Fall catch up

Fall has hit me strong this year.

It’s been a pretty busy few weeks so I haven’t been able to keep up with posting. This week will be a brief recap of highlights as we round the corner into the middle of October. 

As September hit

We tried to get ourselves motivated to do a few of the local street fairs – but we ended up missing the Folsom Sreet Fair but did head out on that Friday before or some fun at the Prime dance.

But continue to manage to get a few urban hikes in and as a treat, we included an unplanned meal at Dottie’s True Blue Cafe at its newest location, one afternoon and managed to get seats with any wait! (note- Saturday afternoon around 1:30 – no line). We definitely enjoyed all the food from the grilled cornbread, sweet roll and crumb cake to the different eggs dishes. Even the coffee is good. This is not some flash in the pan cafe – they have held court in San Francisco as a local and tourist favorite for years. Word on up Dottie’s – the pastries as well as the entrees are large and go fast. If you do get in a line, let the folks know at the counter what pastry you want so they can set one aside as once they sell out – it’s out for the day. 

We did manage to check out some other local street fairs in September, including the Inner Sunset Street Fair which netted use some new food finds to try by local vendors including a new jam and a spicy garlic sesame spread.

Another fun find was these dolls

A pal of mine collects this genre of art representing the African in American arts and when I travel and find some interesting finds for him I call him up. This set of stuffed dolls match in style two smaller ones I got at an estate sale some months earlier. For now, they sit in the living room, although a few folks have referenced the movie Annabel saying the dolls seem to follow them.

I also continue to go through boxes from our move that never was opened as well as boxes sent back from CT. This little guy was an odd character that I remember seeing while growing up. My dad used to have him in different places so now he watches over us.

 

Bookclub, Sales & Food

Knocked out a bunch of new dishes this month including a baked ham with pan stewed apples,  For book club in October – I went with a new recipe for Scalloped Potatoes meet Potato Gratin.  I liked this modified version for its cheesy taste and less liquid than in regular scalloped version. 

Paul and I also managed to score big at the Timbuktu outlet sale with a few new bags. One we had been looking at online we got for less than 25% of the original price.! After the sale, we stopped by a corner Mexican place called San Jalesco we hadn’t tried before but had been around forever. We liked the food so much, we ended up back there a few weeks later to try it for dinner. Well worth the money and the folks working were a lot of fun.

I also found a new fun find at Costco. I rarely have purchased the prepared food at Costco, except for the roast chickens. But the stuffed peppers with ground meat and rice looked great and are a reasonable price. So I figured I would take a risk. My suggestion – do it. They are good, easy to heat up (just add some water to the bottom of the pan first) and are pretty well flavored so no need to “almost homemade” it.  Except maybe some more cheese on it, they require no work.

Had some fun with improvising a recipe for Monkey Bread. Which to be truthful, is really just an excuse to east chocolate, sugar, and cinnamon. But it works! Let’s face it – most foods that are this good – aren’t going to ever photograph that way.. so simply imagine how good it tastes. 🙂

Paul really likes Oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies – but they don’t really connect with me – so I decided to whip up a bar (pan) version. This adaption has all the same ingredients with the addition of chopped nuts. Making them thick, chewy and crispy – while rich, they tasted great. Perfect for a office party as they can be cut small but pack a punch of flavors. 

Palm Springs

We tool a quick trip to PS for a long weekend and managed to grab some perfect weather. Since it was last minute – we didn’t make many plans with anyone, but did grab dinner at Grand Central which recently opened ( and yes – go!) and got a peek at Arlan’s newest Daddy’s Barbershop.

Now, did you know – that in Palm Springs – they actually have a station on TV for dogs? Serious. DOGTV is a real thing an pretty much is hours of outdoor nature seems with natural sounds. 

More to come this week including our “On The Train to Reno” weekend

To be continued…

4 Reasons Your Diet Never Works

You may often hear your friends say they’re going to stick to their diet this time, but the reality is that people often fall off the wagon fairly early into their weight loss journeys. It’s not uncommon for people who have just started a diet to feel hungry between meals or feel like they’re not reaching their goals as soon as they had expected.

