Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Dial Down the Stress This Holiday

Economic worries, job-related demands, family responsibilities, holiday expectations…operating in a constant state of “overdrive” can seriously undermine our health.

Stress prompts the adrenal glands to produce the hormone cortisol.  In small bursts, cortisol sparks the release of blood sugar, increases heart rate and circulation – all meant to energize you to respond to whatever is triggering anxiety.  Unfortunately, todays triggers rarely go away resulting in continuous cortisol production which leaves the adrenals exhausted and your body unable to cope with stress.

Your healing food formula…

A diet rich in these adrenal-supporting nutrients is key to restoring health and managing stress leaving you with increased energy, sunnier moods, sharper focus and a slimmer waistline!

Consuming 1.4 oz of dark chocolate daily spurs the release of endorphins, a feel-good neurotransmitter that inhibits the release of stress hormones.

Vitamin C
A daily 1000mg dose of this vitamin (found in sweet potatoes and spinach) can reduce cortisol levels by 30% in a week!

This mineral calms sensory and motor nerves while activating enzymes that release stored energy into muscles helping the body bounce back from stress.

Just 2 Tbls. of flaxseed daily provides 146% of the RDA of these fatty acids lowering levels of cortisol by 22%.

So this season as you dial down your stress our wish for you is that you excite your senses, boost your awareness, keep your energy flowing, stay well and above all, make your holiday magical!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Mediterranean Tuna Steaks

Each week we be bring you new recipes for delicious, nutritious meals, which will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. This week's recipe:

Mediterranean Tuna Steaks
Makes 2 servings

  • 2-6 oz. tuna steaks, about 1 inch thick
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 medium ripe tomato, diced fine
  • 6 green olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp scallions, chopped
  • 2 tsp capers
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • Pinch of dried whole oregano

  1. Rinse the tuna steaks under cold water and pat dry.
  2. Brush tuna steaks with 1 teaspoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat grill or broiler.
  4. Mix the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  5. Grill or broil the steaks on high heat, about 2-3 minutes per side or until desired doneness.
  6. Top the tuna steaks with the tomato-olive mixture.

Nutrition Information (per serving)
  • 262 calories
  • 9g total fat
  • 1g saturated fat
  • 76mg cholesterol
  • 4g carbohydrate
  • 40g protein
  • 1g fiber
  • 450mg sodium

Monday, November 28, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Chunky Vegetable Chili

Each week we be bring you new recipes for delicious, nutritious meals, which will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. This week's recipe:

Chunky Vegetable Chili
Makes 6 servings

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 7 to 8 hours (on low)

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp ground chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed under cold water
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed under cold water
  • 1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed under cold water
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups spicy tomato juice or Bloody Mary mix
  • 1 bunch cilantro (flat-leaf parsley), leaves only, chopped

  1. Spray a 6-quart slow cooker with olive oil cooking spray.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, and peppers and cook until soft, 7-8 minutes.
  4. Add the carrots, celery, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and salt and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Place the cooked vegetables in the slow cooker.
  6. Add the black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, tomatoes, and tomato juice. Stir to combine.
  7. Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until the vegetables are tender.
  8. Stir in the cilantro before serving.
  9. If desired, garnish with the cheddar cheese.

Nutrition Information (per serving)
  • Calories: 276
  • Fat: 6.4g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 1645mg
  • Carbohydrate: 47g
  • Fiber: 15g
  • Protein: 13g

Monday, November 21, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Chicken in a Pot

Each week we be bring you new recipes for delicious, nutritious meals, which will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. This week's recipe:

Chicken in a Pot
Makes 4 servings

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • 1 ½ Tbsp tomato sauce
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the broth, tomato paste, ground black pepper, oregano, salt and garlic. Mix well and set aside. 
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. 
  3. Sautee the chicken in the oil for 2 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. 
  4. Add the reserved broth mixture and the mushrooms to the skillet and bring to a boil. 
  5. Cover & reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. 
  6. Remove chicken and set aside, covering to keep it warm. 
  7. Bring broth mixture to a boil and cook for 4 minutes, or until reduced to desired thickness. 
  8. Spoon sauce over the chicken and serve.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Grilled Portobello "Burgers"

Each week we be bring you new recipes for delicious, nutritious meals, which will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. This week's recipe:

Grilled Portobello "Burgers"
Prep Time: 1-2 hours for marinating the mushrooms

  • 6 large Portobello mushrooms (each 4-6 inches across, 8-10 oz. each)
  • 3 large cloves garlic, cut into matchstick slivers
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp A.1. steak sauce
  • 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tbsp of your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • 1½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 fresh basil leaves, thinly slivered, or 2 tsp dried basil
  • 6 thin slices Cheddar or Jack cheese (about 6 oz.)
  • 1 large ripe tomato, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced (optional)
  • Boston lettuce leaves (optional)
  • Mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, and/or relish

  1. Using a paring knife, trim the stems off the Portobellos.
  2. Wipe the caps clean with a damp paper towel.
  3. Using a sharp object, such as the tip of a metal skewer, make a series of holes in the gill side of the mushrooms, about 1-inch apart.
  4. Insert the garlic slivers into these holes, dividing them evenly among the 6 mushrooms.
  5. Combine the mustard, steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce, vinegar, liquid smoke, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl and whisk until the salt dissolves.
  6. Whisk in the olive oil and basil.
  7. Pour 1/3 of the mixture in the bottom of a non-reactive baking dish and place the mushrooms in it, gill side up.
  8. Swish the mushrooms around to coat the bottoms with marinade.
  9. Spoon the remaining marinade over the mushrooms.
  10. Let them marinate for 1 to 2 hours.
  11. Set up the grill for direct grilling using a two-zone fire. Preheat one zone to high, and the other zone to medium so you can move the mushrooms over if they start to burn.
  12. When ready to cook, drain the mushrooms over a small non-reactive bowl to reserve the remaining marinade.
  13. Place the Portobellos on the hot grate, gill side down, and grill for about 3 minutes.
  14. Turn the mushrooms over and spoon 1 Tbsp of the reserved marinade into each cap.
  15. Continue grilling until the Portobellos are browned and very tender, about 4 minutes more.
  16. The mushrooms are done when they can be easily pierced with a skewer.
  17. If they start to brown too much before they become tender, move them over the medium zone of the grill.
  18. After the mushrooms have grilled for 2 minutes on the second side, place a slice of cheese on each and cover the grill to melt the cheese.
  19. To serve, place each grilled Portobello on a slice of lettuce.
  20. Garnish with tomato and onion slices and condiments of your choice and top with another slice of lettuce to act as a "bun".

Monday, November 7, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Chickpea & Tomato Red Pepper Salad

Each week we be bring you new recipes for delicious, nutritious meals, which will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. This week's recipe:

Chickpea & Tomato Red Pepper Salad
Beans add loads of nutrients, including fiber, to meals. If you are using canned beans, rinse them to remove excess salt.

  • ¾ cup cooked chickpeas 
  • ½ cup chopped plum tomato 
  • 2 Tbsp chopped red or green bell pepper 
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley 
  • 2 Tbsp black olives, slivered

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and toss to combine. 
  2. Chill until served. 
  3. Serve with Tomato Red Pepper Salad Dressing (recipe below)

Tomato Red Pepper Salad Dressing (Per Serving)
  • 1 small (6 oz.) can tomato paste 
  • 1 whole roasted red pepper or pimento from a jar 
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar 
  • 2 Tbsp water 
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped 
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 2 Tbsp black olives, slivered

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until well mixed. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Chicken Tikka with Baby Spinach & Tomatoes

Each week we be bring you new recipes for delicious, nutritious meals, which will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. This week's recipe:

Chicken Tikka with Baby Spinach & Tomatoes
Makes 2 servings

  • 1 large or 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup plain, low-fat yogurt 
  • 2 tsp garlic, chopped 
  • 2 tsp ginger root, chopped 
  • 1 tsp ground cumin 
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric 
  • 1 Tbsp fresh mint or coriander, chopped (optional) 
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes 
  • 2 cups baby spinach leaves

  1. Mix the yogurt, garlic, ginger, spices & fresh mint.
  2. Cut chicken into fairly large chunks, about 5 or 6 pieces for each breast.
  3. Soak the chicken pieces in the yogurt mixture, turning over to make sure all parts are coated.
  4. Let the chicken sit in the fridge in the marinade for an hour or two, if possible.
  5. Preheat the broiler.
  6. Place the chicken pieces on a lightly-oiled baking pan or piece of tinfoil, and broil for 5 minutes.
  7. Turn the chicken pieces over, add the cherry tomatoes and broil for another five minutes. (The pan should be at least 10 inches from the broiler.)
  8. Put spinach leaves in a saucepan with ¼ cup of boiling water.
  9. Cover tightly and steam for 3 minutes. Drain.
  10. Serve the chicken and tomatoes on a bed of spinach.

