On the deck, sun is shining, the grill is fired up, a couple of bottles of wine and I am sitting with my mom and pops for the first time in months. I take in the moment and I am grateful for their health and the chance to finally see them since the pandemic started.
If anything these past few months have taught us is to cherish the people that you love and being safe and healthy is crucial. Our folks or elder people in our lives are approaching their golden years and being healthy, strong, pain and disease free is what we want most for them.
My pops can be stubborn (I’m sure you can relate) and I get it, I’m always talking about strengthening the body and he nods and smiles. I get it – he came to this country, worked his tail off and now he’s in his sixties and just wants to retire.
Thankfully over the years I’ve helped make a big shift in their diet and habits which I am really happy about. But I also want them to continue these next chapters stronger and healthier.
With both of them having Covid and getting through it along with all the health issues my mom faced and with just aging in general, their wellbeing becomes paramount!
Sometimes we get caught up in all that we have to do and we take the relationships with our folks or people we care for that are older in age as for what it is – they’re just getting older.
I will get into some topics that can help them feel better and work towards a stronger state of wellness.
If you are lucky enough to still have your folks or some people in your life that are older that you,
or if you’re reading this and you’re gearing up to retire or wherever you are in your adult life – I will get into some topics about feeling better and working towards a stronger state of wellness as we age.
BEFORE WE GET INTO THE GOODS
If you have been reading these initial issues of the newsletter – just wanna say thanks.
I would like to give you a compass to navigate some of the information that I’m sharing in these letters.
I love health and wellness but I also love cold beers and a good doughnut. Physically, I was built to look like this guy:
I love Aziz, but he and I didn’t win the genetic lottery. Not tall, skinny fat growing up and just a hard climb overall. I wasn’t ok with that trajectory and more on that in later issues.
But I am ok with the implications of the doughnut.
Yes it’s unhealthy AF and yes it messes up the body and such,
But, it’s delicious, scrumptious, delectable and by god it’s satisfying AF.
If I had to leave this earth – please, coffee, doughnut, a cool breeze and some sunshine.✌🏾
There’s power in information!
As I continue to learn how to improve the quality of my life with wellness practices, movement and diet, I can distinguish what’s right and wrong for me.
Understanding and having that information allows me to make better decisions in my life.
I’m cool with what this doughnut will do to the body and trust me, I will enjoy the heck out of it. But that doesn’t take away from my values and what I believe in for my health and wellness.
With the right information we can make decisions that we can live with.
As I am writing this I am thinking of gelato and pizza. So I don’t even know now if health and wellness should be my schtick!
JK – this is my jam – I am searching for balance is all.
I want to deliver info on wellness, lifestyle and actionable go to’s – to improve overall quality of life and to provide some entertainment while doing so. We hear balance and moderation all the time – but what does that even mean without understanding the +/- of the shit we do.
It may be a lot to digest sometimes, but take what’s there for you and circle back whenever you want.
I send these out bi-weekly because it can be a lot of information – so take your time and just go through it piece by piece and see if you can grab some value that way.
On that note – I would like for you to take a look at this article I wrote about our Insta-fit culture and how we use the information we get!
How to choose your fitness Influencer
It’s a hot NY summer day. I am rounding the corner from my apartment where the bodega is and Terry is front and center with 40 grams of sugar in the form of Arizona Iced Tea and some Oreos.
What’s up Ry – hot AF out here today, I reply Sup Terry – indeed it is my brotha. Terry is in shorts and no shirt on. He also has muscles on top of muscles that sit on top of muscles.
Terry goes, let me finish this iced tea and let’s see how many pushups we can do in 5 minutes – I politely say fk you Terry and your muscles. I am rolling to Whole Foods, need anything? He looked at the bodega and replied I got all I need right here man.
Terry’s meals pretty much come from the bodega. It’s usually junk in wrappers, protein bars, sodas, chips, sandwiches, nuts and bunches of bananas. He does push ups, pull ups, sit ups and runs. THAT’S IT! And yet Terry looks like the guy Arnold Schwarzenegger aspired to be. The guy has no body fat and is jacked!
No squats for this dude – all the while I am all in for making my legs half the size of his calves. Perplexing isn’t it?
The math doesn’t add up. Terry looks healthy and fit, eats crap from the bodega and does only bodyweight workouts.
NO way in hell if I go on the Terry plan will I look like Terry.
If you are like me and into your health and wellness, then I can assume there are a handful of fitness accounts you follow on Instagram.
