Illness can teach us a lot about ourselves. When Dawn Russell, founder of 8Greens and author of the new The 8Greens Cookbook, was diagnosed with stage-3 cancer in 2000, she traveled the world searching for answers and relief. What she came home with was a new understanding of what her body really needs to be well, along with inspo for her powerfully nutritious tablets —a dissolvable blend of eight green vegetables (that we think is kind of genius) — and an arsenal of healthy daily habits that have kept her alive and thriving.
Discover this wellness wonder’s simple tips for daily detoxing, most essential supplements and the spa treatment that makes all the difference for her health inside this deeply inspirational ‘Living Well With‘ interview…
I always have an 8Green tablet with a glass of water. Most days it is after school drop-off when I sit down and collect myself for the day. In the winter months when everyone is getting ill, I’ll have it in hot water with ginger and lemon. Depending on time, I either make an 8greens smoothie, poached eggs or Lizi’s low-sugar granola and any mega probiotic yogurt with raspberries or blueberries.
My food philosophy in one sentence:
A little of everything… The healthy, the unhealthy, the horridly tasting healthy and the really really bad for you but so tasty unhealthy.
I have a tray in my kitchen with all my family’s supplements. It is always out, otherwise I have found it just sits hidden in a cabinet. This way my kids sprinkle probiotics and omega oils (Barlean’s has kid-friendly oils that actually taste great) into our family’s food. We always have an 8Greens and now we try testers for the next 8Greens products – the original tablet took me and my husband 263 prototypes.
Can’t live without my:
Once a week for my health I:
Get a massage, acupuncture and cupping.
Any crazy intense boot camp. I like to get in the zone and see how much I can push myself.
Best healthy food option on the go:
8Greens. Sorry, but it’s true!
3 staples always in my medicine cabinet/on my vanity:
Homeoplasmine – I pick this up every time I am in Paris as it works for literally anything. Cuts, dry skin, eye crème, sunburn. I love when a product works for many uses!
Heritage Store Rose Water and Glycerin – When I first tried it, I thought it was some “lady who lunches” high-maintenance completely impractical extravaganza. But I can say it really does help face creams sink deeper into the skin. Get it here.
Klorane dry shampoo – The less you wash your hair, the less oil it produces, the healthier your hair. I use this dry shampoo between washes. Get it here.
At least once a week I cook…
With my boys and experiment with 8Greens smoothies. Some have been not so good. The best contain bee pollen, probiotics and omega oil, as they’re all are amazing for fatigue and inflammation.
If I could give just one piece of health advice it would be...
Eat your greens. I know firsthand how very powerful they are for your body.
Current reading list:
Ingredient in products I always avoid:
Anything I cannot pronounce or which sounds synthetic. Any sugar, which I reeeally struggle to avoid because I love sweets.
Crazy health idea that actually works:
Shred turnips and eat as much as you can. I know it is truly unpleasant but it is one of the best antibiotics on this planet for chest colds and general winter flu.
5 things always in my travel gear:
A picture of my boys; a post-it note from my husband; perfume (rose oil); hand lotion – either Sisley or L’Occitane; a brace I wear on my left leg since I do not have circulation in it – it prevents blood clots and keeps it from swelling like a tree trunk
Fave healthy getaway:
It is far from my favorite but it works… I go to We Care Spa to detox and work on my leg. I do not have sensation in my left leg due to four cancer surgeries, so my part time job is keeping circulation in my leg and minimizing lymphedema. My We Care tip is go for the week, but go a day late and leave a day early. And request two smoothies and salad daily – the no-eating is not for me. But the knowledge of the Argentinian founder and the treatments are second to none. My other tip is do not buy everything they offer when you leave. Get home and see what really sticks long term for you and then buy the equipment.
My initial response was sleep. But even that has become negotiable with two little kids. My essentials are deep-tissue massages, Epsom salt baths and acupuncture. Given I do not have sensation in my left leg, I need to make sure I constantly maintain its circulation or my overall health goes down fast.
Simplest way to improve health:
Take a shot of apple cider vinegar. It’s pretty intense so if you can’t handle an undiluted shot, just put some in a smoothie (I have a recipe in The 8Greens Cookbook – it helps break down fat cells and you can actually drink it). Another easy tip is to have a teaspoon of manuka honey on cold mornings (try and get one with UMF +20), which helps to fight off colds.
Go-to juice or smoothie:
Grapefruit juice. For me it’s all about detoxing, in the sense that I do not have all my lymph nodes, so I focus on stuff that helps me move and keeps the circulation moving through my body.
For more pro tips on how to live well every day, explore our full ‘Living Well With’ series here!