It occurred to me recently that at my age the aging process will accelerate from here. Up to this point aging has been gradual. At times several years would go by before I would notice changes. Lately, however I've noticed that once we get into our 60s and 70s aging is more evident and seemingly faster.
This week I attended a funeral of an amazing woman. She loved her life and her community and giving back. Her obituary was full of service to her family, her friends, and the world. Listening to it made me consider writing my own obituary. This can be a wonderful experience that may provide insight as to what we want to be experiencing at the end of our lives. What is missing from your obituary? What are you doing now to ensure it's place in your obituary. These are questions you may have never been asked or may have never even given a thought to. It feels really important to look at these things and to ask ourselves what we could be doing differently that will take us to the place we want to be looking back as we near the end of our life.
What do you want your health to look like as you near the end of your life? Unfortunately, in the US many people die slowly over the last 10 to 20 years of their lives. Their lifestyle choices often have led them to chronic illness or disability. And many of us don't get the wake-up call until it's too late. For those of us who do get a wake-up call, adjusting our lifestyle habits can go a long way to getting us closer to where we want to be. The first step is evaluation of where you are now and determination of where you want to be. Where are the gaps? What could you start doing today that would lead you in the direction of better health and longevity. Small changes over time can have a big impact on our aging and our physical and emotional well-being as we age.
Your health is important to you. Otherwise, you wouldn't be reading this newsletter. My challenge to you this week is to take a good long look at yourself in your bathroom mirror and ask yourself these important questions, evaluate where you are now and where you want to be. My recommendation is to add in the good stuff. It might be eating more vegetables on a daily basis. It might be going for a daily walk. It could be improving your social connection to those you love. There are so many things we can do to increase our satisfaction and our health as we age. What's it gonna be for you?
Jackfruit is a tropical fruit with an impressive nutritional makeup that many Americans are not familiar with. This strange looking fruit is known to have numerous bioactive compounds that reduce inflammation, high blood pressure and even the risk of developing cancer! It also has therapeutic qualities including antimicrobial, antifungal, antidiabetic and antioxidant effects. Sounds like great medicine, doesn't it. Have you eaten jackfruit? If not, this is something you may want to explore. I've included a recipe below for you to try.
Jackfuit is available March through August fresh and many stores carry it in cans. If you've ever seen a jackfruit, you know that it can be very large (up to 100 lbs!) and has a knobby, green outer peel with white, sticky flesh filled seed pits, surrounded by delicious yellow flesh. It is not easy to get to this treasure but those who love the nutritional profile and the taste, it's well worth the time and effort.
Jackfruit is packed with phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. Most common are vitamin A, C, thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, and zinc. Common phytonutrients (plant nutrients) include carotenoids, flavonoids, coumarins, indoles, isoflavones, and resveratrol. These all have positive effects on health and when eaten regularly can reduce risk of chronic illness.
Vitamin A in jackfruit supports healthy vision and can counteract age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Vitamin C is anti-aging as it is sun protective and collagen producing. It also has a role in immunity and gut health. The dietary fiber in jackfruit helps digestive health and function, as well as, promoting lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels.
Convinced yet? Ready to try this amazing food? Let me know if you do and how you like it!
The Controller Saboteur
In the last couple newsletters, I've added information about the judge saboteur and the avoider saboteur. Today I'm going to talk about the controller. This may resonate with you if you find yourself having some of these characteristics. The controller has a strong energy and needs to control and take charge. This saboteur connects with others through competition, challenge, physicality, or conflict rather than softer emotions. The controller saboteur is willful, confrontational, a straight talker and pushes people beyond their comfort zone. The controller comes alive when doing the impossible and beating the odds and is stimulated by and connects through conflict. This saboteur is surprised when others get hurt or when they intimidate others. That in-your-face communication is interpreted by others as anger or criticism.
The thoughts that the controller saboteur elicits are that you are either in control or out of control. Other thoughts include ‘if I work hard enough I can and I should control the situation, so it goes my way’, ‘others want and need me to take control’, ‘you are doing them a favor’, and ‘no one tells me what to do’. These thoughts can illicit high anxiety when things are not going your way. You may feel angry or intimidated when others don't follow and impatient with others feelings and different styles. Feeling hurt or rejected may occur but will rarely be admitted to.
The justification lies that the controller uses include ‘without the controller, you can't get much done’. The controller saboteur may tell you that you need to push people and if you don't control, you will be controlled and you can't live with that. The controller is just trying to get the job done for all our sakes.
