s ’ y a d o T Vol.6 No.3
Getting Fit for Fall Health, Wealth, Mind & Everything in Between Wall Street’s Solution to Every Problem: Cut Social Security Old Enough for Sex: The Complicated Sex Life of Boomers Boomer Healthy Eating: Yummy Yakitori: Japanese Kabob Boomer Travel: America’s Best Cities Fit for Fall Travel
10 Smart Financial Steps to a Comfortable Retirement F– Being Old: Why is Physical
Activity As We Age A Big Deal? Today’s BoomeR
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2 Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s BoomeR
This Issue August / September 2017 Volume 6, Number 3
America’s Cities Fit for Fall
’s y a d To Founders: John Vardallas & Alexandra Maragha
Wall Street’s Solution to Every Problem: Cut Social Security
Editor-In-Chief: Alexandra Maragha
Contributing Writers :
5 Mantras for a More Happier You
Boomer Health & Fitness: 12 Best Workouts for Your Body Old Enough For Sex
The Complicated Sex Life of Boomers
10 Smart Financial Steps 19 To a Comfortable Retirement New Blog: F-Being Old
Motion is Lotion! “Why is Physical Activity as We Age a Big Deal?”
Boomer Healthy Eating
Yakatori; Japan’s Answer to the Kebab
Chef Eben Atwater: Healthy Eating Advertising: Team For Letters to the Editor, articles and feedback as well as advertising inquiries email Alexandra@TheAmericanBoomeR.com
The American BoomeR.com John Vardallas CEO/Founder Professional Speaker Business/Lifestyle Strategist Boomer Sage and Blogger JohnVardallas@TheAmericanBoomeR.com (608) 577-8707 Alexandra Maragha Founder & Editor-In-Chief Today’s BoomeR Alexandra@TheAmericanBoomeR.com Today’s BoomeR Vol.6 No.3 Today’s BoomeR is published six times (Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/ June, July/Aug, Sept/Oct, Nov/Dec) a year by The American BoomeR.com 769 North Star Drive (Suite 207) Madison, WI 53718 All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
The American Boomer @American_Boomer Today’s BoomeR 3
’s y a d To
meFIT; The next shift in American Culture Getting “fit” can be understood in many ways and while this issue only touches on some of those ways, the deeper meaning has emerged as a crucial point in American society at this time, not just for baby boomers, but for all. In the individualistic society that we live and function in, there is little accountability for the individual among the masses. We indulge as a culture in politics and news and trends and base our every day routines on the collective interactions and routines that as zoomed out further, only show an existence of a group or mass society on the verge of massive dysfunction. Whatever policy or political spectrum that one holds, or does not, or how involved or disengaged one is in the mass collective of routine and daily patterns that were established and shifting of workforce and culture since (feature) p. 10 post WWII, the main point of being fit is that we all must rely on ourselves to stay “fit”. Government, society, groups, norms and cultural identities and elements no longer have the norm of catering to the individual because the individual is at a loss as just one collective whole, based on any affiliation that is self determined or collectively labeled, and as Baby Boomers especially face the challenges and obligations simply based on their age alone, it is key to be fit mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, and everything else in between to maintain hope for an ongoing and manageable lifestyle. There is a story that I was told and it is fitting and the honest truth. A man died and left millions but had no wife or children to inherit. His next of kin was distant relatives who came to the court to collect and settle the inheritance. As the judge was making the provisions, he asked each of the three relatives why don't they build a place of worship in his name to give the man a legacy, as he was a good person and that only a small portion of the money they inherited would be needed to do so. Each of the three relatives paused and simply replied, “If he had the intention and money to do so, he should have done it for himself in life and in death.”
