Why He’s Interesting: As the head of strategy and innovation of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine and the founder and director of the UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, Hyman believes that food is both the cause and cure for most chronic diseases. He’s been a frequent guest on Good Morning America and The View and his latest book What the Heck Should I Cook? was published in October with more than 100 recipes.
Keep Up: Hyman has always been active but didn’t really start thinking about the food-body-health connection until he was 14. “My gym teacher Mr. Gibson showed us a movie where these disabled people were running marathons, and some 105-year-old guy was running 5 miles to work every day and back. I was like Wow, I want to be 105 and run like that.”
Food 911: Some EMTs carry first-aid kits with them everywhere, but Hyman arms himself with snacks, such as grass-fed beef, bison or elk jerky, nuts, including almonds or cashews, nut butter and whole-food bars, wherever he goes. “I travel a lot, and I don’t want to get stuck in a food emergency.”
Healing Factor: Hyman’s first job was as a family doctor in Idaho where 80- to 100-hour work weeks were the norm. He subsisted on little sleep and a diet of caffeine and sugar. In his 30s, his body started breaking down — he couldn’t walk upstairs, and he couldn’t remember the ends of sentences. That’s when he started studying functional medicine, a system of treatment that looks at the whole body. He then cut out sugar, gluten and dairy. “The hardest thing was slowing down.”
Going Green: Hyman subscribes to a diet he’s dubbed “pegan” — part paleo, part vegan. Once or twice a year, he’ll allow himself a bowl of ice cream or gelato and his one cheat food is chocolate. But for the most part, he only craves vegetables these days. “You’d have to tie me up and stuff a Cheeto down my face to get me to eat one. I don’t even think about it as edible anymore.”
Adventure Time: If Hyman was not a doctor, he’d be an outdoor adventure guide. Later this year, he’s traveling to Mongolia for two and a half weeks with his wife Mia where he plans to go camping. “I like to go places where no one can find me.”
Hyman has been on The New York Times best-seller list 11 times since his first book in 2003.