A healthful link between mind, body, spirit and your environment underlies the approach to wellness offered at the 17th annual Sun Valley Wellness Festival.
Dozens of speakers from around the world will converge on the Wood River Valley over Memorial Day weekend for a kind of transformational boot camp. It will offer the opportunity to immerse yourself in new philosophies, ancient wisdom and modern science, and to dust off your old paradigm and embrace something new. This year's headliners are Diane Nyad, who at 64 became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, and Kris Carr, whose approach to dealing with cancer is revolutionizing the perception of the disease.
Here are some tips to get you started on your path to a new you.
KRIS CARR: TUNE INTO YOUR BODY
Carr was diagnosed with a slow-growing Stage 4 cancer more than 10 years ago. Since then, she has made a journey from shock to survival, producing books, recipes and a documentary - "Crazy Sexy Cancer." She has transformed her experience of living - and thriving - with cancer into an international movement she calls "Crazy Sexy Wellness." With her busy schedule, Carr answered our questions through email.
What's the first thing a person facing a crisis - health or otherwise - can do to take control of their situation?
Create space for healing, which means putting yourself first and not overcommitting. You may have to say 'no' more often. It's takes time to research, try new things, and feel all the emotions that get stirred up when we're presented with obstacles.
Clearing room (in your life) can also be as simple as asking for help. There are many decisions that need to be made when we're facing a challenge. Make them wisely, create space and a supportive environment - then go make a green juice!
What's your trick to not getting overwhelmed?
No matter how busy I am, I always make space to calm my mind. Build healthy breaks into your schedule. A gentle stretch and walk around the neighborhood (or) a 10-minute meditation. Don't eat lunch at your desk or with your face buried in the paper. Take real mental breaks.
What three foods should you eat every day?
I had no idea how or what to eat when I first started my wellness journey, but I learned. I wouldn't say there are specific foods we should eat every day; instead I'd suggest types of food: veggies, protein and healthy fats.
I feel better when I include these at each meal. A fresh organic green juice or smoothie to accompany breakfast, followed by either salads, steamed or sauteed veggies with my other meals. For protein, I choose plant-based sources like hemp seeds, beans, nuts and tempeh, etc. And for healthy fats, I love coconut oil, flax seeds and lots of avocados - nature's butter.
After a while, we all get the hang of it. Plus, our bodies tell us what they need. Most of all, enjoy your food - it's there to support your dreams and your well-being.
Carr's cookbook "Crazy Sexy Kitchen" (Hay House publishing) comes in hardbound and Kindle editions. Learn more at KrisCarr.com. Hear Carr share her story at 6:30 p.m. May 25.
PANACHE DESAI: TUNE UP THE SPIRIT
Spiritual teacher Panache Desai offers a contemporary take on worship and spirituality that is putting him at the center of a growing movement for people seeking personal transformation.
Speaking from his home in Naples, Fla., Desai offered three steps to get you started on that journey:
Accept: We all carry with us our own inner Simon Cowell. We constantly judge every aspect of our personality. So, the first step is to step out of judgment and into acceptance of who you truly are.
Feel: What I've discovered all around the world is that the one thing that stops us from our success is our unwillingness to feel our emotions. What prevents us from excelling in our career is the tears we don't cry. What stops us from finding love is the anger we suppress.
Breathe: Observe your breath as it's occurring each moment. That's different than breathing in rhythm. It creates a basic awareness that will transform your life into a living meditation. It relaxes our bodies and calms our spirit. Suddenly, we're available for life and engaged in a whole other space. Instead of fear and scarcity, we find trust and love.
Desai's book "Discovering Your Soul Signature: A 33-day Path to Purpose, Passion and Joy" (Spiegel & Grau) is now available. Learn more at PanacheDesai.com. Hear him at "Change Your Energy, Change Your Life," 11: 15 a.m. May 24 and "The Top 3 Secrets to Activating Your Miraculous Life," 2 p.m. May 25.
DON HUBER: TUNE INTO YOUR FOOD
Idaho native Don Huber is a professor emeritus in plant biology at Purdue University and one of the leading experts on genetically modified organisms (GMO) and the use of chemical herbicides. He now lives in Melba. Huber will speak with Tyrone Hayes, associate professor at University of California, Berkeley. Afterward,a discussion will be moderated by anti-GMO activist Tom Lieber.
Why are GMOs such a hot-button?
They are pesticide producers and chemical accumulators. They also are changing the genetic integrity of the food we grow - from plants to animals. The biggest offender is Roundup-type herbicides and plants being engineered to be Roundup-ready. ... That makes harvest simpler, but soaks our food in chemicals.
How should GMOs change the way we think about food?
Stop counting grams of fat and start counting parts per million of chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency allows 40 parts per million of glyphosate (Roundup) in some basic foods we eat. It takes only one-tenth of a part per million of glyphosate to kill the beneficial microorganisms in our gut that determine health and immunity to disease. ... There's growing evidence that this may lead to the increase in autism, celiac, leaky gut, cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and numerous other modern diseases.
Future historians may look back upon our time and write not about how many pounds of pesticides we did or didn't apply, but about how willing we were to jeopardize future generations with this massive experiment we call genetic engineering.
What foods should we avoid? Is going local and organic enough?
It's not enough, but that's all you can do at this point. Knowing where your food comes from is essential. Avoid anything that's genetically engineered or sprayed with herbicides, especially foods containing soybeans, soybean oil, soybean lecithin, canola oil, corn and corn oil.
"GMO and Herbicides: The Assault on Our Food, the Environment and Our Health," 3:35 p.m. May 24.
Journalist Dana Oland writes about arts and culture as well as other lifestyle topics. Read her blog at Blogs.IdahoStatesman.com/artsbeat.