Episode 256 | July 20, 2021

The Fountain of Youth with Nan Simonsen

A Personal Note From Orion

Changing your health around often starts with small steps. Anyone can make this decision at any age, and there’s no telling how healthy you can get when you do. By listening to experts and being mindful about food, you can live your best life well past 70.

Today’s podcast episode is filled with Nan Simonsen’s insights for a healthy life. She talks about how being mindful about the food you eat and your lifestyle choices can significantly improve your life. Educating other people about it is one of her skills that has changed the lives of many.

Overcoming bulimia at the age of 55, she’s an inspiration and a testimony that conquering your health challenges knows no age. She’s living her best life at 70 and doesn’t see herself slowing down anytime soon. 

She’s a certified health and lifestyle coach and has recently released her first book, Aging Powerfully. She’s driven to help people of all ages change their health around through better lifestyle choices. Tune in today to learn her best health secrets!


In this Episode

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About Today’s Show

Aging Powerfully by Nan Simonsen

Hi, Nan. Welcome to Stellar Life Podcast. Thank you so much for being here.

Thank you, Orion, for inviting me. I’m so much looking forward to this conversation.

I know, me too. Even in the little conversation we had before this one, I find you very, very fascinating. Wow, you have a lot of very important and really, really crucial information to share with everyone. Before we begin, how did you discover your passion and mission in life?

All right, I’ll back up three months and then I’ll back up three months before that. Actually, it’s been more than six months ago, I published a book. Six months before that, I decided I had a story. The story had everything to do with my passion, and that passion is because I am a health coach, because I’m 70 and health-wise better than I’ve been in decades and decades.

I realized that there are things that can be done that are simple, that are embracing the idea of letting lifestyle and choices that we make be our medicine, not handing over our health to people who consider pills and procedures to be the way to heal us. But embrace Hippocrates’ “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food,” and the fact that the body wants to heal itself, all of that. 

My health now, my observation as I work with patients as a health coach, and a lifestyle medical field, and the one thing that I hadn’t mentioned, the fact that I had within the previous year, let go of a 55-year eating disorder. I became bulimic at 15. I was anorexic. They said, “We’ll put you in a hospital if you don’t eat,” so I became bulimic. 

To be free, at 67, of something that started when I was 14.

That should have been something I took care of at 20, 25, at 30, 35. That just never happened, not until I was 67 did I find a way to leave that behind me. I left behind tens of thousands of dollars in efforts to get past it but I couldn’t. That was a passion, to be free at 67 of something that started when I was 14, then be in the best health, and then feel like I knew how to put that all together. And then to write a book about it to help others take control of their own health. 

That just fueled me and it does. The way I see it, at first I thought okay, what should my mantra be? I’m 70 and soaring. Then I thought, wait a minute. Most people when they turn 70 are waiting for the next shoe to drop, the illness that’s going to creep up and take them, and I thought no.

One of the things I wrote about in my book was a book called Radical Remission, where Dr. Turner interviewed 1500 people who were told to go home and get their things in order because they have terminal cancer. 

She documented how these people recovered from their terminal diagnosis to live another 5, 10, 20, 25 years, and there were commonalities. One of the most important commonalities was that they wanted to live and chose their 80s, 90s, and beyond as their marker. I thought that’s what I’m going to do. I’m 70, my goal is to live well with vibrant health, balance, and joy into my 80s, 90s, and beyond. 

I’m 70, and my goal is to live well with vibrant health, balance, and joy into my 80s, 90s, and beyond.

When you say something and embrace something like that, whether it happens or not, but if that becomes a passion and to help other people get there, the intent is very different than just to survive and living in fear of another thing going wrong. That was a really wordy compilation of what fueled the passion, but those things all came together to light a fire under me that energizes me every day. 

Wow, Nan. You’re so inspiring. Your story’s incredible. When we think about the power of the mind, it reminds me of a story that I read in The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy. He was telling a story about a truck driver and he had a cooler in the back, and then one night the truck driver got into the cooler, locked himself into a cooler, and then he just froze to death. 

The interesting thing was that the electricity was not on. The cooler was not cooling at the time, and he thought himself to death if it makes sense. If we can shut all our systems by thinking and convincing ourselves that this is the end, we can do the opposite.

