Monday, August 13, 2018

10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Marriage

Hi, friends!

As you guys know, Mal and I recently celebrated the big 1-0 of marriage, and, jeez, does time fly! It feels like just yesterday we were dancing our night away at our wedding.

After experiencing all of the ups, like becoming parents to our tiny human and some of the downs, like facing a chronic illness (and more than a dozen skin cancer scares), we’ve learned our fair share of lessons in this little ol’ life we’ve built together.

I want to share the top 10 things I’ve learned from spending the past 10 years with my favorite guy – and whether you are in a new relationship or have been married for 30 years, I hope they will resonate!  

  1. Just say it already! If something is bothering you, don’t play the passive-aggressive game, no matter how non-confrontational you want to be. Mal or I sometimes do something that the other person finds annoying, and this one thing alone could be easily fixed. However, when we don’t address it immediately, those little things just kept building and building until we have a much bigger problem. So, if something needs to be discussed, do it! Otherwise, you will just waste time and energy.
  2. You can’t change people – they are who they are. Sure, you can do things like help your partner create healthy habits or change how you communicate with each other. But personalities and beliefs are pretty much shaped and set in stone – as well as the good and bad qualities of a person. Over time, we’ve realized that we both have imperfections, and marriage is loving your partner because of them, not in spite of them. Mal’s quirks (and overall weirdness) are why I love him! 
  3. Live according to reality, not expectations. There are going to be times where things don’t go the way you expected. Rather than try to fight it, just accept it and work through it together. Endlessly hoping for something that just won’t happen or for your partner to possess a quality that they never will, just leaves you feeling frustrated. I’ve found that when I accept things for what they are, no matter how much I don’t like it, I’m much less anxious (and annoyed with Mal for no real reason).
  4. History repeats itself – and so do arguments. Many of the problems Mal and I have faced over the years are ones that we had 10 years ago – just altered a bit with age. In fact, we often have a good laugh about how our arguments just play on a repeated loop. They’re nothing major – and we still bicker about them from time-to-time. Some things just don’t change – people included – and that’s okay as long as you can live with it. 
  5. Marriage isn’t always 50/50. Of course, that would be ideal, but sometimes reality demands it be 70/30 or 40/60 – and that’s ok! For example, during the school year, I do A LOT to keep our family running – cooking, cleaning, childcare, dog care, etc. But during the summer, Mal takes on a ton of he responsibilities because he’s off from school, and I get a little more me time. In the end, it all evens out. Don’t keep a scorecard – marriage is teamwork! Think about it that way when you’re annoyed that you have to put away the dishes again! 😉
  6. Pick your battles. The random receipts all over the house really, really don’t matter (I promise). Nor do the socks next to the hamper instead of inside it. But, seriously, why?! 🙂 In the day-to-day, little things like this seem like a big deal, but before blowing up, ask yourself – in two years, will this matter? Will you even remember? If the answer is no, let it go.
  7. Have separate interests. Spending time alone developing yourself matters immensely. Plus, sometimes absence really does make the heart grow fonder! While Mal and I have a lot in common, we each have our own hobbies and pursuits, and we will periodically hang out with our friends separately. Rather than drive us apart, it actually brings us closer together because we can’t wait to see each other and catch up!
  8. Admit when you’re wrong. This is a tough one for me sometimes because I can be a tad stubborn (Mal too). Wanting to be right all the time is only human, and no one wants to backtrack and say they made a mistake. But if you want to find success in your relationship, just bite the bullet and be humble – you will have mutual respect for each other.
  9. Keep falling in love. Ok, I’m going to get a little mushy here, but it’s so important to keep the romance alive. After 10 years of bills, a kiddo, work, struggles, and illness, it’s easy to forget what brought you together in the first place. So, spend time together, even if it’s something as simple as taking a walk. I can’t tell you how important and valuable our regular date nights and happy hours before we pick up Quinn from school are. It gives us a chance to reconnect without the stress of daily life surrounding us.

And lastly…

  1. Laugh!!! Laugh during the fun times. Laugh during the hard times. Laugh when your kid is absolutely losing it in Target. Or at the grocery story. Or at a friend’s party. When all else fails, pour yourself a drink, turn on a funny movie, and just zone out the world together. Life is too short!

