A week ago, I attended the Longevity Now Conference in Anaheim, California. It was a packed 3 days from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, full of inspiration and information. Some of it was new for me, some of it was a refresher, but all of it renewed my passion for helping you create thriving health naturally.
My top 10 personal take-aways from the conference:
1. Recommit to a zero-sugar, low sweet carbohydrate lifestyle. Almost every speaker talked about the importance of managing blood sugar. Once again, it is sugar (not fat) that is truly at the heart of all of our modern-day ailments. Sugar includes breads, starches, excess sweet fruit and excess sweet vegetables. Certainly all sodas, candy, baked goods, etc. are sources of the worst kinds of sugar. This was mentioned in relation to weight, cancer, brain health, longevity, etc.
2.Use tonic herbs. Ron Teeguarden, a Chinese herbalist for the past 30 years, reminded us that the “USDA daily requirements” do not lead to thriving. Eating basic organic foods does not lead to optimal health. You need to boost every nutrient and arm your body with powerful tools to protect and defend itself from the onslaught of chemicals and stress. Some common tonic herbs you may know: ginseng, goji berries, turmeric, reishi, etc. Tonic herbs do not “cure” symptoms but rather work systemically to fine-tune the whole organism and lead to longevity.
3. “Stay under your breath” Pedram Shojai, a doctor and former Buddhist monk, uses the idea of a long hike as a metaphor: don’t set out of the gates too fast or you’ll collapse. Pace yourself, stay under your breath so you can go the distance. In everyday life, stay under the agitation of stress. Move slowly. Keep your breath deep and centered. Recover quickly when you lose it. In other words, keep your stress levels low.
4. Remember to cook with love and joy. One of the speakers was from Iceland; her name is Raw Sholla. She is the most contagiously joyful person I’ve ever seen. She speaks of making food with love and joy as the most important ingredient. She’s right. Put yourself in a good mood before touching any food that you will ingest.
5. Remember to eat the rainbow. When working with kids and their parents I always talk about the importance of eating every color of the rainbow, but when it comes to adults, I seem to forget to mention that. David Wolfe, the conference host talked about all of the colors of foods in nature. Do you realize that color isthe #1 nutrient indicator that nature provides us? To get a variety of nutrients, you need every color: green, red, yellow, orange, purple, blue, black, brown. How simple is that?
6. Eat for dental health and floss with essential oils! In the past couple of years I have learned A LOT about dental health and I plan to share some life-changing oral health protocols with you soon. The conference helped me recommit to eating a mineral-rich diet in order to preserve my good dental health. Nadine Artemis, a master herbalist, discussed how tooth decay is primarily a result of lack of minerals in your diet, particularly lack of phosphorous. When your mouth becomes an acidic environment (which is what sugar and sweet foods will do) instead of the healthy, mineral-rich, alkaline environment it is meant to be, bad bacteria can thrive, biofilm and plaque form on your teeth and decay can set in. Low sugars and high minerals (think replacing your bread and cookies for broccoli and kale) is the right direction to have a chance at re-mineralizing your teeth…though there’s much more to it. One of my favorite take-aways from the conference was the idea to dab essential oils like peppermint or tea tree oil onto your dental floss. The added essential oil is both refreshing AND importantly, anti-bacterial in a good way. One of the issues with regular mouthwash and toothpaste is that they can kill ALL bacteria in your mouth, which is not good. I’ll share more on that in my oral health series soon.
7. Boost brain health and minimize risk for degenerative brain issues (i.e. Alzheimer’s) through simple means. Dr. Daniel Amen, a renown psychiatrist, spoke of his brain imagine techniques and how he has evidence of rebuilding brain function and reversing brain injuries/degeneration through food, sleep, stress management, etc. Guess what type of diet he prescribes for brain health? Low sugar, high fiber and healthy fats… of course.Imagine that! Dr. Amen has solid information on preventing Alzheimer’s and helping people heal from traumatic brain injuries.
8. Honestly ask yourself this question: “Am I afraid of doing the thing I need to do in order to be vibrantly healthy? Or do I have a hidden belief that I need this health issue in order to get what I want? Dr. Lissa Rankin, a true hero in our over-prescribed world, talked about her new book The Fear Cure. She reminds us that oftentimes we avoid the thing we need to do to be healthy, OR we may be getting a secondary gain from having imperfect health. She also talked about true fear (the one you feel when you’re about to be mugged at gunpoint) and false fear (the anxiety you feel when your bills are late, you had an argument, etc.) Chronic stress and anxiety are affecting your health more than you realize.
9. Sitting is the new smoking. Optimal health is your choice if you look and reach for it. Another hero of mine, who I got to hug and speak with, Dr. Joseph Mercola spoke about how our sedentary lives are the primary source of our modern illnesses. So now that you read this, stand up and shake your legs. I mean it. Take 1 minute to stand and get circulation going. Dr. Mercola also spoke about the illusion of choice. Now that the media are controlled by a whopping total of 6 companies, whose primary sponsors are the pharmaceutical industry, the majority of messages are not getting through. You need to look for them. Some of his most salient tips were: get pure water, grow your own food (even if you just start sprouting), optimize your gut flora (which means no sugar, don’t eat GMOs or meats from animals that are given antibiotics, eat lots of fermented vegetables like sauerkraut and kimchi) take vitamins K2 and D3 as supplements, and become fat-fuel adapted. The majority of people in the US are addicted to foods that are too high in carbohydrates and aren’t even aware that they are on a sugar roller coaster. This does not mean eating lots of protein, it means eating lots of vegetables and plenty of healthy fats.
10. We can do this together. We can be the generation that turns the tide of decay in our human population and in our planet. We can be the generation that turns around the food systems and health systems to truly create health for our planet and for ourselves. We can do this together. It all comes down to our choices.
WHAT WILL IT TAKE?
For a few years now, I’ve taken to asking myself (and the universe) big questions that start with, “what will it take…?” I use these questions to open up my creativity, to expand the array of options that I might see visible to me, to elicit in myself a behavior that I might not have yet mastered, etc. For example I might ask, “what will it take for me to love my body so much that staying committed to my healthy path becomes the only option I want to choose?”
The answer doesn’t even really matter. As soon as I ask the question, I feel the emergence of my desire to love my body even more expansively, and to care for my health more deeply because of all the things that a thriving body enables me to do.
What will it take for you?
What will it take for you to take one of the 10 things I’ve shared with you to ignite a renewed commitment to yourself?
We can do this together. I’m here to help you, if you need support.