Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gustation. Good.

Gustation rhymes with crustacean.
Crabs and lobsters are crustaceans.
Crabs and lobsters taste good.
Taste is more formally called gustation.
O, let us celebrate gustation with jubilation!
(Gustation. Good. My Poetry. Bad.)

I love food. And drink. In current lingo, I'm a notorious foodie. People tend to question me, "Hey, how do you stay so slim and in good shape if you like to eat and drink so much?" The thing is, I tell them, it's not the eating that I love, it's the tasting. There is a huge distinction. As a weight management coach especially, I need to be clear about it. I have a theory: tasting--assessing, considering, judging, savoring--food could well be what is missing or deficient in the lives of many people who regularly eat too much or eat a poor quality diet. A Fast Food Nation cannot really be one in the same as a Gustation Nation, can it? Because if you taste a lot of different foods prepared in different ways, you won't choose to end up on the side of just eating the same few things wrapped in the same few packages, over and over again, right? It's like, the mountains are beautiful. But look over there, it's the beach. So now that you've seen all that, what, you won't bother looking at a sunset? Don't settle for a rut. You're missing out.

Even more important, I believe that if you actually taste your food with awareness and intent, there's no way you can come up on the side of wanting to eat a bunch of processed food instead of real food. At least, not if the comparisons are fair. Sure, in most cases deep fried hash brown patties from the drive-though will win over unseasoned lima beans at home. But shred your own potato and add some scallion and toast it up in a pan with good olive oil and some fresh cracked pepper, and see which one wins then.

Oh. Wait. You don't know how. You don't have time. Doing that costs more than the Value Browns.

It's true, if you go out to eat at a GOOD place, and order a side of hash browns with carmelized onions, they probably charge you two or three bucks for the pleasure. But you can take that three bucks and buy a couple pounds of red potatoes and a bunch of green onions and make enough hash browns for a crowd, or for the week. Yes you have to stock the olive oil but shut up. You WANT that oil. That oil is the ticket. It'll last you a long time and you'll be much healthier for it, and guess what else?

It tastes better. "Slow" food mostly does.

I do think it's a shame to call the opposite of fast food, slow food, because slow food is usually quite fast indeed, when at it's best. Remember, you had to drive to the fast food place to get the Value Browns. That took time. You had to wait for your turn and get out your money and then pull up to the next window, too. Okay, maybe that didn't take much time unless you went right before they stopped serving breakfast on the weekends. But you did need gas in your car to get there, and that took some time as well as cost some money to get. No different than the time you took to buy the potatoes at the store, right? Plus you were going to the store anyway, at some point, for laundry detergent or a gallon of milk or whatever, so it didn't really take any extra time to get the potatoes after all.

Also, if you had made them at home you could have made extra, for tomorrow and the next day, in no extra time. How much faster then, when you wake up tomorrow and want the Browns, but now you don't have to settle for that drive-through Value crap? AND you don't have to get over there before they stop serving breakfast. Because look at you, Mr. Gustation, you have some much better potatoes already in your fridge that you can crisp up in about two minutes.

I further theorize that it's much harder to be overweight or malnourished when you eat a variety of real wholesome foods you also happen to enjoy. Of course it's possible and it happens, but I say it's more difficult. When you eat a variety of real wholesome foods you enjoy, not only are you more continually satisfied by the contents of your diet, you are also cumulatively benefitting from nourishment and taste -- you're not just eating to eat, or eating to feel better about yourself, or eating whatever you pass by on your way home. You are well-nourished, and taste reminds you. Tasting food also reminds you that your tenth cookie tastes the same as the first, second and third one did. And if you love to dine out and let other people prepare foods for you, like I do, you should set the standard that you want it to be real. Eat well, especially when you're spending that kind of money and time on going out for meals you could do for yourself.

Since there's not all that much you can do to take care of your tongue and lips, other than trying not to burn them or bite them, plus brushing your tongue, and avoiding tobacco, I've decided we should Pick your Sense of Taste, instead of your Mouth.

Go for the Gustation.
It's easy to honor: simply don't shortchange it.

