All posts by Dr. Sam

The Future is Here

We’re nearing the end of 2022 and I’m inspired. It’s been a year to remember, one with obstacles and change, but also opportunity. For me, it’s an exciting time because I believe that despite the challenges we’re facing in the world, we’ve begun to understand why we need to act in order to secure a healthy future. 

Sunrise on the Nutrilite El Petacal farm in Ubajara, Mexico. 

We’re learning that problems can’t be passed on to the next generation anymore. There is an immediate need to work toward solutions, and I believe we are beginning to make tangible progress.  

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that my dad was deeply connected to the wonders of the universe. He understood how biological systems are intertwined with humanity, and that we shouldn’t take natural resources for granted. He saw the finite nature of our existence. And he realized how the components found in plants were instrumental to our health as a species.  

He clearly articulated the idea in this quote:  

“We are made of nothing but what plants provide and other substances available in the air and water of the earth, and so we are inescapably in and of the earth, and in and of the universe. If we cannot get what the plants provide, we cannot live.” 

Carl Rehnborg inspecting botanicals in 1953.

When I reflect on these words from my father, I think about the continued progress we need to make as a species to help prevent unhealthy outcomes and damage to the planet.  

Living in the future 

We need to continue to gain momentum and help people see that the best way to avoid problems occurring in the future is to act in the present and prevent them from happening in the first place.  

We shouldn’t be just reacting — for instance, many of our health problems can be avoided if we do simple things every day that keep our body and mind active and engaged. Waking up each day with a positive, healthy mindset positions us to learn, grow and find solutions to community issues that can affect the health of the entire world on a much broader level. 

In other words, you can act locally to make a difference globally. That’s how it starts. The impact we make each day compounds into future success.  

Here’s some of the progress I’m seeing: 

  • More power from renewable energy systems is coming online, helping us reduce pollution and power a cleaner future. 
  • Regenerative farming practices are helping remediate the land and bring soil back to its original nutrient-rich state. And many people are embracing circular economies and they are beginning to understand the importance of concepts like biomimicry. 
  • Diets are changing and reframing the idea of food security into nutrition security is helping people eat healthier and improve their quality of life. 
  • People are becoming more active and seeing that regular exercise increases our health span so that we might live beyond 100 years. 

Through this, Amway and Nutrilite continue to grow and build community. People are understanding how to be a product of the product and lead healthy lifestyles that others can follow. 

What could be better than that? 

2022 has been a good year. Here’s to a successful and healthy 2023! 

Cheers! 

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Food Insecurity and Healthy Nutrition

Food insecurity is when a person lacks regular access to enough safe and nutritious food for normal growth and development and an active and healthy life, according to the FAO.  

Approximately 800 million people in the world faced hunger in 2021. That’s a lot. Food security, and the elimination of food insecurity, should continue to be a top priority. Our world population continues to grow, and the environment is becoming increasingly volatile, which means even more people may struggle to find healthy food in the future. 

Morning light welcomes the day on the Nutrilite Trout Lake West Farm in 2016.

That’s why when I hear insights from Dr. Christopher Gardner about things like stealth nutrition and other ways that our food systems can be made more sustainable, I pay attention to what he says. In a Medium article written by Ashley Abramson a few years ago, he pointed out the simple idea that nutritious food can also be the most flavorful. And in a more recent interview, he spoke about ways we can adapt our food systems to supply healthier food while also helping the planet. 

Dr. Gardner is the Rehnborg Farquhar Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, and his approach to nutrition and food is what we need more of. Because if we are going to have a resilient future, we need to be thinking not just about food security, but more specifically, about nutrition security. There is a difference. Shifting from food security to nutrition security means shifting our thinking from quantity to quality.

Of course, people need enough food to be food secure, but addressing hunger also includes giving our bodies the nutritious food we need to live long healthy lives.  

Where does our food come from? 

