Be The Best You: Positive Changes, Supplements and Sleep!
I know, I know, there are a zillion books and videos out there on being in shape and all that. We are not going to talk about a diet plan and I won’t drone on, I promise! But what we will talk about is simple things that I have found to be beneficial. Combining these with the mental side and you will have a good foundation of self. You have to love yourself, I mean you deal with yourself every day! Loving yourself means nourishing yourself, putting good things in your body. Like vitamins for example. I have found that a simple high quality multi-vitamin makes a difference. I currently take SolaRay Once Daily High Energy Multi-Vitamin. Taking vitamins with food is key, so I take it either with my breakfast (if I eat breakfast) or with lunch. As far as eating goes, I am not expert on that and it is different for each individual. So I will not talk about meals, timing, portions and all that. Yes your pee will be bright yellow!
While taking a multi-vitamin is good, there are certain times of the day that can be maximized with vitamins. Taking magnesium at night a few hours before bed is a great addition to your day. Magnesium has been shown to assist in reducing your Cortisol (stress hormone) and relax your muscles. Also, highly important for women, it assists in reducing the likelihood of osteoporosis, some forms of arthritis, heart attack and kidney stones. This is possible because it assists in drawing calcium out of the blood and soft tissues and driving it back into the bones. So for me, it is important. I take it almost every night a few hours before bed since it reduces stress hormones and relaxes muscles. I like Life Extension Magnesium Caps. For under $10 you get over 3 months’ worth of magnesium! To get those Omega-3's in me and keep my brain on point I take some fish oil. I have taken a few types and have found one that has no "fish burps". It is Jarrow Formulas EPA-DHA Balance. It is odorless and I take two with breakfast. $20 gets you 240 capsules. Since I take two a day that would get you 4 months worth!
The last thing I like to take is a hip, knee and joint capsule. While I am only in my 30's I see it as protecting my joints before I wreck them. While I am not ancient I have in recent years heard things make noises they never had before. So each day I take Dr. Tobias Hip, Knee & Joint. It has Chondroitin, Glucosamine and MSM as the main ingredients. These are all linked to stimulating cartilage, maintaining healthy cartilage and helping to maintain healthy connective tissue. I have noticed a considerable difference is how my joints feel. Going for a run, blazing a firearm course or just simply running around and playing sports with the kids. Taking this will make you feel younger and in my opinion save your joints some down the road if you take it when your younger.
Some other things I use and believe are good for your physical self are Green Tea in the afternoon. I like mine with a little local honey to sweeten it. I have never had allergies but using local honey over honey from not around you could assist you with your allergies if taken every day. Green tea has been shown to do many things, but the main reason I like it is youth. It is packed with antioxidants. Antioxidants are like SEAL Team 6 and their mission is to destroy free radicals in the body. Free radicals are damaging compounds in the body that change cells, damage DNA, and even cause cell death. That all sounds bad, so I drink Green tea. Coffee is also another good option, but do not add 10 pounds of sugar or get a FrapiMachilLatte! I can be guilt of this as I like lots of cream and sugar like the Winston Wolf in Pulp Fiction. Near black coffee is the best coffee bet to maximize health benefits.
Another drink I enjoy, in moderation, and that can assist with free radicals is wine. Red wine has more antioxidants than white wine, but both contain them. I also have dark chocolate (65%+) on hand at all times. I like sweets, I can’t help it. All those 80’s sugary cereals I grew up on I guess. I enjoy a cayenne pepper infused dark chocolate. A little heat, which cayenne has been shown positive effects on metabolism, and a little sweet! Dark chocolate also contains antioxidant activity, polyphenols and flavanols. All good things. I will eat about 1/5 a bar a few nights a week, or even as a snack during the day when my sweet tooth takes over.
Sugar is a killer and it is everywhere in our country. I love it, it is truly my weakness. Soda, candy, cereal, fruit juice, I love it all. Overloads of sugar have been shown to contribute to fatty liver. High triglycerides, high amounts of small LDL (cholesterol particles that cause heart attacks) and low HDL (“good” cholesterol) are all negative effects from fatty liver. It also increases risk of heart attack. Just keep this rule in mind, if you eat sugar, eat it with fiber. Fiber has been shown to slow down the processing of the sugar in the gut. Instead of drinking fruit juice, eat the fruit. It inherently has fiber. Trust me, after paying attention to this and cutting down your consumption of straight sugar foods like soda, fruit juice, candy, etc. you will notice a difference in your focus. No more ups and downs of energy. Mother nature included fiber in fruit, why are you skipping this important nutrient! Now do I cut out soda and the like? No, not completely, just being honest. I will from time to time have some. But it is not every day. I tend to refrain from it during the week and have some on the weekends if I do at all.
I do not want to spend too much time on this, as this is not a health book per se, but I believe it is an important part of self. Don’t eat fast food every day, incorporate some of the things I mentioned and it will further increase the strength of the concrete that is your self’s foundation. Remember, you have to make changes to your diet you can sustain. For me I have yet to be able to cut out certain things completely from my diet. So I reduce them dramatically, which is a huge win from what I have done in the past. Celebrate your wins, no matter the size! Although I will have a tasty burger from time to time. Never going to stop me!
One of the more important things in life is sleep. I mean you spend about 25% of your life sleeping. It is your bodies time to heal from the day. Use it as such, cherish it. Find a bed and pillow that makes you wake up feeling ready to dominate. Lots of companies have a 30 or 60 day trial on mattresses and even some pillow making companies. Use it, try it. Find what works. But that is only part of the sleep formula. Our bodies are used to the sun going down at night. Well duh, right? What I mean is when the sun goes down we as humans still have lights on in our houses. Floor lamps, laptops, televisions, phones, etc. They all mimic the sun. That means until the lights go off the production of melatonin, the hormone that makes us feel sleepy, ceases to exist.
Think about it, if the sun is going down around 7:00PM and you do not turn your lights off in your house until you go to bed around 10:00PM, your body is in no way ready to sleep. The first step in this process of owning your sleep is to turn off your lights the same time the sun is going down. The second step is limiting electronic devices, or strategically using them. Like do not use them 30 minutes before bed. During those 30 minutes use a tiny light and read before bed. That has been shown to assist in preparing people to sleep, as well as assist in increasing your knowledge! Another new age thing is anti-blue light glasses. These are orange tinted glasses designed to filter out blue light. Blue light is what doesn’t allow melatonin to kick in. All light does this, but blue light is the top offender in the spectrum. I have experimented with these and with continued use seen the benefits. Basically meaning you can wear these glasses and still use electronics before bed. In my use I throw them on around the same time the sun naturally sets.