Samantha Harris: The Power of Positivity and Living Your Healthiest Healthy

Elizabeth welcomes Samantha Harris, well-known Emmy award winning TV host and author, famous for her upbeat energy and hosting appearances on shows such as Dancing with the Stars, Entertainment Tonight, and currently the game show Tug of War. Despite being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40, Samantha has bounced back and is now helping others through her certified health coaching, and her "Your Healthiest Healthy" community courses and retreats. In this episode, Samantha shares her journey with cancer and how it inspired her to lead a healthier life, including tips on reducing toxins in and around the body, her top nutritional and lifestyle tips for feeling your best, and more. She also shares the importance of making small steps towards big lifestyle changes, and some top nutritional and lifestyle tips to help prioritize your health today.

“We can't out exercise a bad diet. Our diet is possibly the most powerful thing that we have control of. -Samantha Harris

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Podcast transcript below:

Elizabeth Stein 00:00
Hi, everyone. I'm Elizabeth Stein, Founder and CEO of Purely Elizabeth. And this is Live Purely with Elizabeth, featuring candid conversations about how to thrive on your wellness journey. This week's guest is Samantha Harris, Emmy award winning TV host and best selling author Samantha Harris is best known for her eight seasons on Dancing with the Stars and Entertainment Tonight. Currently, she's the host of game show network's tug of wars. After a breast cancer diagnosis at age 40. She is now thriving and leading others to live their healthiest healthy life as a certified health coach and founder of your healthiest healthy community courses and retreats. In this episode, Samantha talks all about her cancer journey, which led her to living more healthfully than ever. She shares learnings from her cancer diagnosis, her diet and lifestyle shifts post diagnosis, which include reducing toxins in on and around the body, her top nutritional and lifestyle tips to feel your absolute best and so much more. Keep listening to learn all about Samantha and her healthiest healthy community. I'm so excited to share with you that our number one selling granola is now available at over 3,000 Walmart stores nationwide in the cereal aisle. This is a dream come true to have our granola more accessible in so many locations across the country. Our original granola was my very first granola recipe and has been a favorite of our fans ever since. Our recipe is made with organic oats, superfood grains and seeds lightly sweetened with coconut sugar and a hint of cinnamon. It has a delicious salty, sweet taste and that perfect crunch. To make it easy, I have a link in the notes section of this episode to help you find a Walmart near you. Happy Shopping. Samantha welcome to the podcast. I'm so excited for our conversation today. I just love all of your positive energy what you're putting out into the world and I of course also love that you're a fellow Integrative Nutrition grad so excited to talk about all things health and feeling your absolute best.
Samantha Harris 02:22
I love purely Elizabeth as a product, but I love even more you because we speak the same language and I get so excited talking to others who just kind of totally, I'm gonna just say we dork out over it
Elizabeth Stein 02:34
Totally 100%. So I would love to start with your wellness journey. And I know that it took a very big pivot where you really found your passion and your purpose, I think along with the cancer diagnosis. So would love to start kind of what led you into this world of health and wellness and all of that.
Samantha Harris 02:55
Well. So I was always someone who loved exercising and well not always not when I first moved out to LA out of college and had to figure out how to exercise and what we I know
Elizabeth Stein 03:04
Where are you from originally?
Samantha Harris 03:06
So I grew up in Minnesota and grew up in a family that was very theatrical and loved just entertaining people, my parents produced and created one of the country's first Renaissance festivals. And it's actually our first one was in Chicago. And the second one which still exists to this day is in Massachusetts. So it's called King Richard's fair named after my dad who passed at 50 of colon cancer. But he you know, he was the king and they ran this business and my mom and sister still run it to this day. But I always had these Hollywood dreams from a young age. And then I went to Northwestern University, majored in journalism, and then made a beeline out to LA because I also minored in theater I thought maybe I want to be I want to be an actor. So it was a lot of a Go Go Go world from the time I landed in LA to getting my first network primetime show which was a show called The next Joe millionaire which was like a precursor to the bachelor and all of that and then eventually got my first entertainment news job at extra and that I was at Access Hollywood an extra and E News and ultimately Entertainment Tonight for many years. But you know that world because of the 24/7 news cycle, and even though it was entertainment news was very, very much go go go. A lot of emphasis on how do you look in a dress? How do you stay thin? How do you say trim? How do you get your muscular definition? And I would find myself actually on the cover of over a dozen health and fitness magazines because I found my strong body. I really found how I loved working out I didn't realize I would enjoy it and I found the joy in it. And being in fitness classes I got I've been taught fitness classes as one of my six juggling side jobs, trying to make it in Hollywood but I really lived on this treadmill of just go go go Like at the fastest speed possible and focus on body. Never focus on health, never focus on taking time for yourself, never focus on stepping away from the rat race and making sure you're doing what you truly need to be able to live optimally and healthfully. And so that was the blindsiding wake up call when breast cancer hit at age 40.
Elizabeth Stein 05:23
And what happened at that time? First of all, I know that it was your story somewhat where it wasn't just you went into the doctor. So what was that process? Because I know your story. And I know what it wasn't that you just went into the doctor and all of a sudden, you discover that you had cancer, I know there is more to it, where there's a lot of learning there.
