Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Friday 5 [Father’s Day Edition]

Hey and happy Friday to you! HOW is it the last day of May!? It was the fastest month ever, right? And I have a feeling this summer is going to fly by as well! I’m excited for June though (hello, birthday month!) and all the fun things that we have planned. Woohoo!

This week’s edition of The Friday 5 is focused all on things Father’s Day, which is just in a couple of weeks – Sunday, June 16. I’ve got a handful of ideas for Father’s Day gifts for the guys in your life. I hope they help with shopping for gifts this year!

1. Under Armour Golf Showdown Shorts – I’m taking up golf this summer and hope to play a lot with Mal. He has a ton of golf shorts, but needed to up his game in the shorts department.

2. Eight Dates – John M. Grottman is a marriage and relationship expert, and I first heard him on the Armchair Expert podcast.  I loved hearing his take on marriage and relationships, so I bought his book Eight Dates for Mal for his birthday. Now, we’re planning to go on the eight dates mentioned in the book this summer. The book guides you and your partner on eight fun, and easy dates, each one focused on a make-or-break issue: trust, conflict, sex, money, family, adventure, spirituality, and dreams. Should be interesting, right? FYI: Buy two books so each partner has a copy to read and participate in the quizzes, questions, etc. in the book. If you guys are interested, I’ll share more about our experience! 🙂

3. Beautycounter Counterman Collection – Are the men in your life using safe products? Yes? No? Maybe? Here’s why you should care: According to a survey conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), men use, on average, 6 products daily, containing a total of about 85 unique ingredients. Of the 85 unique ingredients, many of them are known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) since they interfere with hormonal balance, including fertility. These EDCs can also play a part in obesity and coronary heart disease. Long story short, it’s time to clean up the products in the lives of the men you love so much, and Beautycounter‘s Counterman is a line of safer skincare designed specifically for men.

Mal uses a number of products from the line and absolutely loves them, especially the Counterman Clarifying Toner Pads. I’m pretty sure he uses them everyday! I actually like them too, especially when I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to wash my face in the morning! 😉

Here some of Mal’s other favorites:

The Counterman Collection, especially the Shave Regimen and Beard Regimen, make an awesome gift for the special guy in you life! 🙂

4. Father’s Day Wine Gift Set – For the dad who has everything! This $100 gift set includes: ( 1) bottle of 2017 Gallivant Chardonnay, (1) bottle of 2017 Hushkeeper Red Wine, and 1 Scout & Cellar Polo Shirt, packaged in a branded gift box. Father’s Day will be here before we know it! To ensure your Father’s Day orders are delivered before Sunday, June 16, please be mindful of the following order cutoffs: Tuesday, June 4 (Ground) and Tuesday, June 11 (Express).

5. New York Times Custom Birthday Book I shared this birthday book in a previous blog post, but, seriously, how cool is this gift? It would make an amazing gift for Father’s Day – for a dad, grandfather, or any other history fan in your life. The customized book, preserved in library binding and personalized with name and date of birth, is a collection of the New York Times front pages from each year since the recipient’s birth. It takes a fascinating snapshot of history seen through the lens of their special day. I actually bought one for my mom for Mother’s Day. Here’s a video that I share previously if you want to see what the book is all about.

New York Times Custom Birthday Book

Enjoy your weekend, friends!

Sales of the Week (for the guys!)

Question of the Day

What are you gifting for Father’s Day?

 

This post contains some affiliate links, which means I will earn a small commission from the company if you decide to purchase the product linked to. This compensation helps with expenses to keep CNC up and running. Thank you for your support!

P.S. If you need a little motivation and perhaps a kick in the butt with your diet, the 19-day macro tracking challenge starts TOMORROW! I hope you decide to join us!! 🙂

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4 Mushrooms You Need To Know

When you stop to think about it, mushrooms are remarkable.

They’re closer to animals than plants on the tree of life.

They can break down plastic and petroleum.

The single largest organism on the planet is an underground honey fungus spanning almost 3 miles in the the state of Oregon.

They carry messages along their underground fungal networks using neurotransmitters that are very similar to the ones our brains use.