Radical Remission by Kelly A. Turner

Yes, we can. I believe that. I completely embrace that.

That’s so true. Even when I look at my own life story, I think about the times where I’ve been through an abusive relationship, and I’ve been told, you have to take psychiatric drugs. While I respect the people that take it and maybe it’s good for them, I know that for me, it will not work. I knew that there was a light in me. Whether it’s the sickness of the body or sickness of the mind, they’re both intertwined. We can heal from it. 

Where I was, it was a deep depression after an abusive relationship where I ended up in a hospital, but I decided that there is a light in me. If I’m going to do everything in my power to ignite this light and heal, and same with somebody like you, it’s so beautiful, admirable, inspiring, and such a beautiful human spirit to hear your journey of how you took something that was haunting you for 55 years and you turned it around.

I’m not proud of how long it took, but I am so inspired by the fact that there was something that finally turned it around. I have potentially another 20 to 30 years to live that new and free life.

I am proud of how long it took because getting out of something like that after 55 years, means that it can give hope to everyone, every single person that is listening right now to change anything in their life.

Good point. It should have been hopeless considering all of the attempts.

It’s so wonderful. What is it like to be where you are today? How did you call it 70 and soaring? 

Seventy and soaring. I’m healthier than I’ve been in years. I feel very, very strong. Almost three years ago, I adopted a whole food plant-based dietary style. I’ll call it a lifestyle. You could call it vegan, but I can’t say I’m a vegan because I think right now I’m wearing leather shoes, and that’s a philosophical determination. I also don’t call myself a vegan with the understanding that some people would take from that that, oh, then you’re on a healthy diet because one does not lead to the other. 

I help people find a way to transition with more real plant foods. Foods that feed our microbiome and make a difference. Click To Tweet

In other words, a whole food diet means that I’m not living on fast foods, the processed foods, the foods that are manufactured with so much chemistry that we get hooked on them. As Lay’s potato chips said, decades ago, “I bet you can’t eat just one.”

Our entire society has gotten hooked on foods, and those are the processed foods that are engineered. The manufacturers actually use devices to measure brain chemistry and brain activity. There’s a bliss point that they’re looking for, that bliss point where people literally just light up when they eat something and want more and more of it.

The problem is that because those non-whole foods light us up with so much dopamine that they become addictive in and of themselves, that wonderful feeling, that satisfaction, that determination—I’ve got to get more of this—takes away from someone’s appreciation of what is real food, simple food. 

For some people, it’s really hard to continue to eat foods that are so rich and demanding of a repeat experience to then cut that back. I help people find a way to (little by little) transition with more vegetables, more fruits, more grains, more legumes, more seeds, more nuts—just real food, real plant foods. Those are those living foods that feed our microbiome and make a difference. 

Seventy and soaring.

I have that part of my passion, that belief that we can heal ourselves with the right foods. I see it over and over again. People who are diagnosed or their prediction is diagnosed with things that are either terminal or very either disfiguring.

One of our patients came to us and they were going to remove his leg because he had a necropathy that was used in a product that was eating his skin. He was not able to walk. He was just a mess—80 pounds, overweight, and he lived on junky stuff. The antioxidants weren’t there, the phytonutrients, phytochemicals weren’t there. He went overnight because that’s what sometimes it takes, that feeling that I’m just not going to take this anymore and I’ll do whatever it takes to fix it. 

Within a couple of months, we knew that his leg was going to be saved. Within a couple of months after that, he was walking well. Now he’s this model of a 75-year-old that plays disc golf, rides his bicycle, travels across the country for casual vacations. I see that all the time. That’s one of the things that wakes me up every day.

Through lifestyle choices, we can turn our health around.

My journey is that when the book was published in December—I began writing it in July of 2020, and then less than six months later, on December 27th, 2020 it was published. I was going to say at my age, but seeing that’s such a cop-out, I hadn’t invested much time and energy into social media and all of the different platforms. We had COVID, people weren’t getting together face to face in gatherings, and here I had this new book. The way someone promotes anything in that atmosphere is with social media. 

That became the challenge, but I’m on Instagram, I’m on Facebook, and I have a YouTube cooking channel because that’s the other thing. I think people will eat what’s delicious regardless of what it is. Every week I have a new recipe. 