As a fitness professional I must remind you, food is fuel. It's true. But the rest of the truth is, that's not all. Food is also culture. Food is memories, tradition, comfort, ritual. Food is art. Food is luxury. Wanna know what food is for real? Go dig out a picture of you or your child at about 11 months old, with food. In this way we know, food is hair product and face cream and finger paint and mmmmmm. Little bird mouths open every second because here comes the airplane, say uuummmm. To the contrary, find another picture, and we see food can also be wall spackle, spittoon juice, dog communion, or an aversion so volatile it is instantly transformed into projectile weapon against any oppressors who would even dream of suggesting it be consumed.

When you're a baby, you know what you like.

When you get older, you don't know again for a while, because you're busy with other stuff. Like, maybe salmon is a pretty Crayola color but hellno you ain't eatin' any salmon when you're 9 years old. You'd sooner eat the crayon.

When you get older still, if all went well, you were requested to taste a few things before you refused them. You were encouraged to assess, consider, and judge by taste before you declared what you hated. Eventually, you were eating at a friend's house when, out of the blue, turkey tetrazzini appealed to you. You tasted and you loved it, even though it had mushrooms. Even after your mother had left you sitting at the table with a cold hard blob of it untouched on your plate, at least a dozen times.

Suddenly, screw the children's menu with the 99 cent corn dog, cuz that bacon-wrapped filet sounds good. What's bernaise? It has butter? Okay I'll try that too.

Finally, when you're all the way grown up, maybe you get a little confused again. It's too bad, because food is part of your daily life, and it shouldn't be very hard. But, for instance, you might be on a really tight budget. Yet you forget how cheap brown rice is and how great it tastes with also cheap cabbage and bean sprouts, and a couple of satisfying eggs scrambled in with a dab of chili paste for punch. Or, you might be really short on time, with school and work and all, and so you lose sight of how fast and easy it is to make crepe batter. You might never have taken out the crock pot since your bridal shower, so you don't realize pork shoulder goes in it with a bit of beer and onion and turned to low while you're gone all day, so you come back and you didn't do anything but you have fabulous pulled pork you can serve up with some slaw for a tasty end to a busy day.

You store the rest, wash the pot, and make a mental note. Next time you do happen to go out for Chinese or a pulled pork sandwich, you know what you're looking for. Like an 11-month old, you know what you like. And that pork, by the way, will go really well in the leftover crepes, which will store in the fridge for a week or so, to provide you with a couple more fabulous, affordable Fast (Slow) Food lunches.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Terrestrials Bone Home

The blog bone connected to the memory bone,
the memory bone connected to the song bone...
here, have a listen:
Dry Bones ('Dem bones, dem bones, dem skeleton bones)

I like to quote that song to my clients every once in a while, when they ask questions like, "Why does my foot/knee/back hurt now that I injured my hip?" or other such connection questions. Just like everything else in the universe, we really are all connected. Our bones provide a basis for everything else that makes us to come together and gather 'round as a body. In other words, if you ain't got bones as you move across this earth, you ain't one of us. You rattle chains and say boo! and stuff. We, on the other hand, have a strong internal foundation connecting us, down to the very end, to the land we walk on.

We can be sure that having bones is one of the most important things about our earthly bodies when we acknowledge that we can't get much deeper. Sure we can get smaller, with cells and molecules and all. And we can get just as important, with nerves and oxygen and all. But mostly, when you consider the human body, bones are at the base and bones are also what lasts the longest after the rest of us goes. When skin and senses and blood and guts are all gone, there's still a pile of bones left to feed the earth. Now, for that kind of fortitude, we owe them a little something don't you think?

How often did you even think of taking good care of your bones? Unless they break or shift painfully in a socket, people tend to go a very long time between bone health meditations and interventions. We shouldn't, really. Not when the care and keeping of our bones is so simply addressed. Without further adieu,

You've Got Over 200 Bones to Pick with Yourself

Fortunately, a bone is not alone when it comes to what it likes. Perhaps bones are never lonely because they're very straightforward and so easy to get along with. For the rest of your life, you can pick your bones without hardly any extra effort at all. That is because:

Skin and bones like the same things. Vitamin A, for example. We just talked about all that in the last post.

