All posts by Dr. Sam

Farming in the Future

A person smiling for the camera
Nutrilite Scientist, Susannah Cooper, Ph.D.

Talk to Susannah Cooper, Ph.D., about innovation in farming and you’ll soon find yourself discussing the ins-and-outs of regenerative agriculture. It’s a newer approach to farming that could make a big difference in how we cultivate the soil and grow crops.

Dr. Cooper works in the Innovation Sciences Department at Nutrilite managing a team of scientists and agronomists who are experimenting with the future of farming.

A long history of sustainable farming

There’s a long history of farming innovation at Nutrilite. It started with my father growing alfalfa in the 1930s before we even knew to call it organic. He was looking for the purest, most nutritious botanicals, and he already knew that they needed to be grown sustainably and naturally, without any synthetic fertilizers or chemicals.

A picture containing outdoor, person, grass, field
Nutrilite Founder Carl Rehnborg in a field of alfalfa.

From our beginning, we’ve believed in the power of plants to deliver the best products to our customers and Amway Business Owners. But it was an “a-ha” moment my father had about happy, healthy cows that helped pave the way for our sustainable farming techniques that we practice up to this day, albeit on a much larger scale. It was the seed of an idea that has blossomed into a movement to help improve the nutrition of people all over the world.

Dr. Cooper’s Ph.D. is in plant breeding and genetics. She also has a master’s degree in entomology, so she understands insects and how they might interact with plants. I spoke with her recently about current Nutrilite farming practices.

The right plant in the right place

Dr. Cooper has a saying. “The right plant in the right place.” It’s a simple phrase, yet it captures the complexity of what she and the team do. The idea is to cultivate the best crops based on geography and type of farming. Hydroponic farming may make sense for certain crops, while other crops will grow better in one of the climates where our organic farms are located. In addition, the large variety of plants Nutrilite grows increases the biodiversity in our farming. Biodiversity, and using cover crops strategically to increase the health of the soil, is not only good farming practice, but it is also good for the planet.

According to Dr. Cooper, it all comes back to focusing on the soil as the most important component of our farming philosophy. The undisturbed soil that regenerative agriculture relies upon can increase carbon sequestration and keep healthy microbes working in the dirt to increase the nutrient density of the plants growing on the land. And healthier soils mean better climate resilience and drought tolerance.

High-tech, earth-friendly techniques

Nutrilite is harnessing the best of emerging technology and combining it with simple, effective, and earth-friendly techniques. For example, the biggest challenge for sustainable farming is weed control. Conventional farms often use synthetic chemicals to control weeds. We don’t. That means we rely on simple weeding along with innovate techniques to keep weeds from germinating. We use flaming early in the season to keep weeds from going to seed and we continue to experiment with lasers that zap weeds before they can even appear.

Trout Lake Farms Agricultural practices. Weeding the field.

Using advanced technology to keep the soil healthy and the crops filled with healthy nutrients is not only the present, but the future of farming. We’ve been relying on GPS tractors for years, but there’s even more innovative technology we can lean on to supply healthy plants for Nutrilite products.

Keeping the soil rich for future generations is the type of stewardship that’s ingrained in our work.

We wouldn’t want it any other way!

Cheers,

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Blink for 6-Seconds to Reduce Eye Strain – And See the World More Clearly

Francesca and I recently enjoyed a beautiful day hiking on Carmel Beach where we could see all the colors more clearly.

There’s no debate that too much screen time can be hard on your eyes, leaving them tired, often irritated, and too dry. I talked about several ways to help protect your vision health and reduce this digital eye strain in a previous post . Things like adding more leafy greens to your menu, including a vision supplement in your daily routine, or resting your eyes using the 20-20-20 rule.

To me, these are the best kinds of tips. Why? They’re simple to do yet deliver serious benefits.

Because you really shouldn’t take the importance of vision health for granted. Investing in your eye health can help unlock your potential and wellbeing. Simply being able to see the world we live in more clearly can have significant impact on our overall wellness. Plus, we should think about the things that we’re not seeing.

For instance, a 2020 Dartmouth College studyi of nearly 180 volunteers found that most people can’t tell when color is removed from their peripheral vision.

