‘Project Runway’ Judge Nina Garcia’s Healthy Travel Advice: ‘Learn From The French’

Nina Garcia is one of those enviable women where you have to ask, “How does she do it all?” The 51-year-old is the Fashion Director at Elle and Marie Claire magazines, and has been a judge on Project Runway since its premiere season. Here career and personal passion for travel have brought her all over the world (she just traveled to both Peru and Paris) and the fashionista seems to do it all with ease. Luckily, she opened up to me recently about her secret to staying healthy (and sane) with seemingly no free time. Hint: her dog has something to do with it.

Q: You travel so much, how do you stay healthy on the go?

A: That is a great question that I think many people struggle to find the answer to. Here’s what I’ve found works for me: walk as much as possible and don’t give yourself a chance to fall into the slump of jet leg. The best cure for tired travelers is to hop on a treadmill and get that blood pumping. Otherwise it’s a downhill battle.

Q: What’s the hardest part about traveling and staying fit?

A: That’s an easy one. All the eating. Who doesn’t want to eat all of the amazing fare when they are traveling? Certainly, I do. Since I usually cook at home with the family, it is disruptive to my diet and my overall health. But I try to make up for it by doing some extra walking around the city.

Q: How has being on the road so much changed your health routine?

A: It’s changed it quite a bit. I’ve learned that it’s okay to get on the health wagon and occasionally fall off from time to time when you find yourself in a new place with amazing food and little time for a formal workout (it’s hard to justify not taking a bite or two). But I’ve learned that we can use technology as a tool to help us keep track of our overall health. When I was in Peru, for example, I wore my Huawei Fit [a light weight fitness smartwatch] while I climbed Machu Picchu. I never would have guessed that I was capable of taking that many steps.

Q: Have you learned any wellness advice from other cultures?

A: Yes, the French. Everything in moderation.

Q: Where are some of your favorite places in the world and what’s still on your bucket list?

A: It’s too hard, even to name a few - I really love exploring and seeing new places. Last year was filled with some incredible trips. I went to Alaska, Macchu Piccu and Cuba. Every place was breathtaking. I’d love to visit Africa. Going on a safari sounds like a dream. Patagonia is on my list, too

Q: What about when you are home, how do you maintain a healthy regimen?

A: I got Titan, a golden retriever, in March 2016 and he has been a huge part of my life. Titan has actually made my whole family healthier because we all get out and walk him together. Any pet owner knows that it’s all about routine, and dogs absolutely must get their exercise. It has also been great for my sons to feel a sense of responsibility for him as well. It keeps us all on track.

DWTS's Maks Chmerkovskiy Wants to Live to 120. Here's How He Plans to Do It.

If you watch Dancing with the Stars, you've almost certainly noticed: Maksim Chmerkovskiy (simply "Maks" to his legion of fans) is in amazing shape. You might attribute this to hours and hours on the dance floor, but that's only a small part of the equation. Maks is not only fit, but also amazingly strong and healthy. He takes his health very seriously and that means subjecting every food, fitness, and lifestyle choice he makes to a simple litmus test: Will this help me meet my goal of living to 120...or will it detract from that goal?

"I truly believe I can make it to 120 and I want it to be an active and vibrant 120," says the 36-year-old dancer, choreographer, and television personality. "It's not just about quantity of life, but quality of life. This lifestyle is what allows me to even consider a 45-city tour at my age. Also, I want to be able to play basketball with my kids when they're teenagers and still kick their butt—I don't want to be an old dad." 

He adds, "To do that in the future, I have to make friends with my body right now," he adds. "If I get out of its way, and help it do its thing by giving it the right nutrients, it will take care of me in return. It will reward me. It will just live. Yeah, things come to an end—but they don't have to degrade by the time you're 60."

This may sound simple. But if you've ever tried to overhaul your habits in this age of processed foods, supersized meals, and electronic distractions that lull you into a sedentary stupor, you know you're swimming against the tide. Still, Maks is doing it—and he insists the rest of us can, too.