What's good for your blood and good for your guts is also good for your bones. Vitamin K, for example, which is made in a healthy gut, and is also readily found in dark leafy greens like spinach and collards and kale. Eat plenty of those greens and keep your intestinal health on track, and your bones will be happy, too. Because Vitamin K helps fortify bone and contributes to calcium metabolism. Also, there's Vitamin D, a friend to bones and blood....oh, and calcium. Calcium is a mineral that is stored in your bones and teeth--and it plays a critical roll in bone health and can be a key to effective management of hypertension.

Remember, we can get quite a picture of your health status via your blood, right? Bones keep close company with healthy blood. You know high blood pressure is unhealthy, which is a result of inflammation. Well, go figure, Vitamin A helps in the blood pressure management. Finally, blood clotting is a necessary mechanism in the body, but many people are on blood thinners, which in turn disable some of the body's clotting ability. Before that happens, Vitamins D and K are involved in promoting a healthy system.

Any friend of your muscles is a friend of your bones. Want strong muscles? Work out for strength. Want strong bones? Work out for strength. Impact will work too--walking, running and the like. Stretching, also good. Unlike muscles at rest, moving, stretching, flexing muscles pull on bones, and that stimulates processes that make more muscles and more bones. Now, some say bicycling and swimming are maybe not so much help as lifting weights or dancing. Others say, just move, and your whole body with thank you. I agree with all of it.

With the majority of Project: Pick One Thing written at this point (only 11 more entries to go), it becomes ever more apparent how interconnected and related each aspect of our mental, emotional and physical health really are. You're a wonder and a miracle, a special package deserving all this particular attention...and by now, I hope you can feel that in your bones.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Here's the SKIN-ny

The care and keeping of your skin is a health, fitness and lifestyle concern--and beauty, while it is skin deep in some ways, also goes deeper than we tend to remember.

Skin care products and beauty advice are multi-billion dollar industries world wide, and there's no shortage on tips for us, of every race, age and other demographic you can think of. They cover everything so well, there is even something called combination skin to prevent you from having to use a combination of products for different areas of your skin. Yet most of the basics of skin care and skin beauty are quite universal. So, summarizing the insides and outs of a sensible skin care regime is pretty quick and easy.

(Don't) Pick One Thing: Your Skin

Because you might scar. Other fast facts on what not to pick include: your nose, your toes and the loser. However, close to the act of picking, in the sense that skin cells are removed, is the process of exfoliation, which you should do. It's one of the most-mentioned bits of advice by both dermatologists and beauty editors. One comment I came across in my research said men's skin may retain more of a youthful look overall because they exfoliate daily with a razor. Retinoids are a class of topical products that can be prescribed to you here in the United States to slough off old skin and encourage new collagen production (that is exfoliating) quite well. Retinoids work for anti-aging, acne and other skin conditions.

Dairy foods with Vitamin A are a real boon to skin health. Actually, dietary Vitamin A is considered essential. Oh, and guess what vitamin A is actually called? Retinol. Sound familiar? (see above) Since everything is connected in my world, we should also keep in mind that brightly-colored fruits and vegetables, like berries and carrots and spinach and sweet potatoes, supply beta-carotene which is converted into Vitamin A in the body. In this same class of vibrant veggies and fruits we also find many antioxidants, all central to healthy, attractive skin. Once again we see how important a nourishing and natural diet is to our whole self. That's why we say it's wholesome. And by the way, you don't need supplements or pills for these things in most cases. You can get too much that way.

Since what you put on your plate seems to be as important to your skin as what you put on your skin, we should also reiterate about the essential fatty acids we spoke of last time. Foods like salmon and olive oil help your cells, and thus your skin cells. Other good stuff for skin seems to be green tea, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Deja vu again? We've talked about inflammation before. In a nutshell, Inflammation = Bad. It shows up deep inside as your blood pressure and your physical pain, but it shows on the surface, too, in ruddiness and eczema and blood vessels and such.

Ooh, and don't forget water! Good clean water cures many an ill, and your skin really appreciates your proper hydration. So does your smile, which you know if you've ever had those dry, cracked lips that make it hard for you to smile. No matter what's happening with the occasional pimple, rash or wrinkle, your skin never looks better than when it's decorated with a wide smile. Or your favorite aunt's magenta lipstick prints.

