Dr. Mark Hyman:
Healing Broken Brain
Dr. Mark Hyman:
Healing Broken Brain
Ten time New York Times Bestseller, Dr. Mark Hyman, turned his passion for tackling the root causes of chronic disease into a wellness practice and online platform serving hundreds of thousands of people around the globe.
You’ve probably seen him on Dr. Oz or CNN or heard him on NPR… or maybe you’ve followed his work with the Clinton Foundation. Dr. Mark Hyman is everywhere bringing you the most inspired tips on how to stay healthy and heal disease and how to leave the shackles of the conventional medical system to a deeper place of health care.
I have been inspired by Dr. Mark Hyman’s work for at least a decade now when I began my own health journey after living in Italy. Living in a culture with a completely different value on food and health opened my eyes greatly, and Dr. Hyman was one of the first and best resources I discovered upon my return to the U.S. for how I could incorporate the ideas I learned in Italy in our hectic lives.
I’m particularly excited about Dr. Hyman’s latest docu-series on “Broken Brain” – an epidemic we all face in modern society. I encourage you to check out his new docu-series and learn how he went from struggling to deep anxiety, brain fog and depression, to supporting millions to heal themselves and live vibrant lives. The docu-series covers Alzheimer’s, anxiety, depression, autism, ADHD, traumatic brain injury, and much more.
- Tell us about your business – what’s your mission; your soul’s purpose and why you created your wellness business or service?
I believe that we all deserve a life of vitality—and that we have the potential to create it for ourselves. That’s why I am dedicated to tackling the root causes of chronic disease and using the power of Functional Medicine to transform healthcare. This path has led me down many roads including the creation my own wellness center called the UltraWellness Center as well as partnering up with the Cleveland Clinic and the Institute for Functional Medicine to create the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine.
- Tell us about your journey and your story….what got you to this point today?
About 20 years ago, at the start of my medical career, I went from being a healthy, thriving physician to becoming a disoriented and terrified version of myself. I woke up feeling like I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I was depressed, anxious, forgetful. It got so bad that I had a hard time following what my patients were saying during their appointments. I tried to take careful notes and keep track, but I couldn’t focus on our conversations. I couldn’t even remember anyone’s name. Some doctors, including my colleagues, said that I was depressed and recommended taking anti-depressants. I saw a few psychiatrists who suggested anti-anxiety medication. My family doctor prescribed me sleeping medication, and a neurologist told me that I had ADD and needed stimulants. Other doctors told me that I had chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. At that point, I was exhausted and I needed answers. It was at this time that I discovered the power of Functional Medicine and the idea that every system in our body is connected — everything we eat, do, say, think, and how we live can influence all aspects of our health, including that of our brain. Becoming my own patient led to me to the world of Functional Medicine. Although suffering from anxiety, depression, ADHD, and brain fog was difficult to say the least, I truly believe that I went through this experience to discover a revolutionary approach to treating chronic disease.
- How are you changing the face of healthcare and/or the wellness industry? How do you create, innovate or break the rules in healthcare?
Starting the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine has been one of the highlights of my career. The model that we’ve created in Cleveland is the future of medicine. We spend time with their patients, listening to their histories, mapping their personal timeline, and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex chronic disease. Our patients meet with a health coach, a nutritionist, and a physician, and this is covered, for the most part, by insurance! This is revolutionary. We worked hard to create a supportive, inspiring, peaceful environment for our patients — basically the opposite of what they are used to when they go to doctor’s office.
- What personal and professional legacy or impact do you want to leave on the world?
My mission is to transform healthcare. This mission starts with getting my patients, friends, family, and my readers on a path toward their best health.
- In your opinion, what is the most significant factor in healing or overall wellness?
I believe food is medicine – and that what you eat is the single most important thing you do every day to affect the health of your body, mind, and the planet. I have seen thousands of incredibly ill patients become thriving, healthy humans by taking a comprehensive approach to wellness in their own personal way. What will always connect their experience is food. I have never seen anyone evolve to become the best version of themselves by eating a really crappy diet.
- What do you wish people realized when it comes to their health or about the wellness industry?
