Tag: anti-aging

Favorite Biohack #10 – Coconut Oil

Am I beating a dead horse with this one? Yes. I can’t say enough about coconut oil. I covered it under MCT oils, Bulletproof coffee, and in a host of other places and posts. However, there is a reason. This stuff is amazing.  I use it as lotion, to remove eye makeup, on my hair after blow drying, on my dog’s skin, and for hiding dog pills.  I also cook with it (food grade) and use it in fat bombs. In a pinch, it will go in coffee as a substitute for MCT oil if I am out.

Other using include oil pulling, which removes toxins, whitens teeth and freshens breath, to kill lice when combined with apple cider vinegar, to clean and moisturize makeup brushes, a body/lip scrub, a massage oil, eyelash growth serum, cold sore treatment, to reduce indigestion, and a chest rub when combined with eucalyptus oil.

I started using coconut oil in 2008 as a moisturizer. I had to use something all-natural for a few weeks on doctor orders, and never went back to traditional lotions again. I liked the smell and the way my skin reacted (or didn’t react, is more like it) so much that I haven’t used traditional moisturizer since that time.  Not only does it moisturize well, the antibacterial properties help heal small cuts and scrapes quickly and without scarring.

It also aids the treatment of minor  skin problems, such as psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema, (fortunately I have no experience with these) and helps to delay the appearance of wrinkles. The is the result of its antioxidant properties. and is part of the reason coconut oil is often included in soaps, lotions and creams.

However, I prefer the raw form.  I use Parachute, which is pure coconut oil. It is somewhat greasy and will ruin clothing if you use too much, so beware, but the moisturizing properties and healing effects far outweigh the occasional clothing mishap. My teenage daughter adopted it  about a year ago and now refuses to use anything else on her skin.  Even my husband will use it on occasion.

I have previously covered the benefits of MCTs on weight loss and energy (see Favorite Biohack #1, Bulletproof Coffee), so I won’t go into detail on that again, but do not forget those benefits. They are important ones when you hit midlife.

Also don’t forget that it can help fight and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. There is an NIH sponsored study on this ongoing. Results are pending, but you can check it out here if you would like more information on the study, or read this article from a few years ago for more detailed information on a previous study.

Still think I am off my rocker? For a review of the top 77 uses for coconut oil, some of which I have listed already, view this article from Dr. Josh Axe. He isn’t off his rocker.

What are you thoughts in this? Do you use coconut oil? If so, for what?

 

 

 

 

Favorite Biohack #8 – Exercise

Let me start by saying that my daughter says I should have moved to this number one.  Apparently I am crazy and obsessive about exercise. This from a teen who thinks exercise is getting up to go to the kitchen…but I digress.

I am not going to beat a dead horse and tell you exercise is important. You know it is. What I am going to tell you is why its one of my favorite biohacks.

Exercise a biohack because it is a fast, easy, and proven way to change how you feel immediately, and it changes both the way your body functions and your body composition based on the effort you put in.  In other words, you are doing something that makes your body act in a certain way.

I work out five mornings a week and rest two. I work out in the morning because it gives me endorphins, and that means I start every day with my stress worked out, endorphins flowing and feeling energized  Plus it is done, so I don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day, worrying about when I will get to it and thus adding stress.

My regular daily workout is P90X3. I do it at home because it works with my schedule, and I enjoy it. Enjoying your workout is key – you are not going to do what you hate. I found something I like so I actually look forward to it. Most days, anyway – I am not superhuman and some days it takes a bit to get me off the sofa.  However, it is a lot easier to get off the sofa for something you enjoy.  I like being at home because I do it when I want and I don’t have to sit in traffic, deal with the locker room, wait around for equipment or a class time, or deal with the gym hours. All of that would be a source of stress for me, and that negates the point of a stress reliever!

When I exercise, I feel better about myself. I am still struggling with the hormonal issues that made me start biohacking, so when something happens (like being sick for two months, which just happened) I still gain weight. However, as soon as I am able to I am back to the workouts, and even though I still have some weight to work off from this last round of illness, I feel like I am doing something about it. I do not like the feeling of being helpless and if I didn’t work out, I would feel like my physical condition is out of my control. I also feel stronger and able to do more.  For my crazy life I need to be able to do more, and this is my key to making sure I can keep up with myself.

We all know cardiovascular health increases with exercise, so I will only say that I think its nice to be able to go up a flight of stairs and not be winded.