The moral that hits me is that no matter how good and how much of a reputation and the good you do for others, the only one that will take care of YOU, in life (and afterlife), is YOU! Don’t rely on a paycheck that might never come or fall shortsighted that the company you have worked for 10 years or more at will still be around or be able to provide health coverage, pensions, or anything to contribute to retirement. Times have changed and are only changing to shake the individual to become a collective mass without accountability or responsibility to truly take care anymore. The new generation, for all generations, is Generation Take Care of Me!
p. Alexandra Maragha Editor-In-Chief
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America’s Best Cities Fit for Fall Travel Katrina Brown Hunt, Travel & Leisure
Festivals, harvest-season goodies, and lower prices: in these cities, fall travel is both savvy and sublime. Even bears prefer Chicago during the autumn. “It's cooler, the trees on Michigan Avenue are turning colors, and it's a great time to visit Brookfield and Lincoln Park zoos," says Lillian Polz, the head of a Chicago marketing firm. "The animals that were lethargic during the summer—like the bears and big cats—are all in their best winter coats and are much more lively." No doubt, the crisp air and vibrant fall foliage can put a spring in your step. And for travelers, autumn offers added incentives: summer crowds have dissipated, hotel rates have wafted downward, and in many cities, the best local experiences are ready to shine. In San Diego, you can find the most summery temperatures of the year, along with emptier beaches and better surf. In Portland, OR, you can taste the city’s famed microbrews at their fresh-hops best. And in Orlando, FL, you might get downright teary-eyed at the significantly shorter lines for Space Mountain. Then, of course, there's the seasonal scenery. "Santa Fe is at its most beautiful and arresting in autumn," says Melissa Carl, who does cultural excursions with Curious Oyster Seminars. "The weather remains brilliant, and the changing of the leaves makes for an almost sublime experience. A quick drive up to the Santa Fe ski basin, when all the aspens are in color, is like living in a Georgia O'Keeffe painting." Today’s BoomeR 5
New York City For just one version of pastoral bliss in Central Park, head to the meadow by Belvedere Castle, which gets covered with red leaves from the black tupelo trees—or book a Central Park-facing room at the Mandarin Oriental New York. Heading downtown, explore the latest stretch of the High Line—the park space created out of old
elevated rail tracks— Music City lives up to its nickname particularly well in fall, when it between hosts the Independent Music Festival and the Americana Festival. 30th and Indeed, the biggest parties in Nashville increasingly reflect the city’s 34th love affair with southern, farm-to-table cuisine. The Music City Food streets. & Wine Festival features cooking demos from Iron Chef Masaharu Well into Morimoto and musical multitasker Trisha Yearwood. And, as a October, reminder that not every lyrical turn of phrase in this town is belted you can out, the nearly 20-year-old Southern Festival of Books returns in enjoy its October. seasonal Portland, ME food kiosks, such as Blue To see the best local foliage, hike up Bradbury Mountain, just Bottle Cofoutside town, or pedal around using the bike-share program fee or The Zagster. After all, some exercise amid the foliage is a convenient Taco Truck. way to rationalize all of the good eating to be done in this lobster-filled city. Dig in at October’s acclaimed foodie-palooza Santa Harvest on the Harbor. Highlights include the showcase of samples Barbara, CA at the Grand Tasting on the Harbor, and the Maine Lobster Chef of It’s long been called the American Riviera, and, like its French the Year competition—where, happily, audience members get to cousin, this SoCal city enjoys a tony summer season. But come fall, taste and vote alongside the professional judges. hotel prices plummet—weekend rates at the legendary Four Seasons Biltmore, for instance, drop by nearly 50 percent from August to September. And you often get better weather in fall than summer anyway (which can be prey to foggy June Gloom). Given its proximity to the Santa Ynez Valley wineries, Santa Barbara also has an increasing number of grape-harvest-friendly tasting rooms. Check out Deep Sea Wines, which sits on Stearns Wharf, right over the water. Nashville
Salt Lake City The autumn months generally mean the lowest prices, thin crowds, and the chance to see bright foliage while hiking or driving along Big or Little Cottonwood canyons. The Utah State Fair
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happens in SLC in September—with its rodeo and Western Music Festival—and the lederhosen-filled Oktoberfest lasts nearly two months at Snowbird. Oh, and some years, there's enough snow to ski here by Halloween. Chicago If the Windy City has a sweet spot for weather, it’s during the early autumn months, when the cool air clearly makes people feel like dancing. September kicks things off with the World Music Festival,
