WELLNESS--Life can be tough enough at times to have too many rules. After all, life is meant to be enjoyed. Who wants to live life like a game where we must constantly keep score and with numerous guidelines to follow? I certainly don’t. 

The good news for those of you who are already healthy is that there is a general rule to follow when it comes to maintaining balance, but you can relax because it’s rather easy to achieve. I call it the 80-20 rule. If you’re dealing with a serious illness or desperately trying to lose weight however, this rule won’t apply to you since you’ll most likely have to be more disciplined in order to get well or lose those excess pounds. 

If you’re looking to find a better balance in your wellness routine and if you are trying to keep up with healthy living and an organic lifestyle, following a positive regimen 80% of the time should be enough. The even better news is that the 20% remaining can be a HECK of a LOT of fun! But if you’re like me, you actually enjoy making smart choices, so the 80% can actually feel good too. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a delicious piece of rich cheesecake from time to time and so can you. 

People often assume that I must be rigid and very disciplined to maintain my fit physique and while I do work consistently, I follow the 80-20 rule myself. Okay, well maybe mine is more like 90-10 but my goals are a little bit more aggressive than most. 

So what does this rule look like? It means that 80% of the time you choose to eat organic foods, make healthy choices, reduce sugar, drink lots of water, take your supplements, meditate, get plenty of sleep, and exercise. The remaining time, do whatever you want. Eat some dessert, have a few drinks, enjoy those nachos, be lazy, and let yourself off the hook. 

Remember that life is meant to be pleasurable. This is the reason that strict diets don’t work. People can only maintain rigid guidelines for a short period of time and they eventually give up because it’s just too difficult. 

You now have my permission to thoroughly enjoy yourself, especially during the holidays but only with one condition; that you be gentle with yourself when you’re in that 20% and that you stop those negative and judgmental voices. Commit to giving yourself the love and support that you would offer your best friend and lastly, when you’re in that 20%, enjoy every decadent second of it! 

(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness, and Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles. http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, the 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger, and Feel Better!)

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WELLNESS--For those who tend to overeat, as you may already expect, the news isn’t great. But if you under eat regularly or simply eat to survive, then this article may offer a promising outlook. 

For years studies have shown that those people who consumed less calories seemed to live longer lives. Part of the theory behind it was that the body was less taxed and overworked from excess calories in those who consumed smaller amounts of food versus those who ate more. 

Fasting before an annual physical or blood work is not unusual nor is fasting while doing a full body cleanse. But the latest trend, which has gained much attention, is intermittent fasting. What is intermittent fasting? It is a pre-planned and timed schedule of eating where we consume all of our calories within approximately an 8-hour window while fasting the rest. 

For example, by consuming your last meal at 8pm and not eating until noon the next day you have fasted for 16 hours. While it is not always recommended to do this every day of the week, many people have adapted this style of eating at least 2-3 days per week for positive health benefits. 

Why in the world would we want to purposely go without food? The latest studies are showing that those who take longer and more regular periods without food may experience lower serum cholesterol, weight loss, increased muscle mass, higher levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH), improved sleep and energy levels, less inflammation in their body, stronger heart and brain health, and possibly a reduction in their risk of cancer and diabetes. With such an exhaustive list of benefits, it looks like intermittent fasting is here to stay. 

Timing our meals as such can be challenging especially when many of us have become accustomed to eating small meals every 2-3 hours and we have always been taught NOT to skip breakfast! We learned that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. As time and research progresses, we are constantly making new discoveries. What was once seemingly harmful or unwise such as skipping our morning meal may now be the best thing that we can do to turn back the clock. 

Of course like any health, fitness, or diet regimen, always consult with your doctor to ensure that fasting is safe for you especially if you’re exercising on an empty stomach. It’s also important to get the okay for those taking medication or with diabetes or low blood pressure. 

If you Google intermittent fasting you’ll pull up an array of studies that are mostly supportive of this new trend. Once you receive the green light from your physician, start off slow. Try it one day per week at first and gradually build up to a more regular routine. Of course you can vary your fasting program and make the necessary changes according to your daily routine and work schedule. 

Regardless of whether or not you follow a strict intermittent fasting regimen, it is highly recommended to consume less calories overall and to make the ones that you do eat count. Focus on eating good fats such as avocado, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, and olive oil, along with organic and grass fed chicken and beef, wild caught fish, including sardines, and an array of fresh fruits and vegetables. Keep your carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and bread to a minimum. 

If you’ve tried everything else to lose weight, boost your metabolism, and increase your energy and nothing has worked or you’ve hit a plateau, this may just be the fountain of youth that you’ve been waiting for.

 

(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)

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WELLNESS--If you’re like the majority of Americans, you most likely gain weight during the holidays. Not everybody packs on the pounds during this time but it certainly isn’t uncommon for your weight to increase or for your favorite pair of jeans to feel just a bit tighter. Many people also notice less energy and vitality during this time mainly due to overindulging. 

Too much celebrating and not enough discipline can definitely take its toll. While I am ALL for having a good time, especially during the holidays, there are some things to be more conscious of in order to lessen the negative effects of the season and to feel “merry and bright.” 

