Healthy To A Hundred: Megan Swan On 5 Things You Need To Live A Long, Healthy, & Happy Life

An Interview With Savio P. Clemente

Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine
Published in
17 min readSep 30, 2022


Honor your sleep cycle. The number one thing we can do to ensure a better quality of life now and our longevity is make sure we are prioritizing our sleep. I highly recommend Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, quite frankly it will blow your mind how important quality sleep is to our physical, mental and emotional wellness. One of the key things I work on with clients is to respect our biorythmes and understand when our body, based on our sleep phenotype, wants to sleep. This can mean we need to adjust our bedtime routine, our last meal of the day, our caffeine intake, and maybe include a stress management practice at the beginning and/or end of our day.

The term Blue Zones has been used to describe places where people live long and healthy lives. What exactly does it take to live a long and healthy life? What is the science and the secret behind longevity and life extension? In this series, we are talking to medical experts, wellness experts, and longevity experts to share “5 Things You Need To Live A Long, Healthy, & Happy Life”. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Megan Swan.

Megan Swan is an Integrated Wellness & Mindset Coach specializing in helping high performance women and entrepreneurs optimize their wellness so they have sustainable energy and confidence from within to make more empowered decisions and stop playing small. She has 11 years of integrative wellness experience as a certified IIN Health Coach, Plant-Based Chef, Yoga Teacher and CEO. She is passionate about connecting with others worldwide to exchange ideas and practices in the world of wellness and online business. She is on a mission to empower more women through optimal wellness.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?

Traveling has always been presented in my family as the best education in the world. There is so much value in going to experience how others live, think, eat, celebrate and support one another. Travel was always a part of my childhood, although I didn’t travel internationally until I was a teenager. At 30 I sold everything to embark on my own “Eat, Pray, Love” journey of sorts and now at 43 finds myself still on my first stop where I fell in love with one of my English students. We are now married and have two beautiful boys and three adorable dogs and we love to travel and explore the lesser known beaches of Mexico.

The Blue Zones project and all the wisdom that has surfaced has always fascinated me because I instinctively understood, even as a young woman, that high tech and modern wasn’t necessarily the best way forward, particularly when it comes to food and our eating habits. I mean it is quite curious to me how we are the only animals on the planet that have a multi-billion dollar industry telling us what to eat because we are so disconnected with our true nature we lack confidence that we actually know what is best. When I lived in Europe in my early 20s I tasted how much more delicious non-industrial produce was, and saw that even though they ate a lot more fat, which I was taught growing up was the enemy, they were not fat.

Now after living in Mexico the last 13 years, I appreciate how important it is that historically they eat much more homemade food and that most people don’t rely too much on fast or processed food, but sadly that is changing. Black beans and non-GMO corn are extremely healthy staples Mexicans rely on. The traditional ways our oldest cultures ate was a lot healthier, and the industrialization of our food systems and worship of technology and science has brought us to a place of epidemic chronic illness and lifestyle diseases.

All of my travels and experiences in different parts of the world have helped me to understand how context, culture and education are the key to having a lifelong healthy relationship with food.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

Well I think when we start out with a bunch of new knowledge and little experience actually applying it to real people we think we know everything. I do remember that the creator of the IIN health coaching certification Joshua Rosenthal always emphasized bio-individuality, and I always appreciated what we meant to some extent. It wasn’t until I started coaching people and seeing that what works for one person, doesn’t work for the other is true not just in terms of diet, but in terms of all health and wellness practices. His emphasis was on diet in terms of bio-individuality and I think even that point is a huge topic for people, I mean, can we just accept that there is no one-size-fits-all ideal diet?! Our stage in life, level of daily activity, geographic location, budget, blood type, genetics, culture and lifestyle to name but a few all come into play when we are trying to figure out what is best for ourselves personally. And then even within a given individual there needs to be room for ebb and flow, throughout the seasons of the year and of life. Pregnancy is one place women really seem comfortable trusting their instincts on what to eat because the body’s messaging is so much louder and clearer, but we need to take this approach all the time, women and men, pause and listen in to our instincts: is this food making me feel nourished? Does it give me energy? Sure we can eat things once and a while that fall outside that category, but not as staples if we really seek a sense of ease and comfort on the day to day and a long “healthspan’’ not just lifespan as we are going to get into more here today.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Well I guess I will highlight Joshua because I have already mentioned him. A lot of his core teachings are what have kept me going even when the business side of coaching was challenging. He demonstrated why you need to follow your intuition and be unapologetic about how you show up in the world. I learned how to listen better as a coach, not jump to conclusions, and not view everything through my own narrative. He really taught me to question ‘the authorities’ that be so to speak, and along similar lines just try things out for yourself before you form an opinion on whether it is something for you. His program was exactly what I needed at the time to beautifully marry all the skills and knowledge I had been accumulating over the years into the holistic, integrated and sustainable wellness approach I use today. I always appreciated how he gave you the knowledge to then go out to build on it, in the interest of reaching as many people as possible and having a positive impact on this global epidemic crisis in terms of health and wellness.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Being a good listener, compassionate and empathetic I think are the traits that have played the biggest role in helping me become a leader in the wellness space. What made me able to become a leader in this space was the time and energy I first dedicated to using these traits on myself. I got quiet and learned how to listen to the inner voice, hold compassionate space for myself so I could heal, forgive myself for things I did when I was in survival mode, and have true empathy and radical self acceptance about all aspects of myself. Once I was able to do this for myself, and believe me I am still doing it, it is a practice like all great wellness tools, I was then able to really and truly help people on another level so that they felt seen, heard and respected in all their experiences, joy and pain. That is when I became a good coach and became more confident in my signature framework and methodology when I saw the incredible life changing results my clients were experiencing.

