My Secrets to Aging the “Perennial” Way

My Aunt Robin, The brilliant mind behind Artizan Fashion is rebranding “middle age” as being “Perennial”.  Instead of looking at this time as being “middle age” (groan), she is showing the world how women can be ever-blooming, becoming even more beautiful with age.  

When you think about it, for the last several decades media/pop-culture has glamourized and idealized youth to a point that it’s been actually repressive.  One of the models I worked with at the show on TSC was sharing how she gets hired to play women in their 40’s all the time… but she is only 29 years old!  How does this make 40 year olds feel, to see themselves represented in such an unrealistic manner?  

Women of my age group and beyond should be celebrated and revered!  At this stage in life, a woman experienced more, learned more real-life lessons, nurtured many and shared her wisdom.  She has led others by her example, and I hope that she has by this point acquired confidence.  I’m proud to call myself a Perennial Woman, and while I learned during my recent modeling experience how much more I need to develop myself, I would say I am fairly confident.  

My confidence comes from how I take care of myself, and I’m going to tell you exactly how I do just that.  Read my other post to hear about Life Lessons learned on set with Artizan for TSC and how I am continuing to grow into myself as a Perennial woman.

I receive compliments often that I have “turned back the aging process” in its traditional sense (hair, skin, nails, muscle tone etc), because truth be told, not long ago, I looked and felt much older.  I was also tired, irritable, and would have been ill-equipped to “Werk it” on live television modeling with experienced professionals!  So here is everything I do, I am not leaving anything out!

Avoid the Sun 

Years ago I learned the “Australian rule” (my Aussie friends will need to let me know if this truly stems from the land down under).  Only spend longer periods of time outside when your shadow is longer that you are.  My favourite time to take the kids to the park or the beach is between 7am-10am and after 4pm.  Luckily, our backyard becomes completely shaded by trees midday, so we spend a lot of time there.

The middle of the day, siesta, is when many people in warmer climates stay inside and maybe even nap.  This is when your shadow is short, the sun is it’s highest and you can burn quickly.  For someone fair skinned like me, this time of day is killer!  

In my younger days (20’s and 30’s) I used to use a tanning bed and I wasn’t aware of just how dangerous over-exposure could be.  I had basel cell carcinoma (a mild form of skin cancer) on my nose at the young age of 30 which required months of treatment and in the end, a delicate surgery.  When I am in the sun midday, I use a natural sunscreen to protect my skin.  

Avoiding the sun in addition to my other wellness strategies has kept it from returning, and kept my skin healthy and young.  

Move my Body

I used to be what they call a “gym-rat”, I spent my 20’s and early 30’s living for my classes and weight-training workouts.  For me, it goes beyond the physical results I would get, but is stress-reducing, meditative and fuels my soul!  I love to ride my bike, jump on the trampoline and go for long walks.  

Truth be told, I haven’t set foot in a gym in many years, except to take my kids swimming at the local YMCA!  While I would love to carve out time for solo-fitness, I am currently enjoying a very active season of my life with little kids.  Whereas my gym-days I worked a sedentary job, living at my desk for 10 hours a day, today I am rarely found sitting.  I typically walk with the kids at least an hour every day, I am up and down making food and cleaning, and in the backyard, park or beach.  

I guess you could say, my current form of exercise is PLAY.  I talk more about that here, as well as additional ways to get fit with kids by your side: Getting Fit With Your Kids.

Get my Beauty Rest

Sleep is when the body does some of its most important work to heal and rejuvenate cells.  You remember when you have a new baby and they say, “sleep when the baby sleeps”?  I am still doing this, and my kids are nearly 8 and almost 4 years old.  My kids go to bed at around 9pm, and I am often not far behind, and we wake up at 7am.  

Did you know that at 11pm, if you are still awake, your body hits you with a fresh flood of cortisol (the stress hormone)?  This is why, if you are not sleeping by 11:00, it suddenly becomes very challenging to fall asleep until hours later.  I am convinced many cases of “insomnia” would be solved by a 9pm bedtime.  Another fun fact; blue lights from screens suppress your melatonin production (sleepy hormone) for up to 90 minutes! \

My phone is set to remind me to get off technology at 9:00 and I do my best to keep it off at this time.  I aim to be asleep by 10:00pm, so I can get 9 hours of sleep… sometimes 10!  Sleep is still broken for me, I never know when a kid will wake up with a bad dream or will have wet the bed or need help in whatever way.  

