The Travel Bug: Exploring The Self

The Travel Bug: Exploring The Self

While thinking about writing this blog, I started looking back to the many opportunities I have had to travel over the years. I have been to 6 countries and all but a few states.

I didn’t grow up traveling. My dad was a truck driver and the last thing he wanted to do was go for a “Sunday” drive with mom and 5 kids piled into our small car! Vacations at my house were when dad and mom went away for a week and we stayed home with a babysitter.

My first bus trip was on my Senior class trip to NYC.  I had never stayed in a hotel or seen so many different people from all over the world. I loved the lights and excitement of the bustling city. As an impressionable 18-year-old, that was my first peek at the world and I was hooked!

In general, my approach to life has been to be prepared, ie. fix things when they break, get things checked before they breakdown, make sure I have the right equipment for the weather (snow shovel, blankets), etc. When planning to travel, I want the appropriate shoes, gear, clothes, maps and always several flashlights. I become motivated to train to get into shape and stay healthy. That being said, I am now more flexible and accepting when things don’t go as planned.

In 2017, I had the opportunity to backpack across Spain on a 1,000-year-old pilgrimage trail called the El Camino de Santiago. My friend Anne had been wanting to do this walk for a few years, so she asked me to go with her. When sharing the possibility of walking the El Camino, a friend told me that although opportunities to travel may come up, most people do not take them. I realized that I have often “jumped right in” when I got the chance, even though I am NOT a brave person and I didn’t always realize all that would be involved. My trips have been hard sometimes, but amazing!

What I have learned from my travels so far, is how these trips change me. When I return home and am looking at pictures and sharing my experiences with others, I realize how much I have accomplished and how much I have grown spiritually. I have been able to meet new people, extend myself mentally and physically, and definitely function out of my comfort zone! I know that I can live out of my backpack, carrying 18 pounds for a month, do better when I don’t have expectations, can live in the moment, and that we humans are more alike than different.

So, when you travel are you your same self, someone else, or your real self? We certainly can see ourselves in a different way when meeting new people, in new settings, or even when traveling with people we know.  

HAPPY TRAILS!   BUEN CAMINO! BON VOYAGE!

Health Elevated – Biohacks for Modern Aging

Health Elevated – Biohacks for Modern Aging

I remember the cartoon The Jetsons– George, Jane, daughter Judy, son Elroy, and their dog, Astro. They were zipping around with jetpacks, moving sidewalks, robot maids, and flying cars. It was fascinating to see their “out of this world” use of technology and dream about what it would be like.  Seriously, can you imagine a world of video conferencing, robot vacuum cleaners, drones that delivered packages, and smartwatches? Or how about seeing the cellphone in “Star Trek;” or a computerized tablet in “The Space Odyssey;” or even a brain-controlled prosthetic limb from “Star Wars.” Oh wait– you can imagine it… better yet– we can LIVE it!  

The speed of technology in and around us is progressing every second.  If you can imagine it– it is likely possible. In the world of Anti-Aging medicine, it is a similar phenomenon.  It is estimated that the doubling time of medical knowledge in 1950 was 50 years; in 2010, 3.5 years. In 2020 the amount of medical knowledge is projected to double in just 73 days.

My mind starts racing when I think of the information we have access to regarding Anti-Aging medicine and our longevity.  For me, trying to narrow down the topic is like trying to get a child to pick out only two candies when there is an entire bowl full to choose from.  I’ll stick to a few developments that research shows can bring life-changing and life-lengthening benefits to you.

Let’s start right out of the gate with the amazing emerging science of Peptide Therapy.  Peptides are small proteins made of amino acids in short sequences and they have the ability to rewrite your body’s destiny. There are over 7000 peptides actively being studied and 150 in use currently.  The small molecules act as signals for very specific reactions.  Because peptides are naturally occurring, big pharma has not regulated their use– YET.   