  • Refrain - I am certainly not here to lecture and trust me, I allow myself plenty of indulgences during the holidays. But this year why not pay closer attention to how much you’re eating and more importantly, why? Often we gorge ourselves without much thought because that is just what we do this time of year. We are bombarded with awesome desserts and goodies that we don’t normally see and so we feel somehow obliged to get our fill before they’re no longer around. Prior to taking that next bite of Nanaimo bar, buttery shortbread or Christmas cake, take a breath. Ask yourself do I really want this? Am I truly craving more? If the answer is yes then by all means, ENJOY! If you answer no, put it down. It’s really simple. Most of us tend to eat out of habit and not with our intuitive senses. By becoming more conscious, you’ll find yourself eating less and in turn, feeling better. 
  • Re-Hydrate - Most of us will drink more alcohol during the holidays but one of the best ways to slow things down is to make a decision to sip a soda or water between alcoholic beverages. This simple rule will give your system a break, fight dehydration, and will work on cleansing some of the alcohol from your system. You will probably also become aware that you don’t desire as much alcohol as you may have in the past. Also, try drinking more slowly and take time to thoroughly enjoy each sip. 
  • Routine - A lot of people tend to neglect their exercise routine during the holidays. This is actually the worst time of year to do that. Our bodies desperately need physical activity to offset holiday stress and to assist our bodies in detoxing from the extra sugar and alcohol. It’s okay to workout less and socialize more but don’t skip it completely or it will be that much harder to get back into it in the New Year. 
  • Rest - Because most of us are consuming more sugar and alcohol it’s vital that we get more rest. The holidays are meant for you to relax and take a break from routine. So although you’ll still be doing regular workouts, make sure to allow extra naptime as well, and give yourself permission to fully rest. The stress of the holidays can cause our cortisol to rise and in turn, may cause weight gain. Naps are similar to meditation in a way that they allow our body and mind to shut off leaving us feeling more centered.
  • Re-Ignite - The end of the year offers you a wonderful opportunity to go inward and contemplate your next steps. A new year always represents fresh new dreams, ideas, and goals that we would like to accomplish in the next 12 months. When we overdo our eating, drinking, and stress levels, we diminish this amazing time to look deeper and to re-ignite our spirits. After a year of running around and busyness, you owe it to yourself to use the holidays for greater good and to ensure that the year ahead is your BEST YEAR EVER!

 

 

(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Coach living in Los Angeles. http://www.jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)

-cw

WELLNESS - It’s that time of year again when cold and flu germs seem to run rampant. There are theories as to why the cold and flu virus is worse during the winter months and the main one is because the virus prefers cold, dry temperatures. Also, we tend to get less Vitamin D during this time, which may lower our immune defense even further. We also spend excessive time indoors with windows closed and that may just feed the virus even more. 

There are certainly many debates as to whether or not the flu shot is a good option, and I personally have not had a flu shot in over 25 years. But wherever you stand, there are numerous natural remedies which work well to help you remain healthy and to give that potential cold and flu the boot! 

Here are some tried and true remedies: 

Oil of Oregano - This is one herb that you don’t hear enough about but in my opinion is probably the most potent antibiotic in nature. This stuff works! Oregano has powerful antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which have been shown to boost the immune system and fight bacteria, parasites, and fungus. Oregano oil contains over 50 active compounds with immune-boosting and germ-fighting properties, along with antioxidants such as Vitamin A and C, and minerals. During cold and flu season, use 3-5 drops of oil of oregano under the tongue once or twice per day followed by water to reduce your chance of getting an infection. It can also be used throughout the year whenever you feel a scratchy throat, cough, or other signs of an illness. It works especially well for those who have asthma, bronchitis, or other chronic chest infections. 

Echinacea - This is probably the most popular of all cold-fighting herbs yet less effective than oregano in my opinion. Research shows that it increases the number of white blood cells, which in turn, fights infection. Although studies don’t show dramatic healing results, it certainly won’t hurt to add this to your cold and flu-fighting arsenal. Using Echinacea drops in room temperature water or juice is best and purchasing an organic version is always suggested. If you have allergies to daisies, ragweed, or marigolds, you may also be allergic to the Echinacea flower so proceed carefully. 

Astragalus - Numerous Chinese studies have shown that astragalus has potent immune and chi-boosting effects and works well during cold season to reduce the number of colds caught and to lessen their duration. Like Echinacea, astragalus can increase the white blood count and help to ward off infection. It is even more potent when used with a Ginseng product. It may also help to increase your energy during the winter months by supporting the adrenal glands. You can boil dried astragalus root to make a soup or tea, or take a capsule, powder, or tincture. 

Mushrooms - I have written about the powerful immune-boosting effects of mushrooms before and this is the perfect time to reference them again. Look for a powder or supplement containing a blend of ancient, healing mushrooms. Maitake, turkey tail, and cordyceps are just a few that contain awesome disease-fighting properties and will work during cold and flu season to give you that extra boost you’ll need to get you through free of illness. 

Zinc - The mineral zinc also increases your production of white blood cells and assists them in fighting infection more effectively. Zinc helps your immune system to release antibodies that may protect you during cold and flu season. Look for a chelated zinc supplement, which may be ideal to take all year but definitely during the fall and winter months. Zinc lozenges may also boost your immunity and help to alleviate sore throats. 

