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    Ed Helms Destigmatizes Surrogacy for Single Men in ‘Together Together’

    In October 1936, a convicted chicken thief named Jack Skinner stood before an Oklahoma county judge and was sentenced to forced sterilization. Skinner had been convicted of his third felony and therefore met the criteria for the state’s new Habitual Criminal Sterilization Act. His lawyers argued the punishment violated the 14th Amendment––specifically, its Equal Protection Clause––and, several appeals later, the Supreme Court agreed. The right to procreate, Justice William Douglas asserted in the Court’s 1942 Skinner v. Oklahoma decision, is “one of man’s basic civil rights. Marriage and procreation are fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race.”There it is. That’s how a eugenics case involving the punitive sterilization of a convicted poultry burglar established parenthood as a fundamental human right. And yet, almost 80 years later, many people who want to become parents are challenged when they pursue that right. When it comes to prospective parenthood, one of the most broadly excluded demographics is the single male.Together Together, a new film from writer-director Nikole Beckwith, portrays this experience with deep empathy. Ed Helms stars as Matt, a middle-aged app developer who decides to become a father through gestational surrogacy. The story’s élan vital is Matt’s relationship with Anna, his surrogate played by the compelling Patti Harrison, but the movie also examines prevailing attitudes toward men who choose to start a family on their own. When Matt shares his exciting news with friends and family, he’s met with quizzical stares and skeptical questions. Their pushback––or at the very least, lack of unconditional support––holds a mirror to our own world.Courtesy of Bleecker Street“The story of a single, straight male having a child through surrogacy is not a story we’re culturally familiar with yet,” Helms tells Men’s Journal. “When we’re unfamiliar with things, oftentimes we approach them with a little more trepidation, fear, or judgment. I think that’s what Matt experiences in the movie in a very realistic way. Society just hasn’t quite found the language or rhythm to comprehend that yet.”Options are limited for the man who wants to become a father but lacks a uterus. He can adopt or work with a surrogate. If he wants a genetic connection with his child, then it’s the latter. As a thought exercise, imagine how you’d react if one of your single friends decided to have a kid through surrogacy. There’s a good chance he’d face some resistance.“People become suspicious,” says Diane Hinson, owner and founder of Creative Family Connections, a surrogacy agency and law firm. “And they’re like, ‘Why does this person want to do surrogacy? Why can’t he just go out, find someone, and get married—or get someone pregnant sans marriage?’ We hear these questions and it’s like, why doesn’t this person have the same right to do surrogacy as all our other intended parents?”There are legal headwinds too. Since there are no federal surrogacy laws, states hold all the power. Hinson and her team created an interactive map to help navigate the complex patchwork of state surrogacy laws. A handful of states have statutes that discriminate against single people and LGBTQ couples, but the map has become considerably less restrictive since the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling on same-sex marriage. For single men who pursue fatherhood through surrogacy, social hurdles are often more obstructive than legal ones.Cultural representations play a pivotal role in helping cultures process and accept unorthodox narratives. Forty years ago, it was taboo to talk about IVF treatment. It’s not a coincidence we’ve become more comfortable discussing fertility, as an increasing number of stories are being told about infertility. Beckwith’s film does its part to dismantle the myth that the only way a man can become a parent is with someone else.