Samantha Harris 05:42
So much learning. So I was about to turn 40. And I thought, you know, my dad died of colon cancer at 50. I have daughters who are three and six right now, my dad's mom had breast cancer, but lived, you know, at 65, but lived to 95, I should probably set a baseline and get a mammogram. And so I did and it came back clear, which is exactly what we'd anticipated. And then 11 days later, 11 days, I was changing after a workout. And you know how tight those sports bras are, you know, you kind of move one breast to the left and the other one to the right. You circle them around, and I'm sitting there doing that. And I'm thinking, Wait a second, this is a weird feeling. What's this lump? This lump was not here before, like I literally had not felt this lump before it was right breast and I thought well, I'm not worried about it. I just had a clear mammogram. I'll bet I'll go see my OB GYN because she's always been my go to for everything. And she's the only one of any of the doctors I've ever had who actually did a clinical breast exam, you know, at each annual pap smear or whatever it was. So without hesitation she'd said get come on in. She checked it out. She said you know what? You're 40 now, and it's probably glandular 40 year olds, you know. And once you're over 40, you start to get lumpy breasts, this is just what it is. Don't worry about it. It's nothing. So I kind of just took her at her word, but a month later it was still there. And so I thought, you know, let's just get a second opinion. And I'm really proud of myself at that point that I didn't just stick my head in the sand. And I went to see my internist. Again because it wasn't cancer. So he did the same thing, quick clinical exam, he felt around and it said the same thing. It's not can't it's nothing. But if you're worried we'll keep an eye on it. Okay, so you know, and then before you knew it, Elizabeth, it was the holidays and New Years and you had to come up for air and you were I realized four months had passed since I found the lump, and it was still there. So that's when I said okay, if I'm gonna live with this, quote, nothing lump. I need to make sure that we're doing something besides just feeling it How the heck do we know what it is? Feeling it for God's sake. So that's when I went to someone who looks at breast every day as their profession and the only type of doctor who does that is an oncologist. So here I was at the, you know, the breast oncology center near my house, and that even that oncologist said, No, I don't think it's anything. But we did two ultrasounds, we did a nee needle biopsy. Subsequently, once we ended up finding the cancer, we did an MRI, not one diagnostic test, found the cancer. They say the diagnostic saw something but literally the oncologist came into the room with the results from the needle biopsy and she said good news and bad news. The good news is it's not cancer. The bad news is I don't know what it is. So I'm going to suggest I do a lumpectomy and take it out anyway. And thank goodness, she suggested that because when we went in, we found it was ductal carcinoma in site two which is cancer contained within the milk duct. But because she listened to her gut, she said you know there was this little area on the border that looked like healthy tissue but for whatever reason I wanted to sample it. I don't even know why I wanted to sample it but I did that was invasive breast cancer, but it didn't look like it in the room. And had she not done that and closed me back up. My outcome would have God forbid been a lot worse. So I went back to surgery I opted for a double mastectomy to stage reconstruction. I was on a hormone blocker for a net seven and a half years. And I'm you know 2014 And here I am not wood and stronger, more energized and more vibrant than I've ever been.
Elizabeth Stein 09:30
Wow, that's incredible. The power it sounds like a really listening to your body. You knew that something wasn't right.
Samantha Harris 09:41
I did not know the power of listening to your body. I did not know the power of knowing your body until this whole experience is possibly the biggest message I've taken from it that I share with other women. But how it's a Easy to say well know your body. Yeah. How do you do that? How? Yeah, but how do you know your body and I think that's really the. And that's where it comes to. Knowing that if you are exercising and moving your body every day, you're going to be in a place where you can notice changes physically more, when you're nourishing your body with nutrient dense foods, and getting rid of the processed junk and carcinogens and all the just terrible things that are in our food supply. I don't know why they even call it food in there, the things that go into our mouths supply is really. And then also just tapping into whether it's yoga, meditation, tai chi, breathwork, mindfulness, all of those different elements make you much more self-aware, and able to notice things because no doctor is ever going to know your body as well as you do.
Elizabeth Stein 10:52
So you go through this process. Now you're, as I started off saying, like you're so positive, you have such great energy. Were you always like that? Was this something that you had a renewed sense of this vibrancy and change your outlook on life,
Samantha Harris 11:08
I absolutely have always been a positive person, and an energizer bunny. Interestingly, the energy that I have now, it almost seems impossible. But the energy that I have now is even and being this many years or decades older than I was, obviously in my 20s, I have more energy, I don't get the slump at three o'clock in the afternoon, I don't have that I still don't like waking up in the morning. But once I'm out of bed, I go go go all the way till bedtime, with the same level of energy without the dips. And that's a nutrition thing that was really, I think the nutrition component how I changed my diet after cancer, that was the biggest thing. But cancer definitely struck down my positive spirit hardcore. And I felt this overwhelm and anxiety that I'd never experienced in my life. And so I after maybe two or three weeks of feeling like that, and still the unknown of what was to come next in my cancer journey, there was just again, I guess it was that inner voice that just said, I can't feel like this. I've got these two little girls, I have this amazing husband, you know, my mom went through all of this already with my dad, I have to be I have to change something. So I made a conscious choice to flip my perspective. And look at everything that came down next in the cancer pipeline with the most no not rose colored glasses, because that's that's just sort of ignoring, but really looking at the positive spin on things. So here it was a cancer diagnosis. Okay, so let's have some positive self talk, which has become one of my really big tools for you know, kind of the your healthiest healthy version of dealing with stress. And positive self talk was okay, why of cancer? What's good about that? Well, I'm in otherwise really good shape, which is going to lessen my chances of any sort of issues during surgery complications, it's going to allow me to bounce back a lot faster, recover more quickly. Okay, that's good. Keep talking yourself. What else is good? Okay, well, I've really good health insurance. Thank goodness, we're not going to go we're not gonna lose the house because I have cancer. That's amazing. freakin awesome. Keep going. Okay, what got a great so ports go on, I've got you. So the more that I looked at the positives in each part of it really allowed me to get through the darkest days.