Nutritional Information (Per Serving)
  • 364 calories
  • 4g total fat 
  • 1g saturated fat
  • 54mg cholesterol
  • 54g carbohydrate
  • 30g protein
  • 3g fiber
  • 128mg sodium

Monday, October 24, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Grilled Gazpacho

Each week we be bring you new recipes for delicious, nutritious meals, which will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. This week's recipe:

Grilled Gazpacho
Makes 8 servings

  • 4 scallions, trimmed 
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled 
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and quartered 
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 5 vine-ripened tomatoes (about 2 ½ pounds) 
  • 1 red bell pepper 
  • 1 green bell pepper 
  • 1 cucumber, peeled 
  • ¼ cup mixed chopped fresh herbs (including basil, oregano, tarragon, flatleaf parsley) 
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar (or to taste) 
  • ½-1 cup cold water, or as needed 
  • Salt 
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Needed for Grilling: 2 cups wood chips (oak or hickory), soaked in water to cover for 1 hour, then drained.

  1. Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat the grill to high.
  2. Finely chop the scallion greens and set aside for garnish.
  3. Skewer the scallion whites on bamboo skewers or toothpicks.
  4. Skewer the garlic cloves the same way. 
  5. Lightly brush the scallion whites, garlic, and onion quarters with olive oil. (Save the bulk of the olive oil for flavoring the soup – see below.) 
  6. If using a gas grill: place the wood chips in the smoker box or a smoker pouch and run the grill on high until you see smoke. 
  7. If using a charcoal grill: toss the chips on the coals. 
  8. Grill the scallions, garlic, and onions until nicely browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. 
  9. Transfer to a plate to cool. 
  10. Grill the tomatoes and bell peppers until the skins are black and charred, 2 minutes per side for the tomatoes, 3 to 4 minutes per side for the peppers. 
  11. Transfer to a plate to cool. 
  12. Scrape the charred skins off the tomatoes and peppers with a paring knife. (Don't worry about removing every last bit.) 
  13. Core and seed the peppers. 
  14. Place the scallion whites, garlic, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumber, herbs, vinegar and remaining olive oil in a blender and puree until smooth. 
  15. Thin the gazpacho to pourable consistency with water if needed and season with salt and pepper. 
  16. The gazpacho can be served now, but it will taste even better if you chill it for 1 hour to allow the flavors to blend. 
  17. Just before serving, correct the seasoning, adding salt or vinegar to taste. 
  18. To serve, ladle the gazpacho into bowls and sprinkle with the chopped scallion greens.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Baked Avocado Chicken and Vegetables

Each week we be bring you new recipes for delicious, nutritious meals, which will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. This week's recipe:

Baked Avocado Chicken and Vegetables

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
  • 4 Tbsp avocado 
  • ½ cup light cream cheese
  • 3 tsp olive oil 
  • 2 medium zucchinis, sliced 
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 4 cups green beans 
  • 3 cups tomato sauce

  1. Mash up the avocado, then mix it with the cream cheese. 
  2. Slice the chicken to make a pocket. Put the cream cheese/avocado mixture into each chicken pocket and seal with toothpicks. 
  3. Put chicken in a baking tray and drizzle the olive oil over it. 
  4. Bake for 30 minutes at 375° F. 
  5. Sauté vegetables until tender, add tomato sauce and heat through. Serve with the chicken.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Classic Standing Beef Rib Roast

Each week we be bring you new recipes for delicious, nutritious meals, which will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. This week's recipe:

Classic Standing Beef Rib Roast

  • 7-8 pound standing rib roast, (usually a four-rib roast)
  • ¼ - ½ cup Campbell’s Condensed Beef Broth
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt
  • 2-3 Tbsp red wine, optional

  1. Preheat the oven to 325° F.
  2. Season the roast liberally with pepper and put in a roasting pan, rib side down. 
  3. Roast for about 20 minutes per pound for medium-rare meat, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 130-140° F. For well done meat, roast until the thermometer registers 160° F. (For 7-8 pounds of meat, roast the meat for 2 hours and 20 minutes to 2 hours and 40 minutes for medium-rare.)
  4. Remove the roast from the oven when the thermometer registers five degrees lower than desired (125-135° F).
  5. Let it sit on the countertop for 20-30 minutes before carving. The meat will continue to "cook" as it rests, its natural juices will collect in the center, and it will become easier to carve.
  6. Skim or pour off the fat from the roast into a saucepan.
  7. Add the beef broth or water to the defatted pan juices and cook, stirring constantly at medium-high heat. 
  8. Season the juices with salt and pepper and red wine, if desired. 
  9. Cook, stirring, until the jus is slightly reduced, tasty, and hot. 
  10. Stand the roast on a platter and cut downward between the ribs. Alternatively, lay the roast on its side on the platter, cut along the ribs to loosen the meat, and then remove it by making horizontal cuts.
  11. Serve the roast with the jus spooned over it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Chicken Sausage & Summer Squash

Each week we be bring you new recipes for delicious, nutritious meals, which will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. This week's recipe:

Chicken Sausage &
Summer Squash

Makes 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes

  • 1 medium yellow summer squash, cut on diagonal into 1/4" slices
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut on diagonal into 1/4" slices
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 package (12 ounces) fully cooked smoked apple-chicken sausages (like Casual Gourmet)

  1. Preheat grill or broiler.
  2. Toss yellow squash, zucchini, oil, and salt in medium bowl to combine.
  3. Place sausages and squash on grill and cook about 8 minutes, turning once, or until sausages are cooked through and vegetables are tender.
  4. Slice each sausage on diagonal and serve with grilled squash and a tomato-basil salad.

Nutrition Information (Per Serving—without salad)
  • 156 calories
  • 18g protein
  • 3g carbohydrates
  • 1g fiber
  • 7g fat
  • 1.5g saturated fat
  • 70mg cholesterol
  • 773mg sodium

Exercise and the Immune System

Depending on the intensity of exercise, the duration, and your physical condition, exercise can boost your immune system or impair your immune system. Several studies have shown that physical activity may help flush bacteria out from the lungs and may flush out carcinogens by increasing output of wastes, such as urine and sweat. Exercise also allows the body to transport antibodies and white blood cells at a faster rate. This along with a temporary rise in body temperature may prevent or stop bacterial growth. This is similar to a fever when the body is fighting an infection.  Light to moderate exercise also slows the release of cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones are stress-hormones and stress is a major contributor to illness, as it lowers the immune system. Resistance training and cardiovascular training increase your body’s ability to recover from illness, such as colds and flus.

Light to moderate exercise on a daily basis, not only helps your immune system, but also decreases your chances of developing heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer. The immune enhancing effects return to normal after a few hours, but consistent exercise makes these effects last longer. When moderate exercise is repeated on a daily basis, there is an improvement in long-term immune response. The more fit you are, the less likely you are to develop a cold and when you do, it will be less severe. While sick, moderate exercise can actually boost your immune system. Intense exercise, while sick, can make things worse or extend your illness.

Studies have shown than intense exercise (extreme) can lower your immunity for a few hours post exercise. Intense exercise consists of more than 90 minutes of high-intensity, much like marathons or triathlons. Unlike light-moderate exercise, during extreme events, the body increases production of cortisol and adrenaline, temporarily suppressing immunity. These suppressing immune changes can last between three and 72 hours post-exercise.

The most important factors in training are rest and recovery. Recovery not only allows your muscles to recover, but also your immune system. Good immune function can be maintained by regular physical activity, eating a well-balanced diet, keeping life stresses to a minimum, avoiding chronic fatigue, and obtaining adequate sleep.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Benefits of Tea

Revered for centuries, tea is the ultimate elixir. It was so prized in ancient China that the preparation and drinking of it became a symbolic ritual for contemplating the meaning of life.

