It’s a great way to pass time on the train, during a lunch break, or right before you turn off the light at night. But sometimes a book can betray you. Instead of spinning a wonderful yarn about Frodo and his pals disposing of a ring or finding out why he’s just not that into you, a book can be dense, obtuse, and difficult to read. These “hard” books can have polyglot, polysyllabic, poly-insert-the-blank words that turn reading from a pleasure to a chore.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t challenge yourself. Great literature isn’t always easily digestible but can be very rewarding. Over the summer, I slogged my way through Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. It was tough. Not only were the character names challenging (Raskolnikov, Razumikhin, and Svidrigailov anyone?), the subject matter was pretty dark. But I persevered and grinded through C&P, and proudly finished it.
In figuring out Dostoevsky’s message on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of crime in 19th-century Russia, it occurred to me this book would be easier to digest if I could optimize my brain health with USANA® CopaPrime+™. Formulated with USANA’s proprietary nootropic formula of American ginseng, bacopa monneiri, and coffee fruit extract, CopaPrime+ helps maintain health brain function.*
CopaPrime+ supplies powerful levels of antioxidants to help with cognition, the gathering and processing of information—two things you need if you’re going to read a 150-year-old Russian novel. Plus, CopaPrime+ helps maintain healthy brain bridges, or neural pathways, to help store and recall information. Something I could have used to tell the difference between Raskolnikov and Razumikhim 300 pages into the book.*
Essentially, CopaPrime+ helps support alertness, mental clarity, and focus while supplying the antioxidants for key neuroprotective properties. Everything you need if you’re thinking of stepping up from the dime-store novels to books found on the Booker Prize list.*
This got me to thinking. If I can finish Crime and Punishment without CopaPrime+, what other “difficult” books can I read (and understand) if I took USANA’s newest Cognitive Support Complex? I looked up what experts generally consider to be the toughest books ever written, grabbed my library card, and got cracking.*
“I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote.”
It’s about a boat, a whale, and an examination of obsession. Captain Ahab seeks revenge against the giant white sperm whale who bit off his leg. Narrated by Ishmael (“Call me Ishmael”), the crew of the Pequod go to the ends of the world to kill the whale. But as you discover in the last harrowing chapters, all actions have consequences.
“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”
An examination of the absurdity of war set on the backdrop of World War II. Antihero Captain John Yossarian faces the Catch-22, a problematic situation for which the only solution is denied by a circumstance inherent in the problem, while trying to avoid flying bombing raids over Europe. Funny, sadistic, sad, and insightful, Heller’s masterpiece is riddled with nightmares for those who just want to go home.
“The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.”
You better like endnotes if you’re going to tackle Wallace’s seminal work. Set in a near-dystopic world, Infinite Jest is composed of four interwoven narratives with 388 lengthy endnotes. Meta-modernist with elements of hysterical realism, the story taunts you without end and never fully resolves as Wallace examines addiction, death, and separation through the metaphysical act of playing tennis.
“Your heart’s desire is to be told some mystery. The mystery is that there is no mystery.”
A bloody examination of the eradication of Apaches in Mexico, Blood Meridian asks and answers what happens when you attempt to tame a wild country through violence. Terse and haunting, McCarthy explores the inevitable consequences of malice on those who seek destruction. Told through the eyes of a 14-year-old boy, Blood Meridian leaves you ravaged and shaking your head.
“A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.”
Told in the course of a single day, Joyce’s masterpiece focuses on the ramifications of wandering. Set in Dublin, Stephen Dedalus, Leopold, and Molly Bloom’s intertwined stories indulge the reader with their unique perspectives of life in search of meaning. Joyce’s stream-of-consciousness style is lyrical and demanding, but the payoff for this hefty tome is intense. Prepare to travel to the Kingdom of Hypnos down into the tiny blot of unconsciousness.
CopaPrime+ Reading Score: 10
This is just a limited selection of books worth your time and effort. Joyce’s final novel, Finnegans Wake, is a noodle scratcher with a CopaPrime+ Reading Score of 17. And Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow needs a pallet of CopaPrime+ to get through the first chapter. Most of William Faulkner (The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying) is pretty challenging, and Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse is both intellectually and psychologically difficult to get through.