If I can teach people to eat delicious food, regardless of what is in it that they’re used to, they can accept it, and look forward to it again, then we can shift little by little to a dietary plan that will nourish them. That’s my goal because I do believe and I do know that our country is getting sicker and sicker.

Our lifespan is going down.

Our lifespan is actually going down and has for the last three years consecutively. We are dying younger, we are getting chronic diseases much younger. Kids are getting type two diabetes, that’s unheard of. Thirty-year-olds are getting prescribed statin drugs because their cholesterol is so high, that used to be unheard of. 

There’s something that we don’t have to accept in that way, but people don’t understand that. I feel that I understand it very well because I see it in practice every day. My mission, I even wrote this in the back of the book, I say, “Join me on this mission to spread the word that through lifestyle choices, we can turn our own health around.” We can actually reverse chronic diseases, 70%–80% of the top five diseases that kill us, which are cancer, stroke, diabetes, and COPD. 

If somebody is listening to you right now and they’re like, well, that sounds really great, Nan, for you and your clients. But I have this food addiction. I have those habits of eating bad foods. Yes, there is the place where you come to, okay, this is it and I got to change everything. Can we do this before we get to this horrible place if we’re super sick, something really bad happened, or we gained too much weight and then we decided to change our ways. How can we shift into a healthier lifestyle?

Start with purpose. Have a reason to wake up every day, decide what your higher calling is, and let that inspire you and everything you do. Click To Tweet

Little by little. As I was very clearly where my health was going because every specialist—my cholesterol was very high—wanted to put me on statins. My rheumatoid arthritis markers were very high and I hurt everywhere, they wanted to put me on an immunosuppressant. Pre-diabetic, they wanted to put me on Metformin. I realized that it was a black hole. That as soon as that began because the medications don’t heal us. They simply mask systems and change numbers, but it doesn’t change why this illness begins nor does it change the end game. 

All of that piled up in a very short period of time. That inspired me to completely change my diet. Let go of the animal products and the dairy, and start embracing more and more whole foods that are plant-based. Within a month or two, I was completely plant-based. 

To answer your question, unless somebody has a bit of a wake up call, or unless they just get really sick of being sick, unless they understand that the weight that we’re seeing in this country is damaging with every step, and a lot of people have found themselves in a situation weight wise that they don’t even recognize themselves. They don’t know what it’s about and they don’t know where it’s coming from because they feel like they’re eating like everybody else. Well, that’s part of that problem.

Within a month or two, I was completely plant-based.

The only thing I know to tell people is to educate yourself, watch Forks Over Knives, watch Game Changer, google best eating plan for humans and it will come up. A plant-heavy diet is the best eating plan, the best way to nourish ourselves, and the best way to conquer chronic disease. 

There has to be that impetus somewhere in the plan, or people can simply decide—because it makes sense—to add more of what is being advised, even at the most casual levels, and that is aimed to have six to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Just eat whatever you want, but have six to nine fruits and vegetables a day. 

What about diabetics and fruit? I actually heard one doctor say that fruits are actually all right for diabetic people, but most people say, oh, never ever touch it, have one serving.

Reversing Diabetes by Dr. Neal Barnard and Bryanna Clark Grogan

Based on not only my research but the patients that I work with, we are able to get off insulin and off diabetic medication. 

You are? You’re able to do that?

Oh, absolutely.. That’s what inspires me. Pay attention to Dr. Neal Barnard, Reversing Diabetes, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Eat to Live. These are experts who are showing people that through choices of great food-like fruits and vegetables, whole-food carbohydrates, beans, some grains, really filling, satisfying foods, they can reverse diabetes. 

Those who are not contemporary in terms of that information will still read publications that tell them to stay away from fruit because fruit is high in fructose without realizing that the numerous research shows that it’s the fat in the diet that is interfering with glucose regulation. 

Really, it’s the fat in the diet?

The fat in the diet.

Even good saturated fats like coconut oil?

Coconut oil is saturated, palm oil is plant-based and that’s saturated, and those are two of our worst oils. To eat coconut instead of coconut oil, to eat olives instead of olive oil to not have or use processed oils, which are separated from the fiber of whatever food they’ve been separated from. 