Speaking of lipstick, for more fun girly-type skin tips like how to spritz on your moisture and sponge on your sunscreen, look here for the 50 Best Skin Care Tips of All Time at InStyle.

Finally, don't smoke and don't drink too much booze (I know we've all heard this's the free radicals that do the damage and carrying on like a party animal appears to release your radicals quite a lot). And remember to wear your sunscreen. It's THE number one mantra given by all the smartest sources--protect your skin from the sun. I personally haven't done a great job of that over the years, what with all the baby oil and aluminum foil sun reflecting devices we used to use when I was a teen. But these days, it's so easy, there's no excuse not to take a little extra precaution. Sunscreen comes in a moisturizer and cute hats shade your face. Getting older and showing the lines of my life doesn't bother me all that much, but it's nice to know I can hold off some of the effects of aging, plus keep my skin a little safer from the free radicals I release while searching for my lost shaker of salt on occasion.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Jack Sprat and his Mrs. Got It All Wrong

Fats are perhaps the most misunderstood of the macronutrients. Just like Raymond, Everybody Loves Carbs. And Proteins are the Prom Kings and Queens of Lean Central. But Fat, what's up with that? Fat is funny. It's globby and gooey and chubby and chewy, greasy and bad for you.

Fat is really good for you! It helps in the very human processes of things like emotional regulation, the smart connecting of synapses in the brain, and the formation of breast milk. Fat in the diet is often overlooked as essential, but indeed, it is. You can't live in the long term without some Essential Fatty Acids, and often people can benefit from more fat than you might be giving yourself in what you think is your healthy diet. Again, individual bodies have their own preferences and needs to help them decide how to burn, store and use fat. So this is not personalized information. But overall, it's safe to say you should have healthy fats each day--plant sources are super, plus nuts and some seeds, also dairy and animal fats are quite helpful in various diets.

Fish oil is a great fat--it's the presence of those cool Omega fats we hear so much about that give this fat is good reputation. And what about eggs (and what about cholesterol)? Well, we're learning more and more that in the average diet without extenuating health factors, the fat and cholesterol in egg yolks is not such a grave concern for either weight gain, blood serum cholesterol or heart/artery problems. Turns out they were kinda wrong on that one. Almost all the vitamins are in the yolk along with the fat that transports them, so don't count out eggs if you like them. They are good food.

Pick One Thing: The Fats Track

So here's the skinny (heh!). Heed these few main warnings about fats in your diet:

~ Don't eat a lot of junk food and fast food and processed food with fats and refined carbs combined (donuts, drive-throughs and the likes, those fats have a lot of Omega 6s and we don't need more of that kind in our diets).
~ Don't eat a lot of foods that are high-heat fried in vegetable oils like sunflower and safflower and canola (or just don't eat a lot of fried foods to make it simpler). Avoid trans fats in this way, too.
~ Don't eat too much, period. Fats are very calorie dense, more than twice the amount per gram than that of protein or carbohydrate. So they add up fast. If your fats occur naturally in your foods (as in the egg example above or the avocado example below) and are moderated as occasional condiments (like mayo with tuna which has those Omega 3 fatty acids that are also very good for you), you'll be on the right track.

All this talk about my favorite food group (FAT...yes! Cheese is a favorite sub-group, as is butter, mayonaisse, and a host of other yummy creamy time fats...) has inspired me to write a poem.

Let Us Have a Chat About Fat

Butter your buns and pull up a chair
while I tell you the tail of long shiny hair, and
how brains grow, how skin glows,
how nutrients fly
through your bloodstream
to your body's cells
in two blinks of an eye...
How your enzymes ride on fat waves
and bring joy to your being,
delivering hormones that make babies,
and storing energy for the freeing.
Yes you love it, and you need it--
there's a reason for all that--
Your body is mammalian:
it thrives upon fat.
Oh, fatty acids
Oh, Omega 3s
Oh, unsaturated oils;
bless you olives,
salmon, tuna,
avocados...we are loyals.

Now, I know that poetic treatment leaves a little art to be desired, but it's still a more positive and sensible approach that the ole' Jack Sprat nursery rhyme.
Jack Sprat could eat no fat
his wife could eat no lean
and so betwixt them both
they licked the platter clean...