Leadership is an action, a practice. It comes when you do the inner work, and then the outer work to build trust in others and this leads to your confidence and the process being transmitted into a movement that people want to get involved with. So what makes me a great coach, has made me a successful leader.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview about health and longevity. To begin, can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fields of health, wellness, and longevity? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

Definitely! My unique contribution is that there is no one-size-fits-all wellness! It is a trial and error process to figure out what specific health and wellness practices, tools and routines actually work for you personally on a biological level but then also with your lifestyle. Because if you are not going to stick with it, then it isn’t actually helpful, especially when we are talking about aiming for longevity. We want our wellness to be so integrated into our lives that it becomes a part of who we are, and no longer feels like a checkmark on our to-do list. We need our wellness to be sustainable, and when it is approachable micro shifts in what we are already doing it will be sustainable.

After more than 11 years in the integrated wellness industry I know that personal wellness lifestyle design and implementation is the way to go. So many people, women in particular, just jump on every new health and wellness trend or diet without any sort of intention of maintaining it for a lifetime. It is not actually serving you if it’s just going to work while you are hyper-focused on it and never missing a beat. Life is full of missed beats and rhythm switch ups, we need a wellness lifestyle that belongs to us, and ebbs and flows with us. My 6 Pillars of Optimal Wellness methodology meets clients where they are and then strategically implements micro shifts in routines and behavior in order to maximize results without the overwhelm. These pillars incorporate my expertise as a certified IIN Health Coach, Plant-based Chef, Yoga Instructor, and decade of experience as a Wellprenuer.

Seekers throughout history have traveled great distances and embarked on mythical quests in search of the “elixir of life,” a mythical potion said to cure all diseases and give eternal youth. Has your search for health, vitality, and longevity taken you on any interesting paths or journeys? We’d love to hear the story.

Well not specifically with that goal in mind, however I have definitely encountered many lesser known traditions and knowledge around how to best use ingredients after living in Mexico for so long and through my education of ayurvedic philosophy as a lifelong yogi. More recently I am particularly interested in cacao ceremonies and how cacao boosts our mood while allowing us to enjoy energy in a more feminine energy vibe and the benefits of cosmetic acupuncture, and ancient Chinese Medicine technique for our health, skin and the aging process. You can hear so much more about it on my podcast Energetically You.

Otherwise I think just traveling to new places, staying super curious about life, nature and awe hunting keeps us all young!

Based on your research or experience, can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Live A Long & Healthy Life”? (Please share a story or an example for each)

A steady, compassionate and soft approach to health and wellness. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Therefore we need to adopt a version of wellness practices that are so integrated into our lifestyle that they become a way of life and not feel like a series of extra things we have on our to-do list everyday. That is to say that we look at taking care of ourselves as a joy. Maybe the practice itself doesn’t bring us joy, but we enjoy feeling better afterwards, similar to brushing our teeth. In time, we might find joy in the practice itself in unexpected ways as our experience deepens, for example I didn’t used to be excited about lifting weights, but now that I am much stronger I appreciate that when I need to lift heavy suitcases or my growing boys I can. In addition I enjoy now after years of HIIT workouts tuning in more deeply to the movements of the specific muscles that I am working and knowing my body on another level. What made this progression all possible was having a certain level of discipline combined with a zero-judgment attitude when I didn’t get to the practice, an ebb and flow perspective if you will. For example, when my husband and I are both home (he travels a lot) we do a program of a couple weeks consistently, then we take a week or two off, I’ll do more of my own yoga or pilates practice instead. This way I am moving my body 5–6 days a week, but very flexible on what my routine looks like. Sometimes it is simply a 5 minute dance break! So movement is a thread I wish to weave into my life almost everyday, but I’m not dogmatic about it so that doesn’t seem like a ‘have to’ but a ‘get to.’

