Archive For The “Healthy Eating” Category

Carnivore Diet: My Surprising Results From a Week of Eating Only Animal Products

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Carnivore Diet: My Surprising Results From a Week of Eating Only Animal Products

No plants at all no veggies no fruit no grains and certainly no sugar that’s the carnivore diet crazy right I thought so too and then I decided to give it a try and I was absolutely blown away at how great I feel eating like this I honestly didn’t think I’d make it a…

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I'm a Millennial Who Moved Back Home—and I Don't See It As a Failure

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I'm a Millennial Who Moved Back Home—and I Don't See It As a Failure

Thirty used to seem so old. When we were in our early 20s, my friends and I used to fantasize about owning our own homes, having kids, being at the top of our chosen professions… we thought we’d have conquered life by 30.

But reality doesn’t work that way.

I’m now 32, and I feel like I have absolutely nothing figured out yet. I don’t own my own home. I’m not married. I don’t have kids—cats are enough for me, for the record. I’m not even close to where I want to be career-wise. And that’s OK. But it hasn’t been easy to internalize that.


I was 12 or 13 when the term “millennial” began to be tossed around in the media, and with it, a set of expectations, academic demands, and the promise of a much brighter future than the Baby Boomers’. We’d inherited the earth, they told us. They just forgot to mention that it had gotten kind of… barren.

I lost my job in early July of last year. August came and went, and I had to answer some big questions. After “Where is my next rent check going to come from?” the most important was “What do I even want in life?”

I tried to figure it out, but of course, that’s a big, loaded question—and unsurprisingly, I didn’t get struck by a revelation about my life’s purpose all at once. Instead, one night I realized that I needed a clean break—from the city, my roommates, maybe even myself. That’s when I made the choice to move back home.

My future was hazy, and I knew moving home could be the opportunity I needed to replenish myself, give myself time to breathe, and pick up the pieces. I’m from a small, almost-secluded West Virginia town, nestled away in the Appalachian ridge—but there’s so much culture embedded in this area’s history. From the professional theater to countless art galleries, a Carnegie Hall, a dance troupe, a classically styled movie theater, and a local arts paper, the world was my oyster. This fresh chapter could open up new things for me… if I let it.

Unsurprisingly, I didn’t get struck by a revalation about my life’s purpose all at once.

My mother absolutely loved that I was moving back. We’ve always had a pretty strained relationship, and it had taken her a number of years to come to understand my career choices and that I had moved away. When I was younger, I didn’t want to be tied down, suffocated—as I imagined it—by a small-town way of living. When I visited, my mom would just shake her head, give me a hug, and send me on my way.

But in retrospect, I was seeing my hometown and our relationship through the perspective I had at 18, and I’ve lived a whole life since then. I didn’t have to perceive it the same way. Thirty-two-year-old me said, “Jason, just breathe. It’ll be alright. Let this turmoil inspire you.”

Of course, easier said than done, right? Of course, I risked falling back into old patterns, old relationships, and old ways of thinking. When I moved back home with my mom, I was bombarded with the usual string of questions from well-meaning family friends and extended family members: Why aren’t you married yet? When are you going to settle down? Why don’t you get a real job? Are you really moving again?

This line of questioning can be crushing, especially when it feels like your life is already in shambles. At times, I began to think that maybe I should pack it in, feel bad about myself, abandon ambition. I usually give snide answers to mask the stress these questions cause me.

But there have been so many upsides to moving back home. I’ve learned that wherever you may be in life and whatever dreams you might possess, bottoming out can give you some much-needed perspective. I finally came to realize moving home at 32 isn’t failure. I have since regrouped, found more work in my field (phew!), moved into a new apartment, adopted two adorable kittens (number of cats in my life: three), and felt more alive than I have in some time.

Moving home isn’t the end. Instead, it can be an opportunity to do all of the following:

1. Catch your breath financially.

Rent can be downright outrageous. It’s hit a high that we haven’t seen since the 1980s. Prices have risen 18 percent over the past five years, with the median rental rate reaching $864 by early 2017.

By not having to pay rent, a tremendous weight has lifted off my shoulders—I’ve actually been able to stash away a bit of cash. When I do get back on my feet again, I’ll have a safety net, something I didn’t have before. In an age when student debt is mounting and millennials are being blamed for the downfall of the economy, taking a breather at home could mean you can save up a bit—while you rediscover your passions.

2. Reclaim your emotional and physical health.

Moving home can be a way to reset yourself and clean out the cobwebs. You can learn to see this moment as an opportunity for a new beginning. Personally, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety my entire life, along with the other 16.2 million Americans who had at least one depressive episode in 2016.

Once I acknowledged the need to tend to my mental health, things became clearer. I actually now have time to work out, pray, meditate. I have the time to do things that make me happy. You’d be surprised how much exercising—whether that be going for a run, walk, or simply doing a bit of yoga (this Greatist piece is a perfect place to start, FYI)—can revitalize your sense of self.

In college, while studying acting at West Virginia University, my voice and movement teachers instilled in me the importance of understanding our bodies, including how we breathe, where we carry our stress, and the tools necessary to reconnect to ourselves.

The world can be an incredibly stressful place, so taking extra time to show yourself love is imperative. What I like to do is pull up a favorite album on Spotify, lie completely flat on the floor, and explore my breath. Breathe in. Breathe out. Let the things beyond your control go. Imagine the toxicity leaving your body as a color, maybe a dark blue or purple. It’s a symbolic act and can be liberating. Clean your mind of all the junk. I do this at least once a day, and by assigning the bad energy to something tangible, almost real, my mental slate is wiped clean.

3. Rediscover who you are, what you really want—and discover your next steps.

I spent so much time last year worrying that I forgot who I really am. Being home, I’ve been able to take some time to refocus. If you’ve become the latest victim in a long string of layoffs, see if you can use the downtime as an opportunity to take a step back, reassess your goals, re-establish who you are—and who you want to be.

Over the past six or seven months, I’ve laid out some goals for myself. I looked at my work history and stripped it down to the basic skills I’ve developed and realized that I have far more to offer than I let myself believe. In terms of my next career steps, I’ve been looking far beyond my usual line of work, expanding into other interests, and giving myself the freedom to play. I definitely recommend seeking outside perspectives—someone else’s experience often helps you make sense of your own.

I have also spent ample time looking ahead to the next five, 10, 15 years. It can be daunting, but you can try to break what you want into parts (like starting a family, owning a home, relocating to another city) and set goals for yourself that will help you get closer to these—actionable steps you can take on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed in this process, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Oh, and breathe, get some fresh air, take a walk, do something new—you’re great as you are, and there’s no point in stressing about being stressed.

Jason Scott is a writer based in West Virginia. Itching for creative freedom, he founded his own music-discovery site called B-Sides & Badlands, which specializes in long-form writing and cultural criticism. If you enjoy kitty pics and being woke, follow him on Twitter.




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Muscle Building Diet Mistake (EAT BIG | GET BIG!)

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Muscle Building Diet Mistake (EAT BIG | GET BIG!)

JEFF: What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, Today we’re talking nutrition. Specifically for hard gainers, and more importantly the mistakes that hard gainers make. And who would I bring into this video? No, not Charlie. He’s doing good with food. We’re talking about Jessie, our resident hard gainer. Who, by the way – hi Jessie!…

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Banana Nice Cream Protein Bites {Gluten-free, dairy-free}

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Banana Nice Cream Protein Bites {Gluten-free, dairy-free}

These no-bake banana chocolate chip bites are a healthy sweet treat recipe you can make in one bowl in less than 10 minutes. They also have an added dose of protein! Try these out next time you want a healthy dessert option.

Hi friends! We’re livin’ the Disney cruise life – I’ll be sure to share some adventures + a recap soon! – but in the meantime, here’s a super quick and delicious recipe I threw together last week. I was looking to use up some groceries, and I saw a sad banana sitting in the fruit bowl.

Sad banana

I didn’t want him to go to waste, so I put some ingredients in a bowl,  poured the mix into muffin cups, froze,  said a prayer, and before we knew it, the girls and I were having some tasty banana nice cream chocolate chip bites. (I kind of hate calling it “nice cream” but it makes sense because it isn’t really ice cream, and there’s that whole SEO thing that I don’t really know anything about.) I ended up adding some collagen to the mix for a little protein, and I love the nutrition stats for these!

Banana nice cream protein bites 4

Just mix,

freeze for an hour or two,

These banana nice cream protein bites are a delicious and healthy no-bake dessert for summer!

drizzle with melted chocolate,

These banana nice cream protein bites are a delicious and healthy no-bake dessert for summer!

and eat!

So easy, and so, so good. P had one in each hand and was “mmmmm”-ing her way around the kitchen. 

Banana nice cream protein bites 5

I think you’re going to love these ones.

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to give it a try!

These banana nice cream protein bites are a delicious and healthy no-bake dessert for summer!


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Banana Nice Cream Protein Bites Gluten-free, dairy-free

These no-bake banana chocolate chip bites are a healthy sweet treat recipe you can make in one bowl in less than 10 minutes. They also have an added dose of protein! Try these out next time you want a healthy dessert option.

  • Author: Gina Harney // The Fitnessista
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes


125g banana

1/4 cup nut butter of choice (I used Nuttzo)

1/3 cup almond meal

Lots of cinnamon

2 scoops of collagen

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (plus more for drizzling)


In a large bowl, mash the banana.

Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Line 6 muffin tins and pout the mixture evenly into the muffin tins.

Place in the freezer to harder for about 2 hours.

Melt extra chocolate chips in a glass bowl, and drizzle over the bites. Serve immediately and store any leftovers (if you have them!) in the freezer for the next time you want a sweet bite.

Keywords: banana nice cream, healthy bites, no bake dessert, cold dessert options, banana nice cream bites, chocolate banana healthy dessert, gluten free dessert

These banana nice cream protein bites are a delicious and healthy no-bake dessert for summer!

Makes 6 bites. Nutrition stats per bite: 150 kcal // 11.2g fat // 14.3g carbs // 5.3g protein

What’s your favorite healthier sweet option?



More of my fave healthy desserts:

Pumpkin cheesecake

Crumble in a jar

Microwave chocolate mug cake

Double chocolate protein muffin

Chocolate avocado chia pudding

The post Banana Nice Cream Protein Bites Gluten-free, dairy-free appeared first on The Fitnessista.

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Transgender people are not mentally ill, the WHO decrees

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Transgender people are not mentally ill, the WHO decrees

The term the World Health Organization uses to describe transgender people — “gender incongruence” — is being moved to the panel’s sexual health chapter from its mental disorders chapter, the WHO’s legislative body has voted.

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A teen needed a stable home to make the kidney transplant list. So his teacher took him in

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A teen needed a stable home to make the kidney transplant list. So his teacher took him in

Damien, 13, didn’t believe it when he found out his new foster parent would be his math teacher, Finn Lanning.

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What You've Always Wanted to Know About Supplements

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What You've Always Wanted to Know About Supplements

Not a day goes by when I don’t see an article claiming some new supplement will change my life. Take this for better sleep! Try that for less anxiety! This is definitely missing from your morning routine. This little pill fixed that crazy-famous celebrity’s super-relatable problem. Trade in everything and try this single supplement superhero!

Is your head spinning yet? Mine is. And my pantry is overflowing with so many tinctures, powders, and cure-all pills that I could honestly open my own holistic pharmacy. From digestive aids to stress reducers to sleep inducers to who the heck knows what that is or what it’s for, there’s no shortage of supplements that can supposedly help with, well, everything.

While it’s important to get to know supplements and what they’re really good for (PSA: don’t believe everything you read), there’s another burning question that’s always on my mind: What’s the best way to take supplements in the first place?

Sure, popping pills is fast and convenient. And yes, mixing powders with smoothies certainly helps mask less than desirable flavors (cough cough, ashwagandha). But does the way I’m ingesting them really make a difference?

What Are Supplements?

For those who have yet to go buck wild adding every vitamin, mineral, adaptogen, protein powder, and magic elixir to your Amazon cart, supplements are products aimed at enhancing (also known as supplementing) your diet. From herbs to amino acids to enzymes to everything in-between, they come in various forms, like capsules, tablets, powders, and even energy bars.

Still not ringing a bell?

It’s likely someone recommended vitamin C or echinacea last time you had a cold, or suggested probiotics when you complained about your out-of-whack gut. Ever taken vitamin D when you were SAD? Or fish oil for that healthy heart? What about adding protein powder to your post-workout smoothie? Yep, all supplements.

Should I Be Taking Them?

In 2004, one in 10 adults reported taking herbal supplements. As of 2016, 71 percent of adults in the U.S.—more than 170 million!—reported taking dietary supplements. As people become increasingly interested in optimal health, curiosity about all-natural remedies, healing diets, and other holistic measures has piqued.

And while the best way to fuel your body is with a healthy diet, supplements can be a great way to give yourself a boost. (Read: Supplements should be complementary to a healthy lifestyle, not used as band-aids for not-so-healthy ones.) But the best way to figure out what you need isn’t surfing the internet.

“I recommend two things,” says Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., and founder of Ancient Nutrition and “One, be an advocate for your own health. Do your research on any concerns or conditions you may have so that you understand what may help most.”

OK, maybe surfing the internet isn’t such a bad idea. Just make sure any “facts” you find are actually that—and that they’re backed by science.

“Second, I recommend working with a like-minded medical practitioner,” he says. “Your chosen professional should be able to understand the effectiveness and interactions of any supplements you may be (or want to start) taking, and will be able to examine your medical history, symptoms, and any relevant tests to custom-design a supplement program for you, should they suggest you could benefit from it.”

That said, consultations and tests don’t come cheap. So if you’re looking to keep things simple, Dr. Axe says that he’s seen positive results when people take the following supplement staples. But as always, check with your doctor first before filling your shopping cart:

Where Do I Buy Them?

If you’ve ever wandered down the aisles of health foods stores in search of a supplement, you know how overwhelming it can be. Tinctures, tablets, powders, capsules… all with varying doses, sold by countless brands, with prices all over the board, and mixed into so many combos that you end up cross-eyed. I often leave with several bottles and jars and more confused (and broke) than ever.

And it’s not just me. Even health professionals find picking the right supplement tricky.

“This is one of the hardest things to tackle,” says Tara Coleman, a clinical nutritionist who started her career as a chemist in the biopharmaceutical industry. “Supplement companies are regulated as food rather than drugs so they don’t follow the same rigorous testing and verification that our pharmaceuticals do.”

Case in point: A review done by Vox in 2016 showed that more than 850 dietary supplements contained illegal and/or hidden ingredients. Gulp. These included banned drugs, pharmaceuticals like anti-depressants, and other chemicals that have never been tested on humans. Double gulp.

While I’m not convinced we should abandon supplements entirely, I am convinced that buying them from a reputable company is the best way to ensure supplement safety—and effectiveness.

“Products that are available at reputable retail locations (Whole Foods, for example) will often go through a rigorous compliance review,” Dr. Axe says. “Products with outside certifications (like USDA certified organic) would also go through more testing. I like to give Whole Foods as a baseline because its standards for manufactured supplements are even stricter than the FDA’s.”

As for online shopping… not so much.

“I would be concerned about products available only online (either through the company’s own website or a marketplace reseller, such as Amazon) or late-night infomercial products,” Dr. Axe adds. “These tend to have the most issues with quality, compliance, and adulteration.”

Another pro tip: Look for third-party verification, which is a stamp of approval from a company with expertise in quality assessment that is not associated with the manufacturer. Good ones to look for include United States Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, and Consumer Lab.

“Companies that choose to put themselves through additional testing to prove the quality or potency do so at their own expense,” Coleman says. “Typically this is a sign of integrity and transparency and speaks highly of the company.”

As for the way we take them, that’s a little simpler—and less scary. (Phew.)

The Best Way to Take Supplements

I love adding powders to smoothies and lattes, will occasionally (and begrudgingly) down a tincture, and have been known to swallow up to 10 pills at once (don’t worry, just herbal). My choices have mostly been based on flavor and convenience and less so because I thought the way I consumed them actually mattered.

Does it?

“As a rule of thumb, the order of bioavailability (meaning your body can actually use it) typically goes liquid or tincture, powder, and then capsules,” Coleman says.

But there doesn’t seem to be a huge—or scientifically proven—difference.

“Many sources claim that a liquid-based supplement is the most ideal for absorption, but that type of assumption has yet to be proven,” Dr. Axe says. “Typically, how you take a supplement depends on how much your body may need or be able to use. For example, a protein powder scoop would typically have to be divided into 30+ capsules for you to get the same amount in one serving.”

Protein powder capsules? Maybe not such a great way to give your body what it needs. But for something like ashwagandha, which is often consumed in small servings (typically no more than a teaspoon) and doesn’t have the best taste, capsules are just fine. And considering many supplements require prolonged use to see the benefits, bioavailability may not actually be so important—depending on your needs.

As with most health-related things, it’s also about you assessing your own lifestyle and needs. Not everyone can stomach the bitter taste of tinctures, and similarly, not everyone wants to (or can) swallow numerous pills. In fact, some may not even be able to stomach pills.

“The downside to capsules is that there is a small percentage of people that may not react well to the material that the capsule is made from,” Coleman says.

And while the material of supplement capsules—and our ability to digest them—is widely contested, it’s something to watch out for (says someone who actually showed signs of inflammation in their stomach, which their gastroenterologist guessed was from all those supplements).

So yes, there are a few things to consider, but really it comes down to—surprise, surprise—you. And once you’ve picked your poison (slash method of choice), here are few supplemental tips to keep in mind:

  • To help break up clumps—which is a common frustration when using powders—use a blender, milk frother, or shaker bottle (like a Blender Bottle). They’re easy, fast, and (almost) lump-free.
  • Mix tinctures with eight ounces of water or a splash of juice to help subdue the flavor. That said, if you’re a ‘rip off the band-aid’ kind of person, there’s no harm in going straight down the hatch, Coleman says.
  • If you’re worried about the material capsules are made from, sprinkle the contents into liquid and drink them instead. (Though Dr. Axe says that modern supplement capsules are more easily digestible and break down within seconds.)
  • With some supplements, what you take them with actually matters. Fat-soluble vitamins, for example, need fat present to be fully absorbed. Vitamin C also helps iron absorb, so they should be taken together. Calcium, on the other hand, can compete with iron, so calcium supplements should be taken a few hours after an iron-rich meal.
  • Additionally, some supplements can negatively interact with medication, making them less effective, and in some cases, even dangerous.
  • Have I mentioned that consulting a health professional is really helpful?

The Takeaway

Unfortunately, supplements simply aren’t that simple. To get the most out of them, you need to understand what they can actually do and how to best integrate them into your life. And because each supplement is different, as is each individual taking it, it’s best to get guidance from a health professional as opposed to trusting the internet.

But I know that’s easier said than done. So when it comes to supplements, make sure to buy the good stuff—from the brands that make it well—and make sure to thoroughly investigate before popping any pills or sipping any super drinks.




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When Meditation Can Actually Be Dangerous

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When Meditation Can Actually Be Dangerous

After my husband ended our marriage over the telephone, I signed up for a 10-day silent meditation retreat. I’d been told that practicing this type of meditation, called vipassana, would result in limitless love, compassion, and goodwill. I wanted those things so desperately, I was willing to lie to get in.

Ten days of meditating for nine hours a day without distraction is an objectively grueling journey. But I’d tried therapy, yoga, and sex already, and my heart was still broken. So I didn’t mention my past—and besides, I didn’t think my history applied.

Years before, I had abused alcohol and drugs, but by the time I signed up for the retreat, I hadn’t touched either in a decade. I had tried Paxil and therapy in the years since, but I hadn’t experienced anything like what I went through when I was using. Nonetheless, I vowed to be vigilant: If I stopped sleeping well or experienced racing thoughts, I’d leave. It never occurred to me that the practice itself might cause problems.


Vipassana meditation focuses on observing bodily sensations without commenting on them. The idea is that when we remove the inner monologue, we can see how our perception of reality, at its most basic level, is a crafted story. But the process of dissolving the personal narrative can be destabilizing and has been known to hurt people as well as help them.

Meditation has a history of problems.

Last year, researchers at Brown University released a study showing that meditators often report feelings of fear, anxiety, panic, and paranoia. This isn’t news to experienced meditation teachers, who will readily acknowledge that meditation students often experience bad effects, and say that they are to be expected.

Brown isn’t the first to publish research that delves into the potentially problematic nature of meditation. The Buddha Pill: Can Meditation Change You? cites an older study, which suggests that 63 percent of participants in meditation retreats have suffered at least one negative consequence, such as anxiety, confusion, and disorientation.

Of course, there are challenges associated with these kinds of studies, including the self-reported nature of the results, the relatively small number of studies themselves, and external factors, such as the fact that people drawn to contemplative practice are often already in crisis.

But the fact remains that for some, the consequences of intensive meditation can be dire. In June 2017, some 10 weeks after attending a 10-day silent meditation retreat, 25-year-old Megan Vogt killed herself by jumping from a bridge in Pennsylvania near her Maryland home. In the note she left behind, Vogt wrote, “I remember what I did at the retreat. I finally got that memory. I can’t live with me.”

While the kind of meditation-induced psychosis that Vogt experienced is rare, her story felt familiar. I also had managed to complete my 10-day retreat. And like Megan, the real trouble cropped up afterward as I experienced regular thoughts of suicide, from the more idle what-if-I-just-dropped-into-the-train-tracks to more plan-based thoughts, like where-would-I-find-pills-that-would-really-do-the-job type.

I didn’t tell anyone, believing that if I kept meditating, I’d eventually figure out what was wrong with me. Meanwhile, my practice kept me so morbidly fixated on my flaws that I kept finding more.

But there are some very enticing upsides too.

As the Brown study reveals, after fear and panic, “positive affect” is the next most commonly reported sensation meditators experience. And this was true for me too: After the retreat, I had more energy and often felt that I was better able to cope with stressful situations. But my life still wasn’t where I wanted it to be; I needed to do something different and remained convinced that I could figure out what was blocking my ability to live life to the fullest through this same form of meditation.

My pratice kept me so morbidly fixated on my flaws that I kept finding more.

So two years after my initial retreat, I went back for another, hoping that a second meditation retreat would simply amplify the positive outcomes I’d experienced. Instead, I just ended up flipping through the same reels of intel about the end of my marriage. Finally, by the end of my second session, I wrote, “I don’t hate myself enough to do this to myself.”

The world of meditation needs to be better prepared to handle mental health challenges.

Megan Vogt’s application for the meditation retreat included the fact that she suffered from anxiety and was on medication, and she even got a doctor’s approval to participate. But the organizers of her retreat were aware that Vogt’s condition was deteriorating and still didn’t send her home.

While devastating, this isn’t necessarily surprising news to those who have done retreats. The centers aren’t run by trained clinicians but by volunteers who rarely have medical backgrounds. And they’ve been known to make other horrific mistakes. For instance, Annie Gurton, HG.Dip.P., says she was once barred outright from leaving a vipassana retreat. She calls the organizers “dictatorial” and says that while she was mentally stable at the time, “someone frailer or who had serious mental issues might have found it repressive and abusive. If they were paranoid, it would have fed into those thoughts.”

Pain is part of the process.

Despite the prevailing narrative, the truth is that comfort is not the objective of meditation.

“It’s natural for meditation, especially mindfulness practice, to arouse anxiety in some people, and this can be a valuable part of a healing process,” says Tara Brach, a clinical psychologist and author of Radical Acceptance.

In other words, transformation can be messy. Unlike a trip to the hairdresser, where you take your seat and—with zero effort on your part—are made new, shedding one’s metaphorical skin is hard work, a kind of work that isn’t always appropriate for people who are handling mental health concerns—at least not the way it’s often presented.

“This doesn’t only happen to people who are doing intensive retreats,” says Willoughby Britton, one of the researchers from Brown. But she doesn’t blame the meditators, especially those with a history of trauma. “This is fueling a kind of discrimination that could prevent certain groups from having access to these practices. ‘They did it wrong’ is just another way of victim-blaming.”

We need to stop hyping meditation as a cure-all.

As the juggernaut of wellness rolls forward, the emphasis on the feel-good benefits of meditation has reached ludicrous proportions. Meditation has become so mainstream that Oprah and Deepak Chopra offer a 21-day class, and it’s touted as a cure for everything from sleep deprivation to heart disease. I’ve seen numerous classes advertising that you can “create the life you want through meditation.”

The most important thing to realize is that meditation-related anxiety is real and can have devastating consequences.

The idea that meditation can be consumed for your health like a bowl of steamed kale isn’t just objectionable, it’s damaging. In my experience, not only do different people need different styles of contemplative practice, individual needs vary and can change over time.

More forms of meditation should be offered as positive alternatives.

“Just like finding the right exercise for someone who is physically challenged, it’s possible to find a style of meditation practice that serves someone with symptoms of trauma,” Brach says.

For years, I’d labored under the assumption that if meditation wasn’t making me more successful in life, love, and work, then obviously there was something wrong with me. It was sheer luck that I stumbled onto alternative practices that softened my experience.

One method I’ve found useful: taking short moments, which is exactly what it sounds like—you just close your eyes for a moment or two to plug into your internal reality. I’ve found this to be not only freeing, but effective, and it’s similar to other types of meditation practice, including visualization (where you draw something in your mind’s eye) and chanting (where you repeat a phrase).

I began incorporating these techniques and more. These days, I’ve learned the value in changing up my practice rather than feeling miserable. If the main thing I feel when I sit down to meditate is anxiety, I’ll go in a different direction. I’ll focus on breathing exercises, I might take a mindful walk, or I might listen to a guided meditation (Tara Brach’s website offers several).

There is no style of meditation that’s guaranteed to resolve specific trauma, so if you’re experiencing difficulty, it’s important to find a teacher you trust to guide you—even if it means moving onto another form of practice.

The most important thing to realize is that meditation-related anxiety is real and can have devastating consequences. The challenges don’t mean there’s something wrong with you or that you need to “push through.” The concept that life is suffering is unrelated to self-induced misery—especially if you want to get to the joy that can come with regular practice.

Lisa L. Kirchner is the author of Hello American Lady Creature: What I Learned as a Woman in Qatar. She is currently at work on The Joyseeker: Chasing Salvation in India, the story of the decade she spent looking for answers to the wrong question. More at or on social @lisakirchner.




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Father’s Day 2019 Gift Guide

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Father’s Day 2019 Gift Guide

If you’re not sure what to get dad for Father’s Day, I’ve got you covered with tons of ideas. It can be a little tricky to shop for dads and husbands!

Hi friends! Hope you’re having a wonderful week. We had the fam over last night for burgers and cheese board, and it was the best thing ever having so many of the cousins running around playing. We’re still trying to get back into the swing of life after our trip – we’ve been sleeping in way too late every day – but it feels so good to be home.

I can’t believe that Father’s Day is just around the corner! It’s a week from this upcoming Sunday. I figured I’d share some ideas for the holiday because it can be a little tricky to shop for the guys. This way if you’re online shopping like yours truly, we have plenty of time for the gift(s) to arrive. 

Here are some ideas if you’re shopping for Father’s Day! 

2019 fathers day gift guide

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Father’s Day Gift Guide 2019


For the fit dad:

If he loves to golf, check out this lulu polo and these shorts.

New Bose Free Wireless headphones. We have these and LOVE them.

The perfect crosstraining tee.

New cross training sneaks.

A massage gift card at his favorite spot.

A foam roller.

Fancy ketchup

For the chef:

This BBQ sauce gift set.

Ultimate burger essentials.

These cedar grilling wraps are amazing.

“On the rocks” set.

A bluetooth speaker to listen to while he’s outside grilling.

An Instant Pot aka the best thing to happen to our kitchen since the Vitamix.

An air fryer for a healthier, yet still delicious, twist on traditional fried foods.

Wood wine caddy.

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For the sports fanatic:

A man crate.

Tickets to an event you know he’ll love.

Important golf socks.

Baseball bottle openers + stand.

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For the beer lover:

Pressurized growler for craft beer.

Craft beer tasting kit.

A beer cap map to showcase his faves from the US.

Bottle breacher

Clothes, gear, and random:

New travel bag.

Low-top sneakers. (The Pilot has these in grey and wears them all the time.)

New sunnies. Love these classic Ray-bans.

Nap robe. Everyone needs a nap robe, really.

A beautiful take on a family “tree.”

Counterman collection. The Pilot uses this collection and loves it. It’s very gentle on skin and smells amazing. I maybe steal the shaving cream and body wash every now and again.  

A classy jewelry stand for dudes.

A new watch. 

A bottle breacher. I feel like I recommend these on every guys’ gift guide, but they’re a really awesome unique gift.

A funny shirt just for the occasion.

Top dad


What do you usually do for Father’s Day? Any great gifts or surprises you’ve done for your husband or for your dad?



Note: this post isn’t sponsored, and companies are not permitted to sponsor spots on my gift guides. This post does include affiliate links. These links enable me to earn a small kickback that I use to keep this little blog running. Thank you for your support! <3

The post Father’s Day 2019 Gift Guide appeared first on The Fitnessista.

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North Carolina's the only state with a law that says once a sexual act begins, you can't withdraw consent

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North Carolina's the only state with a law that says once a sexual act begins, you can't withdraw consent

A bill languishing in the North Carolina state senate could clarify the state’s definition of sexual consent and close what some are calling a “legal loophole” for rape.

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