“I think for men who want to have children and be dads, there’s a cultural expectation you must have a partner first,” Helms says. “Even if a man doesn’t feel beholden to that cultural expectation, it may just be something they really, really want––having a partner to go through that with. And sometimes, partnership doesn’t happen. Or it falls apart. Or people wind up single at various points in their lives for all kinds of reasons. And I think what Nikole did brilliantly was separate that from the desire to have a family.”Courtesy of Bleecker StreetGestational surrogacy, where the surrogate has no biological relationship to the child, has emerged as a viable path to parenthood. People who tread the path alone frequently have their motives questioned. To Helms, this unsympathetic reaction doesn’t make sense.“It’s sort of a grand expression of love to start a family, especially when someone is forced to jump through as many hoops as one has to to start a family through surrogacy. It takes a lot of commitment to move through that process.”This commitment requires a colossal amount of time, effort, and money. For the small but growing number of single men who are becoming fathers via surrogacy, the impetus of a ticking clock is a common refrain in many news stories about their experiences. Maybe it’s tricky to call this “the male biological clock,” yet it exists on the same plane. In terms of fertility, there’s no male equivalent of menopause––though sperm health does decrease with age––but there are temporal forces that shape family planning regardless of gender or relationship status.“I think it’s very common and understandable for men to feel like there’s a certain window of their adulthood that’s ideal for parenthood,” Helms says. “To feel pressure to fit parenthood into that window, whether or not it’s rational, is a very real thing. It’s not a biological window the same way it is for women, but it can be a very powerful emotional window.”We’re speaking over the phone on a Friday afternoon and this comment hits close to home. My wife and I are in our thirties. We don’t have kids, but we’ve spent a lot of time talking about this window recently. It’s definitely emotional. I tell Helms about my own fears and insecurities. The poor man. He agreed to an interview about his new movie and now I’m asking him to be my therapist. When I mention I’m terrified by the weight and responsibility of becoming a dad, he laughs knowingly. He and his wife became parents a few years ago. I ask if he can relate.“Absolutely,” he says. “One hundred percent. There’s no question there’s a lot of fear and anxiety in the buildup to having a child—but it’s all based in that fear of the unknown. Thankfully, it more or less flies out the window once the child arrives because, suddenly, you’re just in it and life is moving forward. This kind of inevitable human inertia takes over, and parents, families—whatever shape or form they take—just step up. It’s kind of incredible. You find something in yourself that, certainly for me, I didn’t even know I had in me.”Courtesy of Bleecker StreetIn Together Together, Helms’ character, Matt, approaches fatherhood with an inspiring amount of certainty. Even as his closest relatives sow doubt and question his decision, Matt’s faith never falters. This conviction evokes empathy for the film’s worldview.“Families are created in all kinds of ways, and I just think culturally it’s so important we don’t judge those processes,” Helms says. He credits Beckwith, the writer-director, for telling such a compassionate story. “As a person, she’s incredibly non-judgmental. That’s like a superpower.”Hinson believes we’ve come a long way since the 1942 Supreme Court decision. “Probably nobody thought surrogacy would exist because there wasn’t such a thing as IVF back then, but the technology exists,” she says. “It’s possible for single women to become mothers. And now society accepts that. It’s possible for couples who have fertility issues. It’s possible for same-sex couples.” She’s hopeful the circle of tolerance will continue to grow. “I think single, straight dads are the last frontier in terms of being accepted, but I think society will get there.”Storytelling can accelerate this acceptance. Together Together shows that a single man’s desire to become a parent is just as natural as anyone else’s.“There are certain cultural stigmas that the closer you look at them, the more irrational they become,” Helms says. I think this is one of them. Thankfully Nikole has put a real magnifying glass on this particular narrative in our culture. And to the extent that it neutralizes any of that stigma, I’m incredibly proud of the movie.”Together Together is currently playing in theaters. It comes out on VOD May 11.For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube! More