Check out the rest of this story here
Why Organic Matters
When shopping for produce sometimes the disparity between organic and non-organic can be significant. It sometimes doesn’t make sense. Is this marketing or a sales strategy or is it really that much better?
I too had reservations. Am I being scammed by Whole Foods? Is this hipster dude at the farmer’s market trying to get one over on me? Is this tomato for $5 that much different than this tomato for $2 or is he just up selling me because Brooklyn rent and beard oil is expensive?
Yet, I’ve been buying organic/sustainably farmed produce for years now and YES, I can attest that there are big differences. With that said, there are some things that you don’t have to buy organic.
There is a difference between dirt and soil. Dirt is lifeless and dead and cannot hold water or carbon. Dirt contains very few microorganisms, fungi or worms – all of which are needed to extract nutrients from the soil to feed the plants.
So dirt requires massive inputs of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and water just to grow our food.
Healthy soil reduces or eliminates the need for pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Healthy soil extracts nutrients from the earth, making them available to plants and humans.
Fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides are used to grow the plants that feed the meat that we eat. In turn, we keep pumping the body with glyphosate (glyphosate is a herbicide whose primary use involves killing weeds).
I shall explain more here – also a list of what to buy organic and what you can save some coin by not buying organic.
🥶 How The Cold Can Be Good🥶
Maybe you’ve heard of people taking cold showers or ice baths and wondered what’s all the hype – or maybe you could care less and think it’s absurd.
A couple years ago I didn’t believe freezing my balls off would have any health benefits – and now a couple years later I freeze ’em off every morning for several minutes as well as the occasional ice bath.
Cold thermogenesis is your body’s metabolic response to cold by increasing heat production.
Benefits you ask?
The main ones include fat loss, improved immunity, alleviation of depression and muscle recovery.
My main reason for using cold exposure is mental calmness and increased energy first thing in the morning.
I start the morning with this practice because it’s a small but powerful act of defiance that builds resilience, grit, discipline and confidence. It also allows me to really lock in my focus and energy without reaching for the coffee right away. I also like it as it helps me stay lean.
How to do it..
Cold shower – start small, take a shower in the am as you would or just hop in the shower and let warm water run head to toe, take a couple of deep breaths and crank it cold and hold on for 30 seconds then turn it back hot.
Start there and start increasing the duration – and time yourself. Your body will get used to it. See if you can work up to a couple of minutes. 🙂
Now that the summer is in full swing and you’ve had your fair share of white wines in the mild summer afternoons maybe it’s time to switch it up. For me personally, it’s way too hot this month to drink in the blazing heat. More grilling and evening hangouts have been the move.
It’s still pretty hot and I want something crisp and cool, but to go with a good steak or cheese plate, I’ve been mixing it up with some chill reds.
Some good reds to chill would be:
Beaujolais – France. One of my favorites year round and always a great value for the price. Strong smell of flowers, raspberries and thyme. Look for Morgon, Fleurie or Julienas listed on the bottle. Chill it and enjoy.
Fleurie – my go to at the moment from Ann Sophie Dubois.
Grenache/Garnacha – Spain and France. Light berry and floral taste. Depending on climate it can vary a bit. Try some from both but I love Spanish Garnacha. Look for Priorats from Spain and wines from Cote Du Rhone from France.
Rioja/Tempranillo – Spain. It gets hot out there and the Spaniards love them some vino. Light in color but full bodied. Gotta try and see if it’s your thing. Brings me back to Spain every time.
Frappato – An Italian medium bodied red. Fruity and delicious.
Here’s some more details on chilling your reds. https://www.winemag.com/2018/08/13/chill-wine/
For The People We Love
While over at my parents house – I showed my mom a workout routine that she’s now been doing 3 times a week. She’s seeing how my grandpa is aging with little strength and that is an added motivator for her to make some changes now.
Over the years, one of my favorite stories from people I work with is how their enthusiasm for prioritizing their health has spread on to the people they love and care for. Especially parents and those who are older that get motivated to exercise or eat better.
Some of the transformations are remarkable, especially as the years go by and I check in and see the progress. “My dad lost 50lbs” “My parents are in the gym” “My mom sent me a recipe for a healthy version of this dish we used to make growing up”
The most important idea to note – regardless of age, it’s not too late to strengthen the body or add some things to the diet to help them operate better and lose some weight if that’s the case. These changes will increase energy, reduce joint pains and keep chronic illness away.
Beyond the age of thirty, you lose approximately 6lbs of muscle mass per decade. 3% per year after 40. Sarcopenia, or the degeneration and loss of muscle mass and strength is one of the deadliest health conditions affecting older adults.