But you don’t have to finish the second floor of the New York Public Library to experience the benefits of CopaPrime+. Packed with powerful antioxidants and nutrition to support cognitive functions, it’s the perfect supplement to keep you sharp and mentally engaged.
There are countless benefits of reading. It helps reduce stress, expands your vocabulary, improves analytical thinking skills, increases vocabulary, and helps your writing skills. Plus, there is the satisfaction of challenging yourself by stepping out of your comfort zone.
As we go through life there are many things that we encounter that take us off track and divert our attention away from some of the most important things that we can do which is to take care of ourselves. Yes, there used to be an adage that said the “Golden Years”, but as I have found out for myself, your years are only “Golden” if you put health as your top priority.
Your life experiences make you an expert at handling change. Starting a new job, moving to a different city, the birth of a child. All events that transform your life and shape you are about change. For women and men, healthy aging is the next challenge to conquer.
But everyone ages differently. Women go through a specific ageing process called menopause. And while every woman will experience it, not everyone is aware of what to expect.
Men go through hormonal changes with age, too. It’s not the same as what women deal with, though. (You can read the facts about male menopause below.)
No matter what’s ahead, when you understand how your body changes as you age, you will feel ready to march into each new year and decade with confidence. And preparing for healthy ageing now can help ease your body into each subsequent phase of life. Whatever your age, there are steps you can take now to get on track for healthy ageing.
To tackle what’s coming with age, let’s break up adulthood into some of the key concerns during different decades of life. This is by no means a comprehensive list—a whole book would be needed for that. But you’ll read about what to expect in terms of hormonal changes with age and some of the other physical changes you might encounter. Learn tips about how to handle what might be coming your way.
You’re never too old to learn about your body. And you can never start paying attention to healthy habits too early. So, no matter your age now is the time to start down the road to healthy ageing. The choices you make throughout your life are the key to enjoying every minute of it.
Get Active to Prepare Properly in Your Twenties and Thirties
Your twenties and thirties are a great time to develop healthy habits that’ll last throughout your life. Start exercising on a regular basis as soon as possible. Partner up with a family member or friend and get fit for the future together.
One concern for women and men is a loss of strength and bone density later in life. That’s why your younger years are a great time to strengthen your muscles and bones, armouring your body through regular physical activity.
Getting in shape now might seem premature, but it’s never too early to start. As you age, some activities will become more challenging. So, start working out now to help maintain your independence when you are older.
Think about activities like shopping, gardening, and hiking. Muscle and bone loss could make these difficult. Lifting groceries, pushing a wheelbarrow, and climbing stairs are all things you will want the freedom to do in the future. That’s why you need to stay active in your twenties and thirties—so you can keep doing the things you want to with the people you love.
All you need is 30 minutes of activity each day. And many of these suggestions can be done with a partner. Build up your stamina and set your body up for comfortable ageing by keeping physically fit.
Fortifying Health in Your Forties
Working out during the week is a good start on the road to healthy ageing. And a diet of healthful foods can make the trip even smoother. These habits set you up for wellness in your next decade of life. That way when your forties roll around you can meet any ageing challenge head-on.
Ageing skin will be one of the first symptoms you tackle.
By your forties, the skin that has served you so well can start to show signs of wear. All the fun in the sun, smiling and laughing you’ve done shows up in the form of wrinkles. Both women and men can expect to get wrinkles. Here’s why they show up and how you can minimize their appearance.
The wrinkles around your eyes and mouth come as the result of intrinsic and extrinsic ageing. Intrinsic ageing is what happens when your body naturally starts to produce less and less of the proteins that keep skin bouncy and firm—collagen and elastin. This intrinsic ageing process actually starts before your forties. In fact, after age 20, your skin produces one percent less collagen each year. So, by your forties, you’ve probably noticed a difference in your skin’s appearance.
Extrinsic ageing also changes the look of your skin. This form of ageing accounts for the damage that comes from outside your body. That can include things like tobacco and pollution.
You’ll notice extrinsic ageing when your skin looks splotchy and uneven in texture. Radiation from the sun is one of the biggest contributors to extrinsic ageing. Responsible sun exposure is healthy (15-30 minutes per day). But excess sunlight damages your skin and is the source of most of your wrinkles.