Its tiny leaves have predicted the future, built empires, and been the catalyst for revolutions. It can pick you up or calm you down. Used to soothe upset stomachs and help recover from a cold or flu, secret blends are credited with curing everything from depression to diabetes. The value of antioxidants in green and black tea for reducing cancer risk, fighting free radicals and lowering cholesterol has long been recognized by medical science.

A number of published studies demonstrate weight loss effects in response to ingesting green tea or specific tea extracts. Key components responsible for green tea's weight loss benefits are the polyphenol compounds that increase metabolic energy expenditure and therefore, calorie consumption.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Creole Tilapia

Each week we be bring you new recipes for delicious, nutritious meals, which will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. This week's recipe:

Creole Tilapia
Makes 2 servings

  • ½ cup brown rice
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, sliced
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 2 tilapia fillets (5-6 oz. each)
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, parsley, or basil
  • Seasoning salt
  • Ground black pepper

  1. Prepare the rice according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, coat a large skillet with olive oil.
  3. Over medium-high heat, cook the onion, celery, and carrot for 5 minutes, or until tender.
  4. Add the tilapia and cook for 3 minutes.
  5. Carefully turn the fish and add the tomatoes and herbs.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Simmer for 2 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.
  8. Serve over the rice.

Nutrition Information (Per Serving)
  • 310 calories
  • 31g protein
  • 42g carbohydrates
  • 6g fiber
  • 2.5g fat
  • 70mg cholesterol
  • 580mg sodium

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Asparagus Fritatta

Each week we'll be bringing you new recipes for delicious, nutritious meals, which will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. This week's recipe:

Asparagus Fritatta
Makes 4 servings

  • 2 Tbsp Italian dressing
  • 1 bunch asparagus spears, cut in ½-inch pieces
  • 8 eggs (Omega-3, Eggland’s Best)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, divided

  1. Heat the dressing in a large nonstick ovenproof skillet. Add asparagus & cook for 5 min., stirring occasionally.
  2. Beat together eggs, milk and ½ cup cheese in a medium bowl until well blended.
  3. Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus & stir gently.
  4. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or until set.
  5. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup cheese after 20 minutes.
  6. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

Cut into wedges to serve.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Are Mood Swings Controlling Your Life? It Could Be Your Hormones.

Our hormones can wreak havoc on our emotions, contributing to feelings of stress, anxiety and poor self-esteem, even panic attacks and depression.

Women are twice as likely to suffer from mood disorders and be depressed as men.  But by age 65, the rates of depression between men and women are more equal. Could a major decline in hormone levels be a contributing factor?

Estrogen’s effect on mood in women is well documented. Estrogen raises serotonin, endorphin and certain neurotransmitter levels, which balances mood, promotes a feeling of calm and improves sleep. Progesterone also has a positive impact on mood and has been called a natural antidepressant. In addition, both estrogen and progesterone have a role in cognitive or brain function, which includes our ability to think, learn, focus and remember.

During perimenopause, the years leading up to menopause when hormone levels begin to fluctuate and gradually decline, many women suffer from mood swings, anxiety and panic attacks. At this time, many women also report difficulty concentrating and an overall feeling of “fuzzy” thinking.

Some medical studies, including a University of Michigan report, suggests that changes in estrogen level during perimenopause and menopause can even be a trigger for depression in some women.

But what about men? At Southwest Age Intervention Institute, we know that men are just as affected by the declining level of hormones as women. Among the many reasons for maintaining a balanced level of testosterone is the positive effect it has on mood, self-esteem and quality of life.

In midlife, men often confront a vast number of changes in the workplace, in social settings and at home. Some men find it a challenge to adjust mentally and emotionally. They may lose confidence in themselves, feel tired all the time, irritable or anxious. There is an overall loss of vitality for life.  A diminished sex drive or inability to perform sexually at the same level as when they were younger can make it even more difficult.

Traditionally, men and women who report feelings of depression, anxiety or stress will undergo treatment with antidepressants. Yet decreased sexual desire and delayed orgasm are among the most common side effects of these types of drugs. And that can simply aggravate the situation for someone who is already upset by changes in their libido and capacity for sexual pleasure.

At Southwest Age Intervention Institute, we know that a comprehensive program that addresses diet, exercise, stress management, nutritional supplements and hormone replacement can help lift the cloud of emotional upheaval without harming your sex life.

The good news is that with appropriate therapeutic intervention, the variety of side-effects that come with diminished hormones can be prevented or eliminated.

Most important of all, it is never too soon or too late to take action to bring about a greater sense of calm, balance and happiness to your life. According to a Rand Corporation report, depression results in more absenteeism than any other physical disorder. It costs U.S. employers more than $51 billion in absenteeism and lost productivity.

For anyone experiencing serious depression, it is important to know that depression is one of the most treatable illnesses. The bad news is that the majority of people experiencing depression are not being treated. And that is unfortunate. Depression is not only a serious mental health issue, but also can be a contributing factor in heart disease and a weakened immune system. Don’t delay in getting help.

The Mayo Clinic offers these warning signs of depression:
·      Feeling sad or unhappy
·      Irritable or frustrated over small matters
·      Not interested in your normal activities
·      Reduced sex drive
·      Problems sleeping
·      Change in appetite
·      Restless and agitated
·      Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
·      Trouble thinking and easily distracted
·      Tired all the time
·      Loss of confidence or major feelings of guilt
·      Crying spells
·      Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
·      Unexplained physical problems such as back pain or headache

If you believe you have starting declining somewhat and are experiencing any of these symptoms, we can help. Call Southwest Age Intervention Institute today and make an appointment to meet with our expert age management specialists. Let’s together get you back on track and enjoying your best days ever.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Feeling Good, Feeling Great, How are you?

It’s me, Norm again, back to report more wonderful news about my life-changing program at Southwest Age Intervention Institute. At Southwest Age Intervention Institute, their motto is "Make the rest of your life the best of your life." Well, they had their work cut out for them in me. My spine tumor surgery in 2004 left me with a drop right leg. As a result my fitness and physical levels were below average. As I began my yearlong program with Southwest Age Intervention Institute on May 10, my weight had been slowly edging up. My strength and agility had slowly declined. I didn't sleep as well. I blamed it simply on theprocess of aging. However the day I walked into the Southwest Age Intervention Institute's office in Arlington, I was downright excited when I saw the plan designed specifically for me! It’s a few months later and let me tell you, the numbers are in and they are very good. 

Now the first three months have officially concluded. I've lost 24 pounds of fat. My body fat percentage has dropped seven percent. My cholesterol has plummeted from 176 to 123. The insulin levels in my body, previously very high, are now well within acceptable range. I am no longer deficient in vitamin D or DHEA. The inflammation in my body is down. I could go on and on and on because there simply is good news everywhere.

I have regularly scheduled physical workouts designed exclusively for my body’s limitations. This doesn't mean I'm even near where I want to be. Nevertheless, I'm stronger, sleep better, have better balance and to be honest, I feel younger. I love what Southwest Age Intervention Institute has done for me and look forward to seeing what they can do in the future. You will too. I am ecstatic to continue this program and promise you I will update you on my progress. Join me in making the rest of your life the best of your life by checking out this wonderful place. Call 1-800-AGE-EXPERT and be sure to tell whomever you talk to that I recommended you to call.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stress! How Much Control Does It Have Over Your Life?

Your heart pounds.  Your muscles tighten and your stomach churns.  Your hands get clammy and you start to sweat.  Or your breathing may get so shallow you think you might pass out.  And, this is a chronic thing occurring in your life, right?

What’s going on?  These are typical responses to stress.  Your body is responding in an automatic and primitive way to a perceived danger.  Medical experts call it the fight or flight syndrome.

Here’s what happens.  Before you even have a chance to think about it, a stressful situation kicks off cascade of physiologic changes, starting with a flood of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, often called the stress hormone.  These biological and chemical messengers put the body on heightened alert and prepare us for whatever may happen next.

As a basic mechanism for survival, the fight or flight response may have been a good idea in prehistoric times.  After all, we may have had to fend off attack from a predator or run for our lives.

