seniors zumba

Growing Old Gracefully.

Some people age very well. Others, do not. Helen Mirren and Judy Dench come to mind as a couple of actresses that are what I would call "cool old people." Helen Mirren has been in the news a great deal for the fact that she does not look nearly her ago: a ripe old almost-seventy year old recently photographed in a bikini!

Judy Dench is dealing with losing her eyesight, but she is determined that it will not end her acting for as long as she can. She works with a reading coach to help her memorize her lines. I call these two "senior" ladies cool because even though they are both pushing 70, they still fill their days with productive things they enjoy, they don't dress or act like grandmothers, and most importantly, they have a healthy mental attitude toward their age.

After about age 45, your body starts to lose muscle mass, energy, hormones are fluctuating all over the place, most of us start showing the first few gray hairs, or for men, many of them start to go bald in their forties. This can be a time of great change and great depression that requires great adjustments in order to master the aging process well.

We will try not to make this any more depressing than it is by going into all the depressing reasons aging is such a challenge. If you are over the age of 50, you already know what they are. Instead, we will address the individual aspects of aging that you can possibly improve on in order to make your golden years more enjoyable than stressful and fearful.

Mental Health and Awareness:

Simplify Your Life: This is a time in your life when mental well-being and physical well-being go hand in hand. Mental stessors will greatly affect your quality of life when you get older, so it is an enormous benefit to you mentally and physically to dump all that extra baggage you might typically carry around with you. When you are younger, you can handle stress and anxiety much better than you can when you are older. Simplify your life, make it more enjoyable now by doing the things you like, have always wanted to do but didn't have the time, and relax and experience life more. This way, it will feel like you are finally living, rather than waiting to die. Continuing to set goals for yourself is very important, as well as giving yourself things to look forward to. Such as trips, projects or hobbies. Stay interested and involved in life. Don't just sit in your favorite lounge chair thinking about the end and everything you can't do anymore.

Dealing with the Sudden High Amount of Bereavement: When we reach our golden years, so do our friends and family, which means we have to suddenly handle losing a great many people we care about at this age. There is no way to avoid it, so don't try. And yes, attending a funeral every few months gets pretty depressing indeed. It is the biggest reminder that at this age, life is taking things away more than it is giving. The elderly can become quite bitter and depressed due to all the loss they are having to deal with and the constant reminder of their own mortality. There isn't really a "good" way to handle this part of growing old, except to practice the philosophy the Tibetan monks constantly try to drive home about impermanence. John Travolta might have said it best in his movie "Phenomenon" when he said, "Everything is on its way to somewhere else." Keeping this in mind will help put death and dying in a bit more perspective. Think of dying as not the end.....you and your loved ones are just on your way to somewhere or becoming something else. This is not to say you have to believe in reincarnation or heaven, only that even if all you believe is that you become a pile of ashes when you die, you can still contribute to the planet by having your ashes buried in a biodegradeable urn so you will be returned to the earth from which you came.

One monk I read said it well when he wrote, "We are born alone and we die alone." This is true. We come into this world alone and we will all leave it alone even if we are in a room surrounded by people, nobody will be making that journey with us. The key here is to not focus on what you are leaving behind, but to focus on your next journey. How well will you transcend into the next realm or state of being? Everybody wants to "die well. " Find out what that means to you while you can still do something about it, and make it happen. Make preparations, even if just mentally, for your journey out of this life. Our Western culture avoids thinking about death because we find it too depressing and scary. Find out how you feel about it and do everything you can to find some way to mentally prepare yourself in a positive way for it. If you believe you will be going home to God, so be it. If you don't believe in heaven then find another positive way to look at your passing that is not scary for you. Most people fear death, because it is the unknown and nothing is written about how to do it and they believe that's it, when you die it's all over. You have to make up something in your own mind so you can pass in peace, without fear and stress because how you go out of this world is equally as important as how you came into it. If you do nothing but sit around day after day and fear the end, you will be spending your last remaining time miserable rather than enjoying what you have left and you will guarantee that your passing will not be easy. It is common practice with buddhists to prepare for death years before they need to. They prepare themselves mentally as well as physically because they believe that death is a very important part of living and should not be ignored or neglected like we do here in the West. Buddhist have the healthiest view about death that I have ever seen, you may wish to start doing some reading about how they handle it. You don't have to change religions to appreciate the knowledge and experience they have to offer. I had a difficult time dealing with watching my best friend die of cancer over a 6 month long period. I picked up a book called, "The Tibetan Book on Living and Dying" that helped me a great deal to get through one of the most trying times of my life and it will help me when my time comes as well. Whatever it takes, it doesn't matter if it makes sense to anyone else or not, if it helps you to cope with the idea of passing and enjoy the rest of your life; then do it!

We're not saying any of this is easy; it is quite difficult and takes some work and effort. But what else do you have to do now?