This often leads to people feeling like they want to give up or at least have a few more cheat meals than they should. If you know why people often don’t stick to diets, though, then you can find ways of circumventing the problems. Here are reasons why people don’t always stick to diets and the four ways to make your healthy lifestyle changes stick.

You Don’t Have the Right Supplements to Round Out Your Diet

Oftentimes, while diets mean cutting things out of your regular eating schedule, it results in people using products and foods that aren’t up to par with what they’re dietary needs have to be. According to Xyngular, you need products and meal plans that are realistic. When you’re not getting the right nutrients, working out and even simple daily activities can be more difficult. Your body needs nutrients to build muscle, get you through a workout, and combat stress.

When you don’t get enough nutrients, you’ll likely find yourself feeling lethargic or stressed out, which can lead you to eat unhealthy food in an attempt to make yourself feel better. If you want to feel in tip-top shape for the next time you hit the gym, make sure you’re feeding your body with the supplements you might not get enough of.

You Don’t Have Realistic Meal Plans

There are a couple of mistakes that people often make during meal planning when they go on a diet. One of the biggest mistakes is that they don’t make any sort of meal plan at all. Winging it can leave you vulnerable to making impulse decisions when you’re hungry at work or running errands. Another common mistake is not having enough in your meal plan to keep you full and satisfied. This can also lead to poor or emotional eating decisions. MommyPotamus suggests that you stick to a schedule that works for you, and have a shopping list always on hand with foods that are approved by you.

You Don’t Exercise

Exercise is part of a healthy diet. When you hit a plateau, a healthy exercise plan can help get you over it. Exercise also releases endorphins that make you feel good, making you less likely to look to the piece of chocolate cake for comfort when life gets stressful. You need to start committing to a routine, even if it starts small. According to Mayo Clinic, you should begin by assessing your fitness level and start from there on out. Try running a mile or two every weekend, consistently, and see how you can improve the plan when you reach a level of ease running a mile.

You Don’t Have Support

Having people around you who are supportive of your decision to make healthy changes to your lifestyle is key in actually making it work. Surround yourself with people who care about your health and provide encouragement (or even better, healthy recipes!).

Many people fall off the dieting wagon, but a lot of people succeed in making lifestyle changes. If you work at it and have a plan, you can be one of those success stories.

4 Ways to Travel that Make it Easy to Control Your Diet

While traveling abroad can be a rare and wonderful time, that freedom tends to play havoc with your waistline upon returning home. This article seeks to advise potential travelers on minimizing weight gain and how to stick to their diet while traveling abroad.

Consider Where You Stay

While you may want to stay at a bed and breakfast or a hotel, most of those venues leave you with relatively little to work with when it comes to cooking. Having a few options for food leads to eating unhealthily. Traveling can be tricky for healthy eaters. However, if you are staying in accommodations that offer kitchens, like houses, condos, or even beach houses, you can have more control over your diet by buying groceries and preparing some of your own meals. Even the most basic of inns should have some sort of miniature fridge for you to store your food.

Consider Dining Out at Higher-End Locales

Everyone with dietary or digestive issues knows the dread of hoping their waitress will treat the mention of a dietary issue seriously. The good news is that most high-end restaurants are more than likely than others to alter your meal to suit your needs.

Scout Out the Menus of Local Eateries

Research the local eateries and how far those locations are from where you will be staying. Depending on your stay’s length, you may wish to have a minimum of three to four options to choose from. If all the locations you have picked serve non-regional food of the same type, your taste buds may get burnt out on this new adventure.

Familiarize Yourself with Nutritional Vocabulary

While this advice is mostly of use to people traveling to other countries, it may also prove useful when dining at high-end restaurants that serve ethnic cuisines. In short, you want to know what words like “creamy,” “breaded” and “buttery” look like in the relevant language. These words are a good shorthand for foods that will be loaded with calories. Additionally, you may want to look up specific dishes just to know if you should even bother trying them because you have heard the name before.

The first step in planning a trip is research, so remember to consider your dietary needs in that research. Look for eateries that offer you tools to prepare something more than ramen noodles and coffee. Research local venues and consider frequenting the high priced ones more often. Learn red flag vocabulary for your dietary needs. With the proper research done, you can move on to packing and then set out on your trip.