Terrible advice, there! Always eat some of both; never make the mistake of eliminating an entire nutritional ingredient list. You can have your four and twenty blackbirds, and your curds and whey, and be a pumpkin eater too.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Don't Kick All Your Carbs to the Curb

Ahhh, carbohydrates. The much discussed, much beloved, much overdone, often cut, macronutrient. There is so much information out there on carbs, the good, the bad and the ugly and the ridiculous, that it’s hard to Pick this One Thing and imagine advising on it in just a short post. But that’s what I’m going to attempt to do. After having a proper lunch that featured sufficient protein and fat to keep me full and satisfied, I feel my metabolism is adequately stoked, so I’m going to burn off the bit of brain energy being provided by the carbohydrates in my lunch and tell you as little essential information as I can without holding back value. Then I'll get to my housecleaning to burn through the rest.

See the toasty gold words above to follow the carb facts. Not necessarily in that order.

Macronutrient: Fancy term for protein, carbohydrate or fat. Last entry we talked about protein. It tends to be king of the macros for many health and fitness types. But not all (read on).

Carbohydrate: Carbohydrates, or carbs, are important to our bodies, no question. They are the primary energy source for our functioning. They are also known as sugars, because carbs break down into simple sugars, and then glucose, of which a certain amount is used as fuel. Sugars not used right away as fuel must be further processed and then stored as triglycerides in fatty tissues.

Fat: Fat is the third of the macros, and much like carbohydrate, it tends to get a bad rap even though it is a valuable part of our diet. We’ll Pick Fat (eww) for our next entry.

Brain Energy: Up to 70% of the glucose that our bodies make out of carbs is used by the brain. This is because glucose is used to make ATP, which is in a nutshell, what gives the cells of your body the energy transfer they need to keep everything running.

Essential Information: Your body needs a certain amount of energy. That means you need to eat a certain amount, and that will be individual to you. If you’re at an ideal body weight with a healthy composition (enough muscle, not too much fat, etc), then you tend to require a certain base amount of energy input (calories) to stay that way. If you have too many, regularly, for too long, you gain weight. If you have too few, regularly, you lose weight and/or you steal from your own bodies tissues for the energy needed. Food which provides calories, and therefore energy, to live, is not your enemy. It is fuel. Fuel which translates into 4 calories per gram of protein, and per gram of carbohydrate; and 9 calories per gram of fat.

Metabolism: The mechanics of all those processes—your metabolism is what's "under the hood" doing everything from digesting food to growing muscles, healing wounds to going for a run, breathing to making blood. The kind of lifestyle you live, along with health and genetic factors; along with your size, gender and age; matters to how much energy you require to be in a fit, healthy body. You need to split those calories between protein, carbohydrate and fat. Again, there are variances that work for different people. However, in the Western World, especially in the United States, a large number of people consume too many carbohydrates in relation to the other macronutrients. Many others also consume a high fat diet. This is where the quantity and quality really matter.

Proper: What is the proper quantity and quality, then? If you’re eating too much, chances are it’s going to be the carbs and fats where you’re excess calories are coming from. And if you’re eating poor quality foods—empty calories from things like candy bars, sugary soft drinks, baked goods (all these are big carbohydrate sources with little to no nutritional value, also known as empty calories)—your body can’t do much with them except quickly convert them. It’s quick for your body in the sense that these kinds of foods are already are refined and pre-processed. If the sugars in your food were more complex, with more fiber and less processing, your body would have to do more of the processing work. That work is part of your metabolism, which uses energy. So the complex sugars are handled more favorably overall than the man-made kind. There are other health costs to regular consumption of man-made sugars over nature-made. Your hormones and immune system can be stressed, even messed up, by too many empty carb calories. There are four grams of carbs in a cup of raw broccoli, and four grams of carbs in a teaspoon of white table sugar. You can imagine how much harder it is to overdo it on the carbs if you're travelling more on the broccoli train than the sugar train.

