Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Day in the Life – Morning Hustle Edition

This post is sponsored by The Quaker Oats Company, but all opinions are my own. 

Now that summer is here, our family is enjoying a much more low-key lifestyle, but during the school year, weekday mornings start bright and early at 5:00 AM when Mal’s alarm clock goes off. Here’s a snapshot into one of his final days of school!

Mal heads downstairs for breakfast while I get a jump start on my work for the day. I typically only work for 20-30 minutes, often checking email and replying to blog comments, but even checking a few tasks off my to do list first thing in the morning gives me some awesome momentum for the rest of the day. Plus, I don’t feel like I have 8 zillion tasks weighing me down!

After a little work, I take Murphy for his morning walk. I used to rush through our walks because I wanted to get back to my laptop, but now I really savor our time together. The exercise – for the both of us – is such a great way to start the morning. I always return to the house feeling energized and ready to start the day!

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I have a busy day ahead and won’t have time to get to the gym or take a class, so I get my butt moving with a high-intensity kettlebell workout in our basement. It’s just 15 minutes long, but I’m a sweaty mess by the end!

After that, I immediately hop in the shower and get myself ready for the day. I’ve actually become quite the get-ready ninja, so I’m cleaned, dressed, and makeup-ed in no time! Mal leaves the house promptly at 6:40 AM, so I need to (mostly) have my act together before he goes to school and Quinn is awake for the day. Otherwise, trying to work out and get ready with a 3 year old takes soooo much longer!

 

Then, I head downstairs to the kitchen for breakfast. I recently had the opportunity to try Quaker’s new Overnight Oats, and I am a huge fan.  (If you follow me on Instagram Stories, you’ve probably seen them a bunch!) They are super convenient, and I love that you can have a nutritious and hearty breakfast in the morning without spending a lot of time preparing it. They’re an easy choice, especially when I need as much time as possible to get all sorts of things accomplished in the morning!

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I love overnight oats and know that a lot of you guys do, too. It’s definitely a popular breakfast choice in the blog world and beyond, so Quaker saw this as an opportunity to bring added convenience to the trend with their single serving cups. To do this, they brought together key ingredients of a typical homemade recipe into a convenient cup, so all you need to do is add milk (or your non-dairy option of choice) at night to the single serve container, let it cold-steep in the refrigerator overnight, and then wake up to a cool and hearty breakfast for a hassle-free morning.

quaker overnight oats

Each single-serve container features a flavorful blend of oats, fruits, quinoa, flaxseed and nuts – giving you the nutrition you want to help start your day. They’re made with 100% whole grain oats (+ other grains) and have no artificial flavors or added colors. Nutritionally, each one has at least 11g of protein when prepared with ½ cup of non-fat milk and 300 calories or less per container (before adding milk/non-dairy options). Quaker Overnight Oats are available in four delicious flavors: Blueberry Banana & Vanilla Bliss, Toasted Coconut & Almond Crunch (obviously, the first one I tried – so good!), Orchard Peach Pecan Perfection, and Raisin Walnut & Honey Heaven.

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At night, simply add milk or your non-dairy option of choice and stir to the fill line within the single-serve containers. You can also use nut milks, coconut, and soy milk!

how to make quaker overnight oats

Then, just let the mixture cold-steep in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours+ (but not longer than 24 hours). Take it out of the refrigerator the next morning and enjoy a cool and hearty breakfast option with no morning prep required. It’s as easy as steep, sleep, and eat!

quaker overnight oats

Quinn wakes up a short while later and the morning hustle continues. Typically, we have a solid hour or more to play and get ready for daycare, but, this day, we need to be efficient. Kerrie and I have a 9:00 AM meeting in the city. With rush hour traffic, we need to give ourselves at least 1.5 hours to get there, so, long story short, Quinn and I need to boogie through our morning routine. We do, however, have time to tease Curious George with offers of “banana juice.”

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I feel bad rushing Quinn out the door, but I picked my battles and let him wear his rain boots and bring his Scooby Doo Mystery Machine to school.

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At daycare, I give Qman lots of hugs and kisses before saying goodbye. Then, I grab a couple of cold brew coffees before meeting Kerrie at her house to drive together to our meeting. Go, go, go!

Boo. We hit lots of traffic, but we have plenty of time to catch up and chat about the 8,000 things that we need to do.

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Meeting time!

After our meeting, we battle more traffic and then finally grab a late lunch together. We’re both starving!

After that, I swing by daycare to pick up Qman. His teachers tell me that he had a great day!

Mal and Murphy are waiting for us at home, so it’s time to unplug for the day!

Question of the Day

What’s your favorite no-hassle breakfast?

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Need to Know Factors for Bone Health

Home » Diet & Nutrition

July 12, 2017

Need to Know Factors for Bone Health

By Mark Sisson

0 Comments

Inline_Bone_Health_07.12.17At the heart of every building is its framework. That latticework of timber, concrete or steel is what holds the entire structure up. Without it, there’d be no building at all. I think of that phrase some people use when they look at a house and declare, “It’s got good bones.”

Considering how essential bones are to our existence, it’s surprising how most people take them for granted. A lifetime of neglect can suddenly reveal to us just how sensitive and integral this living framework is. Yet, there’s so much more to this truth than we commonly assume. 

Sure, the skeletal system provides the stable foundation upon which our muscles, organs and fascia are constructed. But that’s just the half of it. Bones also secrete hormones, interact directly with the brain (ever heard of the bone-brain axis?) as well as other organs and fat cells, and even play a key role in immunity. Let’s look at some of these lesser known and appreciated functions—as well as some additional tips for supporting bone health throughout the life cycle.