Question of the Day

What have you learned from marriage/committed relationship?


The post 10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Marriage appeared first on Carrots 'N' Cake.

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Vegan Taco “Meat” at the Beach

A ride in the car to the beach? Murphy was ALL about it. Seriously, once those words left my mouth, he was frantically following my every move as I got us ready and packed up to go to the beach. What can I say, the dog loves a good adventure! 🙂

We headed to the beach in the late afternoon and stayed until the sun set.

Once we got settled, we headed down to the ocean to cool off. Murphy was actually really into it… until he wasn’t. He splashed around in the water for probably 5 minutes before he retreated to the beach. Pugs aren’t generally fans of water, but if Murphy gets hot enough, he’ll definitely go in!

Quinn found all sorts of treasures in a nearby tide pool.

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He was beyond pumped!

Eventually, we settled in and had some dinner that we brought from home.

On the menu: Vegan Taco “Meat,” which was ready-to-eat lentils from Trader Joe’s (17.6 ounces) mixed with chopped walnuts (1 cup), taco seasoning, and half a jar of Cowboy Caviar (6 ounces). I think salsa (instead of Cowboy Caviar) would work great too – I just had some in the fridge to use up.

The end result: Really good! Even Mal liked it! I ate my “meat” over sautéed kale from home. It was quite delicious and seriously filling!

The rest of the evening was spent catching up with some CrossFit friends, who we ran into on the beach, and making some new friends.

The family next to us had a “Quinn” of their own, so the Quinns played together while the parents out hung.

Ohhh, summer! I never want it to end!

Question of the Day

Any favorite vegan/vegetarian recipes to share? 

Mal and I are trying to consume less meat, so we’d love some recommendations!

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Dear Mark: Choline Supplementing, Too Many Almonds, Keto and Insulin Resistance, and How to Drink

For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m responding to four reader comments. First up, if a person can’t eat eggs, doesn’t like liver, but really wants choline, can they just supplement? Second, are a couple handfuls of almonds too much omega-6 for the average person? What if they eat fish? Third, a new study claims to show that keto dieting tanks hepatic insulin sensitivity. What should we make of it? Are we giving ourselves type 2 diabetes by going keto? And fourth, I highlight a great approach to drinking alcohol (and living in general) from one of our readers.

Let’s go:

If I can’t eat eggs, and don’t like liver, can I supplement with choline? What would be a good dose?

Yes, you can supplement with choline. Men need around 550 mg per day. Women, 425 mg. Those requirements go up if you’re pregnant or nursing, and they very likely go up if you’re drinking.

It’s very possible that those are good levels for the average person eating a low-moderate fat diet. If you’re eating a high-fat diet or engaging in cognitively-demanding work, you may benefit from higher doses.

What jumped out at me was high O6 from snacking on almonds…this was in the fish oil post too, and it’s got me looking twice at how much is too much. I have a handful or two almost every day, and not supplementing with O3 ( although just started an experiment with daily supplements or fish). Too much?
Thanks as always for the excellent post—I’ve been wondering about alcohol too!

Don’t get me wrong. Almonds are a nutrient-dense whole food. They’ve got tons of magnesium, prebiotic fiber, polyphenols. Their health effect profile is impressive:

But they are high in linoleic acid. Absent fish, two handfuls a day is probably excessive. Having some fish fat will balance it nicely.

Try this: Replace one of your handfuls of almonds with a can of sardines or smoked oysters.

Does keto cause liver insulin resistance? Just saw this study and don’t want type 2 diabetes…

First of all, it’s a mouse study.

Second of all, it was a three-day study designed to look at the short-term transitory effects of going keto. Anyone who’s gone keto knows that the early days are a bit rough. Your mitochondria aren’t good at burning fat or ketones yet. You haven’t built the metabolic machinery required to extract the energy you need from the new balance of macronutrients. This period of transition coincides with the “keto flu”—that period of fatigue, listlessness, and headaches.

If you stick with the diet and make it through to the point where you can crank out and utilize ketones, everything changes. You can suddenly start making ATP from all that body fat you’re burning off, giving you a virtually limitless supply of energy at all times. It’s great.