Beloved, Overdone, Cut, Full and Satisfied: Proper, then, is rare/occasional for most people when it comes to man-made, refined, junk food, sweet treat sugars. Birthday cake on birthdays, Christmas cookies on Christmas, soft drinks and cotton candy at the circus, margaritas on Cinco de Mayo, and a couple fun-sized chocolate bars on Halloween. For the rest of your carbohydrate intake, if it’s mostly from natural and whole grain sources (vegetables, fruits, legumes, and starchy foods like oatmeal, potatoes and brown rice), you’re likely to do well in a range of 35 – 45%. 45 – 55% carbs is for endurance athletes and young slim folks in long sessions of training. Olympic swimmer extraordinaire Michael Phelps eats a lot of carbs within his 8000 – 12000 calorie per day diet. He’s not the rest of us.

Pick One Thing: Your Carbohydrates
There are numerous free online food diary and nutritional data calculators available now. A quick search will lead you to sites such as and for food journal applications. Aside from counting up and observing the amount of carbs in your diet, try looking at packages of the food you buy. Hopefully, though, you’ll be buying more and more food that is not in a package. To learn those macronutrient breakdowns and find out how many calories come from carbs in regular foods like an apple or walnuts from the bulk bin, check out nutrition The bottom line is keep the carbs—in the right context and right dosage.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Big, Strong, Powerful and Well-Connected

No wonder protein gets so much action, (was seeking a transition in topic from last post, Your Sexuality) it's pretty much the golden child of the human body's macronutrients.

That is to say, when you consider all that protein is and does, it starts to be like...what if Johnny Depp's looks and interesting taste in characters was mashed up with Oprah Winfrey's ubiquitousness and money, and married to Martha Stewart's resourcefulness, combined with the physical strength of Hercules. Plus there's the Kevin Bacon aspect of protein--it's in practically everything.

If all that is true, it seems odd that this Project should suggest you honor and care for your Proteins. They seem so strong and capable all on their own. But, even though some aspects of protein are produced and managed inside the body, it turns out many bodies need more or better quality proteins to work with than they are getting. You might find out that your own body could be much better off with this week's big shot:

Pick One Thing: Your Proteins

Here's a list of reasons why you care about Protein:

1. Your body is about 45% protein. It is in every cell and in most of the body's fluids.
2. It is the building material of the body. It repairs damaged tissues and builds muscles.
3. It is the strong man of the body. It forms fibers and polymers to keep certain body parts tough.
4. It is the catalyst of the body. It connects molecules, transfers messages, starts processes.
5. Stuff happens because protein says so. Like, muscles contract so your heart and lungs work.

There's more, but that should be enough to pique your interest in tending to your body's protein needs. There are 20 amino acids that combine in different chains and combinations to form proteins in your body for all these incredible functions. Many of them are produced in the body, but a few key amino acids must be consumed. There are nine which are essential to healthy human adult life; a tenth is required in childhood but adults can manufacture it. The balance of them is pretty important, too. Each day, the body is happiest if sufficient proteins comprised by the full range of amino acids are available. If not, the body has to break down other tissues, such as muscle, to get out what it needs for functioning.

Regularly getting enough protein and variety of sources is a good goal. There are is a range of estimates for the proper amount of protein grams for adults daily diet, and the final answer also depends on other factors such as sporting participation, body composition, health and age. However, a range generally considered safe and adequate is .5 - .75 gram of protein per pound of ideal body weight. If you weight 200 lbs. but you need to lose 50, your ideal weight then is 150 and you should be getting 75 or more grams of protein. On the higher side if you have more muscle. 1 gram per lean pound of body weight is another common rule of thumb for body builders. Many nutritionists would tell the average person to get at least 15% of their daily calories from protein. Others consider that to be a bit too low. Popular diets include up to 30% protein. For a 1500 calorie per day diet, 20% protein equals 300 calories of protein, which is 75 grams. That works for a lot of people.

You can check out qualities and quantities of protein found in various foods, here:
Harvard School of Public Health: Protein

As important as it is, it might surprise you to know that protein doesn't have a storehouse on its own ready for use as needed (like fat does). Extra protein has to be broken down, and eventually processed by the kidneys and liver, which can tax those organs. There are a few other health warnings to those getting too much protein or eating too much red meat. It's not easy for the average person to do, but if you have any risk of kidney, liver, colon or hypertension, make sure you're on board with the medical professionals when it comes to your individual protein needs. If you are very obese and consume large amounts of red meat, you should also pay attention to the variety and quality proteins you eat. Egg whites, quinoa, walnuts and tuna have protein too, and provide other health benefits.