Gay Talese, writerStaying Active in Life and Involved in Living it:

One thing recent years has given us is a slightly new belief in getting old. I know a great many "old" people who, in retirement, have picked up becoming professional writers, inventors, business advisors, horticulturist, you name it. And many people no longer retire at the previously required 65 years of age. They didn't quit doing the things they used to love, they just found other things to love that they can do. I had to give up horseback riding and downhill skiing because of chronic problems with my neck. At first, I felt like I was already having to "give up" the things I loved most, but after a while, I turned that affection for past time activities into new activities that I could do that would not endanger my safety and health. Instead of downhill skiing (which I dearly loved and had been doing since I was old enough to walk) I recently started learning cross country skiing ( which I used to scoff at as a younger person.) I find cross country much more enjoyable now than downhill; which is something I never would have thought would happen. Instead of riding horses, I now teach others how to ride and I volunteer to train horses at an therapeutic riding center because I still love just being around them even though I can't ride them.

One way to look at having to give things up is to look at it instead as finding creative ways to do new things. That it can be an adventure into new things to do and try.

The 1993 Nobel laureate, Toni Morrison (now 84), just published a hard-hitting story in The New Yorker that piqued appetites for her forthcoming novel, God Help the Child. This month also brought the announcement that 88-year-old Harper Lee would publish her second novel, 55 years after her first, To Kill a Mockingbird (1960). Like Munro, Lee was on record saying she wouldn’t publish another book. Nonetheless, Lee’s Go Set a Watchman is now available on Amazon.com and has a planned print run of two million copies, an almost unheard-of number. Meanwhile, Joan Didion, 80, created a sensation last month when she appeared in ads for the clothing brand Céline. It doesn’t seem at all far-fetched that the pantheon of our wise female elders should include a fashion model.

In 2013 the biggest prize in literature went to Canadian writer Alice Munro, then 82 years old. 

 

Of Course, There are Physical Health Adjustments:

We say it all the time on Health Circkles: that mental and physical health go hand in hand. One affects the other. Many people think depression, anxiety, fear etc, are natural processes of aging, but they don't have to be. Few realize that deteriorating physical health can lead to depression, anxiety, etc as well.

Diet: Most people over the age of 50 start to find they cannot eat like they used to. Certain foods cause them to be more gassy, bloated or cause stomach upset. Such foods like lettuce, spicy foods, meat, sugars, all become warning foods to stay away from in order to avoid stomach upset, digestive complications, diabetes, obesity etc. Often the first thing we become depressed about is all the foods we have to give up.

Starting to eat lighter is a natural gravitation for most seniors because it just makes them feel better overall. Eating less meat, more easily digestible proteins such as eggs, chicken, fish and protein shakes will help with digestive problems, weight gain and sluggishness. Stay away from red meat (beef) as much as possible. Oh, it's okay to indulge in a ribeye once or twice a year, but not making a habit of red meat will make you feel better overall because red meat is the more difficult to digest.

Exercise: The majority of the population stops exercising around age 50. They may go for walks, but that's about it. A few diehard enthusiasts may continue to do regular exercise up to about age 60, but most people fall off the exercise wagon after that. Exercise is even more important as you age due to the fact that after about age 45, you start to lose muscle mass at an alarming rate if you don't exercise. Forty percent of your muscle mass is lost after age 50, and this makes it difficult to get motivated to work out because it feels like it takes twice as much energy and strength as it use to just to do the simplest tasks. The key here is to not think you have to do strenuous work out routines just to keep some sort of shape and energy level up. It doen't matter how physical the exercise is as much as how often it is. You've heard of the recent "Play 60" ads and commercials trying to rally kids to play for at least 60 minutes every day; well this is true for seniors as well, but make the play fun and not as strenuous as it used to be. Aeorbics, Zumba, power walks, bicycling, cross country skiing; pretty much anything you can do that will get you outside and active for at least 60 minutes a day will help you feel better in the long term. Lying around wasting away is exactly what will happen if that is all you do.

It goes without saying that staying away from sugars and fats will also benefit your physical state. Something you should have done when you were younger anyway, now you have a good excuse to do.

Photos from top: 1.) Seniors having fun at zumba. 2.) Gay Talese, elderly writer still does public speaking.

 

red meat

L-Carnitine Proven to Help Fight Cancer - But There are Side Effects.

by Circkles.com

Whenever someone is diagnosed with cancer (about 11 people die from cancer every minute according to the World Cancer Clock - yes it's so common there is actually a clock for it) the first thing they do after the initial shock is to try and find out what they can do to stop it from progressing and killing them. There are many different foods, such as turmeric root, and foods high in antioxidants that can help. A few years ago, L-carnitine was all the rage for stopping the progression of pancreatic cancer specifically. It has been proven to work - according to several medical journal studies such as the one we took an excerpt from below.

However; don't run out and start stocking up on L-carnitine supplements, protein shakes etc. Research has also pointed out that after you ingest L-carnitine, it travels to your gut, and intestinal bacteria converts the L-carnitine into a substance called TMA, which then gets processed by the liver. The liver converts TMA into a compound that has been linked to plaque build-up in the arteries and heart disease. This conversion was most apparent in those who regularly ate red meat. Remarkably, vegans and vegetarians, even after consuming a large amount of carnitine, did not produce significant levels of TMA. It may be because they have different gut bacteria.

