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10 Oct

BLOG 236 AGE COMPLAINTS

“I’m getting old”, is a common phrase we use to associate aches, pains, and ailments with. Blame it on age. Degeneration, slowing down, and parts not operating like they once used to, all come with age. Most of these issues are normal and are common culprits. Some are preventable through lifestyle, while others just happen in the “golden years”. The senior population is growing and by 2030, 1 in 5 Americans will be over the age of 65 years. Women’s average lifespan is over 80 years and men 75 years. Just because people are living longer doesn’t mean these ailments are going away. Keeping one’s bones, belly, and brain in tip-top shape is very important. Here are some common complaints:
1. Osteoporosis: Bones tend to become thinner and weaker with age. The bones can become fragile and easily break. Breaks become more susceptible with falls and sometimes even every day movements. As we age, the body absorbs old bone tissue faster than new bone can be created.
2. Vision loss: Macular degeneration and glaucoma are common. The part of the eye that allows us to see detail, degenerates over time. The risk for macular degeneration increases 30% after age 75. Glaucoma is due to fluid pressure in the eye. This causes loss of peripheral and direct vision.
3. Hearing loss: About 43% of people age 75 and older have some degree of hearing loss. This is usually the loss of high pitch noises. Eventually is can be the loss of any type of noise.
4. Bathroom problems: Constipation can be common with age with about 26% of women and 16% of men having this issue over the age of 65. This can be due to less physical activity, dehydration, and less fiber. Women can also have urinary incontinence. The pelvic muscles have lost their strength. Men can have this problem due to an enlarged prostate.
5. Cognitive impairment: Becoming forgetful or confused is commonplace, but as this progresses concerns may arise. Alzheimer’s can develop and can cause irreversible brain damage.
6. Arthritis: About 1/3 of people over the age of 65 have this. The fluid and cartilage in our joints does wear out. This can cause pain and is common in the hips, knees, wrists, spine, and fingers.
7. Balance issues: About 40% of older Americans have balance issues. This can be from dizziness, medications, or other medical conditions.
8. Heart disease: The heart ages with you and this causes it to work harder. This can lead to heart related problems such as heart attack and stroke. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in persons over age 65. Healthy lifestyle can help reduce this risk.
9. Flu/Pneumonia: The immune system becomes weaker with age. Complications from the flu can result in pneumonia. 71-85% of flu related deaths are from people over age 65.
10. Diabetes: The risk for development increases with age. Blood sugar become too high and this can cause problems for the eyes, kidneys, and nerves.

04 Oct

BLOG 235 NIGHT vs MORNING PEOPLE

In this world, there are morning people and there are night owls. Our body has a natural 24 cycle called circadian rhythm. This is a person’s internal clock that wakes them and puts them to sleep. Some people have a naturally longer cycle and others have a naturally shorter cycle. This cycle isn’t always set in stone and can change throughout life. Young children tend to be early birds, teenagers tend to stay up late, the college years are very late, and then adulthood seems to change people back to the morning time.

A person who is a night owl might not be able to survive a morning without caffeine. This is especially true if there is a day job that makes the early alarm clock go off. Night owls have been said to be more depressed and consume more alcohol. At the same time, night owls have been said to be able to stay more focused throughout the day without getting tired.

Morning people tend to have more regular sleep patterns because they arrange their bedtime to align with the early risings. There’s err on the side of caution of staying up too late. They have been said to feel better overall than night owls.

There are a number of traits that differentiate these two types of people. Just for fun they will be revealed, but that does not mean they’re scientifically backed.
1. “Early birds get the worm” vs “Even owls catch the rodents and insects they want with their amazing senses, even without sunlight”.
2. Early birds are perfectionists vs night owls are go getters: morning people live a more strict regime while night people are more impulsive and spontaneous
3. Early birds wake up with smiles, while night owls wake with frowns: The morning doesn’t mean ready to start the day for everyone.
4. Early birds are proactive vs night owls are smarter: early birds operate on the hours most of the world does between 9-5.
5. Early birds like tea while night owls like alcohol: these are beverages associated with time of day
6. Early birds like breakfast vs night owls like dinner: Time of day and time of eating just work in that favor
7. Early birds are older vs night owls are younger: seniors are known for waking before the rest of the world while young kids stay up much later and enjoy the night life.

