WELLNESS--We all know the usual sources of protein, which include chicken, fish, beef and pork along with tofu, eggs, dairy products, and nuts and seeds.
With more people aiming to consume less animal products for both health and ethical reasons, there are plenty of ways to get your protein in the most unexpected of places. As a wellness coach, I am not convinced that everybody does well on a vegetarian or vegan diet, but regardless, it is a great idea to reduce overall animal protein, and to bring in more plant-based protein sources to reduce inflammation and to give our digestion a break and our organs a break.
As a general rule, most active people require approximately 0.5 - 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. So a 180 lb. man for example, should consume approximately 90 - 144 grams of protein per day. We normally require less protein than we think so pay close attention to your body and experiment a little bit to find the level that works best for you.
On your next supermarket visit, why not try something new? Here is a list of some unique vegetarian proteins that are easily digestible and great for even the most athletic consumer:
Spinach - 5 grams per cup: Who knew that this healthy vegetable actually had protein too? Steam it up, serve it raw in a salad, or throw it in your smoothie and not only get loads of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, but a great deal of protein too.
Peas - 8 grams per cup: Peas are now one of the most popular vegetables used in protein powders and are known to keep people satiated longer then other vegetarian options. Look for a vanilla or chocolate pea protein powder or steam fresh, organic peas and top them with your favorite dairy or vegan butter.
Brown Rice - 5 grams per one cup: Brown rice is another very popular protein that is used in powder form. It can also be eaten in a healthy rice pudding, as a morning cereal with nuts, or as a side dish.
Beans - 10 grams per half cup: Beans have always been a favorite for vegetarians and vegans because they contain some of the highest quality protein available and they are very filling. Depending on the type from white, adzuki, pinto, kidney, black, navy, garbanzo and lima beans, white beans contain the most protein.
Quinoa - 4 grams per half cup: Quinoa has become one of the most popular grains because of its high protein content and delicious, nutty flavor. It is also found in unique and healthy pasta options along with protein bars and snacks.
Soy - Up to 40 grams per cup: Soybeans including edaname have always been a very high source of protein. Soymilk, ice cream, and other products are great for vegans and vegetarians although may convert into estrogen so it is advised that most people consider other sources of plant-based protein along with soy products.
Teff - 14 grams per half cup: This is a grain that you hear very little about. Teff is a wonderful alternative to oatmeal in the morning topped with cinnamon, honey, and a milk product of your choice. Teff contains a surprisingly high amount of quality protein and it is rich in Vitamin C, amino acids, and calcium.
Lentils - 18 grams per cup: Lentils are a delicious option for those who want more vegetarian protein in their diet. They can be served warm or chilled in a salad mixed with feta cheese, fresh vegetables, and homemade vinaigrette.
Chia - 2.5 grams per tablespoon: Who would have known that our Chia pets from the 1970’s would become one of the healthiest seeds in the world. Chia can be used in baking, smoothies, and by letting it sit overnight in almond, hemp, or coconut milk along with cinnamon, vanilla, and honey, you’ll create the most delicious pudding imaginable.
Hemp - 3.3 grams per tablespoon: Hemp is another great source of plant-based protein. Add hemp to your cookies, smoothies, cereal, or sprinkle hemp hearts over your favorite salad.
Make sure to experiment this week. Try something new and shake things up. Focus on consuming less animal products and more plant-based protein. You may be surprised at how easy it is to make the substitutions and your body will definitely thank you.
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles. http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)
WELLNESS--I had a bad week. After an amazing birthday celebration, I sank low and found myself feeling sad and melancholy with a heavy heart. The feelings have lasted for days during which time I began to beat myself up for wasting time. I started to feel victimized by my mood and frustrated that I didn’t have the energy to get out there and “make things happen.”
This pattern started when I was very young. I was a sick kid and I often felt depressed. I desperately wanted to feel better! I became curious at a young age about how the Body, Mind and Spirit came together to create our overall experience. You name it I’ve tried it, read it, or done it with my continual focus on getting well.
Fast-forward decades later, and while I feel so much better, I still struggle. I get down more times then I’d like to admit and although my physical body has been healthy, I still get tired at times. This has led to a repetitive pattern of thoughts like “what am I doing wrong?” “After all this effort, why do I still feel bad?”
Perhaps you can relate. It seems like so many people are out there talking about their successes, their breakthroughs and their wins and very few are open enough to share what really goes on just below the surface; those feelings of fragility, insecurity, and fear.
How many of you have an underlying problem that never goes away? How many feel that you are broken in some way and need to be fixed? Perhaps it’s a physical ailment that returns under stressful conditions or a constant struggle to provide a good income doing what you love, or a generalized anxiety and depression? Whatever the so-called problem, maybe it is time to embrace it rather than chase it away. Perhaps we can make it our friend rather than something we resist with all our force.
There are important lessons to learn through our pain and struggle. It may often seem that life offers us unexpected and sometimes undesirable experiences. No matter how positive we are, how many warrior weekends we’ve attended or the number of spiritual books we’ve read, sometimes shit happens. And guess what? It doesn’t mean that there we are faulty or that we’ve made bad choices.
Begin paying special attention to those things that aren’t working for you, those seemingly negative thoughts and patterns that you want so badly to disappear. Talk to them. Befriend them. Listen. Forgive. Offer them unconditional love. Treat them as if you would a desperate friend in need. They are parts of you just as much as the awesome award you recently won, the marathon you completed, or the dream home that you live in.
Wellness, health, and life are all about balance. With the good will come some bad. With the ups comes downs. When we work so hard to resist, avoid, and block the negative, we end up beating ourselves up and draining our very life source. We swim upstream rather than going with the flow. We go outward rather than inward where the true acceptance lies.
Today, love and accept yourself unconditionally no matter where you are. Embrace the pain and begin checking in to see what it’s trying to tell you. Be gentle with yourself and know that there is nowhere you need to be other than right here, right now. Be okay drudging through the mud. Begin making self-love, self-acceptance, and life-acceptance a regular part of your day, week, month and ultimately, your life.
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles - http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)
WELLNESS--I’ll be the first to admit that while I enjoy having great friends and a busy social life, I can be a bit of a homebody too. I’m both extroverted and introverted at the same time. I love routine, alone time, and structure and sometimes it’s hard to put myself out there to interact. This is partly because I am very sensitive to other’s energy and often I find myself drained when I’m around people who aren’t present or with those who are self-involved. Maybe you can relate?
What I’ve learned however is that new people in our lives bring with them, new opportunities and growth. And while it is essential to have long-standing relationships and friendships along with quality time in solitude, it is equally imperative not to grow stagnant or to cut yourself off from new energy.
If your job or lifestyle forces you to be around new people, then in many ways you are naturally keeping this flow going. But if you work from home or your job involves being in solitude, it is vital that you push yourself outside of your comfort zone regularly in order to broaden your circle of influence.
Much research has been done to show that those with a strong and significant support system tend to live longer lives so this is particularly important for those interested in health and longevity.
It is said that we become like the people we surround ourselves with the most. Look around. Do you want to be like those with whom you spend the most time or are you ready to bring in new folks who are more aligned with your bigger vision? Do you have kind and giving individuals in your circle? If you’re looking to become more successful and prosperous, are you surrounding yourself with affluent people? If your desire is to open up spiritually and emotionally, are those around you doing the same?
By paying attention to our day-to-day communications and to how we feel when we are with those we see regularly, we can begin to observe patterns. Do those very people lift us up or drain our life force? Do they offer us love, acceptance, and inspiration or do they judge us and dim our light? Are they jealous and competitive or do they wish us only success and happiness? The answers may tell us that it’s time to make some changes.
Bringing in new friends doesn’t have to be complicated. I have moved from city to city numerous times and I’ve learned to adapt. What I have noticed is that there are opportunities to meet new people each day.
The best way is by doing more of what you love. If you don’t enjoy networking events for example, take a class or join a group doing something that excites you. Make a goal of trying something new every month whether it is a painting class, hiking group, or book club. What about the neighbors that you greet on the elevator each morning or those you see at the gym? Each one represents a possible new connection with a meaningful outcome.
If we want something to shift, we need to shift also. Try shaking things up a little bit and push yourself into new territory. Say hello, invite somebody for coffee, or give a compliment. Break the ice and often you may be surprised to see that it opens the door for amazing new individuals who bring with them a bounty of renewed vigor, ideas, connections, and inspiration.
Keep a healthy balance of old and new friends and always maintain a solid foundation with those who offer you grounding and unconditional support. But also remember to branch out and allow new people who can assist you in your elevated path. A new person equals new energy, growth, opportunity, and insight that can change your life forever.
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)
WELLNESS--Have you put all of your energy into building a business, finding love, or creating a life-long dream only to be disappointed by the results? Maybe you feel exhausted because you’ve done all the right things and taken the steps you’ve been guided to and still you ask “where is my stuff?!”
You’re not alone. Most people sit in one of two categories. The first are those who have managed to bring in exactly what they’ve wanted only to discover that it hasn’t offered them the lasting joy they thought, or group two is still praying, working, and stressing over not accomplishing what they truly desire and wondering when and if it’ll show up.
What’s the missing link in both groups? They are both living in a world where the illusion of more stuff, a new relationship, or something other than what they have now becomes their main objective to find happiness.
Now, there is certainly nothing wrong with desires. They are what keep us going and they give us motivation and something to look forward to. And yes, nice stuff does make us giddy for a short time. But when those very goals overtake our present moment awareness and sideswipe our happiness, we have a problem.
If we pay very close attention, we can start seeing the signs of this movement off course. We begin spending more time living in the future then we do in the here and now. We may become cranky, tired, or negative or perhaps we begin feeling down and we lose faith. These are all signs that not only are we slipping into a destructive frame of mind but we are also running our spiritual and emotional batteries dangerously low.
There are steps to take in order to re-charge BEFORE we find ourselves totally burned out. Here are 6 steps to take that will help you to stop worrying and start living:
Meditation - I know that sometimes when you’re down the last thing you want to do is meditate. But even 5-10 minutes of quiet time focusing on your breath may be enough to lower your stress and bring you back to center. Having a consistent meditation practice may prevent the emotional rollercoasters from happening in the future too.
Serve - Another thing that you may feel less likely to do when absorbed in your own pain is to give back to others but often that is EXACTLY what you need. When we feel like victims in our own lives, it helps to offer those less fortunate our time, money, or whatever it is that we can give. It acts as a reminder that our lives really aren’t so bad after all and we gain a new perspective.
Rest - Often the best thing that you can do when you’re feeling stuck or down is to sleep! Rest not only turns off our active brain temporarily but it also renews our physical health, which is directly tied to our emotions. Allow yourself some rest without feeling guilty or ashamed. Often a 20-minute nap is all you need to feel better.
Journal - Getting our thoughts out of our head and onto paper is imperative. When we carry around goals, to-do lists, resentments, frustrations, and even dreams, we can get overwhelmed. By writing down each and every thing that comes to mind, we make room and have less clutter, leaving us feeling lighter and more focused on the here and now.
Get Creative - When we can get re-acquainted with our inner child by being creative, it is the best way to feel fulfilled. While material things or love or an exotic vacation is awesome, what we are truly yearning for is creativity and play. Paint, sing, play dress-up with your kids, or do something that makes you laugh and forget about your current worries. Being playful is key to bringing you back to the moment.
Read - Reading uplifting material every day, whether it is spiritual or motivational, will connect you with the positive messages you need to stay on track. It is so easy to slip into the traps of negativity so connecting to uplifting words or audio is more important than ever!
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles. http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)
WELLENSS--Chlorella is a chlorophyll-rich algae superfood that can be traced back over 2 billion years. The name comes from two Latin words: “chlor,” meaning green, and “ella,” meaning tiny. A superfood is simply “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.”
Chlorella is made up of approximately 60 percent protein, 20 percent fat, and 20 percent carbohydrates and is jammed packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytonutrients.
Most superfood green powders on the market contain chlorella as their main ingredient because of its powerful healing properties.
Research has been done all over the world with many published studies showing the amazing health benefits of this ancient, original superfood. Health improvements can be experienced with as little as 2-6 grams of chlorella per day.
Some of these include:
- Increased immunity leading to a lower incidence of the cold and flu
- Improved digestion
- Lowering of blood sugar and blood pressure
- Anti-inflammatory effects, which may ease symptoms of fibromyalgia and other chronic disease
- Normalizing of blood counts in those with anemia
Chlorella also contains Glutathione, which is a liver-supporting compound. It has a unique cellulose layer that is shown to help flush the body of heavy metals including lead and mercury which makes it ideal for those looking for a gentle, yet effective detoxification.
Look for a chlorella powder or supplement that has been processed without heat or chemicals and therefore contains “live” enzymes. Also ensure that it comes from pure, unpolluted waters. Research a company with a strong reputation such as Purium. You can introduce chlorella into your diet by starting with a superfood greens powder, which is sure to include high levels of this amazing, healing miracle.
- Always consult with your doctor before beginning any supplement regimen especially if you’re currently taking blood thinners.
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles. http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)
WELLNESS--We all have reasons for doing things. We wash our car because it’s dirty, we get married to take our relationship to the next level, or we work extra hours so that we can earn bonus money. For day-to-day activities we don’t really need a burning desire to do something. We just do it because it makes logical sense, brings us joy, or it just needs to get done.
But when it comes to something that many of us may resist such as exercise or making better dietary choices, unless we have a burning WHY, most likely we won’t stick with it. Figuring out the motivation behind our actions is often the best way to predict our long-term success.
If we take fitness for example, there are numerous reasons WHY you may do it. For me, I’ll gladly admit that vanity keeps me in the game. I want to keep my 6-pack and look terrific for my age. I have an inner competition with myself to see if I can look better at 50 than I did in my 30’s. Of course the beneficial health effects also push me but that’s an added bonus.
If looking good doesn’t fuel your fire, then you’ll need to discover your own driving force. If you have kids for example, being here to watch them grow up can be a huge motivator and if you’re unhealthy now, the odds aren’t as good that you will. Perhaps you’re in a career in the health field and people look up to you. Your motivation then comes from walking the walk and doing all the things you talk about in order to set a positive example. Perhaps inspiring others through your actions excites you. Whatever it is, finding your WHY is essential to getting unstuck and keeping your motivation for the long haul.
While short-term goals such as weight loss for an upcoming wedding or school reunion can be a great kick-start, it’s not a good long-term WHY because as soon as the event, goal or achievement is reached, the fire often goes out.
Dig deep! Find out what makes you tick and get to the core of WHY you’re unmotivated and then begin doing things to change it. Rediscover your passion for living. If you’ve tried and failed before, then welcome to the club. Everybody has had disappointments in life and we have all experienced failure of some type. Don’t let past events keep you from the life of your dreams! If you persist and work to uncover what is honestly and truly driving you, you may never feel unmotivated or complacent again. Often finding your WHY comes down to determining what your core values are and learning to live in alignment with them.
If you are really struggling to figure out your WHY, then shift your focus away from you. Then begin looking for all of the reasons why doing a certain thing such as taking care of your health can help others. When we bring it back to how we can serve and inspire, we move away from too much self-emphasis and we get back to the real reason we’re here; to help make this world a better place one person at a time.
WELLNESS-Living a healthy and balanced life can feel overwhelming at times. Where do we begin? What aspects are the most important? With so many issues in our environment can really we make a difference in our lives and the lives of those around us?
What we do on a day-to-day basis does in fact make an impact on a grand scale. When we care for our family, and ourselves and we make incremental and consistent positive changes towards living a healthier life, we in turn affect the entire world.