If you know anyone who struggles with memory issues, concentration or focus; or has concerns about dementia or neurologic disorders; or brain inflammation issues like biotoxin exposure– then RG3+NAD nasal peptide spray is one you must know about.  It works to stimulate brain healing and repair. Substances used to enhance brain function are known as nootropics. In fact, iRG3+NAD is the only thing we have found to stimulate neuroregeneration.

Maybe you have become very aware of the dramatic increase in cancer rates in those around you and even the very young.  Peptide science is revealing molecules that can actually carry a chemotherapeutic inside of a cancer cell for incredibly targeted treatments.  This allows for a significantly increased response to chemotherapy. Peptide PNC-27 has been shown to be highly effective in several cancers– specifically pancreatic cancer.  Cancer cells turn off the bodies ability to “see” them and this peptide turns this back on. Hide and seek is over with certain cancers when this peptide is on board.

In a society focused on anti-aging, peptide therapy offers some uses that almost everyone can find appealing.  How about a Fat Loss Peptide cream? This cream is used to spot treat areas like the abdomen, upper arms, and thighs.  It decreases the fat under the skin by an impressive amount considering you are rubbing a cream on every day. The average waist measurement difference is 11cm in 12 weeks.  As you can see, peptide therapies will bring incredible changes to our lives starting… NOW!

Medical research is revealing that some modalities can not only feel great but do great things for us.  Let’s turn our attention to Infrared (IR) Saunas as our next Anti-Aging treatment. IR saunas use invisible infrared light to heat up the body.  Instead of just using a heat source like a dry sauna or steam sauna, the IR light penetrates the skin to jump-start the body at the cellular level.  This approach stimulates the healing and repair of tissues as well as increased detoxification. IR saunas have been proven to lower blood pressure, increase weight loss, speed injury healing, stimulate collagen production, and reduce pain levels by up to 70%.  We can thank NASA for justifying the use of this anti-aging modality. Just think… you can get the benefits from IR saunas by simply relaxing and possibly listening to your favorite podcast (not-so-subtle plug for the MBA podcast “Second Sip.”)

Let’s finish up with a couple of things that you have complete control over, as well as being quick and equipment free: High-Intensity Interval Training, Fasting and Mindset Effect.

Now don’t be turned off by reading the words High-Intensity Interval Training.  HIIT, as it is commonly referred to, can be a game changer for your approach to exercise.  Imagine exercising in small amounts of time… I mean really small like 7.5 to 20 minutes PER WEEK and actually getting results.  There are some great apps available such as Seven, Sworkit, and FitBit Coach HIIT that are free and offer workouts from 7-35 minutes.  To get the researched benefits, you must perform the workout with an intense effort and follow it with short recovery periods.  HIIT actually boosts your metabolism for 48 hours after workouts.   The benefits seen include weight loss, improved exercise endurance, and improved heart function.  There’s no need to hop on the treadmill for an epic hour and a half. You can simply do brief, high-intensity exercise for proven health benefits.

Fasting is another phenomenal longevity modality that continues to have research proven benefits.  The scientific and medical literature contains literally hundreds of papers dealing with the therapeutic use of fasting.  It has been extensively used in the treatment of a variety of conditions including obesity, diabetes, epilepsy, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, cancer, and autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis. There are two main types frequently studied.  Intermittent fasting is limiting calories between 8-24 hours and prolonged fasting is longer than 3 days.

Why does fasting work?  Think of your body organ systems as a game of red light/green light. When you eat, the lights are green allowing that organ to do its job. The organ also has a stoplight allowing it to stop when it needs to.  The more the body functions together, the better “traffic keeps flowing.” But also think about repairs– if you need to repair a road, the stoplights have to go to red to stop traffic.  The same happens with our body. It needs downtime to restore and repair. Your body naturally goes into a “red light” stop and repair mode within 10-12 hours after your last meal. The repair mode is crucial to our body being able to recover from injury or cell damage that might have happened throughout the day.  Your genetic makeup is actually programmed to function this way– turning genes on and off. The only way you can control this natural rhythm of repair is by allowing 10-12 hours between eating typically overnight as in Intermittent Fasting or Time Restricted Fasting.