The body and time should be friends, but variety is the spice of life. Early birds might drift towards friends who are early birds too and this could be said for night owls too. We all have to sleep, I guess it’s a matter of when.

27 Sep

BLOG 234 COMPARISON COMPLEX

Getting stuck in a hole of comparing yourself to others can wreak havoc on self-esteem. Confidence in question leads to poor self-worth. In today’s social media imaged filled culture, one can find themselves lost scrolling, clicking, and then thinking about how they shape up to what they see. For example, when it comes to fitness, you can tell yourself from that start that your goal isn’t about the weight loss numbers. Then you look at a feed of so many before and after photos, only to find yourself wondering why your results don’t add up the same. At work, you compare your performance to others so that you feel productive or purposeful. In school, you become competitive with grades. At restaurants, you look around to see what others have ordered. Parents compare themselves to others. They question whether their child should have a cell phone or not because their friend’s child is the same age and has one.

We can become so busy worrying about others, we loose sight of ourselves. We start to blame others for our own actions. When we have done the best job that we can there is no need to compare to anyone else. You have to be proud of yourself, otherwise you never live up to what you expect. That leads to depression and a downward path to negative thoughts. You actually limit yourself when you compare yourself to others because you are basing your potential on someone else’s.

All of this means that it may be time for a social media detox. It many be time to water your own grass and not worry about your neighbor’s. Don’t resist the past and accept where you are and aspire for where you want to be. Life might have been messy or bumpy, but the straight and narrow path doesn’t necessarily equate to happiness. Lack of adventure doesn’t mean success. You are writing your own movie, and the ending isn’t fixed. There is more to come, so play out the scenes how you want to see them. Be grateful instead of always wanting more. Maybe you aren’t meant to have more. Don’t let fear guide you. Comparison is a form of fear. It is not being confident in your own self to be strong on your own, no matter where that leaves you in the line-up. It is okay to be inspired by others, but don’t compare yourself to their aspirations. You are you. You have to be nice to yourself and learn to ignore the bully in your head. It’s time to be happy and to be free from comparison. So let those scores go, you are the winner of your own life.

20 Sep

BLOG 233: AIRPLANE GERMS

The thought of sitting in a plane for many hours, just screams germs. Everyone is sitting in an enclosed spaced, breathing recycled air, and then there are people who cough and sneeze in this air. Traveling during the holidays also is the time of year for colds and the flu season. Some studies say you are 100 more times likely to catch one of these while up in the air. Switching seats from the sick person next to you is not always an option. Being mindful of what you touch with your bare hands is always a good idea to be highly cautious of. Think about the number of people who are using the same bathroom on the same flight. Think about all the items with luggage, shoes, and matters of personal hygiene that are all in one location.

In between flights, under the constraints of time, the flight staff might not have had enough time to thoroughly clean. Between all the seats, seatbelts, and buttons that people touch, there are a lot of places to wipe down. Going row by row, aisle by aisle, is not always possible when trying to stick to a timely flight schedule. So the germs just stay there and then next layer of germs now enter to make matters worse.

There are shared earplugs, blankets, and pillows. There are so many germs and many people eat the airplane food not even considering to wash their hands first. There are only one or two bathrooms and a line so hand washing gets neglected. Planes are actually pretty old too. Some of the very planes we fly in today are over 20 years old. That means unless the upholstery and additional seat belts have been readily replaced and refurbished, the germs just keep piling on. People become tired and fatigued and then careless with their germs. There are also children who don’t cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze and put their hands in their own mouth and noses only to continue to touch parts of the plane.

We have to be ready to fly with our germ protectant force ready. Have hand sanitizer ready, bring your own pillow and headphones, and try to avoid touching any common areas with your bare hands. Staying hydrated and making sure to take a multivitamin to keep immunity up is important to come prepared and try to avoid catching something in the air. Travel is fun and safe, but not free from germs. You never want to arrive at your destination feeling sick and unlike yourself.

13 Sep

BLOG EATING OUT VERSUS EATING AT HOME
BLOG 232: EATING OUT VS EATING AT HOME

Almost a daily decision we face is what to eat….followed by where?? Eating our or eating at home is a daily choice with both pros and cons among these options. Sometimes this choice is a matter of taste-buds or it can based on budget. We have to eat to live, but what we eat is the topic of our mind’s conversation on a regular basis.