Beginning at home is the most important place to start. Here are some immediate yet simple changes that you can make in order to protect your family from harmful toxins and chemicals along with creating a healthier body and home:
Water - Our skin is our largest organ and everything that we put onto our skin absorbs deep into our system including our bath and shower water. Find a water filtration system that will block toxic chemicals and one that provides clean, purified water for your shower. Remember that we breathe steam from our shower too, which can be equally harmful. Along with your bath, purchase a home purifying system or portable water filter for your drinking water and use a non-BPA plastic or stainless steel bottle for your water storage.
Personal Care Products - Learn to read labels and research companies that are creating chemical free, non-GMO, and organic skin and hair care. Dispose of products that contain Parabens, Phthalates, Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulphate, Formaldehyde, synthetic fragrance, and other potentially harmful ingredients. For a full list of what to avoid, see my book LIVE LOOK FEEL.
Organic - Our fruit and vegetable supply is being highly affected by decreased soil nutrients, pesticides, and other environmental chemicals. Buying organic is your best option to protect your family from consuming an overload of toxins. To learn which fruits and vegetables are worse than others, see my WEBSITE under the Wellness section for a full list of the Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen.
Cleaning Products - One of the best ways to clear your home of toxins is to replace all chemical cleaners with natural, environmentally safe ones. There are plenty of quality and effective products on the market. You can also learn quick and easy recipes online to create your own. By doing this you are reducing the amount of chemical waste that goes directly back into our environment and your body.
Air - The air we breathe in our homes often contains irritants, allergens, and chemicals. We normally don’t notice the particles that we’re breathing in but over time, they can negatively affect our health. Research a quality HEPA air filter that will help to clean your home’s air, creating a healthier environment for you and your family.
Re-Use/Recycle - Become more conscious of tossing away plastic containers. If using plastic, re-use them or better yet, switch to environmentally safe food storage containers made of glass. Avoid plastic and foil wrap whenever possible. Make sure to keep a recycling bin under your sink and teach your kids the importance of reducing waste made of materials that NEVER biodegrade and will only pile up in our garbage sites, oceans, and lakes.
Biodegradable - Today more than ever companies are striving towards creating biodegradable packaging. Learn more about the recycle symbols online and look for products that are packaged in biodegradable boxes and containers. Many are created from natural sources that will eventually dissolve into the earth leaving absolutely no toxic residue.
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles. http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!) –cw
It can be downright confusing trying to navigate through the world of supplements. There is literally a pill, potion, or powder for everything! Each herb, vitamin, mineral, and superfood is sold as a way to increase your vitality and improve your health. But which ones are effective and are they necessary?
There are certainly contradictory studies out there, some in support of supplements while others negate them. From my perspective, they are necessary and vital.
In today’s world we don’t eat a varied enough diet and our soils are depleted and so while eating a balanced diet is the best way to boost your health, it’s not always possible to get everything that we need in food alone. This is why I believe in supplementation.
When buying supplements research ones that are from organic, non-GMO sources. Also look for vitamins that are derived from whole foods whenever possible. While some drugstore brands are okay, often it pays to invest in a quality product that has a good reputation from a company with a strong track record.
While each person’s health profile is unique and so too are their vitamin requirements, there are certain supplements that I recommend to almost everyone in my wellness coaching practice.
Here is a list of some of the vitamins, minerals, herbs, and superfoods that I suggest to people who are seeking to turn back the clock, increase their vitality, and for those interested in improving the odds of living a longer life:
Multivitamin with Minerals - I liken a multivitamin to an insurance policy. We take it just in case. It’s difficult to know where we are lacking in terms of vitamins and minerals and it is rare that blood tests will give us a full breakdown. Therefore taking a potent multivitamin with minerals from whole food sources is a great option. Ensure that your multivitamin has adequate Vitamin D3 levels, approximately 5,000 IU per day and a significant level of antioxidants.
Probiotic - Our gut is our second brain. Everything that occurs in our body including our brain function, digestion, and immunity begins in our stomach. Therefore, taking a probiotic supplement daily is a great way to build up the vital stomach flora, which acts to strengthen our overall system. Look for one with numerous strains of probiotic and at least 30 billion live cultures.
Krill Oil/Omega Oils - Many of us receive an abundance of Omega 6 oils from food but less Omega 3 fatty acids. We require a balance of both in order to support proper brain and heart health and to reduce overall inflammation in the body. Krill oil in particular contains a high level of Omega 3 oils and Astaxanthin, which works to reduce sunspots and provides an extra layer of sun protection. Krill oil is found to be the most potent and absorbable version of these healthy Omega 3 oils. For vegetarians or vegans, consume flax, hemp, or walnut oil daily.
Turmeric/Curcumin - One of the most researched herbs for anti-aging is Turmeric. There is a long list of benefits from daily consumption of it’s active ingredient Curcumin including a possible lowering of Alzheimer’s risk, a reduction in joint inflammation, and increased immunity. This potent spice can be taken in powder or supplement form and for the most protection 3-4 grams per day is recommended.
Oil of Oregano - This powerful herb works to boost immunity especially during cold and flu season. People with asthma, allergies, sinusitis, and bronchitis have noticed impressive results using oil of Oregano. 3-5 drops under your tongue followed by some water provides maximum antioxidant and antifungal protection.
Raw Greens Superfood - It’s a challenge to eat enough fruits and vegetables throughout our day which is why a raw, greens superfood powder is an amazing alternate. One scoop normally provides anywhere from 15-40 servings of fresh fruit and vegetable extracts along with numerous other immune-supporting vitamins, minerals, herbs, phytonutrients, prebiotics, probiotics, and fiber.
Green Tea - Green Tea is known for it’s powerful anti-cancer benefits. The potent Polyphenols and Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) in Green Tea make it an ideal antioxidant, which fights free radicals in our body. Green Tea is also a thermogenic meaning that it can help to speed up the metabolism leading to increased fat burning effects.
Mushroom Medley - Mushrooms contain powerful compounds known to boost immunity. For those interested in extra cell protection, consider taking a powder or supplement containing Cordyceps, Turkey Tail, Reishi, Maitake and other medicinal mushrooms.
Ashwaganda - Ashwaganda is part of the adaptogen herb family. It works to boost overall energy and vitality, increase libido, lower the overall stress responses within the body, and helps many people to get a deeper and more restful sleep.
*Always consult with your physician before starting any supplement regimen as some may interfere with current medications or pre-existing health conditions.
WELLNESS--I’ll be the first to admit that there have been many times in my life when I have struggled with feeling thankful. I have spent much of my time living in the future wanting, striving, and desiring more. Wishing for more success, more creativity, more balance, more growth has taken me away from the present moment.
We live in a society that has taught us to push forward and strive for those things that we desire. For the most part, I think this is a great concept. After all, we do live in a physical world with lots of wonderful opportunities and things to accomplish. It’s quite natural to want a loving relationship, the newest iPhone, or whatever it is that we are drawn to. The key is to find balance.
What has become blatantly clear to me is that unless we find gratitude in our day-to-day experiences, we are actually blocking more good from coming in. To be thankful for what we already have is an act of living in the present moment, which literally showers us with positivity and optimism.
Being still in the here and now is really the only place that we can be. Our minds may wander to a past experience or future dream but all we truly have is this moment. And for the most part, what we have is pretty darn good. Even if some are struggling with an illness or financial crisis, there are blessings to be found in those challenges should we choose to see them. Embracing gratitude shifts our energetic field and can actually speed up our healing and create miracles in our life. Being thankful for ALL THAT IS even when things don’t look the way we’d like is the key to living a happy and fulfilling life.
If you’re like me and often find yourself daydreaming about the future, try gently bringing yourself back to the now and make a mental list of 5 things that you’re grateful for today. They can be as small as the view from your window, the cozy bed you sleep in, or the stranger who opens the door for you at the office.
When we begin to notice the small gifts, we make way for even more goodness to come in. By living with more appreciation for the now, ironically, we are creating a brighter future, which feels more rich and satisfying.
It seems that for some people being grateful comes naturally, while others find it more challenging. I am beginning to wonder if there is perhaps a gratitude gauge that is set higher in some people than others. Similar to the happiness gauge where some people just seem more joyful from day-to-day while others have to work harder at it.
So regardless of where you are on the scale, there is nothing more important than committing to being thankful for today. Keep a gratitude journal and make lists of ALL of the blessings in your life. Tell others how thankful you are for their friendship. Become conscious of what is going right for you today instead of what is going wrong. The more we can put our attention on that, the better our lives will become.
Living in a state of gratitude is the best gift that you can give to yourself. It takes practice but like anything that you focus on, it does become easier with time and eventually being grateful will become your norm. Gratitude really is the key to lasting joy. Give it a try.
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles. http://JayBradleyLifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)
WELLNESS--Many people take better care of their cars than they do their bodies. We are quite disciplined when it comes to changing our oil, washer fluid, and maintaining our regular service.
But when we think of a full body detox or cleanse we get nervous. We picture going without food for days or taking a bunch of powders, pills, and potions and suffering along the way. While some major detox programs can be difficult, there are simpler ways to give your body and organs a rest. We can make small changes today that can provide a gentle, yet effective cleansing. Here are some ideas:
- Drink Water - The easiest way to cleanse our body of toxins is to commit to drinking more filtered water. Purchase a 32 oz. non-BPA plastic or stainless steel bottle and make it a point of filling it at least twice per day. This assures that you drink your minimum of 8 glasses daily. If you’re active, more water is likely required. For extra detox support, add organic lemon or lime to your water.
- Milk Thistle - The active ingredient in milk thistle is called Sylmarin and it has powerful antioxidant and potent liver-supporting properties. It acts to gently cleanse your liver from toxins and impurities. Milk thistle also has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Make sure to use an organic supplement and take it daily throughout the year or cycle off and on for 3-month periods.
- Infrared Sauna - This wonderful detox literally warms our body from the inside out and causes our system to sweat out toxins and impurities. Sweating is one of the safest and most natural ways for our body to cleanse. Look online for an infrared sauna health spa near you.
- Fresh Vegetable Juice - We are all familiar with the lengthy 7 or 10-day juice cleanse but consider doing 1 day only of fresh, organic green juice. This easy to follow regiment will give your body a break from processing foods and you’ll find yourself feeling lighter, more clear, and energetic.
- Intermittent Fasting - This fasting program isn’t as difficult as you may think. For 2-3 days per week try eating your last meal by 8pm and don’t eat again until noon the next day. Drink as much water as you’d like and feel free to have coffee in the morning but avoid solid foods for approximately 16 hours. This not only gives your organs a break, but it kick-starts your metabolism and helps you to burn fat too.
- Epsom Salt Soak - The most simple cleanse of all is taking an Epsom salt bath. The active magnesium sulfate in the salts work on detoxifying heavy metals, chemicals, and toxins from your system while gently relaxing the muscles. Add your favorite essential oils for an added Zen experience.
- Activated Charcoal - Activated carbon also known as activated charcoal can be found in powder or supplement form. It is most often made from the ash of hardwood trees or coconut. The porous surface of charcoal has negatively charged ions that work to attract and excrete positively charged toxins, poisons, and other buildup. Follow the directions on the bottle.
*Always consult with your physician before beginning a new supplement, herb, or fasting program.
WELLNESS-For years I told a story of illness, depression, and suffering. It wasn’t entirely my fault since my chronic sickness began when I was a child so it was all that I knew at the time. My story involved asthma, earaches, allergies, and just a general malaise about life. I was often drugged with cough medicine and antibiotics so that I could heal what was ailing me but ironically, it was doing more harm than good. My pain story also involved being bullied and taunted from as far back as I can remember. Not the best story to tell but it was the only one that I knew at the time.
We all have stories to tell. Some of us love to get into the nitty gritty detail of how hard life has been for us. Others tell a lighter, more empowering tale. Our ability to develop and hash out the storyline comes from years of planning, experiencing, and developing the various characters and dramas along the way.
If we want a different life experience, we MUST tell a different story! Most likely, that plotline we’ve been reciting since youth no longer serves us. In fact, by telling the same story over and over again, we are perpetuating duplicative experiences and challenges that we have already lived out. Maybe it’s time to tell a new story.
Sometimes we begin slowly. For me, I started to realize early on that my story of illness was no longer serving me and that I deserved to feel better. I began to research, experiment with my body, and find experts who could help me along the journey towards healing.
While all of this was vital to my growth, the very first step was to become conscious of the story that I was telling and then slowly, make changes to my script.
Initially, it was very difficult because it’s much easier to fall into old habits, patterns and ways of being. Sometimes it’s actually more comforting to suffer than to thrive I learned.
But as we begin to catch our thoughts, ask ourselves if those very thoughts are serving us, and then replace them with more positive and loving thoughts, we gradually begin to shift and we start to re-write the storyline of our life. We begin to get vocal about our new and improved health, the wonderful opportunities that are coming our way, and all that we have to be grateful for. We start to verbalize all that we want to become even before it shows up in physical form because we now realize that in order to achieve all that we desire, we must believe it before we see it.
I understand that it can be fun to complain to friends and tell a story that makes us look and feel like a victim. Somehow there is comfort in sharing our pain with others. But perhaps it’s time to tell a completely different story, one of openness, positivity, and fulfillment. We are in charge of the words that go down on paper, nobody else. Who would you be if you began reinventing yourself and thriving? What would your life look and feel like if you were to become the person that you most admire? Maybe, just maybe it’s time to tell a different story.
WELLNESS--I have been touting the power of Oregano for 20 years. A lovely woman who sat next to me at a seminar first introduced me to it. She could clearly see that I was suffering from a bad cold and suggested that I try Oil of Oregano. She went on to say that it had really changed her life.
Being the curious and open-minded health seeker that I am, and certainly not one to pass up on a synchronistic meeting, I picked some up on my lunch break. As per the directions, I used 3-5 drops under my tongue followed by some water. At first, I was slightly stunned by the powerful and pungent burn that this product brought on but I also noticed an immediate opening of my lungs, and a clearing of my sinuses.
I still look to that day and that woman as a true gift from the Universe. After all, I had suffered from allergies, earaches, asthma, and bronchitis frequently from childhood into my 30s and I figured that was just the “thing” that I would have to deal with for the rest of my life.
Prior to learning about Oregano Oil, I would struggle at least once per year with a chronic chest infection that were often very difficult to rid my body of. After Oil of Oregano, I have experienced only 3-4 bouts of upper respiratory infections in 20 years! And they were nowhere near as severe as they were prior to using this miracle herb. Sure I have also had some minor colds along the way but they were short lived in duration and less intense then before. Have I changed other things in my diet and lifestyle? Absolutely. But I can honestly say that without a doubt, the number one factor to my improved immunity is the regular use of Oil of Oregano.
Oregano Oil normally consists of pure, wild Oregano along with an oil carrier such as olive oil. Because of it’s high anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial properties, this mixture can also be use topically to fight off skin rashes and cold sores, and helps to alleviate everything from toothaches to sore muscles.
If you find yourself getting sick after taking a flight which many people do, bring a small bottle with you in your carry on bag on future trips. Airplanes are known to be full of airborne germs, and Oil of Oregano will help to boost your immunity, and ward off some of these bugs during a long flight. You may also mix 5-10 drops in your juice or water and drink it throughout the day.
As a general guide, to combat illness, begin using your oil twice daily for a number of days at the first signs of a possible infection such as a scratchy throat, stuffy sinuses, or cough. If you’re already suffering from a cold, or flu, use 5-10 drops under your tongue followed by water 2-3 times per day until your symptoms dissipate.