Bones Play a Hormonal Role

While their primary purpose is structural support, in many ways, bones actually behave similarly to glands.

An interesting article posted a few months back in Nature demonstrated just how in tune our bones are with the rest of the body. Researchers showed that, contrary to the view of bones as inert organs, they’re actually in continual communication with the brain, kidneys, pancreas, fat cells, and more via a group of hormonal messengers, including osteocalcin, sclerostin, fibroblast growth factor 23 and lipocalin 2.

Experiments showed that after mice eat their bones release liopcalin 2, which then travels to the brain. Here it sticks to appetite-regulating cells, signaling to the brain to stop chowing down. This means that our bones act as appetite-mediators, sending messengers that cross the blood-brain barrier to let the brain know that sufficient nutrients have been absorbed to keep the bone-building process going. Previous thought assumed fat cells were largely in charge of this task, but it appears bones actually produce 10 times more of this appetite-curbing hormone.

Osteocalcin, a hormone produced by bone-building osteoblasts, further helps to regulate blood sugar by telling the insulin-secreting cells in the pancreas to get cracking. Osteocalcin also communicates directly with fat cells to release a hormone that improves insulin sensitivity.

Beyond these critical functions, the osteocalcin produced by bones plays a key role in testosterone production and male fertility, helps regulate mood and memory, and even interacts with the brains of developing fetuses. An interesting side note…osteocalcin may also help improve endurance, with studies in mice showing that older mice were able to run almost twice as far after being injected with osteocalcin.

Capping things off nicely, continuing studies in mice indicate that the osteoblast-regulating hormone sclerostin plays a role in energy metabolism. When secreted from bones, sclerostin has been shown to increase energy expenditure by helping the body switch to ketogenesis.

What Probiotics Do for Bone Density

Studies in mice show that probiotic-treated mice retained their bone density even after ovary removal, compared to the control group that lost a whopping half of their bone density. Researchers just used your stock-standard Lactobacillus strains, commonly found in cultured dairy products such as yogurt and kefir.

A recent Chinese study confirmed that these findings also apply to humans, with the bone mineral density of diabetic patients increasing the more Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium they were given. 

A Word about Exercise and Inflammation

Over the course of nine months, researchers monitored changes in the bone health and structure of female rowers training for the 2016 Olympic Games. The rowers were chosen due to their vigorous training regime (average of 18 hours per week). During the nine months, proponents noticed that protein precursors to bone loss increased significantly, along with the bone formation-inhibiting hormone sclerostin. This was exacerbated by increased inflammation in the bodies of the over-worked rowers, which contributed to higher counts of sclerostin.

The verdict? “Very intense training without adequate recovery period may lead to increased inflammation and subsequent bone resorption (loss).” The result is higher risk of bone stress injuries and early osteoporosis. Enough said.

Overtraining aside, exercise remains one of the leading ways to ensure optimum bone health into later decades. 

Finally, there’s the role that exercise can play in reversing unfavorable genetics. According to research, 50-80% of bone density is predicated on genetics, with conditions such as brittle bone disease being passed on from mother to baby in the womb. Studies on mice indicate that higher myostatin is directly proportional to higher risk of bone disease. Exercise, in particular weightlifting or short high-intensity workouts, decrease levels of myostatin in the body and increase muscle mass.

Nutritional Considerations for Bone Health

On the subject of myostatin, increasing healthy fat consumption, particularly fats with MCTs, along with cutting out inflammatory foods like sugar and grains, also contributes to lowered myostatin levels. In addition, the catechins found in green tea have been shown to lower myostatin production and support healthy bone metabolism.

As for the dairy with bone health? One study examined the association of milk, yogurt, cheese, cream and vitamin D with bone mineral density in adults around the age of 75. Researchers found that milk, yogurt and cheese were protective against both hip and spinal bone loss…but only when participants also supplemented with vitamin D. Those who consumed the same amount and type of dairy, but didn’t get their daily dose of vitamin D, showed no positive correlation at all.

Another study, this time with a huge cohort of 5000+ old folks in Ireland, demonstrated that “each unit increase in yogurt intake in women was associated with a 31% lower risk of osteopenia and a 39% lower risk of osteoporosis. In men, a 52% lower risk of osteoporosis was found.” Given the findings regarding probiotics in the earlier noted study, there are likely a few factors in play here.

Also, one salient note: the researchers at the end of their study noted that vitamin D supplements were also associated with significantly reduced risk of bone complications in both men and women. But that’s not a surprise to anyone, is it?

Thanks for reading today, and offer up any questions or feedback below. Take care.

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For The Love Of Popsicles

Gooooood morning!! You never know who is going to show up at our breakfast bar. Today we had a zebra and two turtles. Oh and a blankie – they always come! This circus usually comes up to bed to snuggle with me. Today we practiced spelling each of their names 🙂

I made Mazen a chocolate + kale smoothie for breakfast and had intended to have the other half myself. But when I reached in the drawer for Mazen’s smoothie cup (this one is our favorite!) I realized the popsicle molds were empty! Emergency!! So I poured the rest of the smoothie in them for the hot afternoons this week. Kale in his popsicles – mwahahahaha! (Actually Mazen likes kale salads!)

(The best silicone popsicles)

So I had yet another yogurt bowl! I have Thomas hooked on these after making him one at the beach with greek yogurt, fruit and granola. He has had one everyday since!

I found this granola from The Granola Factory at Wegman’s and it’s the bomb. The ingredient list is so simple and the secret is BUTTER. Makes it so…ahem….buttery : )

Yogurt, blueberries, raspberry jam, and granola.

Have a great Wednesday!

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