Monday, November 1, 2010

A teraplace

I spent this past weekend at The Clearing in Door County, WI. The Clearing is a teraplace for me – one of those places that is beautiful and earthy and authentic and thoughtful.  A place to linger and draw strength from.

I was in a writer’s workshop.  Our instructor was Jerry Apps, a prolific writer who became even more prolific after he retired from the University of Wisconsin.  He writes historical books with titles like The Barns of Wisconsin, and fiction, historical or otherwise, with titles like Cranberry Red.  Jerry is one of those wise people with a gift for making everyone feel acknowledged in his class.  Many of the people in the class were also retired or retiring, and intend to write about their lives.  They told stories of romantic trysts 50 years prior, the Normandie landing, going to the barn to milk cows because the cow's udders kept them warmer than they were in the house.

Jerry and his class got me thinking about how this generation of retirees is changing how we all see retirement.  Gone are the days (we hope) when people retire to a rocking chair at 65.  Jerry has probably written at least 10 books since he retired.  Jimmy Carter is still tromping around the world for his Carter Foundation overseeing elections or building Habitat for Humanity houses.  My own grandfather lived to be 100 and was still doing sales calls for his former business when he was 75.

The one thing that could in fact make this generation the last to live longer than its predecessor, despite all of the medical advances, is, paradoxically, nutrition.  Until now, we were living longer because we had better nutrition.  But theirs is the last generation to grow up on pre-industrialized, pre-chemical laden food. My generation had cheetos and twinkies from the get-go, which means that not only is my generation more likely to be obese, it is also more likely to face health problems that result from obesity and the chemical adulteration that has accumulated in our bodies.

One of the things I’m most proud of in creating teraswhey is that I am contributing, in my small way, to making a better option available to us as we age.  Pub Med is constantly publishing the results of new scientific research that is showing a myriad of benefits for older people of drinking whey protein.  We all know that whey protein helps muscle protein synthesis.  This is as important for the elderly as it is for athletes because as our bodies age, they begin to breakdown muscle protein faster than they synthesize it.  (It’s why grandma shrank as she got older).  Whey protein also helps enhance the body’s immune system.  In trials with the elderly with broken hips, whey protein after the surgery helped increase their IGF-1 levels in 1 week.  Had they used whey protein before hand, the bone deterioration could have been markedly different.

Sometimes we just need people like Jerry to remind us what is possible, and products like teraswhey to help us make it real.

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