For example? What do you mean when you say separated? 

Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman MD

For example, corn oil. Corn oil, I used to have the number in my head, but an enormous amount of corn to produce corn oil. It’s a processed food, it’s very high on omega 6s. We have lost our balance. There should be a balance. Omega 3s and omega 6s are long-chain fatty acids that we want to keep in balance because these important fatty acids we don’t produce in our body, and they’re what we call essential fatty acids. We have to keep them in balance. 

The balance would be, for example, omega 6 to omega 3, a one-to-one, or maybe a three-to-one. Our current ratio is something like 20 or 30 to one, meaning 20 times more or 30 times more omega 6s than omega 3s. Where do the 6s come from? The processed oils and the processed foods. The omega 3s come from fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Sea vegetables have omega 3s as well. 

Which oil can we cook with? 

You know what, this is going to surprise you. Without really going into the entire rationale, it’s not going to seem convincing, but I don’t use any added oils for a couple of reasons. I don’t use added oils because they’re processed oils and they are high omega 3s. I don’t use added oils because most oils become damaging to us when they go over their smoke point.

For example olive oil, the smoke point is 375, and almost everybody cooks higher than that. They’ll roast vegetables with olive oil on them at 400 degrees. The olive oil changes its composition and becomes damaging at a cellular level. I don’t use any additional oils.

The third reason is that a tablespoon of oil is 120 calories. I don’t count calories and I’m at one of my lowest weights, and I stay there easily. I’m 5’2”, I stay at about 113, 114, and that’s really comfortable and it looks great. By the same token, I do that easily with whole food plant-based not counting calories. But if I started adding a lot of oil because it’s invisible, it doesn’t really change the taste.

I don’t use added oils.

If I make a soup, a stew, or a salad and load it with an oil-based salad dressing, put tablespoons in to sauté my onions, put it into my soup or my spaghetti sauce, I’m not going to taste the difference. Yet it will be hundreds and hundreds of calories more for every dish I make because almost every dish you see has oil in it.

I love oil. I can’t even imagine not cooking with oil.

A lot of people feel that way. I understand that. You’re still young enough, and it doesn’t matter that much to you. It matters a lot as we get older. People start struggling with their weight, and they start struggling with inflammation, body aches.

When people have too much fat in their diet, the fat ends up getting stored in the muscles. The fat that’s in those muscles and our liver will prevent insulin from docking on the receptors of those cells in letting sugar in.

We can heal ourselves with the right foods.

That’s one of the ways and that’s one of the reasons that people will show high sugar levels in their blood because the sugar can no longer get in the cells, and it’s because of myocellular lipids. Myo means muscle and then lipid is fat. Myocellular lipid has been shown to be the most prevalent cause for diabetes, not that we get too much sugar in there, but that we’ve got too much fat.

Your diabetic clients just cut all oils all at once?

Some of them do. It actually makes a big difference with the clients who have cardiovascular disease because their vascular system is starting to get stiff because the oils are creating plaques on the artery cells. To keep that at bay, we cut oil in that way as well. Most of our patients don’t use any oil at all, that’s why I teach a monthly cooking class. It’s easy. I haven’t for almost three years. I’m Italian. I grew up on oil.

One would think that you couldn’t live without it. 

 My cardiovascular, because I just recently had something called a coronary artery calcium score test that just measures in your arteries, the amount of plaque that you had, that was perfect.

Taking care of yourself means the basics of self-care: eating clean foods, getting enough sleep, staying close to others, embracing community, and making sure that you move every day. Click To Tweet

As soon as we shift into a cleaner diet, the plaque dissipates?

Yes. It can actually dissipate. It will actually dissipate if we have a cleaner diet. What I also honor is what we’ve learned from the blue zones. Now in the blue zones, you do get beautifully pure pressed olive oils. They don’t usually use the oils that are processed oil from plants like soy, canola, corn oils that are the most damaging and the highest in omega 6s. 

Olive oil is one of the best in that way. In the blue zones, they are primarily whole food plant-based with their strongest emphasis on legumes. You can make such beautiful food with beans, again grains, and then fruits and vegetables. 

My body doesn’t agree with legumes.

