There’s always a new body image based trend targeted at women — encouraging body shaming and self-doubt about their bodies. Remember the controversial ‘thigh gap’ trend? The craze where the gap between a woman’s thighs, particularly at the top of the thighs, had to be large enough to be plainly visible when standing with both feet and knees together? Well, now we have ‘the Belly Button Challenge’ — the latest means of measuring a woman’s attractiveness, according to social media.
So what is ‘the Belly Button Challenge’? Essentially, the challenge involves reaching around your back with your arm and touching your belly button. Being able to do so ‘proves’ that you are thin and fit. In reality the challenge has nothing to do with being slender. James Hamblin, of the Atlantic,
says “It’s actually a test of shoulder flexibility, not fitness. The shoulder has the greatest range of motion of any joint in the body.”
Unfortunately, this logic has been ignored by most on social media. The trend, started in China, is now so popular that thousands are uploading photos of themselves trying the challenge, using #thebellybuttonchallenge. Even men are attempting the challenge now. We’re constantly inundated with images of the ‘ideal body’ from the media. Now we’re being challenged to participate in this body shaming farce of a fitness test? No thank you. Young women need to feel positive about their bodies — especially in the age of Photoshop and plastic surgery. They certainly don’t need to be faced with a wholly inaccurate ‘challenge’ that tells them how thin they are, or aren’t.
You’re all beautiful and you don’t need a ridiculous challenge to prove it. Be healthy, and most importantly BE YOU.
by Deedra Mason, Director of Clinical Education & Research
Diet? CHECK! Exercise? CHECK! Supplements? CHECK! Nervous system recovery? What is that? An important factor of weight loss that is frequently overlooked!
We often use only nutraceuticals to support our weight loss/metabolic goals, but fail to support our nervous system and its ‘moving parts’. Nervous system support, especially as it relates to recovery from exercise should be a part of any weight loss system. Commonly these support nutrients are referred to as nootropics. Nootropics are ingredients that support memory, focus and drive. These are essential to support motivation through weight-loss and lifestyle changes.
Considering that stress is a constant for most, if not all individuals, starting with stress support ingredients is your best bet. Vitamin C and Magnesium are both beneficial for stress recovery as well as nervous system recovery. They can easily be paired with botanicals, called nervines that are taken as a part of stress formulas. These are botanicals like Holy basil, Ashwaganda and Scutallaria. Amino acids like tyrosine, theanine and glycine can also be helpful in both stress and nervous system recovery.
Some of the most powerful and well-studied nootropics are available in many nutraceutical formulation, such as Wolfberry, also known as huprazine A. Wolfberry is well researched, and shown to maintain acetylcholine (a memory and mood related neurotransmitter) levels by limiting the enzymes that try to breakdown acetylcholine. Acetyl-L-Carnitine can assist in improved energy, both physically and mentally by opposing toxic fatty acids in the mitochondria (cells). Acetyl-L-Carnitine enhances acetylcholine levels while reducing oxidative stress on the brain when paired with A-lipoic acid (an antioxidant).
It’s important to remember, it takes multiple lines of defense to protect the body and brain. There is no one single trigger for disease or decline. Make sure your defense is as robust as the number of ways there are to get sick!
Blusztajn, J. (1998). Choline, a Vital Amine. Developmental Neuroscience
Lerer, B., Oppenheim, Y., Kelly, D., Gorfine, M., Kampf-Sherf, O., & Schreiber, S. (2000). An open trial of plant-source derived phosphatydilserine for treatment of age-related cognitive decline.
Raves, M., Harel, M., Pang, Y., Silman, I., Kozikowski, A., & Sussman, J. (1997). Structure of acetylcholinesterase complexed with the nootropic alkaloid, (-)-huperzine A
. Nature Structural Biology,4, 57 – 63
You may have noticed that it’s getting hot outside — because it’s officially summer! While the weather is lovely, the heat and humidity can make it difficult to go outside for long walk or a brisk jog.
So, what’s the solution? Adjust your schedule and exercise in the morning or in the evening, because the temperature is generally far cooler at these times. Don't let the heat beat you — beat the heat with our summer workout playlist!
1. Heartbeat Song – Kelly Clarkson
2. Sledgehammer – Fifth Harmony
3. Go All Night – Gorgon City, Jennifer Hudson
4. Masterpiece – Jessie J
5. Fight Song – Rachel Platten
6. Heroes (we could be) – Alesso
7. 7/11 – Beyonce
8. This Is How We Do – Katy Perry
9. Only Girl (In The World) – Rihanna
10. No Good For You – Meghan Trainor
By Crystal H. Shelton, Senior Scientific Researcher
Over the years our diets have transformed, and unfortunately our health has been negatively affected by this change. Our busy lives tend to push us in the direction of fast food drive-thrus and delivery, which are poor decisions for our health. If we want to be healthy, we need to eat more nutrient dense foods like kale and spinach. While cooking these foods isn’t always as fast as popping by a drive-thru; it’s up to us to make these foods quick and easy to make! Try this speedy kale and banana smoothie for a healthier, nutrient dense breakfast or lunch!
- 1 banana
- 2 cups chopped kale
- ½ cup light unsweetened soy milk
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
Place the banana, kale, soy milk, flax seeds and maple syrup into a blender. Cover, and puree until smooth. Serve over ice!
by Theresa Greenwell, International Science
Often we think about taking care of our brains and bodies separately. Many of us don’t even realize that by taking care of the brain we are also taking good care our bodies and vice versa. Dietary intake, aging and supplementation can affect the functioning of both the brain and body.
The brain cells, like all cells in the body, need energy to survive and work optimally. The body and brain get this energy from carbohydrates and fats. Vitamins and minerals are also needed, as they act as co-factors /co-enzymes in the reactions that allow our bodies to efficiently produce and use energy, as well as do many other physiological reactions. Proteins are necessary as they provide the amino acids from which neurotransmitters, enzymes and muscles are comprised. Neurotransmitters are important in regulating learning and memory, movement, mood, behavior, sleep, appetite, alertness and much more.
Aging can affect the brain and body in many ways. For the brain, the ability to make and retain memories declines, neurotransmitter production decreases and the structure of the brain changes. These changes affect a person’s way of life, their habits and their relationships with other people. For the body, aging can lessen the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, form and retain bone and regenerate tissue. These changes can cause an increase in weight and a loss in bone strength. They can also reduce a person’s ability to get around or be active. Keeping the brain and body active, eating a healthy diet and keeping a positive outlook can help to reduce some of the effects of aging.
Dietary supplements have been proven to be beneficial for keeping the brain and body healthy in various ways. Ashwagandha and rhodiola promote a decrease in stress, an increase in mental clarity and appear to inhibit feelings of fatigue. Caffeine appears to promote alertness, stimulate memory and brain activity, as well as increases glucose and lipid metabolism. Vitamins and minerals help to replenish or replace those missing in the diet, used in normal body processes or even depleted during heavy workouts or times of illness.
We only have one brain and body. Look after yourself, you’re worth it.