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:
Avocado Toast- This is one of my favorite breakfast/ snack foods- I love to use Ezekiel bread and then add mashed avocado with a splash of olive oil, red pepper flakes, and top with hemp or flax-seed
2. Protein Oatmeal Bowl- This is another one of my healthy go to meals- I like to use a single serving of organic oats, scoop of your favorite protein, 1 tbsp of almond butter, handful of organic blueberries and top with flax-seed.
3. Spinach and Egg Breakfast Quesadilla – These are quick, healthy, and can be made ahead of time to warm up if short on time. Simple recipe includes – scramble eggs in tbsp of avocado or olive oil , toss in any optional veggies and then place on tortilla. Top with cheese and heat until cheese melted. Delicious!!
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.
Ditch the resolutions and start the new year off with an easy plan for success. Try my No Resolutions New Year Challenge that will help you improve your health and fitness level in thirty days.
Resolutions often fail because most people don’t fully understand the commitment required to create new habits. Change is often uncomfortable, and when things get hard, it’s easy to give up and revert back to old habits. However, adding small changes to your daily routine can lead to big results. Instead of setting unattainable resolutions for the new year, try this thirty-day challenge that works by adding small steps each week to get you on track to a healthier lifestyle.
Always check with your physician before starting any new diet or exercise program
Try to begin the challenge January 1st.Week one will start with two goals and you will add two new steps each week to help you create new healthy habits. At the end of the thirty days you should feel lighter, stronger, more energetic, and be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.
Hopefully by the end of the month you will continue some or all of the new habits you developed during the thirty days.
LET THIS NEW YEAR be your turning point to self care and better health! Let me know how you like it. LET’S BEGIN –
DRINK 20 oz of lemon water before breakfast, lunch, and your evening meal.
2. Add exercise each day by taking a brisk walk/ jog 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. Or you can try this 15 minute workout video two times per day.
WEEK TWO (Continue week one goals and add these two goals to your daily routine)
Track your sugar grams and keep them under 30 grams per day
Add a green vegetable to your lunch and evening meal each day
WEEK THREE (Continue week one and two goals and add these additional goals to your daily routine)
Add 15 minutes of yoga to your calendar twice a week-
“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
I love the season of Lent and how it reminds me to slow down and put my life into perspective. I often have trouble coming up with ideas of what “to give up” for the forty day period. Over the past several years, I’ve decided to put more thought into my Lenten promise; and the likelihood of me actually following through. I mean one year I actually tried to give up peanut butter and chocolate. What was I thinking??
Then there was the year I chose to give up social media. That didn’t work either. Although I thought I had plenty of willpower; forty days is a lot longer than you think.
Therefore I decided this time to keep it simple this year. I put much more thought into my choices and came up with the following:
Spend more time each day on my daily readings and in prayer. I signed up for two social media sites that would deliver daily Lent readings to my inbox. These are wonderful reminders and often offer different perspectives on the readings. One of the sites is USCCB.org and the other is UCATHOLIC.com
Meatless Friday– This one is pretty easy. I can have fish but usually end up eating veggies, pasta, or cheese pizza. I put a reminder in my phone so I don’t forget.
Intermittent Fasting– There are many different types of fasting. I decided to do the fast where you eat during an eight-hour window during the day and then fast for 15 hours. This is a good challenge for me since I love breakfast. I typically eat every morning at 6 am, so to hold out until 9 or 10 am is a quite a challenge.
No Peanut Butter– I truly am addicted to peanut butter so although it was nearly impossible for me to give up chocolate and peanut butter at the same time, giving up one is doable.
Do something nice for someone everyday. Start at home with your family and then expand to others throughout your day. It can be as simple as a compliment, a card, a gift, holding the door for someone, paying for someone’s meal, etc. The goal is to make someone’s day better.
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.
The vegan lifestyle is becoming increasing popular these days. A common reason people consider converting to a vegetarian or vegan diet is to improve their health, avoid contaminants in meat, and their compassion for animals.
Many people begin by reducing their meat intake and incorporating more meatless dishes into their daily meals. Further research and experimentation into a meatless lifestyle can quite often lead to the transition to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.
There can be some confusion regarding the terms vegan and vegetarian. Vegetarians eliminate meat but some include dairy products and eggs in their diets.
Vegans on the other hand eliminate all animal products, dairy, eggs, and often avoid any products made from animals.
A vegetarian excludes meat, poultry, and seafood from their diet. Some vegetarians also exclude dairy, some don’t, and some may consume eggs. Likewise, vegans avoid meat, poultry, and seafood, but they also take it a step further by eliminating all animal products from their diet. This includes any type of animal milk and eggs. Vegans avoid foods produced using animals or animal products in any way, including honey. Many vegans also avoid household products, clothing, or other items made from animal products or tested on animals.
Additionally, the terms vegan and vegetarian can be difficult for many to differentiate as some people think the words have the same meaning.
To add to the confusion, some vegetarians are called “lacto and or ovo” and include dairy/eggs in their diet.
So as you can see, the term “vegetarian” can mean different things to different people:
A true vegetarian eats no meat at all, including poultry and fish.
A lacto-ovo vegetarian eats dairy products and eggs, but excludes meat, fish, and poultry.
A lacto vegetarian eats dairy products but not eggs.
An ovo vegetarian eats eggs but not dairy products.
Therefore, when considering converting to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle it’s imperative to do your research. Make sure you are clear on the differences between the diets and that you have a good understanding of what’s involved in the switch. Making the change to a more restricted diet can be challenging to follow. Many restaurants don’t offer vegan options, so understand your choices for grabbing food on the go will be limited. Also, making meals will require more planning than before.