Eating out
Going out for food can be a nice treat, a normal part of one’s day, or as part of a celebration. There is a social aspect that brings people together. It’s nice to see others outside of the work or home setting. Eating out provides the opportunity to eat foods you wouldn’t normally have or to try something completely new and popular. There’s no preparation, just order and eat. There might be coupons or specials to take advantage of. There are also plenty of different beverages to select from to wash down the meal. There’s no clean up, it’s normally faster, and it’s easier to please a variety of people with different needs and food preferences. It can be a nice break from a routine. However, dining out usually involves eating foods higher in fat and sodium. This portion distortion has paved the way for the obesity epidemic. The idea of convenience overshadows health and nutrition.

Eating at home
When eating at your own place, the cost is lower. You are not paying for the labor, rather, you are doing the work yourself. It is a way to socialize as you prepare the meal and can have many helping hands. It is easier to accommodate to needs (allergies, time, or getting everyone in one place). Eating with children can be less stressful at home versus at a restaurant expecting them to behave. You can even cook extra or more to have as leftovers later. Freezing large portions is meal prep conducive. Cooking at home can also give a person the opportunity to feel accomplished by pleasing and providing for others, as well as making new recipes or food from scratch. You also know what you are putting in your food with all the ingredients and what the food is cooked in. You are better able to serve yourself just until you are full or to have the willpower to not overeat. You are able to be in our space, use your own pots and pans, and then appreciate the work you have done.

Everyday involves eating and no one can say they don’t think about food at some point on a daily basis. The trouble is that food is so much more than just eating, rather, there is an entire emotional and psychological component involved. In the end, what we put on our plate, be it out or at home, will affect our health. The freedom of choice can sometimes be more agonizing than rewarding.

06 Sep

BLOG 231 COMFORT FOODS

Food that makes you feel good. Food that provides well-being. Food that is home-cooked and a reminder of childhood. Food that is usually high in fat, sugar, and carbs. After a hard day or bad experience, we start looking forward to a particular type of food. Most people can name their top 3 go-to foods. The food alters our mood by comforting our emotions. Maybe it was a terrible day at work and you can remember your mom making you hot chocolate and brownies when you came home from school and had a bad day. So now you associate hot chocolate and brownies with comfort, consoling you after a troublesome time.

Some people say tuna melts, some say macaroni and cheese, some even say creamed spinach. We crave these foods because the fats, sugars, and carbs activate the brain’s reward system. This brings pleasure. It is a form of emotional eating and using food as a coping mechanism. It also makes us feel like we belong. Comfort foods are reminders of good times with family and friends. Think of Thanksgiving. Making turkey and stuffing and having the whole house warmed with this smell, is a reminder of this time of year and gathering with loved ones. Comfort foods are a momentary indulgence

Your gut talks to your brain. Eating these foods can help deal with stress and intense situations, for the time being. Eating becomes an urge driven by emotions and moods. We know that deep down eating won’t solve the problem, make the feeling permanently subside, or settle the issue at hand. Yet, living in the moment can be human nature to just feel better. The problem is that the mind makes the connection that food is making you feel better and suddenly this become a habit to reach for, no matter how or big or small the dilemma. What was once a “sometimes” method to just get through a bad day has become a every Wednesday after the staff meeting you hate, treating yourself to dessert and happy hour. The cycle continues. Our relationship with food is complex, but don’t make it even worse by overusing and abusing a comfort method. Emotional eating rarely leads to weight loss or fitness results.