You may not always avoid illness completely nor would you want to, as it can be a way for our body to cleanse and detox naturally. But I am confident that you will reduce the intensity and duration of a future illness with nature’s miracle, Oil of Oregano!
*Oil of Oregano shouldn’t be used by pregnant women and as always, consult your physician before taking any supplements or herbs.
WELLNESS--Almost everybody gets excited about a New Year! That’s just the way it goes. Most of us feel optimistic and a renewed sense of faith that a brand New Year will be our best ever. That’s a fantastic outlook to have. The problem however, comes when we get 2, 3 or 6 months into the year and we haven’t followed through with all of our goals and resolutions. At that point, we begin to feel stuck and victimized by our old habits and negative cycles.
If this is you, you’re certainly not alone since it is estimated that almost 80% of Americans fail at achieving their resolutions. So why then is it that many of us can’t keep our resolutions?
Here are some helpful tips and solutions to keep you on track this coming year:
- Keep Your Goals Believable: We all want dramatic changes in one area or another. Whether we need to lose 100 pounds or we want to make that first million. And while I am all for having BIG dreams, keeping things believable is the key to achieving our vision. If you absolutely believe that you can lose 100 pounds then by all means make that your goal. But if you struggle with seeing and feeling what it’s like to be so thin, start with 25 pounds and then work your way up once you get there. Goals that are too large to handle will most likely be sabotaged.
- Write Them Down: If we have grand dreams and goals but we never write them down, they are simply floating around in our minds. When we not only write things down but also keep track of the steps we need to get us there, we create a precise statement of where we want to go and we can see concrete proof that we are moving towards those very dreams. Keeping a day-to-day journal and calendar helps us to break things down into manageable steps.
- Visualize: Many people have magical results when they keep a vision board or a vision book which features photos, images, cut-outs, and physical data that shows them what their dreams will look like. It may sound silly but if your goal is to get lean and toned, put a picture of your head onto a body that is athletic and fit. Stick an image of yourself into that sports car you’ve always wanted. If you’d like to manifest $5,000 then cut out copies of 50-$100 bills so that you can see exactly how that will look. The more specific you are, the better your results will be. I have seen unbelievable things happen for people who have taken these steps.
- It’s Okay to Change Your Mind: We’re human and we are entitled to change our minds. If you find yourself in March no longer desiring the things you wanted in January, then take them off your list or re-work them. Don’t let things you don’t want clutter your mind. Get clear on your intentions and be open to change along the way. Sometimes what we think we want isn’t really what we deeply desire on an emotional or spiritual level.
There is no doubt that with a new year comes a lot of change. Change is always inevitable. Sometimes they’re small, almost unnoticeable shifts while at other times they may take our breath away.
If you haven’t gotten specific with what you’d truly like in your life then chances are you’ll continue attracting what you’ve been getting. If you love all aspects of your life then keep doing what you’ve been doing. If on the other hand, you really desire transformation and newness, then get serious about allowing the life of your dreams in. Believe that your desires can come, keep track of your day-to-day goals that will get you to the outcome you’d like, visualize your dream life often, and know that’s it okay to change your mind along the way.
WELLNESS--Life can be tough enough at times to have too many rules. After all, life is meant to be enjoyed. Who wants to live life like a game where we must constantly keep score and with numerous guidelines to follow? I certainly don’t.
The good news for those of you who are already healthy is that there is a general rule to follow when it comes to maintaining balance, but you can relax because it’s rather easy to achieve. I call it the 80-20 rule. If you’re dealing with a serious illness or desperately trying to lose weight however, this rule won’t apply to you since you’ll most likely have to be more disciplined in order to get well or lose those excess pounds.
If you’re looking to find a better balance in your wellness routine and if you are trying to keep up with healthy living and an organic lifestyle, following a positive regimen 80% of the time should be enough. The even better news is that the 20% remaining can be a HECK of a LOT of fun! But if you’re like me, you actually enjoy making smart choices, so the 80% can actually feel good too. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a delicious piece of rich cheesecake from time to time and so can you.
People often assume that I must be rigid and very disciplined to maintain my fit physique and while I do work consistently, I follow the 80-20 rule myself. Okay, well maybe mine is more like 90-10 but my goals are a little bit more aggressive than most.
So what does this rule look like? It means that 80% of the time you choose to eat organic foods, make healthy choices, reduce sugar, drink lots of water, take your supplements, meditate, get plenty of sleep, and exercise. The remaining time, do whatever you want. Eat some dessert, have a few drinks, enjoy those nachos, be lazy, and let yourself off the hook.
Remember that life is meant to be pleasurable. This is the reason that strict diets don’t work. People can only maintain rigid guidelines for a short period of time and they eventually give up because it’s just too difficult.
You now have my permission to thoroughly enjoy yourself, especially during the holidays but only with one condition; that you be gentle with yourself when you’re in that 20% and that you stop those negative and judgmental voices. Commit to giving yourself the love and support that you would offer your best friend and lastly, when you’re in that 20%, enjoy every decadent second of it!
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness, and Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles. http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, the 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger, and Feel Better!)
WELLNESS--For those who tend to overeat, as you may already expect, the news isn’t great. But if you under eat regularly or simply eat to survive, then this article may offer a promising outlook.
For years studies have shown that those people who consumed less calories seemed to live longer lives. Part of the theory behind it was that the body was less taxed and overworked from excess calories in those who consumed smaller amounts of food versus those who ate more.
Fasting before an annual physical or blood work is not unusual nor is fasting while doing a full body cleanse. But the latest trend, which has gained much attention, is intermittent fasting. What is intermittent fasting? It is a pre-planned and timed schedule of eating where we consume all of our calories within approximately an 8-hour window while fasting the rest.
For example, by consuming your last meal at 8pm and not eating until noon the next day you have fasted for 16 hours. While it is not always recommended to do this every day of the week, many people have adapted this style of eating at least 2-3 days per week for positive health benefits.
Why in the world would we want to purposely go without food? The latest studies are showing that those who take longer and more regular periods without food may experience lower serum cholesterol, weight loss, increased muscle mass, higher levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH), improved sleep and energy levels, less inflammation in their body, stronger heart and brain health, and possibly a reduction in their risk of cancer and diabetes. With such an exhaustive list of benefits, it looks like intermittent fasting is here to stay.
Timing our meals as such can be challenging especially when many of us have become accustomed to eating small meals every 2-3 hours and we have always been taught NOT to skip breakfast! We learned that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. As time and research progresses, we are constantly making new discoveries. What was once seemingly harmful or unwise such as skipping our morning meal may now be the best thing that we can do to turn back the clock.
Of course like any health, fitness, or diet regimen, always consult with your doctor to ensure that fasting is safe for you especially if you’re exercising on an empty stomach. It’s also important to get the okay for those taking medication or with diabetes or low blood pressure.
If you Google intermittent fasting you’ll pull up an array of studies that are mostly supportive of this new trend. Once you receive the green light from your physician, start off slow. Try it one day per week at first and gradually build up to a more regular routine. Of course you can vary your fasting program and make the necessary changes according to your daily routine and work schedule.
Regardless of whether or not you follow a strict intermittent fasting regimen, it is highly recommended to consume less calories overall and to make the ones that you do eat count. Focus on eating good fats such as avocado, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, along with organic and grass fed chicken and beef, wild caught fish, including sardines, and an array of fresh fruits and vegetables. Keep your carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and bread to a minimum.
If you’ve tried everything else to lose weight, boost your metabolism, and increase your energy and nothing has worked or you’ve hit a plateau, this may just be the fountain of youth that you’ve been waiting for.
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)
WELLNESS--If you’re like the majority of Americans, you most likely gain weight during the holidays. Not everybody packs on the pounds during this time but it certainly isn’t uncommon for your weight to increase or for your favorite pair of jeans to feel just a bit tighter. Many people also notice less energy and vitality during this time mainly due to overindulging.
Too much celebrating and not enough discipline can definitely take its toll. While I am ALL for having a good time, especially during the holidays, there are some things to be more conscious of in order to lessen the negative effects of the season and to feel “merry and bright.”
- Refrain - I am certainly not here to lecture and trust me, I allow myself plenty of indulgences during the holidays. But this year why not pay closer attention to how much you’re eating and more importantly, why? Often we gorge ourselves without much thought because that is just what we do this time of year. We are bombarded with awesome desserts and goodies that we don’t normally see and so we feel somehow obliged to get our fill before they’re no longer around. Prior to taking that next bite of Nanaimo bar, buttery shortbread or Christmas cake, take a breath. Ask yourself do I really want this? Am I truly craving more? If the answer is yes then by all means, ENJOY! If you answer no, put it down. It’s really simple. Most of us tend to eat out of habit and not with our intuitive senses. By becoming more conscious, you’ll find yourself eating less and in turn, feeling better.
- Re-Hydrate - Most of us will drink more alcohol during the holidays but one of the best ways to slow things down is to make a decision to sip a soda or water between alcoholic beverages. This simple rule will give your system a break, fight dehydration, and will work on cleansing some of the alcohol from your system. You will probably also become aware that you don’t desire as much alcohol as you may have in the past. Also, try drinking more slowly and take time to thoroughly enjoy each sip.
- Routine - A lot of people tend to neglect their exercise routine during the holidays. This is actually the worst time of year to do that. Our bodies desperately need physical activity to offset holiday stress and to assist our bodies in detoxing from the extra sugar and alcohol. It’s okay to workout less and socialize more but don’t skip it completely or it will be that much harder to get back into it in the New Year.
- Rest - Because most of us are consuming more sugar and alcohol it’s vital that we get more rest. The holidays are meant for you to relax and take a break from routine. So although you’ll still be doing regular workouts, make sure to allow extra naptime as well, and give yourself permission to fully rest. The stress of the holidays can cause our cortisol to rise and in turn, may cause weight gain. Naps are similar to meditation in a way that they allow our body and mind to shut off leaving us feeling more centered.
- Re-Ignite - The end of the year offers you a wonderful opportunity to go inward and contemplate your next steps. A new year always represents fresh new dreams, ideas, and goals that we would like to accomplish in the next 12 months. When we overdo our eating, drinking, and stress levels, we diminish this amazing time to look deeper and to re-ignite our spirits. After a year of running around and busyness, you owe it to yourself to use the holidays for greater good and to ensure that the year ahead is your BEST YEAR EVER!
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Coach living in Los Angeles. http://www.jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)
WELLNESS - It’s that time of year again when cold and flu germs seem to run rampant. There are theories as to why the cold and flu virus is worse during the winter months and the main one is because the virus prefers cold, dry temperatures. Also, we tend to get less Vitamin D during this time, which may lower our immune defense even further. We also spend excessive time indoors with windows closed and that may just feed the virus even more.
There are certainly many debates as to whether or not the flu shot is a good option, and I personally have not had a flu shot in over 25 years. But wherever you stand, there are numerous natural remedies which work well to help you remain healthy and to give that potential cold and flu the boot!
Here are some tried and true remedies:
Oil of Oregano - This is one herb that you don’t hear enough about but in my opinion is probably the most potent antibiotic in nature. This stuff works! Oregano has powerful antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which have been shown to boost the immune system and fight bacteria, parasites, and fungus. Oregano oil contains over 50 active compounds with immune-boosting and germ-fighting properties, along with antioxidants such as Vitamin A and C, and minerals. During cold and flu season, use 3-5 drops of oil of oregano under the tongue once or twice per day followed by water to reduce your chance of getting an infection. It can also be used throughout the year whenever you feel a scratchy throat, cough, or other signs of an illness. It works especially well for those who have asthma, bronchitis, or other chronic chest infections.
Echinacea - This is probably the most popular of all cold-fighting herbs yet less effective than oregano in my opinion. Research shows that it increases the number of white blood cells, which in turn, fights infection. Although studies don’t show dramatic healing results, it certainly won’t hurt to add this to your cold and flu-fighting arsenal. Using Echinacea drops in room temperature water or juice is best and purchasing an organic version is always suggested. If you have allergies to daisies, ragweed, or marigolds, you may also be allergic to the Echinacea flower so proceed carefully.
Astragalus - Numerous Chinese studies have shown that astragalus has potent immune and chi-boosting effects and works well during cold season to reduce the number of colds caught and to lessen their duration. Like Echinacea, astragalus can increase the white blood count and help to ward off infection. It is even more potent when used with a Ginseng product. It may also help to increase your energy during the winter months by supporting the adrenal glands. You can boil dried astragalus root to make a soup or tea, or take a capsule, powder, or tincture.
Mushrooms - I have written about the powerful immune-boosting effects of mushrooms before and this is the perfect time to reference them again. Look for a powder or supplement containing a blend of ancient, healing mushrooms. Maitake, turkey tail, and cordyceps are just a few that contain awesome disease-fighting properties and will work during cold and flu season to give you that extra boost you’ll need to get you through free of illness.
Zinc - The mineral zinc also increases your production of white blood cells and assists them in fighting infection more effectively. Zinc helps your immune system to release antibodies that may protect you during cold and flu season. Look for a chelated zinc supplement, which may be ideal to take all year but definitely during the fall and winter months. Zinc lozenges may also boost your immunity and help to alleviate sore throats.
Garlic - While I am not a fan of eating raw garlic and it may not agree with everybody, some version of garlic is a good idea if you want to boost your immunity during cold and flu season. For those who don’t like the taste of garlic, consider taking a kyolic garlic supplement, which is aged garlic that is free of the pungent garlic odor. The immune-boosting effects of allicin, which is a component of garlic, can work wonders on strengthening your system and many people have sworn by its powerful support during the winter months.
Along with these plants and herbs, make sure to get plenty of rest and exercise, and take time to de-stress with meditation and yoga. Also be sure to carve out creative time for yourself. Drink plenty of fluids, and work on releasing negative thoughts, fears, and emotions on your own or with a therapist or coach. Lastly, make sure to supplement with extra Vitamin C and D to further boost your system and to give those cold and flu germs the boot!
* Always consult with your physician before taking any of the products listed above as some herbs, plants, and supplements may interfere with your current medications.
WELLNESS--We’ve all heard this saying before. The reason that we have two ears and one mouth is so that we can listen more than we talk.
Unfortunately, in this world where many have become self-obsessed or just plain busy, we seem to have forgotten the valuable art of listening. Instead, as you may have experienced personally, we go from party-to-party, coffee date-to-coffee date, and meeting-to-meeting feeling completely unheard and unseen. Many of us have discovered a shift in how people are communicating or should I say, not communicating. If you’re sensitive to people’s energy like I am, you may feel overwhelmed or drained by others doing too much talking and not enough listening.
In this world of social media frenzy and instant gratification, we don’t communicate the way we used to. In fact, making a personal phone call or having a face-to-face chat has become almost passé. People spend much more time texting, on Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat then having an intimate conversation.
Because of this, people are feeling lonelier than ever before. A time has come when we must make important shifts towards getting back to basics. And to start, that means learning to listen. I mean, TRULY listen.
Being present isn’t always easy especially with so many distractions. These days we are bombarded by everything from our IPhones to shiny billboards so it’s no wonder people aren’t communicating. We have forgotten how. Spending time with somebody doesn’t mean what it used to. Instead it’s common to see two or three friends at dinner all on their cell phones with heads down to their screens.
I am writing this article as a reminder and to bring awareness. It is time for all of us to become more conscious. There is an epidemic of lack of focus, patience, and presence that has never been seen before. And it is only getting worse. But we can begin to make positive changes today.
Awareness is the key. Simply being aware that you aren’t aware is the first step. When we become conscious of a negative pattern that we keep repeating, we can then step up and change it. Once we recognize that something is no longer serving others, or us we can begin to reprogram our minds and our negative habits.