Want to join Maks in his quest to live long and prosper? Then consider his 5 "best odds" secrets:

  1. Educate yourself on what to eat and why. Your body is smart and will regulate itself when you get out of the way—but that means learning how best to feed it. Do some research. Don't limit yourself to "mainstream" resources as many are driven by big food manufacturers with their own agenda. Digging deeper reveals that the typical Western diet—grain-heavy; filled with genetically modified, hormone-infused, processed foods; and deficient in many nutrients—is counter to what the body needs to operate at its best.
  2. Learn which nutrients you are missing and supplement them. Almost everyone is deficient in certain vitamins (D, for example) and minerals. That's why Maks starts each morning with three supplements he believes are the foundation for good health. The list includes Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C, Lypo-Spheric Glutathione, and Lypo-Spheric R-ALA (all from LivOn Labs). 
  3. Make a conscious decision to stay well. No matter how often you wash your hands during cold and flu season, you'll never be able to shield yourself from every germ. What you can do is follow a best odds regimen to strengthen your immune system so you get sick less often. In Maks's case, that means adhering to a natural "clean eating" regimen as well as supplementing with the aforementioned Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C.
  4. Find a doctor who believes in prevention—and don't go only when you're sick. "Most people go to the doctor only when stuff hurts," notes Maks. "But we need to use our doctors to help us stay healthy, not just to try to fix what's wrong. We can show up when we are not sick, and if enough people start doing that, doctors will have no choice but to start getting more involved in prevention."
  5. If it's man-made, don't eat it. Maks bases his diet on lean grass-fed meats and organic, GMO-free fruits and vegetables. This is not as hard as you might think, he says. Processed foods are an addiction, and when you're hooked on them, it's hard to imagine quitting. But once you do, you won't want to go back.

30 Health Lessons I Learned Before Turning 30

If you've been reading my newsletter (SIGN UP FOR THAT HERE) or following my writing, you'll know that I believe living a healthy life is based on both mind and body. What we think effects us physically, and what we do physically can effect us mentally.

So, with that mindset and as I enjoy my last day in my 20s, I decided it would be best to take a look back at my wellness journey and pick out the top things that made a difference in my life. 

Here are the 30 Health Lessons I Learned Before Turning 30:

  1. Eat greens every day.
  2. Diets don't work. Lifestyle changes do.
  3. Happiness is a choice.
  4. You can't change someone, you can only change how you react to them.
  5. Walk 10,000 steps a day.
  6. Guilt is not a real emotion.
  7. Forgiveness is empowering, not a sign of weakness.
  8. Feng Shui works.
  9. Sit in silence once in a while.
  10. Surround yourself with positive people.
  11. Not every day is a good day, but there is good in every day.
  12. Your future starts with your next thought.
  13. Do everything with intention.
  14. 70% of your immune system is in your gut, so take care of it.
  15. Spaghetti squash is an excellent substitute for pasta.
  16. Indulge from time to time.
  17. Travel.
  18. Cry. Sometimes it's the only way to release that energy and refocus.
  19. Write a letter to those who hurt you. Even if you never give it to them at least it's no longer effecting your soul.
  20. Go to bed early. Trust me your memories at 6am are much more magical than at 3am. 
  21. Give back.
  22. Stop creating a story for yourself.
  23. Carbs aren't the devil.
  24. Pain is a sign something needs to change.
  25. Miracles happen every day.
  26. Drink more water and less alcohol.
  27. Dreams and goals will change. Be flexible with yourself.
  28. Focus on making memories, not money.
  29. Not all calories are created equal.
  30. Don't judge yourself or others. Everyone's journey is different. 

Why People in These Countries Are Living Longer (PS It Has to do With Pasta)

Originally appeared in the New York Post

In recent years, we’ve all been told that to eat healthfully, we have to forgo bread and pasta and up our protein intake.

But according to one researcher, the people living the longest, healthiest lives are doing the opposite. In his new book “The Mindspan Diet: Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk, Minimize Memory Loss, and Keep Your Brain Young” (Ballantine Books, out now), Harvard biologist Preston Estep III singles out what he calls “the mindspan elite” — countries whose residents not only have long life spans but also have relatively low rates of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“Life expectancy is only one measure of health, and it doesn’t include quality of life. If it is accompanied by a very high dementia rate, then that effectively subtracts years,” Estep tells me. “Life expectancy [can be] misleading.”