Elizabeth Stein 13:46
That's so wonderful that you were able to like, really find what worked for you. Because that could be, I think, for a lot of people really freaking hard to get out of that negative talk and how you were able to find like, okay, I know the thing that I need to do to get me out of this. And now that you can sounds like you continue to use just whether it's stress or other parts of your life today and share that with others.
Samantha Harris 14:11
And it's not to say that everything is all hunky dory. And, you know, there are those moments and those days where I can't quite figure out how to get back to that. But thankfully, they're much shorter lived. And they literally are hours or days, not weeks and months. And that is incredible progress.
Elizabeth Stein 14:33
Yeah. I think I love having the idea of having like a list of tools that are personalized to you because of course, we're all different, but like what are those tools that help you get out of feeling like not your best so what makes me feel great, like I have a list on my iPhone notes that like things that make me feel good. And I you know, have 30 or so different things that you can look at to be like, Okay, maybe right now I don't want to do X, Y and Z but Hey, have you tried this tool right now, which I think is a really good tip for people.
Samantha Harris 15:05
It's a great tip. And it's something that everybody can do. And each list is going to be unique to each individual, right. And, granted, there might be some great overlap, you're like, Oh, I love that you have that on your list. I'm totally adding that to mind, by the way, I need to get your list. But I think that that's a really important and helpful tool to have. So again, besides that, you know, the positive self talk, control what you can control is another really important go to for me, and when I'm feeling stressed, when I'm feeling worried, and we have only the control over our reactions, in certain situations, our effort and our attitude. So, you know, we cannot control obviously anyone else and we, we can't control the weather and the pandemic and the you know, other people's decisions. So when we focus on on Okay, I like when the pandemic Okay, I have no control that there's a pandemic right now. What can I control? Well, I can control how I'm going to choose or not choose to wear a mask, I'm going to choose or not choose to test I can choose or not choose to go out or be indoors or out, right, these are my choices, gave me the power back to give that control, right, we got to take back the control said one of the reasons in my book, literally, it's like your healthy self, the eight easy ways to take control, and then the subtitle control, what is it, I can't live longer, healthier, leaner life, I have to look at my book title to remember what it's called. But the idea of being able to take back our power was I think one of the greatest gifts that cancer gave to me because I didn't realize I could be in control. So control what you can control positive self talk, I love your list idea, then also worry when you have to worry. So that also has been really empowering to me, because we all know we have these crazy monkey minds that go nuts. And we worry about everything from the little things of overthinking what we're going to do for dinner tonight to the big worries. But a lot of times we don't have to worry all the time. For instance, we in the midst of the pandemic, I started peeing blood. And immediately of course, having had cancer. Yeah, my mind immediately went to God forbid I have bladder cancer, I have this cancer, whatever. So try to take a breath. And remember, okay, if God forbid, there is a diagnosis of something bad, I'm gonna have plenty of time to worry. So why don't I just take control of what I can take control, I can call my doctor, make an appointment, take a breath, go to the appointment, see what happens. Right. And I had a UTI it was like no big deal, right. So things like that to worry when we have to worry also are great. And then for me the other go to Tools, stressed or anxious situations or when you're feeling overwhelmed. Breathing and breath work has been something that I used to think was that weird thing that. And that was like, Oh, I get it, I totally understand the power of the breath. Whether it is a you know, an hour on a mat, or literally two or three rounds of deep belly breaths before you go into a meeting or while you're sitting in traffic aggravated, or whatever it is. And the fact that we can knowingly activate our parasympathetic nervous system, right? The rest and digest can never be active at the same time that our high cortisol high stress, parasympathetic nervous system that fight and flight is active. So the fact that we can make a choice to activate the parasympathetic through the breath work, automatically deactivating all that high cortisol which is you know, surging in the levels of chronic cortisol in our culture is terrible because it leads to inflammation, which leads to disease. And so I love that I can go away. It in sometimes it's even a stressful situation. It can be an exciting situation, right? You can just be happy but like the energy is going and you get a little surge of cortisol there. But you don't want to even live in that place for too long. I mean, you can stay in the happy frame of mind, but not that like frenetic happiness brings the cortisol.
Elizabeth Stein 19:22
Yeah, the breath work is so fascinating. I just had Dr. Padre on the podcast, who has a new book out on gut health. And he goes into a lot of the gut breathwork parasympathetic connection. And when you really bring this science with it to say like, when you're in that fight or flight, your blood goes away from your gut and cannot be digesting and therefore, if our gut is like the root of our health, we need to be in that parasympathetic, relaxed mode as much as we possibly we can for our gut.
