Hi Prevention Partners,
Welcome to our first installment of Prevention Month goodness! I’m excited and inspired to help shift our collective attention towards wellness, especially after your incredibly powerful response to last week’s kick-off blog. This week, I turned to some of my most-influential mentors and health experts to give you their utmost prevention tips. We’ll get to that wisdom in a minute. First, a little back story, followed by a new definition of prevention (one that you can customize yourself!).
When I was diagnosed with cancer, I was lost, scared, and I had no idea where to start. As I began searching for help and answers, I got more familiar with proper nutrition, healthy lifestyle practices and spiritual garden tending. Naturally, as my studies progressed, I had the painful realization that I wish I had known these things BEFORE I got sick. Did I beat myself up? Not once. Never. And if you know me, you know I could have (very social smoker, heavy drinker, stress junkie, recreational goodies lover, par-tay frequenter). Could I have prevented my cancer diagnosis? I’ll never know. For me, the “why’s” are useless. They get me nowhere. What motivates me is acceptance, forgiveness and change. And truthfully, if it wasn’t for my diagnosis I wouldn’t have the best job ever—connecting with you!
Here’s what makes sense to me today, if 75–90% of the chronic illnesses are preventable, why not have some fun and live a little? Just do it in a way that makes you feel great while still having a grand ole time. Think that’s impossible? I beg to differ. Shake off the past and get on your yoga mat. Head off to the market and purchase some greens. Go for a walk in the woods and tell the trees what’s bugging you. Adopt a dog or cat and cuddle them. Sit in the tub and breathe deep. Call a family member to say “hello, I love you.” If they’ve passed on, you can still call them up in your mind. Heck, you can even watch bad TV, just as long as you get some sleep! It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You don’t have to throw out everything in your house, relinquish your heels, or shack up with a swami in a quiet cave. Simple and subtle daily shifts will lead to profound health leaps.
In addition to making my own shifts, I’ve also built a network of health practitioners and spirit lovers who keep me motivated. I also rely on the internet. (Not Google so much ’cause it scares me. Every time I Google something I think I’m gonna die by lunch.) Instead, I follow my favorite people online, take their tele-classes or get inspired by their weekly work. These teachers helped me find my way through the prickles and into the party that is now my world of prevention. Yes, you read that correctly—party!
Prevention doesn’t have to come with a negative connotation. While I wish there was a better word, there isn’t (not one that millions of people can understand). So it’s our job to give prevention a make-over. To take it from boring or threatening to inspiring and empowering. Each of us can create our own personal definition of prevention. A definition that we hold sacred, like a mantra or a guiding prayer. My definition goes something like this: Living in a holistic, compassionate and spiritually connected way that honors my entire being. Every morning I remind myself of this mantra. And then I add, “and may it be a hoot!” Boom. Slippers on the ground. Off to make the juice and cause some trouble.
Now for an awesome round up of wisdom. I personally asked each of these tuned-in superstars what they would tell someone who wanted to live a healthier, happier life free from chronic illness and stressful shizzle. Their answers totally invigorated me, and I hope they do the same for you.
Crazy Sexy Expert Prevention Tips
Tend to Yourself
In any moment of anxiety or loneliness, the best medicine you can offer yourself begins with pausing, and mindfully opening to the feelings in your body and heart. Then gently place your hand on your chest and inwardly send a caring message. You might mentally whisper, “It’s okay, sweetheart,” or “Forgiven, forgiven,” or even “I’m sorry … and I love you.”
- Tara Brach, PhD | Meditation expert, author & founder of the Insight Meditation Community
There is nothing like having the support of like-minded people. Start a book club, attend a local meet up or join an online forum. You are more likely to stay healthier and happier along your wellness journey by developing a buddy system for inspiration, support, solutions and friendship.
- Alejandro Junger, MD | Cardiologist & founder of The Clean Program
Stay safe in the sun. More than a million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States every year. I protect myself and my family by always having a stash of protective clothing and hats with me when we’re outside. And I always use a safe and effective sunscreen from EWG’s Sunscreen Database.
- Ken Cook | Founder of Environmental Working Group
Set The Tone
When you are talking to other people, begin your conversation with a positive statement: “It’s a great day.” “Oh, how lovely you look.” “I woke up feeling terrific today.” “I am so grateful to see you.” Start your conversations with something that makes the other person feel good. That way, you get to feel good, too.
- Louise Hay | Author & founder of Hay House
Release Your Expectations
Practice yoga with ease. Don’t worry about fitting into the poses. Allow your body to move how you feel. When you give your body and mind space, you can heal ailments and prevent tension from building into disease. How you move is how you are. Practice how you’d like to be.
- Tara Stiles | Yoga expert, founder of Strala Yoga
Block the Party Crashers
Endocrine disruptors you’re exposed to daily, such as bis-phenol A (BPA) and phthalates, can wreak havoc on your hormones. They act like other guests at the party in your body, drinking and chatting, but they are actually crashers who will disrupt the entire affair. New data show higher risks in women for infertility, miscarriage, endometriosis and egg count when phthalate levels are high. Repeat after me: “1, 2, 5, stay alive.” Plastic products with the recycling codes 3 and 4 are more likely to contain BPA and phthalates.
- Sara Gottfried, MD | Hormone expert & author
Load Up On Plants
Populations that live the longest and have the lowest disease incidence base their diets on whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Incorporate more whole plant foods into your diet by making sure at least half of your plate is made up of colorful veggies and fruits, aiming for at least a cup of beans or lentils a day, and eating fresh or blended frozen fruit for dessert.
- Julieanna Hever, RD | Dietitian, television host & author