Last weekend I attended the Prevention Magazine’s R3 Summit in Austin, and all I have to say is WOW! Actually, I have a lot more to say than just that, but WOW! is my primary takeaway. You know you’ve attended something special when you can’t stop thinking about it, and I literally can’t stop thinking about what I learned and experienced at their R3 Summit. The R’s stand for Refresh, Revive and Reinvent, and I feel like I started the process on each one of these. It truly was a transformative experience.
The event was in Austin, not just in Austin, but at the Moody Theater where they tape Austin City Limits. You may know by now that I’m a bit
obsessed of a music lover, so anything in this iconic space already has my attention. The summit used every nook and cranny of the space. There was dual programming on the main stage and in the balconies, live cooking demonstrations, fitness breakouts, tasting stations, and wellness screenings and workshops. The experience was all around you.
As if the R3 Summit wasn’t enough to fill my heart & mind, one of my besties, Michelle, flew down from Chicago to attend the summit with me. Michelle is the founder of Our First Steps in Chicagoland where she’s an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach supporting fertility, prenatal & postpartum health. She believes that it’s not only about what we put inside our bodies, but what energy we surround ourselves with our relationships, physical activity, positive energy, career & balance. Not only is she super smart and hilariously funny, but she’s also a great friend who has been there through the many phases of life. From city living to marriage to kids to NOW, when we’re all kind of crawling back and into the ahem, grown-ups we are now. Grown-ups that say “besties” that is. But in all seriousness, we’re both turning 40 this year (shout out to 1976!) and it’s an incredible feeling to find yourself walking through life together with someone who “knew you when”.
See? Transformative! I’m all emotional – in the good, solid, grateful way.
Luckily so many of the presenters have books and websites so you can go learn more about their message, and I want to share some of my top takeaways with you.
1. Dr. Wendy Bazilian. She is a doctor of public health and nutrition, a registered dietitian, a real-food advocate and the author of several cookbooks, including her newest Eat Clean Stay Lean. Here is a woman that just radiates positive energy. I watched her on the main stage for her panel discussion titled Eating Clean in a Dirty World, and caught her demonstration about cleaning out your pantry. As a bonus, I got a few minutes to sit down with Dr. Bazilian in between her presentations. She is smart, kind and generous with her time, not to mention stunningly gorgeous. Her new cookbook, Eat Clean Stay Lean, is dedicated to the “whats whys and hows” to make clean living a part of your busy life. As a mom, I find it easy to eat and prepare clean when I’m home, but a bit trickier when we’re on the go. Dr. Bazilian knows this and shares 300 of her favorite clean recipes in her cookbook, including tips and recipes for to-go snacks. As a bonus to all of us, she shared a special recipe to her Super Spice Snack Mix. Yum!
2. Joan Lunden. Her main message: just say YES! First of all, Joan has seven children, and had them all while she was building her successful career, which so many of us watched from our homes. I literally remember watching her show as a young girl and seeing her pregnant. As she took the stage she commented that “it doesn’t matter how many Olympics she’s covered; it’s always the seven kids that get the applause”. Joan is a pioneer in the women’s workplace, even starting her journalism career as one of the first “weather girls” on her local Sacramento station. Flash forward a few decades and we know her as an icon of journalism, breast cancer survivor, and mom. How did she do it all? She just said “YES!”. Her message was strong and clear: when an opportunity that you’re looking for comes to you, just say YES and figure out the how later. Don’t wait until you feel you are ready, because really, who ever is really READY? Just jump in wholeheartedly. I could feel the courage in me swelling just listening to her, and I even found several opportunities that very day to jump in with YES. Try it – – – you’ll see!
3. Chef Chad Sarno. Dang, this guy blew me away during his panel discussion when he plainly said “you can give out as many recipes as you want, but the real health revolution starts with culinary skills”, and he should know as the prior Whole Foods Senior Culinary Educator for the company’s healthy eating program and current VP of Culinary Wellness at Rouxbe, the world’s leading online culinary school. Rouxbe (pronounced ROO-bee) offers online instructor-led, health-focused and culinary cooking courses for home cooks to professional chefs. He’s also a contributor to Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen cookbook. Not to mention his Wicked Healthy project with his brother. This guy is truly leading a plant revolution, AND he’s super down to earth and downright cool. I’m possibly his biggest new fan.
4. The Microbiome panel discussion. This conversation about how gut bacteria is controlling your health was way more than a conversation on probiotics. Led by three leading doctors in this field and moderated by Dr. Jennifer Ashton, I learned first and foremost that healthy pre-biotic and fiber rich foods are the #1 need for a healthy gut. I also learned that the microbiome in my gut isn’t just about my belly – – it affects my whole health including inflammation my brain. One of the doctors on the panel, Dr. Gary Kaplan even wrote a book about this called Total Recovery that is currently in my amazon cart because I left the panel wanting to know more.
5. Alzheimer’s The New Science of Prevention panel. The amount of knowledge up on the stage was a bit intimidating, but wow, I felt so lucky to be in their presence. These doctors, Dr. Suzanne De La Monte, Dr. Kate Zhong, and Dr. Heather Snyder – three brilliant women – are truly leading the way of Alzheimer’s research into the future. They spoke of risk factors, testing, early intervention, and even head injury. As a mom of two active young boys, the discussion on head injury hit home for me.
6. Dr. Jennifer Ashton and Dr. Travis Stork of show The Doctors. I’m not going to lie: it’s true that Dr. Stork is one tall drink of water BUT! AND! He’s super smart, down to earth and friendly, all the reasons that make me want to hear more from him, and not just in a celebrity-crush sort of way. I did, however, have a wonderful chat with Dr. Ashton. I was truly honored that despite the fact that she was the host of the entire event (and moderating all of the panels!), she still found time to sit down to talk with me and Michelle. Her approach to women’s health is the future: it’s about the whole woman, the whole life. Her entire OB/GYN medical practice was designed around the patient experience, right down to the eco friendly and non-toxic office space. Dr. Ashton is one mama I definitely admire. She’s approachable, smart, and working hard to further women’s health.
And my final highlight/biggest takeaway from the entire event:
7. The way I felt when I left. Yes, I was weighed down with all sorts of fun swag, but I felt lighter and more inspired than when I arrived. Michelle and I headed back to the hotel with swirling conversations of what we just learned and impressions from whom we just met. We took a quick refresh at the hotel and headed out to enjoy Austin’s fantastic restaurant scene with a stop at Easy Tiger, dinner at Emmer & Rye and, to be truthful, a late night hit up on a taco truck. As Chef Chad Sarno says, life is all about the 80/20 rule, 80% healthy + 20% wicked = 100% awesome!
Cheers to the incredible team at Prevention Magazine for putting on one incredible summit. Prevention’s R3 Summit benefitted Stand Up to Cancer and was sponsored by Applegate, At Home®, Gardein, Go Raw, Honest Tea, Lundberg Family Farms, Manitoba Harvest, Maty’s Healthy Products, Nordic Naturals, Panera Bread, Replens, Reserveage Nutrition, Smile Generation, Sprouts Farmers Market, Tom’s of Maine, Wild Planet, and directed and produced by Women Rising, an Austin-based team that produced the highly successful TEDxAustinWomen and the award winning documentary A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velásquez Story. I can only imagine how much work went into curating this fabulous group of presenters, sponsors and talent. I promise you, as a grateful attendee: it was worth it!
Author: Candace Thomas
Photos by me (flowers, stage, me and Michelle) + Jack Plunkett (cooking station, Joan Lunden, Dr. Jennifer Ashton and Dr. Travis Stork)