But in the meantime, for that early period it’s rough. You’re insulin resistant, yet unable to burn much fat. Your liver is perpetually overloaded with energy, making insulin resistance almost unavoidable (if transitory).

Third, the composition of this study’s “keto” diet was about as bad as you could get (PDF). The fat came from Crisco—the classic trans-fat laden version—rounded out with a bit of corn oil. Trans-fats and omega-6 linoleic acid. Does this look like the diet you’re eating? Does this look like the keto diet anyone is eating? If the researchers set out to get the worst possible results for the keto group, it wouldn’t have looked any different. almost looks like they were trying to get the worst possible results.

Alcohol in ketosis is just one aspect of alcohol use in a healthy lifestyle. For me personally I perceive alcohol to play not a vital but an extremely useful role.

I drink about 40 gm of ethanol just about every day in the form of a classic gin martini made with 3.5 oz of premium gin (healthy fats in that olive, brother). I consider gin to be a very special spirit because it is comprised of water, ethanol, and botanical substances like the l-terpenes from juniper berries which are known to have a tonic effect on the human organism – and none of the hundreds of dubious organic chemicals (referred to as “cogeners”) contained in whisky or tequila. I always consume this martini between 5:00 and 7:00pm, and I very rarely drink anything else at any time of day or night. I have this drink immediately before and with the evening meal which I personally prepare from scratch with fresh ingredients and consume with my wife of 51 years.

The martini seems to me to punctuate and enhance the transition from “doing” – being responsible, making things happen, solving problems, exerting myself – to “not doing” – resting, refreshing, nourishing, regenerating. Subjectively, I feel like this one drink, consumed with food, stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. The alcohol research, so-called, tends to produce the opposite result, but in my opinion, virtually all of the alcohol effects research is dreadful – just about the junkiest junk science you can find anywhere.

I will be 80 on my next birthday, my resting heart rate, measured with a Polar FT7 heart rate monitor as an average over 3-5 minutes is 51-52. I ride a mountain bike on intermediate level trails – often in a fasted state – and recently recorded a maximum heart rate of 167. This is considerably higher than the HRmax predicted by any of the recently validated formulas. My GGT level is 16, so I have to conclude that my liver thrives on classic gin martinis. I take no prescription medications and no over-the-counter medications. I am not trying to brag here, I am just trying to document that by just about any measure my health and physical condition is exceptional for a person my age.

My personal belief is that alcohol in the right form and used properly is a health food. This conclusion is based on my personal experience, but I dearly wish that some enterprising biochemists, neurologists, and social psychologists would get together and design a quality research program to examine alcohol’s health effects under various real-world conditions. People like to drink, but a lot of what they drink is full of cogeners and sugar and genuinely toxic crap. Almost nobody has a clue what is in what they are drinking and what its health effects – positive or negative – might be. Millennials are currently destroying their livers in droves and even killing themselves with booze at distressingly early ages. Beliefs about alcohol and drinking in our culture are pathetically primitive.

I think I’ve got it figured out for me, but I think it would wonderful for the rest of the world to know the score.

I’m highlighting Daniel’s words even though he wasn’t asking a question. This man gets it. This is how to approach, appreciate, and consume alcohol. He’s drinking with complete lucidity, total awareness, and mindfulness. Alcohol isn’t “just” something you use to get loaded. It’s a sacred chemical that marks the transition from “doing” to “being.”

Many people blur the lines, drinking for the hell of it. Make it more of a special occasion, consume it mindfully and purposefully. Having a couple glasses of wine at night because I’m bored will ruin my sleep and throw off my tomorrow. Having those same two glasses of wine and some conversation with my wife or dear friends over cheese and olives has an entirely different physiological—not just psychological—effect. My liver actually processes the wine consumed with mindfulness differently.

That’s it for this week, everyone. Thanks for reading and be sure to chime in down below with your own comments, answers, or concerns.

Take care!


The post Dear Mark: Choline Supplementing, Too Many Almonds, Keto and Insulin Resistance, and How to Drink appeared first on Mark's Daily Apple.

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Hi friends! We are on our way home from a long short weekend in San Diego today. I’ll have a full recap post for you tomorrow, but in the meantime, enjoy this fun video Mazen and I made at the Mission Beach Yacht Club!

The post Coasting appeared first on Kath Eats Real Food.

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