Samantha Harris 20:01
Yeah, without a doubt. I mean, we know the gut brain connection through the vagus nerve is so profound as well, and what that means for our level of anxiety and dealing with so much. And so when we can take those deep belly breaths, and then the gut healthy, will you bring up the microbiome and why? You know why what you're doing it purely, Elizabeth is so important to just getting the right foods into our gut so that our microbiome and the good gut bacteria can be there, because not only is 70% of our immune system in our gut, but that gut brain connection, how is our mental health going to be, it's going to be affected by what we're eating and how we're nourishing ourselves. And so when I talk to people who are either private clients or social media followers, or in my, you know, I'm a membership coaching group, and wherever I am talking to people, the idea of, we can make a change in slow small steps. And if there's one change to make, the best change to make starts with your nourishment. We can't out exercise a bad diet, our diet is possibly the most powerful thing that we have control of 100 making those decisions so many times a day.
Elizabeth Stein 21:16
100%. So let's get into some of the diet and lifestyle pieces, and particularly, you know, for you after this diagnosis, and you changed some things in your life, like what were those some of those major changes? And then how does that play out today in really what you share with your community?
Samantha Harris 21:36
Well, so I mean, there's so been so many changes. First was the nutrition changes that I made, I didn't realize how I was eating. Okay, so first of all, you look when I was hosting Dancing with the Stars, I had eight seasons on the show standing next to these incredible bodied professional dancers with the just the sculpted, gorgeous muscles. And I was already down that path from my workouts of wanting that toned, tight body and having really achieved it. And I worked even harder, probably while I was on dancing and on entertainment. I always worked in entertainment news show full time while I was hosting Dancing with the Stars. So, you know, I was if I wasn't interviewing the celebrities on dancing and their professional dance partners, I was interviewing celebrities and on the set of their movies. And so I had so much focus on just wanting to look good. And to me that meant I had to eat a lot of animal meat, a lot of animal protein to build that sculpted muscle and 21 out of 21 meals a week. Here I was eating yogurt or eggs for breakfast poultry, usually for lunch and fish or more poultry for dinner. A bean based meal or a plant based meals was never even something in my deck of cards I didn't understand with oh, plant based what you mean the side dish. What did you I grew up in Minnesota land of cows, right? Like I ate every part from tongue to practically tail. So I had no idea that there was this world beyond animal meat. But when I was diagnosed and I learned that I had no genetic link, and yet, one in eight women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. Well, I was actually in the majority because only five to 10% of breast cancer is actually hereditary. So here I was, with this sort of frustrated patient perspective of okay, I don't have even though my dad had cancer and there's a breast colon connection and his mom had breast cancer but and Okay, here I am no hereditary link. Why? I'm the healthy one. I'm the one who works out I'm the one who eats all these like lean, you know egg whites and skinless boneless chicken and yogurt I'm supposed to be healthy, not realizing how many sugars and junk and crap and you know, is in it and so I began to research because I'm a journalist that least I could lean into that and I read and researched everything I could I really learned it is what we put in on and around our body that affects our overall well being that keeps on or turns off hopefully certain strands or structures of DNA that will develop into a cancer or a dementia or heart disease. And so that gave me so much excitement and empowered me in a way that it ignited something so so powerful that I needed to share it with others and that's when I wrote the book your healthiest healthy it's why develop the you know your healthiest healthy community and courses and retreats because I just want to shout from the rooftops Hey, start with your diet one small step at a time and maybe look at your makeup bag. What are you putting on your skin are there endocrine disruptors and carcinogens. What's in your hair products and your cleaning supplies? Do you have those air fresheners plugged into the wall for releasing chemicals all day long into your home? You know, all these things that I didn't realize and so easily plausible to be overwhelmed by it. And that's why I just go back to It's one small step at a time.
Elizabeth Stein 25:18
Yeah, I think you make such a good point that it can be so confusing. It's can be so overwhelming. You hear so much information coming at you. There are differing opinions like where do you start? What do you pick? What do you say? I want to try this. I'm going to do that. So for people who are starting out, where do you like to usually start? I know we've kind of talked on food, but more I guess, specifically, what are those kind of top tips when it comes to food that you think are like, okay, these are the tried and true staples? To start with? The good thing to say
Samantha Harris 25:55
no, look, I have, unlike most experts who have their book series, and even though a lot of them have one particular like they've developed this as the one way you need to eat, and you have to follow my way or you're not going to succeed with your best optimal health. So you have you know, everyone from the vegan vegetarian, macrobiotic to the paleo and the Keto, and then the down the middle of the Mediterranean, the one thing that all of them, because I've researched literally all of them, and then the science behind it. They'll all agree that a plant based foundation is key. So if you say okay, well, I could go plant based, but I really don't want to be vegetarian or vegan. Okay. So if you're going to have meat, how are you sourcing it? Is it grass fed? Is it organic? Is it pasture raised? Are you having the 8, 12 ounce portion? Which is unnecessary for anyone? Or can you bring it down and have two or three ounces? At insert? You know, add a serving one meal a day or two meals a day? Or we'll How can you change it up so that you still have some of that, and thereby reducing the process junk as well as the other thing that they'll all agree on. So my biggest tips are, fill your plate at least half full of veggies that every meal, What are your favorites? Oh my goodness. Okay, so Well, first of all, I intermittent fast, which is a newer thing in the last couple of years. And I never, if you would have said, Your Samantha, I don't want you to eat anything for 14 to 16 hours a day, I would have said you're crazy. But during the pandemic, because I was home with the kids, and I was getting my workout in on an empty stomach and then starting my workday, but then it was like stop down for their recess, and then their lunch meat prepping, I realized all of a sudden, I wasn't actually having my smoothie until earliest 11, if not 12, or even sometimes one o'clock. And so I inadvertently began intermittent fasting and then realized, Oh, this feels amazing. And then I started to read all the research and all the incredible benefits. So when I say I start my day with a smoothie that doesn't start before, you know, 11 or 12,
Elizabeth Stein 28:10
like a 14 to 16 hour fast?