 

I realized I never posted about my Bear TEDxPtown talk here!

It’s Out;

Just when my life could not get any more interesting; I get asked to do an actual licensed TEDx Talk.

Yes Really! 

Sharing who I was has never been an issue. I learned early on, to be the best I can be today, meant often owning who I was in the past. So, in this case, it played out on the TEDx platform. I was one of the lucky 10 people invited to participate in TedxProvincetown as it held it’s first TEDx Talk series this summer and the links have finally gone live.
26 years ago, I left the East Coast for an opportunity to work in San Francisco in progressive sexual adult content mediums addressing often ignored, overlooked, marginalized and underserved communities. Men like me didn’t fit the then “gay male archetype”; who often struggled to find to a sense of identity and inclusion with so few role-models to draw from.  We often hear and read much on body-shaming and the harmful effect that it has left on women. My talk shares my experiences as a gay man, with features and a body type that refused to fit the “Ken doll” model and how men (aka “Bears” ) like myself created a place for ourselves to thrive as sexual, loving and inclusive beings.

So what happens?

26 years later I find myself talking about those very same issues to a wider audience! It is an honor to share my experience as a gay man on body shaming, invisibility, resilience, and lessons learned from a “bigger” perspective.
But it was an honor to share my experience as a gay man on body shaming, invisibility, resilience, and lessons learned from a “bigger” perspective with an incredible group of people.

Now What?

Visit my talk on the TEDxProvincetown Youtube channel: https://youtu.be/8J-gaUgztjs  , share it with friends, your schools or workplace. Also check out the full speaker’s playlist for all 10 talks. For more details about the talk and how to share it with your friends; visit my Engage Blog post on MentorSF.com

Curious about TEDxProvincetown?

You can find out more on its website www.tedxprovincetown.com or read more about the other speakers https://tedxprovincetown.com/tedx-provincetown-talks-performances/.
The hashtags & social media accounts for TEDxProvincetown include:
#TEDxPtown, #TEDxProvincetown
Facebook: [@TEDxProvincetown
Twitter:  [@TEDxPtown Profile, hashtag: #TEDxProvincetown]
Instagram: [TEDxProvincetown– profile, hashtag #TEDxPtown]

Top Places To See When Traveling In Texas

Texas is one of the most popular and most exciting states in the nation. This place just so happens to be America’s second most populous state, and it hosts many of the nation’s most affluent cities such as Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Fort Worth. The Lone Star State consists of more than 260,000 square-miles, and it has some of the very best historical sites, national parks, amusement parks, train rides and science museums. Another great reason for coming to this destination is that there are a number of family-related activities that people can enjoy as a group. It’s time to pack your bags and take a trip to America’s last frontier.

Houston Museum of Natural Science

One of the absolute best things to see up close and personal is the Houston Museum of Natural Science. This extraordinary museum has been around since 1909 and over 2 million people visit this place every year. Science and education meets at this intersection as visitors will get a chance to view dinosaur exhibits, get a chance to see some of the rarest gemstones as well as see some of the best taxidermied animals. Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.

San Antonio Riverwalk

The San Antonio Riverwalk is by far one of the most interesting and relaxing destinations on the planet. Located in Texas’ second most populous city, this destination provides up to 2.5 miles of walkway along the San Antonio River. Did you know that the Riverwalk is the most visited attraction in the state of Texas? Yes, this is 100 percent true as this place offers artisan shows, festivals and parades. This long channel of water was first designed to provide flood control for the city, but as of today, it is lined with affluent restaurants, lodging facilities, museums and shopping outlets. TripAdvisor.com states that over 76 percent of people who visited this area gave it an excellent rating of 4.5.

The Fort Worth Zoo

Who aren’t amazed at wild animals? The next great attraction is basically the Forth Worth Zoo. There are over 542 species of birds, reptiles and animals here. Kids will get a thrill while viewing silverback gorillas, lions, tigers and other majestic animals. The prestigious USA Travel Guide ranks Forth Worth Zoo as the 5th best zoo in the US. This huge wildlife refuge hosts a splash park, a carousel, a train ride and a theater.

Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort

This particular waterpark is a fan-favorite as it allows you to beat the heat with downhill racing slides, a water coaster, a lazy river ride and pools. SW&R is located in New Braunfels, and it has a variety of attractions for kids and adults. Swim-up pools and cabanas roundoff some of the more popular venues here.

There you have it! The great state of Texas has many activities to participate in, and it has much to see. All in all, visiting Texas should definitely be on your bucket list.

Did you enjoy reading about travel to Texas? Maybe you might like some more articles on travel, like 5 Other Must-See Beach Vacation Destinations or 5 Local Things Not To Miss in San Francisco!

 

References:

MommyPoppins

Visit Fort Worth

Avis

Big, Hairy & Gay; My take on life as a Gay Bear

It’s Out!! Kinda like me!

Just when my life could not get any more interesting with today being my birthday; I figured it was time to share this on BiteTheRoad. So what’s a day in my world like? Well you get asked to do an actual licensed TEDx Talk on being me; big, hairy & gay. 

Yes Really! 

As most of you who read this know, I was one of the lucky 10 people invited to participate in TEDxProvincetown as it held it’s first TEDx Talk series this summer and the full set of speaker links have finally gone live.

And Here It is!

So Why Did I Do It?

26 years ago, I left my life, commuting between Boston and Provincetown for an opportunity to work in San Francisco. I was asked to take part working in progressive sexual adult content mediums addressing often ignored, overlooked, marginalized and underserved communities.
Men like me didn’t fit the gay male archetype; who often struggled to find to a sense of identity with so few role-models to draw from.  So what happens? 26 years later I find myself talking about those very same issues to a wider audience! This partners perfectly with the push in my efforts with MentorSFCA.com to support people in makeing the “best fit” choices for themselves and creating what they need when they don’t see it offered.
It is an honor to share my experience as a gay man on body shaming, invisibility, resilience, and lessons learned from a “bigger” perspective with an incredible group of people.

But I Need Your Help

I am proud to have been able to address body shaming, invisibility and love beyond limits as part of the TEDxProvincetown program to audiences that extended beyond just gay men, including people of all types, ages, genders and orientations.

I want to spread the word spread. I am asking for your help in getting this talk out. Helping me share the message to all audiences. This talk is one of the first licensed TEDx talks that actually addresses body shaming, sex, inclusion, and visibility from a bigger-bodied gay man’s experience. Because of this, it has the potential opportunity to reinforce that desire and love can blossom no matter the body type.  The more views the talk gets, the higher it ranks and the better the chances that it gets picked up for wider distribution. I’m asking that you include the link below in any announcement lists, email, newsletters or websites in an attempt to get the widest scope.

How Can You Help?
Simple. Share the video link to your friends. Share it on Facebook, Twitter,e tc. Anywhere you think people will see it. Don’t hold back to only LGBTQ audiences. This is a message for everyone.

Sharing is as easy as 1-2-3:

1. Copy and paste the link below
2. Add some your own thought or comment that you think your followers and friends would get intrigued by and want to watch it.
3. Add a few of the “hashtags” (Those words followeed by a #) to help it show up in searches.
** Don’t forget youtube also allows you to use embedded code as I did above if you prefer to have the video sit and play on your websites too.
The link to my talk on the TEDxProvincetown Youtube channel is as follows: https://youtu.be/8J-gaUgztjs
Feel free to tag me in any social media you choose to share using any of these hashtags:
#TEDxPtown
#BearTalk
#WhoDoYouSeeNow
#MentorSFCA

My social media accounts include:

Twitter: @FVStrona,
Instagram: @FVStrona

Then What?

Whatch the rest. All 10 of the talks were outstanding and different so you may enjoy checking out one of the other co-presenters by checking out the full speakers playlist for all 10 talks here

Curious about TEDxProvincetown?

You can find out more on its website www.tedxprovincetown.com or read more about the other speakers https://tedxprovincetown.com/tedx-provincetown-talks-performances/.
The hashtags & social media accounts for TEDxProvincetown include:
#TEDxPtown, #TEDxProvincetown
Facebook: [@TEDxProvincetown
Twitter:  [@TEDxPtown Profile, hashtag: #TEDxProvincetown]
Instagram: [TEDxProvincetown– profile, hashtag #TEDxPtown]

5 Secrets to Eating a Sustainable Diet

Today, healthy eating habits are more than just good for individual well being; it’s also contributing to the community at large. If you are looking to eat a more sustainable diet, here are five tips to steer you in the right direction.

