Health is so much more than just the absence of disease. For Dr. Jonny Bowden, a best-selling author of 15 books (including the classic best-seller The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth), it also means the presence of joy. In our latest installment of Be Well Living, we talk to the world-renown “Nutrition Myth-Buster” about how he finds that joy.
Wellness Inspiration: Well, I know everyone who answers this says Frank Lipman, but honestly, he’s really at the top of my list. I always said if I were a medical doctor, I’d be Frank Lipman (although probably not nearly as good!). In some of my lectures, I tell the audience, “When in doubt, I always ask the functional medicine equivalent of ‘What would Jesus do?’ — which, for me, is, ‘What would Frank Lipman say about this?’”
I have a few inspirational figures in other areas—music, writing, speaking—but for wellness it’s probably Lipman, Tom O’Bryan, Jade Teta, Mark David and Alan Christianson. And probably Pedram Shojai, the Urban Monk – great guy, by the way. Oh, and a terrific naturopathic physician who you haven’t yet heard of yet, but probably will very soon, Dr. Nikki Arguinzoni-Gil.
Health Passion: Tennis. I play six days a week, probably a total of 9-12 hours, and in addition to being extraordinary exercise, I’ve learned some amazing life lessons from it. One is that you will never be as good as you would like to be, so you learn to accept that the journey to being a better player doesn’t end till you die—just like life.
I’ve also begun to learn the art of letting go. I know nothing about sports but I’ve watched Kobe Bryant sink baskets under the most unbelievably stressful conditions—like being chased by five huge guys—and if you watch his hands and wrist at the moment he makes the shot, they’re look as soft as overcooked linguini. There’s no tension in his hands, completely contrary to what you’d expect. For me, just learning to loosen my grip on the racket—particularly when I’m under pressure—has been a life lesson in letting go and not trying to “muscle” the results.
Wellness is ______: Contentment. An absence of pain and suffering. A feeling of optimism and hope. All your body parts (or most of them) working well. A working and functioning libido. Healthy relationships (including with yourself). The absence of disease and the presence of joy.
Guilty Pleasure: Ice cream. Particularly Honeymoon, a tiny (and ridiculously expensive) boutique brand made in Tiburon, California. And chocolate chip cookies. And pudding. Stop me before I add pizza.
Relax & Chill Out: My ideal vacation is with the love of my life, Michelle, on Orient Bay in St. Martin, accompanied by the Kindle app on my iPad mini.
Exercise of Choice: Tennis.
Sleep Routine: Usually in bed by 10:30 and asleep by 11:30 depending on whether the dogs sneak into the room and hog the bed or not. Almost always up around 6:30 or 7, usually on the court by 7:30.
Travel Carry-ons: Way too many to name and way too embarrassing to list! Michelle says I have more products than she does. I always have my iPad mini, and usually a months collection of the magazines I subscribe to but haven’t gotten to yet—Atlantic, Rolling Stone, Psychology Today, Men’s Journal, GQ, What Your Doctor Doesn’t Tell You, the National Enquirer. (Just kidding about the Enquirer.)
Favorite Healthy Destination: Everywhere we travel is healthy. But our favorite destination, by far, is St. Martin in the French West Indies.
Current Reading List: I’m a reading multi-tasker. At the current time, I’m in various stages of completion of: The Goldfinch, The Undoing Project, Fitness Confidential, and The Myth of Sex Addiction. I just realized there isn’t a health book among them, but don’t hate—I just finished The Autoimmune Fix by Tom O’Bryan and The Autoimmune Solution by Amy Myers.)
Always in Fridge: Full-fat yogurt, eggs, an assortment of fruits and vegetables for juicing, grass-fed butter, raw whole milk, frozen blueberries and cherries; Frequently grass-fed beef from Butcher Box and/or Vital Choice salmon fillets – usually sockeye or silver.
Pantry Staples: Almonds, pecans, cashews, dried cranberries, oatmeal, coconut flakes, figs, prunes, SunFiber, whey protein powder, Pyure stevia, cold pressed local organic honey, Vital Choice canned tuna, dark chocolate bars, Natural Calm magnesium drink (a lifesaver for muscle cramps!) and Marley coffee pods for the Keurig machine. (Sorry, Dr. Lipman!)
Favorite Way to Reset: Vacation on the beach.
Daily Supplements: Way too numerous to name, but the top ones are fish oil, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K, resveratrol, curcumin, probiotics, vitamin C, Mito-Q, plus liver support supplements, brain formula, green tea extract, collagen and ashwaganda. That’s in addition to weekly B-12 shots (methylcobalamin). I also take—not out of necessity but by choice— metformin, a prescription drug, 850 mg twice a day. And LDN (low dose naltroxene).
Favorite Healthy Food On-the-Go: Nuts.
Ingredient I Always Avoid:I don’t know that there is one single ingredient that I scan the label for on every food and if it’s in there I say, “Nope! Put it back!”….OK, maybe trans fat. But I can tell you the worst three foods in the human diet for sure: Donuts, soda, and French fries. I can honestly say that – but for the once-in-a-blue-moon exception when one of the teenagers forces me to taste a fry—I avoid all three 100 percent.
Can’t Live Without: Michelle—the love of my life. And our three dogs, Lucy, Emily and Bubba. And my friends. And my assistant, Brooke. And raw milk and dark chocolate. And Orange is the New Black.
Current Mantra: I don’t have one. Working on it. I’ll let you know!