If your body is attempting to heal and repair major issues such as autoimmune disorders, cancer, or heart issues to name a few, we are finding that Prolonged Fasts can be very helpful.  Don’t fret– there are protocols that allow you to eat small and very specific foods if you don’t want to do a complete fast for 5 days. We work with ProLon who provides a box with everything you eat in 5 days.  This more intense fast modulates immunity, improves brain function, lowers blood pressure, decreases inflammatory markers, and lowers cholesterol. It is a comprehensive system “reboot.”

Wrapping up the proven Anti-Aging modalities that can help us live longer and healthier lives is the discussion of the Mindset Effect.  William James said, “Man can alter his life by altering his thinking.” Research is continuing to reinforce this principle. Did you know that just thinking positively about exercise or how much activity you do leads to increased longevity?  And to be clear, I did not say you actually did more exercise. In the study, the positive thinkers tended to outlive those who didn’t feel good about the exercise they participate in even when they did more exercise.  Because of your beliefs, your body responds with changes that have lifelong effects!

Another mindfulness activity involves joyful journaling. I bet you have heard about the benefits of joyful journaling and how it can reprogram your brain.  To do this, simply think of three things that brought you joy and write them down before you go to bed.  Researchers have found that when you do this nightly for one week, it enhances happiness for up to one month and reduces depressive symptoms for up to 6 months. Again we see how our mindset affects our health and wellbeing. Through natural chemicals like dopamine, endorphins, endocannabinoids, serotonin, and gaba we can enhance chemical reactions that positively affect our longevity.

In the world of Anti-Aging medicine, there are literally hundreds of treatment options.  Our goal is to always put together the recommendations that best fit each person’s current condition and their goals.  Simply start by eating real food, moving until your mind is clear, and getting adequate rest. Start incorporating changes and build on those new habits.  If you need or want help, we are here for you. By listening to patients, we can openly discuss options that will help them lead the life they imagine living.  It is not always easy and not always fast, but using the bodies innate ability to heal we believe it is possible. I feel blessed to be able to walk alongside patients in this incredible journey that we call life– in the most revolutionary time of medical options. 

 

 

 

 

 

Creating Your Sanctuary

Creating Your Sanctuary

My first thought when approached with the subject of Creating Your Sanctuary was “easy peasy, I’m a designer at McCready Interiors, I do that for clients and customers every day”. I ask many questions to find what they want their environment to reflect, then select styles and fabrics or leathers that will be successful in creating that feeling.

A sanctuary is a place of refuge, a place of safety, a place to retreat, it should reflect whatever brings you a sense of peace and tranquility.

In reflecting and researching for my blog, I considered that my personal sanctuary actually changes quite often. My home is obviously a sanctuary where I retreat at the end of the day, but I soon realized I have many opportunities for a sanctuary; a walk in the woods, my gardens, a yoga class, even a visit to the home of my best friend since high school to enjoy the hot tub and catch up.

Your sanctuary may be the beach, an exercise class, a girls night out, or a space in your home you can make your own. It could be those moments when you have the opportunity for “no boys (or kids) allowed”, a big comfy reading chair or a place you can have quiet time to reflect, meditate, or just slow down to recharge.

As women, many of our lives are centered around taking care of others;  we are nurturers, caregivers, helpmates. We tend to do for others before taking care of ourselves. When we give our all to everyone else, there is little left for ourselves.  The importance of self-care is critical to our well-being. We must take the time to regard ourselves highly enough to carve out time and space to enjoy a sanctuary of our own.

Creating your sanctuary is simply making a space that gives you the opportunity to surround yourself with an area to take a breath and unwind.

If you are able to start with a blank slate space, select a wall color that reflects calm to you. Select pieces that avoid clutter and chaos, keep the space simple. This is an area you want to be able to completely relax in.