Buy Locally

Start looking to buy locally grown foods. Farmer’s markets are usually great to find sustainable groceries. If you live in an area that does not have a close enough farmer’s market kiosk or location, find a grocery store near you who imports produce from nearby farms in your city. Some markets collaborate with grocery stores to sell their produce for easy access to fresh local goods.

Go Plant-Based

Vegan is now a rapidly growing diet of choice for people choosing to eat clean. But if you are not ready to make this transition entirely, no worries. Just start adding more fruits and vegetable to your meals. Eatingbetter.org suggests eating more fresh produce and decreasing your animal consumption. This will contribute to fewer health risks and reduce greenhouse gases pollution. Rather than making meat the main course, for example, perhaps serve it as a side dish occasionally.

Recognizing Sustainable Groceries

In addition to farmer’s markets, as stated above, there are other ways to locate sustainable groceries. Most notably, food co-ops are where a group of people in a community or organization come together as owners of a store, for the benefit of all members involved. They make a more conscious effort to favor sustainable, local and organic products. Sustainabletable.org reports that if you shop at larger chain markets, you can still find sustainable or organic products, but you still might have to ask.

Grow Your Own

You don’t necessarily need to have a large backyard designated for gardening. There are select herbs, fruits and vegetables you can begin seeding inside your home and grow outside on a small patch of earth, or on your balcony, come the right season. Growing your own produce is a gratifying and sustainable, cost-effective way to eat. If you really don’t have outdoor space, join a community garden.

Check the Label

Look for products carrying the Fair-Trade Certified label. This allows producers from poorer countries to get fair deals for their products. Fairtradecertified.org provides an excellent resource for contributing companies who support this global movement.

These are all easy ways to practice a more sustainable lifestyle. Clean eating and living will give you good health while making your planet better. Cheers!

References:

Mind Body Green | 9 Tips For Anyone Who Wants To Go Plant-Based

Kiwi Power Company | What it Means to Live a Sustainable Lifestyle, and How to Do It

Forbes | Green Efforts, Golden Opportunities: Two Grocers Explore Different Paths

How To Eat Healthy Anywhere

You have worked so hard on sticking to a strict eating plan such as the paleo diet. However, it can prove challenging when you need to leave your house, especially when it is time to go to work. At the office, it can be even more tempting when your co-workers bring in special food to share that may not be on your meal plan. Here are some helpful tips for managing these temptations while staying on track with your progress.

Pack Your Meals The Night Before

It is more than likely that you will not have enough time to pack your approved meal when getting ready for work. Therefore, make sure you have all of your meals, snacks, and drinks packed the night before so that you can grab it as you run out the door. You are more likely to stick with your eating plan if you have your food on hand to eat at lunchtime.

 

Have The Right Essentials

Back in April, we posted about some ways to eat better specifically when on the road and I mentioned that the right food containers make all the difference. My love of the Lock and Lock line always makes for some great handy food options. But other essentials make sense. A new favorite is the Yeti brand Rambler. This 18-ounce container is a perfect fit for most briefcases and bags, keep temperatures perfect and with the extra accessories, like the Rambler Chug Cap you can both the option of an open mouth container and the removable smaller cover. Great for beverages, soups, stews etc.

 

Politely Refuse

If someone passes you a slice of cake at an office birthday celebration, you can help pass it along onto another willing candidate. Make sure to practice an answer such as, “Thank you, but I’m all set,” ahead of time so that you are not caught off guard. There is no need to mention your eating plan at this time. You can also give an extra congratulations to the special person that is being celebrated. Sometimes it also means the “fake out”, grab a small plate fork, a napkin and put some food on it.. then as you work your way around the party, you can dispose of it. But in peoples eyes, you will have “had something” and allows you to maneuver out of those more pushy folks.

Stack Emergency Snacks

Portion out some small amounts of your favorite meal plan food that are shelf stable that you can keep at your desk or car. These can be eaten when you are stuck late at the office and get hungry. The last thing that you do not want to do is raid the vending machine out of convenience. Wherever you store these treats, whether in a drawer or in your car, make sure that they are in a sealed container. The last thing that you want to do is to attract ants, bugs, or mice to your workspace. I do this a lot, it may mean spending a few dollars more on some prepackaged snacks – but they keep longer that way.