Where our food comes from is something we often take for granted. For many of us, it’s easy to go to the market or the grocery store, find food that appeals to us and simply buy it. We don’t always think about how and why it made it to the shelf for us to choose and consume. Because how it is grown or raised, and how it gets to the market, can directly affect the environment. Which means our food choices can help support the planet. That’s why we should choose wisely. 

The Standard American Diet or Western Diet, which is low nutrition, low-cost, and convenience-focused, is becoming more prominent in low-income countries and in large countries like China and India. This might seem like a way to address food insecurity but relying only on this type of diet also means more people are becoming subject to obesity and disease.  

The reality is that good nutrition from quality food would help prevent many diseases from occurring in the first place. Imagine a world where our global health systems could focus on helping people achieve their best health instead of treating their illnesses. What a difference that would make!   

Healthy colorful food is also incredibly tasty!

That’s the idea behind nutrition security. If we can make nutritious food flavorful, desirable and available to people who want it, we will have a much healthier world. And eating the proper mix of delicious plant-based foods combined with the right type of protein will help make the world more sustainable.  

And if you know what you’re eating is good for the planet, your food will taste even better! 

Cheers! 

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Here is how to maintain focus on Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning, learning about people and the world around me, has always been an important part of my growth. The discoveries I’ve made throughout my life of learning and curiosity have kept me young in spirit, and in mind.

Setting off on a journey of learning and discovery on the Double X sailboat in 2014.

It’s not only the product of a growth mindset, but also the simple idea that lifelong learning makes for a longer life. Our brain’s neuroplasticity will keep expanding as we age if we keep challenging ourselves. Learning pays us back in many ways.

Remaining in our comfort zone with simple brain tasks that won’t impact neuronal plasticity is easy. And, yes, it’s harder to learn new skills or pursue new ideas or education that challenges our long-term memory and high-level cognition. But it will map new pathways in our brain. I find it magical that intensive learning not only teaches you something new, but also improves your brain plasticity and health.

Staying young and improving neuroplasticity is also about maintaining focus. Knowing that we live in an “attention economy” where constant distraction has become a barrier for many people, focusing on fewer things is one way to be more effective. Because if you really think about it, you don’t necessarily need more time, you need more focus. So what you decide to commit yourself to is important.

Taking Healthy Risks

Committing to something often requires you to take a risk. And risk can be stressful even when it gets you out of your comfort zone and makes you stretch. In certain situations in our lives, I’ve discovered that it’s a bigger risk not to take one. Taking a healthy risk challenges our thinking by exposing us to new ideas and learning about different points of view.

And you might fail. But you shouldn’t be afraid of failure. Failing means you are trying and growing and stretching yourself further outside of your comfort zone. I’m not saying that success isn’t wonderful! But succeeding at something easy may not be as meaningful as failing at something hard. It may not give you the same opportunity for mental growth.

Here are a few ways to maintain your focus and keep expanding the neuroplasticity of your brain:

Find someone different from you and get to know them. Seeing something from another point of view helps occupy your mind with opposable ideas. It’s a key to empathy, expanding your world and making better decisions. You don’t necessarily have to agree with someone’s perspective to understand what’s motivating them. Someone who thinks differently from you might be the perfect complement.

Try learning a new language. There are so many wonderful tools available nowadays to help you learn to speak a new language. Understanding the nuances of languages, and the dialects that accompany them, gives you deeper knowledge of diverse cultures and appreciation for different ideas. Not only are you creating more neural pathways as you master pronunciation and conversation, but you can begin to have deeper interaction with the people around you.

 Learn how to play an instrument. Music is wonderful to listen to, but playing an instrument opens a whole new world. Find a music teacher and pick an instrument to learn that you love listening to. Learning how to play it will give you more appreciation for the music you hear every day.

And finally, as you continue learning and growing throughout your life, don’t forget to laugh!

Laughter and a positive mindset are the best form of prevention.

Cheers!

