BCAA’s (Branched Chain Amino Acids) are three of the nine essential amino acids including leucine, isoleucine and valine. The essential amino acids can’t be made by the body and therefore must be acquired through the diet. Research studies report that BCAA’s help to promote muscle growth, aids in recovery and reduces muscle soreness.
BCAAs are found in a number of healthy protein-rich foods, including organic grass-fed beef, wild Alaskan salmon, pastured egg yolks, raw grass-fed cheese, quinoa, pumpkin seeds and nuts. One of the best sources, however, is whey protein concentrate, which has one of the highest concentrations of leucine.
The typical requirement for leucine is 1 to 3 grams daily. However, to optimize its anabolic pathway for muscle growth and repair, you need as much as 8 to 16 grams of leucine daily. One 3-ounce serving of whey protein has 8 grams of leucine (compared to just 1.6 grams in salmon or 1.4 grams in egg yolk).
This likely explains why whey protein concentrate has been found to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and has been called the ideal fitness food when consumed just before or after a workout.
Try to get your BCAAs from your daily diet by incorporating salmon, grass-fed cheese, pumpkin seeds, pastured eggs and nuts if possible.
However, consider using a whey protein concentrate if you are short on time or on the go. This can be a convenient way to add BCAAs to shakes, oatmeal, and yogurt for post workout snacks and meals.
Make sure when selecting your whey protein to look for a pure, high, quality product. Many protein powders can contain high levels of lead, arsenic and toxic ingredients. Check the product on the Clean Label Project website:
I’ve officially been calling myself a “snow bird” for the past several years. My husband and I travel to Florida during the winter months each year to escape the cold weather and enjoy some quiet time at the beach.
Although I thought I would be bored to tears and miss home; I’ve learned to embrace this time in my life.
Now that I’ve accepted the fact that I’m considered a “senior” and a snow bird, I’ve found myself reflecting more on the aging process. It blows my mind that in two years I will be sixty!?! Where has the time gone?? I still feel like I’m only in my forties and have to remind myself often that I’m now falling into the DREADED categories of: senior, geriatric, old lady, over the hill etc. Yes, if you live long enough, not only will you have to deal with gray hair and wrinkles, you will most likely be subjected to ageism. Merriam Webster defines
Definition of ageism
: prejudice or discrimination against a particular age-group and especially the elderly
Becoming older is a privilege denied to many,” the saying goes. But, are you excited about getting older? When I ask my students this question they often say things like, “No way!” and follow with a list of negative stereotypes describing older adults as sick, unhappy, slow, and sexually inactive. How do so many of us, including myself, come to this conclusion?
The aging population (i.e., individuals 65 and over) around the world is growing. In the U.S. alone, one in seven persons is now an older American, and this number is expected to double by 2060. As we’ve previously discussed here at Sociology In Focus with other concepts (seasons, time, etc.) aging is also socially constructed.
It’s no wonder that once we pass the ripe old age of thirty-nine, many of us turn to desperate measures such as Botox and plastic surgery. Therefore, along with our shrinking self-image comes a multitude of other potential issues such as an increased risk for health problems and immobility.
Loss of mobility, which is common among older adults, has profound social, psychological, and physical consequences. “If you’re unable to get out then you can’t go shopping, you can’t go out with your friends to eat dinner or go to the movies, and you become dependent on other people to get you places. So you become a recluse, you stay home, you get depressed. With immobilization comes incontinence, because you can’t get to the bathroom, you can develop urinary infections, skin infections. The list goes on,” says geriatrician Dr. Suzanne Salamon, an instructor at Harvard Medical School.
The cascade of negative effects that comes with immobility can often be prevented or limited, according to a review in today’s JAMA. Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham looked at dozens of mobility studies published over the years. They discovered common factors that lead to loss of mobility, such as older age, low physical activity, obesity, impaired strength and balance, and chronic diseases such as diabetes and arthritis. Less common red flags included symptoms of depression, problems with memory or thinking skills, being female, a recent hospitalization, drinking alcohol or smoking, and having feelings of helplessness. Individuals with one or more of these factors is at risk for immobility.
A greater risk of health issues and immobility reinforces the importance of optimizing your health as you get older. For this very reason, I’m fortunate to be employed in the health and fitness industry that requires me to stay active and make healthy food choices.
However, along with that comes a increased focus on body image by my peers and clients. It’s common to see images of young, muscular, fit people in health and fitness magazines, fitness infomercials, and television ads etc. Furthermore, most of my co-workers, and clients are in their early thirties and forties. Therefore I’ve begun to question how do I continue to work in the health and fitness industry at this stage of my life. How do I fight to keep up with a society that is consumed with youth, appearance, and selfies?
As a fitness instructor I constantly hear women comparing themselves to others, complaining about their age, scrutinizing their bodies, appearance, and fitness level. Over the years, I’ve seen many resort to plastic surgery for breast implants, liposuction, face lifts, and Botox. I on the other hand have decided against any nips, tucks, or enhancements. I know it’s crazy, but I’ve accepted that I’m getting older and I’m determined to age gracefully the “good old-fashioned way!”