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    10 Best Supplements for Men Who Work Out

    Most men associate supplements with improved health. But supplements are just that—a means to supplement your diet. They aren’t going to make a significant impact on your health and fitness unless there are known deficiencies or you’re not meeting your needs through your diet. So before adding a slew of supplements to your regimen, think about if you’re consuming a balanced and varied diet first, then consider where supplements might be able to help. When deciding what to take, note what your goals are, or what you’re trying to achieve. Here, we outline the best supplements for men who work out to bolster their overall health and fitness. Before we get started, note that most companies provide lofty claims that aren’t backed by science or research. And therein lies the real danger with the supplement industry: It’s not tightly regulated by the FDA and there are a lot of dangerous supplements out there that can have detrimental effects on your health versus actually helping you.I categorize supplements into two main categories: foundational and ergogenic supplements. Foundational supplements (like the ones on this list) are ones that can be beneficial from a maintenance and preventative health perspective. Ergogenic supplements are substances or supplements that may enhance energy production, use, or recovery and provide athletes or active individuals with a claimed competitive advantage.When evaluating the best supplements for men who work out, look to four main criteria: method of action, available research, adverse effects, and legality. I also suggest looking for supplements that are independently verified and tested for quality and accuracy of ingredients like NSF Certification and Informed Choice.Emerging science and technologies are making customized and individualized healthcare more readily available and affordable for most. Blind supplementation will become a thing of the past with companies like Rootine and Sun Genomics. Rootine optimizes your daily performance with precision nutrition. More than a standard multivitamin, it’s a comprehensive system designed to help you achieve your best health, featuring the first precision-crafted micronutrient formula informed by your individual lifestyle and health data (DNA and blood levels). The company provides a unique formulation that’s specific to you and your needs. This allows you to nourish your cells to build a more efficient, focused, and higher-performing version of yourself. Your microbiome is also unique and has a huge impact on your overall health. Sun Genomics uses DNA sequencing within your gut microbiome to customize a unique probiotic based on your goals and symptoms. Its custom formulation can help with digestion, increase energy, and reduce bloating while ultimately helping you perform at your best.Below, we’ve highlighted the top supplements for men who work out, why they’re good for you, and how much to take. Talk to your healthcare provider before adding anything to your daily diet.Jordan Mazur, MS, RD, is the director of nutrition and team dietitian for the San Francisco 49ers10 Best Supplements for Men Who Work OutKlean Athlete Klean-D 1000 Courtesy Image1. Vitamin DWhy it’s good for you: Vitamin D is a key factor in a number of functions in the human body. More studies need to be conducted, but current research suggests vitamin D supplementation might increase testosterone levels in men suffering from low amounts. It’s also been suggested to support heart and bone health, which is particularly important for older men. Vitamin D can also be synthesized through the skin via sun exposure, so getting 15 to 20 minutes of sun exposure a day can help synthesize vitamin D, however, oftentimes this is limited depending on where you live geographically and seasonally.How much to take: The RDA for men 19 to 50 years old is 600 IU/day in the D3 form, but recent research suggests higher amounts (1500 to 2000 IU/Day) might be more appropriate, but depends largely on your current vitamin D status. Ask your doctor to get an accurate vitamin D level from your blood and base your supplementation off that.Best brand to try: Klean Athlete Klean-D 1000Thorne Magnesium Courtesy Image2. MagnesiumWhy it’s good for you: Magnesium is a mineral crucial to overall wellness and has a number of functions in the human body including nerve function, blood glucose control, protein synthesis, regulating circadian rhythms, and more. Magnesium helps your body absorb certain nutrients, such as calcium, and is thought to have a calming effect on the body. According to the USDA, about half the U.S. adult population may have insufficient magnesium intakes to support nutritional adequacy.How much to take: The RDA for men 19 to 30 is 400 mg per day and men 31 to 50 is 420 mg per dayBest brand to try: Thorne MagnesiumNordic Naturals Ultimate Omega 2X Courtesy Image3. Omega-3 Fish Oil (EPA/DHA)Why it’s good for you: Omega-3 fatty acids are a classification of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Within this family there are three main types that are important: DHA, EPA, and ALA. EPA and DHA are important to consume in your diet because your body can synthesize them. The main food source is fish, but if you don’t eat fish two to three times per week, this is where supplementation can help. Fish oils are well-known to have a number of researched benefits including boosting heart health by improving risk factors for heart disease like high cholesterol, triglyceride levels, and blood pressure. They can help fight long-term inflammation, and promote proper inflammatory responses and recovery. They can also help joint health by helping to improve range of motion and reduce morning stiffness.How much to take: 1,000 to 3,000 mg of combined Omega-3 EPA/DHA dailyBest brand to try: Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega 2XFloré by Sun Genomics Balance Courtesy Image4. ProbioticsWhy