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1

Why It’s Great to be a Boomer

Alexandra Williams, MA 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Much is written about the joys of being young, but how much is said about the advantages of being a Boomer? I speak as an expert when I say we Boomers are in full bloom. I asked a few of my friends and age cohorts what they liked best about this age, and I certainly got a full list of advantages!!

pic of orange tulip

A Beautiful Bloom

Freedom
Confidence
Caring Less about what others think
Variety of choices and opportunities
Knowing myself well
Doing what makes me happy
Wisdom and perspective
Being comfortable in my own skin
Able to enjoy my kids as adults
Laughing really loud and not caring
Opportunity to start over
Mentoring and sharing our knowledge

I also sat down and wrote out my personal Top 10 reasons I enjoy this age:

1. I’m not waiting for my life to “begin.” I am living it.
2. When I travel I can stay in nice hotels, not youth hostels.
3. I can prepare what I like to eat instead of catering to kids’ preferences.
4. Though I want to look my best, I no longer worry if I am pretty enough.
5. I have the freedom to sing, dance and act silly without really caring what “they” will think.
6. Fashion is what I say it is.
7. All the good music is from my era.
8. I have tried and true friends who’ve been there for decades.
9. I am skilled at a number of things.
10. I have taken care of my body, and it’s reflecting that care in a positive way.

Since Silk is the company that approached me for my input about how their products (for me, it’s the Silk Vanilla Almondmilk mainly) help me to Bloom, I think I’ll elaborate on #3 and #10. A few years ago, I tried almondmilk for the first time at the Natural Products Expo. I’ve been a vegetarian since 1998, and love almonds a LOT, yet had never tried almondmilk, thinking it would be “weird” or too “hippy dippy” for me.

Turns out I was wrong. I now use Vanilla Almondmilk in my chai, smoothies, baking, oatmeal, blah-de-blah-blah (that’s more interesting than saying “etc.”). I care about the politics and origins of my food too., so Silk’s leadership in the the non-GMO initiative matters to me.

Silk believes in a plant-based diet; so do I.

I believe 100% that part of why my health is so good, my weight is stable, and my energy level is high is due to my nutrition. If you eat well, your body does well. For those of you with lactose or gluten issues, Silk milks are also free of those.

As I tell my university students, take my word for it AND try for yourself. By clicking this link you can sign up for a coupon to save on Silk’s Almondmilk, Soymilk or Coconutmilk. You might even win a free year’s supply! Actually, I’d like to win that, as I just sampled the brand new Protein + Fiber Vanilla at the Natural Products Expo this past weekend, and got super happyfied. Hey, if Nabokov could make up words, so can I.

Because I am a Boom-Chicka-Boomer, I have a 1970s trivia question for you. What do Barry While and Silk Almondmilk have in common? They are both silky smooth and oh, so good for you! Just listen to Let the Music Play and see if you don’t feel silkily seduced and stress reduced! That was actually a rhetorical question. My trivia question is this – What year was this song released? Hint: I graduated the same year from high school.

pic of menu board for White Wave at Expo West

Silk Menu Board at Expo West

Boom to the Bloom!

What do you prefer – coconut, almond, or soy milk?

17

Living Now Giveaway: Allergy-Friendly Grains & Flours

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
Pizza Herb Bread

Pizza Herb Bread

Halloween is here, a day when people like things that are spooky and scary. It’s also the start of one of the best seasons of the year – Baking Season!!!

Yet for some people, baking can be scary, especially those with food allergies. Living Now by NOWFoods to the rescue. In this case, you could be the winner of seven different allergy-friendly products they offer from their Living Now™ line.

Free of the 8 major common allergens including wheat, nuts, soy, dairy, eggs, and fish, the Living Now products have a focus on wholesome, natural, organic ancient grains and flours, all of which are produced in a dedicated, certified gluten-free, allergy-friendly, Kosher facility.

Giveaway

Want to scare up 7 of the products all for yourself? First up, the grains and flours. Aren’t these 5 choices just BOO-tiful? Amaranth, brown rice flour, tapioca flour, white rice flour and quinoa.