My next book, Food., is all about food confusion and how we can achieve food peace. Even my friends who are super healthy and thriving will ask me, “what the heck should I eat?” because there is so much conflicting information out there about what is healthy and unhealthy. I want everyone to realize that we’re all confused, but we don’t have to be. I think that personalization of diet is important, but there are a few guidelines that we can all follow so that we nourish our bodies with every bite. I’ll give you one tip here (this is especially important for the wellness community). Avoid packaged foods. If the label says gluten-free, natural, etc… it’s probably still bad for you.
- How long did it take you to reach important milestones in your wellness business? And, what has really helped you move the needle in making your vision a reality?
Once I became passionate about Functional Medicine and my own healing, I wanted to share it with the world. After working at Canyon Ranch for 7 years I published my first book. Within a year I left Canyon Ranch to start my own center and continued to write books. What helped me make the vision a reality was my deep passion and commitment to bringing the approach of Functional Medicine to millions of people to end needless suffering. That passion led me to teach, to speak, to continue to write books and be an evangelist for the message.
- Tell us about the start-up scares: Was there a moment where you ever seriously contemplated giving up?
I’ve never wanted to give up, but there have been plenty of challenging moments on this path. Just last year a perfect storm came together that left me sicker than I’ve ever felt. It was a really scary time in my life, and all of the old tricks of eating real, whole foods and taking my daily supplements weren’t working. I became my own patient again, and through this process, I discovered new modalities and ways to heal. When I experiment with myself, I discover new treatments for my patients. Although the experience was very challenging, and I never want to go through that again, I’ve come out stronger, and with a deeper understanding of what it takes to heal dis-ease.
- Did you ever fail or make a substantial mistake in business or organization? Any serious challenges? How did you overcome and resolve it?
I have made many, many mistakes and learned from each of them. I often choose people to help me or work with without careful scrutiny of who they were, their skills and capabilities and motivations. I have learned to be more careful in picking people with the right skill sets, and motivation and with the right integrity. This has had a profound impact on my business. Through business coaching I was able to see the pattern and work with it and be direct and clear about what I needed.
- What action has the most impact that you’ve taken to reach your goal/s?
I talk a lot about cutting sugar and processed carbs and eating real, whole, fresh foods, but everyone wants to know if I walk the walk! The truth is that I have to. I have about ten jobs, two kids, a dog, a team, weeks of travel at a time… the list goes on and on. In order to keep up with this lifestyle, maintaining optimal health becomes a top priority.
- What would you tell your younger/earlier self about following your dreams?
Follow your passion and your dreams. Act with integrity. Collaborate. Be generous. Lead from a mindset of abundance not scarcity. Be smart about who you bring with you on the team. Build a great team, empower them and let them help you. Say no when you feel no. Be clear about your yesses.
- What’s the best piece of business or personal advice YOU’VE ever received?
Rule #6 – Everything always works out. Stick with things through the hard and the good. It allowed me to be less stressed, more effective and see things as an opportunity, not an obstacle or problem.
- What’s the #1 piece of advice you would give a new Wellness professional who really wants to make an impact in healthcare and people’s lives?
Take care of yourself. If you feel healthy and strong, you’ll be able to show up for your patients and clients in the best way.
- What does a typical work day look like for you?
If I’m at the Cleveland Clinic or at the UltraWellness Center, my days are packed. I try my best to get up early and meditate or go for a run. Usually I’ll have a Bulletproof Coffee before I exercise. When I get back, I’ll have a shake loaded with healthy fats and protein. Then I start to see patients. For lunch, unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of time, so I’ll throw together a quick salad with pre-washed greens and veggies and I’ll top it off with canned wild salmon and loads of olive oil. For lunch, I love to cook with friends and family. We’ll make a bunch of vegetables and some protein. I love long dinners and great conversation. I make time for connecting with my loved ones every day.
- Stevie Wonder or The Beatles? (this, I personally must know.) 🙂 Stevie Wonder
Dr. Hyman is the Medical Director at Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine, the Founder of The UltraWellness Center, and a ten-time New York Times Bestselling author. www.drhyman.com
If you’re looking to improve your brain health, check out my docu-series, Broken Brain.
And be sure to look out for my new book, Food. What The Heck Should I eat? It comes out in February 2018.