Your hair, nails, muscles, and skin (collagen, for those of you trying to stay youthful looking) thrive on you getting enough protein. For this One Thing, consider reading packages or doing a little internet searching to learn how many grams of protein you're eating on a regular basis. If it's less than 60 grams a week, try upping that several grams per week (you might need to cut back on fats or carbs to do so). When you're up around 75, you might just notice a nice trend. Capture that power, enjoy those connections. When you're stronger, you tend to be leaner. Plus you'll be in a much better balance of nutrients, so you'll likely feel better, too.

Go salmon, go yogurt, go you!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sexual Health and Sensual Wellness

The title of today's article is more straightforward than usual, and that is an intentional nod to the need for people to be straightforward in considering and caring for their own sexuality. Honor yourself as a sexual being of some sort. I'm not about to try to define or limit what that is for you.

As individuals, we are each of us a unique set of desires and wishes, fantasies and motivations. Your gender identity, your sexual contacts, your sensual expressions notwithstanding, there is also a little matter of what smokes your shorts, what turns you off, what's safe and what's available, what's not at all worth it and what now looking back was a mistake.... All this makes it seem, and perhaps rightly so, that human sexuality is a many splendored and highly complex topic. However that shouldn't stop anyone from owning and enjoying their own. And speaking of it in the matter of fact tone it deserves as an integral component of you being a person.

So, whether your currently express your sensual side by sleeping on silk sheets all by your lonesome, or whether you are madly hot for your wife and can hardly hold yourself back, or whether you are a porn star or a contentious abstainer, fine fine fine... just know your own self and apply appropriate guidelines and boundaries according to your own heart and soul. And if you're not experienced or confident enough to do that, will you at least take care of your own sexuality by reading up on it a little?

Here are some leads to help you educate yourself instinctively and intellectually on the deep topic of booty and gettin' some. Or not. Same thing with babies, sexually transmitted diseases, and boyfriends. Some things will work better for you than others.

Pick One Thing: Sexuality

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)offers a host of topics on their website under the heading "Sexual Health." I like that. They provide a definition based on one adopted several years ago by the World Health Organization:

Sexual health is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.
I like that too. Covers all manner of makin' whoopie, from the consenting, adult perspective. If you Pick One Thing to focus on regarding you sexual health, I would use this definition to do an honest assessment of this part of your being. I know, I, for one, have not always experienced optimum sexual health. Not because of disease or dysfunction, but because of poor choices or disregard for my real feelings. I was younger than then now, of course, but for many people, life stages bring all sorts of challenges and new information to consider when it comes to sexuality.

The World Health Organization (WHO) offers a global view with research studies and publications to help broaden your view of all the things that might affect you, or be important to you or someone you know, concerning sexual AND reproductive health.

Reproduction is a whole other element of sexual health that many people I know have worked very hard on. We can see, the medical field and researchers are clearly on it. Healthcare understands that people want healthy pregnancies and babies. If this is your current quest, you probably already know as much as many of the doctors advising you. It can be almost all-consuming to some folks. But it's important. So, I share with all of you, this website, which I hope you'll find of interest or pass it on: WHO Sexual and Reproductive Health

And finally, there's Sensuality. For some of us, this will be easier. For others, clues will be required. That's alright, there's no one kind of sensuality. Look at the word. The root word is sense. You've got senses; you know what smells great to you, what tastes divine, what feels like heaven and looks like a dream. Whatever makes you feel fabulous, that's your sensuality right there, and that's why each person's is unique. You scratch my back, I'll tickle your feet...that sort of thing, there's something for everyone. It's nice when you're aware of your own.

Sensuality is an extension of the senses we all have, but as an outpost, it can sometimes be diminished, overlooked, neglected or forgotten about all too easily. Go out there this week and visit with yours, okay? Red pumps or red lips or a redhead; or a big bowl of romance topped with red sauce and meatballs.

Don't limit your view or label your expectations. Sensuality isn't as difficult as many people make it: whatever it is to you, it's already in there. Here's a terrific read on the topic on the Beautiful Women blog. (Men will get something out of it, too.) I've always said, "We choose to be inspired." I could add, "We choose to be aroused." Wellness includes all your senses. Enjoy yourself.