Garlic - While I am not a fan of eating raw garlic and it may not agree with everybody, some version of garlic is a good idea if you want to boost your immunity during cold and flu season. For those who don’t like the taste of garlic, consider taking a kyolic garlic supplement, which is aged garlic that is free of the pungent garlic odor. The immune-boosting effects of allicin, which is a component of garlic, can work wonders on strengthening your system and many people have sworn by its powerful support during the winter months. 

Along with these plants and herbs, make sure to get plenty of rest and exercise, and take time to de-stress with meditation and yoga. Also be sure to carve out creative time for yourself. Drink plenty of fluids, and work on releasing negative thoughts, fears, and emotions on your own or with a therapist or coach. Lastly, make sure to supplement with extra Vitamin C and D to further boost your system and to give those cold and flu germs the boot! 

* Always consult with your physician before taking any of the products listed above as some herbs, plants, and supplements may interfere with your current medications. 

 

(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles. http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com.  He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)

WELLNESS--We’ve all heard this saying before. The reason that we have two ears and one mouth is so that we can listen more than we talk. 

Unfortunately, in this world where many have become self-obsessed or just plain busy, we seem to have forgotten the valuable art of listening. Instead, as you may have experienced personally, we go from party-to-party, coffee date-to-coffee date, and meeting-to-meeting feeling completely unheard and unseen. Many of us have discovered a shift in how people are communicating or should I say, not communicating. If you’re sensitive to people’s energy like I am, you may feel overwhelmed or drained by others doing too much talking and not enough listening. 

In this world of social media frenzy and instant gratification, we don’t communicate the way we used to. In fact, making a personal phone call or having a face-to-face chat has become almost passé. People spend much more time texting, on Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat then having an intimate conversation. 

Because of this, people are feeling lonelier than ever before. A time has come when we must make important shifts towards getting back to basics. And to start, that means learning to listen. I mean, TRULY listen. 

Being present isn’t always easy especially with so many distractions. These days we are bombarded by everything from our IPhones to shiny billboards so it’s no wonder people aren’t communicating. We have forgotten how. Spending time with somebody doesn’t mean what it used to. Instead it’s common to see two or three friends at dinner all on their cell phones with heads down to their screens. 

I am writing this article as a reminder and to bring awareness. It is time for all of us to become more conscious. There is an epidemic of lack of focus, patience, and presence that has never been seen before. And it is only getting worse. But we can begin to make positive changes today. 

Awareness

Awareness is the key. Simply being aware that you aren’t aware is the first step. When we become conscious of a negative pattern that we keep repeating, we can then step up and change it. Once we recognize that something is no longer serving others, or us we can begin to reprogram our minds and our negative habits. 

Listening

As difficult as it may be, we need to force ourselves to be present with others. We must make ourselves listen intently without distractions. When we have private time with friends or if we’re at a party and somebody is telling us a story, we owe them the honor of being heard. And vice versa when it’s our turn to speak. True listening doesn’t mean interrupting and going into a personal experience that is similar but instead it means standing firm, being quiet, and simply taking it all in. Often people don’t even want our opinion, they simply need somebody to listen. Their desire is to feel acknowledged and heard. 

Practice

Just like anything that we aim to master, practice makes perfect. Once we become aware of where we need to improve, and we put it into practice, we then begin to work on shifting things for good. We practice not picking up our phone during a dinner with family or while your child is telling you about their day at school. We make it a point to schedule more time with our friends rather than simply texting or instant messaging on Facebook. We plan a walk or workout without bringing our cell phone. 

It won’t be easy at first but as we change things up, it will become more and more of our natural way of being. We’ll begin to remember what it’s like to be present, living life the way’s it’s meant to be lived. We’ll begin enjoying the small pleasures of connecting with people around us in a deeper and more meaningful way. 

We have two ears and one mouth, let’s use them accordingly.

 

(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert living in Los Angeles.  http://www.jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL The 12-Week guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)

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WELLNESS--If we look at our ancestor’s diet, we see clearly that it was back to basics the way nature had intended. For the most part they grew and harvested their own food and stored up enough for the winter months. They instinctually and by necessity ate according to the seasons. Certain foods grew early in the summer while others in the spring or fall and their meals were governed around that. 

These days everything is available at our fingertips. If we want squash in the spring, we will have it. It we’re craving spinach in the winter that too is easily acquired. But what numerous people are realizing is that our bodies are meant to eat according to the natural flow of the seasons. Although we have certainly been doing fine by mixing it all up, many are finding an increase in energy, vitality, and overall health by getting back to our ancestral diet of seasonal eating. 

Local and seasonal produce tends to be tastier and richer in nutrients and we also benefit financially because seasonally grown fruits and vegetables are generally less costly because of a higher demand and increase in availability. 

If you’re like me you’ve fallen into a pattern of eating the same things over and over again out of habit. What’s great about eating seasonally is that it forces us to try a variety of foods that we may not normally consume and that equals a wider array of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients for our body. 