Exercise increases BDNF, an important factor in memory, focus and overall cognitive function. If you would like a more scientific explanation of that, please refer to this article from the Harvard Health Blog from the Harvard School of Medicine.  For this blog, suffice it to say that it clears the brain fog that we can feel from a number of different factors. It is amazing what you can accomplish without brain fog and with increased focus.

I touched on the stress relief factor, but it bears mentioning again. Exercise can reduce the damaging effects of stress by reducing stress, but also by increasing your ability to deal with stress. It increases the cheicals in your brain that are responsible for mood regulation and calm, and it promotes cellular rejuvenation, which helps your body defend against and repair the damage that stress does to your systems.

The benefits of exercise go far beyond just losing weight. If you already exercise regularly, awesome! If not, just try it. Find a class or an activity that works for you, give it a week or two and see what happens. See how you feel. Then let me know!

 

P.S. I am in the photo above –  this was my first time doing Acroyoga at SunSpark Yoga. If you haven’t done this, do it. Its a lot of fun!

Favorite Biohack #7 – Infrared Sauna

Warning, this post contains information on sex. It is basic and vague, but it is there.

Men: this is one you may not want to read. You are welcome to, but consider yourself warned – it contains information you may not want.

I covered the sauna recently in its own post, but I wanted to revisit it because I realized the sauna has had a benefit to me that I didn’t address.

In my book, I touched in the changes that occur in the female body during aging, one of which is a biological change in the nether regions. (Last chance to stop, guys!)  As I mentioned, in addition to dryness, your skin thins and tear easily, and the combo can make sex painful.

What does this have to do with the sauna? I remember hearing on the One Life Radio show with guest Shawn Wells that he found that infrared sauna visits had a positive effect on the skin of the elderly while working in a nursing home. They bruised less and the skin didn’t split as easily. (Shawn explains it better; I think this is the episode here.)  I had forgotten about this until this week, when I was thinking about how my own skin didn’t seem to be as affected by rough play with my dog as it used to be even a year ago.

Infrared sauna helps to regenerate you at the cellular level. Essentially this means that your cells function better following a sauna visit, and a healthy cell creates new healthy cells. The inability to generate new skin cells causes our skin to thin as we age, which is part of why it tears so easily. Promoting the generation of new skin cells will help thicken skin, and the benefits of this affect all skin, including where it counts.

I have no idea if there is any research to support this specific benefit because I haven’t researched it. It makes sense that it would – skin is skin.  I will tell you that I have noticed a positive difference. (Don’t worry – that is all the detail you are going to get!)

I promised to update you on any new discoveries in this area in my blog, and this is what I have found in this area since writing the book.  Hope it helps.

Favorite Biohack #5 – Apple Cider Vinegar

Anyone who has heard me say I do shots of Apple Cider Vinegar usually thinks I am crazy.  I admit, this one is a little wonky and it is not for everyone. Its acidic and strong – and an incredible substance.

To hit the highlights of what ACV can do for you, it can:

  • Lower blood sugar
  • Immediate cure for indigestion
  • Weight loss
  • Antibacterial
  • Probiotic
  • Lower the risk of cancer
  • Soothe a sore throat

Let’s break these down a bit.

ACV can help lower blood sugar. It slows the rate of digestion,which has an effect on insulin sensitivity and results in lower blood sugar. Taken after a high carbohydrate meal, it can prevent a spike in blood sugar and the nap usually follows.

ACV is an immediate cure for digestion because it turns alkaline once in the body. This I didn’t believe and resisted trying because it didn’t make any sense to me. However, it is true and its now my go to for a bout of indigestion. Its also the reason for ACV being in my top 10 biohacks because it is immediate.

ACV allegedly can aid in weight loss because it helps you feel full. Studies are still ongoing on this and more information is definitely needed before we say ACV can definitely aid weight loss, but I suspect its because it slows digestion which leaves you feeling full longer and therefore you eat less.

ACV is an antibacterial agent. I have used it on small cuts and skin issues and they seemed to heal faster. I have also heard of it being used as a cleaning agent for this reason; especially useful if you are looking for an organic way to clean fruits and vegetables, your skin, hair or false teeth.

ACV is useful to help heal and restore your gut biome. Its alkalinity and antibacterial properties aid in eliminating harmful bacteria and promoting the growth of useful bacteria. This may be the primary reason that ACV boosts your immune system.

Studies are ongoing about the effect of ACV on cancer cells. There is information both supporting and disproving its use in the treatment of cancer.  Since it is part of my routine anyway, I am going to keep using it while its studied, and hopefully a positive link will be found. If not, there are enough other benefits for me to keep as part of my routine.