To prepare yourself for the age-associated changes in your skin, sunscreen and sun-obscuring clothing (long shirts, pants, and hat) is your primary defence. Sunscreen protects your skin from damage and should be used every day. For maximum skin protection, try to use sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30-35.
If you want to avoid the appearance of wrinkles, try adding an antioxidant-rich serum and moisturizer to your skincare regimen. Antioxidants are great at reducing the appearance of redness. They can help even out your skin tone and give your skin a healthy glow. While moisturizers help give a more youthful appearance by helping retain moisture in the top layers of the skin and protecting from outside elements that can contribute to skin dryness.
Add antioxidants to your diet, too. Your ageing skin will thank you. So will your brain. Your forties are for fortifying your body for healthy ageing. And it’s smart to look ahead and consider the health of your brain. A diet rich in antioxidants is great for your mind and can help keep you sharp. (More on that later.)
Don’t sweat your changing skin. Everyone experiences wrinkles. But you can help your skin retain its healthy look and elasticity with sun protection and proper skincare.
Healthy Aging in Your Fifties: Hormonal Changes and You
For women, the most noticeable changes of ageing come about in your fifties. Menopause begins around age 50 in most women. This final shift in estrogen hormone production can happen quickly, so be on the lookout for some of the symptoms. Estrogen is the hormone that controls a woman’s menstrual cycles.
Menopause signals the end of a woman’s reproductive years. This is the point in life when the ovaries have stopped releasing eggs and estrogen production declines significantly. When menopause begins, monthly periods become irregular and eventually stop. These hormonal changes eventually cause a loss of fertility.
Changes in regular menstrual cycles might be the first symptom of the start of menopause. But your body will also experience other changes when menopause begins. Symptoms include hot flashes, mood changes, dry skin, and poor sleep to name a few. Becoming aware of these future changes can help you plan to keep yourself comfortable.
Consuming foods rich in phytoestrogens (like soy), daytime physical activity, and breathing exercises at night can help improve your sleep if it’s interrupted by menopause. Another good idea is limiting caffeine intake to the beginning of the day. That way you won’t be wide-eyed and jittery when it is time for bed.
Investing in a good skin care regimen can help with dryness caused by menopause. Moisturizers and creams formulated for mature skin can help your body preserve moisture and brighten your complexion’s appearance.
And remember, while many of these hormonal changes might seem dramatic, their side effects won’t last forever. Always keep in mind that menopause is a normal part of ageing. Most women transition out of menopause within about five years and see a reduction in most menopausal symptoms over time.
A Word About Male Menopause
You might be wondering if there is an equivalent hormonal ageing process for men. While there is no distinct man-opause (male menopause), men do experience hormonal changes as they age.
All men will see a reduction in testosterone with age. But this change is gradual and not as marked as estrogen’s changes in women.
Symptoms of reduced testosterone include a loss of muscle mass and decreased energy. Some men may experience mood changes, decreases in strength, and sex drive to name a few. The physical symptoms can be alleviated with regular exercise. And changes in mood can be addressed with mindfulness, emotional support, and help from a trusted healthcare provider.
Mentally and More—Staying Fit in Your Sixties and Beyond
The previous decades have been preparing you for healthy ageing with habits like regular exercise, a healthy diet, and proper skin care. In your sixties, you have the chance to work on perhaps your most important organ of all—your brain. And keeping your brain in good shape will make ageing a more enjoyable process.
Stimulating your mind can help you stay sharp as the years go on. As you settle into your sixties and beyond, forgetfulness might be on your brain. A small amount of cognitive decline is expected as you age. Luckily, there is a lot you can do to keep your wits about you well into the future.
Engaging in activities that challenge your mind and memory are great ways to stay in mental shape. Studies have shown that adults who practiced cognitive stimulation through active learning saw less cognitive decline later in life. These include: playing musical instruments, taking classes (cooking to math), learning a new language, writing/journaling, memory games, talking with friends, actively working on hand-eye coordination, and practicing a new sport.
What kinds of things can you work on to keep your mind sharp? Learn. Learn. Learn! Reading, writing, and studying a new language are all excellent ways to keep your brain learning. You might even find that these activities are fun.