Samantha Harris 28:12
I mean, the earlier the better if I could stop eating at seven every night, that would be amazing. But with family and kids and activities, it's usually in a nine o'clock dead drop no matter what. But I try to get as close to 8:30 as possible eight would be even better. But so yeah, so I usually am going nine to 11 minimum window and you know, I try to stay pretty regimented about it. I really do. And I usually break it actually with a handful or two of raw cashews just because I'm really excited to now eat and sometimes you know sometimes I'm like okay, now I really am hungry and I want to eat but it takes me a while to put my smoothie together. And we know from a variety of studies that handful of nuts a day again staying away from the ones that have processed with seed oils and salt and all that actually helps longevity and it could be because those people eating raw nuts are also eating other healthy things I'm not sure that they were able to you know isolate for that. But yeah, so my smoothie is and by the way anyone listening who wants my smoothie recipe or wants my list of clean you know free of toxin makeup or skincare or haircare I've really run a long course of working with even when I was just back shooting 65 episodes of a game show that I host I actually asked my hair makeup girls, my good friends of mine said hey, can we going into this, I only want products that are free of anything harmful like no carcinogens no toxins, no endocrine disruptors. So anyway, so I have a great long list. That's great weere they like surprised? They're getting more and more requests for that these days. I don't know, that they actually want. They were like yes please. And they are now integrating a lot of those that new finds into their kits as they go to people because they want that for their lives. What my hair girl had just had twins and her first set of babies. And so she's like, I gotta start their lives like this. And my makeup artist who I've been with forever and ever she is has always been much more into the wellness. But most of our clients are like, No, I want this Chanel, I want the Armani foundation, I want the which, it's unfortunate, there's a lot of thankfully there are a lot of amazing brands out there with really highly productive, effective products that lasts and achieve the look that you want. Without all the gross stuff. But if @samanthaharristv, which is like television @samanthaharristv on Instagram, Facebook, I will send you my list. But so back to food. So that smoothie, I love it and I put everything in it, I call it kind of my kitchen sink smoothie, because I put all the things in it that I maybe won't have on their own, like the chia and flax and the matcha. And the bee pollen, even the ginger, I'm not really going to consume those on a daily basis. So they just think go in the blender, you know, with my favorite protein powder, or that's plant based and you know, as many greens as possible. And if their protein better one that that I have called Shaklee. That is been around for 66 years. And I like it for a variety of reasons, but also for people who are just starting to try to segway over to a protein powder. Yeah, I because I've pushed some other brands on like family and friends. They're like you're crazy. And that this is the one I've never had someone say No, I don't like it.
Elizabeth Stein 29:49
So great entry then.
Samantha Harris 30:01
Yeah, yeah, for sure. They have plant based and a soy, I prefer the plant. Also as breast cancer, even though we know soy has breast protective qualities. I really, I'm a kind of a hardliner about going with more than is as close to a natural source as possible. And not the soy protein isolate as much even though the researchers at Shaklee. And I've taught their poor medical affairs department. I was like, I'm on the phone with them way too many times. But they do say it's actually still breast protective. But again, they have a plant based option. And it's great. So that's what I choose. And I put berries, usually strawberries, wild blueberries, always organic, everything, you know, again, just reducing that exposure to toxins.
Elizabeth Stein 32:10
So that's your breakfast.
Samantha Harris 32:12
That's right, and it's so nutrient dense, and I make a really big one, that it tends to keep me satiated, it's first of all, it'll sometimes take me well over an hour or more to just even finish. And it's so filling. And because my body has received all the nutrients it needs. It doesn't send me hunting for other snacks and junk and other things. But when we eat that bag of chips, or you know, bag of cookies or whatever other processed stuff, because it doesn't have all of the fiber and the photo phytonutrients and phytochemicals and all the goodness, we end up searching out other foods just because they need to fill the void that hasn't been filled yet.
Elizabeth Stein 32:56
Yeah, smoothies, such a good way to get in all those goodies.