it’s good for you: In the most basic sense, probiotics are living microorganisms intended to have beneficial health effects when consumed. Collectively there are billions of living bacteria in the human body that make up what we call the microbiome. There are good and bad bacteria in the human body that have a number of functions and outcomes on our health. The microbiome is ever-changing and is completely unique to each individual based on environmental interactions, medication use, autoimmune disease, and many other factors. With having such an impact on health, consuming them regularly is important for maintaining your microbiome.How much to take: Depends on the product, but consume probiotics dailyBest brand to try: Flore by Sungenomics are completely customized probiotics for you based on a Complete Gut Microflora Test, formulated based on your needs, and shipped straight to you.Thorne Meriva-SF Courtesy Image5. CurcuminWhy it’s good for you: Curcumin is the most potent, naturally occurring, anti-inflammatory ingredient found in turmeric. Short term inflammation increases in your body as a healing measure, but chronic inflammation can be disruptive to healthy cellular processes. This can help combat the latter.How much to take: 1,500 mg to 2,000 mg of curcumin with 15-20 mg of piperine per day. Or, try supplementing with Meriva, a patented and highly absorbed form of curcumin; take 400 to 1,000 mg per day.Best brand to try: Thorne Meriva-SFLMNT Elemental Labs Electrolyte Mix Courtesy Image6. ElectrolytesWhy it’s good for you: Electrolytes are simply a group of minerals in the human body that have an electric charge. They have many functions to maintain homeostasis. Two of these are regulating fluid balance and muscle contractions, which is why these are among the best supplements for men who work out. Our kidneys do most of the work to maintain fluid balance and, if consuming a healthy diet, electrolyte supplements might not be needed. However, everyone’s sweat concentration is different (this is where you lose a lot of your electrolytes). In this case, some men might need an electrolyte boost especially if you’re a heavy sweater, salty sweater, or do a lot of work in hot, humid climates. Sodium is the main electrolyte lost followed by chloride and to some extent potassium and magnesium. It’s important to know your personal sweat rate to know if an electrolyte supplement is right for you.How much to take: It depends, but make sure your electrolyte supplement contains sodium, chloride, potassium, and magnesium. However, be careful of over-supplementation of electrolytes, especially calcium and sodium. Check out the NIH database for the RDA and Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL) for each mineral to make sure your intake falls within the recommended ranges.Best brands to try: LMNT Elemental Labs Electrolyte Mix and Liquid IVPure Encapsulations Zinc 15 Courtesy Image7. ZincWhy it’s good for you: Zinc is an essential mineral. For men, when zinc levels are low, testosterone and insulin sensitivity can dip. Zinc can also play a role in reducing the duration of the common cold. It’s lost through sweat, so it’s important to get an adequate intake.How much to take: There are two standard dosages, but the low dose at 5 to 10 mg per day works well from a preventative standpoint.Best brand to try: Pure Encapsulations Zinc 15Metamucil 3-in-1 Fiber Supplement Courtesy Image8. FiberWhy it’s good for you: Dietary fiber is essential for a healthy diet and regularity. Fiber can be found in the foods we eat—fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. But let’s be honest, not everyone is consistent with getting those foods in regularity. There are two main types of fiber, soluble and insoluble fiber, and both are needed to normalize bowel movements, lower cholesterol levels, control blood sugar, and achieve a healthy weight. If you lack foods that are highest in fiber in your daily diet, consider taking a fiber supplement in a capsule or powder form.How much to take: Adult men 50 and younger should consume 38 grams per day and men over the age of 50 should consume 30 grams according to the Institute of Medicine.Best brand to try: Thorne FiberMend or Metamucil 3-in-1 Fiber SupplementKlean Athlete Creatine Courtesy Image9. CreatineWhy it’s good for you: Creatine is a molecule found in the human body that can be produced from amino acids. It stores high energy phosphate groups, which are used to convert to ATP, or energy. Creatine might be one of the most studied supplements on this list with the most efficacy for use to improve strength and power output in strength training. There’s some minor evidence to suggest it may help with anaerobic running capacity as well. Many of the raised concerns about creatine being unsafe are unfounded and not supported by research. Creatine is considered very safe to consume, and creatine monohydrate appears to be the most cost-effective form for men compared to other forms of creatine. If you’re training, this is among the best supplements for men who work out.How much to take: 5 grams per day during training phasesBest brand to try: Klean Athlete CreatineGainful Protein Powder Courtesy Image10. Protein Powder (Whey or Plant Based)Why it’s good for you: Protein is one of the most popular supplements, and there are hundreds of brands out there. Protein powders, whether it’s whey, casein, pea protein, or more, are a great and convenient way to get the amino acids needed throughout the day or as a meal replacement. Although they aren’t necessary, they’re a great option around your meals to make sure you’re getting your protein requirements throughout the day, especially around your workouts.How much to take: 20 to 40 grams post-workout or throughout the dayBest brand to try: Gainful customizes a blend based on your individual goals and preferences, matching you with a whey, plant-based, or keto protein powder blend.For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube! More