Let’s look at how this might work and which foods fit which particular season. Keep in mind that if you have allergies to certain foods like I do, or dietary restrictions due to health issues, then you’ll need to skip over those particular foods and choose ones that don’t cause a reaction. Here is a general guide: 

SPRING March, April, May

Apricot, artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, collard green, garlic, lettuce, mushroom, onion, scallion, pea, pineapple, radish, strawberry, Swiss chard, turnip, lime, tomato, spinach, zucchini, watercress 

SUMMER Late May, June, July, August, September, Early October

Apricot, bell pepper, blackberry, blueberry, cantaloupe, pineapple, cherry, collard green, corn, cucumber, eggplant, garlic, green bean, honeydew melon, kiwi, mango, nectarine, okra, peach, plum, raspberry, strawberry, lychee, fig, watermelon, lettuce, radish 

FALL Late October, November, December

Beet, bell pepper, broccoli, corn, cucumber, okra, Brussels sprout, cabbage, cauliflower, collard green, cranberry, garlic, ginger, grape, green bean, kale, lettuce, spinach, persimmon, mango, mushroom, onion, parsnip, pea, pear, potato, kumquat, cranberry, guava, pomegranate, quince 

WINTER January, February

Beet, Brussels sprout, cabbage, broccoli, fennel, endive, olive, red currant, grapefruit, kale, leek, onion, orange, clementine, tangerine, date, passion fruit, parsnip, pear, potato, pumpkin, rutabaga, sweet potato & yam, turnip, winter squash, rhubarb 

ALL YEAR

Apple, avocado, banana, carrot, celery, coconut, lemon 

To get a more accurate picture of what is seasonal in your area, go to a local farmer’s market or research seasonal produce in your particular region. It will differ from state to state and for various countries. 

By eating homegrown and seasonal produce you are also supporting local farmer’s who rely on your patronage to continue their business. Most of these farmers grow without pesticides or chemical sprays even though they may not be able to afford the organic certification. 

It’s easy to fall into a routine of eating the same things week by week. Why not challenge yourself and begin experimenting with a variety of local produce that you wouldn’t normally consume? Consider getting a weekly organic fruit and vegetable delivery, which ensures that you’ll receive a new selection throughout the year. 

The new message of health and balance is to get back to basics trusting that nature knows best. What is more basic and natural than eating like our ancestors did while providing an exciting new selection of meals for yourself and your family?

 

(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles http://www.jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)

-cw

WELLNESS--The word mushroom is derived from the French word for fungi and molds. Mushrooms are one of the oldest growths on earth and have been around for centuries dating back to the times of Egyptian pharaohs as documented in ancient hieroglyphics. They were considered a mystical and healing food available only to royalty. 

Today mushrooms have become a part of our everyday diet and many of us enjoy them in salads, on burgers, or in an omelet. We eat them because we love their unique, woodsy flavor but what we are learning is that mushrooms contain some of the most potent immune-supporting agents in the world including long-chain polysaccharides such as alpha and beta-glucan molecules. They also comprise of fungal proteins, lectins, and peptides, which have been shown to support the immune system too. 

Numerous stories are popping up online of people using mushrooms along with chemotherapy to treat their cancer and other ailments. Of course it’s too early to make claims that mushrooms cure cancer, however more and more studies are showing promising results. 

I personally take 2 teaspoons of a special mushroom powder blend daily which contains 9 species. Luckily there is no history of cancer in my family but as a health advocate, I like to take proactive steps to give my body the boost it needs, especially in these times where we are bombarded by toxins, chemicals, EMF signals, and other environmental hazards. 

Here are just a handful of the over 100 species of mushrooms available which have been heavily researched to provide immune-support and other health benefits. 

Turkey Tail - Turkey Tail mushrooms are a highly regarded source of beta-glucans that support and strengthen immune function and provide an array of antioxidants. 

Reishi - Red reishi in particular is the number one herbal adaptogen in Chinese medicine. It provides superior relief for emotional and physical stress, balances immune function, calms the central nervous system, and supports cardiovascular function. 

Lion’s Mane - This species stimulates synthesis of nerve growth factor supporting the health and function of nerves. It also supports proper digestive function. 

Cordycep - Cordycep mushrooms are known to reduce symptoms of respiratory disorders, coughs, colds, inflammation, and liver damage. They increase overall energy levels and reduce stress in the body.

King Trumpet - King Trumpet contains a unique fungal master antioxidant called L-ergothioneine and supports cardiovascular function along with proper digestive health. 

Shiitake - Supports vitality and body balance and supports oral health. It also contains L-ergothioneine and assists the body in proper detoxification. 

Antrodia - Antrodia supports the bodies detoxification process, strengthens kidney and liver function, and supports endurance and stamina. 

Royal Sun Agaricus - This unique species is highly regarded for it’s support of the immune system, blood sugar balancing, and weight management. 

Maitake - Maitake supports the immune system, cardiovascular function, and blood sugar regulation. 

Chaga - This fungus is very high in the potent antioxidant SOD or superoxide dismutase. Chaga provides energy, cardiovascular health support, intestinal and liver detoxification, and helps to promote healthy blood sugar levels. 

You can incorporate more mushrooms into your daily diet or you may decide like me, to take a high-potency powder or supplement. Make sure to look for mushrooms that are organically grown and GMO free. Mushrooms tend to absorb much from their environmental surroundings making it vital to choose a pure and natural product. 

If you’d like more information about the superfood mushroom powder that I take, please reach out and I’ll be happy to share more details.


(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles.  http://www.jaybradleylifestyle.com, He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)

-cw

We’ve all had big decisions to make. Whether it is changing jobs, leaving a relationship, choosing a doctor, or moving to a new city, the one part of life that will always remain constant is change. 