You can make such beautiful food with beans, grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Yours doesn’t? Do you know what happens? There was a book that came out in May of 2020 called Fiber Fueled and it was written by Will Bulsiewicz who is a gastroenterologist and has a graduate degree in bio nutrition. He studied for years and years because he became very overweight as a medical student and was very, very sick. 

He took the time to study the best diet for not only longevity—there’s another doctor, Dr. Valter Longo, an Italian who has become very famous for his book, The Longevity Diet, and he agrees with all of this. He spent 25 years in the lab at USC and UCLA studying all of the variables that lead to longevity. These doctrines that I’m discussing are all mentioned by those luminaries.

Fiber Fueled by Will Bulsiewicz MD

Dr. Bulsiewicz, who is a gastroenterologist has been helping to dispel the myth that what upsets our stomach isn’t something that we should avoid, it’s something that our microbiome that—that colony of trillions of microbes in our colon, but actually all over our body but primarily in our colon—they’re not used to eating because they’re not used to getting it.

When people don’t have a lot of something or any of something, that entire colony that eats that particular fiber, and that’s the only thing that microbiome eats is fiber, not animal foods, not fats, not processed foods, and not the chemicals that come with a lot of foods, but just fiber from whole foods, the more diverse.

There is something called the American Gut Project that was just published, the findings were published in 2019 and 2020. This 10-year long study found that our microbiome is absolutely responsible for almost all the processes in our bodies.

If I start eating legumes, will my microbiome start getting used to digesting them? 

Yes. That’s exactly right because then you’ll start creating colonies that are used to them and that eat them. 

I always wanted to be a gardener. 

One of the ways you do that is just to start really, really small. In his book, in Fiber Fueled, it’s wonderful for this. He takes his information and his proof from the American Gut study. That was that the more diverse the foods that we eat, the more diverse the colonies and the microbiome, the healthier we’ll be on a number of levels. 

When people aren’t used to eating something, it’ll usually upset their stomach. He says start very, very small, as small as maybe a teaspoon every day for a week, and then build it up a little, and then build it up a little because you’re starting to feed these microbes that are preferential or that see that as a preferential food, and before you know it, it’s not a problem. 

A plant-heavy diet is the best eating plan and the best way to nourish ourselves and conquer chronic disease.

That’s wonderful. Wow. A lot of people are afraid of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates make us fat. You told me that you had a year on keto. Can you share a little bit about that?

That almost ran me over. It all started back in the ‘70s with Atkins. In the ‘60s and the ‘70s (especially in the 70s), we began to fear carbohydrates because Dr. Atkins talked about having high fat, high protein, and low carbohydrate foods as a way to lose weight. Without being inappropriate, he ended up dying of coronary heart disease. 

He ate that way and it was not the best way for him to have eaten. The people that I follow like Dr. Esselstyn, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Dr. McDougall, and Dr. Dean Ornish are all researchers as well as physicians, except T. Colin Campbell. He’s just a researcher, he’s not a physician. They not only study these things, but they’ve written extensively about them. 

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy

They began their work in the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s and published their findings of reversing heart disease, and they’re still going strong in their 80s and reaching close to 90s. Again, still going strong and very, very healthy because the things that they talk about, which are evidence-based, they’ve actually lived. 

Anything that we are convinced is a good direction and that’s why I think research makes such a difference. Start with things that are simple like gastroenterology would be with Dr. Will Bulsiewicz. Looking for a nutrient-dense diet, start with Joel Fuhrman. Having problems with cardiovascular disease, go with Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. 

You indoctrinate yourself even a little with their evidence-based approach and their decades of study, and it makes it easier to make a decision. When you’re looking at a meal, do I have a big salad realizing that all of these vegetables on that salad are going to feed my microbiome and send antioxidants throughout my body and nourishment throughout my body, or do I eat this (I just saw a sign for this) triple cheese bacon burger? It was outside of a fast-food restaurant, I won’t even say which one it was. 

It was literally three greasy patties and the meat that they were selling is factory-farmed meat, which is grown with things that we don’t even want to know about, and the ground meat is even worse, hormones, and antibiotics, and it just goes on and on. 