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    Healthy Coffee Additives to Supercharge Your Cup of Joe

    Coffee is one of the top beverages consumed around the world (other than water, of course). It’s routine for most—and somewhat of a religion to others. It helps you power through the afternoon slump and get amped for a workout. Coffee alone has many benefits, but can also get a bad rap due to its caffeine content. Coffee contains magnesium and potassium, which helps the human body use insulin, regulating blood sugar levels. Coffee is the best natural source of caffeine and, in moderation (one to three cups a day), helps you focus and can even improve mental alertness. Coffee and espresso also contain some of the highest natural sources of antioxidants that can help protect your body from free radicals. But creamers can turn healthy coffee into a sugar bomb.

    If you’re looking to get even more benefits out of your daily cup of Joe (cause why not?), there are many functional ingredients that can be added to increase nutrients. From cinnamon to collagen, take a look at some of the best functional powders and ingredients for a healthy coffee boost.

    Healthy Coffee Additives to Supercharge Your Java

    Courtesy Image1. MUDWTR
    Recommended serving: 1 tablespoon daily
    Why it’s good for you: MUDWTR is a unique mix of all-organic ingredients: cacao, masala chai, turmeric, cinnamon, and sea salt, and chaga, cordyceps, reishi, and lion’s mane mushrooms. Although they suggest this blend can be used as a coffee alternative for those looking to limit caffeine, it can be used as an extra boost to coffee as well. The delicious blend of ingredients provides many researched functional benefits including enhanced mood, mental performance, recovery, and immune support, as well as reduced inflammation and overall health.
    [$40 ;]
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    Courtesy Image2. Respect des Fonds Focus
    Recommended serving: 1 scoop daily
    Why it’s good for you: Respect Focus is a mixture of potent adaptogens to help boost your overall mental clarity and cognition. This complex blend boasts powerful extracts including astragalus (herb), organic ashwagandha root (Ayurvedic herb), lion’s mane mushroom (adaptogen), shilajit, schisdandra berry, bacopa (herb), rhodiola (herb), and L-theanine (amino acid). Although you may have trouble pronouncing those ingredients, the function of them will help you focus and provide mental clarity.
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    Courtesy Image3. Hanah Life Coffee Boost
    Recommended serving: 1 rounded teaspoon daily
    Why it’s good for you: Hanah coffee boost is a blend of herbal nootropics, compounds thought to boost cognitive function. Amp up your morning coffee with ashwagandha, caopa monnieri, and macuna pruriens. These three ingredients can help improve focus and concentration, alleviate stress, and help calm the nervous system. It also helps ease the spike-and-crash effect caffeine can have.
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    Courtesy Image4. Suwink Cacao Clarity
    Recommended serving: 1 teaspoon daily
    Why it’s good for you: Cacao Clarity is packed with natural caffeine-free energizers like maca, reishi and lion’s mane with cinnamon and cacao for rich flavor. The powder provides a natural boost of clarity and focus without an energy crash. It mixes well into your favorite coffee (hot or cold) for some plant-powered wellness.
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    Courtesy Image5. Momentous Collagen Peptides
    Recommended serving: 1 scoop daily
    Why it’s good for you: This product combines two high-quality collagen sources, as well as vitamin C, which improves absorption. Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins found in the human body, ensuring the strength, elasticity, and regeneration of our connective tissues, including skin, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and bones. The amino acids needed for collagen synthesis are different from the amino acids needed for muscle synthesis, therefore it may be beneficial to add to your coffee routine.
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    Courtesy Image6. Laird Superfood Creamer with Functional Mushrooms
    Recommended serving: 1 tablespoon daily
    Why it’s good for you: This powder combines the power of chaga, cordyceps, lion’s mane, and maitake mushrooms. The nutrients from these mushrooms have been used for hundreds of years and have been studied for their support of the immune system, athletic performance, energy, cognition, and overall health and vitality. Laid Superfood Creamers also contain a full range of MCT’s. It’s an easy addition to your coffee to contribute to overall wellness and keep your body and mind fueled.
    [From $12;]
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    Courtesy Image
    7. Raw, Organic Ceylon Cinnamon
    Cinnamon has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It contains many phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and antioxidants that make it one of the most beneficial spices—plus it tastes great in coffee. Ceylon cinnamon is less common than cassia cinnamon. They appear to be similar in health benefits, however cassia contains a lot of coumarin, which can be toxic in large quantities. It’s safer to choose ceylon if you eat a lot of cinnamon.
    [From $14;]
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    Courtesy Image8. Raw, Organic Fair-Trade Cocoa
    In addition to its amazing flavor, cocoa has over 40 times the antioxidant value of blueberries, making it the highest plant-based source of iron (non-heme, so must be paired with vitamin C). It’s a great source of magnesium, and can help as a natural mood elevator and antidepressant.
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    Courtesy Image9. Raw Turmeric Root
    Turmeric is well known for its wide range of benefits; it’s been found to help ease the symptoms of depression and arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties; calm gut issues; and may help your immune system and potentially alleviate signs of aging and free radical damage. Although the active ingredient, curcumin, is poorly absorbed, adding this to your coffee can potentially help if consistently taken.
    [From $10;]
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    Courtesy Image
    10. Organic Maca Root Powder
    Maca is a Peruvian plant and cruciferous vegetable in the same family as broccoli, cabbage, and kale. Maca has been used for generations for a number of studied benefits including boosting endurance and energy, improving mood, memory, helping fight free radicals and potentially even boosting libido and fertility. It has an earthy flavor and is an easy add to coffee.
    [From $23;]
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    The New Snack Down: Meet the Food and Drink Trends of 2021

    Say goodbye to whipped coffee and banana bread, and hello to the latest food and drink trends of 2021. The future of our pantry shelves are good for you and the environment. Ryan Andrews, RD, principal nutritionist and adviser at Precision Nutrition says he sees a pull toward more sustainability in our food practices and our choices overall, from pasture-raised animal products to eco-friendly packaging. Meanwhile, thanks to a year of waking up to health reminders, Robin Foroutan, RDN, integrative medicine dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says we’re also putting our well-being at the top of the grocery list. Here are the food trends blowing up—and the best ways to taste them.