Chocolate Festival to the races at the San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival. The only possible pitfall during autumn: rates (especially at business hotels) can be higher, since it’s peak season for conferences. San Antonio, TX By fall, temperatures have finally drifted out of the triple-digit range, and the locals are ready to whoop it up outside: the party lineup includes Oktoberfest, the post-Halloween Day of the Dead, and the International Accordion Festival. Thanks to the recent upgrades to the River Walk’s Mission Reach portion, you can also hike, rent bicycles, or kayak along the San Antonio River. It’s a convenient way to burn calories if you come for November’s Wurstfest, a 10-day celebration of all things sausage in nearby New Braunfels. Anchorage Sure, the midnight sun has set—but so have the highest prices, and most of the cruise-ship-layover tourists. Unlike many small Alaska towns, Anchorage doesn’t close up shop just because summer is over. Early fall usually means there are still berries to be picked on the city’s Flattop Mountain, or you can take the Alaska Railroad up the punk-powered Riot Fest, and the Hyde Park Jazz Festival. The newest addition to Chicago’s festive lineup is the quirky Great Chicago Fire Festival, features flaming sculptures, acrobatics, and music to commemorate the city’s revival after the epic fire of 1871. San Francisco This is the time of year to take a “summer vacation” to the Bay Area. While the actual summer months are chilly and foggy, fall tends to be warm and sunny. That makes it all the better for enjoying the diverse mix of events, from the irresistible Ghiradelli Today’s BoomeR 7
to Talkeetna to see the foliage (and perhaps better views of Beach Horseback for riding tours on the sand. Mount McKinley). As leaves fall, it’s also easier to spot moose and Savannah, GA Dall sheep that may have been playing coy behind the branches. Against a pretty backdrop of leaves, the spooky sights of this And by night, you can start seeing the northern lights. infamously haunted city swing into high gear during fall. Take Virignia Beach, VA your pick from Blue Orb’s City of the Dead Tour, Moon River After its boisterous boardwalk party (the Neptune Festival) ends Brewing Company’s haunted pub crawls, and the mysterious in late September, this resort city with 35 miles of shoreline knocks and thumps inside haunted hotels like 17Hundred90 Inn, quiets down nicely. Unless, that is, you’re a bird or a striped bass. supposedly inhabited by the spirit of a jilted servant. Nervous The big fish are biting in droves in the Chesapeake Bay during the Nellies might prefer to focus on Savannah’s mix of culinary fall, and the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge offers a perch for festivals, from the Savannah Bacon Festival in September to watching migrating ducks and snow geese—thousands of them. Shalom Y’all, a southern-Jewish food fest in late October. Another perk of the off-season: you can saddle up with Virginia Santa Fe You know it's chile harvest season in this southwestern city by the smell of roasted peppers emanating from roadside stands. A few great places to try them, in a nontaco format: gastropub Fire & Hops, which tops its poutine with cheese curds, bacon, and green chile gravy; and Kitchen Window Café, where the Red Chile Brownie is accented with peppers and candied pecans. In early October, it’s a quick drive to hike the foliage-lined Aspen Vista trail, about 14 miles from downtown, or take in the “hot air” at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.
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Wall Street’s Solution To Every Problem: Cut Social Security
By Nancy Altman, President, Social Security Works
Their Solution is always the same, even though the problem
Revealingly, the authors examine the
impact or various cuts to Social
Wall Street, anti-government ideologues, and others
Security on lifetime benefits, but not
determined to cut Social Security have their solution. They just
the impact of requiring the wealthy to pay more for their
need to find the right problem, There is a dead giveaway that
earned benefits. But this latest entry into the war over Social
this is what is going on: Their solution is always the same, even Security has much more fundamental problems. though the problem keeps changing, Indeed, the problem for
At base, why the focus on Social Security? These growing
which cutting Social Security is their solution sometimes
disparities in average life expectancies are a notional disgrace.
actually contradicts another problem for which cutting Social
And we know the causes. Growing disparities in longevity—
Security is their solution. Take longevity.
sometimes measured between rich and poor or between people of color and whites or between those with more and less
Until recently, those determined to cut Social Security argued
education—are a symptom of the upward redistribution of
that everyone is living longer, so we must cut Social Security.
wealth resulting from federal tax and spending policies in
Now that supporters of Social Security have pointed out that
not everyone is living longer, those determined to cit Social Security are starting to say: okay, not everyone is living longer,
The response should be directed at the root causes of the
so we must cut Social Security.
