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve been known to say, “resolutions, smesolutions,” taking a very Grinch-like approach to this widely shared tradition.

This year, I’ve decided two things. First, SMesolutions are necessary. Second, SMesolutions now stands for Social Media Resolutions. They’re needed for this blog and the other social media efforts that Amway is undertaking in 2011.

I like the way business communications guru Chris Brogan does it. Each New Year, he challenges himself, his clients and his readers to come up with three words – not full-blown resolutions, just words – that will serve as guiding pillars for the year’s efforts.

I’m taking him up on the challenge.

Many people who’ve responded to Chris have taken the alliteration path, choosing “life; love; liberty” or “contribute; connect; celebrate” as their three words. I couldn’t resist doing the same, but the words I’ve chosen for Amway Answers’ SMesolutions come from the heart. They are: 

Passion. More specifically, retaining it. Many of us are passionate about doing the right things to maintain, improve or repair Amway’s reputation. And to tell our story to the world, whether it opens us up to criticism or not. I’m one of the loudest voices online when it comes to this, but it can be too easy to let that passion take a day off. I’d like to be more vigilant about it. This blog is one avenue for doing that and when a week goes by with no post, it’s passion taking an unauthorized vacation.

Progress. Is total transparency always the best policy? This debate rages on in several industries and of course, in politics. I believe this: Not every detail about Amway can or should be shared, but you deserve to know our plans; views; the bases for our actions; our intentions; and our interpretations of relevant things happening around us.  Not everyone shares that belief. This year, I’ll get more passengers on that train.

Participation. We need more voices in this discussion. From inside, outside and around Amway. I’m open to your ideas for how to include more people. We have an opportunity to combat misperceptions and to educate on a business model that’s made a positive difference in so many lives around the world. It won’t be as simple as sending an invitation to people: they need a reason to jump in. Let’s spend 2011 giving it to them.

Welcome to 2011. I hope that passion, progress and participation make their way into your SMesolutions as well.

Dec.17
2010

Organic Matter

Editor’s Note: This blog post originally appeared on the Amway Answers blog.

We’ve talked a lot about the presentation of the Amway business opportunity. Now, let’s explore how our top-selling brand, Nutrilite, is referred to – or should be.

Nutrilite is many things – many wonderful things. One thing it’s not? “Organic.” Our farms are organic, but that’s different. And I hope this post will help that all make sense.

Last week, I spent time at Nutrilite, including the Lakeview Farm. And if you’ve ever been, you know: Nutrilite employees and scientists are passionate people. Their enthusiasm is contagious. They live and breathe the optimal health philosophy by leading healthy lifestyles and using supplementation to fill nutritional gaps in their diets.

During my visit, I learned more about our sustainable farming practices. Grown in accordance with nature is a way of life at our farms and something we take very seriously. Our four farms are organically certified in their regions, but calling them “organic” is not saying enough. Being sustainable means that we encompass all of the principles of organic farming. But we go further by setting higher standards for how we interact with the environment and the communities around us.  

Those higher standards form the basis for our Nutricert program. We pioneered it to ensure that the network of farms supplying product to us meet our rigorous standards for quality and sustainability.

Our commitment to sustainable farming practices, whether organic (on our farms) or NutriCert (on suppliers’ farms), is demonstrated by these principles:

  1. Diversified: Farms must be diverse in both elements and crops.
  2. Build Soil: The soil nutrition and organic matter must be continuously maintained or improved.
  3. No Contamination: Pests are controlled without use of prohibited, toxic pesticides. No Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are used.
  4. Control: Full traceability of crops and processed ingredients is ensured.
  5. Healthy Social Environment: The farm life must represent an opportunity for human development and positive interaction with the community.

 

These principles make us good stewards and ensure the superiority of our products. They make us able to track our products and their ingredients from seed to serving. We harvest our crops when the plants are at peak potency and we process the ingredients within hours of their removal from the fields.

These are wonderful things. But they don’t make our products organic.

According to our scientists, without using the best of nature and the best of science we wouldn’t be able to create the level of strength we require in our products.

