Age in Reverse

Yesterday I came across this photo of my husband, his mother, and I from 2011.¬† This was 7 years ago.¬† I would have been 24 or 25.¬† Still a youngin’ by any reckoning.¬† I was taken aback though, because I seriously look younger now, at 31.¬†oldcicic

Yes, I know, my husband is really tall.  It leads to awkward hugs and a constant battle over the driver seat settings in our cars!

At the time I was dealing with severe chronic fatigue.¬† It was starting to dawn on me that I had celiacs disease.¬† But it took a long time to give up wheat.¬† It took time to grieve the fact of all that I had to give up.¬† I loved pizza and pasta and sandwiches…and just eating like a “normal” person.¬† Plus, at the time, the gluten free options were limited and pretty gross.

I knew my potential future though.¬† I come from a very large Irish Catholic family and virtually all of my dad’s 10 sisters had MAJOR auto-immune health problems.¬† Lupus, celiacs, hashimotos, R.A. just to name a few.¬† I didn’t want to live sick and die young.

I gradually made changes as I learned.  I went from eating a standard american diet to a more natural anti-inflammatory diet.  I cut back on sugar (I was a major sugar junkie!) till I eventually cut it out together.  I also have to avoid preservatives, MSG, carageenan, nitrates and soy lecithin.  If I eat any of these triggers I will feel like absolute death.  My body is just hyper-sensitive to inflammation.

Instead of feeling sorry for myself because I have to eat a very limited diet, I choose to see it as a gift.¬† It forces me to be accountable and eat well.¬† I mostly embarked on my health journey in order to feel better.¬† I’ll be honest, I’m not there 100%.¬† I still have days were I feel exhausted.¬† I still slip up and eat food I shouldn’t.¬† But I’ve come so far.¬† My health issues started me on a path not only towards healing, but towards optimized health.¬† The journey has been tough at times, but I’ve learned so much along the way.¬† For that I am grateful.

Not to toot my own horn (ok, maybe a little!) but I think I look younger now then I did then.  When you take care of yourself, it shows.  Especially as you get older. 20180510_0909142132568400.jpg

Make smart choices to feel better today.¬† Make those smart choices into your habits and routine.¬† Those smart choices will have a cumulative effect, one of them being a more youthful appearance, and who doesn’t want that?!

Unlocking DNA

Who I am

For Christmas (after many obnoxiously heavy-handed hints), my husband got me a 23 and me genetic testing kit.  I was so super stoked about it.  Not only was I excited to learn about my ancestry, but also gain insight into my health and genetics.

I finally got my results back!!!

I was surprised to learn that I am 100% European.¬† We were told that our Maternal Grandfather was part Native American.¬† I have no idea where that belief originated because apparently it isn’t true.¬† #mindblown¬† I wasn’t shocked that a solid 50% of my DNA is from the British Isles.¬† My dad is 100% Irish American.¬† The other half was a mix of German, French, Scandinavian, general “Northwestern European” with less than 1% being from a distant Italian and Eastern European ancestor.¬† I was hoping for a little more diversity.¬† Though apparently I’m more Neanderthal than 76% of people.¬† Beat that, ya’ll.¬† I might just club you.

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All I need is a cave and a fire

The tests also rightly predicted that as a baby I was bald as a cue ball, my second toes are longer then my big toes, I have light hair, I’m a light sleeper, I have a high caffeine tolerance (hecks yeah!) I have a risk for celiacs disease (yep), and am lactose tolerant (bring on the cream and cheese!).¬† It was fun to pore over my results, until I discovered that I have both genetic variants they test for indicating a risk for developing macular degeneration with age.

This is scary because one of my biggest fears has always been losing my sight.

The great thing about getting this test done is that now I know.¬† Knowledge is power.¬† I’m going to research the heck out of this and do everything I can to prevent this condition.¬† And if it still happens, well, my husband promised he’ll take care of me.

People have always wondered about where they come from, how they fit into the fabric of human history.¬† There is something almost magical about finding out the secrets previously locked and hidden in your DNA; the things that make you who you are.¬† Now I know why I’m drawn to all things Celtic and feel an urge to draw on cave walls. ūüėČ

I really recommend getting the test.¬† If nothing else, it’s interesting.¬† I discovered a 2nd cousin who was adopted and looking for answers into her birth relatives.¬† You might discover valuable tools and insights into how to tailor your lifestyle.¬† Or, like me, be able to work to prevent a condition that may not manifest for another 30 years.

 

The Gun Show

This is actually going to be a legit post and not just an excuse to show off my¬†sweet lady “guns”…¬†I promise ūüėČ

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Wow, a lot of pasty whiteness going on up above.¬† *shrug*¬† It’s February in Minnesota and we too poor for a Hawaii getaway and too smart to tan in a booth.¬† But¬†anyhoos¬†I am a lady who lifts.¬† Ever since I saw Linda Hamilton kicking ass and taking names in Terminator 2, I’ve been inspired with a fitness warrior mindset.