According to Estep’s data analysis, Japan came out on top in terms of “mindspan,” with an average life expectancy of 84 and low rates of cognitive decline. Mediterranean France and Italy, Spain and Costa Rica also rank among the elite. Despite having a life expectancy of 79, the US is a “mindspan risk” country, according to Estep, because of its high rates of Alzheimer’s sufferers.

Estep found some surprising similarities among the top-ranked diets. The main food source for many of the longest-lived people is bread, pasta and rice. “Refined carbs are the base of the ‘mindspan diet,’” Estep says.

But these countries aren’t enjoying the same carbs we are. In the US, bread and pasta — whether it’s whole wheat or white — tend to be enriched to contain about three times the amount of iron as their non-enriched equivalents in the Mediterranean, Japan and Costa Rica. Estep believes consuming too much iron damages DNA, cell membranes and neurons. “People with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s have substantial amounts of iron and other metals in their brains,” he says.

While the “mindspan elite” have the lowest rates of cognitive decline and brain disorders, places with high iron consumption — such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Finland — lead the world in Alzheimer’s disease incidences. This excess iron can also come from too much meat consumption, according to Estep.

“Parts of northern Europe lead the world in dementia risk,” he says. “High meat consumption and [the] resulting high body stores of iron are likely a primary reason they have such a high dementia burden.”

“It’s a myth that we need to eat so much protein, especially from meat,” he continues. “In fact, it’s hard on the kidneys and may promote cancer and accelerate the progression of dementia. Pinto beans, found in the Costa Rican diet, [contain] just the right amount [of protein].”

Olive oil was another common denominator of the “mindspan elite,” especially among the Mediterranean and Spanish diets. “Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA), which is less reactive in the body,” says Estep. Foods with MUFA have been linked to a decreased risk for breast cancer, heart disease and stroke, as well as helping weight loss and lowering cholesterol — all things that help you live longer.

Countries that rely on butter and other animal products, he says, tend to rank among the “mindspan risk.” Despite the controversial nature of some of his assertions, Estep insists he approached his research with an open mind and wasn’t looking to favor bread over beef.

“I just followed the evidence with no particular dietary philosophy in mind,” he says.

Traveling Can Boost Your Sex Life and Make You Skinny

Courtesy of  Flickr

Courtesy of Flickr

From my Travel + Leisure story:

Want to boost your sex life or lose a few pounds? Travel more. According to a new study from Expedia, travel was a significant contributor in improving health, weight loss, gaining confidence, and increasing sex drive.There’s even a scientific reason wanderlust can inspire bedroom lust. “Traveling can help reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. As stress and anxiety decreases, mood increases—bringing many, often unexpected, positive benefits in how we perceive ourselves, motivation and productivity, and our general outlook on life,” Dr. Linda Papadopoulos, a psychologist who worked with Expedia on the study, said in a statement.

So, how does globetrotting also keep you skinny? It has to do with your routine. Typically while on the road travelers are engaging in spurts of healthy activity, which also breaks bad habits of old routines. This also helps with boosting overall mood. “Exposure to a healthy amount of sunshine is also believed to increase the brain’s release of the hormone serotonin which is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused,” added Papadopoulos.

Along with a better sex life, body image and overall happiness, more than two million respondents said that traveling made them more creative.

5 Healthy Spring Break Getaways That Will Change Your Life

Photo: Flickr

Photo: Flickr

Spring break is all about booze, late nights, and partying...right? Well, maybe when you were in college. Now, any chance many get to have some much-needed time off, the last thing they want to do is spend it with a raging hangover. That's why an impressive handful spring break destinations are offering healthy options to help you relax, regenerate, and reboot before heading back to real life -- versus coming back and needing another week off just to recover. Here are our five healthy getaway picks for Spring Break 2016 that might even change your life.

Click HERE to find out the top five spots for a healthy spring break!