We always use natural and naturally-sourced ingredients when possible to deliver the best of nature. When possible. This also means we add no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives to our products. When nutritionally superior, the natural form of an ingredient is used in Nutrilite products to provide the valuable phytonutrients that many people are missing in their diets. We have been doing this for over 75 years because we know that these phytonutrients provide benefits beyond ordinary vitamins and minerals.  

However, we also formulate products to deliver the best of science. This includes delivering nutrients at levels demonstrated by science to offer health benefits to our customers. In some instances, it is just not possible to deliver scientifically substantiated levels of nutrients using only natural sources.

When you take Nutrilite products you’re reaping the benefit of our sustainable farming practices – the best of nature. But you are also getting the best of science. That makes all the difference with our products.

We hope you’ll visit and find out more for yourself.

Nov.15
2010

Great Expectations

Editor’s Note: This blog post originally appeared on the Amway Answers blog.

I have been a Cleveland Indians fan since I was old enough to walk. If you follow American baseball, you know that road has been mostly trials and “tribe”ulations. I am also a fan of Amway – a huge fan. (Well, 4′10″ isn’t huge, but huge in spirit!)

But for either team, I am not a cheerleader.

I tried out for cheerleading once - a big mistake. I made the squad and I had some fun, but in the end, I couldn’t hack it. I couldn’t smile when I was angry at the referee. A bad call is a bad call. I wanted to throw something. I couldn’t mock the other team – that wasn’t sportsmanlike. But I grew up in a baseball stadium, taunting the opposition with, “Hey, batter, batter – swing!”

In the end, I learned the difference between being a fan and a cheerleader. Both will stand by their teams through thick and thin, but a fan will go a step further. He or she will add an element of pressure to the situation by asking questions, seeking answers, sharing an opinion and sometimes, throwing things.

Readers of Amway Answers will realize that the editorial team for this blog is a group of Amway fans. We’ll ask tough questions of the right people. We’ll share your comments with those who care – and believe me, they do! And just as fans don’t like every single call the coach makes, we’ll certainly express some opinions that not everyone agrees with.

Here are a few other things to expect from Amway Answers:

  • Timing of posts: We will strive for one or two posts per week. It’s not as frequent as the posts at Amway Insider or the Amway One by One blog, both great places to keep up on day-to-day Amway happenings on a global scale.
  • Timing of responses: We check the blog several times a day to release comments, but may not have a response right away. That is because we are checking with other departments who have more knowledge than we do. Our responses will be as thorough and helpful as possible. This takes time.
  • Your suggestions: We’re not going to let “perfect” get in the way of better. Some of the suggestions posed here are excellent and they are being shared. You are also an Amway fan – adding that element of pressure so we can improve. We can’t change overnight and some things don’t need to be, or won’t, change. It doesn’t mean we aren’t listening.

If this blog isn’t meeting those expectations, it’s OK to let the coaches know how you feel. Just don’t be one of those fans that leaves before the last batter is out. You never know what could happen!

Nov.11
2010

Once a Diamond

Editor’s Note: This blog post originally appeared on the Amway Answers blog.

Back in May, I was on an airplane from Atlanta, Georgia to Johannesburg, South Africa with the 39th President of the United States Jimmy Carter.

It was the second time I met him. (I can’t figure out why he didn’t remember me!) As he walked down the aisles, shaking hands with everyone, he was greeted several times over as “Mr. President.”

I tell this story not because I was star-struck (although maybe a little) or because I voted for Carter. I was only four years old when he ran. I tell it because one Amway Answers reader asked, “Why is it that distributors who once qualified at Diamond, Emerald or other levels in the Amway business are still introduced as Diamonds or Emeralds, even if they aren’t currently qualified at that level?”

A fair question.

In a way, we liken it to someone who has won an Oscar, earned a Nobel Prize or even a Master of Business Administration degree. Similar to the presidency, these titles aren’t stripped away the year after new winners are chosen or a person graduates and no longer attends classes. It’s an achievement that stays with one for a lifetime.