But it’s not so helpful today when the stressor isn’t a wild animal, but a traffic jam, pressure at work, conflict with a spouse, too many tasks on our “to do” list or an uncomfortable social situation.

Unfortunately, our body is blind to the cause of our stress.  It simply continues to respond the same way it always has.  And that’s the problem.  In prehistoric times, once the stressor was removed, our heart rate returned to normal, our blood pressure went down and our muscles relaxed.

But today, the stressors we perceive as harmful may never completely go away.  We may live under a state of chronic, low-level stress, especially if we are dealing with conflict on a daily basis or frequently feel overwhelmed with our fast-paced lives.

Some people may find their stress is caused by an inability to control difficult situations in their personal or professional lives.  Others may have a very high set of expectations for themselves and what they want to accomplish.  That can be stressful, too.

A little bit of stress can be motivating. Too much can push us over the edge.  Over time, stress can be very damaging to our physical, mental and emotional health.  Our bodies can become exhausted dealing with the constant onslaught of stress hormones and corresponding physiological responses.  When that happens, there can be serious consequences.  Chronic stress is linked to a surprising number of health issues:

  • Heart disease & heart attacks
  • Asthma
  • Impaired immune system making you more susceptible to colds and viruses
  • Depression & anxiety
  • Nervous habits, including nail biting, teeth grinding or clenching
  • Constant tension  & inability to relax
  • Eating disorders & gastrointestinal problems
  • Obesity, especially fat accumulating around the waist
  • Blood sugar fluctuation and type 2 diabetes
  • Sleep problems & insomnia
  • Brain-related problems, such as memory issues, inability to concentrate and focus
  • Stroke
  • Headaches
  • Back pain & unexplained muscle pain
  • Some skin conditions, including psoriasis & eczema
  • Lethargy & fatigue
So what can you do to prevent stress burnout?

First, it’s important to recognize what triggers your stress and to determine if there is anything you can do about it.  Stress may be part of our modern life, but there may be steps you can take to reduce its impact on your life.  If you can’t change an unpleasant situation, perhaps you can change your attitude about it.  Ask for help.  Let go of tasks that are low priority.  Take time to relax and rest.  Get enough sleep.   Learn to communicate differently.

Regular exercise can be an excellent way to reduce stress.  So can learning relaxation techniques like deep breathing, taking up Yoga, having a body massage, listening to music or being sexually intimate.  In addition, it’s important to eat well and follow your doctor’s advice on vitamins, nutritional supplements and similar recommendations.

Left unchecked, stress can end your life. This is not to be taken lightly. Don’t let stress take over your life and leave you physically damaged and mentally impaired.  For more information about how you can reduce your stress levels and boost your well being, schedule a consultation with Dr. Rosenstein and the Southwest Age Intervention Institute.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Time for new pants

I'm nearing the three-month point of my program designed specifically for me at the Southwest Age Intervention Institute. I've still got nearly nine months left in the program, but I can’t express in words how much better my life has already become. I'm sleeping SO much better. Gone are the afternoons filled with naps, because I have a lot more energy.

Now a drum roll please---I'm going pants shopping this weekend! My weight has dropped to the point where even my former "tight stuff" is too loose. I started this comprehensive program of diet, supplements and exercise with a waist measurement of (GULP!) 48! I'm now a REAL 44! I need new pants to accommodate my new energy. Hopefully a few months from now these pants will need to be taken in too. In fact, the way my lifestyle has changed, I feel certain my pants will be altered down the road. But, for right now, I need new, smaller pants. Thank you Southwest Age Intervention Institute!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Role of Hormones in Osteoporosis

A Crippling Bone Disease For Both Men & Women
Osteoporosis is often called the silent crippling bone disease because so many people are unaware they have it until they begin to experience bone fractures in their spine, hips, wrists and arms.

Some estimates show that one of every two American women over age 50 may develop an osteoporosis-related fracture, nearly twice the rate of men.  But it is vital to understand that osteoporosis is not just a woman’s disease. Men are at risk for this chronic, degenerative condition as well.

According to the National Institute of Health, osteoporosis is a significant threat to both men and women in their later years.  The incidence of bone fractures increases with age, resulting in complications that can be disabling or even fatal.

The Biology of Bones
Bone cells are continually being turned over in a natural biological process as new bone is formed and old bone is dissolved.  During childhood and the teen years, the body is always adding new bone to the growing skeleton.

A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, as well as getting plenty of weight-bearing exercise, is critical when we’re young in order to develop healthy bones that will sustain us through life.

We reach our peak of bone mass or bone mineral density around age 30.  This is generally when our bones are the thickest and strongest.  In the decades following, there is a gradual decline of bone mass as the body slows down the formation of new bone.

As an adult, a good diet and regular exercise continue to be vital to keep bones healthy.  But adults are prone to other risk factors that are equally important to whether or not osteoporosis develops.

Risk Factors for Osteoporosis
A number of risk factors are proven to accelerate bone loss and make you more prone to osteoporosis.  These include:

  • Smoking
  • Excess consumption of alcohol and drinking a lot of carbonated soda
  • Some medical conditions and their treatments, including steroid use for asthma and arthritis, anticonvulsant medication for seizure disorders, antacids that contain aluminum, and certain treatments for cancer, including prostate cancer
  • Family history
  • Fair-skinned and slender if you are woman 

But you may not be aware that declining hormone levels are also a key factor.

The Role of Hormones
In mid-life, a drop in estrogen, testosterone and progesterone put both men and women on the path for accelerating bone loss, a situation that causes the bone to become weak, brittle and more easily fractured.

If osteoporosis does develop, a fall can easily result in a broken hip, wrist or arm. In extreme cases, simply standing can cause a fracture in the spine.

For women, rapid bone loss can occur during the first few years immediately after menopause – the result of a dramatic drop in hormones, especially estrogen.

Men have larger skeletons and greater total bone mass.  For men, the process toward accelerated bone loss is much more gradual.  However, that risk may change as men age.  For example, by age 70 both men and women will lose bone at the same rate.  In addition, new research shows that not only low levels of testosterone are a factor for men in developing osteoporosis, but low levels of estrogen may have an impact as well.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reports that hip fractures in older men can be devastating, contributing to a loss of independence and the need to be placed in a nursing facility.  Men also have twice the mortality rate of women after a hip fracture.

At Southwest Age Intervention Institute, a comprehensive anti-aging management plan includes a bone density test.  This simple, painless test involves a dual-energy x-ray exam that measures the health of your bones.  Your score on the bone density exam will help the physician determine your need for both nutritional supplements and hormone replacement therapy.  It is our goal to ensure your risk for osteoporosis is as low as possible.

If you desire to learn more about the active role hormones play in the prevention of osteoporosis and better age management, call Southwest Age Intervention Institute today.  Speak to our team of age management specialists and more importantly, schedule your confidential executive health evaluation so you can get started enjoying healthy living and aging at every age no matter the number.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Age Intervention, nine weeks in.

Lets start with a number that'll catch your eye, 15 pounds! That's what I've lost in the nine weeks since beginning my individually designed age intervention program by the Southwest Age Intervention Institute.

For weeks, I've been telling you about this marvelous program that consists of proper eating, hormone supplements and a workout regimen. Last week, I spent more than an hour working out with Vanessa, the staff exercise physiologist. Before starting the series of exercises I asked if I might be weighed. I hadn't weighed myself since early May, the day I began my program at Southwest Age Intervention Institute. Then I tipped the scales at over 264. Ugh! I'd been "inching" upward for a few years now, but 264 was a lot for me. On July 11, I weighed 249.

But don’t be distracted by that weight loss. This isn’t a weight loss program. It is about the total health of the body. I haven't been this healthy in years. I no longer gobble antacid tablets. I sleep better. I almost never need a nap in the middle of the afternoon. I just have so much more energy. I've learned a much healthier way of living and the rest of my days will be so much better for it. Join me at Southwest Age Intervention Institute. They will make the rest of your life the best of your life. They're doing that for me.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Truth About Hormones: A Balancing Act

Helping Men & Women Achieve Optimal Hormone Levels
Most often when we think of hormones, we associate them with our development as sexual beings.  But estrogen, testosterone and progesterone are much more than just sex hormones. They play a critical role in our health, well being and vitality at every stage of life.