At this stage in my life, I’m surprised that I find myself comfortable with my appearance, my body, and my fitness level. I actually have more self-confidence than I ever had in my 20’s, 30’s or 40’s. My goal is to simply age with style and grace. I plan to take care of myself by simply exercising and making healthy food choices.
Simply put, my goal is to promote healthy aging. I truly believe “age is just a number.” Your lifestyle, food choices, and activity level play a huge part in how you age. The picture below is a picture of me and my dad when I was in my thirties.
Now fast forward twenty years to my current picture below at the age of 58. Yes I have wrinkles around my eyes and I look older but that is a part of life. My point is that many people simply stop taking care of themselves as they get older. It’s typical to slow down once your children are gone and we transition from a busy work career and family life to empty nest and retirement. It’s this sedentary lifestyle and poor food choices that causes rapid aging, weight gain, and increased risk for disease.
Although many experts report that losing weight after forty will make you look older, the truth is weight gain makes you look older. Quite often as we age, weight accumulates in the mid section, which can put strain on the heart, muscles, and joints. Ultimately these lifestyle choices increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes. The key is to maintain a healthy stable weight as you age. It’s the yo-yo dieting and the drastic weight loss that causes the face to look drawn and appear more wrinkled.
So how do we maintain good health and a more youthful appearance as we age? How can we live life in our golden years without filters, Photoshop, and going under the knife? As much as we would like to believe in magic weight loss pills and procedures. There are no tricks; these methods don’t work.
We all age and no amount of liposuction, face-lift, Botox, or weight loss gimmicks are going to make us look twenty again. Learn to love yourself, your wrinkles, your age, and your life experience. The answer to aging with no filter is simple. All you have to do is work hard, eat right, and don’t give up.
“But in this season it is well to reassert that the hope of mankind rests in faith. As man thinketh, so he is. Nothing much happens unless you believe in it, and believing there is hope for the world is a way to move toward it.” (Gladys Taber)
At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ
Into the great religions of the world.
We jubilate the precious advent of trust.
We shout with glorious tongues at the coming of hope.
All the earth’s tribes loosen their voices
To celebrate the promise of Peace.
We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and Non-Believers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.
Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.
Love to start my Sunday morning with a easy yoga flow and then enjoy a delicious cup of bulletproof coffee. Try this short yoga flow to get you moving and then treat yourself with my easy recipe for bulletproof coffee.
Child’s Pose- One Minute
Down Dog- One Minute
Sun Salutation B- One Minute
Tree Pose- One Minute (30 secs each side)
Forward Fold- One Minute
Plank- One Minute
Corpse Pose- One Minute
Brew your favorite cup of coffee and add a tablespoon of organic coconut oil and a splash of coconut milk. Finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and enjoy a relaxing day
As I reflect on the first Mother’s Day without my mom, I find myself more emotional than usual. Memories flash before my eyes of getting together on this day to celebrate our beautiful mom. May she rest in peace.
Happy Mother’s Day to all mom’s! Celebrate and cherish the time you have together.
MY MOTHER- MY WORLD
I knew mom’s health was failing and her time was near- I woke up anxious every morning afraid of what I’d hear.
God’s gentle nudge to visit her the day before she died- was life’s richest blessing – no words can describe.
I stayed by her bedside and countless tears I cried- I watched her constant pain and suffering- as I sat helpless by her side.
She whispered, “I love you” – they were her last words to me- I desperately wanted her to stay with me- but also to be free.
She fought so hard to stay here with her children and in her home- but she knew Dad would be waiting and she would not be alone.
I can’t imagine life without her – just knowing she’s not here- never again to see her is one of my worst fears
. I loved her Irish temper, her skin so pale, so fair- I admired her strength and determination- I loved her beautiful, fiery, red hair.
I’ll always treasure our memories and be her little girl- for to the world she’s just a mother, but to me she was MY WORLD.
A Perfect Make Ahead Valentine’s Day Breakfast Valentine’s Day falls on a Wednesday this year, and as much as I would love to wake up without an alarm clock, sip on my coffee and make a big breakfast for the two of us – it’s just not going to happen. I wasn’t going to let that…
The True Mirror was actually invented by a brother and sister team in New York called John and Catherine Walters, and what they discovered was that if you take two mirrors and you put them together at right angles and you take the seam away the images bounce off each other. And what you see when you look in a True Mirror is exactly what other people see when they look at you.
A plane mirror reflects exactly what’s in front of it.
Looking at the diagram here, you can see what happens when you stand in front of a mirror. Light rays from your left arm (shown in red) bounce back and forth along the path shown in yellow, while rays from your right arm (shown in blue) follow the path shown in orange. The rays from your head and feet follow the paths shown in green and brown. What you see in the mirror appears to be flipped left-right but not top-bottom. Why is that?
If you’re a person looking, as we are now, from behind the person standing in front of a mirror, you can get a slightly different understanding of what’s happening: the mirror shows the person’s front, while we can see the person’s back. The mirror shows you the front of the person standing before it, but if the person were to walk forward and “climb inside” the mirror, you’d see their back. So what a mirror is really doing is inverting things from front-to-back,
Could our perception of what we look like be wrong? Everyday we peer in the mirror and painstakingly groom ourselves. We style our hair, apply makeup, shave, and select the perfect outfit in order to go out and face the world. But if what we see in the mirror is not our true image? What do we really look like to others?