A personalized wellness lifestyle, because there is no-one-size-fits all wellness. Similarly to taking an ebb and flow approach to your routines I think it is so important that we understand that not every health and wellness practice is meant for us, no lifestyle works exactly the same way for everyone. In addition, we need to, through trial and error, a better personal understanding of how to make our routines truly ours. This is because there is such diverse bio-individuality, we require different things and different intensities of those things depending on age, gender, level of activity level, profession, geographical location, current state of health, blood type, time of the year, and for women time of the month. This is why custom, approachable wellness lifestyles are the most sustainable way in which to live a long, healthy and happy lifestyle. You need to feel good in your mind, body and spirit. In order to do that we need a certain level of commitment to generally choosing healthy food, moving our body, stress management, sleep and positive relationships but we also need to feel like we are really living! So it is a delicate ebb and flow of these two dynamics.

Honor your sleep cycle. The number one thing we can do to ensure a better quality of life now and our longevity is make sure we are prioritizing our sleep. I highly recommend Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, quite frankly it will blow your mind how important quality sleep is to our physical, mental and emotional wellness. One of the key things I work on with clients is to respect our biorythmes and understand when our body, based on our sleep phenotype, wants to sleep. This can mean we need to adjust our bedtime routine, our last meal of the day, our caffeine intake, and maybe include a stress management practice at the beginning and/or end of our day.

Breathwork. Lung capacity is the number one best predictor of longevity (not genetics, diet or lifestyle). Aging, breathing toxic chemicals such as household cleaning products or paint, smoking or second-hand smoke and chronic diseases can decrease our lung capacity. In contrast, conscious breathing exercises, (even 2 minutes a day!) cardio exercise such as swimming and jogging, and breathing fresh outdoor air help our lungs increase in capacity. Like most things in the body, it is a use it or lose it scenario, and one thing that is surprising maybe that improves our breathing is chewing more or exercising our jaw muscles. It is essential we are breathing through our nose, not breathing through our mouths. Nostril breathing is our deepest connection to our environment. Smell is our oldest sense! Mouth-breathing on the other hand can lead to snoring, sleep apnea, or ADHD because it leads to decreased oxygen in the blood which can also result in heart attack, memory problems, and depression. On this topic I highly recommend the book Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor. Insight Timer is a free app that has an extensive library of guided breathwork to choose from to get you started. I personally love doing the alternate nostril breathing technique when I am feeling stressed. It helps you to balance your hormones and the masculine and feminine energies in the body.

More plants! Eat them, spend time outdoors with them, and bring them inside to clean your air. After sleep, which is the first pillar of wellness in my 6 pillar system, the second most impactful thing you can do to feel more magnetic energy to live a long, healthy and happy life is incorporate more plants into your diet and in general into your life. When I say eat more plants that can mean: vegetables, fruit, seeds, nuts, legumes, superfoods, whole grains, herbs, spices, roots and seaweed. In fall and winter we really want to eat more cooked vegetables to help us feel more grounded, boost our immune system and ease our digestion. Vegetable soups are a great addition to your day: curry carrot, minestrone, tomato basil, and lemongrass Thai soups are my personal favorites. Incorporating more ginger, garlic and spices are a great way to warm the body, boost immunity, boost your digestive fire and add flavor and life to your food. In addition, having more household plants to naturally clean your indoor air is a great idea all year round but particularly in the fall and winter when we tend to spend more time indoors. Get a Snake Plant (also called mother-in-law’s tongue), it is a very resistant plant and removes lots of toxins from the air while you are sleeping at night. All year round, dress accordingly to make sure you get in a brisk walk in nature at least once a week! You can go to a nearby park or plan a weekend hike in the country with friends or family.

Can you suggest a few things needed to live a life filled with happiness, joy, and meaning?

Sure, well I think first off you need to take the time to get still and listen to that quiet inner voice to ask yourself, ‘what is meaningful to me?’, ‘what gives me purpose?’ Oftentimes when we do this and write down our responses we find out that we are actually already doing it, or that we already have those things. Sitting in that place of clarity and being grateful for what we have is the most powerful tool to feeling happier on the day to day. It is a process and a practice to shift our monkey brains out of the default scarcity mindset we are born and raised into and instead focus on how abundant life is, our life is, and how fortunate we are. Practicing gratitude daily is a game changing for feeling more happiness and meaning in life.