I have certainly experienced my fair share of major decisions including moving away from home at 17 years old to leaving my 7-year relationship to selling all of my belongings at age 37 and moving to a new country. I see my clients and friends struggling with similar choices every day. 

The main reason that we feel stress at times of transition is because we fear the unknown. What if I make the wrong choice? What if this path leads me to a terrible place? What if I leave and I end up alone forever? What if this treatment doesn’t work and my illness gets worse? Why can’t I just be happy with what I have? Why can’t I make a decision? If you can you relate you’re certainly not alone. 

The first thing that we need to understand is that fear, stress, and anxiety come only when we live in the past or the future. In the present moment all is well. Even if we’re struggling with an illness or going through a divorce, in the present moment everything is okay. It is our fear of dying or being alone or going broke at some future time that causes us turmoil. Or it is our memory of a similar experience that led us to a painful experience in the past. How then do we let go of fear while also getting clarity on which path to take when were faced with a fork in the road? 

  • Get Quiet - I often speak of meditation because it allows our minds to get still. When we get quiet and go inward, we begin to get internal guidance rather than external validation. This means that our spirit, intuition or that part that is all knowing speaks to us rather than being affected by the outside world.
  • Baby Steps - While there is a time to remain still, there also comes a time when some action is better than none. If you’ve been feeling paralyzed or stagnant for an extended period, take a step. There is no wrong or right choice, just take the next logical step towards some type of change and you will be guided along the path. Often the big steps cannot come until you’ve taken the smaller ones first.
  • Follow the Energy - If we can learn to follow the excitement and energy, we cannot be led astray. When faced with a fork in the road, simply picture yourself in both scenarios. Take a moment to feel what it will be like when you take the path on the left and then take some time to experience the one on the right. Which path brings you the most enthusiasm, excitement, and joy? Which decision feels most aligned with the biggest and best vision for your life? Which one forces you to become all that you can be and which one keeps you playing small? Does one push you outside of your comfort zone and the other keep you complacent?
  • Trust Yourself - It is so easy to make ourselves wrong and to use past mistakes as a way of avoiding moving forward. When we can re-build trust within us and become our own best support systems, we begin to trust that WE know what’s best. We begin to let go of the need for others to tell us what to do and while we may still ask for advice, the ultimate decision will be made by us because deep down, we know the truth.
  • Embrace Fear - We try very hard to get rid of fear. We have learned to push it away and to avoid facing it at all. When we understand that fear itself is an illusion of sorts and when we actually learn to embrace it, it no longer holds power over us. What if we began to love those dark parts of our self and faced it head on? I have seen people do this over and over again and eventually the very thing that causes fear begins to lose its power. What we resist persists. What we embrace begins to diminish.
  • Take a Leap - Eventually we will look forward to taking the leap. Making big decisions will become easier and easier over time. When we learn that there is no wrong or right and when we can listen to that quiet voice inside of us, we realize that as we leap, the net will ALWAYS be there to catch us. 

Making big decisions and constant change is inevitable but as we learn to navigate using our inner compass, we become much better at handling these transitions and trusting that they are leading us towards the grandest version of our life. Each of us has been brought here with unique gifts and talents to offer the world and when faced with a fork in the road, it simply means that we are being guided towards that ultimate place of inner power, fulfillment, and mission.   

(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Coach Living in Los Angeles.  http://www.jaybradleylifestyle.com  He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)

WELLNESS-Let’s face it aging is a privilege. Many people don’t have the opportunity to get old because of premature death so the fact that we are experiencing this process is a blessing in itself. 

But in a world where our looks, appearance, and body image have become so important, where do we draw the line between accepting what is as we get older and when to make improvements to look and feel better? 

The fact that many of us are living longer means that we will need to take even better care of our bodies and minds in order to enjoy our lives as we move into our 70’s, 80’s and beyond. 

What worked for our grandparents may not be enough for us. With environmental problems, stress, and a lower quality of food, shifts need to take place. We can’t rely on the old paradigm because times have changed. 

Here are 7 ways that you can make changes today in order to not only age more youthfully but to enjoy the time that you have that much more. 

Organics - We must start buying organic produce, dairy products, meats and more if we want to increase our odds of living longer. We are already bombarded by toxic chemicals and harsh air pollutants so by eating cleaner, we give our body a break from having to detox those extra pesticides that are in our conventional foods. 

Meditation - The busier that our lives get, the more we need to go inward. Meditation of some type is the key to quieting our inner voice of negativity, fear, and self-judgment, and a way to reduce stress and increase our memory and brain activity, as we get older. 

Love What Is - Part of aging well is learning to love and accept our self fully and completely. Sometimes this is easier said than done. When we can learn to be gentler, we begin to quiet that inner critic and we learn to become our own best support system. Reading uplifting personal growth books, spending time in nature, tapping into inspiring projects, and creating a spiritual morning practice will help you to evolve and grow emotionally and spiritually. Learning to love what is in the present moment instead of living in the past or future will allow more joy and spontaneity into your life as well. 

Exercise - It has been said over and over again but now more than ever, exercise is not optional. These days we spend less time being active and more time on our computers and IPhones. Make the daily commitment to move your body and even better, make it your social time as well. The most recent studies show that we can actually spend less time working out with better results. Consult a wellness coach, trainer, or fitness expert to learn more ways that this can be done and how you can build lean muscle and strengthen your heart for increased longevity. 

