Photo Credit: Margret Aldrick – April 2014 via Experience Life Magazine
Hello, this is Dee Eastman and I have the privilege of directing The Daniel Plan. Two years ago I had the honor to meet Pilar Gerasimo, the founding editor of Experience Life magazine. Pilar is a truly amazing and gifted woman, with a heart and passion to radically transform the health of her readers. Experience Life is by far the best health publication in the market today, as it provides not only the latest and most relevant information, but also the inspiration and tools to enable life change.
I am thrilled to announce our partnership with Experience Life. The Daniel Plan’s weekly blog will be regularly featuring some of their best articles and resources. I thought you would enjoy hearing an interview with Pilar. You will quickly sense our mutual desire for positive transformation and a healthier way of life for all of the Daniel Plan family.
Why did you start Experience Life?
I started the magazine because it was the magazine I wanted and needed myself. I had been working on my own health and fitness journey for the past few years, and looking to conventional health magazines for guidance, but I kept feeling dissatisfied and disappointed with them. Plus, they weren’t really helping me much.
They weren’t connecting the dots between physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, and they didn’t seem to be paying attention to the changes that were happening in the real world — the shift in our food supply, environment, culture.
Instead, they mostly seemed obsessed with counting calories, looking good in a swimsuit, and maybe getting a date. Reading them rarely made me feel inspired or ready to make real change. Often they left me feeling worse about myself.
I felt there was room for a smarter, deeper kind of health and fitness magazine — one that would appeal to busy, intelligent readers who weren’t necessarily chasing six-pack abs and buns of steel, but rather a healthier, better quality of life.
I worked up a creative blueprint, and in August 2001, Experience Life magazine was born.
What are Experience Life‘s foundational principles?
Editorial integrity: We are in the business of helping our readers make real, positive change and to understand what it takes to be healthy in an unhealthy world. We want them to know how their bodies and brains work, and really get why certain lifestyle changes can make such a big difference. We don’t sell out our editorial just to push products or sell newsstand copies. We respect our readers’ intelligence and put their interests first. Always.
Progressive health coverage: We are often five to 10 years ahead of the curve in our reporting of the most important health issues of our time. We told the story of saturated fats and cholesterol not being the primary cause of heart disease back in 2004 — 10 years before it made it to the cover of Time magazine. We’ve also reported very early on topics like gluten, detox, stress, organics, epigenetics, heart-rate training, kettlebells, high-intensity interval training, direct-to-consumer lab testing, and mindfulness. To date, we’ve been the only national health and fitness magazine to do deep, ongoing reporting on functional medicine (thanks in large part to our long collaboration with Dr. Mark Hyman), which we see as one of the most important health trends of this era.
Whole-life perspective: We dedicate about a third of our pages to nutrition and healthy eating, a third to fitness and activity, and about a third to what we call “quality of life.” That’s a big umbrella category for everything else that affects our health, happiness, and well-being. It includes things like stress, rest, relationships, money, media, environment, personal care, life wisdom, personal development, and a host of other topics we see as connected to the bigger picture of healthy living.
We understand that health doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens in the context of the culture we live in every day, and in the face of complex influences often not taken into account by the conventional health media.
How does Experience Life set itself apart in the crazy world of health and fitness publications?
Ooh, so many ways! A while back, I wrote up a list of 20 things that make us different, and there’s also this little condensed list that lives at our website. But I think the biggest underlying difference is that we come at the whole prospect of healthy living from a mission-driven perspective.
We are bound and determined to help people change their lives, even in the face of persistent challenges and resistance. This isn’t just a magazine to us: It’s a calling. I think that comes across in everything we do — from the way we cover subjects to the way we relate with our readers.
We dig into meaty, important topics, and explain things in-depth because we really believe our readers want to understand more about how their bodies work. They want to know how to create and sustain an optimal level of health and a really great, happy, meaningful life.
I don’t think it’s possible to read our magazine for six months without finding yourself positively changed in some way — in knowledge and skills, awareness, perspective, daily behaviors. That’s our goal, anyway. We want every page to make a difference in a reader’s body, mind, and spirit.
What are your hopes for Experience Life’s partnership with the Daniel Plan?
We have two grand hopes:
- That we can help support and expand the impact The Daniel Plan is having on millions of purpose-centered people, empowering them to go out into the world as their best, most inspired, energized selves;
- That we can connect with an even broader audience of people who love and appreciate what we do, while also collaborating with purpose-centered partners who inspire us to stretch, grow, and do our very best work.
Why “being healthy is a revolutionary act” as a motto?
We live in a society where more than 80 percent of the adult population is significantly overweight, chronically ill, emotionally disrupted, or some combination of all of the above. Less than 20 percent of us are thriving at any given time.
Choosing to go against those cultural norms, choosing to move beyond the social and cultural dictates that have produced those unhealthy results, choosing to embrace healthy new choices and live from healthy perspectives instead — that really amounts to a revolutionary act.
Back in 2010, I wrote “A Manifesto for Thriving in a Mixed-Up World” as a way of illustrating just how revolutionary it really is, and why it matters so much that we all rise to the occasion. That turned into a whole-health advocacy project for us (RevolutionaryAct.com) and launched a really fun mobile app 101 Revolutionary Ways to Be Healthy
We chose to adopt “Being Healthy Is a Revolutionary Act” as our motto — and to emblazon it on the cover of every issue of our magazine — as a way of speaking that essential truth to millions of people. We want to help people see health as the fundamental issue it is: not just a personal issue, but also a community issue, a global issue, a social-justice issue. Not just a physical concern, but a mind-body-heart-soul-spirit concern, and really, as a huge opportunity for positive transformation and a better way of life.
Saddleback and The Daniel Plan clearly get that, and it’s one of the reasons we’re so excited to be working with you!
Pilar Gerasimo is a nationally recognized healthy-living expert, author of “A Manifesto for Thriving in a Mixed-Up World,”and the creative force behind the 101 Revolutionary Ways to Be Healthy. She is the founding editor of Experience Life and serves as senior vice president of Healthy Living for Life Time, the Healthy Way of Life Company, and is currently working on a book about the art of being healthy in an unhealthy world.