Three patties, three pieces of greasy cheese that’s not really cheese, it’s a cheese product, three pieces of bacon, and a bun. Most of the fast-food restaurants’ buns (and you can look this up) have at least 25—30 ingredients. What does it take to bake bread? It takes water, yeast, flour, and maybe a little bit of salt. Where do you get 31 ingredients? It’s because they put stabilizers, emulsifiers.

I remember the story of this student who had a McDonald’s hamburger underneath his bed for a year and it didn’t go bad. 

People will eat what's delicious regardless of what it is. They can shift little by little to a dietary plan that will nourish them. Click To Tweet

That’s why things like that and the way that we are choosing to feed ourselves has become habitual, it’s become unfortunately sometimes less expensive because those foods are subsidized. The farm bill has turned things upside down.

Dr. Ornish was able to get McDonald’s to serve salads—big beautiful, high diversity salads, and they were willing to do it, but then they stopped selling them. The problem was because their salads cost $5.99 because the ingredients weren’t subsidized, and the hamburger, they were able to sell for 99¢.

There’s a lot of that in terms of the reality of why these choices are hard for people to make, and yet, if I had a choice of now because of what I believe and what I know, if I have a choice of that salad because that’s what I do every day for lunch—an enormous multicolored, multi-vegetable, high fiber really filling salad with greens, chopped greens, and then a lot of legumes and grains.

Nan, it sounds delicious and really filling but salad doesn’t work for me.

The Longevity Diet by Valter Longo

Now does that mean that you can’t get filled on a salad? 

No, I always have to have something more than salad to feel full.

Do you know what that’s about? That’s about the carbohydrates. My salad has greens, a lot of greens, but there’s a massive amount of beans, there’s a massive amount of grains. The things that fill me up, and that’s why I say that 70%–80% of what I eat is carbohydrates—whole-food carbohydrates, not packaged foods, not crackers and chips, and things that not only can you not stop eating, but also make you feel hungry soon after because they get digested way too quickly. 

The whole foods and these grains and legumes have a lot of fiber. For example, I ate at 12 with my big salad. I’m still so full from it. There were chickpeas, black beans, Quinoa, and black rice.

Okay, that makes sense. 

Do you see what I mean? There’s no oil in my dressings, but my dressings have tahini. For example, this dressing I had today was an orange, tahini, ginger, and miso. Incredibly flavorful fat from the sesame seeds but no added oils, and again, very filling and very nutritious.

You do have fats. What are the good fats that you are having?

I’m glad you mentioned that because when I say I don’t add oil, that doesn’t mean I don’t have fat. I eat avocado and I eat tahini, which is sesame seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, and hemp seeds go on my oatmeal. I have oatmeal every day. I have soy, and soy is 30% fat. I love olives. Olives are processed slightly because they use salt and they have to be processed. You can’t just pick an olive out of a tree and eat it. They have to have some brining to take out the bitterness and the tannins. 

I get lots of fat. It’s just that I get it for real whole foods, not foods that have had all of the nutrients taken out and simply the processed fat left behind.

Thank you for clarifying that because I’m just experiencing a sigh of relief. No fat at all? That doesn’t sound balanced to me.

Very filling and very nutritious.

Yeah, no. I get plenty of fat, but it’s not in the form of oil. It’s in the form of what resides in that whole food.

What are some things besides processed fats that should not be in our kitchen? I heard you mentioned the use of plastic. Can you talk about that? Also, share a few more tips around this topic.

As it relates to plastic, I’ll direct your audience to my website, nansimonsen.com, and you will see a link to my Youtube channel. On my Youtube channel, I have cooking videos, but I also have videos that are part of what I do on a weekly basis for my Facebook live, which I do weekly, and those are conversational pieces.

I also have videos on practical matters. For example, I had a video on the staples I keep in my cupboard because if somebody is trying to go whole food plant-based, it’s quite a shift, and sometimes they don’t need to know where to begin. 

I showed my vegetable shopping day, what I buy, and talked about what I do with it. Then the recipes show how I prepare these foods, and then the cupboard will answer the question you’re referring to. In a pure sense of making the very best decisions, we would keep our food in glass because glass is non-reactive. Plastic is reactive and plastic is petroleum-based.

Plastic is reactive and petroleum-based.