L-carnitine or Acetyl-L-Carnitine, is made by the body when it processes amino acids which are proteins. So by eating meat, fish, dairy products, high protein vegetables, brewer's yeast etc, you are getting enough L-carnitine naturally. Red meat contains the most L-carnitine, but we have all learned the drawbacks to eating too much red meat.
Taking supplements of any amino acid that has been isolated from others poses the risk that you will screw up the naturally regulated amounts you have in your body. But if you are suffering from cancer, or dying from it, you are probably less concerned about any high levels of TMA or plaque buildup you may acquire from bulking up on L-carnitine.

Therefore, we suggest, pick your alternatives carefully, educate yourself on natural and synthetic cancer treatments thoroughly in order to make an informed choice as to what is best for you and what you are willing to sacrifice in order to lesson your cancer risk or treat your cancer condition. Some side effects from supplementation may be worth the risk to you because they are not as bad as having cancer.

All in all, taking too much of anything is not a good idea. Everything in moderation is the key to being healthy. But if it is too late for you to now start practicing healthy living and eating because you've been diagnosed with the "Big C", then risks will have to be taken in order for you to beat it. Educate yourself thoroughly, weigh the odds, and don't rely 100% on what your doctor is telling you because they often do not keep up to date on the latest research.

Medical Journal excerpt on one study done on L-carnitine.

Carnitine is biosynthesized from the amino acids lysine and methionine and its biologically active form is L-carnitine (LC). It is generally believed that carnitine transports long-chain acyl groups from fatty acids into the mitochondrial matrix, where they can be broken down through β-oxidation to acetyl-CoA to obtain usable energy via the citric acid cycle . Therefore LC is required for the generation of metabolic energy in living cells.

It has been well known that most cancer cells predominantly generate energy by a high rate of glycolysis followed by lactic acid fermentation in the cytosol, rather than by a comparatively low rate of glycolysis followed by oxidation of pyruvate in mitochondria like most normal cells. This is known as Warburg's effect in cancer cells Rapidly growing malignant cells typically have glycolytic rates that are up to 200 times higher than those of their normal tissues of origin. Even though Warburg effect has been challenged and further developed, this theory remains the most frequently cited evidence that tumors display dysfunctional metabolism.

Based on this theory that the citric cycle is detrimental in most cancer cells , we hypothesize that LC would lead to disturbance of cellular metabolism in cancer cells but not in normal cells. In this study, we investigated the effects of LC on cytotoxicity both in cancer and normal cells. We found that LC selectively inhibited cancer cell growth both in vitro and in vivo. We further investigated the mechanism of LC-mediated cytotoxicity and found that physiological concentrations of LC could directly inhibit HDAC activities.

We have confirmed that LC is a HDAC inhibitor. It was found that LC treatment mainly arrested cancer cell proliferation and only slightly induced cell death, which is possibly due to the following two reasons: on one hand, LC is not a strong HDAC inhibitor compared to classical inhibitors including TSA but LC and Buty exerted their inhibiting effects at a similar mM level; on the other hand, relative low level of LC could efficiently induced high expression of p21cip1which has been reported to block HDAC inhibition-induced apoptosis. (1)

So...to all you meat-eaters out there: you are probably happy to know that some red meat, in moderation, may actually be good for you. In moderation being...not eating it more than once a week however.

Resources:

(1) journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0049062

2.) http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/early/2010/06/18/1078-0432.CCR-10-0964.full.pdf

 

beans and legumes chart

Foods That Heal: Legumes.

Therapeutic Properties: High in incomplete protein and when mixed with rice makes a complete protein, iron and B vitamins. This group includes peas, lentils, beans, peanuts and soybeans. Good for diabetics because they regulate blood sugar and lower cholesterol. High in fiber which makes them useful for constipation, bowel troubles and to help prevent colon cancer. Peas are considered a contraceptive and will lower fertility. Soybeans are a potent plant estrogen which makes them good for postmenopausal women. Soy is said to be a complete protein, but it takes a larger quantity of soy to make up the same amount of protein as meat. Lentils neutralize acid in the body.

Acid or Alkaline: All beans are slightly acidic except lentils and snow peas.

Significant Nutrients: High in protein, fiber, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, folic acid. Peas are a very good source of B1, B2 and B6 as are green beans.

How to use: Beans are best used dried because canned beans that you purchase in stores are heavy in salt and toxins from the lining of cans. Soakdried beans overnight in cold water, then heat to boiling in salt water, turn off heat and let sit for a couple hours to soak in hot water. Beans will not get soft if anything is added to them other than just water and salt until they soften up; then you can add any flavorings.

Growing Beans: Beans of pretty much any variety are easy to grow. They just require at least 8 hour sof sunlight, they like warmth and good soil with compost for nutrients.

 

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We are so far removed from what it is that we need to be healthy, that we are not healthy as a general society. To make matters worse, we are so used to functioning at an inferior health level, we are not even aware how much better we could feel, how much healthier we could be, how much more energy we should have, how much younger we could look, until we take the steps in the right direction and give them a chance to work so we have a comparison. The only way to experience this is to try something different; because what we've been doing obviously isn't working.
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