As difficult as it may be, we need to force ourselves to be present with others. We must make ourselves listen intently without distractions. When we have private time with friends or if we’re at a party and somebody is telling us a story, we owe them the honor of being heard. And vice versa when it’s our turn to speak. True listening doesn’t mean interrupting and going into a personal experience that is similar but instead it means standing firm, being quiet, and simply taking it all in. Often people don’t even want our opinion, they simply need somebody to listen. Their desire is to feel acknowledged and heard.
Just like anything that we aim to master, practice makes perfect. Once we become aware of where we need to improve, and we put it into practice, we then begin to work on shifting things for good. We practice not picking up our phone during a dinner with family or while your child is telling you about their day at school. We make it a point to schedule more time with our friends rather than simply texting or instant messaging on Facebook. We plan a walk or workout without bringing our cell phone.
It won’t be easy at first but as we change things up, it will become more and more of our natural way of being. We’ll begin to remember what it’s like to be present, living life the way’s it’s meant to be lived. We’ll begin enjoying the small pleasures of connecting with people around us in a deeper and more meaningful way.
We have two ears and one mouth, let’s use them accordingly.
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert living in Los Angeles. http://www.jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL The 12-Week guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)
WELLNESS--If we look at our ancestor’s diet, we see clearly that it was back to basics the way nature had intended. For the most part they grew and harvested their own food and stored up enough for the winter months. They instinctually and by necessity ate according to the seasons. Certain foods grew early in the summer while others in the spring or fall and their meals were governed around that.
These days everything is available at our fingertips. If we want squash in the spring, we will have it. It we’re craving spinach in the winter that too is easily acquired. But what numerous people are realizing is that our bodies are meant to eat according to the natural flow of the seasons. Although we have certainly been doing fine by mixing it all up, many are finding an increase in energy, vitality, and overall health by getting back to our ancestral diet of seasonal eating.
Local and seasonal produce tends to be tastier and richer in nutrients and we also benefit financially because seasonally grown fruits and vegetables are generally less costly because of a higher demand and increase in availability.
If you’re like me you’ve fallen into a pattern of eating the same things over and over again out of habit. What’s great about eating seasonally is that it forces us to try a variety of foods that we may not normally consume and that equals a wider array of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for our body.
Let’s look at how this might work and which foods fit which particular season. Keep in mind that if you have allergies to certain foods like I do, or dietary restrictions due to health issues, then you’ll need to skip over those particular foods and choose ones that don’t cause a reaction. Here is a general guide:
SPRING March, April, May
Apricot, artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, collard green, garlic, lettuce, mushroom, onion, scallion, pea, pineapple, radish, strawberry, Swiss chard, turnip, lime, tomato, spinach, zucchini, watercress
SUMMER Late May, June, July, August, September, Early October
Apricot, bell pepper, blackberry, blueberry, cantaloupe, pineapple, cherry, collard green, corn, cucumber, eggplant, garlic, green bean, honeydew melon, kiwi, mango, nectarine, okra, peach, plum, raspberry, strawberry, lychee, fig, watermelon, lettuce, radish
FALL Late October, November, December
Beet, bell pepper, broccoli, corn, cucumber, okra, Brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower, collard green, cranberry, garlic, ginger, grape, green bean, kale, lettuce, spinach, persimmon, mango, mushroom, onion, parsnip, pea, pear, potato, kumquat, cranberry, guava, pomegranate, quince
WINTER January, February
Beet, Brussels sprout, cabbage, broccoli, fennel, endive, olive, red currant, grapefruit, kale, leek, onion, orange, clementine, tangerine, date, passion fruit, parsnip, pear, potato, pumpkin, rutabaga, sweet potato & yam, turnip, winter squash, rhubarb
Apple, avocado, banana, carrot, celery, coconut, lemon
To get a more accurate picture of what is seasonal in your area, go to a local farmer’s market or research seasonal produce in your particular region. It will differ from state to state and for various countries.
By eating homegrown and seasonal produce you are also supporting local farmer’s who rely on your patronage to continue their business. Most of these farmers grow without pesticides or chemical sprays even though they may not be able to afford the organic certification.
It’s easy to fall into a routine of eating the same things week by week. Why not challenge yourself and begin experimenting with a variety of local produce that you wouldn’t normally consume? Consider getting a weekly organic fruit and vegetable delivery, which ensures that you’ll receive a new selection throughout the year.
The new message of health and balance is to get back to basics trusting that nature knows best. What is more basic and natural than eating like our ancestors did while providing an exciting new selection of meals for yourself and your family?
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles http://www.jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)
WELLNESS--The word mushroom is derived from the French word for fungi and molds. Mushrooms are one of the oldest growths on earth and have been around for centuries dating back to the times of Egyptian pharaohs as documented in ancient hieroglyphics. They were considered a mystical and healing food available only to royalty.
Today mushrooms have become a part of our everyday diet and many of us enjoy them in salads, on burgers, or in an omelet. We eat them because we love their unique, woodsy flavor but what we are learning is that mushrooms contain some of the most potent immune-supporting agents in the world including long-chain polysaccharides such as alpha and beta-glucan molecules. They also comprise of fungal proteins, lectins, and peptides, which have been shown to support the immune system too.
Numerous stories are popping up online of people using mushrooms along with chemotherapy to treat their cancer and other ailments. Of course it’s too early to make claims that mushrooms cure cancer, however more and more studies are showing promising results.
I personally take 2 teaspoons of a special mushroom powder blend daily which contains 9 species. Luckily there is no history of cancer in my family but as a health advocate, I like to take proactive steps to give my body the boost it needs, especially in these times where we are bombarded by toxins, chemicals, EMF signals, and other environmental hazards.
Here are just a handful of the over 100 species of mushrooms available which have been heavily researched to provide immune-support and other health benefits.
Turkey Tail - Turkey Tail mushrooms are a highly regarded source of beta-glucans that support and strengthen immune function and provide an array of antioxidants.
Reishi - Red reishi in particular is the number one herbal adaptogen in Chinese medicine. It provides superior relief for emotional and physical stress, balances immune function, calms the central nervous system, and supports cardiovascular function.
Lion’s Mane - This species stimulates synthesis of nerve growth factor supporting the health and function of nerves. It also supports proper digestive function.
Cordycep - Cordycep mushrooms are known to reduce symptoms of respiratory disorders, coughs, colds, inflammation, and liver damage. They increase overall energy levels and reduce stress in the body.
King Trumpet - King Trumpet contains a unique fungal master antioxidant called L-ergothioneine and supports cardiovascular function along with proper digestive health.
Shiitake - Supports vitality and body balance and supports oral health. It also contains L-ergothioneine and assists the body in proper detoxification.
Antrodia - Antrodia supports the bodies detoxification process, strengthens kidney and liver function, and supports endurance and stamina.
Royal Sun Agaricus - This unique species is highly regarded for it’s support of the immune system, blood sugar balancing, and weight management.
Maitake - Maitake supports the immune system, cardiovascular function, and blood sugar regulation.
Chaga - This fungus is very high in the potent antioxidant SOD or superoxide dismutase. Chaga provides energy, cardiovascular health support, intestinal and liver detoxification, and helps to promote healthy blood sugar levels.
You can incorporate more mushrooms into your daily diet or you may decide like me, to take a high-potency powder or supplement. Make sure to look for mushrooms that are organically grown and GMO free. Mushrooms tend to absorb much from their environmental surroundings making it vital to choose a pure and natural product.
If you’d like more information about the superfood mushroom powder that I take, please reach out and I’ll be happy to share more details.
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles. http://www.jaybradleylifestyle.com, He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)
We’ve all had big decisions to make. Whether it is changing jobs, leaving a relationship, choosing a doctor, or moving to a new city, the one part of life that will always remain constant is change.
I have certainly experienced my fair share of major decisions including moving away from home at 17 years old to leaving my 7-year relationship to selling all of my belongings at age 37 and moving to a new country. I see my clients and friends struggling with similar choices every day.
The main reason that we feel stress at times of transition is because we fear the unknown. What if I make the wrong choice? What if this path leads me to a terrible place? What if I leave and I end up alone forever? What if this treatment doesn’t work and my illness gets worse? Why can’t I just be happy with what I have? Why can’t I make a decision? If you can you relate you’re certainly not alone.
The first thing that we need to understand is that fear, stress, and anxiety come only when we live in the past or the future. In the present moment all is well. Even if we’re struggling with an illness or going through a divorce, in the present moment everything is okay. It is our fear of dying or being alone or going broke at some future time that causes us turmoil. Or it is our memory of a similar experience that led us to a painful experience in the past. How then do we let go of fear while also getting clarity on which path to take when were faced with a fork in the road?
- Get Quiet - I often speak of meditation because it allows our minds to get still. When we get quiet and go inward, we begin to get internal guidance rather than external validation. This means that our spirit, intuition or that part that is all knowing speaks to us rather than being affected by the outside world.
- Baby Steps - While there is a time to remain still, there also comes a time when some action is better than none. If you’ve been feeling paralyzed or stagnant for an extended period, take a step. There is no wrong or right choice, just take the next logical step towards some type of change and you will be guided along the path. Often the big steps cannot come until you’ve taken the smaller ones first.
- Follow the Energy - If we can learn to follow the excitement and energy, we cannot be led astray. When faced with a fork in the road, simply picture yourself in both scenarios. Take a moment to feel what it will be like when you take the path on the left and then take some time to experience the one on the right. Which path brings you the most enthusiasm, excitement, and joy? Which decision feels most aligned with the biggest and best vision for your life? Which one forces you to become all that you can be and which one keeps you playing small? Does one push you outside of your comfort zone and the other keep you complacent?
- Trust Yourself - It is so easy to make ourselves wrong and to use past mistakes as a way of avoiding moving forward. When we can re-build trust within us and become our own best support systems, we begin to trust that WE know what’s best. We begin to let go of the need for others to tell us what to do and while we may still ask for advice, the ultimate decision will be made by us because deep down, we know the truth.
- Embrace Fear - We try very hard to get rid of fear. We have learned to push it away and to avoid facing it at all. When we understand that fear itself is an illusion of sorts and when we actually learn to embrace it, it no longer holds power over us. What if we began to love those dark parts of our self and faced it head on? I have seen people do this over and over again and eventually the very thing that causes fear begins to lose its power. What we resist persists. What we embrace begins to diminish.
- Take a Leap - Eventually we will look forward to taking the leap. Making big decisions will become easier and easier over time. When we learn that there is no wrong or right and when we can listen to that quiet voice inside of us, we realize that as we leap, the net will ALWAYS be there to catch us.
Making big decisions and constant change is inevitable but as we learn to navigate using our inner compass, we become much better at handling these transitions and trusting that they are leading us towards the grandest version of our life. Each of us has been brought here with unique gifts and talents to offer the world and when faced with a fork in the road, it simply means that we are being guided towards that ultimate place of inner power, fulfillment, and mission.
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Coach Living in Los Angeles. http://www.jaybradleylifestyle.com He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)
WELLNESS-Let’s face it aging is a privilege. Many people don’t have the opportunity to get old because of premature death so the fact that we are experiencing this process is a blessing in itself.
But in a world where our looks, appearance, and body image have become so important, where do we draw the line between accepting what is as we get older and when to make improvements to look and feel better?
The fact that many of us are living longer means that we will need to take even better care of our bodies and minds in order to enjoy our lives as we move into our 70’s, 80’s and beyond.
What worked for our grandparents may not be enough for us. With environmental problems, stress, and a lower quality of food, shifts need to take place. We can’t rely on the old paradigm because times have changed.
Here are 7 ways that you can make changes today in order to not only age more youthfully but to enjoy the time that you have that much more.
Organics - We must start buying organic produce, dairy products, meats and more if we want to increase our odds of living longer. We are already bombarded by toxic chemicals and harsh air pollutants so by eating cleaner, we give our body a break from having to detox those extra pesticides that are in our conventional foods.
Meditation - The busier that our lives get, the more we need to go inward. Meditation of some type is the key to quieting our inner voice of negativity, fear, and self-judgment, and a way to reduce stress and increase our memory and brain activity, as we get older.
Love What Is - Part of aging well is learning to love and accept our self fully and completely. Sometimes this is easier said than done. When we can learn to be gentler, we begin to quiet that inner critic and we learn to become our own best support system. Reading uplifting personal growth books, spending time in nature, tapping into inspiring projects, and creating a spiritual morning practice will help you to evolve and grow emotionally and spiritually. Learning to love what is in the present moment instead of living in the past or future will allow more joy and spontaneity into your life as well.
Exercise - It has been said over and over again but now more than ever, exercise is not optional. These days we spend less time being active and more time on our computers and IPhones. Make the daily commitment to move your body and even better, make it your social time as well. The most recent studies show that we can actually spend less time working out with better results. Consult a wellness coach, trainer, or fitness expert to learn more ways that this can be done and how you can build lean muscle and strengthen your heart for increased longevity.
Supplements - We aren’t receiving enough vitamins and minerals in food alone. This is partly because we’re too busy to eat a well-rounded diet but also because our food often contains less nourishment. Supplementing with a whole food multivitamin with minerals is like an insurance policy for your health. A potent probiotic is also essential. You’ll likely require other vitamin and herbal supplements so it’s best to have a personal consult with a wellness expert to find out which direction to go.
Sleep - Plenty of research shows that those who sleep well at night and who take short naps during the day tend to live longer and look younger. If you struggle with getting a deep slumber there are plenty of ways to remedy that including making changes to your bedroom setting along with herbal supplements or melatonin to increase the depth and quality of your sleep.
Superfoods - As mentioned, eating a healthy diet may no longer be enough. Even with the best of intentions, many of us are still lacking essential nutrients. Superfoods are known as super immune boosters! They are those foods, which really pack a punch when it comes to boosting your health and fighting off disease. While many of them can be eaten, I suggest looking for easily digestible superfood powders or supplements that are organic, raw and not overly processed. Some of these include greens powders like chlorella, mushroom extracts, herbs such as ashwaganda and maca, moringa, green tea, coconut, blueberries and many more!
Social Connection - In this hectic time of social media, ironically we have lost the ability to be social. Many of us, myself included, feel lonelier than ever. We rely on texting and instant messenger over talking. I predict a time in the very near future when we will go back to basics; a time when we re-learn the art of communication and when many of us will begin to yearn for a deeper, more personal connection. Decide that you are going to make a more conscious effort to surround yourself with supportive and loving individuals and consider distancing yourself from those people that drain you.
It is the daily, consistent steps we take which will make the biggest difference in the way we age. Aging isn’t an option. How we age is.
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert living in Los Angeles. http://jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)
WELLNESS-I recently read a quote that was written by self-help and spiritual teacher Jeff Foster. It said, “The word depressed is spoken phonetically as deep rest. We can view depression not as a mental illness, but on a deeper level, as a profound (and very misunderstood) state of deep rest, entered into when we are completely exhausted by the weight of our own identity.”
This resonated deeply and motivated me to write this article. Having dealt with depression in my own life, Jeff’s gentle words made sense like nothing that I had read before.
If you’ve been depressed, perhaps you have felt as if there is something wrong with you or that you are faulty in some way. Depression is very misunderstood and often makes the person who is suffering feel guilty or ashamed for having these heavy emotions. This is especially the case when we seemingly have wonderful lives surrounded by loving people. With so much richness, how can I feel lonely or depressed we contemplate? Often depressed people tell themselves to “snap out of it” or perpetuate their self-loathing even further because they “should” feel better than they do.