Joy on the other hand is a different thing. I recommend to most clients that they schedule at least 1 hour of joy on the calendar each week. You can do this with family or friends, but at least once and a while I think it is important to do it on your own. So ‘joy’ on the calendar can look like bubble bath with favorite bath salts, favorite album, and a cup of chai tea to sip…or it can look like taking flying lessons, or coloring, taking an art class or dance class. Something that your 7 year old self would think was fun, or excites you, or allows you to find a way to express yourself fully.

Some argue that longevity is genetic, while others say that living a long life is simply a choice. What are your thoughts on this nature vs. nurture debate? Which is more important?

Well the new science is clear in terms of epigenetics. We now understand that the version of this debate we were taught 30 years ago in biology class isn’t true. Genes are inherited but how they will be expressed is almost entirely based on lifestyle choices. That is to say that what we inherit more often than not are bad lifestyle choices, as well as the genes, but changing the outcome is almost entirely in our control. Sure, there are rare genetic diseases that are exceptions, but for the most part we can dramatically change our life blueprint and what genes are expressed by making better lifestyle choices, ie. how we nurture ourselves. Furthermore, we now know that it isn’t just our habits that affect how our genes are expressed, our habits can even change our genes and then in turn pass on better genes to the next generation. In short, there is no real debate anymore, your choices are your responsibility and you have the power to change your healthspan and that of future generations.

Life sometimes takes us on paths that are challenging. How have you managed to bounce back from setbacks in order to cultivate physical, mental, and emotional health?

One thing that makes us unique in the animal kingdom is the stories we tell ourselves, and the power we have to shift the old narratives into a version that fits with the times without throwing out all the wisdom from the past. That is to say, for me it was a gradual process of incorporating healthier habits, bit by bit to then be in a better headspace to make better decisions for myself. One essential decision I made was to rewrite a more loving and empowering story about the relationship I had with my dad who was an alcoholic who committed suicide when I was 17 years old. This helped me shift gears out of the victim mentality and eventually led to me gaining clarity that I did not want to repeat this pattern of alcoholism in my life or model it for my children, which led to my spontaneous sobriety over 4 years ago now.

We do our best thinking when we are feeling intact from the inside out. This is true on the micro and macro level. Aligned and empowered decision making comes from a place of optimal wellness: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. When we know better we do better, when we feel better we do better, but we can’t change everything at once, that isn’t sustainable. Just start with one good habit, you never know where it will take you!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Forgive yourself for what you did in survival mode.”, which I believe is from Dr. Nicole LePera who wrote How to Do the Work. This quote represents a deeper lesson I learned from Dr. Gabor Maté, a Canadian professor and addiction specialist who talks a lot about how you not only have to forgive yourself for your actions and the addiction, but find a way to love your addiction for how it helped you survive in the moment. This inner shift from hating yourself for past behavior, not only forgiving yourself, but loving yourself more deeply for the depths to which you went to survive in a very difficult time was the thing that made it possible for me to just ‘decide’ to quit drinking. I mentioned above that I am a ‘spontaneous sobriety’ story because I didn’t do any programs, get counseling or go to AA, I just made a promise to myself for the first time in my life that I have kept.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

I am on a mission to empower more women through optimal wellness because I wish I had known what I know now in my 20s and 30s and I want to help more women to feel confident to live their lives as their authentic selves and stop playing it small.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

Thank you Savio! I also appreciate all the work you do. Wishing you all the best.

About The Interviewer: Savio P. Clemente coaches cancer survivors to overcome the confusion and gain the clarity needed to get busy living in mind, body, and spirit. He inspires health and wellness seekers to find meaning in the “why” and cultivate resilience in their mindset. Savio is a Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), #1 best-selling author, syndicated columnist, podcaster, stage 3 cancer survivor, and founder of The Human Resolve LLC. He has interviewed notable celebrities and TV personalities and has been featured on Fox News, The Wrap, and has worked with Authority Magazine, Thrive Global, BuzzFeed, Food Network, WW and Bloomberg. Savio has been invited to cover numerous industry events throughout the U.S. and abroad. His mission is to provide clients, listeners, and viewers alike with tangible takeaways on how to lead a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle.



Savio P. Clemente
Authority Magazine

Board Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC), Journalist, Best-selling Author, Podcaster, and Stage 3 Cancer Survivor