Estrogen, testosterone and progesterone, as well as hormones such as insulin, DHEA, thyroid and cortisol, are natural chemical substances produced by the endocrine system.  The endocrine glands, which include the pituitary, pineal, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenal, pancreas and gonads (the ovaries and testes), secrete hormones into the blood stream, where they travel to every major organ and tissue of the body.

Once the hormones reach a specific target cell, the interaction sets off a complex biological process that helps regulate everything from metabolism and the immune system to growth, development, reproduction and the body’s response to stress and injury.

When our hormone levels are in perfect balance, generally around age 30, all of the internal processes in our body are at their peak optimal condition.  But as we age, the endocrine glands no longer produce or secrete hormones at full capacity.  Hormone levels fluctuate and gradually decline, resulting in sometimes subtle, but often significant changes in the body.

Changing hormone levels affect both men and women and can create havoc in numerous areas contributing to conditions such as:
  • Weight gain and increased body fat, especially in the abdomen
  • Decreased muscle tone, strength and mass
  • Change in mental sharpness, focus, memory and ability
  • Problems with sleeping
  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Mood swings, anxiety, irritability or depression
  • Reduced sex drive and sexual dysfunction
  • Changes in the skin, including loss of firmness, the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and brown “age” spots
  • Bone loss and osteoporosis
  • Higher levels of LDL, the bad cholesterol, and lower levels of HDL, the good cholesterol
  • Increased risk for heart disease, adult onset diabetes and stroke

Menopause versus Andropause
The many challenges women face during menopause are well-documented.  But men also experience body changes during mid-life that alter their physical, mental, emotional and sexual well-being.

The male version of menopause is called andropause – a time when the androgen hormones decline, especially testosterone.  However, andropause is not as clear-cut and much more subtle than menopause.

While menopause brings about a dramatic decline of hormones in women, men typically experience a much slower, gradual reduction that takes place over several decades.  Some studies show that testosterone levels in men may drop 1 percent to 3 percent a year starting in their 30s.

Complications of Menopause
We often tend to think of testosterone being a male hormone and estrogen being a female hormone.  But both men and women produce and need estrogen, testosterone and progesterone, just in different amounts.

For women, a drop in estrogen, testosterone and progesterone at menopause brings about numerous negative side-effects. It also places them at higher risk for many serious, chronic medical conditions, from heart disease and stroke to osteoporosis.

The average age for a woman at menopause is 51, but usually several years prior to that time, menstrual cycles become irregular and a range of menopausal symptoms begin to appear.  That period of time is called perimenopause.

Eventually, as hormone levels decline further, the ovaries shut down and no longer produce eggs.  The menstrual cycle ceases, making childbirth no longer possible.  At this time, the amount of estrogen circulating in the body is dramatically less than it was in their 20s and 30s.  Testosterone and progesterone levels are also reduced.

Women who have had a hysterectomy with removal of the ovaries may undergo an immediate “surgical” menopause at any age, which can result in an 80 percent drop in estrogen and a 50 percent drop in testosterone.

Sooner or later, every woman will experience menopause and the related complications that a drop in hormone levels will bring.  But thanks to greater understanding of the body’s endocrine system, we know that the process can be managed to postpone premature aging.

Managing the aging process by carefully supplementing or replacing lost hormone levels will help women avoid troubling and sometimes life-threatening medical conditions, such as:
  • hot flashes and night sweats
  • vaginal dryness and thinning of the vaginal tissues, making intercourse uncomfortable
  • urinary problems, including increased infections and irritation, as well as sometimes difficulty with bladder control
  • decreased sex drive
  • problems sleeping
  • dry, itchy skin
  • thinning hair
  • loss of breast fullness
  • mood swings and anxiety
  • forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
  • weight gain
  • increased risk for many chronic medical conditions 

The health concerns that women face after menopause can be significant.  Without the protective benefits of estrogen, women now have an equal risk for developing heart disease as men.  In addition, many women experience significant bone loss during the first few years after menopause, putting them at increased risk for osteoporosis, a potentially crippling condition that causes bones to become brittle and weak.  And finally, hormone imbalances can contribute to weight gain, especially in the abdomen and around the waist, which increases the risk for diabetes and some types of cancers.

Complications of Andropause
For men, hormonal changes are much more subtle.  But by mid-age, many men do experience the complications arising from andropause, a male version of the female menopause.

A drop in testosterone levels may result in a number of complications for men, beginning with erectile dysfunction or a drop in libido – usually for the first time in their lives.  But there may also be a noticeable loss of muscle tone, strength and mass, as well as weight gain with the telltale pot belly.  There could even be less growth of facial hair or breast enlargement.  Andropause also places men at risk for conditions such as:
  • Mood swings, anxiety, irritability and depression
  • Greater risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and osteoporosis
  • Increased number of general aches and pains and stiffness
  • Changes in cognitive function such as memory, focus and concentration
  • Changes in skin tone and elasticity
  • Problems sleeping and low energy

Correcting the Imbalance
At Southwest Age Intervention Institute, we take a proactive approach to turning back the clock.  The goal is to rebalance all of your hormones.  This means reducing levels of insulin and cortisol, which contribute to degenerative diseases and aging, and supplementing hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, DHEA, thyroid and progesterone.  You will not only feel better, but your body will benefit in numerous ways that will postpone premature aging, reduce your risk of serious disease and increase in your lifespan.

The proper regimen of hormone supplements and the dosage that your body requires for proper balance needs careful medical supervision.  Here is an overview of the various hormones and the role that each plays in your body.

Testosterone is produced in the testes in men and in the ovaries and adrenal glands in women.  It is vital for building muscle and strengthening the bones, as well as helping promote a sense of well-being.  It is also essential for maintaining sex drive and reducing the risk of erectile dysfunction in men.

Estrogen is produced in the ovaries, adrenal glands and body fat.  Estrogen has many positive benefits, including reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease, and protecting the lining of the artery walls, as well as increasing HDL, the good cholesterol and reducing LDL, the bad cholesterol.  It also protects against osteoporosis and possibly Alzheimer’s, promotes healthy skin and helps regulate mood.  In women, it increases vaginal lubrication and thickens the vaginal wall.

Progesterone is produced by the ovaries in women and in the testes in men, as well as in the adrenal glands for both sexes.  Progesterone helps regulate blood sugar, aids in the conversion of fat to energy and strengthens bones. It has a beneficial influence on the nerves and mood, in addition to brain activity.

Thyroid hormones are produced in the thyroid gland, located around the base of the neck.  These hormones are vital for regulating metabolism, cell growth and body temperature.  An underactive thyroid gland can contribute to fatigue, constipation, difficulty concentrating, weight gain, tingling in the hands and feet, and poor tolerance of cold.

Cortisol is produced by the adrenal glands.  Adrenal steroids or cortisol has an effect on metabolism, blood pressure, the immune system, energy levels and blood sugar levels.  The adrenals help fight infection.  They also send out hormones in response to the “fight or flight syndrome” when the body is under attack by a real or perceived danger, such as emotional stress.  Chronic stress can exhaust the adrenal glands and raise cortisol levels.

DHEA or dehydroepiandrosterone is secreted by the adrenal glands.  This hormone is a “precursor” to both estrogen and testosterone.  DHEA can help slow the aging process, improve cognitive ability, increase muscle mass, boost energy levels and the immune system, and increase sex drive.  It also may protect against cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s.

Fine-Tuning Your Hormones
At Southwest Age Intervention Institute, we develop an individually tailored plan for supplementing or replacing hormones based on sound and safe medical practices.  Hormone therapy is almost always prescribed in conjunction with attention to diet, nutrition, exercise, fitness levels and information on lifestyle factors such as stress management and smoking cessation.  A comprehensive plan will offer the most improvement for maintaining physical, mental, emotional and sexual health for a lifetime.

Call now to schedule your private executive health evaluation and learn how Southwest Age Intervention Institute can help you enjoy all the days of your life with exceptional health along the journey.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I turn 67 next week and I feel GREAT

I don't know when I've felt this good before. I'll turn 67 on July 5 and I've been slowly gaining weight, but I rationalized this was just part of getting older. I wasn't sleeping as well, but I figured that was just part of getting older. Activity would wear me down quicker, but I figured that was just part of being nearly 67. There were so many things that I swept under the rug and attributed them to "just getting older," but then Southwest Age Intervention Institute entered my life.