As a society, we are consumed with our appearance. We spend much of our lives trying to create an image that will inflate our egos, give us an edge in our careers and relationships. What if we’ve been deceiving ourselves all this time? Is it possible that our mirror image is not what the world really sees?
Our self-image begins to develop in early childhood. Children learn at an early age that their appearance can play a vital role in how they are treated by society.
Many kids are bullied for being overweight, not wearing the right clothes, or for just being different. So they learn to conform by creating an image to display to the world that they hope will be accepted by others.
What really struck me during the podcast was when Caroline McHugh pointed out,
when you look in a regular mirror, you’re looking for reassurance that you are beautiful, but when you look in a true mirror you’re not looking at yourself, you are looking to find yourself
Many people say that when they look in a true mirror they are shocked by what they see. Some people report they look less attractive or distorted in a true mirror. This could be concerning if your self-image is disproportionately tied to your appearance.
But does it really matter? What if we spent less time consumed with our looks? Just imagine if we were taught at an early age to value personality over appearance? What if society began to place more emphasis on compassion and kindness toward others?
We often develop unhealthy egos as a protective mechanism to shield us from hurt, the pain of not fitting in or being labeled as different. When children are young, they don’t have an understanding of being different from others and, until they reach a certain age, are happy just being themselves.
But as we age our ego tends to become more fragile and we begin to create a protective mask that we can wear out in the world everyday.
Our masks cover up our unique qualities or features and allow us to conform to society’s standards of normal.
However many seniors and young children appear to be best at “being themselves.” They are more likely to see themselves in a true mirror. They often don’t care what others think of them or feel the need to conform.
Society archetype emerges round about the age of five, six, seven, eight. That’s why the Jesuits say, “Give me a boy until the age of seven, and I’ll show you the man,” because that’s the birth of consciousness. And from then on you become more self-conscious, and by default less good at being yourself.
The other place you’re fantastic at being yourself is when you’re a wrinkly, because you can’t be arsed. You get to that stage in your life where you realize there are more summers behind you than there are in front of you, and everything intensifies. You become more honest; you become less compromising. So you’re going to tell people, “I don’t want the spinach, I’m not going to eat it, I don’t like it. And I don’t like jazz, so you can shut that noise off. And while I’m at it, I don’t like you!” And we call these people eccentric. We call our oldies eccentric. In fact, what they’re doing is being authentic.
So it’s kind of like an hourglass effect. When you’re young you’re great at being yourself; when you’re old you’re great at being yourself; but the bit in the middle is sometimes the most problematic. That’s the bit where you have to socialize; you have to accommodate; you have to adapt.
The key is to work on just being ourselves and to uncover our image in the true mirror. This quote by C.G. Jung explains it perfectly…
“The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego, the second half is going inward and letting go of it.”
To develop a healthy ego we need to foster our strengths and downplay our weaknesses. It’s imperative to build your self esteem and confidence. Seek ways to improve your health and appearance by going to a gym or back to school to pursue an education. We all feel more confident when we look and feel our best.
Everyone has unique gifts they can offer to our world. Take inventory of your best qualities and set some goals to improve any weak areas. The key is to learn to be more childlike or “wrinkly” so that when you look in a true mirror you will love what you see.
Most People look forward to the weekends to relax and unwind. I love to make bread and if it’s healthy, that’s even better! Bread is a comfort food and with oatmeal, bananas, and walnuts you can’t go wrong. This is a quick and easy recipe that is great for breakfast or a healthy snack. I tossed all the ingredients in the blender, poured it in a bread pan and popped it in the oven. It’s absolutely delicious. I used honey instead of the Agave. After enjoying a slice of this delicious banana bread, consider trying this wonderful yoga and meditation video. It’s perfect to do in the morning or evening before bedtime. Ahhhh a slice of heaven!
I love Larabars! Guess what? You can make them yourselves and here is an easy recipe from Daily Burn with only 3 ingredients! How cool is that??
3-Ingredient Homemade Larabars
Store-bought bars are great for convenience, but homemade versions are always healthier, tastier and more budget conscious. This recipe is packed with nuts and dried fruit for a healthy balance of fiber and protein. Change up the flavor by adding cinnamon, vanilla extract or cacao powder. Add texture by mixing in some cacao nibs or chia seeds! Photo and recipe: Renee Blair / Life by Daily Burn
3-Ingredient Homemade Larabars Recipe
Prep time: 5 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
1 cup nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts or pecans)
3/4 cup pitted medjool dates
3/4 cup other dried fruit (such as cranberries, cherries, raisins, figs or more dates)
Pinch of sea salt
Add the nuts to a food processor and pulse until they form large crumbs. Then, with the motor running, add the dates and other dried fruit to the food processor.
Process until you have a mixture that sticks together when you press it between your fingers.
Pour the mixture onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Form the mixture into an 8-inch square and wrap in plastic. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour before cutting into bars.
Store the bars in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks or in the freezer for a few months.