The idea that depression is in fact a deep rest may help you. If you’re struggling, these very words may lighten your load and support you in being more loving towards yourself. What if this down time was simply there to help you go deeper into that place where all of your answers lie? The space where you are more capable of doing the inner emotional and spiritual work. What if this has shown up once again in order for you to retreat and rest?
Resting and retreating may seem impossible at the moment especially when bills need to be paid but it is possible for you to go inward and also get your work completed. It may just be that you require more down time than most. Depressive people are often more highly sensitive to the energy of others around them and in order to get re-centered and feeling good, they require a significant time-out.
If you are suffering from severe, clinical depression you’ll need to visit your physician immediately to get help. Medication doesn’t make you a failure. Sometimes, it assists you to get a better perspective on what’s going on and it reminds you of what it’s like to feel good. Once you’re at a better-feeling place, it may eventually be possible to wean off medication. With proper doctor supervision you’ll be able to make that decision together.
Many of us have big shoes to fill. Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed by the vastness of our role and the incredible visions that we have for our life. On the contrary, sometimes we can also feel very small. Both sides of the spectrum can cause us to get sad, self-critical, and downright depressed. Old programming from childhood along with day-to-day pressures can also trigger a downward spiral.
I learned first hand that we CAN move through it by opening up and becoming vulnerable, sharing our deepest thoughts with those who love us, and seeking professional help when necessary. The key during all of this is to remain loving and patient of your self. To remove all judgment that you “should” be somewhere else, and to ask the big question “what can I learn from this?”
If you struggle with a mood disorder, if you’re feeling down, or if you’ve been diagnosed with depression, take it in. Know that you’re not alone. And reconsider the words from Jeff Foster that perhaps you’re simply entering into a phase of deep rest. Allow it. Don’t push it away. Move through it and you may be amazing at what lays ahead for you on the other side.
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert living in Los Angeles. http://jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)
WELLNESS--By now most of us know that sugar is a culprit. It can be blamed for inflammation within our bodies, low energy, and in excess, it can also play a part in the formation of cancer and other disease.
Many of us are torn because of the decadent choices of our favorite deserts. The idea of living without them is unbearable. Thankfully most of us don’t need to say goodbye to sugar completely but instead make a conscious choice to simply consume less.
As a wellness coach I reinforce the 80-20 rule. 80 percent of the time I promote making healthy choices that are going to lift you up and increase your odds of living longer and feeling better and 20 percent of the time, indulge. Unless someone is extremely obese or suffering from a serious illness, some sugar is okay. But if you’re looking to make better choices, and positively affect your long-term health, here is a list of some natural and healthy sugar options that won’t wreak havoc on your blood sugar, cause excess inflammation, or lower your immunity.
These options are definitely worth trying. The next time you’re at your local health food or grocery store, ask for one of these alternatives and start making simple substitutions for you and your family.
Stevia - The Stevia leaf is a plant that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It has become very popular in health foods because it doesn’t spike blood sugar or cause inflammation the way that regular sugar does. Stevia does have a unique after taste, which some people don’t like, and in large amounts it may cause a headache. Stevia is available in powder and liquid forms.
Xylitol - Xylitol looks and tastes just like white sugar. It can be used in baking and anywhere that regular sugar is used. Xylitol comes mainly from birch trees and other fruits and vegetables. In large amounts it may cause digestive issues including gas and bloating but overall it is well tolerated. In moderate amounts it makes for a wonderful alternative to sugar.
Erythritol - Erythritol is similar to xylitol and comes mainly from hard wood and other plant sources. It looks and tastes just like white sugar and in small amounts is another great alternative.
Monk Fruit - There is a lot of buzz lately about monk fruit sweetener. It is 300-400 times sweeter than sugar cane with no calories or glycemic spike! It comes from a fruit that was originally grown in Asia and may even have powerful anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects.
Coconut Sugar - I have used coconut sugar in my home for years. It looks and tastes exactly like brown sugar with a slight molasses-like richness. It has a lower glycemic index than sugar and it also contains vitamins and minerals. Again, use in moderation and consider alternating with more healthy options such as xylitol and monk fruit.
Agave - Agave nectar is everywhere. It comes from the agave plant that is also used to make tequila. It can be found in sodas, deserts, and other health food items. While it is certainly healthier than white sugar because it has fewer effects on your overall blood sugar levels, it is said to lose much of its nutritional benefits during the heating process.
Raw Honey - Consume foods that are as close to nature as possible. Raw honey fits in this category. It has powerful anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is high in polyphenols and antioxidants and has been researched to boost the immune system and help to offset allergies. It is best not to heat raw honey and therefore the old tea and honey regimen may not be best. Again, consume in moderation.
As I teach my clients, always listen to your body. If you’re using sugar alternatives, pay close attention to how you feel afterwards. Notice any changes or shifts in mood, energy, and overall body functions. Also, be mindful of when you are sweetening your coffee, desert, or other foods simply out of habit. Often we are so accustomed to sweetness that we don’t even realize we could use less and still be quite satisfied and content.
Also, make sure to look for organic and 100 percent pure sweeteners. With more demand for these sugar alternatives comes an array of new products that are not always pure and natural. Read labels and be a smart consumer.
(Jay Bradley is an Anti-Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles http://jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)
WELLNESS--Telomeres are the caps on our chromosome strands, which hold all of our DNA information. These caps are similar to the plastic ends on shoelaces, which prevent the lace from fraying. Similarly, telomeres keep our DNA strands strong and healthy and they also prevent them from fusing together. With each cell renewal however, our telomeres begin to shorten. As we age, these caps become shorter and shorter and eventually disappear. This process causes the cells to die. Research is suggesting that shorter telomeres equal a shorter life.
The exciting news is that science is beginning to find ways to lengthen our telomeres and slow the process of our cells decline. And in turn, this research may help us to live longer and healthier lives.
Here is a short list of some health and lifestyle practices that have been shown to slow the shortening of our telomeres and potentially lengthen them too:
Supplement Multivitamins - Find a high-quality multivitamin with minerals that is formulated using whole foods whenever possible. Taking a multivitamin is like an insurance policy for your health and can fill in the blanks when it comes to the nutrients you may not be getting from your foods.
Eat Plenty of Antioxidant Rich Produce - Antioxidants have been shown to not only boost immunity and reduce the risk of disease, but Vitamins A, B12, C, D3, and E may also lengthen telomeres. Ensure that your multivitamin has high levels of these vitamins and eat a diet rich in antioxidants.
Selenium & Glutathione - Receiving higher levels of selenium and glutathione daily with a supplement and in your foods such as Brazil nuts, oysters, broccoli, cabbage, garlic, spinach, and beets has also shown positive results in the study of longevity.
Supplement TA-65 - This patented product is derived from the plant astragalus and has been touted to increase telomerase, the active protein enzyme that strengthens our telomeres. Further studies are still required but so far the research is promising.
Sleep - Make sure to get 8 to 8.5 hours of sleep each night and take a nap if necessary. Plenty of rest may slow the shortening of our telomeres.
Meditation - Stress can speed up the process of this telomere shortening. By de-stressing and finding spiritual practices that lower the stress hormone cortisol we also slow the aging process.
Yoga - Yoga has been proven to reduce overall stress in the body and in turn, decelerate the process of our telomeres shortening.
HIIT and Regular Exercise - Doing High Intensity Interval Training, which is cardiovascular exercise that involves shorter, 30-second sprints with rest periods in between, we can work to lengthen telomeres by sending highly oxygenated blood into our cells. Any exercise is better than none at all and will benefit your health regardless.
Much research is still being done into activating telomerase and lengthening telomeres but the future looks very bright when it comes to extending lives and decreasing possible illness. In the meantime, choosing to increase your antioxidant levels, decrease stress, and exercise more are definitely beneficial in the long-term.
These simple and consistent lifestyle steps can only prove to strengthen your system and potentially help you to live longer. By choosing even a few of the tips above, you are improving your odds of having a long, healthy, and happy life.
By the way, if your family or friends try to guilt you for taking naps each day, simply tell them “I’m not napping, I am lengthening my telomeres!”
(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert living in Los Angeles. http://www.jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the best-selling author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)
WELLNESS--We are all bombarded by ways in which we can stay young and healthy. Every day there are new products, studies, celebrity endorsements, and methods for us to get fit, remain youthful, and to live longer. For certain people, it can be exhausting. The reason many of us feel overwhelmed is because we have been taught to listen to the experts and follow the crowd instead of going inward and allowing our own voice to lead the way. All of this information overload can lead to confusion or even worse, paralysis.
While there are certainly times when we need professional advice along with research studies in order to compile a concrete case, the best guidance is simply, “listen to your body.”
It is also important to figure out why you’re making changes in the first place. Is it because somebody else needs you to change or does it come from a genuine desire to improve, expand, and grow? Is it because society says that you should be thinner, younger, and different than you are now or do you genuinely want it for yourself? These are important questions to contemplate.
As a wellness coach this can be one of the most difficult messages to convey. My role is to share the latest information about health and wellness and to help others find a way to live, that best suits their lifestyle. But unless my clients connect with their true inner motivation to make those changes, chances are, they’ll eventually go back to their old ways. And, unless what I am offering truly resonates with them, they probably won’t stick with it anyway.
If you’re reading this and looking for answers then I am sorry to disappoint. If however, you’re ready to trust your own voice of wisdom along with some guidance, then you’ve come to the right place!
Let’s take a look at some important areas of health and wellness and ways in which we can trust our own authentic voice:
FOOD--There is NOT one diet that works for everybody. Just because a book says, “eat for your blood type”, or “avoid gluten”, or “skip carbs”, it doesn’t mean it will necessarily work for you. For example, being vegan certainly has lots of health benefits and makes ethical sense, but what about all of those other studies that say we need animal protein and fats? There is plenty of conflicting evidence out there. So what do we do?
The key is to listen to your body. How do you feel after meals? Do certain foods increase your energy while others deplete you? What foods are you craving? Are those cravings coming from an imbalance in your system or do they come from your emotional need to feel better? Your job is to figure out which cravings are beneficial and come from a physical issue such as low blood sugar and which are simply showing up because you seek comfort, which by way, isn’t always bad.
Tip: Experiment. Keep a food journal for 7 days and track how you’re feeling throughout the day. Really tune in to what your body is asking you for. Only you’ll know for sure.
EXERCISE--While I am a huge advocate of high intensity cardio training using sprints and weight training, it is fair to say that it may not be for everybody. Some body types benefit more from gentle yoga or Pilates, and others from swimming or cross fit classes. In other words, don’t let anybody else tell you what you need.
Tip: Once again, experiment and try a variety of exercises. Of course if you want to burn fat and build muscle there are certain ways to do that. But perhaps that isn’t your true goal. Just because advertisers are showing lean, toned, and trim bodies, doesn’t mean everybody needs to be that way. Be the best version of you and don’t compare. Being perfectly toned and fit doesn’t necessarily mean that we are healthy unless all aspects of our health are taken into account.
SUPPLEMENTS--I am a big promoter of taking vitamins, minerals, and supplements. My belief is that we cannot get everything we need from our food due to the fact that we aren’t eating a varied enough diet and because of the depletion in our soils. That being said, not everybody needs all of the supplements that I recommend. Again, it’s about listening to your intuition first and foremost.
Tip: Feel free to sample various vitamin supplements and do your research. Nobody can tell you what you require, only you’ll know for sure. Get regular check-ups and blood work, but understand that we often cannot feel the benefits that our vitamins offer us. Sometimes we do need to trust that they are benefiting us on a cellular level.
COSMETIC SURGERY--I am all for a little nip and tuck, Botox, filler, and a laser procedure, if it makes you look and feel better. There are no definitive long-term studies that show Botox or Hyaluronic facial fillers have a negative affect on our health.
The problem arises when you are looking from the outside in rather than the inside out. I often see people looking for a “quick fix” to their physical body when the real change needs to take place in their emotional well-being.
Tip: Hire a therapist or coach and work through those deep emotional issues that require your awareness. If you’re feeling more balanced and you’re in a good headspace, by all means look into procedures that will help you to feel better about yourself. When it comes to finding a good plastic surgeon or dermatologist, make sure to see photos of their previous work and find one who takes the “less is more approach.” The key is always to look like a new and refreshed version of you.
Finding a balance in life can be challenging at times. Always listen to your higher self and receive only that which truly resonates. Your body is communicating with you. Are you listening?
(Jay Bradley is an anti-aging, wellness, and lifestyle expert living in Los Angeles. http://jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger, and Feel Better!)
WELLNESS--This article was prompted by a particularly slow month. August didn’t hold a lot of work commitments for me, and what normally would have stressed me out caused a complete shift in perspective. Let me explain.
I grew up in a family where my dad was a go-getter. He started a very successful business that developed into employing over 100 people and created a small empire. I watched him carefully and learned that hard work equals great success.
Because of this, I always had drive and motivation but I chose a very different path then my father. I became a model and actor from a young age and developed my creativity over my business side. Nobody had prepared me for how this was supposed to look or feel. How do I merge success, business, and creativity? Much trial and error led me to finding some success along the way and eventually guided me to where I am today.
I have learned to combine my writing, speaking, coaching, and business skills into my current career as a health, wellness and lifestyle advisor and author. But deep down there was still, until this month anyway, an uncertainty as to how to deal with the down times.
My normal reaction when things got slow was to “get busy and make something happen” but this month I decided to rest, relax, and to simply be. I still worked out at the gym and kept regular commitments but I meditated more and took quiet time to sleep and contemplate. And while income was down, the most amazing things began to happen. People, opportunities, and synchronicities showed up that I would have never expected. In my stillness, I learned to “allow” rather than to “create.”
As a go-getter myself, this was NOT easy. My normal instincts are to stay active, plan, goal set, and to DO! But if you’re like me you’ll agree that this constant action mode can get exhausting! And, in all honesty, it hasn’t led to the ultimate success that I would have liked. So I decided to try something different. When we change the way we look at things, the things around us change and I have been ready for that change for quite some time.
To my surprise, one miracle after the other began to show up into my life this month from me doing virtually nothing.
Am I suggesting that you just sit, sleep, and meditate your way through life? Of course not. But there may be times when that is the absolute best approach possible. In between chapters is a great time to relax. In fact, learning to surrender and only act when you are inspired to do so, IS, I am learning, the only way to be. It offers us the ability to be more focused on the now and to be present in the joy that surrounds us rather than being busy just for the sake of it.
So the next time you find yourself down, bored, or you simply have a lull in your work schedule, acknowledge that perhaps it’s happening to provide you an amazing opportunity. Maybe it will deliver new things into your life that are even better than you could have ever imagined! And perhaps it’s teaching you a new way to live that taps into the Universal truth that you will ALWAYS be provided for. Learning the amazing art of doing nothing may actually be the answer you’ve been waiting for.
(Jay Bradley is an Anti-aging, wellness & lifestyle expert living in Los Angeles. http://jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the best-selling author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)
WELLNESS--Meditation. We’ve all heard of it. Many of us have tried it. But few are able to stick with it.
By now, most of us know that meditating regularly has positive effects on our physical and mental state of being.
In fact, just 10-20 minutes per day of meditation has been scientifically proven to have numerous benefits, which I’ll list a bit later.
First let’s look at some of the reasons why we don’t meditate. Perhaps you’ll relate to some of these myths and maybe even re-think your daily practice.
- Meditation Doesn’t do Anything - most of us expect magical results when we meditate. We would like our problems and stresses to disappear immediately. While there can be rapid relaxation results, most benefits come from long-term and continual practice.