Carefully edit what you place in your sacred space, less is usually more when you are looking for a place for quiet or meditation. If nature brings you calm and joy, place greenery or nature-inspired artwork there. Position your comfy reading chair facing a window so you can enjoy the view. If the beach is your sanctum, use colors that reflect the sand, sea, and sky. Surround yourself with beauty and an atmosphere of calm. Turn off the TV and turn on your favorite music if you don’t want silence. I have many Pandora stations I can select from to enhance whatever mood or feeling I want to focus on. I choose Motown if I want to escape and maybe dance a little (when no one is watching), Glenn Miller if I’m feeling nostalgic, Eric Clapton or the Beatles for a variety of reasons, and slow smooth jazz or classical choices to for a quieter environment.

Candles whether real or the real-looking battery powered styles can set the mood with soft lighting. Many of us have essential oils and diffusers to provide soothing scents to help create the perfect environment.

When we make time to devote to ourselves and nurture ourselves, we become our better selves. A sacred space is a perfect place to let our best selves shine through. Creating a sanctuary isn’t difficult. Just remember to keep it reflective of who you are and what kind of energy you want it to invoke.

Last diet hack for lifelong wellness

Last diet hack for lifelong wellness

In 2015, I was among the almost 40% of American adults that are obese, and me, morbidly so. Little kids would hug my leg and call me Santa Claus. I was on several blood pressure (BP) medications, cholesterol control, antacids and used a sleep apnea machine. After almost 2 weeks in hospital due to a septic infection, I had plenty of time to think about how I wanted to live after I got better. It wasn’t as a big guy on a bunch of medication anymore…

Diet and exercise is a start

I started with diet and exercise to lose weight. It can work, I lost 150 lbs doing just that. I used the “Lose It” app along with a Fitbit. Every day I faithfully recorded exercise and everything I ate to make sure I was in a calorie deficit and losing weight. But after my initial success a year into dieting, I started questioning if I wanted to diet like this forever. Also while I had greatly reduced medications due to the weight loss, I was still on BP and cholesterol pills.

A change with good results

In Oct 2016, I was able to attend a 10-day immersion program focused on eating a whole-food plant-based diet. At the end of the program—in just 10 days of eating differently—not only did I start losing more weight, my BP and blood work results showed I could stop the rest of my Medications.

The hack

A whole-food plant-based diet that works two-fold. First, calorie density is the term used to describe food mass versus calorie content. In various articles, there are diagrams depicting how full your stomach gets when eating whole-food plant-based (WFPB) items like vegetables, potatoes, rice, beans, fruits, whole wheat pasta, and bread, versus processed food and snacks, oil, sugar, cheese, and meat. For example, see Forks Over Knives article, “The Calorie Density Approach to Nutrition and Lifelong Weight Management.”  Check out the Calorie Density Scale illustration toward the end. Picture a liter bottle of soda as your stomach. The WFPB foods fill up the bottle, and you feel full without excessive calories. For the same amount of calories, meat, cheese, and processed foods only fill the bottle up a third and keep you wanting more. Even worse, you pack on excess calories if you do eat until you fill the bottle – and the want to feel full is a natural response from your body! So by eating minimally-processed plant-based food, you lose weight or maintain weight without calorie counting. Secondly, if you eat mostly meat and cheeses, and oils, then you are at risk of having issues with cholesterol and various inflammatory problems. There is also a lot of evidence of problems with industrialized meat and milk production such as the overuse of antibiotics. A whole-food plant-based diet also looks to minimize sodium intake; a big contributor to BP issues.  For example, see The US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health article, “Plant-Based Diets: A Physicians Guide.”

It’s working for me

Over a year and a half eating this way, I lost 30 more pounds – and I’m not focused on restraint and rigorous dieting. I’m feeling more in harmony with my body by eating when I’m hungry and making sure I’m full. I am also still off on blood pressure and cholesterol medications with my Doctor’s blessing. Throw in some moderate exercise and I can do this long term.

It could work for you

There are lots of free helpful recipes, resources, and tips on the internet to help you start. Just do a search on WFPB diet. You can do it without an expensive program or a fad approach with a celebrity spokesperson. Don’t want to jump in all the way? Start by adding 1000 calories of plant-based food to your diet to begin to feel full and more satisfied.  It worked for me, it could work for you. I’d be happy to correspond.