I heard that the average person has—I don’t remember how many grams of microplastics in their body.

That’s why I don’t buy nor drink out of plastic bottles. For example, I’m leaving on Thursday morning for a health conference. I’ll carry with me a stainless steel 24-ounce container that I’ll use to fill up at the airport with water, and then I keep it with me almost everywhere I go. I use it at home even when I go to restaurants, I have a reverse osmosis filter and so the water I drink…

Don’t they change the taste of the water? 

Actually for the better because a lot of the municipal waters are still heavy in certain elements like chromium. I think it’s 360 in our city. We have something called chromium 360 and they say, oh, don’t worry about it unless you’re pregnant, you’re nursing, or you’re elderly. I fit under that category now, but more importantly, why would we not worry about something that’s clearly a detriment but is more damaging because you’re compromised. Well eventually, you’ll be compromised by it.

With reserve osmosis, don’t you get deprived of the natural minerals that spring water has to offer? 

Yeah, but spring water—that’s a really good point. Unless I have my own spring and it’s a clear and untainted spring, the spring water is usually purchased in bottles. If the bottle is plastic, then I’ve got the problem of the microparticles. If the bottle is glass, then I have a problem with weight and space. 

What I was referring to as it related to my cupboard is that in a perfect world, every staple I have—the quinoa, rice, legumes, pasta, and I could go on and on with all these things that made COVID so easy for us as it related to food because if we had a covert full of everything we eat. We didn’t worry about not being able to buy meat, dairy, cheese, and eggs, and all of that because we just didn’t do that.

Let go of the animal products and dairy and start embracing plant-based whole foods. Click To Tweet

The things that I had, I could just reconstitute and cook. The vegetables, they weren’t bought out because that wasn’t the thing people were filling up on, but I’m diverging. In the cupboards, I do have a lot of plastic containers holding my food, but I don’t buy water bottles and drink out of the plastic bottles unless I absolutely have to. That’s why I carry a stainless steel refillable container because that’s the most non-reactive besides glass, and glass just gets heavy. 

I don’t cook in plastic. When things come in bags with instructions—just pop this bag into the microwave—I’ll never do that. Because when plastic heats up, you start having an exchange of the plastic particles. I don’t want that in my food. Don’t put hot food in plastic, don’t cook in plastic. That becomes a problem when you’re drinking coffee out of styrofoam, that’s one of the worst things that you can do. 

There are so many things that we can think about in that way, but I use Tupperware products that I store my dry ingredients in because I have just a massive amount of variety in terms of spices and seasonings. Then what I referred to earlier, I’ll use glass to store my salad dressings in the refrigerator because I just like the way that looks, and I can cook that on the table and it looks—


Utilitarian. I was going to say country, but that doesn’t have to be the reference. It just looks okay to have a nice, pristine piece of glass, or a nice glass of jar, for example, and a nice-looking salad dressing to spoon over a salad.

You get minerals from the food that you eat.

If we have so much plastic in our bodies, can we cleanse it? Will it cleanse if we change to not drinking? Because I used to use live spring water. I would actually get jugs of glass that are coming from a spring when I lived in California. Then I spent some months in Israel and now I’m in Florida, I don’t have access to that.

That was probably a very good thing because if you knew the water was coming from a clear spring and it was being stored in glass, that was…

It was wonderful that I don’t have access to that right now. So (a) can we cleanse the plastic that was stored in our body throughout the year, and (b) is there a reverse osmosis machine that you recommend?

The one that I use is by a company called Premiere. I may have even bought it at Costco, and it means that I have to change the filters. There are four filters and two of them need to be changed every six months, but I consider that a small price to pay because it’s right there in my kitchen and the spigot is right there at my sink. We know we’re always getting that good water. 

I get lots of vitamins and minerals, but it’s not vitamins that you’re really getting from water, but you do get minerals from the food that you eat. I don’t worry about reverse osmosis taking that away, and I love the taste of the water. I can very definitely tell the difference, that’s why I bring it with me everywhere I go even to restaurants because quite often, they don’t even use filtered water. I can very much tell the difference between my drink, my water, and what I get when I’m outside.