disparity in life expectancies. The nation should substantially increase the minimum wage and spend more to ensure that all
This is not an exaggeration. In 2005, President George W. Bush
of us receive adequate health care, education, good-paying
argued for cutting and privatizing Social Security because, “In
employment, safe working condition, clean water to drink, and
today’s world, people are living longer and therefore drawing
clean air to breathe. Those who have seen their incomes and
benefits longer.” Supporters of Social Security dutifully pointed wealth skyrocket should be required to pay more for this to research showing that this is not true. The wealthier are
increased spending which will benefit us all.
living longer bit those without high school diplomas, for example, have experienced a decline in average life
As part of the solution, Social Security should be expanded, not
cut, while requiring the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share. Social Security is a solution to income and wealth
Without missing a beat, those determined to cut Social Security inequality. Moreover, increasing Social Security’s modest simply pivoted to those new facts. Indeed, the Wall Street-
benefits, while a late intervention, may increase longevity and
funded Third Way think tank even went so far as to claim that
reduce Alzheimer’s. Even without those added benefits, Social
Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist, favors the
Security is already particularly important to those very groups
rich when he fights to expand Social Security!
who find themselves on the losing end of the longevity comparisons. Cutting those modest benefits or, worse,
Last week, new ammunition was provided to those whose
undermining support for this essential program, would be a
solution is always to cut Social Security, no matter the problem. cruel response to the outrageous disparities in longevity. A new paper quantifies, with a dollar amount, how longer average life expectancies translate into higher lifetime Social
A tipoff that the focus on Social Security and disparities in
Security benefits for the wealthy.
longevity is simply one more solution in search of a problem is Today’s BoomeR 9
percentages will be lower in the future, as the result of alreadyenacted benefit cuts, still being phased in. That is why benefits should be expanded across-the-board. The fact that beneficiaries live different lengths of time is the point, not the problem. Unlike savings, one cannot outlive Social Security. Social Security offsets to some extent the impact of discrimination against people of color, women, and the LGBTQ community. But it is not responsible for that discrimination, any more than it is responsible for the disparities in longevity. Cutting its that the analysis willfully refuse to see Social Security as the
modest benefits is not the solution. Indeed, the so-called
wage insurance that it is. The program isn't about lifetime
solution is not even responsive to the problem.
benefits. Is it unfair that twins with identical work records receive drastically unequal benefits because one dies at age 70
So what gives? In magic, it is called misdirection—focusing
and the other lives to 105? No. That is the point of insurance.
attention on something over here in order to distract from the real action over there. Social Security is the misdirection. The
The point of Social Security is to replace monthly earnings when real action is policies that exacerbate, rather than alleviate, those earnings are lost as the result of disability, old age, or
income and wealth inequality.
death of a breadwinner. Its benefits are designed to replace monthly earnings when those earnings are lost as the result of
President Franklin Roosevelt understood this tactic extremely
disability, old age, or the death of a breadwinner. Its benefits
well. He laid it bare when, in response to misinformation being
are designed to replace a specified percentage of earnings.
spread about Social Security in the 1936 Presidential campaign, he charged, “It is an old strategy of tyrants to delude their
Those percentages are progressive but woefully inadequate in
victims into fighting their battles for them.”
light of a looming retirement income crisis where working families will be more and more dependent on Social Security
Here, the misdirection is the get people fighting over Social
for most or even all of their retirement income.
Security’s supposed unfairness, rather than uniting everyone to fight against the monied interests. All of us, together, should
Those who turned age 62 last year and earned the maximum
fight to expand Social Security and Medicare. As part of that
wage amount under Social Security—$118,500 in 2015—
fight, we should demand that those at the top pay their fair
received benefits that replaced 21.6 percent of those maximum share for these vital programs. More generally, we should fight wages. Medium-income workers, earning around $48,000
to require those at the top, who have benefited so greatly from
received benefits replacing 32.7 percent of those earnings. And out nation’s common wealth, to pay more toward the common low-income workers, earning around $21,500, received
benefits replacing 44.2 percent of those earnings. Let’s not be fooled by this latest misdirection. We should all Even the highest of those percentages provides much too small keep focused on the goal: expanding, not cutting Social a replacement of pre-retirement income. And those 10 Today’s BoomeR
BoomeR Lifestyle Trendz: 5 Mantras for a Happier, Calmer, More Confident You These powerful slogans can help you reprogram your brain think more positively. By Rosie McCall, Health.com
to complete what she referred to as “repeaters.” Repeaters are what you can attract into your life based on old patterns. Reciting this mantra opens the doorway to new ways of being, and as this occurs new perceptions will surface. As Candace Pert, author of Molecules of Emotion, shares, sensations create perceptions. Utilizing this mantra gives you a much more open feeling, providing an inevitable shift in the way you see your world.