    Earth-Friendly Upcycling
    The World Food Program World Food Programestimates that one-third of the planet’s food is lost or wasted every year. (The average American trashes 20 pounds each month.) Andrews says a new wave of forward-thinking snack brands are upcycling undesirable and leftover food byproducts into irresistible munchies. For example, addictingly crunchy ReGrained Super-grain+ Puffs are made from the spent grain of brewed beer.
    [$20, 5-pack;]
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    Legumes Reimagined
    First kimchi was all the rage, now good ol’ reliable beans are joining the alternative snacks party. “Legumes are sustainable, health-promoting and tasty,” says Andrews. Plus they’re part of another major movement: plant-based eating. Fiber and protein keep you full longer, while powerful nutrients ward off disease. Brami’s pickled lupini beans have 50 percent more protein than chickpeas and 80 percent fewer calories than almonds.
    [$17, 4-pack;]
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    Punchy Spice Blends
    Herbs and spices will take you to Flavortown without torching your taste buds like some hot sauces can. Bonus: Most of these blends are packed with disease-fighting antioxidants, says Foroutan. A big trend for 2021 is artisanal fusions. Try Asian-influenced umami mixes. Or Mexican-inspired adobo spices, like SpiceWalla Al Pastor Rub, in which ancho and guajillo chilli powder lend a slow burn that’s mellowed by pineapple and citrus.
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    Diversified Grains, Seeds and Greens
    Go all-in on trendy whole grains like teff, spelt and sorghum; seeds like chia and sunflower; and while you’re at it, swap kale for collards. To achieve variety that yields superfood levels of vitamins and minerals, reach for Go Raw’s Sprouted Organic Mixed Seeds. The pumpkin, sunflower and watermelon seed medley is nutrient-dense due to the sprouted germination process, which breaks down some starch.
    [$80, 6-pack;]
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    Premium Coffee
    Prioritize fair-trade beans; they’ve met standards that help the environment and ensure workers are treated well and paid fairly. Also, expect to see more coffee products mixed with adaptogens—plant compounds thought to armor the body against biological and physical stressors. Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee boasts ashwagandha, chaga mushroom and more adaptogenic ingredients known to lower stress and spike immunity.
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    A New Book Finds the Culprit Behind Shrinking Penises and Suicidal Sperm

    We know that environmental pollutants can lead to cancer, heart disease, and brain damage, but now one scientist is linking them to shrinking penises.

    Yep, you read that right. In her new book Count Down, reproductive epidemiologist Shanna Swan, Ph.D., argues that the downsizing of one particular male organ can be connected to everyday chemicals. If that’s not sobering enough for you, the book’s subtitle is How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race.
    Courtesy ImageIf Swan’s name sounds familiar, it may be due to the 2017 study she helped conduct that found that, in Western countries, men’s sperm counts have dropped by more than half over nearly 40 years.

    What’s to blame for shrinking penises
    In the case of penises getting smaller, Count Down puts the blame on a group of chemicals known as phthalates.
    Phthalates can be found in plastic, vinyl, floor and wall coverings, medical devices, and toys. They’re also an ingredient in hair sprays, soaps, and shampoos. You may have used a product with phthalates in the shower this morning.

    According to research, exposure to high concentrates of phthalates in mothers can alter male reproductive development in infants. Early data suggest that men whose mothers were exposed to high levels of phthalates have reduced testicular volume, which associates with lower testicular function.
    “It’s an unfortunate cluster of effects, from multiple perspectives,” Swan writes in the book.

    In addition, young men with high levels of metabolized phthalates have poorer sperm mobility and form. They’re also at risk for sperm apoptosis, which is another way of saying sperm suicide.
    Swan writing that “It’s safe to assume that no man wants to hear that his sperm are self-destructing,” may be, at least, one of the understatements of the decade.
    Phthalates are not only bad for men, as high levels of exposure are equally as harmful to women. Premature ovarian failure, hormonal disorders, and early menopause are just some of the effects on women.