So I protect my sleep by giving myself buffer time so that even if I am woken, cumulatively I will still get 8 good hours.  My sleep is cherished in other ways, such as keeping a simple bedroom environment that is conducive to rest, and what I eat (or don’t eat) which leads into my next point.

Eat with the Sun

Have you heard about intermittent fasting?  Many people are jumping on the band-wagon, as this is one of the easiest ways to improve your health and longevity, and it will actually SAVE you money to implement.  Our digestive systems are designed to work in sync with our circadian rhythms.  

When the sun is the highest (midday), our digestion is at it’s PEAK.  That is why you might have heard that it’s wise to make lunch the biggest meal of the day, and eat a light dinner before 6pm.  When you eat at night, your digestion and your sleep is compromised, which becomes a vicious cycle of bloating and exhaustion.  With enough time to FAST, if given at least 16 hours to do so, your body does something incredible called autophagy.  This is the process wherein damaged cells are destroyed and new healthy cells are born.  If you have a family history of cancer like I do, I feel that intermittent fasting is a MUST.  

Keep Meals Clean and Simple 

A couple years ago I fell into a wonderful rhythm of eating that I ENJOY, that fuels me very well, and that is super simple, easy and doable.  I begin my day with a Bulletproof Coffee.

Unless I am off caffeine, which I do from time to time.  The ingredients contained in my coffee help keep my bones strong, my energy sustained and program my body to use fat for fuel.  I pair it with pumpkin seeds which are anti-parasitic, and a few squares of 85-90% good quality dark chocolate for a powerful anti-oxidant breakfast rich in iron and magnesium.  

For lunch and dinner I usually have a Smoothie Bowl (an extra-thick smoothie topped with nuts, seeds and berries) and a sautéed warm salad with a bit of protein and whole-grain (often quinoa).  I avoid sugar, processed food and foods I am sensitive too (dairy and gluten cause me inflammation due to a genetic issue I have called MTHFR).  If I need a snack, my favourite are my Yum Balls (homemade plant-based protein bites)!

Supplement with only the Best 

One of the issues some experts have with fasting and enjoying Bulletproof Coffee is that you do end up limiting the amount of phytonutrients needed for optimal health.  I believe that by supplementing with plant powders I have given my body a tremendous added advantage!  

The brand I choose and recommend happens to be the most thoroughly researched supplement in the world, and it is proven to reduce inflammation, keep gums and skin healthy, improve nutrient status in the body, support immune function, improve healing, improve cardiovascular function, and reduce oxidative stress!  

The best way to explain what this does in terms of aging, is to cut an apple in half and pour lemon juice on just one side.  Leave both pieces out for a few hours.  The half with lemon juice represents the body supplementing with massive amounts of phytonutrients.  Beyond the beauty aspect of plant supplementation, it is important to note that your brain is made up of mostly fat (and fat oxidizes and goes rancid, negatively effecting mental health).  Feeding your body anti-oxidants keeps your intellect sharp, and that is sexy!

Remember BALANCE.  As my Aunt Robin Barré likes to say, we are all “perfectly imperfect”, so don’t be hard on yourself!  While I strive to do all of these things most of the time, there are definitely days I indulge in some good wine, stay up way too late, eat at a fast-food restaurant, or spend the day watching my favourite Netflix show with my feet up.  Life is to be enjoyed, so listen to what you need, even if that means sacrificing a health habit for one day.  

I will add that sometimes I enlist help from a Health Coach.  Just like Personal Trainers have Personal Trainers and Therapists have Therapists, even those who understand nutrition can benefit from support and accountability.   If you are looking to live your best life as a Perennial woman, I’d be honoured to help you make changes that are easy and bring a Spring in your step.  The better you feel, the richer your life experiences will be.  As a wise friend likes to say, “Don’t forget, you are perishable.” 

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