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The Wizard is Oz

November 2001

By Melanie Segala

Celebrity clientele

Oz Garcia
"Whether it's a 60-year-old who
wants to build muscle mass, a
teenager with severe acne or
someone with hair loss and
premature wrinkling, I'll design a
program for their needs."

Garcia, who was voted the best nutritionist by New York magazine in 1997, has a client list that includes such notables as Wynona Ryder, Robert DeNiro, Donna Karan and Miss Russia '98, among many others. All of his clients are required to do a substantial amount of reading. "No matter what brings them to me, I find it important to cultivate their knowledge of the subject at hand. Without exception, this makes for a more successful program."

Garcia believes in a cooperative working relationship with his clients as opposed to a treatment program or diet plan. His recommendations for nutrition, exercise and relaxation are made after carefully evaluating a client's daily living habits. "We look at the person's life, how (s)he is living day-to-day, literally-eating, sleeping, communicating, emoting and so forth. My goal is to penetrate deep into their life with proper coaching, so that they can begin to make the appropriate changes to benefit their health." Garcia is in fact prepared to advise his clients on all matters related to their health. This may include proper diagnostic testing and recommending medical specialists and fitness trainers. Says Garcia, "If I have to, I'll even review restaurant menus with clients."

His customized nutritional program spans at least six months, with an approach that omits nothing. "I really want my clients to develop the perspectives required to live well, to develop autonomy when it comes to issues of health, to be educated and fully responsible when it comes to the management of their health and the direction that it takes. I would not leave something as important as health in the hands of doctors alone."

Garcia says people seeking advice at his nutritional consulting firm, Personal Best, come for a multitude of reasons.

• Weight problems. When every diet and weight loss program has failed, people turn to Garcia for help. "I work with some of the most difficult and intractable problems individuals have in managing their weight and body fat. People have harmed themselves metabolically simply because of the bad information, bad programs and bad diets out there. We do a lot of metabolic repair so our clients can regulate and manage their weight and body fat properly, often undoing years of metabolic and behavioral damage."

• Premature aging and stress. "The amount of stress and pressure that many people function under wears them down in several different ways. Stress causes weight gain, hair loss, listless skin, damaged immunity and illness, with poor recovery times. Many of these problems are the result of driving their bodies beyond their physical capabilities."

• Poor energy/depression. "This is a huge complaint and nearly universal among the people coming to see me. Clients complain that they are not sleeping enough, not eating properly and not enjoying enough recreational activity. Often they are overworked and overtired. I find that many people are unable to feel well and are often depressed as a consequence of having very poor energy. Whether it's chronic fatigue or systemic exhaustion, we work to find the underlying 'structural' causes and lifestyle practices that contribute to the problems and then correct them."

• Appearance. "Whether it's a 60-year-old who wants to build muscle mass, a teenager with severe acne or someone with hair loss and premature wrinkling, I'll design a program for their needs. Of course, being 50 myself, the whole subject of maintaining my appearance, my leanness and my muscle mass has led me to thoroughly research this aspect of health. Therefore, my clients continually benefit from my research."

Other complaints Garcia hears from his clients include impaired memory and declining cognitive function, poor sexual performance, and simply being confused about how and what to eat. Tired of experimenting with various diets, many clients ask him to devise a structured way of eating that provides energy, stability and efficiency.

Nutritional supplementation comprises a large part of Garcia's treatment protocols. He states, "Nutraceuticals are part of generating and maintaining youthful health. I can design a supplement program for anyone to deal with just about any concern. The program can be multifaceted or very specific."

Oz and Life Extension

Garcia has been a member of The Foundation since its inception. In fact, he still has a copy of the first Life Extension magazine, which he notes was only a newsletter in its earliest days. He enthusiastically states that the Life Extension website ( is unparalleled as an information source on everything pertaining to health. "It is so well organized and beautifully referenced. I constantly refer doctors and clients to the site." He also values the ease in ordering "a constellation of extraordinary products" from the website, many of which are available only through Life Extension. It has become a central resource for him, his clients and other professionals in the field of complementary and alternative medicine. "It goes without saying that Life Extension has been essential for the development of my own personal and professional growth."

Life Extension magazine is a must-read for Garcia. "Anyone reading it on a monthly basis will develop an enormous understanding of what is relevant when it comes to the maintenance of his or her body. I've had clients read the magazine and then understand everything, from the benefits of nutritional supplements to the events that contribute to aging."