Again, it sound weird that an acidic substance will soothe a sore throat, but it does. Just as lemon will soothe a sore throat, so will ACV.  When I get a cold I start on a drink of  three tablespoons of ACV, a tablespoon of honey and the juice from half a lemon mixed into a mug of hot water.  I do this 3-4 times a day and before bed. I think I suffer less than the average person with a cold, which could be completely off base, but it makes me feel  like I am doing what I can to ease the cold.

There are many other uses out there – try this list of 101 uses from Dr. Oz, for example. These are the ones I use, but I would love to hear your uses. I am all for learning new ways to utilize this amazing liquid!

 

 

 

Favorite Biohack #2 – The Keto Diet

Endless lettuce, always tired, perpetually starving and uncontrollable grouchiness is what dieting means to most people. Sounds like heaven, said no one, ever. With the keto diet, there is a better way.

I have been low-carb for as long as I can remember. Going back to the late 90s, when Jennifer Aniston became the new It girl and was on the Zone Diet, she introduced us all  to a diet of lean protein, fruits and veggies with no processed carbohydrates or diary. I figured out then that I felt better without carbs, and had been doing some modification of that formula until I discovered the keto diet.

If you read my book, you know that I wasn’t just low carb. I was also low sugar (limited fruit) and low-fat (no dairy), which didn’t leave much out there for me to consume. I was addicted to anything that claimed it was low fat and low sugar, and stuck in a never-ending cycle of eating what I thought was right, starving, binge eating carbs because I needed energy, and feeling bad about myself for doing it. It’s no wonder I was grouchy and a slave to my blood sugar.  All that changed when I found ketones, and shortly thereafter the keto diet.

In a nutshell, the keto diet is an ultra  low-carb diet that limits all foods that contain sugar or convert to sugar. However, you eat healthy fats, so your body still has something for fuel. I eat bacon, olive and coconut oil, nuts, cheese, red meat, and even red wine in moderation.  I don’t eat pasta, potatoes, rice, or any other grains. I must admit that I will cheat with the occasional sweet potato. I love those. Aside from that, I don’t really miss any of it. I am happy, energetic and satiated. All the time. Not many people on a “diet” are able to say that.

Am I super skinny? No. I never will be, I am not built that way. What I am is in decent shape, strong and happy. That works for me. I also don’t feel like I am on a diet. I eat this way because I choose to, because it is what feel right for me. It is what fuels me and allows me to do what I do without diet pills, stimulants or other “miracle” pills.

The science behind the keto diet is strong and compelling. Unfortunately, so is the army of uninformed that are against it. In my opinion, those against it fail to understand that different diets work for different people, based on each person’s makeup and circumstances. That aside, lets talk about what the science has found in support of keto.

The name keto comes from ketones, which is a what your body produces when food or carbohydrates are restricted for an extended period. Put simply, ketones are what happen when the body converts your stored fat to a fuel that your body can use.

When in a state of ketosis (producing ketones), your body will use stored fat as its fuel. This helps with weight loss and energy.  It also helps with memory and focus, because your brain uses this same fat for its fuel. With a steady supply of healthy fat and ketones, your brain is never lacking in what it needs to function, so you don’t feel brain fog, scattered or like you just can’t think straight. (Not from food, at least. Life still happens.) With a constant source of usable energy, you don’t get blood sugar dips accompanied by grouchiness and tiredness.

The science is best explained by those who do it for a living, so I will defer to Dr. Josh Axe, who explains the principles behind the keto diet and why it works here, and the Ketogenic Bible by Dr. Jacob Wilson and Ryan Lowery. There is more information in this book than you can imagine, and it runs the gamut from how to do the diet to its potential effects on diabetes and cancer. It’s definitely worth a read.

If you aren’t up for a big book, check out the podcast Keto for Normies at ketoconnect.libsyn.com.

You can can also follow some keto and fitness rockstars like Dominic D’Agostino, Joe Rogan or Ben Greenfield on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

For an easy to follow guide, check out the Diet Doctor website, which you can find here:  https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto. You will find tips, tricks, recipes, and a great explanation of how and why the keto diet works.

I could go on about keto all day (which apparently I do, and I am often told to pipe down at home) so I will stop here. If you would like more information on this subject, check out the people above, or just let me know. I am happy to expound. My family will be happy that I have someone else to talk about it with too.

Midlife Mom to Supermom reviewed by Greek blogger Thirsty 4 Health

Midlife Mom to Supermom: How to Turn Stressed and Tired into Happy and Energized was recently reviewed by Greek health blog Thirsty 4 Health.