Playing card and board games are great for your brain, as well. Try to play with others as much as possible. This is a great time for being with family and friends. What’s more fun than playing games and making memories with those you love?
Another way to protect your memory is by eating a diet rich in antioxidants. Current research suggests that cognitive decline and brain ageing is caused by oxidative damage. Free radicals gnaw away at neurons. Antioxidants target free radicals and help protect your brain cells.
You can find a lot of antioxidants in berries. Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries are great sources. Put them on your breakfast cereal. Eat them as a snack. However, you do it, incorporating antioxidants into your diet can support your ageing brain.
Don’t spend your sixties and beyond worrying about your memory. Activate your brain by learning new things and engaging with your favourite people. Talk, read, write, and learn as often as you can. Keep up a healthy diet with lots of antioxidants and other brain nutrients.
A Healthy Life, No Matter The Age
Living well doesn’t stop just because you get older. At any age, you can have a healthy and happy lifestyle. By preparing for healthy ageing in your youth, these transitions can become more comfortable and manageable.
Start healthy habits like a good diet and regular exercise today to keep your body strong for when you get older. Take time to care for your skin and get ready for some of the hormonal changes coming your way. And keep your mind sharp by continuing to learn all the time.
You might think that age is just a number. And you would be right. You can embrace that number (no matter how high) knowing you are prepared for healthy ageing.
The fact of the matter is I have spent the last 8 years of my life focusing on my health. As hard as is, I too am human and slip from my commitments but each time find it easier and easier to hop back on the wagon. I know now how it feels to be healthy and I want to keep striving to, control and maintain my health, because if I don’t care, who will?
If you are interested in making the rest of your life, the best of your life, join us anytime to walk your path to health. USANA products can be purchased at the below link. We are also available anytime to have a discovery call and find out more about you.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “eat pretty” recently. It’s the popular idea that nutrition is a key factor of inner and outer beauty, both feeling and looking good through the foods we eat. As we’ve written about before, there are many ways to promote healthy-looking skin, and food is certainly a factor. Today, I want to share some recipes with you that incorporate foods that may promote healthy skin and general health, including a delicious dessert using cocoa.
That’s right: dark chocolate is on the approved list. So go grab a piece and let’s get to it.
I’m a big fan of baking instead of frying when possible, and this low-grease recipe is a skin superstar with omega-3-rich salmon. Plus, less grease, along with reducing added sugars, could promote that coveted glowing skin.*
2 lb. salmon
½ cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
3 large lemons
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
Add olive oil to a small mixing bowl.
Chop the fresh herbs and add to the olive oil.
Zest two of the lemons into the olive oil herb mixture.
Add the minced garlic.
Squeeze in the juice of two lemons and whisk well.
Place the salmon skin side down in a shallow baking dish.
Top with the lemon herb mixture.
Thinly slice the additional lemon and place on top of each piece of salmon.
Cover with foil and place in the refrigerator for an hour to marinate.
Remove from the refrigerator and cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.
Tomatoes are loaded with lycopene, an antioxidant compound that protects against oxidative damage.* This tomato sauce recipe will stay good for five days, meaning you can make it over the weekend and enjoy it during the week with pastas, fish, or grilled chicken.
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp. dry red wine
½ tsp. dried basil, crumbled
½ medium red onion, minced
14 oz. diced tomatoes in juice
½ tsp. dried oregano, crumbled
Coarse salt, to taste
In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat.
Add onion and garlic.
Cook, stirring frequently until softened (about 7 minutes).
Stir in tomatoes and juice, wine, oregano, and basil.
Simmer 8 minutes or until lightly thickened.
Season with salt to taste.
Lemon Avocado Toast with Eggs
My breakfast seven days a week. Kick off your morning with a high-protein, high-fat (the good kind) meal that will you give you plenty of sustained energy and antioxidants. As my friend Rich mentions in his blog post, eggs contain proline, which is used for collagen production and help normal skin cell regeneration.* Bet you didn’t think trying to eat pretty could taste this good.
1 slice whole-wheat bread
Olive or avocado oil
Feta cheese (optional)
Cook eggs to taste in medium skillet using oil (I prefer fried eggs for this recipe). Add feta halfway through cooking to melt.