The impact on self and others is that the controller does get temporary results but at the cost of others feeling controlled and resentful and not able to tap into their own greatness. The controller also generates a great deal of anxiety as many things in work and life are ultimately not controllable. Underneath the bravado of the controller there is a hidden fear of being controlled by others or life. Control is sometimes associated with early life experiences where the child is forced to grow up fast, beyond its own, or take charge of a chaotic or dangerous surroundings in order to survive physically and/or emotionally. It is also associated with being hurt, rejected, or betrayed and deciding to never be that vulnerable again.
Reading this, what comes up for you? Do you feel a little anxious, is your heart beating a little faster? The controller saboteur may be alive and well in you. You can go to www.positiveintelligence.com and take the PQ assessment to determine what saboteurs may be part of your daily life. Intrigued by the information I’ve shared about saboteurs? I will be starting a group coaching program on November 8, 2023 to take participants through the PQ Challenge to learn how to weaken our saboteurs and build more positivity in our lives. Stay tuned. Reach out if questions or if you’d like more information about the group.
The Dangerous Body Fat
Most of us know that being overweight and carrying extra fat on our bodies is not healthy. What you may not know is that not all fat is created equal. Visceral fat, also known as abdominal fat, is the fat that surrounds our internal organs in the abdomen. It’s normal and necessary for the body to store some fat for energy and insulation, however excess visceral fat can harm our health. Visceral fat can cause inflammation in the body and chronic inflammation is the source of many chronic illnesses.
Visceral fat can lead to insulin resistance, a condition where the body cells become less responsive to insulin. Insulin resistance can lead to increased inflammation and the development of various health problems including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. The most insidious thing about visceral fat is that you can have a lot of it, but not know it's there. Some people may appear thin on the outside but have excess fat inside and suffer health issues because of it.
There are things you can do to reduce the visceral fat you carry. A diet rich in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in processed food, sugar, and saturated fat can help reduce visceral fat. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that a diet rich in whole grains, fruit, and vegetables was associated with lower visceral fat levels. In contrast, eating fried foods, alcohol, red meat, sugary beverages, and refined grains was linked to higher levels of visceral fat and/or waist circumference. There are multiple studies that support this dietary pattern to help reduce visceral fat levels.
In addition to a whole foods way of eating, exercise including aerobic and strength training is also an effective way to reduce visceral fat. Lifestyle matters. In addition to diet and exercise, lack of sufficient sleep might cause an increase in abdominal visceral fat. A study involving 1000 male participants published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism found that alcohol consumption was associated with the higher visceral fat levels. The study also discovered that alcohol consumption of 14 or more standard drinks per week may increase metabolic syndrome risk. The bottom line is, reducing visceral fat through diet and exercise can help to reduce inflammation and improve health outcomes. Making healthy lifestyle choices can reduce our risk of chronic illness and improve our overall health and well-being.
It’s not just your cheeks that turn red and expose your embarrassment when you’re blushing. Your stomach also turns red, but not many people will notice this.
Takes just 25 minutes to whip up for a perfect weeknight meal. So delicious even meat eaters will love this!
Servings: 8 tacos
For the jackfruit:
2 20oz cans green jackfruit in water or brine , drained, rinsed, and chopped (see instructions below)
1 tablespoon (or more as needed) water for sauteing onion
1 yellow onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup vegetable broth or water
1 tablespoon agave (or maple syrup)
½ lime, juiced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon salt
For the tacos:
8 taco shells , hard or soft (gluten-free if preferred)
1 avocado, sliced
¼ red onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
To chop the jackfruit:
For optimal texture, cut the jackfruit into thin slices from the core to the outer edge as seen in the pictures. This breaks up the tougher core as much as possible and makes for the best shredded texture. Do NOT discard the core or seeds, they are totally edible, and you are just wasting precious jackfruit!
To make the shredded jackfruit:
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onions and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes until the onions have softened and begin to brown. Add small amounts of water to prevent sticking.
Add the chopped jackfruit, broth, agave, lime juice and all the spices to the pot and cover. Reduce heat and let it simmer until the jackfruit softens slightly, and about ½ of the liquid is absorbed. About 5 minutes.
Now take a potato masher, and smash all the jackfruit up to get that shredded texture. If you find it a bit wet, just cook a little longer. If you find it a little dry, just add a splash more vegetable broth.
To assemble the tacos:
Warm the taco shells according to the package directions. When warmed, add a scoop of the jackfruit, and top with an avocado slice, a couple red onion slices, some cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice. Or you can top with whatever your favorite taco toppings are! You may also love a squeeze of hot sauce.
Recipe adapted from Sam Turnbull • It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken
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My Favorite Quotes
“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
The content in this newsletter is intended for educational/informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care professional.