Prevention Magazines’s R-3 Summit is in full swing this weekend with guests that span all the gambits of health and wellness. Their keynote speaker is the accomplished Joan Lunden who has faced breast cancer, and won among her many achievements in life.
The “R3” stands for refresh, revive, and reinvent and the event features many aspects of health including fitness, eating healthy, and showcasing new products to help people with making healthier choices. Joan discusses some of hers and lends advice.
Allie Hanley: You’re here today at Prevention Magazine’s R-3 Summit to discuss women’s issues. What kinds of issues do you hold dear to your heart?
Joan Lunden: I’ve been a health advocate for years and I am one of those wannabe doctors. My dad was a doctor and I always thought I would be. It’s in my core to help people make better informed decisions about their health; And to try and inspire and motivate them to invest in their health today because it’s absolutely going to create a better life. People are living 10, 20, 30 years longer these days. Because of thi,s it’s becoming more important than ever to invest in our health because we are living longer, but also to change our attitude.
I think we need to redefine as a Nation and embrace and acknowledge that there is a new life continuum.
Allie: As you see it, what is the current attitude, that needs to be redefined?
Joan: As I said earlier during my Prevention panel, go into any Party City, and you stand in front of the birthday aisle, and for the over 50 birthday shelf it all says over-the-hill. My God, we are not over-the-hill at 50. If you ask most people today, and they’ve done huge surveys about this, when talking to baby-boomers ages 64 to 75 and you ask them to describe themselves, they say that they consider themselves to be middle-aged. So at 60 and 70 years old, the idea that we are senior citizens isn’t accurate. Many people in their 60’s and 70’s are still working, partly because if you are going to live that much longer, you need to be financially solvent, but that’s also how you stay young. People need to stay engaged and have a purpose.
I can’t tell you how many women I talk to and that tell me they are still working or even going back to school; and that they are working on what they are going to do after they retire. People are getting ready to have a new career or to stay on in their jobs. For women I think it’s exceptionally important.
Unfortunately, there is a thought process in this country that it’s okay for men to age. People will say, “Oh you look so much nicer with the salt and pepper hair” <to a man> but as to a women’s age it’s always been a more derogatory comment that her value lessens as she ages.
Quite honestly this country is filled with 76 million baby boomers, of people between the ages of 50 and 70. They are voting, they have the experience, they have so much to offer; And I think it’s the first generation that instead of looking at how aging is going to affect this generation we should be looking at how this generation is going to affect aging, and they will change aging in America.
Allie: You would agree that it’s easier to prevent aging than to repair. What is some advice that you could give to women not necessarily older, but younger in their 20’s and 30’s.
Joan: Know your family history <medical>, I mean really know your family history! -And knowing that, will really help you know your risk factors. Then educate yourself. There are so many ways to do that these days, and then finally understand all the risk factors.
I am going to tell you that I never believed I was going to be the woman who was going to get breast cancer. I didn’t have it in my history. Had I known that less than 10% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer never had a family history, maybe I would have paid a little bit more attention, and maybe I would have made a few different choices along the way. I think it’s really important that we start cooking more fresh foods, try to get the processed foods out of your house, try to get the sugars out of your house. I just got tested to see what was causing inflammation in my diet, and I found out it was wheat. Now, not everyone needs to take wheat out of their diet, but I did when I was going through chemotherapy. I took wheat, sugar, and dairy out of my diet because doing that almost eliminated the horrible side-effects of going through chemo.
Allie: As a mother yourself, what is some advice you could give to mothers who are from the younger generations that grew up eating processed foods, who are now raising kids that are over-weight?
Joan: You have to really take responsibility for educating yourself. I don’t want to call them the bad choices but if your house is filled with a lot of junk, and a lot of processed foods, that is what you will eat, and that is what your children will eat. I really only learned to read labels when I went through my breast cancer struggle and I worked with a nutritionist. I could stand in a Whole Foods, and look at an entire shelf of different spaghetti sauces and I realized that only two of them didn’t have added sugar.
Allie: So your final word for women would be…
Joan: To outfit yourself with knowledge, take every single test you need to have, and do your own self-exams. I can’t tell you how many women tell me that they found their own lump. Know your own normal and know your own body. And if something is not right go in and talk to your doctor. AND DON’T LIE TO YOUR DOCTOR.
You can get a free copy of Prevention Magazine here.
Also, Joan Lunden has a new book called “Had I Known” that talks about her journey of learning about Breast Cancer and her risks that you can preview and buy here.