Toast whole-wheat bread while eggs cook.
Spread/mash avocado over toast and apply lemon juice liberally.
This salad combines lots of fresh ingredients like kale, which contains beta-carotene, vitamin C, and other phytonutrients. Carrots aren’t my favorite, but they blend in well with the great variety of other ingredients. Sometimes the best way to eat something you don’t like is to trick your taste buds!
For the salad:
2 cups mixed greens (spinach, kale, rocket, chard, romaine lettuce), roughly chopped
2 peaches, stone removed, cut into thin slices
2 carrots, cut into thin ribbons
1 small onion, finely diced
5–7 small mint leaves
1 ripe avocado, peeled and cut into small chunks
½ cup mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, chia)
For the dressing:
½ lime, juice only
½ lemon, juice only
2 tsp. organic mustard
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1. Toss all the salad ingredients in a large bowl to combine.
2. Add the dressing ingredients to a blender and blend to a creamy sauce.
3. Pour dressing over the salad and mix to combine.
Dark chocolate fans, rejoice: these brownies are more fudge than cake and will satisfy your sweet tooth without the added sugars. Have your cake and eat pretty, too.
¾ cup white whole-wheat flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
2 large egg whites, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ tsp. vanilla stevia (adjusted to taste)
¼ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
¾ cup nonfat milk
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly coat an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, egg whites, vanilla, and vanilla stevia.
Stir in the Greek yogurt, mixing until no large lumps remain. Stir in the milk. Add in the flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated.
Spread the batter onto the prepared pan. Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 13–16 minutes.
Cool completely to room temperature in the pan, and let the brownies sit for at least six hours at room temperature for the fudgiest texture before serving.
Beauty from the Inside
Essential beauty means different things to different people. To “eat pretty” is to look at beauty from the inside as it expands to the outside. To me, it’s that good feeling after eating a healthy meal, knowing that I’ve contributed to healthy-looking skin down the road.
My go-to recipe is the one I make every day, the lemon avocado toast (paired with generous amounts of coffee, another rich source of antioxidants). What are your favorite foods and recipes that follow the Eat Pretty mantra? Leave a comment below.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
When you get a runny nose or sore throat, do you head to the store for lemon and honey? It can’t just be me right? With lemon detoxes claiming to burn your belly fat, you’ve got to wonder if there is some kind of science behind the apparent magic healing powers of lemons. Do lemon and honey drinks help you lose weight? Will it cure your sniffles? Should you start your morning with a glass of lemon honey water every day?
In case you’re not sure what I mean by lemon and honey water, I’ll explain how you make it. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon into a mug, then add a teaspoon of honey. Pour boiling water in and mix together until the honey is dissolved.
To understand the benefits of lemon honey water, I thought it would be easiest to break it down by its three components to understand whether it’s healing properties are myth or magic.
Not all honey is created equal. Manuka honey is a special type of honey only produced in New Zealand, created by bees who pollinate the manuka bush and then extract the nectar from the flowers to create honey. It’s a little more pricey than your regular honey, but many believe it has extra healing benefits. So how do you know which one to buy?
In addition, lemons can help you stay hydrated. They add a bit of flavour which can make your standard glass of water seem a bit more appealing!
3. The Unexpected Health Benefits of Hot Water
It’s pretty straight forward, water is necessary for human survival… However, aside from the survival aspect, drinking warm water can provide lots of additional health benefits. It can help with digestion, regulate bowel movements, prevent premature aging, relax nerves and aid in sleep.
Warm water can even prevent premature ageing. Whaaat? When the body accumulates toxins, it becomes susceptible to disease and ageing. Warm water can help flush out the unwanted toxins to keep you young and healthy!
Drinking warm water in the morning could even help you lose weight. Drinking warm water can raise body temperature, which can increase your metabolic rate, that allows the body to burn more calories.
Three’s a Charm
Separately lemon, honey and warm water have some amazing health benefits, so making a lemoney, sweet concoction with all three just makes sense, especially when they taste so good together.
Do you have your own variation of lemon honey water? Let us know your favourite way to make it in the comments!