The DNA Stories

Joe & The 44

The DNA test kit market was valued at $747 million in 2018 and is expected to grow 23% by 2027. Much of it is driven by services offered by companies like Ancestry.com and 23 and Me to meet the demand of a growing number of people interested in their ancestral family tree and DNA testing for health and fitness. Along the way, people are making discoveries about themselves and their ancestors that challenge and influence their identities and how they see themselves in the world.

This 4 part series of Life in HD examines the personal journeys and discoveries of people who have taken DNA test. These stories of self-discovery are in the storyteller’s own words and I sincerely appreciate their choice to share with us all. Everyone’s story is as unique as the force that drives them into the arms of history.

The first story of the 5 part series is Joe and The 44. It is my own journey to discover more about my ancestors, my heritage, and struggles with identity.

Music in the episode is Love Me Forever and I Used To Love Hip Hop by Audiobinger under Attribution Non-commercial license.

The Anderson family – Mary Anderson (my paternal 2nd great grandmother) at center
Maternal great grandparents Robert and Bessie Brodis
Parents and grand parents: Josephus & Helen Lee (L) – Joseph & Frances Lee (C) – Mordecai & Norma Brown (R)
Paternal great grandmother Lillian McGoines (far left) and paternal 2nd great grandmother Betty Coates on the right

The Beauty of What Remains

 As we enter 2021 and reflect on the year that passed, a new book reminds us to pause and reflect on the importance of life. We experienced quite a bit of loss in 2020. Loss of employment, loss of freedoms, loss of security, and the loss of friends and loved ones.

This episode is about focusing on what truly matters in life especially during uncertain times. In his book The Beauty of What Remains, Rabbi Steve Leder shares his own experience of love, regret, and pain in a more personal and intimate way than ever before. After experiencing the loss of his father he discovered how much of a life changing event it truly was. “In death we do not lose – we actually gain more than we ever imagined.”

Steve uses personal reflections and heart-warming stories to bring the reader into a conversation about what is important and urges us to live more meaningful, more beautiful lives that are less anxious and less frenetic.

The Beauty of What Remains is a heartfelt narrative filled with laughter and tears, wisdom, and ultimately, an acknowledgement of the profound truth that if we can understand death and loss, we can learn how to truly live. I hope you get something out of this conversation.

Wisdom

How we choose to approach a variety of issues in our lives often boils down to choices, and the choices we make may require a degree of mindfulness if we are to persevere in that moment. What we are talking about here is being wise. Applying wisdom to address existential and potential life-altering situations and questions.

When life’s disruptions surface unexpectantly, many of us don’t know what to do. We become anchored in fear. The fear of making the wrong decision or how that decision will impact our lives. Whether it’s losing a job, being faced with a career move, mending a broken heart, or feeling a lack of purpose, wisdom can help us navigate forward and push past our fears.

This episode of the Life In HD podcast features a conversation with personal development expert Gary John Bishop. You might remember him from from a previous episode on empowerment. Gary returns to the show to talk about applying wisdom to your life to help create a set of personal truths and perspectives that will become the foundation of your thinking and provide clarity where none exists. In his new book Wise As Fu*k, Gary provides insight that speaks to the 4 areas that touch us most…love, loss, fear, and success.

Pandemic Self-care

Four months into the Covid-19 social distancing, self-isolation lifestyle and we are definitely feeling the impact. The isolation, employment struggles, unknowns about schools and travel are exacting there toll in the form of stress and anxiety. A society esurient for normalcy, we attempt to gain control by developing new habits and adapting to new routines, not all of them good for us.

On this episode of the show, we visit again with health and weight loss coach Elizabeth Sherman to talk about ways to change our troubling behavior for the good and manage the stress and anxiety we are all experiencing.

The Power of Ritual

The symbolic behaviors we perform before, during, and after meaningful events are common across culture and time. Rituals are performed in an array of shapes and forms. At times performed in communal or religious settings; at times involving fixed, repeated sequences of actions, and at other times not.

We use rituals for a variety of reasons, like after experiencing losses or before public speaking, because we believe it increases our confidence and reduces our anxieties.

In the new book The Power of Ritual: Turning Everyday Activities Into Soulful Practices, author Casper Ter Kuile explores how we can nourish our souls by transforming common, everyday practices into rituals that can heal what he calls is an “increasing crisis of isolation” and help us feel more connected.

Take a listen to our conversation. If you like the podcast, please consider making a small donation to support the production efforts.







Fathers Day Reflection

My girls Hadiya and Imani

My wife and I have long had a running joke as parents. That is that our main job was to keep our children off of the therapist couch. And if they did find themselves there, it wouldn’t be because of us.

In all seriousness, being a father has been a great joy. There have been up and downs, lessons learned, and hard truths. And despite what the greeting cards say, there are no perfect dads. What’s important is that we recognize the growth opportunities as parents and embrace those opportunities to become better mothers and fathers to our children.

On this episode of the Life in HD podcast, I take the opportunity to have a chat with my daughters about their dad and their experiences being my daughters. I also speak with my own father about his experiences with his father and his retrospective view of having children.

It’s an honest and, sometimes, cringe-worthy exploration of my relationships as a father and son.







Managing Stress and Anxiety During COVID-19

Credit: Shutterstock

It’s human to feel stress, especially when our day-to-day lives don’t look or feel the same as they used to. Sometimes stress can lead us to respond in unhelpful ways, like turning to food or alcohol for comfort.

And with Covid-19, stress and anxiety go hand-in-hand. So how do we manage it all? For starters, everyone needs to look after one’s own basic needs to stay mentally healthy in a stressful time.