    What happens next
    Swan says that she wrote the book to illustrate the harmful effects of chemical exposure. At the moment, some companies have voluntarily phased out use of phthalates, while the European Union is planning to do so in the future. Currently, the U.S. has no plans to regulate the chemicals.
    While Count Down came out recently, some are suggesting that it might lead more people, especially men, to action. Linking to an article on the book, climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted “See you all at the next climate strike:)”

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    Best Infrared Light Devices for Hair Loss, Workout Recovery, and More

    For at least a decade, doctors, physiotherapists, and chiropractors have used infrared light therapy to heal injured muscles and treat conditions like Parkinson disease, depression, and even cancer. Now, the benefits are not just for the lettered. You can buy at-home infrared light devices to help manage everything from injuries to blood pressure, hair loss to wrinkles. Question is, while infrared light devices promise to be a medical panacea, they cost thousands of dollars. Are they worth it?
    The devices vary in size, shape, and function, but all use infrared LED lights, either invisible near infrared (NIR) or visible red infrared (RI). No one is entirely sure what these lights do in the human body, but scientists believe they penetrate our cells, activating the mitochondria, our cells’ power plant. Energizing these mitochondrion make cells healthier, encouraging repair processes.NASA started studying artificial light therapy in the 1980s and the research has increased in recent years with improvements in LED light technology. Anecdotal and scientifically gathered data links NIR and RI to all kinds of health and healing benefits, but the research is limited in scale, says Brent Bauer, research director for the Integrative Medicine Program at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.“We’re still waiting for reliable, large-scale studies to validate some of these claims,” he says. “Until we have some good-quality studies that evaluate both the efficacy and safety of these new devices, caution is prudent.”He does acknowledge NIR and RI light are different than the kind of skin-damaging energy used in tanning beds or solar UV rays. Used moderately, there are few side effects or risks associated with infrared light devices.Weighed against the growing list of benefits, it’s worth taking a closer look at some of the options available. Here are the top options to consider. More

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    Eat This Exact Fruit-to-Vegetable Ratio Every Day to Live Longer

    It’s no secret eating five servings of fruits and vegetables is a boon for your overall health and well-being. We’ve known that for years. But it’s always been a little vague in terms of the breakdown. In a new study from the American Heart Association, published in Circulation, there’s actually an optimal ratio of fruits to vegetables that can help you live longer.

    Turns out two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables is the sweet spot. The study was based on health data, including dietary feedback, from more than 100,000 people over 30 years. Those results were combined with data on fruit and vegetable intake in corroboration with death from 26 international studies representing 1.9 million people.
    Analysis of the combined studies associated five servings of produce each day with the lowest risk of death. Interestingly, eating more than five servings did not provide additional benefits. The study found some powerful numbers that back up their findings. For example, participants who had a “5-a-day” diet had a 13 percent lower risk of death from all causes, a 12 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, a 10 percent lower risk of death from cancer, and a 35 percent lower risk of death from respiratory disease.

    Of course, the diet only works if you follow it. But, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only one in 10 adults eat enough fruits and vegetables. So, if you want to live a little longer, spend some more time in the produce section. And, just to be clear, the researchers pointed out that fruit juices and starchy vegetables such as peas, corn, and potatoes should not count toward your five servings (sorry).

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    Tony Horton's New Supplement Line Might Be the Secret to Building Muscle Over 60

    Unless you were a hardcore convert, you probably know Tony Horton from the frenetic commercials that came out in the late aughts. The ones where he’s hawking his workout series in a dark room full of sweaty, shredded people. His 90-day “extreme” workouts presaged the era of high-intensity exercise programs (think: CrossFit and F45 Training) and helped thousands of people experience what a truly grueling workout can do for you, mentally and physically.

    Now, a bit older and a little humbled by recent illnesses, he’s back with a new line of supplements called Power Life. These heavily researched formulations helped him bounce back into almost-P90X shape, and he hopes they can help you achieve your fitness goals too, no matter your age. The line-up includes protein powders, wellness supplements, digestive aids, endurance and performance boosters, and a lean-muscle builder.
    We recently talked to Horton about his new line and what he has in store for the future of his fitness empire.

    Men’s Journal: After over a decade of success with your P90X workout program, you recently went through some pretty bad health issues. What was that like for you?
    Tony Horton: I got Ramsay Hunt [syndrome] about three years ago, in October 2017. I got really sick, lost about 25 pounds, then it took about six months for me to come out of that. I got shingles in my ear. One out of 100,000 people who get shingles, get it in their ear—and those people usually get Ramsay Hunt syndrome. [It] just describes the inability to walk and it affects smell, taste, vision, hearing, and balance. There are a lot of nerves that go into my brain that got fried—the fifth, sixth, and seventh facial nerves—so I had Bell’s palsy for about a month. I had terrible balance issues, nausea, vomiting, couldn’t eat, couldn’t drive, couldn’t work out, couldn’t get out of bed. It was just horrible.
    Courtesy ImageThat sounds like a nightmare—especially for someone so fit and active like yourself.
    It’s not fun… It goes on for weeks and weeks and weeks. And a lot of people who aren’t physically fit become recluse because the after-effects of Ramsay Hunt syndrome include something called bilateral vestibular hypofunction, which is vertigo that lasts forever for a lot of people who get it.
    Aside from overcoming this illness, what spurred you to create a supplement line?
    When I left Beachbody [who helped develop P90X with Horton], I was looking for new ventures. I always wanted my own supplement line for some of the things I thought I was missing. And as somebody who was getting older, it was [starting to get] really difficult to maintain my muscle mass. So I met with a great team of scientists and I explained my situation—that I still struggle with bouts of vestibular hypofunction that will probably never go away. I said, ‘What can you guys formulate for me to get me feeling better?’ There are a lot of boomers, which is what I am at 62 years old, that all suffer from sarcopenia—age-related muscle loss. It’s very hard to find a 75-year-old body builder because muscle mass is hard to maintain.