Please Read The Rest Here.
Bone Broth & Collagen
Collagen has been getting the buzz as of late. I love it. It’s why I recommend collagen rich foods and bone broth to all my clients. Sometimes its hard to get it from foods so I also have a collagen supplement I add in my smoothies daily.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies, especially type 1 collagen. It’s found in muscles, bones, skin, blood vessels, digestive system and tendons
Collagen benefits are so striking because this protein is what helps give our skin strength and elasticity, along with replacing dead skin cells. When it comes to our joints and tendons, in simplest terms, it’s the “glue” that helps hold the body together.
For the theme of aging in this newsletter- Our body’s collagen production naturally begins to slow down as we age.
We can thank this degenerative process for signs of aging, such as wrinkles, sagging skin and joint pains due to weaker or decreased cartilage
When it comes to sources of collagen we get from our diets, the main ones are that are high in protein, including beef, chicken, fish and egg. That’s why its so important to encourage older people to get good amount of protein in.
I use Kettle & Fire bone broth. If your vegetarian or want to supplement Collagen check this out.
Collagen Peptides Use CHEERS for 10% off
Also In the organic article I talk about how glycine can help fight the bad effects of pesticides and collagen is made up of glycine!
Here is 20 percent off the Cauliflower thins I mentioned in the last issue Outer Aisle
People usually head out during NYC summers but given what has happened, our options are limited. To put it lightly – ain’t shit to do!!
I’ve been meaning to get out there and do more because I love nature and love being outdoors. Especially when I travel, it’s the best way to explore.
So I reached out to my friend Ree – She lives for the hikes and the outdoors. Here I have some of her best recommendations outside of NY and some great info on what to look for.
Not only is a good hike a great workout but it allows us to detach from our day to day and get back with nature.
It can be a great relationship builder and meditative experience. I love this activity for its mental and physical wellness rewards.
FOR A GREAT CAUSE
My buddy Albert had a brilliant idea to ring in his 34th birthday. Bert is one of the most giving and socially conscious dudes I know. It didn’t surprise me when he decided to embark on a fitness/food challenge for some awesome social causes.
Take a look at how and what he was able to accomplish.👏🏾
By Albert Pham:
“So for my birthday I chose three organizations that are dealing with these current issues.
Equal Justice Initiative; an organization that is built to fight against mass incarceration, social/economic inequality among other things.
Islamic Relief USA organization. Currently there is a humanitarian crisis in Yemen where approximately 80% of the population need food, clothing, medicine, things we don’t have a second thought about. This organization will help deliver those needs to these people.
Lastly is an organization I am a part of; Team Rubicon. We are a disaster relief organization and currently are using resources to help our nation battle the Covid-19 pandemic.
We have a medical team in the Navajo nation treating patients there as well as volunteers helping working food banks and delivering food to people who are vulnerable. The money we raise will help these organizations with their efforts.
So how do I get people to not only engage and become aware of these organizations and the issues they face? I did fitness challenges throughout the day with polls on IG story to keep people interested and to have them participate in those polls. Since it was my 34th birthday, the challenges were:
1) 3.4 mile run with 34 lbs on my back
2) 340 pushups with 34 lbs on my back
3) 34 mile bike ride
Each of these challenges had a time cap and there was a choice for Over or Under that time. The amount of people that guessed correctly would be the amount I donated to each organization.
On top of that I was matching donations up to $100 per organization to whoever wanted to donate. I honestly was only expecting at most $200 total, but we ended up raising over $2000!
I ended up only eating a big ass bowl of cinnamon toast crunch, cronut, pieces of donuts here and there. Levain bakery cookies, chicken wings, quesadilla, sushi, chips, pop tarts and some homemade pho. Totaled about 5,000 calories.”
Love this dude!! Freakin champ. Here are links to the organizations if you were interested in supporting!
🍦NYC ICE CREAM 🍦
To piggyback off of Albert’s Birthday feast – July was scorching hot! How about some ice cream deliciousness to cool us down. If you’re close to NY/NJ here are my favorite ice cream spots to checkout.
- Gentile (Williamsburg and West Village) This is authentic Italian gelato that will not disappoint. I dream of this stuff. Thankfully they kept open during lockdown and kept me happy on multiple days. I love the Stracciatella but if you get a chance and Biscotti is on the menu – GO!!!! Changed the game for me.
- Van Leeuwen (Everywhere) No need to elaborate further. Brooklyn Brown Sugar = Lights out. Carrot Cake doughnut was great too. Check their instagram here for all the good they do.