- You’ll Stop Thinking - The myth is that we will enter into a blissful state and stop all negative thoughts. In fact, it is very difficult if not impossible to “stop” our thoughts. Instead the goal should be to “catch” our thoughts and then to gently let them go while focusing back on our mantra or breath. Expecting to stop thoughts is a sure way to sabotage your meditation practice.
- We may Become Spacey and Ungrounded - Many people worry that they’ll lose all motivation and drive if they meditate regularly. In fact, the opposite is true. Successful business people from all walks of life, all over the world, meditate daily. They are convinced that much of their success is due to their daily practice.
Now, as promised, here are just some of the numerous benefits:
- Studies have shown that those who meditate regularly have lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Meditation opens you up to new realms of possibility. Your intuition begins to play a bigger role in your life. You will be more easily be able to listen to that quiet voice and make better decisions day to day.
- Meditation has been shown on MRI’s to increase certain grey areas of the brain that are related to the memory and attention span.
- Meditation has been shown to positively affect the “fight or flight” response, making us more calm, and relaxed.
- Taking regular time to meditate has also been shown to improve immune function creating a stronger resistance to infections.
- Creating a morning practice of meditation even just for a short period, increases levels of self-love and love for others. It literally helps the heart to bloom open, making you more in touch with emotions as well as helping you to forgive others more easily.
The best way to begin your meditation practice is to start with small, achievable goals. Begin with 5 minutes per day. Simply find your favorite place in your home to sit quietly. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. When your thoughts wander, bring them back to your breath. Set a timer if you’d like and ensure no interruptions. Gradually up your practice by 1 minute per day until you reach 20 minutes.
You can also download a free meditation app on your smartphone such as CALM or OMG. I can Meditate! Perhaps light a candle, play soft music, and do your best to create the same time frame every day for your practice.
You can also look into Transcendental meditation or TM classes near you. In these classes, you’ll learn more about meditation and they’ll give you a personal mantra to focus on while you’re meditating.
The most challenging part of meditating is beginning. Why not make THIS THE YEAR that you commit to this important and life-changing practice and see first-hand how it will benefit you and those around you.
(Jay Bradley is an anti-aging, wellness & lifestyle coach living in Los Angeles. http://jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)
WELLNESS--Spices, herbs, and natural flavoring may not just enhance our taste buds. Recent studies are showing that spicing up your mealtime may in fact lower your risk of certain diseases and may also help to reduce inflammation in your body.
Often nature has many of the answers that we’ve been searching for and herbs and spices are a great example of this.
Here is a small list of my favorite spices and how they’ve been shown to enhance your overall health:
Black Pepper - Black pepper is rich in piperine which has been shown to slow, reduce or even kill certain types of cancer cells relating to breast, prostate, colon, lung, liver, stomach, and cervix. Piperine has also exhibited anti-inflammatory effects and may help reduce the pain relating to Arthritis and gout.
Turmeric - This bright orange spice has been used in Ayurvedic traditions for thousands of years. It has shown great promise in lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s, certain cancers, and even heart disease. The active ingredient curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory and is often recommended by doctors to help fight the symptoms or Arthritis and sports injuries.
Oregano - Oregano has potent anti-microbial properties and is incredibly effective during cold and flu season. Using oil of oregano drops under the tongue along with fresh oregano in your cooking has been shown to boost immunity and ward off certain infections.
Pink Himalayan Sea Salt - Salt has had a bad rap. For those with high blood pressure, it is wise to minimize sodium intake but tests have shown that pink Himalayan sea salt contains 80 + trace minerals and may help to alkalize the body.
Basil - Fragrant basil is packed with Vitamin K which helps our bodies to better absorb Vitamin D3. Vitamin K also promotes proper blood clotting, and supports our bones. Basil may also offer DNA protection and has antibacterial properties to help fight off infections.
Sage - According to the Journal of Psychopharmacology, sage has been shown to benefit people’s memory. Sage supplements have also been studied for their power to reduce anxiety symptoms.
Garlic - Garlic contains the sulphur compound called allicin which has numerous health benefits. Garlic is known to reduce bad cholesterol, lower blood pressure, inhibit the common cold and flu, and may even fight cancerous cells.
Rosemary - Rosemary also has anti-inflammatory effects and supports healthy eye health. Rosemary also positively affects the brain and may even lower the risk of certain cancers including breast and blood.
Curry - Various colors of curry are often used in Thai and Indian cuisine. Curry has long been researched to reduce inflammation in the body, and to fight harmful free radicals from attacking our cells. Curry may also support proper liver health and detoxification.
Ginger - Ginger tea has been used as a remedy for digestive issues, nausea, and motion sickness for thousands of years. It also has immune-boosting properties, and has been shown to reduce overall inflammation in the body.
Cinnamon - Cinnamon has antifungal and antibacterial properties and has been researched for its benefits in lowering blood sugar in the body. It has anti-inflammatory effects and is considered a superfood because of its high antioxidant content.
There are numerous studies worldwide that show the positive health benefits of herbs and spices.
This week why not experiment with your cooking? The next time you’re at the supermarket look for fresh, organic herbs and try something new. Not only will your taste buds thank you but you’ll definitely be doing your health and your body some good!
Alert! Always check with your doctor to ensure that specific herbs and spices won’t interact with your current medications or pre-existing health issues.
(Jay Bradley is an Anti-aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Coach living in Los Angeles.
Life isn’t always easy. Regardless of how many self-help books we’ve read, the number of empowering seminars and warrior camps we’ve attended, sometimes we still suffer. After all, if we were happy and overjoyed all the time, we certainly wouldn’t be able to appreciate the awesomeness of the joyous experiences when they show up.
WELLNESS-With summer well underway, it’s not too late to make positive changes to your daily routine in order to promote healthier and younger looking skin. The skin is our largest organ and everything that we put inside our body and topically, affects it for better or worse.
WELLNESS--We all have places that we want to be and goals that have yet to be attained. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t strive for more and want the best in life. I definitely feel that I have much more to accomplish in this lifetime and often feel disappointed that I’m not “there” yet.
But unless we all learn to love where we are right here and right now, we will never find true satisfaction. Learning to be present in this moment without living out past or future events is the key to our lasting joy. Also knowing that getting “there” is really an illusion that we create based upon various factors including financial gain, fame, and the attainment of certain goals.
While it’s vital to have dreams about our future, it is equally important to learn to love what is. Yes this means that we love the mediocre job we hold, our credit card bills, the unhappy relationship, or the fact that we aren’t where we’d like to be.
When we live with resentment or fear, we miss out on life as it is in the present. Often we judge where we are or resist what is happening because we don’t want it to be this way. But by doing this we only perpetuate the experience.
Learning to be fully aware and present and more importantly, to love every moment whether or not it seems good or bad, positive or negative, is vital. And it is also one of the most challenging thing that we will do.
What we resist persists. When we want things to change, WE must change. Perhaps it is time to start looking more deeply at the reasons you may be feeling stuck and then work to more consciously embrace all that is. This is the true act of surrendering. Surrender is fully accepting and loving what is while holding a positive intention for better things to come. It really is a fine balancing act indeed.
When we can get still, meditate, connect to a higher source, and find gratitude, we begin to refill this empty place within us that tells us we need more. We re-charge our spiritual batteries, and remember that this moment is all we have. Let’s begin making the best of it and consciously shift our thoughts day-by-day, moment-by-moment into a more positive and loving way. Let’s commit fully to loving what is.
(Jay Bradley is an anti-aging & wellness coach living in Los Angeles. He is the author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better! Jay can be reached at: jaybradleylifestyle.com)
WELLNESS--The world is an amazing place. Each country holds ancient truths about health, vitality, beauty, and longevity. Herbs, plants, and other natural sources have been used for thousands of years to assist people in looking and feeling better.
I have become more and more fascinated by these secrets that are now readily available to the western world. We now have the privilege of experiencing these products here in North America, which are often packaged into convenient teas, supplements, and powders.
Many of us are keenly aware that changes must be made and in particular we are waking up to the fact that pharmaceuticals, although necessary at times, are not getting to the cause of our illness. While our mental and emotional health plays an integral part in our total wellness, nature may hold many cures as well.
Here is a list of many of these superfoods and their country of origin. Of course there a so many more and this is only a partial list. Perhaps it’s time for you to look into trying them for yourself and making some a part of your daily health care routine.
Ashwaganda - Ashwaganda root is known as an adaptogen herb which may stimulate the thyroid gland, lower the stress hormone cortisol, and increase energy and sex drive in men and women.
Turmeric - Turmeric is best known for it’s anti-inflammatory powers. It is well researched for use to help alleviate arthritis symptoms, possibly lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and is a powerful antioxidant giving the cells an important boost.
Moringa - Moringa is a powerful leaf with each serving said to have 4 times more calcium than milk, the vitamin C of 7 oranges, potassium of 3 bananas, 3 times the iron of spinach, vitamin A 4 times that of carrots, and double the protein of milk! It is known to boost energy, libido, mental focus, and numerous other health benefits.
Chaga - Chaga is a mushroom-like fungus that grows in cold climates like Canada and Siberia. It contains the highest levels of a powerful antioxidant called Superoxide Dismutase (SOD). Often enjoyed as a tea, this powerful healer may have amazing cancer-fighting properties.
Green Tea - By now many of us know the powerful immune support that green tea offers but it also contains amazing thermogenic compounds that assist the body in burning fat and it helps our skin to look more radiant from the inside out.
Enoki Mushroom - Mushrooms are some of the most potent healers in all of nature and recent studies show that they may protect our body from radiation. Enoki is known for its unique shape and is often enjoyed in salads. It is packed full of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
Goji Berries - Goji berries are considered both a fruit and an herb and are very rich sources of vitamins A and C. They help to support eye health and the overall immune system.
Oregano - Oregano Oil is now being touted as nature’s most powerful antibiotic. It has incredible antimicrobial and antifungal effects and works to naturally boost the immune system and ward off infection. 3 drops under the tongue regularly followed by water or juice is recommended.
Olive Oil - Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats which may help to lower the risk of heart disease. Olive oil contains important vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants and is a great source of monounsaturated fat. It is a wonderful aid to reduce overall inflammation and assist healthy digestion.
Rooibis - Rooibis tea is a delicious, dark, caffeine free beverage made from the Rooibos bush. It is one of the most powerful antioxidants in nature and works to naturally boost the overall immune system, may reduce asthma symptoms and headaches along with a number of other health benefits.
Coconut - The healthy fats in coconut known as Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) are well documented to assist the body in reducing inflammation, burn fat, and help maintain healthy cholesterol. Coconut oil also works wonderfully as an antiaging skin treatment.
Soursop - Soursop leaves contain high concentrations of alkaloids and acetogenins which is a family of compounds with natural antibiotic and antifungal effects. Many people have made claims that Soursop has helped them to regain their health during cancer treatments.
These amazing and life-changing miracles of nature are taking center stage as remedies for a myriad of health challenges. You may be surprised at just how powerful they are!
It’s up to each one of us to do our own research and experiment to find what is right for us. Of course it is always advised that you do so along with the assistance of your family doctor or health professional especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions or you are on medication.
(Jay Bradley is an anti-aging & wellness coach living in Los Angeles. He is the author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better! Jay can be reached at: jaybradleylifestyle.com)
WELLNESS--It’s that time of year again. Summer is approaching and magazines are featuring the latest articles on “bikini fat-blasting tips” and “how to get fit for summer.” While I am the first to admit that I have written many such articles for various publications, I thought it was time to embrace another even more important truth; that we should LIVE LIKE IT’S SUMMER ALL YEAR LONG!
What does that mean exactly? For one, why not start celebrating your body today as you are even if you haven’t blasted all the fat. It’s sort of like using your fine china every day instead of just when company comes over. It’s time to stop postponing our happiness for some far off goal that may or may not be reached.
We have all done this in some form or another. I know I have certainly postponed plans for when I have more money or when I meet that dream mate. Well, perhaps we all need to work on loving ourselves from the inside out and then the outside in regardless of whether or not we’re beach ready.
As a wellness coach, I am the first to speak about getting fit, eating right, and becoming the best version of you that you can be. Along with that however, comes a lot of pressure. Sometimes, the very act of transforming our life while liberating on one hand can also be very daunting. Transforming means that we need to become something other than who we are right now. That takes us away from the present moment and often causes us to miss out.
What if we all surrender just a little? What if we let ourselves off the hook? What about hitting the beach un-waxed, unfit, and unassuming? Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to live fully and completely regardless of where we are at in our fitness or body goals.
Being body conscious can be two-fold. It can mean that we are conscious of putting our best selves out into the world and we become keenly aware of what we are putting into our body…that’s a good thing. But it can also have another meaning; that we are self-conscious of our bodies and feeling less than those who look better than we do.
With summer approaching I suggest that yes, you up your fitness routine, yes focus on eating a healthier diet, yes moisturize, wax, and do whatever it is that you need to do to feel good. But once you have that underway, relax. Breathe. Meditate. Love yourself. Forgive yourself for not being perfect. Embrace your insecurities and those things you feel may be flaws while learning to stand in that quiet confidence knowing that you are always a work in progress. But for today, you will simply “be.”
Now go put on that skimpy bikini, head to the closest pool or beach, and OWN it!
(Jay Bradley is an anti-aging & wellness coach living in Los Angeles. He is the author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better! Jay can be reached at: jaybradleylifestyle.com)
WELLNESS--As a health and wellness coach, the number one question that everybody asks is not “How do I live longer?” or “What can I do for more energy?” It is almost always “How do I lose this tummy?” In a world where we are bombarded by advertising promoting perfect looking four, six and eight packs, its no wonder we have become mildly obsessed.
WELLNESS--We all worry about memory loss at some point in our lives. Have you ever had a friend say “remember when we did that?” and you simply can’t recall the experience? It happens to me often and it can be downright alarming. Perhaps you begin forgetting important details throughout your day and the missing car keys become an all too familiar occurrence. Often our short-term memory can become foggy and we fear that fading recall is an unavoidable part of aging.
Too many times, however, we confuse the impact of our day-to-day stress with actual memory loss. Our lives have become bombarded with to-do lists and most of us are stretched thin. This pressure isn’t necessarily affecting our memory but rather it limits our focus. Without proper focus we simply cannot absorb all of the details. We experience what many people call selective memory.
The truth is that most of us have just reached our limit! We don’t have the energy to absorb new information and so we tend to shut down. We remember what we want to and let go of those things that don’t matter as much. But then, we get upset when we blank on certain details, believing that the decline has begun.
Memory loss isn’t inevitable. It doesn’t have to be tied in with aging. In fact, there are numerous elements within our control that not only help to preserve our memory but make it sharper as well.
Here are some key factors that support memory, focus, and concentration:
Getting a deep, restful sleep is the most important thing that you can do for your memory. Without it, we easily lose focus and our minds become fatigued. Sleep not only restores our bodies but our brains too. The hours before midnight are when we experience our deepest rest because that’s when the hormones including Melatonin, Estrogen, Testosterone, and Human Growth Hormone (HGH) get busy to support our system.
Always sleep in a dark, cool room without noise disturbances. Do your best to clear the bedroom of electronic devices or at least make sure to turn them off. Try to hit the sack well before midnight and get at least 8 hours of sleep.
Regular exercise is an important tool to slow the aging process and improve your memory. Cardiovascular training of any type improves the blood flow to our brains which assists our overall alertness. Numerous studies have shown that people who exercise regularly have less age-related disease and dementia.
I suggest to my clients that they do interval cardio training 3 times per week. This involves pushing your heart rate to its maximum capacity in short, 30-second bursts. This exercise has been shown to increase Human Growth Hormone (HGH) which is also known as the anti-aging hormone. HGH positively affects the memory and is vital to remaining youthful.
