(by Kim Seelbrede, originally posted on urbanzen.org February 2011)
Urban Zen was delighted to hear that Mark Hyman, MD considers Urban Zen to be his “second home” and we were thrilled to welcome him back. On October 30, 2010, the center was filled with guests eager to learn more about his approach to living a disease free life. The day long workshop was dedicated to the topic of “Diabesity” which is, as Dr. Hyman describes, an epidemic health condition that is metabolic in nature and ranges from mild blood sugar imbalance to full-blown diabetes. It is such a health concern that military leaders have labeled it a “threat to national security.” Workshop guests were surprised to learn that one out of every three volunteers in the military is obese. The statistics are even more sobering in the general population with an alarming obesity rate of nearly three out of four Americans. Dr. Hyman added that “our children may be the first generation that will not outlive their parents.” What would it take to turn things around so that our kids can grow old? Dr. Hyman’s sensible approach to health reminded us what we probably already knew – that lifestyle treatments and a whole systems approach to chronic disease IS the cure. So, if you think you can’t reverse the problem you are wrong. The trouble with conventional treatment is that we treat the symptoms, not the root cause according to Dr. Hyman.
After enjoying healthy lunches (low glycemic and nutrient dense!), the afternoon continued as Dr. Hyman discussed ways to keep our mitochondria happy, nutrigenomics, and other hefty concepts that made me search for my google machine. One participant asked about genetics and he reminded us that we are "genetically predisposed to develop diseases." However, there are ways to enhance gene expression so that “bad genes” lay low and don’t turn all nasty on us. Participants appreciated Dr. Hyman’s gracious manner and sense of humor when he said “am I boring you with this stuff, I get a little nerdy” and later revealed that he had his own health crisis years ago, and was in such a bad way that he “couldn’t remember what his patients’ were saying to him.” Dr. Hyman appears to be vibrantly healthy now and wants you to understand how simple it is to heal your body, allow your body to do what it knows how to do and avoid chronic diseases. What are some ways that we can avoid oxidative stress, impaired cellular functioning and enhance our gene expression along
? Give yourself a metabolic tune up by monitoring the following: environmental toxins, food sensitivities, hormonal dysregulation, latent infections, nutrient deficiencies, stress, inflammation, digestion health and mitochondria (worth looking up).
Dr. Mark Hyman is a family physician, a four-time New York Times bestselling author, and an internationally recognized leader in his field. He is founder and medical director of The UltraWellness Center, chairman of the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine, board member of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, advisor to Dr. Mehmet Oz’s HealthCorps, and nominee to President Obama’s Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion and Integrative and Public Health. Through his private practice, education efforts, writing, research, advocacy and public-policy work, he strives to improve access to the whole-systems medicine approach known as Functional Medicine.
Kim Seelbrede is a former Miss USA and a New York City psychotherapist, coach, consultant and EMDR therapist who specializes in celebrity mental health as well as anxiety, mood disorders, relationships, addictions and eating disorders. She received integrative therapy training with Donna Karan's Urban Zen Foundation.