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Top 3 Things that Make People Happy

Have you ever given any thought to what makes people happy? I have…quite a bit, actually.

Although I don’t claim to be an expert in the topic (my expertise is the body, not the brain), I wanna share with you the top 3 things that tend to make people happy.

That’s right, thanks to the (relatively) new field of positive psychology, researchers have a pretty good handle on the basic things that make people happy.  Here’s a synopsis of the top 3:happy people

1. Relationships

It’s unanimous, having a good social network of meaningful relationships is the single most important factor to being happy.

Sure, it’s nice to be in a loving romantic relationship, but it’s not just that kind of relationship that makes us happy. Having friends from work, the gym, church, etc. are just as important.

Notice the term ‘meaningful.’  Therefore facebook friends that you never see or talk to don’t count. [Read more…]

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7 Books I’ve Read: a Peep at my Audible.com Account

As I’ve mentioned, I love reading…and that includes ‘reading’ a book via audio.  (If I had to literally read all my books, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy as many as I have, that’s for sure!)

Audible.com screenshot

peep my audible account

Just for fun, and perhaps as a way to expose you to a book or two you’ve never heard of, I thought I grab a screenshot of my Audible.com account, showing some of the books I’ve read.

1. Talk Less, Say More – by Connie Dieken

2. Influencer – Kerry Patterson

3. Crush It! – by Gary Vaynerchuk

4. Spark – by John Ratey, MD

5. The Winner’s Brain – by Jeff Brown, Mark Fenske, & Liz Neporent

6. How to Craft a World Class Life – by Robin Sharma

7. Purple Cow – by Seth Godin

And you can faintly see at the bottom that I’m currently (re) listening to The Year of Living Like Jesus by Edward Dobson.

In addition to that one, the standouts in this group are definitely Spark and Purple Cow.

Spark discusses, in detail, the benefits that exercise has on our brains.  Everything from ADD to Depression can be ‘treated’ via exercise.  Trust me, if you’re at all ‘into exercise’ or just fascinated by the brain, you’ll absolutely love this book!

Here’s what publisher’s blurb says: “In SPARK, John Ratey, MD embarks upon a fascinating journey through the mind-body connection, illustrating that exercise is truly our best defense against everything from depression to ADD to addiction to menopause to Alzheimer’s. Filled with amazing case studies (such as the revolutionary fitness program in Naperville, Illinois, that has put the local school district of 19,000 kids first in the world of science test scores), SPARK is the first book to explore comprehensively the connection between exercise and the brain. It will change forever the way you think about your morning run.”

Purple Cow is one of my favorite business books ever.  In it, Seth Godin discusses the risk of being normal…and the benefit of standing out in the crowd…like a purple cow.

If you’re an entrepreneur, this is a must-read book.  It’s one I go back and re-listen to every year or so.

Your friend in fitness…and reading,

Dr Clay

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Vitamin D Supplements: how much should you take?

If you keep up with nutrition-type stuff at all, you’ve probably heard that you should at least consider taking a Vitamin D supplement.

But before you blindly begin taking Vit D capsules, let’s go over what a safe, yet effective dose of vitamin D is.

Choose the Right Form of Vit D

There are two forms or types of vitamin D supplements:vitD

  • Vitamin D2 – ergocalciferol
  • Vitamin D3 – cholecalciferol

Long story short, you want to take Vit D3.  Got it?  Good.

Daily Amount of Vitamin D

The only way to know for sure if you’re deficient in vitamin D is to have your blood tested specifically for that. If you routinely get some sun exposure (which is ideal), then you may not even need to take supplemental vitamin D.  But if life traps you inside, as it often does, you may need to resort to supplemental vit D.

If you’re going to supplement with Vitamin D, here are some guidelines:

  • likely minimal dose – 1,000 IU / day
  • upper limit – 10,000 IU / day

Assuming your vitamin D status is insufficient, you’ll likely need to take at least 1,000 IU per day to get you back into the optimal range.

But more is not better! It is possible to develop vitamin D toxicity by taking too much, so you definitely don’t want to get carried away. Most sources/experts list 10,000 IU per day to be the safe upper limit to vitamin D intake.  Other’s say not to go above 8,000 IU.

My recommendation is this: don’t routinely take more than about 2,000 IU Vit D per day unless you’ve had your blood work done showing that you need a higher dose.

I hate giving specific dosage recommendations for much of anything because it’s very cookie cutter…far too generic for my preference.  But with that being said…

If I had to pick a vitamin D dosage that would serve most people well it’d be 1,000 – 2,000 IU per day.

In an ideal would we’d get more sun exposure and take less oral vitamin D, but life is often not ideal…and that’s where vit D supplements can come in handy.

Your friend in fitness,

Dr Clay

References you might wanna check out re: vitamin D.

  1. Medline Plus on Vit D
  2. Harvard on Vit D
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How Much Caffeine in Starbucks’ Coffee?

Question:

How much caffeine is in Starbucks’ coffee?

Answer:

Considering that I’m typing this while in Starbucks sipping on some coffee, I find it a very applicable question. Given the number of people who frequent Starbucks, many of you should find this an applicable question, too.

A quick search led me to some nutrition information from Starbucks stating that each ounce of brewed coffee has about 20 mg of caffeine. The same info also lists specific caffeine content for various beverages.starbucks

Here’s what I found:

Starbucks Coffee Caffeine Content

  • Tall (12 oz) – 260 mg caffeine
  • Grande (16 oz) – 33o mg caffeine
  • Venti (20 oz) – 410 mg caffeine

As a comparison, a standard (8.4 oz) can of Red Bull has 80 mg caffeine…pretty paltry compared even to a small…I mean Tall…Starbucks coffee. [Read more…]

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5 Places I Recommend You Check Out

Last week I shared with you 5 Places I Wanna Go…but have never been to.  This week I’m sharing with ya 5 places that I highly recommend you consider checking out…and I wanna go back!

5. Orange Beach, Alabama

Orange Beach, Alabama

Orange Beach, Alabama

Alabama isn’t known for it’s beaches – and it doesn’t have all that many – but the ones that are there are incredible…like Orange Beach!

I almost hesitate to mention Orange Beach as to not draw any more attention to it, in hopes it’ll stay a small town place largely unknown to the rest of the world. [Read more…]