Read the review here: http://thirsty4health.com/book-review-midlife-mom-to-supermom/

Thanks for the great review, glad you enjoyed the book!

Share more, you never know who you may help.

I was working the day job this week, which had me in the home of a woman who I had met briefly once or twice before. It was a cold (by southern California standards, anyway) winter day, and I was bundled up like a small child on a ski hill. This poor woman had all the doors and windows open, and was clothed in a tank top and jeans with bare feet. Hot flashes, she explained.  Not wanting to self-promote too much, I shared with her my fantastic vitamins that have all but nixed the hot flashes from my life, and moved on to the business at hand.

Later in the day I realized I had done this woman a disservice by not sharing more with her, because I had information that could help her feel better. I contacted her and shared my book with her.

Several hours later I got the most amazing message from her. She had read most of the book and was deeply grateful that our paths had crossed. She went on to share her current reality, and how excited she was to try the tips I suggest.  That made my day. Okay, it made my week. This is precisely why I wrote the book, and I was very happy that it had helped someone.

On that note, here is a short video that an awesome friend and designer put together for me.

If you know anyone struggling with energy, hot flashes, mood, decreased cognitive function, or any of the joyous things we experience after our thirties, please share this with them. Let’s create an army of happy women that feel great!

Infrared Sauna – Hot or Hype?

It was September, 2017. I swear it was sauna month. It started with my daughter, who wanted a sauna membership for the health benefits. Next it was my mentor, who did at least four podcasts on how great it was. Finally, it was my day spa, who gave me a free session for by birthday. Fast forward to January 2018, and I am hooked.

To me, the sauna was a hot, steamy place at the gym filled with smelly bodies in various states of undress, and that just seemed like a hotbox of bacteria to me. I could not understand why my child wanted to start doing this. According to her I had it all wrong, and there are multiple health benefits to the new saunas. Who listens to their children, though, right? But when my bio-hacking mentor started talking about it, I started to pay attention.

Still skeptical, I wasn’t on board yet, but I gave in to the daughter and got her a membership at the local day spa where I go for monthly massages. Then my birthday rolled around and I was given a free session. Why not, I said.

On the day of, I was presented with a towel wrap and a small, dark box. “Hop in,” the clerk said cheerfully. She showed me how to work the light and radio, and said, “okay, now you just sit and sweat!”

Feeling a little odd, I donned my wrap and climbed in. It was a two-person, infrared sauna. It wasn’t steamy, no smelly bodies aside from mine, and my choice of music and heat level. It’s a dry heat, so I was able to tolerate 130 degrees with no problem. (Yes, dry heat really does make a difference.) The zen-like music of the spa and the aromatherapy scents filtered in the through the dark glass.  In the solitude of the darkened box, I completely relaxed. And sweat I did! I emerged thirty minutes later feeling like a new person. The ever-present plantar fasciitis pain in my foot was decreased, my allergy symptoms had lessened, and my entire body felt rejuvenated.

Still thinking this might be all in my head, I headed home to do some more research on this. I found that infrared sauna is used to detoxify the body, reduce inflammation, enhance metabolism, and reduce anxiety and depression. This is basically what I had just experienced.

To explain a little further, infrared sauna ignites your cells at a metabolic level, promoting cleansing and rejuvenation at the cellular level. When your cells are detoxified and functioning better, it makes sense that you will feel better and perform better. Your circulation improves, heart function improves, inflammation reduces, which decreases chronic pain, and your mood improves. (For a more scientific explanation of the benefits of infrared sauna, please visit https://draxe.com/infrared-sauna/.)

Saunas are now being used to aid and/or treat skin issues, metabolic conditions, diabetes, anxiety and depression, arthritis, digestion problems, chronic pain, aid in weight loss, and many other issues. There is also some rumination about infrared saunas being anti-aging, although this is still being tested. (I volunteer to test it! Guinea pig here!)

The benefits of infrared sauna can be seen in as little as 15-20 minutes, but I prefer 30 minute sessions, as I now use my sauna time to meditate to increase relaxation and cognitive effects.  I have also noticed improved skin, a decrease in chronic pain and an overall decrease in allergy symptoms.

In a few short months I have grown to look forward to my sauna time and miss it when I am not able to make it. I don;t know how I lived without this, or why I waited so long to try it, but I am now a believer.

If you are already in, you can find personal infrared saunas on Amazon here. Otherwise, check with your local spa or gym to see if they have an infrared sauna, and if they do, hop in and give it a try. Many day spas now offer monthly memberships as well.

You will not regret it if you try this. Let me know what you think after you do!