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Finding the Blue Zones

Blue Zones are made up of specific people in this world who have discovered a worthwhile formula for healthy aging.  Blue Zones are comprised of five areas in the world where people live the longest.

Man and woman embracing on the back deck of a boat with water and mountains in the background.
Francesca and I enjoying our time in Capri, getting ready for a “Blue Zone” style dinner on the island.

The archipelago of Okinawa, Japan, known as the “Land of Immortals” is a Blue Zone. The small island of Ikaria, Greece, is another, as is Sardinia in the Mediterranean nicknamed “Place Where People Live the Longest in the World.” The Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica and the Southern California city of Loma Linda, which is home to a high number of Seventh Day Adventists, also made the Blue Zones list.

Blue Zones and the healthy communities that come with them shouldn’t be a secret. It’s a sustainable approach to living that should be spreading across the world. But instead, data is showing that people spend more time alone as they age, not getting enough of the social interaction that can bring meaning to our lives.

Spending time alone

This is certainly true in the United States where a recent report showed a spike upward in time spent alone after the age of 40, the age where we generally seem to be most engaged with our partners, family, friends, and colleagues. The data shows that when people reach the age of 80 the balance of their time spent alone in minutes per day far outstrips their time spent with others.

This has me thinking about how we might bridge this gap and circumvent the loneliness and despair that many world citizens encounter each day. It’s too easy in our 21st century cultures for people to zap their lives and miss out on the meaningful human interaction that we need to sustain us as we rush around trying to experience as much as possible. This takes a toll, and it can lead to more time spent alone, simply because we probably aren’t creating enough of the social bonds that can make a life truly worth living.

So what can you do?

You don’t have to live in the Blue Zones to lead a lifestyle inspired by them. In fact, it’s the elegant simplicity of Blue Zone living that we should be adopting. And you don’t have to go “all in” to get started. Because you might already be living in ways that coincide with this philosophy without realizing it.

For instance, exercise does not have to be an intense pursuit of constantly pushing yourself to get stronger, faster, or better. Instead, tending to your backyard garden coupled with extended walks and other simple activities is how you can move naturally and reap the benefits. Adopting a Blue Zones exercise regime is quite simple and rewarding. It’s why the daily walks I take with Francesca literally keep me on my toes and thinking about how to live healthier with every step I take. It comes naturally.

Here are more simple steps you can take to lead a lifestyle inspired by the Blue Zones:

Know your Purpose

Man playing golf with ocean shoreline in the background.
Enjoying the fresh air while playing a round of golf in Corsica.

Having purpose in your life has been shown to help you live longer. Find what you are passionate about and lean into becoming a better you each day. Maybe it’s a hobby, or a spiritual commitment that brings meaning into your life? Whatever it might be, don’t be apathetic. Find your why for living a healthy life. 

Eat healthy meals with family and friends

Make mealtime not only about the healthy food, but also about connecting with those you care about. This is your daily opportunity to support those around you simply by being present. Listen to your loved ones and share your wisdom and advice with them when they need your counsel. 

Get enough sleep

Your life will run more smoothly if you get at least eight hours of sleep each night. Those who sleep six hours or less are also less happy. It stands to reason. Create rituals before bed to prepare you for rest. And enjoy your wake up time, and the coffee that comes with it, if you like to enjoy a morning cup.

Get out every day

Get outside and be active every day. If the sun is shining, it can brighten your outlook. And even if it’s raining, you can find beauty and peacefulness in the drops falling from the sky. So grab your umbrella and go.  

Get involved in your community

Join like-minded people in your community. Volunteer for a cause you believe in or simply look for your tribe of people who are working to make positive impact. By improving the community, you are making the whole world a better place for everyone. What could be more enriching than that?

Cheers!