Supplements - We aren’t receiving enough vitamins and minerals in food alone. This is partly because we’re too busy to eat a well-rounded diet but also because our food often contains less nourishment. Supplementing with a whole food multivitamin with minerals is like an insurance policy for your health. A potent probiotic is also essential. You’ll likely require other vitamin and herbal supplements so it’s best to have a personal consult with a wellness expert to find out which direction to go. 

Sleep - Plenty of research shows that those who sleep well at night and who take short naps during the day tend to live longer and look younger. If you struggle with getting a deep slumber there are plenty of ways to remedy that including making changes to your bedroom setting along with herbal supplements or melatonin to increase the depth and quality of your sleep. 

Superfoods - As mentioned, eating a healthy diet may no longer be enough. Even with the best of intentions, many of us are still lacking essential nutrients. Superfoods are known as super immune boosters! They are those foods, which really pack a punch when it comes to boosting your health and fighting off disease. While many of them can be eaten, I suggest looking for easily digestible superfood powders or supplements that are organic, raw and not overly processed. Some of these include greens powders like chlorella, mushroom extracts, herbs such as ashwaganda and maca, moringa, green tea, coconut, blueberries and many more! 

Social Connection - In this hectic time of social media, ironically we have lost the ability to be social. Many of us, myself included, feel lonelier than ever. We rely on texting and instant messenger over talking. I predict a time in the very near future when we will go back to basics; a time when we re-learn the art of communication and when many of us will begin to yearn for a deeper, more personal connection. Decide that you are going to make a more conscious effort to surround yourself with supportive and loving individuals and consider distancing yourself from those people that drain you. 

It is the daily, consistent steps we take which will make the biggest difference in the way we age. Aging isn’t an option. How we age is.

 

(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert living in Los Angeles. http://jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)

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WELLNESS-I recently read a quote that was written by self-help and spiritual teacher Jeff Foster. It said, “The word depressed is spoken phonetically as deep rest. We can view depression not as a mental illness, but on a deeper level, as a profound (and very misunderstood) state of deep rest, entered into when we are completely exhausted by the weight of our own identity.” 

This resonated deeply and motivated me to write this article. Having dealt with depression in my own life, Jeff’s gentle words made sense like nothing that I had read before. 

If you’ve been depressed, perhaps you have felt as if there is something wrong with you or that you are faulty in some way. Depression is very misunderstood and often makes the person who is suffering feel guilty or ashamed for having these heavy emotions. This is especially the case when we seemingly have wonderful lives surrounded by loving people. With so much richness, how can I feel lonely or depressed we contemplate? Often depressed people tell themselves to “snap out of it” or perpetuate their self-loathing even further because they “should” feel better than they do. 

The idea that depression is in fact a deep rest may help you. If you’re struggling, these very words may lighten your load and support you in being more loving towards yourself. What if this down time was simply there to help you go deeper into that place where all of your answers lie? The space where you are more capable of doing the inner emotional and spiritual work. What if this has shown up once again in order for you to retreat and rest? 

Resting and retreating may seem impossible at the moment especially when bills need to be paid but it is possible for you to go inward and also get your work completed. It may just be that you require more down time than most. Depressive people are often more highly sensitive to the energy of others around them and in order to get re-centered and feeling good, they require a significant time-out. 

If you are suffering from severe, clinical depression you’ll need to visit your physician immediately to get help. Medication doesn’t make you a failure. Sometimes, it assists you to get a better perspective on what’s going on and it reminds you of what it’s like to feel good. Once you’re at a better-feeling place, it may eventually be possible to wean off medication. With proper doctor supervision you’ll be able to make that decision together. 

Many of us have big shoes to fill. Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed by the vastness of our role and the incredible visions that we have for our life. On the contrary, sometimes we can also feel very small. Both sides of the spectrum can cause us to get sad, self-critical, and downright depressed. Old programming from childhood along with day-to-day pressures can also trigger a downward spiral. 

I learned first hand that we CAN move through it by opening up and becoming vulnerable, sharing our deepest thoughts with those who love us, and seeking professional help when necessary. The key during all of this is to remain loving and patient of your self. To remove all judgment that you “should” be somewhere else, and to ask the big question “what can I learn from this?” 

If you struggle with a mood disorder, if you’re feeling down, or if you’ve been diagnosed with depression, take it in. Know that you’re not alone. And reconsider the words from Jeff Foster that perhaps you’re simply entering into a phase of deep rest. Allow it. Don’t push it away. Move through it and you may be amazing at what lays ahead for you on the other side. 

 

(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert living in Los Angeles. http://jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!)

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WELLNESS--By now most of us know that sugar is a culprit. It can be blamed for inflammation within our bodies, low energy, and in excess, it can also play a part in the formation of cancer and other disease. 

Many of us are torn because of the decadent choices of our favorite deserts. The idea of living without them is unbearable. Thankfully most of us don’t need to say goodbye to sugar completely but instead make a conscious choice to simply consume less. 