Organic Quinoa Grains

Organic Quinoa Grains

Organic Tapioca and Brown Rice Flours

Organic Tapioca and Brown Rice Flours

Organic white Rice Flour

Organic white Rice Flour

Organic Amaranth Grain

Organic Amaranth Grain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up, the just-released baking mixes. They are so new that we believe this to be the first blog where you can get them!! What beastie wouldn’t want gluten-free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Mix, or gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix?  Even if you have no allergies, you can be a SpookTacular winner because they are tasty all on their own.

Living Now Gluten-Free Choco-Chip Banana Bread Mix

Living Now Gluten-Free Choco-Chip Banana Bread Mix

 

Living Now Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Living Now Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Just follow the instructions below to win. You must have a U.S. mailing address. Giveaway ends on Thursday, Nov. 07, 2013. Winner will be notified and have 48 hours to respond.

Congratulations to Gail Gedan Spencer, the winner of our Giveaway!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaways are Great. We are also Great at Writing & Speaking:

A) Hire us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

B) Subscribe to our YouTube channel and blog.

C) Follow us on google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

51

What Food is Healthy? And a Whole Grain, Wholly Amazing Bob’s Red Mill Giveaway!

Alexandra Williams, MA

“What food is healthy?” This is a question we are asked quite frequently, mostly by our university students, but also by our 60- and 70-year-old students.

bean flourThe answer is quite simple at first glance, yet in practice deceptively difficult. For years I’ve told my students “the closer to the ground the better,” yet many of them found this answer confusing, and over the years it’s required more explanation (yes, kind of sad).

First off, I’m not a nutritionist or dietitian (although I can spell “dietitian” without looking it up). What I am is a good researcher and writer, including this list of articles about food and health that I’ve written. I’m also a good eater and all-around healthy person.

I’m tempted to say that the answer to the healthy food question is, “It depends,” but that’s probably due to my counseling studies, when I learned that it’s the answer to most questions! My new response is to answer with my own question: “Does it (the food) help or harm your body?” For example, I have a friend right now who’s pregnant and dealing with gastroparesis. She cannot eat veggies without getting quite ill. She can, however, keep down sno-cones and pierogies. For her, leafy veggies are unhealthy.

For my sister, it’s possible that she is now allergic to some foods that were perfectly fine for her for decades. As identical twins, we are usually quite similar in our medical issues, so I’m curious to see what she discovers as she eliminates, then reintroduces, certain foods. Kind of a canary in the coal mine thing. She is the canary in this scenario. At present, she is testing out a wheat-free diet. We wrote about some of the research for and against in our post “Is Wheat-Free Better for You.” Bottom line: Eat whole grains. Stay away from genetically modified organisms.Wheat silo

For many of my women friends, a glass of red wine in the evening is possibly a heart-healthy dose of resveratrol. But for me, it’s just a drink that makes me turn red and get a headache. Other friends need to live by a gluten-free diet, while some thrive on organic whole grains.

Vegan, vegetarian, paleo, GF, clean eating, pescatarian, omnivore, high-carb, low-carb, restricted-calorie, intuitive, timed – the list of eating categories goes on and on. And every single one of these eating styles is healthy – for someone.

So I think my new answer is a good one. If it helps your body (chemical cravings for Ben & Jerry’s “Americone Dream” don’t count), then it’s probably healthy for you. If it harms, then why would you eat it? Rather than give advice, I’ll share what works for me.

* Whole grains
* Organic or at least pesticide-free
* Cooking & baking from scratch
* Few processed, packaged foods
* No soda, energy drinks, or high-sugar drinks
* No meat
* All ingredients are recognizable and pronounceable
* If it shouldn’t go in my (or my kids’) mouth, it doesn’t come into the house
* Reading research and books. At present I am reading “Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition” by T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and I love anything by Michael Pollan (did you know he’s Michael J. Fox’s bro-in-law?)

Bob's Red Mill Gift CardIn a further spirit of sharing, I’m also going to give away a $100 gift card from Bob’s Red Mill. I wholeheartedly endorse their tagline “Whole Grain Foods for Every Meal of the Day.”