To attract success… "I have the confidence and knowledge to take action." Creating a life of abundance does require some level of action. First, you are going to want to create a plan. Ask yourself, “What
Can one simple phrase actually make a difference in your life?
steps will I need to take to put things into motion?” After giving it
According to Sherianna Boyle, the answer is most definitely yes.
some thought, write down these steps on paper. Be sure to
She is the author of Mantras Made Easy ($15, amazon.com), a
include the resources available to you. Secondly, you will need to
collection of chants and slogans meant to help people tap into the
cultivate the energy required to put this plan into action. See this
power of positive thinking. “Just like you are programmed to
mantra as being one of the ways you will create the energy to
respond to the ring of your phone, you can program repeated
manifest what you wrote down.
words and phrases into your subconscious mind,” writes Boyle, a
To find happiness… "I give myself permission to prioritize the things that bring me joy, creativity, and connection."
licensed school psychologist and adjunct psychology professor at Cape Cod Community College. “Mantras are a way to clear up negative actions, opening up new pathways for positive ones.” Whether you're looking to manage your anxiety, find more joy in your life, or summon the courage to start a new chapter, Boyle's got a mantra that may help. Below are five of our favorites from her book.
To achieve inner peace… "My breath is deep; my eyes are soft; I am at peace."
At times, you might lose your sense of direction, or wonder if your life choices are off base. For example, you may crave a different lifestyle or a compatible companion. This mantra reminds you that perhaps these doubts mean that you are being connected to your divine purpose. Your creative energy can stimulate healthy change and lead to happy experiences. So allow yourself to feel these doubts, and ask yourself if they could become motivation for you
You are taught many things as a child: how to tie your shoes, brush to reclaim happiness. Rather than focus on what is missing from your life, this mantra encourages you to incorporate things that your teeth, and read and write. Breathing is not something most people were taught how to do. As the benefits of mindfulness (and bring you joy (e.g., animals, nature, art, music, etc.). mantras) spread, this fortunately is beginning to shift. You do not have to be formally trained to learn how to breathe well. You can start right now by reciting this mantra. Take a long, slow, deep inhale (inflating your lower belly) and a slow, extended exhale (drawing your navel in), reciting this mantra in between. Do this for five rounds.
To find the confidence to start afresh… "I am evolving and changing for the better." This mantra reminds you that because you are made of energy, you are always in motion. We know cells have the ability to regenerate themselves. Since you are made of trillions of cells, you
To beat anxiety… "It’s got to be better than I think."
are never exactly the same as you were the day before. See
This mantra takes you beyond your thoughts. It reminds you that
way to support the evolution of your brain, mind, body, and spirit.
change as part of your evolution. Using this mantra is a positive
your thoughts could never capture the possibilities and magnificence that are available to you when you allow yourself to
Excerpted from Mantras Made Easy by Sherianna Boyle. Copyright 2017 F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. was passed on to me by Zoe Marae, PhD. She described it as a way All rights reserved. move through your feelings and detach from thinking. This mantra
Today’s BoomeR 11
Health & Fitness: Best Boomer Workouts for Your Body By Rebecca Ruiz, Forbes.com Forget that seven-iron. These days, boomers are busting out the boxing gloves and yoga mats. That’s because, despite many now coming into their 60s, the boomer generation has yet to slow down. In fact, many are undeterred by aging and are taking on one physical challenge after another, from endurance races to judo to pool diving. There’s even anecdotal evidence that the wisdom of age can offer a competitive advantage where strategy and pacing are concerned. Boomers are also flocking to gyms at higher rates than the rest of the population. According to the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, the number of gym members over the age of 55 reached 8 million in 2005, a 314% increase since 1990. Membership among 18- to 34-year-olds over the same time period increased by only 38.7%.