- Mah ze Dahr Bakery (West Village) I am biased here since it’s my favorite bakery in the city. They have some nostalgic push pops (chocolate semifreddo layered with peanut butter, salted caramel and candied peanuts) as well as fresh fruit ice-pops. The yuzu and raspberry ice pop was devoured before I got to the next block.
- Caffe Panna (Union SQ) Just check em out here. Pictures will do more justice than my words. Down the street from Daily Provisions. Best bacon egg and cheese as well as cruller doughnuts.
- Milk and Cream Bar (NOHO/Jersey City) Your favorite cereal into ice cream.🤯
If you guys have any more recs – I’d happily take them. And from wherever you are in the country or world. Send them over. I like ice cream.
Something To Think About
We always hear how sleep is important (for everything!) but it can be one of the easiest deals to make to get less. After a hard day of work and whatever else priorities you have – you might want an extra hour for yourself – just shave it off and rely on tomorrow morning’s coffee.
Watching a show and you get hooked – I should be going to sleep but an hour more won’t hurt and 3 hours later – finally the body gives in. (I have been victim of this many times)
I’m not here to tell you to get your 8 hours of sleep – because it simply isn’t that easy.
Quality of sleep is important but duration varies from person to person. I tracked my sleep and for me – 8, 7 and 6.5 hours were all the same with REM, Deep Sleep and my HRV – so why sleep 8 when I can do the same in 6.5!
In addition to last issues Mitochondria Piece
Sleep disorders and mitochondrial dysfunction go hand in hand. Even without a sleep disorder diagnosis, poor sleep habits make your mitochondria weak.
That’s because sleep is when cells, especially your brain cells, clean house. When cells go about their day-to-day functioning, they make waste, and when you’re sleeping, mitochondria make energy for your cells to take out the trash.
In the next issue I’ll talk a bit more about sleep and some tips that can give you some better more effective shut eyes!
As for entertainment – the basketball hoops are back up in NYC and I have a court across the street that no one uses sooooo thats what I’ve been doing. 🤷🏾♂️
Absentia (Amazon Prime) was something we watched. Season 1 is bonkers.
Upload (Amazon Prime) from the creators of Parks and Rec – Funny!
Latin Street food (Netflix) Awesome. 🤤 goes into the culture and some of the tastiest foods on the planet.
Looking forward to watching Fear City about the Mob and NYC
From last issue – finished “The Great” on Hulu – loved it
Also Basketball is back 🏀
7 minute workout
Here is a potent, science proven 7-minute bodyweight workout. Because it targets more fast, explosive, powerful muscles. I could get into the study – but try it and see what happens!
Perform each exercise for 30 seconds with 10 seconds of rest between exercises. One round takes about 7 minutes.
If you are regularly training or doing some of the workouts I attached in previous newsletters then this can be a great addition.
So here it goes. The 7 minute workout challenge.
Give it a go starting this week try for it 4 days this week minimum. Its just 7 minutes! And if possible reply back to this email with some results or what you thought about it.
Do it in the am before your first meal. Just 7 minutes. Stretch thoroughly and have your timer set.
I use it quite often before runs or I would do 2 or 3 rounds in the am as a full workout.
Do every dynamic exercise as explosively and quickly as possible. With my first go at this workout it was tough to get through the full 30 seconds. Scale down to 20 seconds to test the waters.
Here is the body weight version that I do. Feel free to substitute different body weight movements to your level. BUT try to follow this structure. I developed based on activating certain muscle groups so it flows.
- Sit-ups , Vups or basic Crunches
- Pushups – strict or on the knees or whatever you can do
- Squats ( core tight and butt tight at the top)
- Jumping Jacks
- Mt Climbers
- In place lunges Right leg
- In place lingers Left leg
- Dips on a bench or Pushups with a tight grip
- Jab + Cross ( with or without weight)
- Jump squat or “Burpee” the right way. ( squat deep, snap hips land flat)
- Leg Raises
- High Knees
If you have access to a pull up bar or doing this at a park which I do, then substitute pull-ups for jumping jacks and if you really want to challenge add another round of pull-ups by substituting it for the leg raises.
If you can do me a huge solid and refer this newsletter to at least one person that can get some value from what I am sharing I would greatly appreciate it.
Also I will send you a workout a VIDEO using bands, dumbbells and kettlebells with this structure to really get a killer workout.
I greatly appreciate your support and hope this letter vibes with you.
Just send forward them this email or send them this link https://sendfox.com/RyanC
Thanks for reading and see you in 2 weeks.
Cheers To A Good Life