Views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author, Mike Solon.

Discover Fun Ways to Nourish Your World

Discover Fun Ways to Nourish Your World

Nourish: provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition.

July is the month of Nourishing at Mind Body Align. Nourish is one of my favorite words. You can nourish your body, your mind, your spirit, a child, a friend, a friend’s child, an animal, your environment, and even the community. And, I am going to challenge you to come up with some fun ways to do just that this month.

First, grab a writing implement and piece of paper, I’ll wait.

Next, find a comfortable place to sit, lightly close your eyes and take five slow, deep, cleansing breaths.  I am going to wait right here until you finish. You can even roll your shoulders or your eyes a few times before you answer the following questions:

1.  How will you nourish yourself?

2.  How will you nourish family and friends?

3.  How will you nourish the environment?

4.  How will you nourish community?

I want you to be creative, detailed and have some fun!

How can you support growth, health and good condition in each of those areas this month? I will share my answers with you so you can hold me accountable and I would love it if you shared some of yours!

Here goes.

I, Linda Snyder…

1. Will nourish myself by eating a healthy breakfast at least 5 days a week, listening to music when I cook, and creating 30 minutes daily for outside meditation. NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS!

2.  I will nourish family and friends by actively listening, not only in person, but when on the telephone by turning off any distractions that may be present while on the call.

3.  I will nourish the environment by refraining from purchasing anything made of plastic during the month of July (this includes polyester and acrylic clothing) and reducing my shower time to 5 minutes, even when I travel for work. I will sing my naked woman song while showering. (This song was created many years ago while my daughter and I were tent camping in Maine. It cost .25 cents to shower so we showered together, quickly.)

4.  I will nourish my community by attending public events, exploring places I can volunteer, and purchasing goods from local establishments.

See? That’s do-able isn’t it?

Now it’s YOUR turn – please share your answers below.

What does “Nourish” really mean?

What does “Nourish” really mean?

When the MBA team gave me the topic of “Nourish” it seemed like a logical fit for someone in the restaurant business. But the longer I thought about the topic, the less I felt qualified to write about it!

What does “Nourish” really mean?  Synonyms include: feed, provide for, sustain, maintain, enhance, cherish, nurture, foster, harbor, etc.

So, OK, I feed people; I provide food for people; I give the opportunity to people to enhance their diets with healthy food options. Those are the obvious reasons for me to write on this topic. But to me, Nourish has a more spiritual meaning.

Humans nourish themselves not only by feeding their bodies, but also through doing the things that they are passionate about and that make them happy. Which is precisely why I wasn’t sure that I was qualified to write about this topic. Being a business owner is hard work, and while I am happy doing it I find that I have ignored myself in the process. The things that I used to be passionate about have been pushed aside.

I was not nourishing myself. Or, so I thought.

While pondering these revelations, I kept being reminded of a profound experience that happened to me at the restaurant one day.

It was a very busy day and we had a full dining room plus many delivery orders to fill. I was feeling pretty stressed when all of a sudden I stopped and listened to the sounds of happy people talking and laughing in the dining room, and I had an overwhelming feeling that my Italian Grandma would be so proud if she could see what I have accomplished (and yes, tears are streaming down my face while I write this.)

My Grandma would invite all the nuns and the priest and anyone else who didn’t have somewhere to go for holiday meals… she loved to feed a crowd. Feeding people in a warm, loving environment nourished her soul. That profound experience nourished my soul.

With loving nourishment

Maybe one day I can get back to those things that I used to be passionate about. For now, I will nourish my soul by helping others find nourishment… not only through offering the healthy food options, but also by providing a place where they will always be greeted with a welcome, a smile, and a warm, loving place to meet friends.

I hope that you have/take time to nourish whatever you are passionate about. Feed your soul! And if, like me, you feel that you’ve had to push aside the things you are passionate about, I hope you can find nourishment being exactly where you are. Your soul will thank you.

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