Many people suffer from mild dehydration and don’t even realize it. Without adequate fluid in our system, we can become mentally impaired. Short periods of water restriction have been shown to negatively affect our alertness and can weaken concentration.
Mild to moderate dehydration appears to exacerbate cognitive dysfunction in older people, and some experts believe it may be a risk factor for more serious dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
If you’re a healthy adult, make sure to drink 6-8 glasses of pure, clean water per day. Consume more in hot climates or if you exercise vigorously. I suggest carrying a stainless or non-BPA plastic bottle and make a point of filling it numerous times throughout your day. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty because that is a sure sign that you’re dehydrated.
There are numerous supplements on the market that really work to stimulate memory.
Perhaps the most popular memory supplement is Ginko Biloba. It has been used for centuries to assist the brain with cognitive function. Ginko has been shown to increase blood flow to small vessels and people who take Ginko Biloba report an elevated mood, alertness, and mental ability. It has also been used to slow the advancement of dementia in the elderly. Take it as a supplement or brewed into a tea.
Ginseng is often recommended alongside Ginko Biloba. It has been shown to increase mental alertness and help to stimulate the memory. This powerful herb can also be made into a tea or taken as a supplement as well.
Gotu Kola is an herb traditionally used in Chinese medicine & Ayurveda. It contains certain chemicals that seem to decrease inflammation and blood pressure in the arteries. It is effective in reducing memory loss due to stress and anxiety by helping to relax the body and mind. Gotu Kola can be taken as a supplement or as tea.
The Reishi mushroom contains powerful constituents that strengthen memory and concentration.
Taoist monks in China were given Reishi mushrooms to calm the mind and improve the value of their meditation. Consider taking it in supplement or extract form.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 oils come from cold water fish, plant and nut oils and have shown promise in slowing age-related disease including Alzheimer’s. Make sure to eat plenty of Omega rich foods such as walnuts, flaxseeds, egg yolk, salmon, and sardines and consider taking a daily Omega-3 supplement such as Krill oil.
Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone. As mentioned, the key to having a sharp memory is quality sleep. If you suffer from sleep issues, it is possible that your melatonin levels are off. Look into getting them checked and consider supplementing with this gentle yet effective hormone.
Studies have shown that the smell of rosemary can improve memory performance in office workers and students. In ancient Greece, students would braid rosemary into their hair before taking an important exam. The scent of rosemary essential oil may be just what you need to get you through that sluggish afternoon at the office. Grapefruit, orange and lemon oil are my favorite! They help to stimulate awareness and mindfulness. I suggest that you choose your favorite scent or combine them and use a diffuser which fills the air with the invigorating scent.
I often find my 93-year old granny doing crosswords. She is one sharp lady! Games such as Sudoku, crosswords and Scrabble challenge the brain to work harder. Our brain is like a muscle and it needs to be worked out just as our body does. Pushing your brain to new limits will increase your capacity to remember.
Try something new. Learning a new language is a great way to improve your memory. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone and do something interesting. Studying a musical instrument or taking a class that challenges you are both wonderful brain boosters.
Aside from sleep, the best way to still our minds is through meditation. Taking 10 minutes out of your day to sit quietly and focus on your breathing will make a difference in how you feel. Meditation works on de-cluttering our minds and centering us. The things that prevent us from remembering are often mind clutter, stress and mental overload.
I always recommend that people carve out quiet time each morning for reflection. This is the best way to start your day off on the right foot. Studies have shown that meditation will positively impact your memory and overall sense of wellbeing. Make it a priority…you deserve it!
Possibly the most overlooked aspect of a failing memory is hormones. When our hormones are not balanced or are depleted it can lead to age-related disease and dementia. Often without adequate estrogen for women and testosterone for men, our focus and alertness is negatively affected.
Find an anti-aging doctor or Endocrinologist in your area and have your levels checked. Our hormones send signals to every cell in our body and they are imperative to not only feeling better, but living life to the fullest!
To begin reclaiming our memory it is imperative that we pay attention! We need to begin making a conscious effort to remember details. When somebody is explaining something new, really listen. We must choose to remember things like figures, names, and details. We can all become distracted and sometimes all it takes is a little effort.
The next time you’re being exposed to new statistics or information, simply tell yourself “I will remember this”. And then get busy using your brain to retain the details.
When you meet somebody new at a party, repeat their name over and over in your head, as repetition is often the key to remembering. If you’re a visual person like me, picture their name written on a piece of paper or better yet, ask for their business card.
Life can be demanding at times and we must always be gentle with ourselves. If you find that important details slip from your mind, don’t beat yourself up or get anxious. Instead, simply fill your water bottle, take a walk, and get some quiet time to clear your mind of clutter. Look into incorporating some new memory supporting supplements and get a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow is a new day filled with infinite possibilities and potential!
(JAY BRADLEY is an Anti-aging, Wellness, and Lifestyle Expert living in Los Angeles California
WELLNESS--As a certified wellness coach CWC I’ve worked with people all over the world to help them achieve a healthier and happier balance between their body, mind, and spirit. My goal is to dig in, find out where they’re off balance, and then session by session, work to assist my clients in regaining and rediscovering a new way of living that better fits their goals.
WELLNESS-Did you realize that we actually have two brains? Our gut is often referred to as our second brain because everything that happens in our body begins and ends in our stomach. The majority of Americans are moving through life with an unhealthy digestive system thus making them more prone to myriad of possible diseases and health challenges.
There are numerous reasons why our stomachs are off balance, with prescription drugs and antibiotics being number one. Stress also plays a huge factor in lowering digestive health, as does overconsumption of sugar and alcohol.
Some signs that you may have an unhealthy gut are skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea or acne, anxiety and/or depression, lack of energy, bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation, acid reflux and heartburn, and arthritis or inflammation of the joints.
When I work with clients we look at what they’re doing to promote a healthy gut and then get down to some serious business of improving their system even more by using the following life-changing suggestions:
Fermented Foods - Kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, and kombucha tea are just some of the fermented foods which offer an incredible amount of gut-healthy bacteria. Make it a goal to consume some fermented products daily to optimize the healthy flora in your stomach.
Probiotic - More important than a multivitamin is a probiotic. Choose a probiotic supplement with at least 30 billion live cultures and commit to taking it daily indefinitely. Within a short period of time you’ll begin to see the positive benefits of this live product going to work! If you’ve recently consumed a round of antibiotics, it can take up to 6 months to regain your healthy stomach flora.
Sugar and Alcohol - Sugar, alcohol, and refined carbohydrates like processed foods can feed unhealthy gut yeast that attacks our systems. Often a short detox is required to get things under control and regain balance. Eliminating sugar, alcohol, and processed foods and sometimes even fruit and dairy products while consuming fermented foods and a probiotic supplement will re-boot your system and get you back to feeling great.
Meditation - Stress actually affects our entire body including our immune system and digestive health. Taking time each day to meditate will benefit your overall health in ways that you can’t even imagine. Take a class in transcendental meditation or join a meditation group near you. Also create time each morning for quiet reflection to de-stress and reconnect with your spirit.
When we begin to truly understand that our gut is like the operating system for our entire body, we start to make it a priority. If you aren’t feeling your best, work on regaining a healthy gut and you may just realize where the problems have been all along.
(Jay Bradley is an anti-aging, wellness & lifestyle expert living in Los Angeles
WELLNESS--By now we all know that proper sleep is the cornerstone of good health. But knowing it and experiencing it are two different things. Why is it that so many people are having such a difficult time getting and staying asleep? This important aspect of living longer and remaining healthy is a luxury for many.
WELLNESS--We have all come to rely on technology and it certainly has made our lives easier. But recent studies about the potential dangers of regular cell phone use has created some controversy.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is part of the World Health Organization (WHO) with its major goal to identify causes of cancer. The IARC has classified radio frequency or electro magnetic fields like those from cell phones as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
Learning that something is “possibly carcinogenic” is certainly enough to make most people give it some serious thought. After all, cancer-causing toxins and chemicals bombard us daily from our environment and our foods so wouldn’t it be wise to reduce or eliminate those within our control?
The message about these potential dangers shouldn’t cause fear or panic but rather give us the opportunity to make smarter day-to-day choices. It is nearly impossible to avoid regular cell phone use but here are some things that you can do today to begin reducing your exposure to these potentially harmful EMF frequencies:
- Text rather than talk - By texting rather than speaking directly into the phone, we avoid direct contact with our body in particular the head and brain.
- Use a plug-in headset - Always use a plug-in headset to avoid direct contact with your cell phone when speaking on the phone. Wireless headsets also emit EMF signals so it’s best to avoid them whenever possible.
- Airplane mode - When you must carry your phone in your pocket, put it on airplane mode to avoid emitting EMF signals.
- No child zone - Children may be at even more risk because their systems haven’t fully developed. Keep them away from regular cell phone use.
- Leave it behind - It’s rare that we have urgent circumstances so why not consider leaving your phone in the car when you’re out with friends or while shopping.
- Never carry it in your pocket - Avoid carrying your cell phone in your pocket or bra. Preventing direct body contact is best while keeping it at least one inch away from your body at all times.
- At night - Don’t keep your cell phone next to your bed. EMF’s may interrupt your sleep.
- Use protection - There are numerous cell phone cases and other tools that can reduce your phone’s radiation. Do your research to find ones that work.
While the verdict is still out as to the cancer-causing risks of using your cell phone daily, it’s best to be cautious. By making conscious choices to follow the steps above, you are reducing possible exposure to EMF signals and taking one more step to improve your odds of living a long and healthy life.
(Jay Bradley is an anti-aging, wellness & lifestyle expert living in Los Angeles http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com. He is the author of “LIVE LOOK FEEL the 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!”)
WELLNESS-If you’re like most Americans, you pop out of bed each morning, check your phone, emails, and social media and then hurry about with your usual morning routines without much of a conscious thought.
It is so easy to fall into this repetitive cycle and while some regularity is important, it may be time to re-think how you begin your day. The morning is quite possibly the most important time of all! How we start our day defines how it will unfold for us. If we begin feeling frantic, hurried, and caught up in the rat race from the day before, it is almost guaranteed that the hours ahead will follow suit.
WELLNESS--Denmark is on its way to being the first 100% organic country in the world! They are working on numerous ways to grow and market ONLY organic produce, meats, and more.
While I am a proud Canadian who loves the United States, it certainly makes me appreciate my Danish roots. Europe as a whole has always struck me as a region that really has it together when it comes to environmental protection and putting their residents first in terms of health and wellness.
According to an article written in Organic Vegan Earth Denmark is well on its way to its goal of being 100% organic by the year 2020. The Danish Government announced that it will convert the entire country’s agriculture into organic and sustainable farming, making it the first country in the world to do so.
Their focus will also be to increase the amount of organic foods served at both nursery schools and hospitals, two places that need it the most!
We have all known the benefits of going organic for decades but now it is crystal clear that choosing organic has positive health benefits and also promotes a cleaner environment for all of us to live in.
My hope is that the rest of the world will quickly catch on.
(CityWatch contributor Jay Bradley is an anti-aging, wellness, and lifestyle expert living in Los Angeles. He is the author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!) –cw
It happens to us all. Some days we feel energized and exuberant while others we are left drained, exhausted, and overwhelmed. Life provides numerous obstacles and it’s only normal to feel tired from time to time.
I know I’ve often been left wondering is it my diet, too much work, or not enough quality sleep that leaves me lethargic at times? You may be wondering what happened to your sharp mind and vigorous sex drive? The answer isn’t always cut and dry and there are many variables when it comes to our health and overall level of energy.
While diet and sleep largely affect how we feel, stress also plays a huge factor in feeling fatigued. Stress pumps cortisol (also known as the stress hormone) into our systems directly from the adrenal glands. The “fight or flight” response we get from cortisol being released is normal but if too much is released too often, this can exhaust our adrenal glands making them less efficient and effective. In turn, we have a tough time feeling calm which may lead to less physical energy and a lowered sex drive.
The good news is that there are natural herbs which offer support to the adrenal glands and are known to boost the libido and energy levels too!
Here is a list of the top 3 choices which are all part of the ginseng family. I have noticed amazing results using these herbs with no adverse side effects. It’s best to try one for 3 months and then change it up periodically.
MACA is also known as Peruvian ginseng and comes from the radish family. It is most commonly found in supplement or powder form and can easily be added to your daily smoothie or cookie recipe.
ASHWAGANDA is a part of the tomato family and is also called Indian ginseng. Often used in the Ayurvedic tradition, this orange berry-like fruit with a leaf around it offers great adrenal and libido-supporting properties and many people notice a wonderful, steady energy soon after taking it.
TONGKAT ALI is also called Malaysian ginseng and has been referred to as Asian Viagra for obvious reasons. It is known to provide steady energy and a libido boost by supporting proper testosterone production in men. Tongkat Ali also works for women.
Listen to your body at all times. Just because something is natural doesn’t always mean that they are good for your individual health situation. It’s best to supplement with these herbs earlier in the day to avoid insomnia and lastly, look for top quality, organic products and always check with your doctor before beginning a new supplement regimen.
WELLNESS--We’ve all felt down from time to time. Emotions are an integral part of what makes us human. Sometimes the low times can magnify the ups, so they’re not always that bad.
I have struggled with bouts of depression throughout my life. It began from a young age and has carried into my adult years. However, I have learned how to cope by taking great care of my physical health, doing the inner spiritual work and by being innately aware of what is going on with my thought process. But depression is a disease and sometimes it’s difficult to figure out when we are truly and chemically depressed versus feeling down because of outside circumstances or events.
This happens a lot during holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Holidays, while supposedly fun and social, can also bring out deep-rooted sadness. There are a multitude of reasons we get down with too much spending, family dynamics, and overall fatigue from lack of sleep or overeating topping the list.
Of course, always seek professional help if your depression lasts for extended periods or if you are unable to cope with day-to-day activities.
If you suspect your low mood is due to an external source such as the holidays, here are some useful tips to get you through it while minimizing possible depression and feelings of being overwhelmed:
1) Reduce Sugar
This is a tough one, especially during the holidays, but sugar is a known depressant. Desserts and alcohol, while initially causing a high, will lead to an ultimate crash in blood sugar, insulin levels, and overall energy. Allow yourself to binge a little bit during the holidays but know when to say enough is enough. Don’t feel the pressure to eat everything on your plate and drink one glass of water or soda between every alcoholic beverage to offset its effects. If something doesn’t tantalize your taste buds, don’t finish it.
2) Find a Friend
Being around family for extended periods can bring out a lot of stuff from our past. Emotions can run high and toxic memories that we hold deep seem to surface quickly during the holidays. If you’re feeling emotional or drained, find a good friend to talk to. Decompress with somebody who knows you well and can remind you that you are in fact, sane, wonderful, and balanced and that family can bring out our worst. Friends can act as a therapists when we need them the most.
3) Take a Time Out
Creating a morning practice is something that I recommend to all of my clients and friends. Journaling, prayer, meditation, and reading uplifting material every day, WILL change your life and your mood. It’s more important than ever to continue carving out this time during the holidays. Even if you have to get up 15 minutes early, it’s worth the commitment. This solo time will create a haven for you where you can get centered before the craziness begins.
4) Watch Your Wallet
If you’re a giver, then this definitely applies to you. Many of us feel pressured to buy extravagant gifts during the holidays especially if others have done the same for us. Take the time to write down how much money you have for gifts (if any at all) and then create a budget for yourself. Carry it with you while you’re shopping and take notes in order to stay on track.