Reasons you should love this company:

* Their mission is to bring good, healthy foods to as many people as possible
* They have given millions of dollars to support healthy nutrition and wellness, and address the issue of pediatric obesity
* Owners Bob and Charlee Moore gave the company to the employees in 2010
* They sell a complete range of whole-grain food products (not foodlike substances), including organic, gluten free, non-GMO, and kosher
* Their prices are extremely fair (example: $5.79 for 5 pounds of organic white whole wheat flour, compared to $8.95 from their closest competitor)
* The food is delicious

Grains, Beans & Seeds: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, fava bean, kamut, quinoa, spelt, sorghum, teff, triticale, farro, kamut, and way more!

Grains, Beans & Seeds: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, fava bean, kamut, quinoa, spelt, sorghum, teff, triticale, farro, kamut, and way more!

So what will you choose if you win the $100 gift card?
* Flours & Meals
* Grains, Beans & Seeds
* Cereals
* Gluten Free
* Mixes
* Baking Aids
* Oats
* Books
* Entrees

The SuperFine print: This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents. Yes, my Canadian friends, you are included!!!! That is just how generous Bob’s Red Mill is. The winner will be chosen on Monday, August 5th at midnight PST. We will notify the winner via email and other social media forums. If that person doesn’t respond within 48 hours, we will choose another winner.

This is a truly amazing gift, so you will want to do all the amazing entry options.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Got an event needing edu-taining speakers? Call us at (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

Get whole-body goodness, including great exercise and active aging advice by subscribing to our YouTube channel to access short videos that will improve your fitness level! Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please follow us on google+Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

Photo credits:  Grain & Silo –  Frank Kehren; all others – Bob’s Red Mill

15

Is Wheat-Free Better for You?

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

To bread or not to bread, that is the question – “Ham and Omelet” by Shakespeare

The multi-colored pasta that your grandparents ate (and possibly made themselves)

The multi-colored pasta that your grandparents ate (and possibly made themselves)

Dear Fun and Fit: I was wondering if you could either discuss, or give me some good sources of information about the new “no wheat” trend. What I have heard about it is that wheat has been completely altered from the wheat of our parents’/grandparents’ generations and is not the same crop, as addictive as some drugs, and can cause numerous health problems including substantial weight gain in the belly region.  Danielle, Torrance, CA

Wow, that is quite the question! Since we are neither nutritionists nor dietitians, we will present some research and links to help guide you, but not give advice on your timely question about wheat-free (and its popular cousin, gluten-free) eating.

Celiac disease is an immune disorder triggered by gluten (a protein found in grains) in genetically predisposed individuals. There is a loss of small intestinal villi, small finger-like projections that significantly increase the surface area for absorption of nutrients. Celiac disease is being diagnosed with more frequency than ever before (it’s estimated that 1 in 250 Americans has it), so there is a correlation between the higher rates and grains.

In a study that just came out last week, researchers found that consumption of bread on a daily basis, particularly wholemeal, was good for cardiovascular health. They go on to mention that it’s associated with a lower insulin concentration, and that eating bread helps prevent insulin resistance.

Also, according to Harvard you can help prevent cancer, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, type 2 diabetes, and constipation by eating whole grains (not refined wheat that strips away more than half of its B vitamins, 90% of Vitamin E and virtually all of the fiber).

You Won't Get a Stroke from Wheat...or Will You?

You Won’t Get a Stroke from Wheat…or Will You?

Gastroenterologist Joseph Murray at Mayo Clinic led a study that found that young people today are 4.5 times more likely to have celiac disease than in the 1950s. “Celiac disease has become much more common in the last 50 years, and we don’t know why. It now affects about one in a hundred people (note that the study above said 1 in 250). Celiac disease could be a significant public health issue.”

As to what exactly has changed over the past 50 years to cause this rise in celiac disease is up to researchers to fully answer, but it is true that wheat is different than what it was for our grandparents. The linked article talks about the changes in wheat, highlighting the ways it has been genetically modified.

An interesting book called “Bread is the Devil,” by Heather Bauer, R.D., C.D.N., puts forth a case for bread being on the wrong side of the weight loss “battle,” so you might want to check it out at the library. You might also enjoy our radio interview with Nicki Anderson, 5 Nutrition Mistakes Women Make. Scroll down as Nicki’s comments on wheat-free, gluten-free, and other eating trends are interesting and filled with quick stats and advice.

Is There a Link between Ry-Krisp and Weight Gain?