As a wellness coach I reinforce the 80-20 rule. 80 percent of the time I promote making healthy choices that are going to lift you up and increase your odds of living longer and feeling better and 20 percent of the time, indulge. Unless someone is extremely obese or suffering from a serious illness, some sugar is okay. But if you’re looking to make better choices, and positively affect your long-term health, here is a list of some natural and healthy sugar options that won’t wreak havoc on your blood sugar, cause excess inflammation, or lower your immunity. 

These options are definitely worth trying. The next time you’re at your local health food or grocery store, ask for one of these alternatives and start making simple substitutions for you and your family. 

Stevia - The Stevia leaf is a plant that is 200 times sweeter than sugar. It has become very popular in health foods because it doesn’t spike blood sugar or cause inflammation the way that regular sugar does. Stevia does have a unique after taste, which some people don’t like, and in large amounts it may cause a headache. Stevia is available in powder and liquid forms. 

Xylitol - Xylitol looks and tastes just like white sugar. It can be used in baking and anywhere that regular sugar is used. Xylitol comes mainly from birch trees and other fruits and vegetables. In large amounts it may cause digestive issues including gas and bloating but overall it is well tolerated. In moderate amounts it makes for a wonderful alternative to sugar. 

Erythritol - Erythritol is similar to xylitol and comes mainly from hard wood and other plant sources. It looks and tastes just like white sugar and in small amounts is another great alternative. 

Monk Fruit - There is a lot of buzz lately about monk fruit sweetener. It is 300-400 times sweeter than sugar cane with no calories or glycemic spike! It comes from a fruit that was originally grown in Asia and may even have powerful anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects. 

Coconut Sugar - I have used coconut sugar in my home for years. It looks and tastes exactly like brown sugar with a slight molasses-like richness. It has a lower glycemic index than sugar and it also contains vitamins and minerals. Again, use in moderation and consider alternating with more healthy options such as xylitol and monk fruit. 

Agave - Agave nectar is everywhere. It comes from the agave plant that is also used to make tequila. It can be found in sodas, deserts, and other health food items. While it is certainly healthier than white sugar because it has fewer effects on your overall blood sugar levels, it is said to lose much of its nutritional benefits during the heating process. 

Raw Honey - Consume foods that are as close to nature as possible. Raw honey fits in this category. It has powerful anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is high in polyphenols and antioxidants and has been researched to boost the immune system and help to offset allergies. It is best not to heat raw honey and therefore the old tea and honey regimen may not be best. Again, consume in moderation. 

As I teach my clients, always listen to your body. If you’re using sugar alternatives, pay close attention to how you feel afterwards. Notice any changes or shifts in mood, energy, and overall body functions. Also, be mindful of when you are sweetening your coffee, desert, or other foods simply out of habit. Often we are so accustomed to sweetness that we don’t even realize we could use less and still be quite satisfied and content. 

Also, make sure to look for organic and 100 percent pure sweeteners. With more demand for these sugar alternatives comes an array of new products that are not always pure and natural. Read labels and be a smart consumer.

 

(Jay Bradley is an Anti-Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles http://jaybradleylifestyle.com.  He is the Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!) 

WELLNESS--Telomeres are the caps on our chromosome strands, which hold all of our DNA information. These caps are similar to the plastic ends on shoelaces, which prevent the lace from fraying. Similarly, telomeres keep our DNA strands strong and healthy and they also prevent them from fusing together. With each cell renewal however, our telomeres begin to shorten. As we age, these caps become shorter and shorter and eventually disappear. This process causes the cells to die. Research is suggesting that shorter telomeres equal a shorter life. 

The exciting news is that science is beginning to find ways to lengthen our telomeres and slow the process of our cells decline. And in turn, this research may help us to live longer and healthier lives. 

Here is a short list of some health and lifestyle practices that have been shown to slow the shortening of our telomeres and potentially lengthen them too: 

Supplement Multivitamins - Find a high-quality multivitamin with minerals that is formulated using whole foods whenever possible. Taking a multivitamin is like an insurance policy for your health and can fill in the blanks when it comes to the nutrients you may not be getting from your foods. 

Eat Plenty of Antioxidant Rich Produce - Antioxidants have been shown to not only boost immunity and reduce the risk of disease, but Vitamins A, B12, C, D3, and E may also lengthen telomeres. Ensure that your multivitamin has high levels of these vitamins and eat a diet rich in antioxidants. 

Selenium & Glutathione - Receiving higher levels of selenium and glutathione daily with a supplement and in your foods such as Brazil nuts, oysters, broccoli, cabbage, garlic, spinach, and beets has also shown positive results in the study of longevity. 

Supplement TA-65 - This patented product is derived from the plant astragalus and has been touted to increase telomerase, the active protein enzyme that strengthens our telomeres. Further studies are still required but so far the research is promising. 

Sleep - Make sure to get 8 to 8.5 hours of sleep each night and take a nap if necessary. Plenty of rest may slow the shortening of our telomeres. 

Meditation - Stress can speed up the process of this telomere shortening. By de-stressing and finding spiritual practices that lower the stress hormone cortisol we also slow the aging process. 

Yoga - Yoga has been proven to reduce overall stress in the body and in turn, decelerate the process of our telomeres shortening. 

HIIT and Regular Exercise - Doing High Intensity Interval Training, which is cardiovascular exercise that involves shorter, 30-second sprints with rest periods in between, we can work to lengthen telomeres by sending highly oxygenated blood into our cells. Any exercise is better than none at all and will benefit your health regardless. 