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Beast Level: Expert

It’s an extreme look, definitely not everyone’s cup o’ tea.¬† Heck, even I don’t want to look quite that shredded.¬† But it is insanely inspiring.¬† You won’t look like this though unless you are training with commandos 2 hours a day and on an insanely strict diet.

You also won’t turn into a frightening female bodybuilder with quads like oak tress from hitting the weights room a few times a week.¬† I’ve been lifting weights for years and I still look like a girl.¬† The ladies who don’t¬†usually¬†are using questionable substances to alter their sex hormones.¬† Estrogen works to build¬†denser¬†muscles.¬† That’s why you can put on lean body mass (muscle) and gain weight but look smaller.¬† For instance, I’m ten pounds heavier than I was ten years ago but¬†roughly the same size.¬†¬†

Weight lifting causes your body to release a cascade of hormones that keep you young, healthy and more resilient.  If you want to avoid osteoporosis and frailty as you get older you need to go get a barbell, girl.

Another reason I lift is because of my role model who happens to be my mom.¬† She is 57 and is still hitting the weights and challenging herself.¬† We often swap workout videos!¬† She’s been lifting weights since the 80’s and she has a vitality and joy for life which is unusual for women even 20 years younger.¬† Plus she looks great!

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After a color run, can you tell which one is my mom and which one is my sister? ūüėõ

If you want to get started and don’t know how, don’t be afraid to get a trainer or pick up tips from a gym rat friend.¬† I’ve mostly stuck with videos because I can do them in the privacy of my basement.¬† I’ve assembled quite the collection of equipment and videos over the years.¬† I usually stick with Cathe Friedrich workouts because she is simply the best.

See the source image
Lady Beast

She’s 53 and as crazy fit as ever.

Start lifting now.  Do it for your body composition.  Do it for your bones.  Do it for your self-esteem and a vitalizing sense of empowerment.

Find your inner lady beast!¬† Or if you’re a dude and made it through till this point- your inner man beast!

“Fun” Bio-Hacks

Ok guys, if there’s one thing that attracts my interest it’s the idea of being able to “hack” into our biology to improve our health at the cellular level.¬† I’m really interested in preserving and even improving vitality and health with age.

You could say that the source of our life force; our energy and youth is the mitochondria locked in our cells.  They convert calories from food, heat from the sun and oxygen into energy, specifically the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP).  Like a tiny powerplant powering our bodies at the cellular level.  Anything we can do to improve our mitochondrial function is going to improve our health, vitality and even extend our lifespan!

One reason I’ve chosen the ketogenic diet is because it is¬†fantastic¬†for mitochondrial function.¬† Burning fat is a far cleaner process than burning carbs.¬† Anytime you are using glucose for energy, there is going to be glycation.¬† Glycation=free radicals.¬† Free radicals= aging, disease, decreased mitochondrial function.¬† A high carb diet is going to¬†accelerate aging at the cellular level.¬† Even if those carbs are coming from fruit or whole grains.¬† It’s all glucose to your body.¬† When you get into a state of ketosis your body is utilizing fat in place of glucose.¬† It’s an easy (ish…) way to dramatically slow the aging process.¬†¬†Ketosis and mitochondria

Another bio-hack is exposure to extreme temperatures.¬† It’s getting outside your comfort zone, literally.¬† We really like to be warm and comfortable in temperature controlled environments, don’t we?¬† But we could be missing out on the bio-boost we get from exposure to cold and even heat.¬† You can get crazy health¬†benefits¬†from even just blasting yourself with cold water in the shower.¬† Better immunity, increased circulation, improved body composition… Like these Siberian youngsters who play in the snow in swimsuits and never get sick.¬†1112

If you don’t have access to the tundra but still want to be hearty like a Siberian kid- you can get similar benefits from blasting yourself with cold water in your own shower.¬† It’s going to be unpleasant (understatement!) but it becomes easier with time.¬† It’s a “fun” and simple bio-hack that anyone can take advantage of.

Another “fun”….¬†1113 biohack is short bouts of extreme exercise.¬† Like 10-20 minutes of all out work that makes you feel like you might puke or pass out.

This tells your body that the weak mitochondria can just show themselves the door because they don’t have what it takes.¬† Weaker ones die to be replaced by beefier mitochondria.¬† It’s an intense shock to your system that will lead to forced adaptation¬†to halt aging (woohoo!) at that cellular level.¬† If you’re one that goes running or thinks you need an hour for exercise to count, consider the benefits of a HIIT or tabata style workout.¬† You can accomplish more in far less time!

One more pleasurable hack is using a sauna, especially after exercise.¬† A 20 minute sauna can dramatically increase¬†youth-boosting human growth hormone¬†by 140%.¬† Plus it’s a great way to have awkward conversations with sweaty strangers…

But anyways, hack on, people.  1114

 

 

 

 

Anti-Aging Skincare Hacks

Hey guys, I’m departing from my usual keto-talk today.¬† I recorded this vlog to share all my favorite, anti-aging skin care tips and tricks!

Check it out and enjoy!!!

What are your favorite skin care tricks?¬† Please share in the comments ūüėė

P.S. please forgive my sorry, busted looking nail polish. I’m a busy mom so they only get done once a month tops!