Remember, the size or price of our gift in NO WAY reflects our love for somebody. A beautiful card with sincere words goes a long way, often meaning much more to others then a present. Don’t feel the pressure to give back. If you don’t have the money for gifts, learn to receive without the stress of having to return the favor. Those who truly matter will understand.
5) Keep Up with Exercise
It’s totally fine to take a short break from your exercise routine during the holidays but don’t go too long. The longer you’re away, the more difficult it is to return. Also, exercise creates endorphins, which are the “feel good” hormone. They are more important than ever for those who are prone to depression. Push yourself to do short, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) which takes less time but with better results. HIIT also acts as a wonderful detox from sugar and alcohol.
6) Learn to say NO
So many parties, so little time! It’s easy to get caught up wanting to be social and to visit with all of your favorite people. You must learn that it is okay to say no. If you’re not a “hell yes” to an event, party, or get together, consider turning it down with a polite response. People who love you will not take it personally. It is always best to put yourself first because if we are drained and feeling down, we have nothing left to offer others.
(CityWatch contributor Jay Bradley is an anti-aging, wellness, and lifestyle expert living in Los Angeles. He is the author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.
Vol 13 Issue 98
Pub: Dec 4, 2015
Sometimes deciding what to eat can be downright confusing. Especially if you pay close attention to health trends like I do. Each and every day there are more and more wholesome eating styles than ever before. Diets like vegan, vegetarian, paleo, pescetarian, macro-biotic, eating for your blood type, high protein, low carb and gluten free are just a few. The more information out there, the tougher it can be to make the right decisions. One particular diet may benefit a friend or family member but not work for you. We are all unique which means we must figure out what’s best for us as individuals. There is however, one exception; going raw. Eating more raw foods will have immense health benefits for the majority of people who try it.
What does going raw mean exactly? When I first heard about this trend years ago it didn’t sound very appealing. After all, I was brought up on meat, potatoes and well-cooked vegetables from our garden. Eating only uncooked foods seemed rather limiting and boring. I was so wrong.
I have since learned that eating more raw foods doesn’t mean we have to suffer a lifetime of monotony. In fact, there are a plethora of wonderful, tasty options which we can easily incorporate into our daily routine. And instead of going totally raw, why not do what I’ve done…be a part-time raw enthusiast!
Raw refers to foods in their natural state such as uncooked fruits and vegetables, unroasted nuts and seeds, whole grains and unprocessed oils. Anything that has NOT been heated above 115 F or 46 C also counts. The closer we eat a food in its natural state, the better for our bodies. Fresh, unprocessed foods contain life-preserving phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and beneficial oils that literally feed our system live energy. The farther we get away from raw foods, the harder our bodies work to process and eliminate what we eat.
Many people who follow a raw diet report more energy, weight loss and improved skin as well as better sleep. Studies show positive links between eating raw and reducing the risks of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
My advice is to begin slowly. Consider a diet that consists of at least 30% raw foods. Learn about the benefits of eating more fruits, vegetables, and unroasted nuts. Visit health food stores that sell a myriad of raw alternatives, including protein and green powders; meal replacement bars, and raw, healthy snacks.
One of the simplest ways to ensure that you get live nutrients is by incorporating at least one raw, green and alkaline-friendly drink into your day. I have included my favorite recipe below that is simple, delicious and uses mainly raw ingredients.
Use only organic ingredients whenever possible.
3 cups of rice, hemp, or almond milk
½ peeled avocado
1 freshly-squeezed grapefruit (juice only)
1 tablespoon of chia or hemp seeds
1 peeled lime
3 teaspoons of coconut sugar
2 cups of fresh spinach
½ English cucumber with peel
¼ cup of coconut milk or baby coconut meat
½ cup of ice
*1 scoop of superfood greens
Blend together in a blender or Vitamix and serve with a cucumber wedge
*Look for a raw superfood green powder at your local health food store. My favorite is Perfect Food Raw by Garden of Life.
Eating raw may produce some unpleasant side effects in the beginning such as gas and bloating. These are normal and will wear off as your body acclimates. In the beginning, try combining raw fruits, nuts and vegetables along with moderately cooked foods. Don’t go all uncooked at once. Give your body time to adjust.
If you have food allergies or sensitivities, eating raw can be frustrating in the beginning. You may have reactions to certain raw items. Note what food seems to cause these reactions and then choose to eat those items in moderation or slightly cooked. Or avoid them altogether.
Here are the top 10 foods to eat raw. They contain some of the most potent phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes on the planet. Again, buy organic whenever possible:
Fresh or frozen berries are low in sugar and rich in antioxidants not to mention delicious and easy to digest. I always do my best to start the day with fresh blueberries.
High in fiber, potassium, vitamin E, and healthy unsaturated fats, avocados also provide protein and live enzymes. Enjoy in a salad, shake or sandwich.
Coconut water is high in electrolytes and rich in potassium. The meat contains protein and healthy fats with four times more fiber than oat bran. Try coconut ice cream. It is rich and delicious.
4) Raw green juice
Fresh, raw juice of celery, parsley, cilantro, kale, spinach, cucumber, and other greens nourishes our body with enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The juice acts as a wonderful detoxifier. Try using a blender to keep all of the healthy fiber intact.
5) Wheat grass
Very high in chlorophyll, minerals, and other nutrients, wheat grass or any type of sprouted juice gently detoxifies our bodies. You also can choose raw superfood powders that contain wheatgrass and other essential raw greens.
6) Raw honey
Raw honey is the ONLY 100% predigested food on the planet. It works to promote healing, healthy digestion, and immune strength.
7) Chia seeds
Chia contains high levels of phytonutrients, fiber, and essential fats and acts to lubricate our joints and bowels and remove toxins. Add chia to your cereal, salad or a blended drink.
8) Olives and extra virgin olive oil
Olives and olive oil are very high in antioxidants, healthy fats, and vitamin E. They assist the body and skin with inflammation and work to reduce cholesterol in the blood. I love olive oil and lemon dressing.
9) Raw dairy products
*Raw dairy is not easy to find for legal reasons especially in certain provinces and some states. Raw dairy products such as kefir, yogurt, milk, and cheese from cows, sheep and goats are rich in vitamins, live enzymes, probiotics, healthy fats, and protein.
10) Marinated raw fish
Sushi, sashimi and ceviche (marinated fish) are loaded with live enzymes, probiotics, healthy fats, and fat-soluble vitamins.
*It may not be advisable for people with compromised immune systems to consume raw, unpasteurized dairy products. Always consult your physician before starting a new diet.
As I’ve mentioned, start slow. Begin by incorporating a greens drink into your daily routine. Choose raw vegetables, salad or fruit along with your lunch or snack. Select a few of the 10 items listed above and begin introducing them immediately. Small steps along the way WILL have a positive, long-term impact on the way your body looks and feels. Raw, fresh foods are the key to keeping your system healthy. Your skin, immunity, digestion, brain, and literally every cell in your body will say THANK YOU! You will experience more physical energy to do the things that you love and increase your odds of living a longer life. As an added bonus, you will look younger too!
Jay Bradley is an Anti-Aging, Wellness, and Lifestyle Expert living in Los Angeles.
I first learned about Testosterone replacement when I visited an anti-aging doctor in Beverly Hills two years ago. Blood tests revealed that my “T” levels were on the low side of normal for my age. I hadn’t even thought about hormones before visiting his office and suddenly I was introduced to a whole new world of possibilities. For years, despite living a very healthy lifestyle, I felt lethargic, experienced moderate depression and was less vital than years earlier. The changes were something I figured I’d have to deal with. After all, I remember having depression as a kid so maybe it was a chemical thing.
If you’re like most people in North America over the age of 30, you are probably experiencing some signs of aging related to hormonal imbalance. For men, the changes are more gradual while for women, they can be more sudden and dramatic.
Many of my clients have just accepted that their aches, pains, foggy memory, and low libido are an inevitable part of aging. What they don’t realize is that many of these challenges can be due to lack of exercise, unhealthy lifestyle, stress, and environmental toxins. The other missing piece of the puzzle for many is imbalanced hormones. Something CAN be done about it and Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) may be the answer for you.
Once I began Testosterone replacement, I immediately felt better! It was as if somebody had given my slightly wilted body some water. Suddenly I perked up. My workouts improved, I felt more rested in the mornings and the depression seemed to reside. I was already quite lean but whatever body fat I had around my tummy also dissipated and my muscles looked and felt stronger and leaner. Numerous people were telling me how great I looked.
If you are confused about the use of hormone replacement, you are certainly not alone! There are numerous conflicting views out there and it is so difficult to know which ones to believe. Some studies tout hormone replacement as the key to feeling and looking great for as long as possible while others suggest that adding hormones can lead to cancer and other diseases. Who do we believe?
Studies dating back to 1940 revealed that Testosterone replacement had a direct connection to increased prostate cancer. Unfortunately, those beliefs have held strong in the medical community, even today. In his book “Testosterone for Life” by Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, he reveals how those early studies were inaccurate and discusses hundreds of newer, more up to date research that in fact, show there is NO connection between healthy testosterone levels and cancer. In fact, it is low “T” that is the perpetrator. Testosterone replacement in moderate doses, evaluated by your doctor also has no effect on heart disease, liver damage or high blood pressure.
In her book “Ageless”, Suzanne Somers speaks in great depth about her positive experience as a cancer survivor using BHRT and interviews numerous leading anti-aging doctors about the benefits of all hormones.
Hormones are like the spark plugs for your body and in order to experience vitality, it is imperative to fine tune and balance the KEY hormones. The goal of most hormone specialists is to bring our levels back to where they were in our mid 20s-early 30s, a time when most of us felt our absolute best. Here are the main hormones and a little bit about their role in your body.
Testosterone is the hormone that makes a man male. It works to create muscle, body hair, lower body fat, and all other male characteristics. Testosterone is at its peak during our 20s and begins to decrease in most men at the age of 30. Testosterone is released from the testes and is also responsible for sperm production.
Normal levels of Testosterone in men range from approximately 348ng/dL to 1197ng/dL. A blood or saliva test will reveal what your levels are. I was surprised to find out that my levels were sitting at 440ng/dL. This is definitely considered the lower side of normal. Since doing Bioidentical Hormone Replacement I have managed to get my levels between 800-1000ng/dL
Estrogen is the hormone that makes a woman female. It creates feminine characteristics. Like Testosterone, Bioidentical Estrogen replacement has also brought up some controversy.
Suzanne Somers has written numerous books on the topic and has become an advocate for both male and female Bioidentical Hormone Replacement. She believes whole-heartedly in estrogen replacement for those who struggle with imbalances. Having been a cancer survivor, she talks openly about why she feels Estrogen replacement decreases cancer and other disease.
HGH (Human Growth Hormone)
HGH or Human Growth Hormone is getting a lot of press these days. It is a natural hormone in our bodies that we often overlook. As children, these hormones help our bodies and our internal organs to grow and become strong. As we age, the amount of HGH in our body decreases dramatically. Our HGH levels can drop as much as 85% from the age of 25 to 60. When HGH decreases, our bodies begin to age more rapidly.
Numerous anti-aging experts are recommending that people with low levels of Human Growth Hormone begin HGH replacement as a tool to reverse the aging process.
Like testosterone, HGH can aid the body in building lean muscle, burning fat and increasing overall energy. It also works on reversing aging on a cellular level.
Human Growth Hormone should only be considered if there is a deficiency. It should never be used as a bodybuilding or fitness tool. Find out your levels and get a skilled professional to weigh your pros and cons. Keep in mind that HGH is expensive; anywhere from $500 to $1000 US per month.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that my HGH levels were quite good for somebody my age. I attribute this to the interval cardio training that I do called Sprint 8 and a healthy diet and lifestyle. I would certainly consider HGH replacement should my levels decrease in the future. It’s just one more tool that we can use to turn back the clock and live our life to the fullest!
Progesterone is produced in both the ovaries and the adrenal glands and works to normalize blood sugar levels and facilitate proper thyroid function especially during a woman’s menstrual cycle. It can also assist in countering depression and anxiety, cognitive function, regulating thyroid, and increasing libido. A healthy pregnancy and embryo depends on this vital hormone as well. It is important for men to have adequate amounts of Progesterone too. Bioidentical, oral supplementation and cream is available and is relatively safe as long as a doctor regularly monitors you.
Pregnenolone is naturally produced in the adrenal glands, liver, skin, brain, testicles, ovaries, and retina of the eyes. It has been shown to improve cognitive function, increase energy, reduce the effects of stress, improve mood, and immunity. It is most commonly available as a supplement or cream.
The Thyroid gland is located in the neck and it produces the hormone Thyroid. Our pituitary gland can also affect the production of Thyroid. Our thyroid levels can be affected or even halted by stress, illness, anxiety, and even dieting.
Hypothyroidism or low Thyroid can cause hair loss, weight gain, constipation, cold hands and feet, and foggy thinking. Hyperthyroidism is the opposite which means that the Thyroid is overactive possibly leading to hyperactivity, muscle weakness, sudden weight loss or gain, increased appetite, and sensitivity to heat.
Finding the right treatment can be tricky which is why it’s important to find a knowledgeable doctor who will offer suggestions on how best to treat you for under or over-active Thyroid.
The pancreas secretes insulin which works to regulate our blood sugar and assist our body in burning carbohydrates rather than storing them as fat. Some people have become Insulin resistant which means that the body no longer accepts sugar and fat for energy but rather stores them which can produce even more Insulin. Long-term high Insulin levels can lead to weight gain especially in the mid-section. Increased Insulin can also lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, plaque in the arteries, and cancer.
Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle along with exercise is very important in balancing your Insulin. Ask your doctor how balancing all of your hormones will positively affect your Insulin levels too.
Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. Our adrenal glands send adrenalin into our system which can cause an energizing effect. But because of our modern day stresses, our Cortisol is pumping way too much and far too often. Over time, too much Cortisol can wreak havoc on our system causing insulin resistance, weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.
Reducing stress levels through meditation and lifestyle changes will help a lot in conjunction with balancing all of your other hormones.
Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone. It is secreted from the pineal gland that is located in the brain. It is also a very powerful antioxidant which assists the body in squelching free radicals in our system. Like other hormones, as we age, our body slows the production of Melatonin. Getting a good night’s sleep is essential if we want to live longer, look younger, and feel better. Quality sleep is restorative to our entire system and with high levels of Melatonin our body has a better ability to fight off infection and remain strong.
Have you experienced sleeping through the night and still waking up tired? This could be a sign that your Melatonin levels are low.
Often supplementing with Melatonin helps people to get a better night’s sleep. It is gentle and effective and even at high doses it has not been shown to be toxic.
In the United States, you can purchase Melatonin supplements at a health food store. If you are having sleep issues, consider supplementing for a few weeks and see if your sleep improves. Sometimes even a tiny dose will make all the difference.
Melatonin is also great for those who travel often and deal with jet lag due to time zone changes.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is secreted by our adrenal glands and is considered by many doctors to be an anti-aging hormone. It has positive effects on almost every part of our body including the brain, muscles, immune system, organs, and tissues. DHEA also helps the body’s production of collagen which promotes younger skin.
DHEA levels start to decline in most people after the age of thirty which is why it is vital to get tested regularly.
DHEA is available as a supplement and like Melatonin is relatively safe at moderate doses. Always consult your physician to find out what dose is best for you.
The key is to ensure that you find a qualified doctor who specializes in hormones. Initially, it may take a few appointments to get your levels balanced but once they are, only yearly blood work is advised as maintenance. The results will be well worth it!
Jay Bradley is an Anti-Aging, Wellness, and Lifestyle Coach living in Los Angeles.