This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the 1st annual Health & Happiness Summit at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. The event was hosted by Dr. Oz and featured presentations by health experts, including Lisa Oz, Dr. Perricone, Dr. Northrup and Dr. Wentz on topics ranging from obesity, anti-aging, and proper sleep, to toxins in the home.
The theme of this event was the direct link between our health and our ability to experience happiness in our lives. Happiness has been directly correlated to the relative degree of hope and control we feel over the circumstances in our life, and also our ability to enjoy our surroundings, live without pain or illness, and create healthy relationships.
We have little control over many of the things that happen in our life, however what we can control are the choices we make when it comes to eating and living a healthy lifestyle. When we take control of how we live and how we feel, this translates into feeling more in control in other aspects of our lives.
Regardless of where you are on the health and happiness spectrum, I wanted to share my favorite tips and insights from the summit, in the hopes of inspiring you to live a life of abundant and optimal health.
Highlights from Lisa Oz on creating change:
- A combination of awareness (knowledge), action (habits) and purpose (motivation) are necessary to change your lifestyle
- What keeps us from doing what we already know is good for us is not a lack of information – it’s emotion and our limiting beliefs
- We must identify our big “why” in order to have the emotional momentum to drive change, otherwise we stay stuck in our habits
- We must build our mental resilience and how we cope with stress, versus numbing ourselves with food, alcohol, television or medications
Highlights from Dr. Michael Breus on getting better sleep:
- Poor sleep leads to poor health, including weakened immunity and weight gain
- B vitamins and minerals play a key role in creating the optimal biochemical balance for good sleep, when our diet is deficient in these nutrients it can affect the quality of our sleep patterns
- Melatonin can be very effective at improving sleep quality, but is not designed to induce sleep – it is a hormone (not a vitamin or herb) and should be taken carefully, monitored by a qualified heath professional
- Top 5 tips for getting better sleep:
- Go to bed/wake up at about same time, 7 days a week
- Stop caffeine by 2pm
- Limit alcohol 3 hrs before bed
- Limit exercise 4 hrs before bed
- Get 15 min of sunlight every day
Highlights from Dr. Perricone on aging and beauty:
- Chronic inflammation is the main root of all disease and aging in the body – there is a connection to almost all degenerative disease (from cancer, to heart disease and arthritis)
- A diet high in sugar and starch promotes inflammation
- Protein is important in an anti-aging diet – it is the amino acids in protein that are the building blocks of our cells, connective tissue, hair, nails, skin, etc
- Fish is particularly beneficial because it is high in omega 3’s (essential for cellular health)
- Antioxidants play a key role in slowing down the again process in the cells
- Chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa is both an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
Highlights from Dr. Northrup on women’s health:
- Take charge of your health by always trusting your intuition
- Main message – you have time. When it doesn’t feel right, get a second opinion.
- Our body has incredible healing power, as do our thoughts
- Thoughts over time become beliefs, and beliefs become our biology
- Our lives (our emotional experiences and traumas) live in our cells – our minds may forget but the body and soul always carries the energy of the experience. It is our unhealed issues that control our nervous system
- There are studies that have documented the relationship between childhood trauma and our health / behavior in our adult life (from sexual abuse, to alcoholism, neglect, emotional abuse, divorce, etc)
- The key for women’s health is to partner with your body and your female wisdom
- Embrace the power of your heart (the heart chakra) – the electromagnetic measure of your heart is stronger than your brain!
- Your heart is in biggest coherence when it is in a state of appreciation (i.e. Gratitude!)
- Affirmation: “help to me believe the truth about myself, no matter how beautiful it is”
Highlights from Dr. Wentz & David Wentz on cellular nutrition and toxicity on the home:
- The cell is the basis of all life, therefore healthy cells are the foundation of a healthy body
- For optimal health you need to provide the cells with all of the nutrients required for it’s function, and avoid all of the toxins that contribute to its degeneration (mercury and fluoride are particularly toxic to cells)
- Cells need vitamins, but even more important, are essential minerals
- Trans-fats are like sludge to our cells
- Today’s food and environment – poor quality soil, pollution, over-processing of food, stressful lifestyle – are detrimental to our health and increase our needs for supplementation
- Although environmental pollution is everywhere, our primary environment is our home, which is relatively within our control – it is in our home where we can most decrease our toxic exposure
- Some easy tips for decreasing toxicity in your home environment:
- Open your windows, the air inside is often more polluted than the air outside
- Avoid fluoride toothpaste (it actually displaces calcium, which is essential for strong teeth)
- Switch out harsh detergents and cleansers for environmentally friendly products
- Reduce the frequency of your dry cleaning, and opt for “green cleaners”
Highlights from Dr. Oz on Optimal Health:
- You control 70% of how well and how long you live!
- Key factors in optimal health;
- Optimal blood pressure (not average)
- Avoidance of toxins and cigarettes
- Regular exercise (30 min daily)
- Health diet / good nutrition
- Stress management
- People change based on what they feel, not what they know. Therefore more information is not the key (see Lisa Oz’s points about your big WHY and limiting beliefs)
- In order for prevention to work, we must make it easy for ourselves to do the right thing
- Systematize each day (i.e your routine and meals) – make it a habit and not a decision
- Make the choice at the grocery store not in the home (too hard once the junk food is already in your house)
- Change your mind first – don’t see it as sacrifice and deprivation
- Weight is #1 topic in health and wellness – comes down to control, how we feel about ourselves, our lives and our relationships.
I hope that by reading this post, some of the points I’ve highlighted have either reminded you of what you already know, inspired you to take action, or provided you with insight as to some of the reasons why we struggle to make long term changes.
The key is… don’t give up. The only path to health is prevention, especially as our food and environment are becoming increasingly toxic. We must take it upon ourselves to take charge of our health and our future. Don’t wait for the manufacturers to stop making unhealthy food, we have to stop buying it first. Make small changes, and even more importantly, get clear on your motivation, your reasons for wanting to live a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps seek out support to help you make the initial changes until they become habits that are part of your life.
It’s never too late and no change is too small. Begin where you are.
Live Fit. Live Happy.