The program they developed for me and the education they gave me has truly have changed my life. I feel so much more energetic. I have no idea how much I weigh and don't care. I've donated my old "fat pants," because they don't have fit anymore. And now, the pants I replaced them with are also getting too big. I'd guess I've lost 12 -14 pounds, but I've also converted some of my mass to muscle...THIS IS NOT A DIET! It IS a change of life. I'm here to tell you, you don't have to "age gracefully." So join me at the Southwest Age Intervention Institute. My life, my approach and my view of my future years have all changed.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Science Behind Hormones & Aging

Imagine finding an elixir that would allow you to have more energy, turn fat into muscle, sleep better, improve your sex life, and feel healthier.

At Southwest Age Intervention Institute, we know there isn’t a magic potion or a quick fix for turning back the clock to the youthful vigor of our 20s. But we do know that using scientific evidence-based medicine that combines diet, exercise and proper hormone balancing can help people achieve their goals, getting them to their desired body weight, shape, fitness and energy level.

Hormone Optimization is The Key

Conventional wisdom says that declining hormone levels are a normal function of aging and just something we must face as part of life. But maintaining a healthy hormonal balance at every decade of life is critical to aging gracefully, whether you’re in your 40s, 50s, 60s or beyond.

Our body’s hormones have a powerful and pervasive influence on just about every function taking place within our bodies. Produced by the endocrine system glands, hormones are the chemical messengers that circulate in the blood, looking for the right target receptors with which to interact and communicate. Nearly every aspect of our mental, physical, emotional, social and sexual capabilities is affected by how well these receptors to respond to the hormonal messages.

Why Is Hormone Balancing Necessary?

Making sure that the hormones are in the right balance offers so many benefits that it just doesn’t make sense not to make it a priority for everyone. In fact, some experts say aging is a disruption of the body’s ability to produce and maintain the appropriate hormone levels for optimal health and well-being.

When the body is in its prime, all of the hormones – estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, DHEA, thyroid and cortisol – work together to orchestrate the various biological and chemical processes, from cell growth and repair to the menstrual cycle in women. How much or how little of each hormone is made at any one time relies on a complicated feedback system between the brain and the various endocrine glands.

But a decline in these hormone levels upsets the delicate balance that is necessary to keep the body in best shape. It can also set the stage for a variety of problems starting with sexual performance and leading to a greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and depression.

For most women, the dramatic drop of estrogen and progesterone at menopause has a major impact on their enjoyment of life and their overall health. Men undergo hormonal changes in a much more subtle and gradual process called andropause, which signals a decline in the androgen hormones, specifically testosterone. But they too experience serious consequences from a reduction in hormones.

In older men, testosterone can convert to estrogen in a complex process called aromatization, which leads to further imbalance. Higher estrogen levels in men may contribute to greater risk for problems with the prostate, including enlarged prostate gland.

For women, hormonal imbalances may not just be a matter of low estrogen. It might actually be related to estrogen dominance, which occurs when the proper ratio of estrogen to progesterone is altered. This imbalance may result from diet, pollutants in the water and other chemicals in the environment. In addition, estrogen dominance can be aggravated when high levels of cortisol, which occur when the body is under chronic stress, further reduces the amount of progesterone circulating in the blood.

It’s important to understand that replacing hormones with a one-size-fits-all prescription is not an effective or desirable plan. A careful fine-tuning is required to ensure the right hormonal balance is achieved for your particular situation.

Is Hormone Balancing Safe?

In 2007, the original 2002 Women’s Health Initiative study that raised concerns about hormone replacement therapy was shown to have serious flaws. The study only looked at women taking Premarin, an artificial synthetic hormone, not the bioidentical hormones we use at Southwest Age Intervention Institute that closely mirror the body’s own natural hormones. Nearly half the study participants were smokers or had a history of smoking. Some 34 percent were clinically obese. In addition, the average age of the women participating in the study was 63, while most women begin treatment for perimenopausal and menopausal systems in their 40s and 50s.

In 2008, the First Global Summit on Menopause-Related Issues in Zurich, Switzerland concluded that hormone replacement therapy is the first line and most effective treatment for menopausal symptoms. The summit also reported that replacing or supplementing hormones offers numerous preventative measures, including:

Protection against estrogen-related bone loss and fractures
Improved quality of life and sexuality by maintaining the health of the urogenital tract in women
Reduced potential for cognitive impairment, including possible decreased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Reduced mortality and risk of cardiovascular disease

What You Can Expect During An Executive Health Physical

At Southwest Age Intervention Institute, we offer a comprehensive executive health physical for both men and women. The exam will include an extensive laboratory workup, history and physical.  At this time, we will evaluate the following biological markers:

  • Blood pressure
  • Lipid panel, including HDL and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
  • Insulin and blood sugar levels
  • Thyroid and cortisol levels
  • Hormones levels – testosterone, estrogen, progesterone and DHEA
  • Fitness, strength, flexibility and balance
  • Bone mineral density
  • PSA (prostate specific antigen, a marker for risk of prostate cancer in men)

The results of your executive health profile will give the physician a baseline of your hormonal and metabolic health. From there, an individual plan will be designed that includes diet, exercise and hormone balancing.

Supplementing or replacing hormones lost due to the aging process can turn your health around in numerous ways, from strengthening your immune system and improving your mental and emotional outlook, to enhancing your sex life and building stronger muscles and bones.

We have so much more to share with you. Our goal is to help you age well, enjoying all the days of your life feeling great all the way! Call us today at Southwest Age Intervention Institute to schedule your executive health evaluation with one of our age management specialists. Let us help turn the rest of your life into the best of your life.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Can you believe Norm loves his new diet?

It's been more than a month since I've been on my custom program from Southwest Age Intervention Institute. I feel fantastic! I've been terrific at adjusting to my new life style eating program. In fact, I've done so well, I've actually made a major decision about my future eating habits. My nutritionist, Judiann Van Beest, taught me how the body actually uses food as a fuel. Her step-by-step information was a revelation for me. The first 28 days, termed the "induction phase," called for me to focus on eating only specific foods. Good foods. Tasty foods. Satisfying foods. It's not some weirdo diet plan, but the idea was to change the way my body got nutrition and to eliminate those foods that actually were counter-productive. That first 28 days went SO WELL that I'm, for the most part, going to continue eating that array of foods. After 28 days, the program allows me to re-introduce certain foods (some potatoes, corn and certain fruits), but I'm so happy with the results and how I'm feeling I've decided to continue with the foods in the induction phase indefinitely.

Now, a criticism of myself, I've got to be more faithful to my workout program. My incredibly busy schedule simply does not allow me enough time to do the specially designed workout plan every day. Now that the Mavs have won the NBA title, that has got to change. If it doesn't change, my exercise therapist Vanessa's not gonna be very happy with me.

But for now, I'm happy!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Role of Good Nutrition

Eating the right nutrient-rich foods is essential for maintaining a healthy body. A sound nutritional diet will keep your energy levels high, boost your immune system and fight off illness.

Supplying the body with what it needs is an important part of Southwest Age Intervention Institute’s comprehensive program of health and wellness. The role of nutrition in maintaining a good quality of life and preventing the symptoms of premature aging can’t be emphasized enough.

For both men and women, the  40s and 50s are a time when the bad habits of youth may begin to catch up and set the stage for problems later on. A lifetime of poor eating habits – both too much food as well as the wrong food, can be a recipe for disaster.

The consequences of unhealthy lifestyle choices related to diet and nutrition are serious, with significantly increased risk for developing everything from high blood pressure and high cholesterol to heart attack, stroke, gastrointestinal problems, cancer, and adult onset diabetes. Diabetes is now at epidemic levels in the U.S.

In addition, the Centers for Disease Control reports that obesity is one of the major public health concerns today. One in three adults are classified as obese, which puts them at risk for an enormous number of problems. Studies also show that just having excess fat in the abdomen and waist – the middle-age spread or pot belly – raises your risk for colon cancer.

For the most the part, many of these medical conditions are preventable. At Southwest Age Intervention Institute, it is our goal to reverse this trend. We help you work toward correcting nutritional imbalances and reducing your risk for disease. Food is the body’s fuel, and our objective is to keep you fit, active and at the top of your game no matter what your age.