30 Aug

BLOG 230: JOBS THAT CAUSE WEIGHT GAIN

A career life and the adulthood that goes along with making a living, can correlate with lots of time spent sitting. the hours of being sedentary increase with age and eventually, less time is spent being active and making healthy choices. Between office lunches, entertaining clients and customers, the spread in the breakroom, vending machines taunting in the hallways, and whatever co-workers decide to share, the combination of more time seated with more sugary and fat ridden foods, become a recipe for gaining weight and increase the risk for poor health.
Some of the most common jobs that are prone to weight gain include the following:
1. Software engineer: IT professionals are prone to getting wrapped up in projects that lead to skipping meals and then eating junk food when there’s time to scarf something down. All this while sitting at a computer.
2. Nurse Practitioner: Ironically this profession in the health field that advocates for nutritious eating, is rampant with stress eating.
3. Teacher: Between students, other staff members, parents, and standardized testing, this profession can be stressful. Managing a classroom setting all day then taking homework to grade can lead to stress eating and reaching for whatever is closest and most convenient to eat.
4. Police offer: There are many hours spent patrolling, sitting, and observing. When there’s action this can be very stressful. Dealing with life threating situations does lead to stress and often times comforting foods.
5. Bus driver/ Taxi/Uber/Lyft Driver: Night or day, this job is all sitting and eating on the go.
6. Administrative assistant: This profession requires juggling the lives and schedules of everyone else, leaving little self-time. Often times, this person is the first one in the office and the last one to leave, sitting and working away to help others.
7. Call center or sales jobs: The phone is always in hand and each hour is filled with constant conversation while sitting. Customer service can be stressful, while meeting commissions and quotas.

Stress alarms the body as cortisol levels strike. Feelings of fight or flight lead a person to want to suppress such levels of high emotion with food or drinks. The mind doesn’t always turn off at the end of the day, and poor sleep leads to poor choices. Waking up tired attracts the easy route when it comes to what to wear, what to eat, and this can lead to complete disregard for extracurricular activities like exercise. Even though a person might be sitting all day, coming home and sitting more sounds more appealing then hitting the gym. Suddenly, years have past and pounds have added up. Your I.D. badge depicts an entirely different body shape. Don’t let stress and your career cut years off your life. Don’t work just to use your health insurance later to cover the costs of the damage that has resulted to your body. Find time for health and set the example to your co-workers that quality of life is critical and necessary.

24 Aug

BLOG 229: CEREALS

What’s breakfast without cereal when you were a kid?? Super convenient and taste bud pleasing, but is cereal actually healthy?? Cereal does come from processed grains. How cereal is made is highly processed starting with processing the grains into flour, then adding sugar and water, undergoing high temperatures to shape the cereal, and then drying out the product into the final shapes. Nutrients are added, hence many of the labels stating fortified with vitamins and minerals. This crunchy food is typically enjoyed with milk or yogurt in puffed, flaked, or shredded form.

The major trouble that comes with cereal is the added sugar. Consumers are often misled by false claiming labels. You have to read the nutrition facts, not the claims that say they can lower cholesterol or help fight diabetes. The next problem with cereal is that most people eat well over one serving at a time. Most cereals abide by ½ cup to 1 cup per serving with around 200 calories. However, a “bowl” of cereal is much more than this amount. Many cereals also contain refined grains, so it is important to find those that are whole grain so that more of the nutritional value is intact. To help out, always look for cereals that contain at least 5 grams of fiber per serving. Another worry with cereal is that it can pack on the sodium. Therefore, between the added sugar and sodium, it’s no wonder we want to keep adding more and more to the bowl if there is milk left. Some cereals contain up to 500 mg per serving. When it comes to sugar, some cereal equates to eating cookies. Cereal also does not contain much protein at all, which means it doesn’t necessarily keep you satiated unless of course you eat a large quantity of it.

There are close to 6 million types of cereal. There are many crispy and crunchy brands. Cereals is quick and easy, and of course has a longer shelf life than eggs and toast since it is a highly processed food. There are also hot cereals such as oatmeal and grits. All types of cereal either come in corn, wheat, or rice form. This ready to eat packaged option makes the morning routine much easier to manage. The worst types of cereals are those made for children and they can contain up to 50% sugar. The packages only claim the good qualities, but it is important to read further into your selection. All of the colors and shapes make cereal fun and attractive. Even in adulthood we can be nostalgic for a good bowl of cereal. For some, it’s a late-night snack too. Always read labels, always. Then make more informed choices because how you start your day can direct your energy, mood, and performance.