Although humans have a field of vision that spans about 210 degrees (like stretching out both of your arms), 83 percent of the participants couldn’t tell when they were only seeing 32 degrees of color. Nearly a third of the study couldn’t tell when 95 percent of their vision lost color.

Researchers said participants were shocked to find out how much of the world they weren’t focusing on could be changed without them noticing it. The way we perceive the world around us is likely “incorrect” and mostly constructed by what’s in our minds. If our minds routinely fill the gaps in our vision, then we need to make sure that our brain is healthy, and our outlook is positive. Don’t you agree?

Another new research study adds a simple habit to help protect your vision health. Researchers call it blink exercises. You can call it soothing relief for tired eyes. It’s ideally suited for combatting the strain that too much screen time can have on your eyes.

For this study,ii researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand followed more than 40 men and women, ranging from 18 to 44 years of age. The study participants were asked to complete a 6-second blink exercise every 20 minutes during their waking hours for 4 weeks.

Alleviate your tired eyes with blink exercises and make sure you are getting the right nutrition to support your vision health.*

One blink session consisted of closing both eyes normally for two seconds and then open. Close both eyes again for two seconds, then squeeze eyelids together tightly for two more seconds before opening both eyes. The participants reported that they completed about 25 of these blink exercises, on average, every day.

The results were both surprising and expected. Not only did this 6-second blink exercise improve the participants blinking patterns, it also significantly improved their dry eye symptoms and the quality of protective tear film needed for eyes to feel comfortable.

If you’re feeling the strain of tired, dry eyes from too much screen time, I encourage you to add blink exercises to your daily routine and build on your healthy diet and supplement habits.

It could be the 6-second solution you need to take your vision health to the next level so you can enjoy more comfortable eyes no matter where you’re looking.

And when you think about it, healthy vision will move you one step closer to seeing your future more clearly.

Cheers!

Dr. Sam Signature

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i Cohen M, Botch T, Robertson C. The limits of color awareness during active, real-world vision. PNAS. 2020:117 (24) 13821-13827. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1922294117

ii Kim AD, Muntz A, Lee J, Wang MTM, Craig JP. Therapeutic benefits of blinking exercises in dry eye disease. Cont Lens Anterior Eye. 2021;44(3):101329. doi:10.1016/j.clae.2020.04.014

* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The Real Reason Balancing Stress Matters

Enjoying my walk through the Echinacea fields. Getting outdoors in nature is a great way to slow down and destress. Trout Lake Farm West, Wash., 2014.

If you’re like me, you’re probably eager to move beyond the stress of the last few years. It seems balance has taken on a whole new meaning as we refocus on health, juggle work-life commitments, and navigate the uncertainties of today’s world. It can feel overwhelming. Even the toughest nut can crack under all this pressure.

The good news is, when you take a few simple actions, you can balance daily stress so you can see your life in a whole new light. We certainly don’t need to dive into the research to know that many people are feeling emotionally overwhelmed and stressed. We need only look around us, but the research is telling.

Consider one recent survey by the American Psychological Association about stress in America. Nearly nine out of 10 people surveyed said it feels like there’s been a constant stream of crises without a break in the last two years. No doubt, people around the world are feeling the same.

Stress is not necessarily bad. In fact, too little stress fails to motivate us. The culprit is too much stress. The trick is to find the right balance.

In many ways, balancing stress is like playing a violin. If the strings are too loose (too little stress), they moan and groan. Too tight (too much stress), and they screech. But with the right amount of tension on the strings (and in your life), the violin (and you) can play beautiful music.

Woman playing the violin. Stress is like the strings on a violin. Just the right amount of tension on the strings (and in your life), and the violin (and you) can play beautiful music.

3 Smart ways to make stress work for you

Don’t let stress do you in, instead, make it work for you. Here are three easy ways to get started:

  1. Set meaningful goals. Avoid making your goals too hard (you’ll probably give up) or too easy (you’ll probably be bored). Choose a goal that pushes you just outside of your comfort zone.
  2. Take regular breaks. My morning Pilates and daily nature walks go a long way to help me see things in a new light. Other activities may be better suited for your lifestyle like listening to music, deep breathing and even socializing. It all adds up to the much-needed breaks we all need for creative problem solving.
  3. Focus on your health. A healthy diet, regular exercise, restful sleep and other healthy lifestyle habits go a long way to help fortify your body (and brain) against too much stress. Don’t forget to fill any nutrient gaps with Nutrilite supplements.

Ready to de-stress and inspire others?

When you take care of yourself, you’re better prepared to help others around you who are feeling stressed. You may recognize this as being a “product of the product.” People around you will see your choice to be positive in your high energy, the sparkle in your eyes, and the smile on your face. More importantly, you can inspire others, especially when they are experiencing stress and uncertainty. And that’s beautiful music to my ears!


Now is a great time to take action to balance the stress in your life. After all, it could be just what you need to move closer to achieving your goals.


I’ll be cheering you on!

Dr. Sam Signature

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What ‘Keep it Simple’ really means

This resilient tree on The Nutrilite Brazil Farm is a gentle reminder of the simple beauty of nature.

Maintaining a positive mindset every day can be challenging. Especially during troubling times. But there are straightforward ways to keep ourselves in positive space, even when everything around us can feel so negative.

One way to do so is to keep it simple. That sounds kind of simplistic, doesn’t it? But it’s true. When you try to do too much, and overcomplicate your life, you might miss out on living it. Keeping it simple, doing a few things well, or even just doing a little bit each day, leads to greater levels of satisfaction and long-term wellness and sustainability.

That’s because believing in yourself is the starting point for good health and the positive mindset that comes with it.

So, don’t dwell on your weaknesses, but rather zoom in on your strengths. And use your strengths to improve the well-being of those around you. The satisfaction that comes from helping others is what creates purpose in our lives, it invigorates us.

Here are some tips to help you keep it simple and do more with less.

  • Take a simple approach to diet. Eat well, while eating less. A nutrient-dense, plant-based diet of whole foods will give your body the fuel it needs to function at its best. And supplement with Nutrilite™ products to fill the gaps in your diet.

  • Get ample amounts of sleep and then think about why you wake up each morning, give yourself a sense of purpose. If you are unsure of what your purpose is, connect more closely with your friends and social community and ask them for advice. They may understand your purpose even better than you might, simply because of the insights they’ve gathered from their relationship with you.
Lost in thought while taking a hike in the beautiful hills of Carmel, Calif. May 2020.
Photo: F. Rehnborg
  • Stay active every day. The world’s oldest people have daily lives with built-in activities such as walking or gardening, and their environment encourages movement. Take a walk if you are not sure which steps to take. A walk can help create the path you need to bring clarity to your thinking. Do you want to learn more about how I stay active? Here are the simple exercises I do each morning. And here is a blog post about my exercise routine.
  • Take a few moments each day to de-stress. Give yourself time to rest and reflect. That might mean taking a nap, simple breathing exercises, or even enjoying happy hour. However you choose to approach it, the goal is to cultivate regular habits that decrease the daily stressors that can lead to increased risk of chronic diseases and other health issues.

Taking responsibility for our health is what makes us more resilient. Because, ultimately, it’s up to you. How do you want to live your life?

Keeping it simple and understanding that less is more will help you stay positive. And your positive mindset will inspire those around you to live their lives to the fullest, too.

Cheers,

Dr. Sam Signature

P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe to our RSS feed and have blog posts delivered right to your inbox.

Take the Time to Really Live – Don’t ‘Zap’ Your Life

Francesca and I join our daughter Koral and granddaughter Hazel for a day of fun in the winter snow along with Koral’s two dogs Cosmo and Nala. Blue skies, fresh air, kids and dogs make it easy to enjoy any moment. Telluride, Colorado. December 2021.

With all the activities surrounding us and the stimulation we get from the digital world — that is always on — I find that many people want to live fast. They’re speeding up their lives to experience as much as possible because they fear missing out. When I think about it, if all we do is rush around as much as we can, we end up not really experiencing anything. It’s ironic. Continue reading Take the Time to Really Live – Don’t ‘Zap’ Your Life