They’re a kind of “forest internet” which plants and trees use to communicate with each other.

They’re delicious.

And, as it turns out, they possess and confer some very impressive health and therapeutic effects. Several years ago, I highlighted the culinary varieties and explored their considerable health benefits. Go read that, then come back here because I’m going to talk about the different types of adaptogenic mushrooms today. These are the real heavy hitters, the ones that appear to supercharge immune systems, stimulate neuronal growth, improve memory and focus, pacify the anxious mind, increase the libido, and enhance sleep quality.

Let’s go through the most important adaptogenic mushrooms and the evidence for each. I’ll primarily stick to human studies, but may relay some animal studies if they seem relevant.

Reishi

Reishi has been used in traditional Asian medicine for hundreds of years to treat diseases of the immune system. (Reishi is its Japanese name; in China, it’s called lingzhi and in Korea, it’s yeongji.) Other folk uses include all the regular stuff you expect—aches, pains, allergies, “qi”—but the majority of modern clinical evidence focuses on immunity, cancer, and inflammation.

But the interesting thing to remember is that inflammation figures into pretty much every modern ailment. Even conditions like depression and anxiety are often characterized by a surplus of systemic inflammation. If reishi can soothe the inflammation, it could very well help with all the other seemingly unrelated conditions, too.

Reishi is also said to be very good for sleep, though I wasn’t able to find a supporting human study.

Exercise caution if you have an autoimmune disease, as using reishi to”activate” the immune system that’s attacking you may—theoretically—increase the attack’s severity.

Reishi may also lower libido in high doses, as it inhibits the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone—albeit in rats. More rat research suggests that low doses of reishi could increase libido.

No human studies indicate this, but a rodent study found that giving reishi reduced time to exhaustion in a forced weighted swimming challenge (throw a rat in the water with a weight attached). They got tired faster.

Cordyceps

Cordyceps is another mushroom used in traditional Chinese medicine to promote vitality and energy. For the men, that’s code for “better erections.” What does the evidence say?

It is broadly anti-inflammatory.

It’s an effective immuno-adaptogen: it boosts immunity when immune function is too low and dampens it when it’s over-activated. Autoimmune thyroiditis patients who took cordyceps saw dual-direction immunomodulation—too low got higher, too high got lower.

It boosts endurance exercise capacity in older adults (but not endurance capacity in young athletes).

As for the “energy and vitality” claims, that appears to be true in mammals. We have evidence that rats, pigs, mice, and even yaks, goats, and sheep get boosts to testosterone status and sexual function when taking cordyceps, and that it improves brain function and cognition in small mammals, but nothing solid in humans. Still, the fact that it helps other mammals probably indicates utility for us.

Chaga

Chaga is a mushroom with a long history of use in Northern Eurasia (Russia, Siberia) as well as a considerable body of animal evidence and isolated human cell evidence in support, but no real studies using actual live humans. That’s unfortunate, because chaga appears to be the real deal:

I hope we get some strong human studies in the near future. In the meantime, you can always run your own!

Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane is a mushroom that looks like a pom-pom. Or a brain, which is fitting. Lion’s Mane’s main claim to fame is its purported ability to increase neurogenesis, reduce cognitive decline, and even regrow damaged nerves.

Studies in fact show that Lion’s Mane can:

The majority of Lion’s Mane customers aren’t interested in reducing decline. They want a boost. They want increased focus, improved cognition, more and better neurons. Judging from the reversal of cognitive decline in the elderly and the flood of online anecdotes about improved focus and cognition, I  suspect that there’s something there.

That said, another common side effect I’ve heard about from many of the same people lauding its cognitive effects is reduced libido. So keep an eye out for that one.

You know how I do things here. I can’t in good faith make definitive claims based on mouse studies that show this or that mushroom improving memory, blasting tumor cells, and increasing sexual virility. Still, I also can’t discount the hundreds (and in some cases, thousands) of years of traditional use of these mushrooms for many of the conditions, nor can I ignore (or write off as “placebo”) the thousands of experimenters out there online deriving major benefits from some of these mushrooms.