Is There a Link between Ry-Krisp and Weight Gain?

Having said all that, Alexandra will not knowingly eat GMO food (genetically modified organisms), and she does a lot of baking using flour. She does not have a weight problem.

One thing you might like to do is compare the rates of celiac disease in the U.S. to those in Europe, where they eat a lot of pasta and bread, but it’s usually whole grain and non-GMO. Then compare obesity rates. From there, you can decide if a wheat free / gluten free diet is right for you. As to your question about it being addictive, so far most of that claim is anecdotal, not research-based. There is a really good write-up about the true definition of “wheat addiction” and the small bit of research that has been done so far.

So is wheat the devil or the cardiovascular savior? We leave it to you to decide for yourself. We’re just that nice. And half-baked.

Get on the Ball and Vote For Us!

Get on the Ball and Vote For Us!

The voting deadline ends on 21 December, and we want to win. Please head over to Anytime Fitness and click on the link to give us your vote. We are the Running Twins on the Ball. We appreciate every vote! Did we mention that we want to win the trip?

We won’t feed you wheat, but we will wheedle you to subscribe now to our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Click now on the icons above or below. We make it easy to share and subscribe!

Photo credits: Ry-Krisp ad Van Michelle; Colored pasta moonlightbulb; Shredded Wheat  Captain Geoffrey Spaulding

11

3 Top Natural Living Trends: Be Free!

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA 

Having just spent four fun, fab, furiously paced days at the Natural Products Expo West event, we noticed certain healthy living trends. Chances are YOU are contributing to these trends. In the natural and organic world, it’s all about being FREE: gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, soy-free, GMO-free, guilt-free!  And many of the 2000+ exhibitors who were ready to take on the 60,000 attendees gave away AMAZING, clever, socially conscious samples that were FREE! Holy Recyclable Shopping Bags full of stuff!

Businesses that care.

  • We visited hundreds of booths – no exaggeration! Being strong and hearty helps at expos.
  • We talked with incredibly nice business owners and employees who are inventing products to save people and the planet;
  • We got to meet fellow FitFluential Ambassadors, Christine McCarthy (Oatmeal in my Bowl) and Stephanie Quilao (@skinny jeans) in person. Group hugs!
  • We attended educational sessions on social media, blogging, happiness (Dr Andrew Weil), cooking, and more;

3rd row seats to hear Dr. Weil speak

  • We giddy-upped to the press events, media briefings, and displays of the top new products (more free snacks!):
  • We made it through LA traffic in time to catch the Organic Marketplace kick-off event;
  • We even presented a talk on “Writing to Be Read and Increase Sales: Better Business Blogging” that drew a passionate crowd with lots of questions.

We figure that makes us insta-experts on trendspotting.

Trend 1: Free the Glutens 2012! If we thought gluten-free was big last year, it appears to be even bigger this year. We bet you or someone you know follows a gluten-free diet. Guess what? No one needs to sacrifice taste, flavor, or variety to eat gluten-free day in and day out. There is a glut of gluten-free good stuff!

Trend 2: Tell the FDA to label food! Look out GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) as the Non-GMO movement is getting organized and making headway. This may be the year you finally get to know what’s in your food. As much as 70% of the processed foods in US supermarkets are genetically modified. None of that is labeled as such. This situation is about to change courtesy of people like you and the quadzillions at the expo who are insisting on labeling! When pesticides are inserted directly into the seed your food comes from, it’s time to pay attention.

They Named it After Us!

Trend 3: Drink Up! High fructose sodas and sugary beverages are soooo yesterday. Coconut water, pro-biotic drinks, dairy-free “milks”, infused and flavored waters, teas, smoothies (yes, with chia and flax), oatmeal based drinks, organic coffees, powders you mix with liquids, shots to give you energy, shots to help you sleep — anything hydrating and healthy is pouring through those pores and out the doors like crazeeee! Liquid gold mine time! We got sloshed trying at least 10 drink samples each day. Glug glug!

The Natural Products Expo West has so much to enjoy that we had to share our heartfelt love with some of the companies and people we adore.

We love going steady with Kroeger Herb company! That's them in our sidebar (Hanna's Herbs)

 

Crazy Woman Water photo credit: Christine McCarthy