Keep Motivating Pictures At Your Workspace

Have a tangible reward in mind when you reach your goal weight. If you plan on going somewhere special, you can print out a picture and stick it in a spot on your desk where you can see it frequently. You have worked this hard to stay committed, and this is one assignment that you can see through to the end.

Sources:

  • Bon Appetit | 100 Lunch Ideas on What to Pack for Work
  • Kyani | Eating Healthy While Working
  • Zen Habits | 17 Strategies to Stick to Your Diet and Get Fit

Office Picnic Saturday

Office Picnic Challange – because I love coming home to an “oh by the way”

Dino has it rough

Picnic panic defense! With us, both being on vacation for two weeks and then Paul had to work in Baltimore right after it’s been a busy catch up with on my end. Paul then reminded me that it as his annual office picnic on Saturday too. So I managed to get into the kitchen and make some of my favorites to being with.  Of course, Dino was hoping I would spend more time with him after his two weeks at Hightail Hotel, than my being in the kitchen while Paul was away – but he got plenty of snuggle time later.

First – the cookie!

Perfect for a picnic as it is for dinner is one of the favorites of his office is the variation to the Black Pepper Biscotti Ifrom Valerie Bertinelli. I have made this a bunch of times and its become a perfect goto not to mention is a great based to change it up from. In today’s version, I made one with chopped walnuts and almonds (because that’s what I have handy). I also used a bit of lemon extract in place of the peel that is mentioned in the previous post since I didn’t have any handy. But go easy on lemon extract, a little goes a long way. The second version is essentially the same but without nuts or almond extract. For this one, I amped up the vanilla, added some powdered ginger and a bit of homemade ginger syrup (see the recipe below). The third version was a Spicey Chocolate Biscotti with dried cherries. This was a made up recipe, so is in draft form but I liked the version enough to bring. I think next time it needs more cayenne (most likely 3/4 tablespoon in total).  Once it gets done I will repost the final version recipe.

Second – the fruit salad

This was an easy one Summer + Picnic+ Fruit Salad. I have been making this cool watermelon chili, but on a recent episode of Sara Moulton I saw this new version that uses Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Feta Cheese, and Procuitto. I have made it now for several potlucks and news this one would be perfect. She adds paprika which gives it this sweet smokey flavor for a different twist. Sara’s version of Two-Melon, Proscuitto and Feta Salad is really good as is. Try it first then change it up for your needs. At times I have swapped in smoked ham slices and or pepperoni in place of the prosciutto. I change up the nuts from time to time.

For this weekend version, I kept it pretty much the same but swapped out 2 tablespoons of olive oil with 2 tablespoons of a local Habanero infused olive oil. You will notice that this shot has a lot of extra marinades. That is on purpose. I like to much that I save it and use it as a salad dressing base or as we did on vacation when I made it. Just add more melons.

As an extra – cold marinated cucumbers and carrots

This is one from my childhood I revamped. its quick and easy to make – tastes better the longer you let it chill. But equally as good with a 30-minute marinade. Unlike the Pickled Carrots and Jalapeños I did before, these require no heating. Just chop, pour, season and chill. This one I eyeball for measurements – eventually, I will try to measure it out. Slice up some 2-3 English cucumbers on an angle, toss in come carrot slices (or buy them already fancy sliced), add 1/2 cup of white vinegar, juice of 1/2 lemon, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, add chopped parsley or cilantro, 1/2 cup of sugar and 7 or 8 ice cubes (1/2 of chilled iced water works too if you are short on time). Mix well and leave in the refrigerator 30 min to overnight. Taste to flavors. You want a tart, sweet, herbed crunch. Most fresh herbs work. As does add sliced raw peppers (hot or sweet), radishes, even celery.

 


Ginger Syrup 

Ingredients
  • Several large pieces of ginger, peeled and rinsed and sliced, approximately 4-6 inched or about a cup sliced.
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
Directions

In a saucepan – cook the ginger, water, and sugar first to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Remove from the heat to cool 5-10 min. Once cool, strain out the cooked ginger into a clear glass jar. add a few uncooked peeled pieces of ginger and refrigerate.