While the anxiety many people are feeling about Covid-19 can be magnified in those who are most vulnerable to it (adults over 60 and those with underlying conditions) we are all feeling the impact that policies like shelter-in-place are having on our psyche.

On this episode of the podcast, I speak with Licensed Professional Counselor, author, and life coach Katherine Jansen-Byrkit. Katherine received her Masters in Public Health from the University of Washington in 1992 and spend over a decade in public health managing violence prevention and teen health programs.

Katherine published her first book, River to Ocean: Living in the Flow of Wakefulness last year. It reflects the human voyage of finding your way to an awakened self. Press play on the media player to listen to the conversation.

Date night included hard shell crabs and Manhattans.

Tips for Self-Care

  1. Eat healthy foods – make sure that you have food options that don’t weigh you down or cause you to gain weight during a period of inactivity.
  2. Stay physically active – build a daily exercise routine. You don’t need a well equipped home gym. Find some routines on the internet.
  3. Get regular sleep. Keep to your regular sleep routine and avoid over sleeping or not getting enough sleep.
  4. Create a sense of structure and routine in daily life while self-quarantining.
  5. Connect socially with friends and family while maintaining physical distance. Create special moments (like date night) to break up the monotony. Or cocktails with friends via video conferencing.

For more information on Katherine and her work, visit Innergy Counseling.

Corona-Conscious Eating

Sea Bass, salad, and soup

You’ve been ordered to shelter in place.  But for how long?  Days?  Weeks?  Months? 

So you’ve followed the herd, bum-rushed the grocery story, gobbled up all the toilet paper, food and snacks that you could get your hands on in preparation for the long haul.  My guess is, you didn’t have time to thoughtfully plan out your meals, right?  Not that the other shoppers in the store left you many options.

The memes and jokes all over social media show American’s concerns with being sedentary for the immediate future, over-eating and mindless munching to help pass the time of day.  So we’re going to offer some tips on how to survive the COVID19 shelter in place dilemma and come out on the other side healthy, happy, and ready to resume your normal life when things finally get back to normal.

On this episode, it’s all about making food choices that are good for you.

My guest today is Sophie Egan,  the Director of Health and Sustainability Leadership for the Strategic Initiatives Group at the Culinary Institute of America…  And author of the book How to be a Conscious Eater: Making Food Choices That Are Good for You, Others, and the Planet.

We had a great conversation on making healthy and conscious choices for building a proper pantry, choosing good processed foods and healthy proteins. We also talk about how our food choices impact the planet and other people around the globe. Take a listen to the conversation by hitting the “play” button on the audio player.

How To Be A Conscious Eater is a great resource for living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.  It cuts through the noise and conflicting information and offers an easy to remember, holistic guide for making smart decisions about food consumption.    No diets, no fads, or hard-fast rules.  Just a straightforward way of eating for you, and good for others and the planet. 

As Sophie reminds us in How To Be A Conscious Eater, keep your eyes on the prize: your general health.  Rather than fixating on specific nutrients or trying out strict diets over the short term, the best bet for a lifetime of healthy eating is to enjoy the flavorful and diverse options included in a dietary pattern with lots of evidence behind its long-term health benefits, such as flexitarian eating.  Remember as a rule of thumb, most of the healthiest foods don’t have food labels.  Keeps this in mind during your next run on the grocery store to stock up on COVID19 survival supplies.

To view Sophie Egan’s town hall presentation, see the YouTube video here.

Weird Love

Royalty-free stock photo ID: 1489155659

Ever been in a relationship that hit a dry patch? Perhaps you are in one now. One that feels routine and mundane. No matter how much you love your partner or how wonderful you think your relationship is, things can often get a little boring. Healthy, happy relationships exist when partners work to bring out the best in each other. Relationships that are based on mutual respect and admiration. And let’s not forget about fun.

On today’s show, guest Boaz Frankel says sometimes you just have to get a little weird…together. The filmmaker, writer, and talk show host, along with his wife Brooke Barker, author of New York Times bestseller Sad Animal Facts, talks about embracing the eccentricities and weirdness of their personalities and relationship in their co-authored book Let’s Be Weird Together.

Let’s Be Weird Together is a fun book with quirky illustrations. It’s a rare relationship book that captures the rituals and micro universes that couples create together, in a sweet, fun package filled with humor and endearing quirkiness. They discovered that not only do they bring out the best in each other, they also bring out the weirdness too. Click the play button on the player to hear more about Let’s Get Weird Together and my conversation with Boaz Frankel. Be sure to follow the podcast on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you get your audio content.

Be Younger Next Year

Younger Next Year is in its 2nd edition

Happy New Year! Life in HD is back in action with a useful episode designed to get your fitness goals on track!

This episode is all about slowing down the aging process. Can you turn back your biological clock? Chris Crowley, one of the co-authors of the book Younger Next Year, says absolutely you can.

If your new year resolution to lose weight has already hit a snag, try changing the goal of losing weight (a short-term goal) to one where you focus on getting fit and staying fit for the rest of your life.

Chris Crowley, who in his mid 80’s was preparing to take a trip to ski Black Diamond slopes when I spoke with him, says that by taking control of our physical fitness and nutrition, we can prevent 70% of the normal problems associated with aging including weakness, sore joints, and bad balance. By exercising 6 days a week, we can eliminate 50% of serious illness and injury, and become 10% smarter. He and his co-author, Henry S. Lodge, MD, access numerous studies and research data to provide the science of aging and what we can do to live strong, fit, sexy, and smart until we are 80 and beyond.

I spoke with Chris for this episode of Life in HD to go through some tips for getting our fitness on track.

For more information on Younger Next Year, visit here.

Music for today’s show is Ride Out by Audiobinger under Creative Commons Attribution non-commercial license.

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