Samantha Harris 33:00
Yeah, I dug that. And so then I usually go for either a big chopped salad with beans in it in the later afternoon. Or sometimes if I'm just still so full, but I kind of still want a little snack before dinner then actually just raw veggies with hummus or guacamole. And I always try to keep chopped up you know food prep is definitely a key component of having success. So if I always have fresh chopped carrots and celery and then I have snap peas that already pre washed from the store ready to go and many bell peppers and cucumbers persian cucumbers that I can quickly just rinse and go. They're all really great. So if I'm driving carpool or I'm sitting outside cheer for my younger daughter for an hour while she's in cheer practice, I can just sit in the car and munch on the good things rather than grabbing a bag of chips.
Elizabeth Stein 33:50
So funny, I just I like nothing in my house right now because I've been traveling but I have Persian cucumbers and those mini peppers and they are such a great snack to have grab and go.
Samantha Harris 34:02
I love that crunch. And then I always try to make sure that if I am having some sort of vegetable that I am comparing, I'm pairing it with a healthy fat, because otherwise we don't get the nutrient absorption of vitamins A D, E and K and some of the other minerals in it. So that's why I love to throw the guac or the hummus. I mean, Costco is awesome. They've got that organic individual little you know, packets of it so you just gotta get it throw it in the car and good to go.
Elizabeth Stein 34:30
What are some of your other top nutritional and or lifestyle tips for people really helping to prioritize your health and I think about just what you said about like, meal prepping, which can be a huge thing to really help what are some of those other ones that you'd like to share with your community to schedule
Samantha Harris 34:49
your workout like any other appointment in your day so that it's a non negotiable and it's about consistency as well. So, for the you know, for the Those who maybe don't work out at all, but want to start to integrate exercise into their lives, say, Okay, well start with do twice a week for five minutes or 10 minutes, just start small and I, I feel like we live in such a high reaching society where we have to feel like the pressure of setting the bar high is the only way to go. And I actually like to tell people to set the bar low when it comes to some of these health goals. Because the feeling of achieving is the feeling of achieving, it doesn't matter if you ran a marathon or you ran a mile. If you set your goal at a mile, you're gonna feel that sense of achievement. But if it was a marathon that you set and you went five miles, you're going to feel failure, or you went even 24 miles, you're going to feel, you know, failure. Yeah. So the mentality of it, and how, well how our body sees it, right, like how we internalize it. So I think, yeah, so scheduling your workouts, and they're not negotiable. Starting small, are two really big things. Again, almost just looking at things before taking action. So walk into your pantry or open your fridge. Start small studies, do you have high fructose corn syrup on the ingredients, labels of any of your products in your house, if you do, either vowed you finish it up and never use it, you know, buy it again. Because I understand we spend a lot of money on our groceries. Or if you can, throw it away and start fresh. And if it's unopened, perhaps you can even donate it. And that's your good deed. And not that you want to give 100 postcards to somebody else. So maybe just throw it away. But but the idea that you know, you're getting it out of your home, when it comes to your your beauty routine, you know, changing up what is in your foundation, or your skincare, your day cream, or your night cream, just starting with one product for each part of your beauty routine. And the product that covers the most surface area since our skin is our largest organ. And again, really learning how do you how do you read the labels? How do you understand what's something that again, it can be overwhelming. So you know, thankfully, there's some really great resources out there, the Environmental Working Group, which is ew is a wonderful way to see what's in products, they give a one through 10 rating for individual ingredients. And also for products themselves with an average of all the ingredients. One being clean as can be 10 being toxic is all get out, run away, never use it again. So you can start to educate yourself that way. There's some really great online retailers that already vet the brands that they sell. So if you're like, you know what, I don't have time and look, even places like Sephora and Target and Walmart are starting to have some more green clean standards. They're not to the extreme of clean that I would want to have in my own home. But they're a really great stepping stone and showing the demand is out there. So if that's your first step, again, small steps, anything that's from that section, go ahead and start there. And then you can graduate to these other online retailers that have higher standards.
Elizabeth Stein 38:09
When it comes to beauty are there what ingredients are you specifically looking for, for someone who's just starting out, you know, changing what they have? I feel like with food, even though there's a lot of weird ingredients, it's a much easier label to read. And we know like high fructose corn syrup we don't want but when it comes to beauty, there's so many ingredients on there that even the clean ones I find can be confusing of like, what is this ingredient I don't know that I can pronounce this is as good as it bad. But at the very least, what are some of the top ones that we should be like definitely don't buy this if it has x?