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    Did they create a solution?
    It was really a combination of looking at the research, seeing where the issues were, then looking at the formulations out there. [Most supplements] are subpar and don’t really do what they say. We started out with just whey and plant-based protein powders first. Studies were showing people weren’t getting enough decent protein. And this one formula they put in both the whey and plant-based proteins—with HMB [hydroxymethylbutyrate], vitamin D, and chromium—had made a huge difference in studies for people coming out of surgery and struggling with maintaining their muscle mass and strength. HMB and vitamin D help boost something called leucine. Leucine is one of the branched-chain amino acids, which is an important part of muscle building. These studies were done in older folks—older than me—who were coming out of surgery—and their recovery times were shortened by a ton. I remember when I first met with them, I was like, ‘Come on, is this for real?’ These were studies from very reputable places, so I thought, what happens if I actually started to really exercise hard too? I said, ‘Hey, I’ll be your guinea pig. Before we do anything, let me just try this stuff out.’ And it made a huge difference for me, especially after my illness. I was getting strong again.

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    Did you start to see and feel a difference?
    After a ski day in Jackson Hole, I was looking in the mirror going, holy crap, man—this was after taking it for two months. And I posted a picture, and I just was amazed. I definitely looked more jacked. I had gone up and stayed up in weight, and it was obviously some muscle weight. I noticed a difference in the gym and on the slopes. I’m not going to lie to you, I was in the gym working out three days a week, and I was skiing four or five days a week. I was also at altitude and running around town, but when I usually do that, I have to take days off of skiing. I get tired and I can’t perform as well in the gym. But I had this protein powder with me, going back and forth between the whey and the plant-based.
    Do you still take the protein powder regularly?
    Every day, without fail. Sometimes before and after exercising because my workout schedule changes. If I have an early 7 or 7:30 a.m. workout, I’ll just do the pre-workout formula and maybe a little creatine. If I’m doing cardio—I don’t do the creatine of course—I’ll have it immediately after the workout. And then days where I have a workout scheduled later, I’ll start those days with a bigger protein smoothie with blueberry, strawberries, pecans, walnuts, ice cubes, unsweetened flax seed milk, and protein powder.

    What other supplements did you develop to specifically address your problems?
    Based on some blood work, I found out I had a leaky gut. I didn’t even know what that was until I found out I had it. So we made Foundation Four, which is a great formula to help me deal with that. It’s a combination of prebiotics, probiotics, magnesium, fiber, and two servings of vegetables. From there we just keep on growing and got a great pre-workout formula called Performance, which has low amounts of caffeine—it doesn’t make you feel jittery and jacked up, which a lot of pre-workout formulas do.
    What else is in store for an aging-but-dedicated-to-fitness Tony Horton?
    Power Nation, a streaming fitness platform based on 90-day programs. We went through the first beta group with about 1,500 people from around the world, which was cool. We got really great feedback from different people and we completed Beta One. Now we’re in the middle of Beta Two. This is the start. There are four components, called the Power of Four. So it’s food, fitness, mindfulness, and supplementation—these are the four things I try to emphasize. We have mastermind groups, coaching offers, cooking videos, and live workouts. Those focus around dumbbells, bands, and a pullup bar. If you don’t have a pullup bar, which I know a lot of people don’t, we come up with alternatives. I also shot my first five workouts with Tonal back in October of last year. And now I’m in rehearsals this week and shooting next week for six more, which is really a blast. That’s keeping me pretty busy right now. I got rid of a bunch of [home gym] stuff I don’t need any more because Tonal does everything. The arms go every possible direction imaginable. So you can do goblet squats, biceps curls, military press, and triceps kickbacks…it’s just an amazing piece of technology. It’s something you think would have come out in 2050, and it’s already here.

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