 

 

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Heart Health: 3 Simple Steps to Healthy Living

Family hiking with dogs in the mountains
Enjoying a walk in the fresh mountain air with Francesca and our daughter Koral along with her two dogs Cosmos and Nala. Simple steps towards healthy living, such as these regular walks, allow us to be ready whenever the next adventure calls. Telluride, Colorado. 2019

 

Heart health is about taking simple steps to live healthy. And living healthier doesn’t have to be complicated. Besides, being in good health is the best form of prevention. The dividends it pays forward can keep you living a meaningful life even beyond 100 years.

And, speaking of the heart, it’s truly one of the most important organs in the body. Each day your heart beats around 100,000 times. So, it works around the clock, pumping blood through your cardiovascular system, carrying oxygen and nutrients to tissues while carrying away unwanted carbon dioxide and waste. It just keeps everything flowing.

What you eat can have a big impact on heart health. Tweaking your diet to be more heart healthy doesn’t mean you have to lose out on flavor. You can still enjoy delicious meals. Changing your diet isn’t the only thing you can do to support your heart health, but it sure is a good place to start. Here are three simple steps you can take.

Don’t smoke.

Smoking is tough on your heart. It chokes your entire body of life-sustaining oxygen. More than 7,000 chemicals are inhaled with each puff, damaging your heart and blood vessels and increasing the risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and more.

If you are a smoker, one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to become a non-smoker. You may need a few attempts to finally quit, but the reward is huge.

You don’t need to go it alone: join a group or team up with a friend and figure out a good plan to get it done. You’ll make your heart (and your loved ones) happy.

Exercise

Just like any other muscle, the heart will weaken and atrophy with little use. “Use it or lose it,” as the saying goes. It’s a big reason why exercise is so important for heart health. Plus, exercise helps lower blood pressure, decreases artery-clogging “bad” LDL-cholesterol and raises “good” HDL-cholesterol.

Regular exercise also helps you stay independent as you age so you can enjoy an active, vigorous lifestyle well into your senior years. I know it works for me!

And, let’s not overlook the simple joy of movement, and how effects of a good workout carry over into the rest of your day.

How much? Health experts suggest that getting at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week is an appropriate long-term fitness goal for just about anyone interested in a healthier heart. Choose something that you enjoy and can do regularly. Perhaps have a friend or spouse join you?

Pay closer attention to your diet.

Enjoying healthy, delicious foods doesn’t have to be a burden. Instead, it’s an opportunity to experience new worlds of flavor and texture that you may not have tasted before.

When it comes to heart health, there are a few foods that I especially like. You may want to add one or more to your menu. Here’s the breakdown:

Assortment of nuts on a white background
A handful of nuts makes for a heart-healthy snack.

Nuts and seeds contain heart healthy fats such as mono, poly and omega-3 fatty acids that can help support cholesterol already in the normal range.

 Salmon and other fatty fish such as mackerel, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and lake trout are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help support the health and structure of arteries and other blood vessels. If you’re not a fish eater, you could consider supplementing with Nutrilite™ Heart Health Omega to fill the gaps in your diet.*

 Dried beans are a rich source of fiber, particularly water-soluble fiber. This type of fiber not only helps support healthy cholesterol but helps balance blood sugar as well.

 Berries (particularly blueberries and strawberries) are rich in anthocyanins, a type of phytonutrient that provides antioxidant protection.

 Garlic has been shown to have heart-health benefits. Nutrilite™ Garlic Heart Care is an excellent option if you are concerned about garlic breath.*

Leafy Spinach
Leafy green spinach is good for the heart.

Dark leafy green veggies like spinach, kale, and broccoli are rich in phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, especially folate. This B vitamin has been shown to help support a healthy heart.

Don’t forget: To really enjoy your meals, be sure to include lively conversation, good cheer, and perhaps a little indulgence now and again. After all, a little red wine, and dark chocolate—in moderation—have been shown to have benefits, too!

In the end, having a healthy heart, and a healthier life, shouldn’t be difficult. The simple steps you take each day will get you there. Stick with it!

Cheers!

* 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. 

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