Samantha Harris 38:40
Well and you make a good point because with food if you can't pronounce it in the ingredients label, you probably don't want to eat it with beauty there are actually a lot of very clean ingredients, especially something that as simple as like, I don't know, lavender oil, but it might have like a much longer Latin name that right? It's so confusing. So, you know, look, the one thing that most people kind of like the high fructose corn syrup of food for beauty is parabens, which most people are becoming pretty familiar with. When you're shopping, you'll see a lot of labels on the front of the marketing. You know, they're very smart with food and with beauty products that they will use these smart and to our detriment as consumers because the marketing gurus at these big brands will slap everything you know from when you're going down and you see Froot Loops on the shopping aisle of cereal on it will say heart healthy or boost immunity you're like what same thing sometimes when it says paraben free on a product because oftentimes even though it might be paraben free, it might still have many other endocrine disrupting chemicals or carcinogens. So the paraben free is a really great start. The other things I like to look for are fragrance. So fragrance is a proprietary substance and therefore even the company manufactures During that product has no idea what is in the fragrance within their product, which is why the catch all term fragrance is on the label. And a fragrance on its own can have sometimes hundreds of chemicals in it. And a lot of times fragrance can be an even on the Environmental Working Groups website, if you look up just the word fragrance on that one to 10 scale fragrances and nine, almost as harmful as anything else out there. And a lot of times it can be individual ingredients within the fragrance that are challenging. Sometimes it's the combination and sometimes a byproduct called one four dioxane which is a known carcinogen that can be created from that. And so that's another one to look out for. If there's a P G's, which are polyethylene glycol, so But you look for capital P capital E, capital G hyphen, and then usually a number. So I try to avoid pegs. There's so many there's so many look formaldehyde is highly toxic, talc, highly toxic, and it did a lot of makeup and a lot of different products. Formaldehyde obviously is in our hair coloring. Hair color is a tough one to get clean. I've worked really hard to kind of narrow it down. I've gotten a little bit better with that. But it's hard to get away from from the formaldehyde and some of the other really toxic ingredients. Same with your nail polish. You know nail polish has formaldehyde and a lot about to lean and some other baddies. But you can buy from companies from nail polish that are considered five free or seven free. And they basically are saying we're committed to making sure these five or seven most harmful ingredients are not in our nail polish. So that's also a great option.
Elizabeth Stein 41:39
Those are great tips. Thank you. So at purely we're all about thriving on our wellness journey. And I love how like you're not a breast cancer survivor but a thriver. Yes. So would love to hear how you really thrive in your week, like what are the things that you do above? You know, just nourishing yourself with great food and working out? What else do you do to feel your optimal best?
Samantha Harris 42:06
Well, I've added in a lot of self care that I didn't even know existed previously. And you know, because of all of the wonderful, almost biohacking options out there. Like I'm actually right now wearing a constant glucose monitor because I love your standing. I had levels on this one is neutral sense. I mean, they're, to be honest, the actual monitor is all those same, it's all the same one. And then it's just a matter of what which app you're using. But I love to understanding how my body's reacting with my blood sugar to different foods or stress or workouts and what I can do about that. So that's I consider that you know, self care in my day. Love that. That's so awesome. I got an infrared sauna, I call it my cocoon of safety. It's great because there's so many infrared sauna, not so many. But there are a handful of infrared sauna companies on the market today. And you can literally spend, you know well over $10,000 on one that looks like an actual like wooden structured sauna. I have one that's portable, and my head pops out and I sit in the little chair in it. Or what I've been preferring to do lately is just because I'm little enough, I zip myself all the way and I sit on the floor there cross legged, or I lay down, put my legs up the wall. And then I also get the benefit of the infrared lights on my face for skin rejuvenation, all that
Elizabeth Stein 43:26
What's a brand that you have?
Samantha Harris 43:27
So it's a brand and I have the link in my bio for 10% off, but it's called Therasage. And I've also talked to the owners at lengths and they understand the science behind it all. So I love that because it helps with detoxification. So you know we're being pelted with toxins all around us all the time from you know, especially if we eat anything from the sea. And I will say I have not given up sushi. I have it once a week. And I still only once a week have high levels of mercury. So I have to do detox protocols. And so the infrared sauna is part of that. But not just that when we're eating off of plastics, we're buying groceries that are encased in plastic we have these other you know BPAS we have all of the you know, everything's everything is some sort of acronym of something or another we have PCBs, which are the other toxins that are in our oceans that come in our fish. We have environmental toxins we're breathing in so the infrared sauna, they claim there's a lot of wonderful claims and also good research on it. As a breast cancer survivor. I know that I have a higher risk of lymphedema from having 11 lymph nodes taken out from under my armpit, which is a permanent swelling of the arm and there it's great. The National Institute of Health has a great body of research that now shows that if you are five years post breast cancer, that actually Infrared Saunas can help reduce your risk or symptoms of lymphedema. I have you know, I have breast implants from my mastectomy, and there could be off gassing happening so the infrared sauna can help rid some of those toxins. It also helps with nitric oxide, which is what allows your blood vessels to open up a little further to allow better blood flow and prevent heart disease and better circulation and all that oxidation healing properties. So the infrared sauna I actually I'm sitting I while you're talking, I know you saw me move from my like well lit chair where but when she told me that I like we were not on camera, I thought you know what, I just for the first time got theresage also has and there was another brand called higher dose, they have this p e m f pulsed electron electromagnetic field mat, and it's the size of a yoga mat. And basically, it has the pulse electric magnetic field has different like H H Z's different frequencies that mimic those of the earth. And so you can change the dial and you can have it on like something that's more for sleep or one for just soothing and energizing. And then it also has far infrared. So my sauna has near mid and far infrared. This mat just has far infrared but it also has all these like healing crystals embedded into it for earthing and grounding. All these things that I would have said you are a really kooky weirdo, like, person, if someone else had told me this years ago, and now I'm totally that person, and it's not kooky and weird. It's amazing self care. Elizabeth Stein
I absolutely love that. And all about all of those tools to make you feel your best. Alright, well, we're gonna move on to some rapid fire q&a.
Samantha Harris
Okay, you got it.
