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What I Learned at MindBodyGreen’s Revitalize Summit

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How do you stay healthy? This was the seed question to the multitude of brilliant solutions that were offered at MindBodyGreen’s Revitalize summit June 12-15, 2014. I was honored to be one of the one-hundred invitees to take part in this cutting edge forum along side a diverse group of influential thought leaders in the field of wellness. I journeyed from the tropical Costa Rican jungle to the arid desert of Arizona for a four day conference to participate with the best and brightest in discussions about functional medicine, nutrition, fitness, sustainability, communication, relationships and community.

IMG_1383Before we can answer the question of how to stay healthy, let’s define “health” and how it applies to each of us holistically; body, mind and soul. In my opinion, a healthy body is disease free, pain free, seldom catches colds, flus or allergies, one’s size and shape are in harmony with their constitution, has stamina and the ability to maintain steady energy throughout the day and is able to sleep restfully throughout the night. A healthy mind is clear, open, able to access and express emotions, able to discern and speak the truth, can make decisions and realize the results of those decisions. A healthy mind is able to recognize and exist in the present moment. A healthy soul has a concept of self value and self esteem, is able to love, apologize and forgive, and has an awareness of the connection between all beings.

 

Personally, I fluctuate. I have good days, great days and bad days too, but I consider myself a pretty healthy person. I know that my body, mind and soul are so intimately woven together that the actions and state of each element completely and unavoidably influences my entire integrated self. There are practices and techniques I follow to enhance my health and wellbeing, and there still is so much I am working on and learning about after more than 20 years of dedicated study.

 

Back to the the conference. Revitalize was revitalizing! I was inspired by the speakers and other guests. Everyone was intelligent and friendly and had something interesting to say about health and wellness. The schedule of events was a mindfully choreographed experience with much more than just lectures. There was yoga with Liz Arch and Tara Stiles, meditation led by Charlie Knoles, hikes in the desert with vegan ultra-athletes Rich Roll and Hillary Biscay, an evening of music under the full moon with Fiest and Grizzly Bear, star gazing, a gong bath, gluten-free s’mores and more. All of these activities can be keys to health on all levels, having fun is medicine.

 

The panel of speakers was fantastic. The lectures are available online at mindbodygreen.com, definitely worth watching! IMG_1258Dan Harris from Good Morning America discussed how he became “10% happier” through meditation because meditation actually re-wires the brain for happiness. Heather White of the Environmental Working Group told us about the toxins found in conventional beauty products, and that many common personal care ingredients are found in cancer tumors. Check out the EWG’s great website www.ewg.org to learn about the ingredients you put on your body everyday and some non-toxic alternatives.

Treehugger.com founder Graham Hill pointed out our addiction to technology. He reminded us to be present and to turn our smart phones off every now and then, especially if we are enjoying the company of a real person. Fashion icon Amber Valletta spoke about her journey with drug and alcohol addiction and questioned the modern ideal of beauty. Therapist Sue Johnson gave us relationship tips and emphasized the importance of listening.

Several physicians; Terry Wahls, Mark Hyman, Drew Ramsey, Robynne Chutkan, Chris Kresser, Amy Myers, Frank Lipman and Joel Kahn, discussed the healing power of foods. The consensus was that our diet is the most important factor in maintaining our health. They agreed that Michael Pollan’s approach to “eat real food, not a lot, mostly plants” is the way to go and recognized that there is not one magic diet that works for everyone. Organic, living foods support the optimal expression of our DNA, while processed, chemical foods promote DNA mutation. Dr. Hyman recommends eating the foods that God made rather than the foods that man made and Dr. Wahls shared the simple protocol she used to reverse her MS of “organic and gluten-free, 3 cups of leafy greens, 3 cups colored veggies and 3 cups of sulphur rich veggies (like mushrooms and onions) per day plus a little sea weed”. Sounds pretty good and not that hard!

Revitalize was a life enriching experience. I learned something from everyone I spoke with, and am happy to have expanded my circle with people who are committed to wellness. After going over the information I gathered in those four days, it seems like the answer to my question of how to stay healthy is actually quite simple: eat well (real food, not a lot, mostly plants), love yourself, value your important relationships, meditate, get some exercise doing something you enjoy and be present.

 

 

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