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Among the fitness centers catering to them is the YMCA, which also saw its membership among those between 55 and 64 grow noticeably between 2002 and 2005. In response, many branches created boomer-friendly programming for the country’s roughly 78 million adults born between 1946 and 1964. “Classes such as “Forever Strong” and “Baby Boomers and Beyond” are really about quality of life, not about how big your muscles are”, says Nancy Gildersleeve, a wellness director at the Greater Glenville Family YMCA in the Albany, New York, area. It’s functional training that helps you keep up with your grandkids and reach high up in the cabinets.” Whether you’re aiming to do that, tone flabby muscles or start training for a marathon, you can achieve the best workout by knowing the benefits of different forms of exercise, understanding which areas to emphasize and learning how to avoid injury.
From better balance to preventing chronic disease, the benefits of exercise for baby boomers are numerous. “As we get older, maintenance of muscle strength is important”, says Dr. William Haskell of the Stanford School of Medicine. Haskell also led the group that recently revised the American College of Sports Medicine’s physical activity recommendations. In addition to cardiovascular exercise, Haskell advises older adults to develop a two-day-a-week strength training regimen. In its 40s, the body begins losing a quarter pound of muscle per year, which can increase during periods of low physical activity. Muscle strength helps maintain bone heath and has been linked to the prevention of Type II diabetes. Strong muscles also affect balance, joint health and stability and weight maintenance. Increased percentage of muscle creates a greater resting energy, which helps the body burn more calories throughout the day.
strength training exercises. Remember to change the emphasis to different muscle groups every two weeks in order to avoid a plateau in your progress as well as overuse, which can cause an injury.
Regular physical activity can also ward off heart disease, which is Dr. Sheldon the leading cause of death in America. Since your risk increases Zinberg, the with age, it’s important to get consistent, effective exercise.
founder of Nifty After Fifty, a
Arleen Cauchi, a personal trainer and owner of the California
chain that gym Boomer Fitness, has created customized workouts for older caters to adults. The majority of her members are in their 50s, and the boomers, oldest is 94. Her
advice to members is to resist the allure of
emphasizes a the cardio machines, which, while simple and easy, lead some to holistic neglect their muscles. Instead, boomers should focus on approach to developing strength, power and flexibility in addition to cardio. The first step is to elevate your heart rate throughout the week at least 20 minutes a day on at least three days. Then add
exercise. In combination with activities that improve balance, flexibility, strength and endurance, Zinberg offers his members a mental workout in a brain gym that houses computers that challenge memory and problem solving abilities. “We’ve discovered that we can delay, prevent or even reverse some of the aspects of aging”, Zinberg says of his multidimensional approach. Avoiding Injury That may be true, but older adults need to beware of “boomeritis”, a condition that plagues those who have exceeded their limits and as a result experienced knee, hip, ligament, tendon and fracture problems. Dr. Sean McCance, co-director of Spinal Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York
Today’s BoomeR 13
City frequently treats patients with over-use injuries. “I see the typical baby boomer who’s been working hard hours, is a little overweight and overstressed”, he says. “On the weekend, they have a chance to do a big workout, and they blow something out.”” McCance’s advice is to strengthen the core muscles, which then better protect the back from injury. Skipping a good stretch before a workout is a major mistake, he says. An older body has already experienced a certain level of degeneration so it’s vital to get properly warmed up. Ultimately, he says, only put demands on the body that are age-appropriate, and see a doctor when experiencing persistent aches or pains. “More and more people have a young, aggressive mentality”, he says. “But injury can be avoided by working within limits and gradually building up.”
