June 26, 2014, Vol. 12, Issue 11
One of the things that I love about this work is how my clients keep me on my toes — especially clients that come back year after year. Whenever a client asks for something new and different that helps me broaden my horizons and seek new talent. For example, I’ve been working with Providence SW Washington for several years. They usually hold heart health events in the fall and spring.
They’ve primarily focused on women’s heart health, but this time around they decided they’d like to make the program for men as well as women, and this time they would prefer that the speaker be a male MD, and, oh yes, it would be nice if he was a chef or could do a cooking demo.
I went to work and found a few options for them, but one fit all of the criteria, plus he had a new book coming out and a PBS special — Dr. Steven Masley. He is a board-certified physician, a nutritionist, a longevity researcher and an award-winning educator. And by the way, he is also a highly acclaimed chef, trained at the Four Seasons in Seattle. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and, as I read his bio, my eyes opened in amazement — he was originally from Olympia, Washington, where the client is located. That had serendipity written all over it. And one last thing, his fee was a match for the budget. The rest, as they say, is history.
And since Olympia is just a couple of hours from Portland, my husband and I drove there and attended the May event.
The 30-Day Heart Tune-Up
It was definitely a homecoming. Dr. Steven Masley was thrilled to be speaking in his hometown of Olympia, WA, about his newest book, The 30 Day Heart Tune-Up. And the town responded in kind: the crowd was so big that at the eleventh hour the client had to move the event from the original room into a gymnasium.
“You people are interested in staying healthy — that’s why you’re here,” he addressed the crowd warmly. “You’re also the reason I became a chef and wrote this book.”
Many of them said, “If you’ll only give me the recipes, I’ll follow them.”
“They inspired me to learn how to cook.
“And if you follow my plan,” he said, “you’ll be healthier, mentally sharper, and sexier.”
At that point, he had everyone’s rapt attention. And we should note that this is not just talk — he has done clinical trials that show that his program works.
Dr. Masley dismissed stents and bypasses; they may be useful but only to fix past problems. His message is that heart health and longevity are all about lifestyle changes, not procedures and medications. He made the point several times that people have the power to change their own lives. “You can make the difference in your life,” he said. “I can show you how to get trim, fit and sexy in a short amount of time. Don’t give away your power.”
Dr. Masley shared the surprising news: first that Metabolic Syndrome, which is also known as Pre-Diabetes – not high cholesterol – is the number one cause of cardiovascular disease as well as diabetes. That’s right: pre-diabetes is the common cause of all three – heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes. High cholesterol is not the enemy. Since the term Metabolic Syndrome is new to many people, he described it with pictures of arterial walls, and he spoke about why so many Americans have it and how easy it is to determine your risk.
“By evaluating more factors in a holistic way, rather than the one-dimensional measurement of cholesterol levels, you can see how vulnerable you are to any of these three main killers,” he said.
We saw fascinating slides of how big plaques in arteries cause symptoms, raising fire alarms in the body (called inflammation), but that the immediate cause of heart attacks and strokes is more often the rupture of smaller, baby plaques that release blocking sludge into arteries and cause clotting. He specifically discussed the impact food, nutrients and exercise have on making a measurable difference in the reduction of arterial plaque. And the biggest killer among foods? Sugar. The biggest surprise? Two teaspoons of flour have the same effect in your arteries as two teaspoons of sugar. Making simple lifestyle changes can stop baby plaques before they become big problems.
“At your annual wellness evaluation with your doctor,” he said, “talk about your food, nutrition, exercise and stress.”
If you go home and do one thing differently, he stressed, it’s to exercise. The length of time you exercise doesn’t matter, he said; what matters is fitness – maximum heart rate, strength and flexibility. In fact, he took it one step further, recommending that everyone get a fitness assessment (which can be done at a health club). A fitness assessment is not the same as a stress test, and it will not reveal what you really need to know. “By the time your stress test is abnormal,” he said, “you could be dead.”
His passion for changing lives was evident throughout his fact-filled and enthusiastic presentation. And in a half an hour of Q & A, he answered every question — and there were a lot of sophisticated questions — without a moment’s hesitation.
You may want to learn more about Dr. Masley’s recommendations in his PBS special, “30 Days to a Younger Heart.” Check your local public broadcasting stations for a listing of show times.
If you want to bring Dr. Masley’s lively and vivid presentation of the elements of a long life and his innovative insights into preventing heart disease to your community, visit his page on our website and email me from there, or give me a call at 503-699-5031 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
After the Move…
Things are finally settling down after the move. As promised, here are a couple of photos of the summer cottage with its huge porch facing a peaceful garden. While the move was stressful and all-consuming, I can reflect now, having been through it, that change is good. We did a lot of cleaning out and will do more when we take stuff out of storage in August.
Surprisingly I’m finding that being in this small space, living simply, is a very good interim place to be. It’s giving me the time to think seriously about what I really need and don’t need, and the results are giving me new guidelines to live my life by.
Evenings as I sit on the veranda (that’s what we used to call those full front porches, which this is), I think of another positive note: by getting out of my “normalcy” I feel like I’m opening new neural pathways, seeing things differently that allow me to be more creative. And what a relief it is to plant flowers and do everyday things like cook dinner.
Until next time, I hope your summer is off to a good start and you get to enjoy some lazy and nourishing time with family and friends. Take care of yourself for your well being and those you love.
For Your Well Being is published bi-weekly. We bring you insider speaker reports, exclusive stories about special events around the country, meeting planner tips, and fun stuff from the worlds of health and well being. Be well and be in the know!
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