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In the mid-1990s, Marjolein Brugman spun personal adversity (she was hit by a car while running) into QVC gold after developing the first home Pilates machine based on the reformer exercises that brought her back into alignment. She now makes total wellness attainable on her tips- and recipes-filled website LighterLiving.com.
“People think being healthy is very difficult—and I think it’s simple,” Brugman, 64, says. “So we broke the new website into eat/move/feel. They’re the three areas you have to make health decisions. What do you eat? How do you stay happy? And what do you do to keep your heart and your body healthy?”
Recently, she added a diary section in which she blogs about her journey in making art. “I believe that we need to find some kind of creative outlet,” she adds. And as with creativity, graceful aging begins with a positive vision. Each morning after meditating, Brugman walks into her bathroom with her eyes closed. “Before I look into the mirror I say, ‘When I open my eyes I’m going to see a really beautiful woman.’ I think we tend to be so hypercritical of ourselves. You’ll be amazed at just how differently you see yourself then.”
Brugman maintains her lighter living with the help of these natural products:
Probiotic blend with prebiotics
“Eighty percent of your immune system is in your gut. So if you’re not eating enough fermented foods like kombucha, and a good yogurt, it’s essential to take a combination probiotic.”
“Antioxidants prevent cell deterioration and aging, and keep cells from getting cancer and various other diseases. DIM (Di-Indole Methane) is a good antioxidant combination: zinc and vitamins E and C.”
“I love Xylitol. It’s made from birch bark, has absolutely no calories, and tastes exactly like sugar. Not only does it regulate blood sugar, it’s good for your oral health. It supports your teeth and feeds the good bacteria in your mouth.”
Homemade Body Moisturizer
“In a big container I make a blend of coconut oil, pure almond oil, and a tiny bit of unfiltered apple cider vinegar just to change the pH. I have a mixture of essential oils that I like to diffuse, and I add some of that in for the scent.”
Natural Beauty Cleansing Bar
“It’s all-natural and lemon. But the thing that is really amazing about it is that it regulates skin. It’s lovely on your face because it doesn’t dry. I use it everywhere, and I give bars to my friends.”
Vitamin B Complex
“I’m a big Vitamin B complex fan, so I usually take 100 mg every day. It calms my nervous system and keeps me feeling alert.”
Positivity, Pilates, and Protein
After eight hours of sleep, Brugman awakens her body, mind, and spirit with meditative, positive action. “I try to set the intention for the day,” she says. “And that can be a bit different each time. I often use my manifestation cards as a way to set the tone. So I’ll pick a card and will meditate on that for a little while, trying to create some really positive thoughts.” Moments later, she boosts her body with a detoxifying mug of hot lemon water and then a soothing cup of tea.
An hour of exercise soon follows. “Usually that involves Pilates, some stretching, a little bit of floor work, some form of cardio—whether it be jumping on my AeroPilates machine or walking.” She then cools down with “a very-high-protein” breakfast that fires up her engine for hours. “It could be the leftover fish from the night before, or some chicken and vegetables, or hard-boiled eggs.”
Protein with each meal keeps her moving “without ever feeling tired or craving anything. It takes care of all your sugar cravings and keeps your glycogen level really even.” Lunch is equally energizing, and often includes chicken salad, fish, mozzarella, goat cheese, or nuts and seeds. And a trio of favorites pepper her daily meals and snacks: “Eggs and avocado and peanut butter are my go-to foods.”