In the May 2000 issue, Garcia read about an innovative procedure involving human growth hormone to stimulate cartilage growth and joint mobility in arthritis patients. "I discovered Dr. Allan Dunn and his brilliant work using HGH to make joint tissue regenerate. Aside from the personal relationship I developed with him and the enormous amount of knowledge I received from him about HGH, I referred some of my most difficult joint cases to him with stellar results." (Editor's note: Dr. Allan Dunn, an orthopedic surgeon in Miami, has developed IntraArticular Growth Hormone [IAHG] for the treatment of degenerative cartilage diseases.)

Through Life Extension, Garcia also made a connection with Houston dermatologist, Dr. Peter Proctor, a renowned authority on hair loss and baldness. "I learned about Peter Proctor from Life Extension. As a result, I have referred many clients to both him and his products."

He adds that when a dear friend was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, she structured a treatment program from Life Extension's Disease Prevention and Treatment protocol book.

Recipes Galore
Warm lentil salad with spinach and broiled salmon
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar 3/4 tsp. Kosher salt
2 tsp. Dijon mustard Freshly ground black pepper
3 tsp. extra virgin olive oil 8 cups fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
1 cup brown lentils, picked over and rinsed* 2 tbsp. Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette**
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots 1 lb. skinless salmon filet, cut in 3 equal pieces
1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

An unhealthy diet comprised of modern-day 'nu-foods' is one of the biggest health-related threats to our society, according to The Healthy High Tech Body. In our never-ending quest for convenience, we have developed a diet almost devoid of nutrients. Our bodies are designed to run on the same fuel as our Paleolithic ancestors. This means fruits, roots, tubers, nuts, seeds, herbs, vegetables and protein sources such as big and small game, fish, fowl and eggs are required to provide us with peak performance, health and longevity. The chapter entitled "The Paleotech Gourmet" features recipes, such as the one below, which help us do just that.

1. To make the dressing, combine the vinegar, mustard and 2 tsp. olive oil in a small measuring cup and whisk to blend.

2. Bring 4 cups of water to boil in a saucepan and add the lentils. Boil gently, uncovered, for 20 minutes until tender but not mushy. Drain well and transfer to a bowl. Add the dressing, shallots, parsley, Kosher salt and pepper, to taste. Toss well and cover with foil to keep warm. (The lentils may be prepared up to 8 hours in advance and refrigerated. Reheat in the microwave before serving.)

3. Meanwhile, place the spinach in a bowl and toss with the Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette.

4. Preheat the broiler. Brush the salmon with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil and season generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Brown the salmon, skin side up, for 4 minutes. Turn and broil for 4 more minutes or until lightly browned and just barely cooked through.

5. To serve, divide the spinach among three plates. Spoon the warm lentil salad over the spinach and top with a piece of salmon. Serve immediately.

Makes 3 servings

*Although any brown lentils will do, the nutty flavor and firm texture of Spanish pardina lentils make them ideal for this recipe. They are available from Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods, Inc. (503-654-3215 or Avoid overcooking.

**Recipe available on p. 65 of The Healthy High Tech Body.

The future according to Oz

Oz Garcia
"It goes without saying that
Life Extension has been
essential for the development
of my own personal and
professional growth."

Oz Garcia's personal and professional interests go well beyond how to achieve a "high tech body." He is also intrigued by the study of evolutionary biology and psychology in order to more fully understand human behavior. "I'm reading the work of Robert Wright, author of Moral Animal, and I've had fascinating discussions with Jeremy Heaton, author of The Evolution of Lust and more recently The Dangerous Emotion, on the subject of human happiness. An almost silent revolution is occurring in psychology as researchers identify and literally code from a biological perspective the factors that generate true happiness in human beings."

Garcia envisions a future in which people will enjoy continual good health from what he calls the emerging new biologies-stem cell research offering the potential of immortality, and pharmaco-genomics in which biologically engineered compounds will be created on demand to fit each individual's unique genetic profile. "There is a dazzling promise of an illness-free future; a future devoid of the disease of aging. We may live to 150 years and beyond, looking and feeling no different at age 100 as we did at age 40," says Garcia. "A kind of an extended middle age will be created in which we simply stop 'getting old'. Molecular biologists are likely to figure out how to construct a living cell in total."

Rather than a convergence of options to live well and live long, it appears that there will be an ongoing expansion of choices to address our health issues and problems. "Look for a future in which you may be able to literally customize your own cells from quasi-organic matter. We may be able to make our brain expand from multi-sensory to meta-sensory, engineered to provide capacity unimaginable today-no more misplacing the car keys.