We can have a whole discussion about water and what goes into our pipes, but we’re almost out of time, unfortunately. This was wonderful and I appreciate you. Thank you for sharing all this beautiful knowledge with us. Thank you for inspiring me to soar at 70.

Long way to go.

Before we say goodbye, for now, two questions. One, what are your three top tips to living a stellar life? Number two, where can people find you?

Be true to who you are, embrace the you that you are meant to be.

Living a stellar life, start out with purpose. Have a reason to wake up every day, decide what it is that your higher calling is, and let that inspire you and inspire everything you do. Be true to who you are, embrace the You, that you are meant to be. 

A lot of people try to adapt to what other people expect of them. I found the best way for me to find not only acceptance but also success was for me to fall in love with that person that I had a hard time appreciating for a good part of my life. 

Make the decision that you are going to take a path on a regular basis, on a daily basis, to take care of yourself. It adds up and it makes all the difference. In my book, taking care of yourself means the basics of self-care, which are eating clean foods, getting enough sleepat least seven to eight hours a day—staying close to others, embracing community, and then making sure that you move every day.

Those four are what we call pillars of health, movement, community, nutrition, and relaxation and sleep can take you into your next decade, three, four, or five, and fight all of what we see around us as we start to see more diseases in younger and younger people, and it’s even earlier. 

Finally, you can find me at nansimonsen.com and @agingpowerfullywithnan on Instagram and on Facebook. I would love you to read my book. It’s Aging Powerfully. It’s an Amazon best-seller. You’ll find it on Amazon.

Wonderful. Thank you so much, Nan, for your kindness and for your inspiration. 

Thank you. I feel like we went all over the place, but I think that we covered a lot of ground. I appreciate you’re giving me this time. Thank you, Orion.

Thank you and thank you, listeners. Remember to have a reason to wake up every day and inspire yourself and others. Embrace who you are. Take care of yourself and have a stellar life. This is Orion, until next time.


Your Checklist of Actions to Take

{✓} Take care of yourself. Self-care has no age or timeline for the best time to do it. Don’t let a number stop you from getting better.
{✓} Be mindful of the food you eat. Processed foods are manufactured to be addictive. Learn to control your portions, or better yet, transition to a healthy lifestyle. 
{✓} Educate yourself about food. There is a lot of misinformation about food on the Internet. Make sure to only listen to experts and read reliable sources for guaranteed results. 
{✓} Follow a healthy diet. Your body is only responding to what you eat. Don’t wait until it becomes sick and unhealthy. The sooner you start eating clean, the better. 
{✓} Limit using oils in food. Oils become damaging once cooked over their smoking point. They are also filled with calories which are hard to track when added to food. 
{✓} Don’t rush into diets. You become prone to relapse when you transition too quickly. Instead, start with small steps, then gradually take bigger ones over time. 
{✓} Get fats from whole foods. You don’t have to entirely remove fat from your diet. Sourcing it from healthy options, like avocados and tahini, is a great place to start.
{✓} Avoid using plastics when cooking. Plastic particles can get into the food when containers are heated or cooked. Instead, use high-quality glass or stainless steel for safety.
{✓} Love yourself. By accepting your body, you become more successful. You’re supportive of your choices and can actively choose to go on a healthier path. 
{✓} Read Nan Simonsen’s first book, Aging Powerfully: Accept Your Past and Take Control of Your Future, visit her website, and follow her on Instagram to learn more about how you can live and age with power.

Links and Resources

About Nan Simonsen

In vibrant health, Nan celebrated her 70th birthday in January of 2021 with the publication of her first book, Aging Powerfully. Having recovered from an eating disorder, and as a certified health and lifestyle coach, Nan’s mission is to help people of all ages to live and age with power!


Disclaimer: The medical, fitness, psychological, mindset, lifestyle, and nutritional information provided on this website and through any materials, downloads, videos, webinars, podcasts, or emails are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical/fitness/nutritional advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Always seek the help of your physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, certified trainer, or dietitian with any questions regarding starting any new programs or treatments or stopping any current programs or treatments. This website is for information purposes only, and the creators and editors, including Orion Talmay, accept no liability for any injury or illness arising out of the use of the material contained herein, and make no warranty, express or implied, with respect to the contents of this website and affiliated materials.

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