Elizabeth Stein 44:26
What do you wish more people knew about you.
Samantha Harris 46:31
That I'm actually funny. Like, my youngest daughter heard me speak at a big heart health event as the keynote. And when I was done, I was so I was a little nervous what her feedback was gonna be because she's brutally honest. And she just says I was supposed to rapid fire. And she said, Mommy, you're really good. Wow, I didn't know you're so funny. So apparently, I'm funny. Okay.
Elizabeth Stein 46:52
That's so cute. Must read health book.
Samantha Harris 46:56
Oh, gosh, there's so many Eat to Live. I think that one's Joe Furman. Yeah, that one's fantastic. How Not to Die by Michael McGregor is also fantastic. He's from And really fantastic. The China studies what changed me to go for plant based and understand how carcinogenic animal proteins can be. Oh, gosh, yeah. But I mean obviously a little stick with those for right now. Those are those are great. Oh, Gut Bliss is another great one by Robynne Chutkan. Who's got gastroenterologist, there's so many out there. I mean, you should see the stacks that I have. Of all the books and I'm definitely a nutrition book nerd and health nerd.
Elizabeth Stein 47:36
Your favorite wellness hack
Samantha Harris 47:39
smoothie in the morning.
Elizabeth Stein 47:41
Do you always do the same one or you change about
Samantha Harris 47:44
twice a week I have an acai bowl version of it. So I add some almond butter and nuts on it a good heaping of almond butter and usually have a water base in my regular smoothie. So that has almond milk and banana. I usually don't have my smoothie, but I have that in my acai bowl. So and then I can get my cacao nibs and I just need a little change. And sometimes I just want to be able to spoon something. Yeah, yeah. And then every so often I will do you know, more of like a coffee, banana flavored smoothie or a chocolate, banana, strawberry, something like that. But for the most part, it's the same.
Elizabeth Stein 48:16
I feel like that with most people. But their morning smoothies, like once you get into a routine with it, it's just easy to go and not deviate.
Samantha Harris 48:23
Well, it's hard too because to deviate. Because everything I have in the one that I've now created, has all the things that I need to have right, to live optimally and get all of the nutrient density. So if I have my acai bowl I don't have my ginger in it. Right I don't have. So it's like things like that right now.
Elizabeth Stein 48:40
Yeah, three things that you're currently loving. It could be a product, TV Show podcast, anything.
Samantha Harris 48:48
I'm loving rewatching the entire series of Game of Thrones with my 15 year old. I'm loving actually going on runs again with my husband about once a week.
Elizabeth Stein 48:59
Nice, top three items in your grocery cart.
Samantha Harris 49:04
organic spinach for smoothies. Organic sprouted tofu for a couple of meals a week with the family and flax seed organic flax seed but the whole seeds that I grind because of the cancer protective qualities that I add to my smoothies
Elizabeth Stein 49:23
Favorite Words To Live By.
Samantha Harris 49:25
I was going to say Carpe Diem, because when I was growing up that was completely like how I felt like it just got to do it so I can succeed in what I want. Just breathe.
Elizabeth Stein 49:36
And lastly, what is your number one non negotiable to thrive on your wellness journey?
Samantha Harris 49:42
Plant based eating.
Elizabeth Stein 49:44
Perfect. Well, Samantha in closing what's next for you, and then where can everybody find you?
Samantha Harris 49:51
Well, I'm working very excitingly on launching the on demand your healthiest healthy courses that will be available based on topics so it could be the your healthiest healthy foundation, which is like a great starting point for anyone who's looking to mitigate their risk of future disease or live healthy or more vibrantly. I have a thriving after breast cancer course and intermittent fasting course, weight loss course. So many different topics. So your healthiest healthy courses is very exciting. And then my ongoing wellness group so every week I do a live coaching session a live workout and bring in a live guest expert for your healthiest healthy community. But you know what I love the most is having my retreats. I have one in Utah every year in October/November and 2023 will be end of October. And in Santa Monica, California as well. Oh, and then I have a TV show. It's on every day, Monday through Friday. It's called tug of words. It's a word play game show. It's lots of fun if you'd like fast paced wordplay, so that's a blast to do and everybody can find me on most actively Instagram but also Facebook Samantha Harris TV like television at Samantha Harris TV and I'm just starting to try to do tik tok same handle that I'm not quite as active that one. So that's the best way and all my links to my you know whether you guys want my list of products, those that you would want to DM me for, but there are a lot of links like the infrared sauna link is on there. My website, my retreats, all of that are on the link in my bio on Instagram.
Elizabeth Stein 51:26
Perfect. Well, Samantha, thank you so much for sharing. Thank you for all of your knowledge. This was so much fun to catch up.
Samantha Harris 51:32
I am so glad to have this time with you. You're awesome. And I'm gonna go you know, throw some awesome purely Elizabeth granola on my next acai bowl so there we go.
Elizabeth Stein 51:41
Love it. Thanks. Thank you. Thanks so much for joining me and live purely with Elizabeth. I hope you feel inspired to thrive on your wellness journey. If you enjoyed today's episode, don't forget to rate subscribe and review. You can follow us on Instagram at purely_elizabeth to catch up on all the latest. See you next Wednesday on the podcast.