Allowing Amway distributors to earn – and keep – their pins is a form of non-monetary leadership recognition. It shows others what they, too, can achieve. People who’ve reached these levels of recognition are qualified to teach and inspire others to do the same.

It also shows that people who are working to build their Amway business aren’t entirely different from other entrepreneurs who own their own stores, agencies or other businesses. There will always be months, quarters and years that are better than others, but they keep working hard to meet and exceed their best year ever. In Amway, people work to requalify or even get to higher recognition levels.

We stand by this practice. Once a Ruby, Emerald, Sapphire or Diamond, always one. And, if these terms confuse you, don’t worry. We’ll be doing a “Gems and Metals” explanation post here on Amway Answers very soon!

Nov.03
2010

Taking Responsibility

Editor’s Note: This blog post originally appeared on the Amway Answers blog.

The following statement comes from Amway chairman Steve Van Andel and president Doug DeVos:

To The Amway Community,

Today we are announcing settlement terms in a class action lawsuit filed several years ago by three former Quixtar independent business owners (IBOs).

The suit focused on allegations that in past years, our North American business did not always train and support IBOs well enough, and as a result, best business practices were not always followed when promoting the business.

The suit contains strong and disagreeable allegations and language that we categorically reject. They are sensationalist claims that remain unproven and that we expect will be dismissed by the court.

Nevertheless, the company and its IBO leaders take responsibility for all past issues, and we take responsibility for fixing them. We regret that the experiences of some IBOs fell short of the high standards that have allowed us to help many people, from all walks of life, start successful businesses for more than 50 years.

We have not only addressed the issues raised in this case, we have also gone further than settlements and safeguards. In the past few years, we have invested more than $300 million in additional business initiatives to help our IBOs succeed – including many investments that began before this case was filed. We have fundamentally transformed our North American business to offer our IBOs the best possible opportunity to succeed. Some of these efforts include:

  • Tripling our company’s investment in IBO education programs;
  • Expanding our 100% money-back guarantee to include all products and training materials purchased by IBOs in their first 90 days;
  • More than doubling the number of professional trainers we employ to teach best business practices across the country;
  • Consumer advertising, improved websites and other efforts to support our business opportunity, enhance IBO success rates and protect consumers from misrepresentation; and
  • Revised pricing strategies to enhance our competitive position.

This means that IBOs can launch their businesses with minimal, refundable start-up costs, receive excellent business and sales training, and be safeguarded by a robust satisfaction guarantee and return policy.

Still, we agreed to settle and to compensate the claimants in both money and equivalent product value, as we are confident that we have taken the necessary steps to address these past issues. We want to focus on helping IBOs build healthy businesses for the future, not a long court fight over allegations from the past.

Our founders had a simple philosophy: we start every day determined to make the business better than it was the day before. And in keeping that promise, we can confidently and proudly focus all our attention on offering an excellent business opportunity that is open to all.

Steve Van Andel

Chairman

Doug DeVos

President

Nov.02
2010

Unwelcome words

Editor’s Note: This blog post originally appeared on the Amway Answers blog.

Part of what we do in Corporate Communications is listen to the conversation happening about Amway – all around the world – in social media channels. Using a variety of tools of the listening trade, we keep tabs on what’s being said on Twitter, blogs, discussion forums, public facing social networking profiles and more.

When I do this task, there are certain phrases that stand out to me, or get stuck in my craw, as my grandfather – a true Texas cowboy – used to say. So I’ve decided to share them with you in a series of blog posts, starting today. One of those phrases is “passive income.”

Of course, we work in lockstep with our Global Business Conduct & Rules folks and we consult them before responding to those who erroneously use that phrase. (As mentioned in the first Amway Answers post, we’re not all experts on everything Amway.)

When we brought this up, they didn’t hesitate to respond with this: “Passive income is a term we do not permit distributors to use and it’s not a term the Corporation uses. In our business, there is no such thing as doing no work, and expecting money to still come in.”

So there you have it! When anyone presents a business opportunity using this phrase, exercise caution. If that person is from Amway, let us know. Also, comment here. What phrases do people associate with direct selling or with Amway that you consider unwelcome?