A Tailor Made Plan Based On Your Body’s Needs

Good nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all plan.  Everyone’s needs are different. But we do know the best plan calls for a low-fat diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, lean meats and essential fats, while reducing or eliminating processed fast food and trans fats, refined sugar and simple carbohydrates. We also recommend a regimen of nutraceutical supplements to boost the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and essential fatty acids that your body needs.

This type of diet is not a fad, but a proven means of reducing disease risk and preventing premature aging. For example, the American Institute for Cancer Research reports that fruit, vegetables, beans and whole grains have the necessary minerals, vitamins, phytochemicals and fiber to help fight cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. On the other hand, a diet high in red meat (beef, lamb and pork) and processed meats (bacon, hot dogs and sausage) can increase the risk for developing colon cancer.

Here’s a closer look at how these foods can help keep you healthy:

Phytochemicals are natural chemicals found in fruits, vegetables and beans. They include beta carotene, flavonoids, vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin E, antioxidants and other substances that have many healing properties.

Fiber is found in fruit, vegetables, whole grains and beans. It is the roughage or bulk that the body can’t digest or absorb. Fiber in the diet is helpful in lowering cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar, and maintaining a healthy colon by reducing constipation, hemorrhoids and preventing colon cancer. High-fiber diets are also good in combating weight gain and obesity.

Protein is found in lean meat, eggs, nuts, beans, some dairy products and some vegetables. Protein is essential for growth and energy, building and repairing body tissues, and production of enzymes, hormones and other substances. It is important to understand that muscle strength and size is less a function of protein in the diet and more about exercise, fitness levels, balanced hormones and overall good health. Most Americans eat more protein than is needed.

What is BMI?

Body mass index is a measure of body fat levels based on height and weight. Calculating BMI is a simple way to determine whether you are overweight or obese compared to the general population. Southwest Age Intervention Institute uses BMI as a screening tool. It is part of an overall evaluation of your health and well being that also includes a comprehensive laboratory blood profile.

Knowing your BMI is useful in developing an appropriate plan to help meet your health and nutritional goals.

To learn more about the age management protocols we have in place to help you age successfully, enjoying your health all the days of your life, call Southwest Age Intervention Institute today. Speak to our expert team of age management specialists and schedule your private consultation so you can get started living extremely well and achieving and maintaining great health.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Four weeks in and wow!

June 7, was the four week anniversary starting the Southwest Age Intervention Institute's custom designed program and to steal the quote from McDonald's, "I'm lovin' it". I haven't felt this good in years. In fact, there's real proof of what's happening to me. I went to my regular doctor, Dr. Phil Aronoff, for an EKG. He took my blood pressure measurements. In just under three weeks, my readings had gone from 148 over 81 to 130 over 70! Remarkable! People are beginning to notice and have asked what I'm doing to lose weight. They've commented on my thinner-looking face. On Monday, I went back to Foundry Big and Tall Supply and exchanged a pair of cargo shorts for a smaller size, the waist was simply too big. I wore them to the Rangers game last night and realized that in a another few weeks they might be too large also.

But this ISN'T about weight loss. It's about feeling better and having more energy. My life is better and it's only been four weeks. The Southwest Age Intervention Institute program, the one they designed for me and the one they'll design for you, really, really works! I can't wait (weight?) to see what the next few weeks bring because the last four have been terrific!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Many Benefits of Exercise

Exercise is one of the best kept secrets for lifting your mood, keeping your heart strong and healthy, helping your body look fit and trim – even improving your sex life. Don’t underestimate the power of exercise to pump new energy into just about every area of your life.

Combined with good nutrition and hormone optimization, exercise is a cornerstone of the Southwest Age Intervention Institute program for health and wellness.

The best fitness plan will incorporate resistance training with weights to build lean muscle, aerobic exercise to increase heart rate and stretching to improve flexibility and range of motion. Incorporating these types of exercises into your weekly schedule is a proactive way to ensure you remain healthy, vital and sharp at any age. It is one of the best investments you will ever make in your future.

Value Added Benefits

A sedentary lifestyle that ignores the body’s need for exercise is a contributing factor in so many problems associated with aging. A recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine noted that “physical inactivity is one of the strongest predictors of premature aging in adults.”

The old adage, “use it or lose it” is true when it comes to muscle strength. Without some form of exercise, muscle strength can quickly diminish, perhaps even by one half to one pound of muscle mass per year as we grow older.

In addition, a sedentary lifestyle raises the risk for numerous chronic medical conditions, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and osteoporosis. It also can have a negative impact on your brain power, diminishing your cognitive abilities related to memory, focus, concentration and overall ability to think and reason.

On the other hand, a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise three to four times a week can increase your metabolism, lower your blood pressure, strengthen your bones, muscles and connective tissue, and prevent stiff joints and many aches and pains associated with growing older. Building core strength helps with posture and balance to reduce your risk of falling.

Don’t forget the correlation between exercise and a greater sense of well being.  The positive effect of exercise on mood is well-known among athletes. The euphoria or “runners high” many people experience after a vigorous workout is due to the flood of neurotransmitters and endorphins that the body releases. These hormones help reduce stress levels, allowing you to feel better and more able to cope with day-to-day challenges. If you’re having problems with insomnia, exercise during the day is often recommended as a good way to promote better sleep.

In addition, a long-term commitment to exercise will help your body look and feel better, which enhances confidence and self-esteem.

Let’s look at the different forms of exercise and their specific health benefits:

Cardiovascular exercise is any aerobic activity that increases heart rate for a sustained period of time.  This type of exercise, which includes walking, bicycling, swimming, running, tennis, skiing, rowing and dance, strengthens the heart and the lungs to reduce the risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Vigorous exercise allows the heart to become stronger and more efficient at pumping blood and oxygen through the body, which can reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels and keep the resting heart rate low. It can also increase your endurance so you tire less easily, including being less “winded” climbing stairs or performing similar activities.

Cardiovascular exercise can also increase your metabolism and help your body burn stored fat, which aids in maintaining a healthy weight.

Resistance training strengthens muscles, bones, connective tissue and joints through the use of any exercise that causes the muscles to contract against an external resistance. This can include weight lifting with free weights or the use of weight machines, as well as push ups, squats, chin ups or other form of exercise where you are working against your body weight.

The benefits of resistance training are extensive, from increasing your metabolism, building lean muscle and reducing overall body fat to remodeling and sculpting the body with greater tone and definition. Weight training is considered one of the best ways to lose weight and take off inches from the thighs, waist and abdomen. It can also build bone mineral density to guard against osteoporosis.

Flexibility training incorporates stretching exercises into your fitness regimen. Why bother to stretch? These exercises can improve blood flow to the muscles, increase your range of motion, reduce risk of low back pain and improve your posture. As we age our flexibility can diminish, so stretching regularly is essential to reduce the risk for a number of health problems, even something as simple as preventing the general aches and pains and stiffness many people feel as older adults. Yoga, tai chi, Pilates, and simple stretching exercises on the floor are all beneficial.

Exercising has a positive impact on your physical, mental and emotional well-being. At Southwest Age Intervention Institute, we will develop a plan that is best suited to meet your overall health and fitness goals. Give us a call today to schedule your private executive health evaluation with our age management team of specialists. Learn how our age management program, complete with the best exercise regimen designed for you, will help you live your best life today and for the rest of your life.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How Healthy is your Heart?

Despite the best efforts of western medicine to combat the problem, heart disease remains the number one killer in the United States. It is the leading cause of death in both men and women.  Stroke comes in third, after cancer. Stroke is also the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the United States.

These are alarming statistics. Together, heart disease and stroke have a devastating effect, striking a huge segment of the population when they are still in their prime of life.

Even those who survive a heart attack or stroke may find their quality of life suffers, with an associated loss of income or productivity, along with the exorbitant costs of life-saving treatments or long-term medications.

As a society, we used to think of heart disease and stroke as a man’s disease. But that is no longer true. Heart disease and stroke are equal opportunity predators. While breast and other cancers may get more attention in the media, the truth is that women are five times more likely to die of a heart attack than breast cancer. The American Heart Association reports that one in five women in the U.S. has some form of heart disease.

After menopause – either natural or due to a hysterectomy, that risk increases. Menopausal women are two to three times more likely to develop heart disease than younger, pre-menopausal women.