16 Aug

BLOG 228: HIGHEST SUGAR DRINKS

Liquid calories are dangerous and are often times they go underestimated or neglected. Yet the truth reveals itself on the scale or waistline. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), men should consume no more than 37.5 grams of sugar per day while women should consume no more than 25 grams per day. Here are a list of sugar filled drinks that you may or may not consume, but might think twice about next time.
1. McDonald’s Frappe Mocha: one 8oz has 62 grams of sugar
2. Rockstar Guava: one 8oz can 32 grams
3. Sunkist orange soda: one 8oz can 35grams
4. Starbucks Salted Carmel Mocha Frappacino: 8oz has 33 grams
5. Mountain Dew: one 8oz can 30 grams
6. Newman’s Limeade: 8oz has 34 grams
7. Sobe Greentea Energizer: 20oz bottle 51 grams
8. Minute Maid Cranberry Grape: 8oz has 38 grams
9. McDonald’s Chocolate Shake: 8oz has 42 grams
10. Cold Stone Peanut Butter and Chocolate shake: 8oz has 47 grams

For women, the number of sugar content is easily surpassed. For men, having one of these drinks and a banana makes the daily sugar done for the day. The trouble is that sugar is in so much that we eat, even bread. This means that consuming a large quantity in one choice, leaves the rest of the day chaotic for choices if starting to watch your sugar. Diabetics have to be especially careful. We learn as we go and can see that if these drinks are consumed regularly, how much damage can occur.

Eating too much sugar can lead to metabolic syndrome which encompasses weight gain, elevated triglycerides, elevated blood sugar levels, increased bad LDL cholesterol, and high blood pressure. No matter what sugar is called or hidden as, even in breads, sugar is sugar to the body. The brain likes the dopamine feeling. Your mood raises then crashes and burns. Sugar can rot the teeth. Eating lots of sugar has been associated with inflammation in the joints. Skin can even age faster. The heart become stressed because insulin levels raise int eh blood stream. This can lead to heart attack, heart disease, and stroke. Kidney damage can occur. The pancreas can also go into overdrive producing insulin.

Any little cut back in sugar is better for you both inside and out. We have to prioritize our sugar intake and understand that sugar is all around us. It adds up quickly. Awareness is the knowledge we need, and action is what we must do to be advocates for our health. Don’t ignore labels and don’t ignore the changes that are needed to improve your health. Sugary drinks only offer temporary satisfaction but can have long term damage.

08 Aug

BLOG 227 BABY OIL

Originally formatted for baby’s sensitive skin, baby oil is a great product. In fact, it is just mineral oil without the smell. It had evolved and changed over the years, and some people even know how to make it at home. This product has many uses and it is no longer (or has it ever been) just for babies, despite the labeling name. There are many personal applicational uses and even home uses that have many people raving over this oil.
Baby oil is made of the following ingredients: mineral oil, honey, aloe vera extract, vitamin A, vitamin E, and sometime other aromatic compounds. Other variations of this product that are not 100% natural might also have carrier oil (such as coconut oil), wheat germ, beeswax to make it thicker, and other essential oils like lavender or tangerine.
Baby oil’s originally intended purpose was and still is to moisturize a baby’s skin. However, kids and adults can also reap the benefits. Here are other uses of this incredible product:
1. Moisturize hair: This oil can be a treatment to the scalp and hydration to the scalp and hair.
2. Help with flaky, scaly skin: This might include making the skin of the heels softer.
3. Help with under-eye skin: This is a sensitive area that is neglected by many, despite its constant exposure to the environment.
4. Make-up remover: It works well removing the line-up of makeup used for the day.
5. After shaving oil: It can help add and lock in moisture to the newly exposed pores.
6. It can be used as a lubricant for machine parts or appliances.
7. Earwax: It can be used to help remove this.
8. Stretch marks: It can be applied for prevention.
9. Polishing: it can make counter tops and stone products sparkle.
10. Message oil: It is used by many in this industry.
11. It can help remove temporary tattoos and bandages without pulling to much hair and leaving residue.
12. It can help un-do a stuck zipper.
13. Soothe insect bites: It can be used as an anti-inflammatory.
14. Heel skin rashes: It works well to ease irritation.

Baby oil is one of the products to keep around the house just in case. This versatile oil is good for so many reasons, that having some on hand as the answer to little issues that arise can help save time, help address the problem faster, and make the pain go away quicker. Most people are advocates of baby oil in adult life and there’s certainly good cause for this.