It’s important to make sure meals are well-balanced and include sources of vitamin b12, essential fatty acids, iron, calcium, and vitamin d.
Per Dr. Josh Axe a wellness physician certified in clinical nutrition, popular radio show host, and sought-after national speaker points out some important issues when considering a vegan or vegetarian diet.
Switching to a vegan diet is considered a healthy move by many, but it may not be all it’s cracked up to be in some bases. Below are some of the downsides to eating a completely vegan diet long term (more than several months): (6)
Protein deficiency (lack of amino acids). Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle and are important for cellular health and proper metabolism. Too little protein can call muscle wasting, cognitive changes, mood swings and weakness.
Low levels of vitamin B12. You can only get vitamin B12 in substantial amounts by consuming meat, fish, eggs, and dairy, so vegans usually need to take supplements.
Lower intake of other nutrients like zinc, sometimes calcium and omega-3 fatty acids.
Higher intake of antinutrients like phytic acid. There are grains, beans and legumes, such as raw soybeans, lentils and mung beans, that may contain trypsin inhibitors. These inhibitors can block key digestive enzymes. Also, grains can contain phytic acid that can keep you from digesting calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. However, soaking and sprouting your grains and legumes can greatly reduce phytic acid.
Potential inability to put on muscle. This may be due to the lack of certain vitamins that we normally get from meat and fish.
Overconsumption of carbohydrates. One of the most common trends I’ve found from working with hundreds of vegans and vegetarians is that they tend to overconsume carbohydrates and hidden sugar foods. Eating too many carbs can cause candida and yeast overgrowth along with weight grain. There are some vegans who have created a better balance, but this is far from the majority.
Fatigue and feeling exhausted. Again, this is usually due to the lack of certain vitamins and minerals that we normally get from meat and fish, such as iron and B vitamins.
SOME ALARMING CONCERNS FOR KIDS:
The issue of children consuming vegetarian/ vegan diets is controversial. Some experts report it’s not safe for children while others state it can be perfectly healthy if followed properly.
parents pursue a vegan diet for their child, they must seek and strictly follow medical and dietary advice to make sure their infant receives adequate nutrition. Both mother and infant should follow advice regarding supplementation” advises Professor Mary Fewtrell, chairman of ESPGHAN’s nutrition committee comments:
The biggest risk to vegan children is that of vitamin B12 deficiency. Foods derived from animals have been shown to be the only reliable source of vitamin B12 and a deficiency of the vitamin can have devastating effects. Vitamin B12 is essential to the creation of DNA, indispensable for the maintenance of the nervous system, and a lack of it can result in haematological and neurological disorders, causing damage in young children which can be irreversible.
Therefore problems can arise when parents are unaware of the associated risks of switching to a more restricted diet….
Stories of vegan parents being arrested for malnourished children pop up every few years in the U.S., and the cases in Italy have made international news.
In Arizona, Kimu Parker was arrested in April 2005 for nearly starving her three children with a diet she and the children’s father called vegan. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison; the father, Blair Parker, got 15 years.
In Florida in 2005, Joseph and Lamoy Andressohn got probation for neglect in the death of their 6-month-old son, who was fed only wheat grass, coconut water and almond milk.
In Georgia, Jade Sanders and Lamont Thomas were sentenced to life in prison for the 2004 death of their 6-week-old son, who starved to death after they fed him a too-limited diet of soy milk and apple juice.
Therefore, do your research! Know that if you make the decision to change to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, you must make sure you and your family get the proper nutrients. Meals should be well balanced with complete proteins and you may need to use supplements.
Be sure to consult your child’s pediatrician, family physician and or certified nutritionist to ensure you and your family are getting the proper nutrients in your diets.
Follow these tips to make sure your diet is healthy and provides the proper nutrients:
Include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables with all your meals. Make smoothies and juices to make it more appealing for kids and picky eaters.
If needed consider supplementation with a multivitamin that contains b12, iron, zinc, and vitamin d. Discuss this with a nutritionist or your family physician.
Make sure you get enough protein in your diet- beans, nut butters, protein supplements, etc.
Have regular family check ups with complete blood work ups to make sure you and your family are getting adequate nutrients on a daily basis.
Plan your meals and snacks each week to make it easier to avoid eating processed foods loaded with sugar and unhealthy ingredients.
Life is too short to waste on things that aren’t important. Too much time is often wasted comparing our life to others. Why not try to work on gratitude and enlightenment. Our mindset is key to living a life of purpose and without regrets. The words COMPARISON, HAPPINESS, AND ENLIGHTENMENT – something we all need to think about.. NO REGRETS….
There is no point where we’re done growing, and all we will ever do is look down upon others who are behind us. No one is ever at the top. We are all growing at our own rates, and no matter how terrible or how enlightened we fancy ourselves to be today, the future will be sure to give us a different perspective.
There is really no use in comparing yourself to others. There will always be someone ahead and someone behind, and there will be dozens (if not hundreds) of different scales and gradients to be behind and ahead on.
To be number one is never final. It is and always will be a momentary, fleeting instant. But to be a growing version of yourself? That, you can be. You can be that every single day.” ― Vironika Tugaleva
“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.” ― Seneca
“A person experiments in life and reflects upon those events in order to discover how to lead a meaningful life. We conduct a quest searching for the source our essential being. What we seek is inside us waiting for us to discover. Until we realize the vital inner source that provides direction for our life, all our efforts are in vain. The ego with its craving and fearful protection strategies is what prevents us from perceiving the transparency of the world in which we belong. When we cease clinging to the past and no longer daydream of the future and unreservedly accept whatever is occurring while sacrificing ourselves in service of other people our sense of self vanishes and we exist only as conscious and nonjudgmental witnesses of reality.” ― Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls