BEARDOLOGY by Beaute Dior: A Personalized Beard Experience and Grooming for Black Men

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It comes as no surprise that beards are the trend and pretty much used in marketing campaigns all over (hey Shea Moisture) because lets be honest, we absolutely love beards right! But as much as we adore them, who's responsible for the proper TLC that allows black men and their beards to flourish for our oogling consumption? Just a few years ago men were just out here growing beards and having their barbers tend to them; and if you ask most men, setting an appointment for a "beard treatment" isn't the first, second or third thing people think of in regards to the upkeep of beards. However, there are some amazing estheticians and lady barbers who are passionate, equipped with training and who also have continuously educated themselves on hair and skin, particularly catering to black men. 

We set our focus on the services of Dominique aka Beaute Dior. She's created a service package focused on the care and maintenance of beards, and has dubbed herself and earned the name of a "Beardologist". She provides luxury maintenance and growth enhancing beard treatments and  facials for men in the Indianapolis area.

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We asked Dominique why she decided to focus on beards, and she had this to say: I realized that there really weren't any customized services of sorts catering to that particular need for men. Men were relying on a barber to help maintain and sometimes grow a beard when the actuality of it was that beard growth really started with the health of the skin."

She knew there were men who would not only benefit from the very customized experience but she also new she could assist in a ways that promoted overall skin health.

We caught up with her to get some tips for for those guys who are currently participating in #NoShaveNovember, and those of you who are in need of a little go to for the winter months. 


1.  MOISTURIZE 

It's better to moisturize your beards with a beard butter daily than it is an oil. Although there are many benefits to a daily beard oil, for optimal moisturizing, a beard butter tends to be lighter and seeps down into the pores without clogging them. Make sure you work the butter deep into the skin underneath your beard for optimal benefits.

2.  USE A BEARD WASH

Washing your beards with shampoo may get it clean, but could also be doing damage at the same time. Often these products aren't formulated with the key ingredients needed for a healthy beard. Dominique recommends using an all natural beard wash on your beard will do your beard due justice in not only cleaning but aiding in maintaining its moisture too. 

Beardology Tip:  Only wash your beard 2 to 3 times per week. Over washing is a thing and it can cause your hair to dry out more, defeating the purpose.

3.  COMB THAT BEARD

Some may say this is a personal preference but for the sake of logic, combing is far less harsh on the beard than brushing. Brushing especially with the wrong kind of bristle brush can pop or pull out hairs causing potential ingrown hair. Combing is a less harsh approach and allows you to start from the root, stimulating the follicles to enhance growth. Dominique recommends a wooden beard comb over plastic or metal options.

4.  EXFOLIATE

Dominique recommends that men exfoliate once a week. Exfoliating assists in the sloughing off dead skin cells, especially underneath and around the area of your beard. The build up of dead skin cells can lead to oily clogged pores. Exfoliating also promotes healthy skin as well as hair growth. If you don't know how to exfoliate, that is definitely a reason to book a beard treatment asaptual.

5.  DO NOT SHAVE

That's like a no brainer during November right, but if you must take to it, clip and trim preferably with shears. Tell your barber stay away, line ONLY and do not touch it. 

If you are in the Indianapolis area, you can experience this customized service during the month of November with 50% off gentlemen by booking by clicking here. Take advantage and treat that beard the way it needs deserves!

Wellness Wednesday: Physical Fitness And Your Libido

The goal of exercise is to obtain a healthier lifestyle. Exercise is a powerful tool in the development of muscular strength, cardiovascular fitness, mind-body coordination and stress relief. Exercise also has been proven to increase sex drive for men.

Working out three to four times a week can do a lot to help your sexual technique, flexibility, and endurance. Here are a few exercises that are guaranteed to improve your libido...

1. Weight Lifting:

Weight lifting causes the body to produce testosterone, which is the primary precursor for the male sex drive. To improve your sex life, do some push-ups, sit-ups, and crunches. These muscle-building exercises can help lead to better sex by strengthening the shoulders, chest, and abs. Strong upper body strength can increase stamina since these muscles are used during intercourse.

2. Kegels: 

Doing Kegels is considered a good sex exercise for men because these exercises can help endurance and control by toning the pubococcygeus (PC) muscles — the ones that let you stop the flow of urine mid-stream. Kegels strengthens the muscles in your body’s pelvic floor, which can lead to better sex. Men can use Kegels to delay ejaculation by contracting these muscles just before orgasm.

3. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training):

© Black Men With Beards 2017 // Quinn Gordon

© Black Men With Beards 2017 // Quinn Gordon

Doing interval training will increase your stamina and endurance. And you can do intervals just about anywhere -- outside on a track, at the park or on a bike, elliptical, stair climber or treadmill. HOW TO DO IT: After your warm-up, start your intervals at full speed, going as hard and fast as you can, and push yourself for at least 30 seconds. Then back off for a minute or two. Repeat this several times. Add these to your workout a couple of times a week and soon you’ll be ready to go longer or be ready whenever your partner wants to go again.

4. Yoga:

Yoga will help your flexibility, which can result in better sex. Some experts say it can also improve your stamina in the sack by drawing your energy in and up. Yoga poses that improve pelvic muscles are recommended, such as the Bow Pose, Peacock Pose (also called the Forearm or Elbow Balance), and Shoulder Stand.


Having a healthy diet can naturally increase your libido, boost your reproductive health and spark your sexual appetite. Improve your overall performance by adding these foods to the menu...

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1. Watermelon:

This fruit is rich in L-citrulline, an amino acid that helps improve blood flow to the sexual organs. L-citrulline optimizes blood flow in the body by first converting to L-arginine and then to nitric oxide, which is involved in dilation of the blood vessels. Low levels of nitric oxide are associated with mental and physical fatigue and sexual dysfunction.

2. Blueberries:

Blueberries are high in antioxidants and have the capacity to relax the blood vessels, thereby allowing improved circulation. This, in turn, means better blood flow to the sex organ and stronger erections. Blueberries also rule when it comes to the boosting the dopamine levels, as they give the body a greater ability to release this hormone.

3. Asparagus:

Asparagus has been considered a successful aphrodisiac. This vegetable is rich in potassium and folic acid, a B vitamin that helps increase the production of histamine, which is important for a healthy sex drive.

4. Avocados:

Avocados are rich in vitamin B6 and folic acid, which help increase overall energy. B6 also helps regulate prolactin, a libido enhancer. Avocados are also rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, which helps to increase testosterone production.

Having a heightened libido can be extremely healthy, physically and mentally. There are so many benefits such as improved mood, better sexual performance, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and even burning calories. A low or malfunctioning libido can contribute to severe health conditions, so make sure you maintain a healthy libido, so you can lead a happier, more satisfying life. 


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A serial entrepreneur and former financial advisor, Jean Titus discovered his purpose and passion through the heartache of losing loved ones far too early. He lives his mantra – “We rise by lifting others” – daily as a life coach and Personal Trainer. Jean brings a simplicity and practicality to his work, helping clients draw on their strengths to realize the one thing money can’t buy – good health and wellness. Follow him on Instagram and his fitness journey!

Why Stretching Is Important For Men

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Good flexibility promotes healthy muscles and joints. Improving and maintaining a good range of motion in your joints can enhance your quality of life. Improving the elasticity of muscles and connective tissue around joints allows greater freedom of movement and enhances your ability to participate in many types of sports and perform activities with greater ease. Optimal flexibility also makes activities of daily living such as bending, turning, and lifting easier to perform. Participating in a regular stretching program increases circulation to the muscles being stretched, helps decrease low back problems, improves postural alignment, promotes graceful body movement, can improve self image, and helps to maintain proper motor skills throughout life.

Improving your bending ability is crucial for more than just preventing injury. In fact, flexibility training is an important aspect of gaining strength and size. The typical lifter spends most of their day outside of the gym hunched forward over a computer further deteriorating any chance at proper posture. Outside of just preventing injury, having better posture helps to show off the muscular physique you worked so hard to build. Proper flexibility also goes hand in hand with full range of motion exercises like squats and deadlifts, which are major muscle builders. Having tight hips and shoulders can inhibit proper form and limit your fitness.

So, what are some different ways to stay flexible? The best way to maintain flexibility is to stretch regularly. Whatever your age, you must incorporate stretching at least once a day. Even if it is not part of an exercise regimen, there are several simple stretching exercises that you can do at your desk or even in front of the TV. If time is short, focus on stretches that work the larger muscle groups such as shoulders, hamstrings, hips and lower back, and calf muscles. It is these areas that are prone to stiffness and soreness, as we grow older. But remember to always be careful to not overdo it. 

There are several ways to improve your flexibility. Stretching and exercise help considerably but you also need to keep an eye on your diet and nutrition. Eating junk food and snacking on fatty and sugary snacks can make matters worse. You can promote fitness by combining a balanced diet (full of fresh fruits and vegetables) along with nutritional supplements that support joint health and improve your mobility. Incorporating things like ginger and turmeric in your diet and supplementing with fish oil can go a long way in improving your joint health.

Although there are physiological changes that occur, as we grow older, regularly stretching and performing range of motion exercises can improve flexibility at any age, helping to increase longevity and enhance overall quality of life.


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Meet Jean Titus

A serial entrepreneur and former financial advisor, Jean Titus discovered his purpose and passion through the heartache of losing loved ones far too early. He lives his mantra – “We rise by lifting others” – daily as a life coach and Personal Trainer. Jean brings a simplicity and practicality to his work, helping clients draw on their strengths to realize the one thing money can’t buy – good health and wellness. Follow him on Instagram and his fitness journey!

 

Wellness Wednesday: The Reasons You Aren’t Losing Weight

Everyone has their own personal goals for their health and body composition, and sometimes those include weight loss. But there's a lot of misinformation out there, so we are going to discuss some common pitfalls, stumbling blocks and misconceptions around weight and fat loss and how to be successful in keeping it off.

 

1. You Don’t Drink Enough Water:

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Besides keeping you hydrated, drinking water on the regular, according to recent studies, can aid with weight loss. Filling up on water before a meal helps encourage portion control, and eating foods that contain a lot of water (like fruits and veggies) will fill you up faster, causing you to eat less. A small study even found that drinking cool water could speed up metabolism and discourage cravings for sugary drinks like soda and juice.

 

2. You Don’t Eat Enough:  

Don't starve yourself to save calories for later. It'll not only mess up your metabolism, and by dinnertime, that famished feeling will likely cause you to eat more than you would if you weren't starving. Not only is starving yourself not sustainable for continued weight loss, but also, limiting yourself to too-small portions can lead to excess snacking between mealtimes.

 

3. You’re Not Eating Enough Protein:

Whether you prefer lean meats, fish or legumes, make sure you are eating enough protein, especially when you are lowering your overall caloric intake. To ensure your weight loss is reflecting a drop in fat and not muscle, it’s important to have adequate protein in your diet. People with diets were protein comprised, 15-25 percent of their daily calories stored as much as 45 percent of excess calories as muscle, while those who ate only 5 percent of their calories from protein, stored 95 percent of access calories as fat. Start your day off right with a healthy serving of protein, instead of a sugary or carb-filled meal.

 

4. Eating Too Many Processed Foods:

Stay away from refined foods! That means white bread, crackers, chips, plus all those sneaky refined sugars in packaged foods. All of these unhealthy items increase inflammation in the body. Belly fat is associated with inflammation, so eating too many processed foods will hinder your ability to lose belly fat." Instead, stick to whole, clean foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

 

5. Too Much Cardio Not Enough Weight Training:

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Cardio is generally considered the fastest way to burn calories for most. However, there is a point of diminishing returns for most. Spending hours and hours of cardio can be tedious and cause unfavorable metabolic adaptations. Weight training can solve your excess cardio problems. Weight training produces a phenomenon called EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). In a nutshell, this means that your metabolism is going to stay elevated after you exercise, so you continue burning calories even after you are done training. Sometimes metabolism stays elevated up to 72 hours after an intense weight training session. EPOC is the gift that keeps on giving (in terms of body fat reduction).

 

6. You’re Being Unrealistic:

Sustainable, lasting weight loss can take a while. While a loss of one or two pounds per week is reasonable and doable for many people, there are no hard and fast numbers that equal "success" for everyone. We all differ and everyone tolerates lifestyle change differently. For some people, the only way to lose weight without getting frustrated, bingeing, and giving up is to do it very slowly. Being realistic about how much weight you can actually lose in a given amount time with a given amount of effort is crucial.

As you integrate all this into your own weight loss efforts, remember to check in with yourself regularly to make sure your goals for your body are consistent with your goals for your mental health and happiness. Also, always check with a doctor before making any big changes to your diet or exercise routines.


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A serial entrepreneur and former financial advisor, Jean Titus discovered his purpose and passion through the heartache of losing loved ones far too early. He lives his mantra – “We rise by lifting others” – daily as a life coach and Personal Trainer. Jean brings a simplicity and practicality to his work, helping clients draw on their strengths to realize the one thing money can’t buy – good health and wellness. Follow him on Instagram and his fitness journey!

Wellness Wednesday: How Stress Affects Your Health

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Stress! The word alone can make you feel stressed out. If you’re among those feeling like you have too much stress and not enough time to deal with it, you’re definitely not alone. For most of us, stress is a fact of life. Unfortunately, research reveals that it's also a fact of fat. Even if you usually eat well and exercise, chronic high stress can prevent you from losing weight or even add pounds.

When we’re stressed there’s a lot that goes on inside our bodies, and it’s a lot more than what meets the eye. Stress causes us to go into a mode to protect ourselves. hormones are released, heart rate increases, blood pressure goes up, the process of digestion slows, there are other lingering effects such as stress hormones that continue to linger and wreak havoc on sleep, weight, our immune system and so much more.

Cortisol is a steroid hormone that our bodies produce in response to stress and also to low blood sugar levels; cortisol works to return our bodies to a place of “normalcy” after a stressful experience. Besides stress, there are also other things that can elevate cortisol levels; these include not getting enough sleep, alcohol and caffeine.

  • Reduced testosterone levels: Stress and low testosterone share many symptoms and have been linked to the stress hormone cortisol. There is evidence that high levels of cortisol depressed testosterone levels in men.
  • Elevated blood sugar levels: This contributes to fat storage in the abdominal area.
  • Suppressed immune system: This means those with elevated stress levels and therefore stress hormones may get sick more often.
  • Decreased bone formation: Although this too may happen over a much longer time, cortisol may affect how well our bodies are able to build strong bones.
  • Affected memory: Some research suggests that over time (likely longer, more chronic situation) may have an effect on our ability to recall memories and events.

 Here are some ways that you that you can reduce stress:

1) Breath and Meditate - Meditation comes in many forms, but whichever you choose to go with, it will likely help reduce stress. Start in a comfortable position and focus on clearing your mind. If your mind begins wandering, find something to focus on, like your breathing, a mantra, or an object in front of you. Check out these other forms of meditation to figure out which one best fits your personality and schedule.

2) Yoga, Stretching or Massage - Yoga is a method of meditation that helps relax the muscles and clear the mind. Regular yoga sessions, stretching and massages can improve flexibility, reduce pain, stiffness, lower blood pressure and improve overall health. It doesn’t have to take a huge commitment, time or money, start with 15-30 minute sessions.

3) Eat Healthier - Most people under stress tend to become emotional eaters, but digging into junk food isn’t going to help. Foods like alcohol, candy, and those high in sodium and fat are actually very bad for reducing stress. Instead, opt for a healthy diet high in whole foods, and when you have to indulge, indulge in a sweet fruity snack. Fish–with their omega-3 fatty acids–are also good for reducing the symptoms of stress.

4) Put Your Phone Down - Television, radio, Internet, or social networking is the sixth top cause of stress in the U.S. Given that your smartphone can deliver all of these at once. It’s probably best to stay away from it when you’re trying to reduce stress. Staying away from your smartphone for a while gives you time to focus on yourself, clear your mind, and work through your stress without distractions.

5) Get More Rest - A common cause of stress is lack of sleep. Furthermore, stress can make it difficult to sleep. It’s an awfully vicious cycle. If you’ve only got a few minutes, lay down and set an alarm to allow yourself a few minutes of rest. At night, try to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep to reduce your day-to-day stress.

6) Exercising Body and Mind - Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers—and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, even breathing deeply can cause your body to produce endorphins.

The time and effort you spend relaxing and learning new stress management skills is always well spent because of the emotional and physical health benefits it brings. By knowing yourself well enough to tell when you’re under stress, you can take action as soon as possible.


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Meet Jean Titus

A serial entrepreneur and former financial advisor, Jean Titus discovered his purpose and passion through the heartache of losing loved ones far too early. He lives his mantra – “We rise by lifting others” – daily as a life coach and Personal Trainer. Jean brings a simplicity and practicality to his work, helping clients draw on their strengths to realize the one thing money can’t buy – good health and wellness. Follow him on Instagram and his fitness journey!

Wellness Wednesday: The Importance of Protein In Your Diet

Did you know that your organs, tissues, muscles and hormones are all made from proteins? The protein found in foods is used by every part of the body to develop, grow and function properly. It can be argued that nothing is more important than consuming protein foods, and because proteins are involved in just about every body function, it’s important that you consume foods high in protein every day, during every meal to prevent protein deficiency, which can wreak havoc on the body. Not only does it help you maintain and lose weight, but it also works to stabilize your blood sugar levels, improve your ability to learn and concentrate, reduce brain fog, boost your energy levels, support your muscles and bones and support the absorption of important nutrients. 

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Many people make the mistake of trying diets that involve calorie counting and deprivation. On a high-protein diet, you will feel completely satiated after eating, and you won’t have to deal with the blood sugar highs and lows that lead to cravings and moodiness. You’ll be surprised to see how many foods you can eat on a high-protein diet. Protein comes from a variety of sources, including grass fed beef, fish, organic chicken, eggs and if you're vegan, you have choices such as beans, legumes, broccoli and nut butters. When proteins are digested, they leave behind amino acids, which the human body needs.

Unlike carbohydrates and fat, your body does not store protein, so it has no reservoir to draw from when you’re running low. Protein bars and shakes are a great way to supplement your diet to ensure you’re getting the right amount of protein. 

Here are some reasons why the proper amount of protein is essential for weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight. 

1PROTEIN FORMS THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF MUSCLES.

Therefore, it seems logical that eating more protein would help you build more of them. Eating plenty of protein can help increase muscle mass and strength. If you're physically active, lifting weights, or trying to gain muscle and strength, then you need to make sure that you're getting enough protein. 

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2REDUCED APPETITE, CRAVINGS AND HUNGER. 

High-protein diets are known for their fat-reducing benefits. One reason they work is that eating a lot of protein reduces hunger. Protein is filling and when people eat more of it they are more quickly satisfied and eat fewer calories. A study discovered that for every 1 percent increase in protein intake, people naturally decrease their calorie intake by between 32 and 51 calories daily.

3 IT FUELS FAT BURNING. 

It may be surprising, but it is a scientific fact that your body cannot effectively burn and use fat as energy are losing weight, your body loses both muscle and fat. During this process it is especially important that you continue to eat enough protein in your diet. Having adequate protein coming in from your food fuels fat burning while preserving calorie-burning lean muscle.

4STRONGER TENDONS AND FASTER RECOVERY FROM INJURY.

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Tendons benefit in the same way that muscle does from a high-protein intake. Greater protein synthesis accelerates the repair of tissue and strengthens connective tissue for less risk of injury. In addition, a higher essential amino acid intake will prevent muscle atrophy due to immobilization if you are restricted from training, and this has also been found to decrease the time it takes to recover original strength levels after an injury.

If you're wondering how much protein you need to take, an active person will generally need anywhere from .8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. 


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MEET JEAN TITUS

A serial entrepreneur and former financial advisor, Jean Titus discovered his purpose and passion through the heartache of losing loved ones far too early. He lives his mantra – “We rise by lifting others” – daily as a life coach and Personal Trainer. Jean brings a simplicity and practicality to his work, helping clients draw on their strengths to realize the one thing money can’t buy – good health and wellness. Follow him on Instagram and his fitness journey!

The Gentlemen's 8

A gentleman is not defined by the content of his wallet or the cute of his suit. He is defined by his manners and the content of his character.

A true gentleman is a respectable thing to be. By definition, he's strong, chivalrous, intellectual and posses an impeccable sense of style with a calm demeanor - and we all know dressing well is a form of good manners. Well, we are beyond proud and excited to present to you eight of the most stylish distinguished gentlemen who will serve as NOIR event ambassadors as well as your host for the evening. Meet the G8


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A gentleman is a man who takes the initiative in noticing the details of his partner's expectations without instructions. 

Most memorable beard encounter:

"Had a lady literally come up and smell my beard as I gave her a hug. She wanted to see if I smelled as good as I looked she said."


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A gentleman in my eyes is someone who embodies masculinity while still being caring, compassionate, chivalrous and kind. 

Most memorable beard encounter:

"A woman came up to me and first apologized and then said she just had a not so PG-13 moment visual and that she needed to change her underwear."


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A gentleman is one who’s not afraid to be his true self, knowing that the full embodiment of his gifts and love for humanity will heal the world around him.

Most memorable beard encounter

"Meeting up with some of my bearded brothers in the NYC area for the first time and shooting a small campaign that would sweep social media. The most memorable part was the conversation, it was deep rooting in bettering our communities and adjusting how black men were viewed."


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A gentleman is a confident, intelligent thoughtful, respectful and insightful person who walks the world not only in style but In example.

Most memorable beard encounter:

"A young lady came to me once and rubbed her face on my face, haha! We laughed, and we actually went on some dates after."


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A gentleman is one who is smart, educated and very aware. He is one who takes care and provides for his family. A gentleman is one who takes pride in his appearance and pays great attention to details, and is well groomed. 

Most memorable beard encounter:

"Hahaha, I'd never forget!  While working at Coach, I had an elderly Asian man come up to me and rub my beard with both hands WITHOUT PERMISSION! Now although I was angry, he was elderly and also a tourist (he probably doesn't know our privacy standards) so I let it go and laughed it off. Lol!!!"


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A gentleman is a man who has confidence and respect in everything that he does, and carries himself with a certain mystique that everyone gravitates to and respects.

Most memorable beard encounter:

LOL! I think my most memorable beard encounter had to be about a few weeks ago. I was in DC sitting at a bar and the bartender kept bringing me drinks, and each time I kept telling her I didn’t order these. Well these drinks were bought for me from this table of women sitting across from me at another table. They really appreciated my beard, but were nervous to approach me, so they kept sending me drinks."


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A gentleman simply put is a man who is strong, intentional, thoughtful and aware of his power and position in his family , community and world around him.

Most memorable beard encounter:

"About a month ago I met a Canadian woman at a bar in Brooklyn who was very pleasant. We were standing outside waiting for her cab and we had a full 5-7 minutes session of her just intimately massaging and caressing the entirety of my beard. She had healing hands. The crazy thing is she derived more pleasure out of the experience than I did."


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A man who does not only exemplify visual traits that are becoming of a gentleman (good grooming habits, great posture, great clothing), but a man that has mastered himself, who leads by positive example, who is chivalrous to women, and a teacher to the youth and who collaborates with his fellow man.
 

Most memorable beard encounter:

"I was in Philadelphia for my first major modeling gig. All of the designers liked my look. But passed on me because of my beard. They said I should cut it, because beards are seen as rugged, messy & grungy. One stylist took a chance for me and had me walk in his show. He has used me in more campaigns that has gotten me great exposure. Since then I’ve been in 3 magazines, features in style & beard blogs, movies & Netflix series and even on BET."

 

Wellness Wednesday: The Best And Worst Foods For Men

One of the most frequently asked questions is "What Should I eat?”, so I decided to compile a list of some of the worst foods you may be eating and some of the best foods you should be eating. Let's be honest: Grocery and convenience stores are full of chemical- and sugar-laced foods we should never eat but that makes up a surprisingly large portion of most people's regular diet. You may be surprised to find out what's on this list.

Most of these foods are acid forming and need to be eliminated as soon as possible. They create inflammation in the body, throw off hormonal balance, and bog down the body’s natural process and among other things that negate your efforts to maintain or restore a healthy weight. Here is the list of the worst foods...
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Fried Foods: Fried foods like French fries and chips, as well as breaded and fried meat, pump your arteries with oils that have been made less healthy by heating them to high temperatures. Frying makes healthy food (such as vegetables, fish, chicken or potatoes) unhealthy. The high caloric content in fried foods can cause you to gain weight, which leads to diseases, problems with your joints and hormone problems.
Soda: Soda is one of the worst foods for men because it is filled with caffeine, fructose and refined sugar. The artificial sweeteners in diet soda are even worse for health. The caffeine in soda can trigger gout. The sugars, which are bad for your teeth, can cause insulin levels to go so high that drinking one soda per day can increase your chance of a having a heart attack by 20 percent.
Fruit Juice: Fruit juice seems healthier than soda, but it is also a bad choice for aging men. Fruit juice causes a spike in blood sugar that is especially bad for anyone with diabetes and gout. Plus, juicing removes the beneficial fiber from the fruit. It is better to eat whole fruits and vegetables than to drink their juice.
White Bread Products: White bread products include crackers, rolls, bagels, pasta and low-fiber cereals. Milled white flour produces a state of inflammation in the body, which can worsen arthritis and cause spikes in blood sugar. Potassium bromate, a bread additive in the United States, is banned in other countries. Potassium bromate is known to be toxic in human cells and cause cancer in animals. Instead of white bread, choose whole-grain and high-fiber products.
French Fries: Fried foods like French fries, chips, and breaded and fried meat pump your arteries with oils that have been made even unhealthier by heating them to high temperatures. Frying takes healthy foods (like vegetables, potatoes, fish, or chicken) and transforms them into ones to avoid. In fact, eating breaded and fried chicken is worse than eating a burger. Also be leery of prepackaged food you have to bake. They are often breaded and fried with oil to keep them crispy. Chips and French fries contain acrylamide. The calories in fried foods like French fries can cause weight gain, which can lead to other diseases, problems with your joints, and hormone imbalance, while the unhealthy heated oils found in these foods can lead to heart disease. It is healthier to boil, steam, roast, or bake your foods.
Excess Alcohol: A glass of wine, especially red wine, may actually benefit your health, but drinking excessively is bad for aging men. Too much alcohol can damage your liver; accelerate aging, and even lead to osteoporosis. Excess and regular drinking of alcohol dilates blood vessels in the skin, widening blood vessels until they lose tone. This can lead to deeper facial lines and wrinkles.
Doughnuts: Doughnuts are definitely foods to avoid over 40 because they are basically sugar, white flour, and unhealthy trans-fat, which are linked to heart disease. Like French fries, doughnuts may contain acrylamide, which is considered a carcinogen. Doughnuts are possibly the worst way to start your day.
Now that we've talked about some of the worst foods, let's talk about some of the best foods. When you take care of your body by eating right, you prevent age-related weight gain. Here is the list of the best foods...
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Wild Salmon: Fatty fish like wild salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation, slow the plaque buildup inside blood vessels and increase the ratio of good to bad cholesterol levels.  They’ve also been shown to lower blood pressure.  Wondering how much to eat? Eating one to two 3-ounce servings of fatty fish a week reduces the risk of dying from heart disease.
Blueberries & Strawberries - They're great tasting and they make go well with salads, oats, and smoothies. Better yet, berries are amazing brain food and potent sources of fiber, a nutrient shown to aid weight loss. Consuming a diet rich in blueberries and strawberries may help slow mental decline and help maintain memory and focus. Strawberries are also rich in folate, a nutrient that when consumed with B vitamins have been shown to prevent cognitive decline and dementia.
Sweet Potato - Sweet potatoes are packed with potassium, a mineral that can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. They’re also rich in carotenoids, powerful antioxidants that help stabilize blood sugar levels and lower insulin resistance, which prevents calories from being converted into fat.
Turmeric - Curcumin, the active ingredient in the Indian spice, blocks the effects of pro-inflammatory enzymes and chemical pain messengers, easing arthritis pain and swelling. Think of turmeric as Mother Nature’s all-natural ibuprofen. Turmeric has also been known to slow the growth and spread of cancer cells and lower cholesterol levels.
Leafy Greens - You should already know that nutrient-packed leafy greens like kale, bok choy and spinach should be a part of your regular diet. If you’re not already eating them, add these pain-fighting green superfoods to your diet.
Green Tea - Not only can green tea aid weight loss and help you recover faster after a workout, its potent antioxidants may also lower levels of “bad” cholesterol, while simultaneously increasing levels of “good” cholesterol. Studies indicate that green tea may block bad cholesterol from being absorbed in the intestine and help the body get rid of it.
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Water - Most people take drinking water for granted, but keeping hydrated has a huge impact on overall health. Despite how crucial water is, a significant number of people fail to consume recommended levels of fluids each day. Although some of the water required by the body is obtained through foods with a high water content (i.e., some fruits and vegetables), majority is gained through drinking water and other beverages. Drinking water helps the body to function properly; all the cells and organs of the body need water. It is also used to lubricate the joints, protect the spinal cord and other sensitive tissues, regulate body temperature, and assist the passage of food through the intestines.
Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health.
 
MEET JEAN TITUS A serial entrepreneur and former financial advisor, Jean Titus discovered his purpose and passion through the heartache of losing loved ones far too early. He lives his mantra – “We rise by lifting others” – daily as a life coach and Personal Trainer. Jean brings a simplicity and practicality to his work, helping clients draw on their strengths to realize the one thing money can’t buy – good health and wellness. Follow him on Instagram and his fitness journey!

MEET JEAN TITUS

A serial entrepreneur and former financial advisor, Jean Titus discovered his purpose and passion through the heartache of losing loved ones far too early. He lives his mantra – “We rise by lifting others” – daily as a life coach and Personal Trainer. Jean brings a simplicity and practicality to his work, helping clients draw on their strengths to realize the one thing money can’t buy – good health and wellness. Follow him on Instagram and his fitness journey!

Wellness Wednesday: Five Reasons Why You Should Train Your Legs

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Your legs represent the largest muscles in your body, so you have to spend an appropriate amount of time training them with a descent amount of resistance using "heavy weights". Because we use our legs in almost everything we do, they have higher amounts of endurance muscle fibers than our upper bodies would have; therefore, in order to adequately train your legs, they need a higher volume of work.

Popular excuses: “I run for my legs”, “My legs are too big already”, “Squats hurt my knees”, … whatever the story, not training your legs is the biggest training mistake you can make.

 

Here are 5 reasons you should train your legs

 

1. MORE MUSCLE: You can find studies showing that Squats & Deadlifts increase the release of Growth Hormone & Testosterone more than any other exercise. These are natural muscle building hormones. Testosterone is a steroid hormone that is naturally produced in your body and plays a key role in the health of men, helping increase the growth of muscle mass and strength. Compound moves, such as squats and deadlifts, which use large muscle groups, help elevate your T-levels.

2. YOU'LL BURN MORE CALORIES: Whether or not weight loss is your goal, if you want to get the most bang for your buck at the gym, you're going to have to do legs. Working  bigger muscles and compound exercises, like squats, deadlifts and lunges will require more energy and a higher metabolism. Challenging these larger muscles in short will burn more calories. 

3. MORE STRENGTH: You might not believe it, but your legs and core produce the majority of your power during heaving lifting. Stronger legs and core muscles will increase your strength on upper-body lifts and thus help upper-body muscle development. Quick examples of how Squats & Deadlifts can cause strength gains on your other lifts:

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•   Leg drive matters on the Bench Press. Stronger legs mean more leg drive and a bigger bench, and thus bigger muscles.

•   Squats & Deadlifts strengthen your legs & lower back. 

These muscles help you stay strong during the Overhead Press. If you lack conditioning, your big lifts will only get so far. Performing functional exercises, like deadlifts, however, will strengthen your legs, glutes and lower body, while developing all-over muscle and mobility.

Remember, core strength supports the body in almost every movement. And the deadlift – the King of Exercises – is the key core strength building movement. 

4. SYMMETRY & BALANCE: Simply put, you don't want to have a huge upper body with toothpick legs. You want for your physique to be balanced and symmetrical, but for more functional reasons, upper body strength won't help you much from avoiding slip and fall accidents and maintaining your general balance. Most of our power and balance is generated from our lower half. Balance is essential for maintaining control of your body. Much like a building or any other structure, the strength of most structures lies in its foundation. 

5. AVOIDING INJURY. This is the last, but in my opinion, the most important reason I stress that leg training is necessary... If you're training three days out of the week, you have to dedicate at least one day to training your lower body. If you don't, you run the risk of creating muscle imbalances, poorly conditioned hamstrings and a lack of mobility. And that lack of mobility and conditioning will lead to a number of possible issues, such as... lower back pain and knee injuries. Exercises such as, squats, lunges and dead lifts will help in developing functional strength and reduce the risk of injury by building muscle around weak joints and help promote more stability and balance.

MEET JEAN TITUS

A serial entrepreneur and former financial advisor, Jean Titus discovered his purpose and passion through the heartache of losing loved ones far too early. He lives his mantra – “We rise by lifting others” – daily as a life coach and Personal Trainer. Jean brings a simplicity and practicality to his work, helping clients draw on their strengths to realize the one thing money can’t buy – good health and wellness. Follow him on Instagram and his fitness journey!

Black Beard Love: Anthony & Sopha

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A marriage is between 3 people - Man, Woman, and God, and it's the God in him that won her over. Meet Anthony and Sopha, the loving couple from Dallas, TX. Getting married is one thing, staying married is another. Growing a marriage requires work and compromise; the effort of both spouses engaging each other mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It's their faith that draws Anthony and Sopha closer to each other.

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"I love his heart for the Lord. I love how he is constantly serving and mentoring young men through the sport of Basketball."  According to Sopha, Anthony has an enormous heart, making him love hard and do anything for anyone because that's just the kind of man he is. Supportive, caring and ready to help when ever needed. And Anthony? He adores Sopha, admitting she has one of the most beautiful smiles he's ever seen, her spirit radiating from within, and her compassion something to emulate. That type of selfless love she has for empowering and inspiring others makes Anthony love her more each day.

I love that my wife doesn’t know a stranger. She loves everyone she meets.
— Anthony

So what do these two lovebirds enjoy doing together the most? Having hectic work schedules during the week limits the amount of time Anthony and Sopha get to spend with each other, so they make it a point to designate Saturdays for some lazy love lounging by hanging out and watching movies.

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"A typical Saturday results in us making a fort in our living room and binge watching our favorite TVs shows," says Sopha. Being a creative and married to a creative, one can imagine the musing this love breeds. Sopha explains she enjoys capturing Anthony while he is behind the camera working. "There's something special about seeing Anthony photographing that makes me happy." Nothing like gazing at the one you love create beautiful art right? They also enjoy working out together, trying out new things together, and praying together. They also compromise on the things that the other wouldn’t normally do, like doing outdoor activities because that’s what Sopha loves, or doing something inside because that what Anthony enjoys. 

This is black love. The kind of couple you look at and can't help but to feel the love they have for each other, and the kind of love that you cheer them on from the sidelines because black love is communal. They are what we hashtag #goals: he protects her love and she nurtures his soul.

"Black love is beautiful. To us, its embracing and appreciating who we are and where we come from. It's celebrating as a culture, black families taking back what belongs to them.  Destroying this image of broken homes and statistics that have labeled our communities as impoverished. It's celebrating the beauty in seeing black families empower, inspire, and rise above all circumstances that were set up against them. It's celebrating the role models who give others hope in healthy love. Black love is magic and I am so thankful we get to celebrate and own our blackness."

Keep on showing off what we know to be true, that black love prevalent and alive. Follow Sopha and Anthony on IG!

Wellness Wednesday: What Is The Posterior Chain?

The actual definition of the posterior chain is a group of muscles located on the back of your body.  These muscles include the lower back, glutes, hamstrings, trapezius, calves, and posterior deltoids. Unfortunately, for the athlete that is just beginning strength training, these muscles that are not easily seen in the mirror are frequently neglected.

For the most part, people with desk jobs rest on their glutes all day which eventually leads to them becoming reliant on their quads or becoming ‘quad dominant’. Here the glutes have lost their prioritized role of generating hip extension and stabilization.

Within these muscles the most common movement is the hip extension. Developing a poor posterior chain can eventually lead to the following injuries/health scares;

  • Lower back pain
  • Shortened hip flexors
  • Weakened core stability
  • Less effective general athletic function

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A STRONG POSTERIOR CHAIN?

BALANCE
The opposite muscles to your posterior chain are those of the anterior chain, specifically your quadriceps and hip flexors. If you spend all of your time working on your anterior chain, and your glutes and hamstrings strength will be compromised and could lead to some of the injuries and issues previously mentioned. So, it's vital you balance your posterior and anterior workouts. When performing explosive exercises such as jumping, both chains have a role to play and an inferior posterior chain will have a negative impact on your power and performance.

INJURY PREVENTION
Stronger glutes and hamstrings prevent knee injuries, strong quads coupled with weak glutes and hamstrings can put additional stress on your knees which can heighten the risk of knee injuries. A dedicated posterior chain strengthening program is crucial for injury prevention.

OVERALL STRENGTH & POSTURE

Many athletic and sporting movements such as jumping forward, backwards or side to side, sprinting, leaping and even decelerating relies greatly on an effective posterior chain. The posterior chain is a major weakness for many athletes, particularly beginners. Neglecting exercises like the deadlift, kettlebell swing and back extensions could be detrimental to your strength, performance and even posture. A weak posterior chain will overload your lower back and abdominals, which as mentioned above can manifest itself as lower back pains. Keep your posterior chain strong to avoid this.


THE THREE BEST POSTERIOR CHAIN EXERCISES


Deadlift

Deadlift


Kettlebell Swing

Kettlebell Swing


Hyper Extension

Hyper Extension


MEET JEAN TITUS

A serial entrepreneur and former financial advisor, Jean Titus discovered his purpose and passion through the heartache of losing loved ones far too early. He lives his mantra – “We rise by lifting others” – daily as a life coach and Personal Trainer. Jean brings a simplicity and practicality to his work, helping clients draw on their strengths to realize the one thing money can’t buy – good health and wellness. Follow him on Instagram and his fitness journey!

Black Male Educators Are Necessary

© Black Men With Beards 2017 // Jeff Clark

© Black Men With Beards 2017 // Jeff Clark

When you think of late August and early September, a few things should come to mind; football, grilling out and back to school! For most children this is the time they get to reconnect with old friends and show off their new gear and parents are able to take the lock off the refrigerator and save a little money. This is the time where students are able to start fresh and refocus on their academic goals and teachers are there to educate and guide them in the right direction.

Guilford County is just one of 100 counties in the state of North Carolina. Within the last few years North Carolina has witnessed educators go on strike due to budget cuts that would froze any raises on teacher pay and eliminated the majority of teacher assistants. According to the National Education Association report, during that time N.C ranked 47th in the country for the average teacher rank. Due to teacher strikes and a roughly five percent increase of salaries the NEA reports that the average teacher salary in 2017 puts North Carolina 35th in the nation.

© Black Men With Beards // Jeff Clark

© Black Men With Beards // Jeff Clark

Despite a slight increase in wages there are certain struggles that never seem to fade away. The academic performance of minority students in Guilford county, and the huge disparity between how black students are disciplined when compare to their white counterparts. The youth justice project reported that during the 2014/2015 school year only thirty one percent of black students were “college and career ready” during the end of course exams compared to sixty eight percent of whites. The report also revealed that black students account for seventy one percent of short term suspensions where as whites accounted for only fourteen percent. Mass incarceration begins early as blacks accounted for eighty percent of detention admissions compared to five percent of white students; all for the same offenses.

I was able to speak to a former classmate of mine who is now an educator with the Guilford County school system. I asked a few questions and he was able to speak on his experiences as a teacher and some of the hardships both students and teachers endure daily.

Lacy:  What inspired you to embark on a career in education? 

Kev:  For me, it wasn’t what inspired me, rather it was who inspired me to embark on a career in education. My good friend Christian Hill (former GCS Recruiter/former HP Central Assistant Principal) talked me into working in education when we were hired as football coaches at Mendenhall Middle School.

Lacy:  As a black educator, what's a hindrance you can identify that minority students face? 

Kev:  There are too many things to truly list that hinder our minority students. I’ll name a few with hopes of not rambling or boring you, discipline, reading levels, and cultural/ethnic representation. A student's behavior will directly disrupt their learning and it usually shows when it is time to read. Most black and minority students don't open up to receive the teachings from someone who doesn't come from the same cultural background or ethnicity as them. 

Lacy:  Do you think that black students and other minority students would benefit from having more educators that resemble them in the classroom?

Kev:  I absolutely think black students and other minority students would benefit from having more educators who resemble them in the classroom. This goes back to the above-mentioned cultural representation as well. Nobody can reach a child like someone who speaks like him or her, and lives or has lived like him or her in my opinion. Of course there are lots of kids who are reached by those who don’t share the same cultures or ethnicities, but the majority need/want to see someone who resembles them being successful in a positive way to be reached.

Lacy:  Do you plan to stay in education? If so, what are you hoping to achieve? 

© Black Men With Beard // Jeff Clark

© Black Men With Beard // Jeff Clark

Kev:  I hope to stay in education for as long as I can and guide the misguided youth, as well as return to coaching football in the near future. The only thing I have ever wanted out of this when I first started was to save a kid going down the wrong path. It was really all about football for me until I saw the impact I had on a kid’s life. Being able to say I’ve had former players/students go on to play at Florida St, N.C. A&T, ECU, WSSU, and more is more than enough of an accomplishment, but when a former player/student tells you that they don’t know if I would have made it without you that is priceless.

Lacy:  What's one of the biggest challenges teachers face in the classroom that most are probably unaware of?

Kev:  I think race and lack of understanding are the two biggest challenges teachers face in the classroom. Too often black students and minority students want to play the race card with a teacher who is willing to give them the shirt off of their back. I can’t tell you how many times a student has called a teacher racist because they weren’t given their way and allowed to be a stereotypical (by society’s standards) black or minority. This makes it harder for that educator who doesn’t have the same cultural or ethnic background as he or she to reach them. Students also have to understand that everyone who doesn’t look or sound like you isn’t against you. Once that is understood the education process seems to get easier from there.


Article written by Lacy D. Colson III. Colson is a student at N.C. A&T State University, studying African American studies. Lacy is also a mentor for the African American male initiative program through United Way and is a loving husband and father living in Greensboro, N.C.

Wellness Wednesday: HIIT vs. Cardio

HIIT or cardio? Which is the best exercise for fat loss? THERE are two main factors to consider when looking at what kind of exercise burns fat in the most efficient way.

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Firstly we need to consider which energy source the body is dipping into to fuel your workout. Is your body using your fat stores or your glycogen (basically sugar) stores?

Secondly, we need to consider the effect the exercise has on your resting metabolic rate. Is there an after effect where you continue to burn more fat post workout from cell recovery (increase in resting metabolic rate) or are you only burning fat while you’re actually doing the exercise? To lose 1 pound of body fat, you must burn 3,500 calories more than you consume over a period of time. In a long cardio workout, you exercise at a consistent, moderate level for the entire session; in a high-intensity interval training workout, or HIIT workout, you alternate periods of moderate intensity with bursts of high intensity. Either type of exercise can help you lose weight.  

SO WHICH EXERCISE IS BEST?

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An extended gentle cardio session burns a higher percentage of calories from fat, a HIIT workout of the same length will help you lose weight faster. When you exercise at a higher intensity, you burn calories at a much faster rate, so you don't have to spend hours on cardio equipment to burn fat. Try one of these HIIT cardio routines for faster fat loss.

As always, consult with your physician before beginning any exercise or exercise program.


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A serial entrepreneur and former financial advisor, Jean Titus discovered his purpose and passion through the heartache of losing loved ones far too early. He lives his mantra – “We rise by lifting others” – daily as a life coach and Personal Trainer. Jean brings a simplicity and practicality to his work, helping clients draw on their strengths to realize the one thing money can’t buy – good health and wellness. Follow him on Instagram and his fitness journey!

Wellness Wednesday: Advantages of A Healthy Lifestyle vs. Dieting

The way to total health is through complete generosity. It's about taking care of your mind, your body, and your spirit. When you are generous to your body, you nourish your body with physical activity, good foods, water, and sleep, so that you have plenty of energy to meet life's daily challenges. 

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Your eating and lifestyle habits are what makes you put on weight, so create good habits. When something is a habit, you don't have to think about it. You just do it. You don't talk yourself out of brushing your teeth. You don't forget to have your morning cup of coffee. Make small lifestyle changes which will last forever. You don’t have to change your whole life, unless you want to obviously, but you can add a few small changes which can make a big difference. The problem about maintaining the weight is in the whole ‘dieting’ concept. You follow a weight loss diet/plan/regime for a certain amount of time and then you stop, and then what? Most weight loss diets tend to be more specific and are for a limited amount of time. Use such diets to get to a weight loss routine or to kick start your plan but don’t depend on them. Escape the ‘diet’ and adapt that into an everyday habitual eating which will still promote weight loss and weight management. Finding a method to achieving slow and gradual weight loss will not only be sustainable for long-term weight loss goals, but will also have no negative impacts on your health, leaving you succeeding, rather than crashing.

Here is a list of adaptions that you can start incorporating in your everyday routine, to begin your journey to a healthier lifestyle:

  1. Cut down your portions and consume fewer calories
  2. Introduce greens and vegetables and reduce chips and breads (refined carbs)
  3. Adopt some exercise in your week
  4. Instead of deep frying you food,  roast or steam
  5. Don't binge: If you start giving food a special role like a reward then you are creating ‘food’ habits and perceptions which then you are struggling to break. You don’t have to do the ‘man v food’ challenge on the take away night and consume all the weekly calorie allowance in one sitting. Ex: If you believe that the deep fried chicken covered with triple cheese and chips (an imaginary dish for example) is your reward for doing well then this automatically becomes something special which then you have to convince yourself that you must not eat all the time, so then it feels like you punishing yourself.
  6. Don't obsess: You want to lose more weight, you weigh yourself every day, you are like a maniac with calorie counting and before you know it your stressed out self will have enough. Do weight yourself once a month just to keep in touch with your weight and if you notice a big difference (not a couple of lbs!) then be slightly strict for a couple of weeks. Obsession will only make you hate weight loss! Well done for working hard and losing weight but don’t obsess. You can sustain the weight by keeping to some healthy habits and still enjoy life.
  7.  Exercise: Exercise alone is not the answer to weight issues and just because you exercise it doesn’t give you the green light for eating just about everything under the sun (in one sitting). If you do follow some good exercise principles you will gain both health and weight related benefits. Exercise can contribute in a number of ways which can all help in maintaining the weight loss. Apart from increasing your metabolism and the calories you use daily, it can boost your confidence, help improve psychological health. Sometime these things are more important than calorie counting in losing and maintaining weight.
  8. Motivators: Why did you lose the weight, what got you through the weight loss, what motivated you to start and finish it? Whatever your motivator was, is it important to you? Then write it down and stick place it on any wall in your home. Keep reminding yourself what was so important and why you worked hard to make the changes in your life.

Most importantly, throughout your journey, love yourself! Regardless of your shape or weight you want the best for your body. It's not about being skinny or overweight, it’s about being happy and healthy and loving whatever it is you have, because if you love what you have you will look after it and you will want the best for it. Continue to be generous to your mind, body and spirit and the rest will fall into place.

 

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Meet Jean Titus

A serial entrepreneur and former financial advisor, Jean Titus discovered his purpose and passion through the heartache of losing loved ones far too early. He lives his mantra – “We rise by lifting others” – daily as a life coach and Personal Trainer. Jean brings a simplicity and practicality to his work, helping clients draw on their strengths to realize the one thing money can’t buy – good health and wellness. Follow him on Instagram and his fitness journey!

Wellness Wednesday: Why Detoxing is Important to Your Weight Goals by Jean Titus

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The initial step in any detox program must begin with decreasing toxin exposure. This allows your intestines and liver to take a break from processing new toxins, and enhances their ability to focus on processing and getting rid of previously stored toxins. The body's systems and organs that are responsible for cleaning out unwanted substances become completely over-loaded to the point where toxic material remains inside bodily tissues. Our bodies protect us from dangerous substances left behind from toxins and residue from processed foods that we ingest, by setting them aside, surrounding them with mucous and fat, so that it will not cause an imbalance or trigger an immune response (some people carry up to 7 extra kilograms of mucous that harbors this waste). So, where do we begin to decrease toxin exposure?

We start with foods and products used on a daily basis -- buying more organic foods to limit exposure to pesticides, and eating more whole foods to decrease exposure to additives and preservatives (processed foods). Also, be cognizant of cleaning products, i.e. opt for natural alternatives. Be mindful of chemical-ridden soaps, lotions, beauty and personal hygiene products used on a daily basis and explore more natural alternatives, i.e. natural soaps, deodorants and lotions.

Unfortunately, in this day and age, with pollution found in the air, the water and food we eat, our bodies have a hard time keeping up. Due to the consumption of chemicalized diets inclusive of too much animal protein, saturated and trans fats, and caffeine and alcohol, radically changing our internal ecosystems.


The Detoxification process is of the utmost importance for successful weight loss. Through adjustments to your diet and exercise, you can assist your body’s natural self-cleaning system. It is especially important for immune-compromised diseases like cancer, arthritis, diabetes and chronic fatigue. If you decide to do a program for your own health and to fight your own weight problem, here’s a few things to consider:

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Certain cleansing programs target a specific organ as opposed to the entire detoxification system. For example, a colon cleanse will cause a purgative effect on your colon and won’t necessarily support the other detoxification organs. It is much healthier, safer and more effective to support the entire detoxification system on a cellular level.

Some programs will cleanse your body but leave you more depleted. This can have negative consequences on your health. It is imperative to cleanse your body with a program that simultaneously replenishes the nutrients that your cells need to function optimally.

Being guided by a health care professional while following a cleansing system is a smart idea. The support and accountability can make all the difference in the world and when working with a professional you will have the proper guidance to get the most optimal results. A good whole body cleanse will rebalance the body and create a lean, healthy and energized YOU!

Finally, be sure the air you breathe and the water you drink are free of contaminants. You may also want to consider airing out your home daily, if possible and drinking alkaline water.


Meet Jean Titus

A serial entrepreneur and former financial advisor, Jean Titus discovered his purpose and passion through the heartache of losing loved ones far too early. He lives his mantra – “We rise by lifting others” – daily as a life coach and Personal Trainer. Jean brings a simplicity and practicality to his work, helping clients draw on their strengths to realize the one thing money can’t buy – good health and wellness. Follow him on Instagram and his fitness journey!

 

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Back that hass up!

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Hey y'all, Quinn here! I'm sending this e-mail because a colleague of mine told me that he mashes up avocados and puts them in his beard (insert the emoji eyes here). I looked at him crazy at first because it just sounded so...messy, but he laughed it off and proceeded to demonstrate it for me. He took one ripe avocado, mashed it up with a spoon, and applied it to his beard (it was definitely messy and made me kind of hungry lol). Right after washing it out, he allowed me to run my fingers through it, and I noticed an instant difference in how soft it was!

So, I went ahead and did my own research and whoa, I was shocked at some of the things I read on the health benefits alone! One thing we encourage over at BMWB is healthy eating to live a well and balanced life. We know that eating processed foods is the first step to creating disease in the body, or dis-ease as our Baba Dr. Sebi put it. Processed foods are laden with harsh chemicals, preservatives, antibiotics and binders, but a good start to changing the way we eat is finding healthier alternatives. The avocado is a fruit, and it's high in healthy fats. It is proven to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels; it also helps absorb nutrients from other plant foods, and assists in helping you lose weight. Considered a super food, avocados are incredibly nutritious and includes the following:

• Vitamins K, C, B5, B6, and E

• Fiber

• Monounsaturated Fatty Acids

• Folates

• and more Potassium than bananas

So for our bearded brothers, avocados are pretty much beard food - in more ways than one! Noted for its high amino acids and proteins, avocados ALSO nourish the hair and skin (which reduces dryness and itching).

For your intake of this super food, the next time eat you salsa, add guacamole instead of queso, substitute an avocado spread instead of using mayo, or chop it up and add it to a salad. Or you can do as my friend did and mash up an avocado and massage into your beard and the skin for 15 minutes, rinse it off in the shower and apply a good conditioner. Let us know how avocado has helped you!

5 Ways to Setting Powerful Intentions

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As the Eclipse passes over, it's important to keep in mind the possibilities from this historical and yet rare occurrence. Our destiny is ultimately shaped by our deepest intentions and desires. As creators and god like beings, we can literally transform our reality with our thoughts. However, creating that reality takes patience and discipline. To assist you in this process, we've borrowed Deepak Chopra's "5 Ways to Set Powerful Intentions", and with both a full moon and the eclipse, this is an opportune time to take advantage of both.

1. Meditate
Most of the time our mind is caught up in thoughts, emotions, and memories. Beyond this noisy internal dialogue is a state of pure awareness that is sometimes referred to as “the gap.” One of the most effective tools we have for entering the gap is meditation. Meditation takes you beyond the ego-mind into the silence and stillness of pure consciousness. This is the ideal state in which to plant your seeds of intention.

2. Release Your Intentions and Desires
Once you’re established in a state of restful awareness, release your intentions and desires. The best time to plant your intentions is during the period after meditation, while your awareness remains centered in the quiet field of all possibilities. After you set an intention, let it go—simply stop thinking about it. Continue this process for a few minutes after your meditation period each day.

3. Remain Centered in a State of Restful Awareness
Intention is much more powerful when it comes from a place of contentment than if it arises from a sense of lack or need. Stay centered and refuse to be influenced by other people’s doubts or criticisms. Your higher self knows that everything is all right and will be all right, even without knowing the timing or the details of what will happen.

4. Detach from the Outcome
Relinquish your rigid attachment to a specific result and live in the wisdom of uncertainty. Attachment is based on fear and insecurity, while detachment is based on the unquestioning belief in the power of your true Self. Intend for everything to work out as it should, then let go and allow opportunities and openings to come your way.

5. Let the Universe Handle the Details
Your focused intentions set the infinite organizing power of the universe in motion. Trust that infinite organizing power to orchestrate the complete fulfillment of your desires. Don’t listen to the voice that says that you have to be in charge, that obsessive vigilance is the only way to get anything done. The outcome that you try so hard to force may not be as good for you as the one that comes naturally. You have released your intentions into the fertile ground of pure potentiality, and they will bloom when the season is right.

Black Beard Love: Gabe & Witne

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Love is stronger than pride, word to Sade. Love is something we appreciate more from the actions of those we love and those that love us. If you let society tell it, the black family is struggling for existence, becoming a thing of the past and no one wants to be in a committed monogamous relationship (insert side eye emoji right here).

We're here to not only tell you but show you just how much stronger and thriving the notion of black love is with positive imagery of the resurgence of the black family.

Meet Gabe and Witne, a Chef and a Sales Manager living in the charming city of New Orleans. The love these two have for each other not only poured out of the beautiful pictures of their engagement session (they've been together since high school and are getting married on January 20, 2018), but can also be felt in the words they expressed for one another in their interview. When asked to describe each other using only verbs (words like grow, love, care, see, focus and motivate), it's clear that their love is genuine.

Black love is when two people jointly understand, acknowledge and appreciate the uniqueness of and greatness in each other. Black love is the essence of self love. When our little black babies grow up confident and proud of who they are because we've been the shining example to them - that is black love. It embodies the strength, beauty and power in one another as well as together. Our relationships have been illegitimately demeaned for so long, the truth is, we are the strongest when we are together. - Gabe & Witne

Black love is when two people jointly understand, acknowledge and appreciate the uniqueness of and greatness in each other. Black love is the essence of self love. When our little black babies grow up confident and proud of who they are because we've been the shining example to them - that is black love. It embodies the strength, beauty and power in one another as well as together. Our relationships have been illegitimately demeaned for so long, the truth is, we are the strongest when we are together. - Gabe & Witne

Love is one of those things that has to be worked at and nurtured in order for it to continue to grow. When you're in a relationship, you have to commit to doing those things that got you to love even after the sparks simmer down. Gabe and Witne keep the romance alive by having dinner together every night, making sure to give one another their undivided attention at the dinner table by banning the use of cellphones. Witne mentions that her friends would attest that she hardly ever answers the phone once she is home with Gabe.

"We're able to keep the romance by listening to each others needs. We eat dinner together almost every night. It's just the two of us, no cellphones or other distractions. Dinner time is our peace. This is the time we talk about what's to come in the future like where we'll travel together or how many children we'll have."

"We're able to keep the romance by listening to each others needs. We eat dinner together almost every night. It's just the two of us, no cellphones or other distractions. Dinner time is our peace. This is the time we talk about what's to come in the future like where we'll travel together or how many children we'll have."

Keeping active, doing those things that makes your partner happy and smiling, things that let them know they are not only thought of and cared for, they are demonstrating that love is a verb and not just a word. So how do Gabe an Witne accomplish this and enjoy each other as a couple? With food! Being in a city like New Orleans where food is made with love, the two are always on the hunt for the latest food festival or newest and hottest eatery. Even when they are traveling they make the exploration for good food part of their couple routine.

One thing that Gabe appreciates about Witne is her acceptance of him. For Witne, the thing she loves most about Gabe is his eageneress to make her happy.

"His answers are always catered to my liking. I can hear him saying 'I am always going to like what makes you the most happy'".

Their devotion to one another is the epitome of black love.

Keep up with Gabe and Witne on IG to see how their love unfolds!

"What I love most about Witne is that she accepts me for who I am and she brings our the best in me." - Gabe

"What I love most about Witne is that she accepts me for who I am and she brings our the best in me." - Gabe

Keep up with Gabe and Witne on IG to see how their love unfolds!

Photography provided by Jeremy Tauriac

Louis York

Claude Kelly be sanging! And Chuck Harmony know he be playing! Put these two musical geniuses together and you have the recipe and responsible parties for the hits we love across the music spectrum for the last 15 years. It's an honor to feature the creatively expressive group known as Louis York.

The amount of accolades among the mulit-Grammy nomiated prodcution/songwriting duo rolls like a never ending playlist to our lives. It would take more than a hour long conversation to hash it all out, but to familiarize you all with two of the most talented amazingly artistic men of our time, allow Black Men With Beards to enhance your musical knowledge and taste. 

Louis York makes feel good socially conscious music. No matter what the subject matter, heavy or light, it just feels good.
— Black Men With Beards

As successful songwriters and the embodiment of HITMAKER penning hit after hit for others, the formation was their response to the missing pieces they knew to be true and had been feeling in their hearts. The cross over into artist putting out your own music still gives them those "what if" jitters.

"Its like life or death every time you put out a song." Ultimately breaking from behind the scenes to main stage, it wasn't just a choice, it was a necessity. As Claude would put it: Music is art and there really is no other choice but to create. Louis York was something they had to do for the love and life of one thing, GREAT music. If you were to listen to either of the LPs you would find it very hard to pinpoint the type of album Louis York created. They did an amazing job creating music while remaining confident in their artistry.  

During our interview, I put the men in a fast break situation by calling out words and asking them to say the first thing that came to mind. Their answers are just a better peek into the mindsets of these black creatives. These men are focused on breaking barriers and creating new normals for other black men in the world. In speaking with the gentlemen more in depth we learned their look and approach is strategic to the messages they want to send out to other black men globally, that being colorful and being smart is OK. There is no hyper masculinity code that is indicative to the black man. 

BLACK WOMAN:
”I think of creation”
— Chuck Harmony
BLACK MEN IN AMERICA
”A dangerous good, the most feared and the most valued”
— Louis York

"Nerds" is from their debut album Masterpiece Theater- Act 1 release in 2015 and is by far one of our favorites from the duo. The song is not only musically arranged impeccably, the visuals are an eye treat, creatively displaying the woes and perils from a place we personally can relate to. I recall my own awkward little black girl moment of awkwardness which was also coupled with color-ism and body consciousness. 

“Nerds isn't just a song, it's a call to action. We had to make sure the visual was equally as powerful. We all feel a little nerdy at times and it helps to have a song that reminds you that you are okay being who you are,” stated by Claude . “Standing up for what you believe in can be scary and this video let's all the weirdos know that we are right there with them, wondering if we're making our heroes proud and trying to figure out how to be better for ourselves and the world.”

With their follow up release Masterpiece Theater: Act II, they revved up the musical creativity and left the genre niche at the door. From pop and R&B to gospel and rock, Louis York has given their listeners something everyone can listen to. Our favorite joints from this project is Good Drinks, Dumb Jokes. The 90s r&b jazzy hip hoppie melodic  jam is something you can ride to, get dress to or just throw on to get the party vibes started. We look forward to more music and amazing videos coming from Louis York.

Beard Foods: Kale

Although there aren't any magic potions to ingest to magically make your beard flourish, there is what we call Beard Food, those nutrients that aid in making your hair grow. Just like it's important what you put on your beard, it's equally important what you consume that promotes healthy hair growth. Take for instance Kale. Rich in Vitamin A, Kale is considered a super food. All cells in the human body need Vitamin A in order to grow, and this includes the fastest growing tissue in the human body, the hair.

Vitamin A also helps your skin glands make #Sebum, the oily substance your skin produces to keep your hair moisturized and also prevents split ends. Sautéed in avocado oil or eaten raw as a salad, incorporating this Beard Food into your diet will get you on the right path to a healthier beard!

Let us know in the comments what your favorite thing is to do with kale!