The only option, of course, is to try it for yourself, which I may do in the near future (and will write about my findings).

How to Choose a Mushroom Supplement

When you’re buying an adaptogenic mushroom extract, look for products that come from fruiting bodies (actual mushrooms) rather than mycelium (the “roots” of the mushrooms). Fruiting bodies tend to have more of the active constituents than mycelium. Fruiting body extracts will also be more expensive—mushrooms take longer to grow than mycelium—but the added potency makes up for it.

Look for products that list the beta-glucan content, not the polysaccharide content. Beta-glucans are the uniquely active constituents. All beta-glucans are polysaccharides, but not all polysaccharides are beta-glucans.

From the beginning, I’ve loved seeing what Four Sigmatic has done. Our team did a recipe with theirs this week. Check them out, and stay tuned for more on adaptogenic mushrooms here.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your experiences with adaptogenic mushrooms. Have you tried them? How have they been useful for you (or not)? Thanks for stopping in, everybody.

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References:

Zhao H, Zhang Q, Zhao L, Huang X, Wang J, Kang X. Spore Powder of Ganoderma lucidum Improves Cancer-Related Fatigue in Breast Cancer Patients Undergoing Endocrine Therapy: A Pilot Clinical Trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:809614.

Futrakul N, Panichakul T, Butthep P, et al. Ganoderma lucidum suppresses endothelial cell cytotoxicity and proteinuria in persistent proteinuric focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) nephrosis. Clin Hemorheol Microcirc. 2004;31(4):267-72.

Smiderle FR, Baggio CH, Borato DG, et al. Anti-inflammatory properties of the medicinal mushroom Cordyceps militaris might be related to its linear (1?3)-?-D-glucan. PLoS ONE. 2014;9(10):e110266.

Lin WH, Tsai MT, Chen YS, et al. Improvement of sperm production in subfertile boars by Cordyceps militaris supplement. Am J Chin Med. 2007;35(4):631-41.

Parcell AC, Smith JM, Schulthies SS, Myrer JW, Fellingham G. Cordyceps Sinensis (CordyMax Cs-4) supplementation does not improve endurance exercise performance. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2004;14(2):236-42.

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Vanilla Cookie Smoothie

A Simple Smoothie That Tastes Like A Vanilla Sugar Cookie

Smoothies come in a million styles now with greens, toppings, bowls, seaweed, hot pink, neon green, frozen, oat-based, and more. 99% of the time I love all the variety and fun that comes with a good smoothie bowl. (Like this one!!)

But occasionally, I crave a simple smoothie, especially if I just want a snack instead of a whole meal. This Snickerdoodle Smoothie started the trend of putting Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter in my blender and the combo of the vanilla almond butter + vanilla protein brings out a cookie flavor. My favorite plant-based vanilla protein right now is Arbonne’s that I ordered from my friend Brett. It tastes like vanilla cake! I am a vanilla girl through and through.

Call it cookie or maybe even melted ice cream. If you like vanilla, you will love this!

Vanilla Cookie Smoothie

The combo of almond butter and vanilla protein make this smoothie taste like a vanilla cookie.

  • 1/2 banana (frozen)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla almond butter
  • 1 cup milk of your choice
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein ((Optional but good!))
  1. Blend away!

Purple Smoothie Bowl

When I want a smoothie meal, I break out all the stops. Milk, berries, banana, oats, spinach, protein, and a sprinkle of seeds on top! Eat it with a smoothie so your brain thinks “satisfying meal.”

Little Brother, Big Brother Photos Of The Day

 

Look at little brother tolerating underpants on his head :mrgreen: He doesn’t know it’s not a real hat!

Big brother created some lovely paintings of the front of our house! Grammie brought him some little canvases to paint on.

Look at him pondering his angle.

What’s your favorite smoothie style?

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Healthy Chocolate Chip Muffins Recipe

This healthy chocolate chip muffins recipe makes a delicious, whole grain treat after dinner or on the go!

There’s just something about healthy chocolate chip muffins. I bite into their soft, spongy… Read more →



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