Note: If you want some extra zing, add cinnamon sticks or rosemary to the simmer and strain out.

9 Ways to Make Sure You’re Buying the Best Supplement on the Shelf

Supplement all that good food and excercise

As many fitness enthusiasts know, you can work out incredibly hard, eat healthily, and do everything right, but still see room for improvement. This is where supplements come in. Supplements are a way to overcome a body’s natural deficiencies in areas such as amino acids, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, or some other vital nutrient. For those of us who like to work out and stay in shape, supplements are a way to help us attain our performance goals and to achieve the look we want.

The problem, though, is there are so many supplements on the market, how does one go about finding the right supplement? The following is a short list of tips to help you navigate the complex world of supplements and help you find the right supplement for you.

Check Out The Company

It only seems natural to check out the company who is trying to sell you the supplements before you do anything else. Do they have a website? See if they share results of their research. There’s something a bit suspicious about a company asking you to put something in your body that isn’t willing to show you the research they’ve done to prove it is both safe and effective. Check out their reviews on third-party sites. Also, make sure if you are purchasing them from an online reseller that they are authentic.

Look For Certification

Check on the bottle to ensure that the product has been certified by a third party organization such as USP (United States Pharmacopeia) or NSF (National Sanitation Foundation). Certification will assure potency, purity, strength, and how well the product will dissolve in your body.

Check The Price

Sometimes the cheapest product isn’t always the best. Quality products, not to mention certification from one of the above organizations, costs money. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many manufacturers sometimes opt for lower quality ingredients, or even skip certification, in their attempt to save money.

Check Out the Ingredients

By reading the label, you can see exactly what ingredients are included in the product. The quality of raw materials is essential to the ability of the body to absorb and process them. If your body can’t absorb the supplement, then the supplement is doing you no good.

Check The Daily Values

First of all, it is essential to know that Daily Values are not the same as the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of a nutrient. The RDA is based upon your individual factors such as age or gender. The Daily Value will be listed as a percentage. You want to get a supplement that contains about 100% of the Daily Value, not a very large amount like 4000%. In some cases, a nutrient can actually be toxic at this dose and should be avoided. In this case, more of a good thing is, in fact, a bad thing.

Review the Other Ingredients

There shouldn’t be more than five ingredients in any given supplement. This is unnecessary and can hinder the absorption and processing of the supplement in your body. This is especially true of things like added sugars or artificial flavors and colors. Dyes should also be avoided. Likewise, look on the label to see if there are any allergens in the supplement. Many people are allergic to peanuts, wheat, or seafood. A supplement should mention what allergens it does not contain on the label.

Avoid Exaggerations

Supplements are not prescription medications. There is no such thing as a “pharmacy strength” supplement. Supplements that contain such claims on the label might actually be perfectly good supplements. They also might be charging a premium for a claim that, quite frankly, is not true.

Look At the Expiration Date

Vitamin and minerals lose potency over time. Taking expired supplements can often be completely ineffective and expensive. You should also store your supplements in a cool, dry place. The medicine cabinet and refrigerator are bad places to store supplements as they can develop moisture which will, in turn, decrease the effectiveness of the supplement.

Check With Your Doctor

Finally, always check with your doctor about any supplements you are taking or planning to take. We all have our own specific medical histories, and not all supplements are right for everyone. In addition, supplements which may be perfectly harmless on their own can sometimes interact with a medication to produce unpleasant, even dangerous, side effects.

If you are already a fitness buff, you are probably already in the habit of reading the labels on your food. If you are planning to start – or if you already take – a supplement, it is essential to apply the same principals. Read your labels. Know who is making the supplement, know that a third party is overseeing its production, and make sure the quality of raw materials is up to the standard you apply to the food you eat.

 

References:

5 Things to Look for in Buying Supplements | University Hospitals

The Top 4 Things to Look for When Buying Nutritional Supplements | Sanesco

8 Questions To Ask When Finding The Best Supplement Manufacturer | Biovation Labs

Vitamins and Supplements: What to Look For, What to Run From | Everyday Health