Much research is still being done into activating telomerase and lengthening telomeres but the future looks very bright when it comes to extending lives and decreasing possible illness. In the meantime, choosing to increase your antioxidant levels, decrease stress, and exercise more are definitely beneficial in the long-term. 

These simple and consistent lifestyle steps can only prove to strengthen your system and potentially help you to live longer. By choosing even a few of the tips above, you are improving your odds of having a long, healthy, and happy life. 

By the way, if your family or friends try to guilt you for taking naps each day, simply tell them “I’m not napping, I am lengthening my telomeres!”

 

(Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert living in Los Angeles. http://www.jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the best-selling author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!) 

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WELLNESS--We are all bombarded by ways in which we can stay young and healthy. Every day there are new products, studies, celebrity endorsements, and methods for us to get fit, remain youthful, and to live longer. For certain people, it can be exhausting. The reason many of us feel overwhelmed is because we have been taught to listen to the experts and follow the crowd instead of going inward and allowing our own voice to lead the way. All of this information overload can lead to confusion or even worse, paralysis. 

While there are certainly times when we need professional advice along with research studies in order to compile a concrete case, the best guidance is simply, “listen to your body.” 

It is also important to figure out why you’re making changes in the first place. Is it because somebody else needs you to change or does it come from a genuine desire to improve, expand, and grow? Is it because society says that you should be thinner, younger, and different than you are now or do you genuinely want it for yourself? These are important questions to contemplate. 

As a wellness coach this can be one of the most difficult messages to convey. My role is to share the latest information about health and wellness and to help others find a way to live, that best suits their lifestyle. But unless my clients connect with their true inner motivation to make those changes, chances are, they’ll eventually go back to their old ways. And, unless what I am offering truly resonates with them, they probably won’t stick with it anyway. 

If you’re reading this and looking for answers then I am sorry to disappoint. If however, you’re ready to trust your own voice of wisdom along with some guidance, then you’ve come to the right place! 

Let’s take a look at some important areas of health and wellness and ways in which we can trust our own authentic voice: 

FOOD--There is NOT one diet that works for everybody. Just because a book says, “eat for your blood type”, or “avoid gluten”, or “skip carbs”, it doesn’t mean it will necessarily work for you. For example, being vegan certainly has lots of health benefits and makes ethical sense, but what about all of those other studies that say we need animal protein and fats? There is plenty of conflicting evidence out there. So what do we do? 

The key is to listen to your body. How do you feel after meals? Do certain foods increase your energy while others deplete you? What foods are you craving? Are those cravings coming from an imbalance in your system or do they come from your emotional need to feel better? Your job is to figure out which cravings are beneficial and come from a physical issue such as low blood sugar and which are simply showing up because you seek comfort, which by way, isn’t always bad. 

Tip: Experiment. Keep a food journal for 7 days and track how you’re feeling throughout the day. Really tune in to what your body is asking you for. Only you’ll know for sure. 

EXERCISE--While I am a huge advocate of high intensity cardio training using sprints and weight training, it is fair to say that it may not be for everybody. Some body types benefit more from gentle yoga or Pilates, and others from swimming or cross fit classes. In other words, don’t let anybody else tell you what you need. 

Tip: Once again, experiment and try a variety of exercises. Of course if you want to burn fat and build muscle there are certain ways to do that. But perhaps that isn’t your true goal. Just because advertisers are showing lean, toned, and trim bodies, doesn’t mean everybody needs to be that way. Be the best version of you and don’t compare. Being perfectly toned and fit doesn’t necessarily mean that we are healthy unless all aspects of our health are taken into account. 

SUPPLEMENTS--I am a big promoter of taking vitamins, minerals, and supplements. My belief is that we cannot get everything we need from our food due to the fact that we aren’t eating a varied enough diet and because of the depletion in our soils. That being said, not everybody needs all of the supplements that I recommend. Again, it’s about listening to your intuition first and foremost. 

Tip: Feel free to sample various vitamin supplements and do your research. Nobody can tell you what you require, only you’ll know for sure. Get regular check-ups and blood work, but understand that we often cannot feel the benefits that our vitamins offer us. Sometimes we do need to trust that they are benefiting us on a cellular level. 

COSMETIC SURGERY--I am all for a little nip and tuck, Botox, filler, and a laser procedure, if it makes you look and feel better. There are no definitive long-term studies that show Botox or Hyaluronic facial fillers have a negative affect on our health. 

The problem arises when you are looking from the outside in rather than the inside out. I often see people looking for a “quick fix” to their physical body when the real change needs to take place in their emotional well-being. 

Tip: Hire a therapist or coach and work through those deep emotional issues that require your awareness. If you’re feeling more balanced and you’re in a good headspace, by all means look into procedures that will help you to feel better about yourself. When it comes to finding a good plastic surgeon or dermatologist, make sure to see photos of their previous work and find one who takes the “less is more approach.” The key is always to look like a new and refreshed version of you. 

Finding a balance in life can be challenging at times. Always listen to your higher self and receive only that which truly resonates. Your body is communicating with you. Are you listening?

 

(Jay Bradley is an anti-aging, wellness, and lifestyle expert living in Los Angeles.  http://jaybradleylifestyle.com. He is the author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger, and Feel Better!)

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