What can we do to reduce our risk? A healthy lifestyle that includes not smoking, some form of stress reduction, eating a low-fat diet high in fruits and vegetables, and at least 20 minutes of exercise three times a week is critical.

But we also know that hormones play a major role in our cardiovascular health and well being.

For women, estrogen’s positive effect on every tissue in the body is well documented. But you may not be aware that estrogen also increases HDL, the good cholesterol, while decreasing LDL, the bad cholesterol. In addition, estrogen helps keep the blood vessels dilated and the lining of the walls smooth, so blood can flow more easily, promoting good circulation. Some studies show estrogen may also reduce free radicals in the blood so they have less change of doing damage to the blood vessels.

The same situation is present for men. Not surprisingly, testosterone is good for the heart, the blood vessels and cholesterol levels. Adequate levels of testosterone have been shown to improve HDL, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation of blood vessel walls, improve heart function and promote heart muscle protein synthesis.

The key to remember is this: heart disease and stroke are preventable. Even though you may not be able to eliminate certain risk factors such as family history and ethnic background (African-Americans are at higher risk), it is possible to gain the upper hand over these two widely prevalent medical conditions.

The goal for everyone should be to develop good lifestyle habits in combination with a medically prescribed plan for supplementing or replacing hormone loss. Careful attention to diet, exercise, hormones and stress will lead to the best plan of attack for reducing the risk and severity of both heart disease and stroke.

At Southwest Age Intervention Institute, we offer the most advanced age management therapies coupled with the education and statistical analysis to help you feel great at every age. We will access not only your hormone levels but every factor associated with helping you age well and enjoy your life to the fullest as it pertains to achieving the correct balances. You simply need to call to schedule your executive health evaluation with our expert team of age management specialists and started enjoying better heart health now.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Not bad so far

I'm loving the program Southwest Age Intervention Institute has designed for me. Last Thursday I spent a sweaty, difficult hour and fifteen minutes with Vanessa who created a workout regimen especially for me and my very bad right leg. There simply are several exercises I cannot do because of a lack of strength and balance in the leg. Vanessa put me through a series of exercises aimed at increasing my core strength. What a workout! And that was HALF of what she's designed for me! I'll get the other half when I visit Southwest Aging Intervention Institute later this week.

Right now, I'm halfway through the eating induction period. I'm amazed at how easy it has been to make the change to a much healthier eating program. Now, that doesn't mean I wouldn't still enjoy a terrific burger, but I'm pretty proud that I'm now giving my body the proper nutrition. More to come later this week.

And say a prayer that the second half of Vanessa's workout regimen doesn't just wear me out.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Libido... Where is yours?

How to get your "Mojo" back

Libido is defined as the desire for an intimate, sexual relationship with a partner.  For many men and women, enjoying an active and passionate sex life is a vital part of a happy and healthy lifestyle.

But perhaps your interest in sex doesn’t seem to be as strong as it was in your 20s, 30s, or even 40s. You’re not sure what’s going on, but you know for sure your libido isn’t what it used to be.

Or maybe your sex drive is still there, but there are complications to your enjoyment, such as men experiencing problems having or maintaining an erection and in women vaginal dryness, disinterest, or discomfort during sex.

Without an active sex life, you may sense that there is something “missing.”  You may feel dissatisfied with life or experience stress and anxiety. There may be the perception of lost vitality and virility if you’re a man, or low self-esteem and feeling less feminine if you’re a woman.

Sex Drive & Hormone Levels – What’s Age Got To Do With It?
There may be a medical reason for a loss of sexual desire or other problems related to sexuality.  Some chronic medical conditions or certain medications can cause erectile dysfunction or problems with sexual arousal in women.

But often, reduced sexual enjoyment is simply the result of declining levels of hormones – an unfortunate side effect of the aging process.

Did you know that starting at age 30, men on average begin to experience a yearly drop in testosterone levels ranging from 1% to 3%?  Many women start to have declining levels of estrogen as early as their late 30s.

The right balance of the sex hormones, estrogen, testosterone and progesterone, along with hormones such as cortisol, thyroid and DHEA, directly correlates to sex drive.  Diminished levels of these hormones play havoc with our libido, our ability to perform sexually and the sensations we experience.

But that’s not all.

The proper balance of hormone levels in our body also affects our overall health and well-being. Hormones have a profound effect on everything from mood and energy level to muscle mass and strength, bone health, skin tone, mental sharpness and focus, blood sugar levels, cardiovascular health, and much more.

It’s no wonder that as we age and hormone levels fluctuate, the body may no longer be in proper balance. As a result, we may begin to see and feel the consequences physically, sexually, mentally and emotionally.

For men, the change may be subtle and gradual. For women, it may be dramatic and abrupt.  But either way, there is the definite realization that they are no longer at their peak performance during sex, work and play.  And that can affect the quality of every aspect of their lives.

Male Menopause – Fact or Fiction?
It’s true. Many men at middle age experience a type of male menopause called andropause.  It may not be the same type of wake-up call that menopause creates in women. But for men, a gradual loss of hormones, especially testosterone, can be extremely impactful on physical, sexual, emotional and mental health.

Lower testosterone levels have a direct relationship to decreased libido and erectile dysfunction and can contribute to weight gain and increased abdominal fat, decreased beard growth, breast enlargement, loss of mental sharpness and muscle tone, even anxiety, fatigue and irritability.

Often, anti-depressant medication is prescribed to combat mood swings and depression.  But anti-depressants can reduce sexual desire further, exacerbating the problem. At Southwest Age Intervention Institute, we know that a holistic approach that restores and balances hormones, and includes a good diet, exercise and nutritional supplements, is the right solution.

Women, Hormones & Menopause
Exactly when women begin to experience the results of hormone loss can depend on many factors, including heredity, nutrition, stress, lifestyle and the age that the menstrual cycle began.

But we do know that as hormone production becomes more erratic, fluctuations and surges can contribute to the many well-documented list of symptoms: sleep disturbance, hot flashes, mood swings, fatigue, headaches, depression, along with problems related to sex.

Decreased hormone levels can reduce sex drive and interfere with sexual arousal.  It can also make sex uncomfortable due to several factors. With the loss of estrogen, the walls of the vagina become thinner, less elastic and dry. There may also be changes in the tissues of the urinary tract leading to incontinence and greater risk of infection.

Appropriate hormone replacement therapy can improve your sex life by reducing these detrimental changes to the vagina, especially by improving the elasticity of the vaginal walls and increasing moisture and lubrication.

Not a Quick Fix – A Long-Term Solution
Untreated, hormonal imbalances can lead to a variety of complications and a loss of pleasure in life. Yet often, we may not know what to do about it. And sometimes, we may be embarrassed and prefer not to talk about it. Fortunately, the Southwest Age Intervention Institute has an answer.

By using safe and effective evidence-based medicine, we can help you get back on track. We can restore hormone balance by using a medically prescribed, personal treatment plan designed for your specific needs. Our goal is to stop your hormone levels from declining, restore them to a healthy level and maintain them over time so you can enjoy life to its fullest.

What We Can Do For You
The first step is to undergo a comprehensive medical evaluation. A laboratory analysis of your blood will identify your unique biological markers, including your current levels of testosterone, estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, thyroid, cortisol and insulin.

If your hormone levels are clinically lower than what we consider to be a healthy range, your treatment plan will focus on the best method of adjusting your levels for optimal health and satisfaction.  This may require us to stimulate your body to produce more of the needed hormones, or we may need to prescribe replacement therapy.

The right hormone regimen for you may include creams, supplements or injections.  However, it is important for you to understand that we only use bioidentical hormones – hormones that most closely mimic the body’s natural substances to give you the best results safely and effectively.

Follow-up is critical too.

As the body is continually changing, it is just as important for us to continually monitor your progress. You can be confident that we will continually evaluate your hormone levels to make sure that they are at appropriate levels to ensure the health and safety of your treatment plan.

To learn more about hormones and their role in helping you enjoy a great sex life all of your life, call Southwest Age Intervention Institute today to schedule your confidential executive health evaluation with our team of age management experts. We are here to address all of your concerns and ideally direct you toward a better quality of life, not just sexually, but in all areas as it pertains to your health and longevity.