The Cardio Component
Starting Off Easy
While cardiovascular exercise is an important component of any
If you’re new to working out, you’ll want to start an exercise regimen slowly. Derrick Raeder, a certified personal trainer and wellness director at an Albany, N.Y. YMCA, suggests that beginners calculate their target heart rate and exercise at 50 to 65% of it. He recommends purchasing a heart rate monitor, but free online tools like the Mayo Clinic’s target heart rate calculator will help guide you. Go for a brisk walk or bike ride and try to work up to 20 or 25 minutes per session at the lower heart rate of 50 to 60%. Then, when you’re ready to progress, consistently aim for 75% of your target heart rate.
workout, Arleen Cauchi, founder of Boomer Fitness Gym, warns her members against becoming dependent on the treadmill. Instead, occasionally switch from jogging to cycling to an elliptical machine. When running, go harder for a shorter distance on some days and slower for a longer distance on others. As a general rule of thumb, you should be working hard enough to talk, but with some effort. Lean and Strong Age is particularly unkind to your muscles. In its 40s, the body begins losing a quarter pound of muscle per year, which can increase during periods of low physical activity. Muscle strength is not only flattering to the physique, it’s also important to your long-term health since it leads to improved balance and joint stability as well as stronger bones. Use weights, a resistant exercise band or a medicine ball for strength building exercises two days a week. Staying On Your Feet Maintaining balance is essential to aging gracefully. Nasty falls that result in broken hips or fractured bones can sideline even the most adventurous boomer. Luckily, improving balance can be done in just a few moments at home. At home, put your hand on the back of a chair–a wall will do as well–and stand on one foot long enough to stay balanced. As you feel more comfortable, progress to two fingers and then none. To vary the exercise, try raising the opposite arm. Trainers also highly recommend yoga or Pilates as a way of improving balance.
14 Today’s BoomeR
Loose And Limber Muscle and joint stiffness can provide an easy excuse for those reluctant to start working out. It can also make even the simplest activities unpleasant. Dr. Sheldon Zinberg, founder of the California-based gym chain Nifty After Fifty, says that boomers can achieve increased flexibility by stretching daily in addition to modified yoga twice a week. Stretching and yoga, says Zinberg, should be done to the point of discomfort instead of pain. Check your local gym, YMCA or yoga studio for older adult yoga and flexibility classes. Powerful And Coordinated Athletes rely on power training, or plyometrics, to provide them with power, speed and coordination. Boomers can incorporate the fundamentals into their workout to great effect. Arleen Cauchi, founder of Boomer Fitness Gym, recommends her favorite exercise: Take a four-pound medicine ball, which can later be upgraded to eight pounds, hold it at your chest, extend your arms and throw the ball at a concrete wall. It should be thrown with enough power that it bounces straight back. Repeat this four more times and do it once a workout, three times a week. You should notice improvement in your chest, arms and core muscles as well as increased power and speed. The Great Outdoors Whether it’s tennis, hiking, golf or cycling, there are a number of outdoor physical activities that will increase your fitness level and improve your balance, endurance, strength and power. The important thing to remember, though, is that there are limits on the intensity of your exertion. If you start to feel a consistent ache, particularly if you have a history of sprains, strains, breaks or pain, consult your doctor. Waiting two weeks for a small tear to heal is a much lighter sentence than the two months you might spend in recovery after a serious injury. Flexing The Grey Matter Physical activity not only strengthens your body, it also boosts brain power crucial for preserving memory as you age. Muscle contractions trigger the release of proteins that stimulate the brain and encourage neuron growth. Dr. Sheldon Zinberg, founder of the California-based gym chain Nifty After Fifty, recommends learning a new skill to increase brain growth. Simple options include completing crossword puzzles and doing memory-based card exercises. If you’re feeling ambitious, try to learn a new language or become computer literate. There are also a number of software products available online and in stores, which use memory and problem solving exercises to challenge the brain. Today’s BoomeR 15
Old Enough for Sex : The Complicated Sex Life of Baby Boomers By Alyssa Giacobbe, Boston Globe Divorces. Ailing Parents. Boomerang kids. These days, fifty– and sixtysomethings sure are keeping busy. But that’s not about to stop the free love generation from, ahem, getting busy. Madeline and her two friends had barely pulled up to the bar when one of them began chatting with a cute guy—”in his 30s,” Madeleine remembers. They were on a girls’ weekend at the beach and looking forward to some sun and fun. A few hours and some drinks later, the girls piled into the guy’s car and headed back to their condo. “We are going skinny-dipping!” one of them yelled. The next morning, there were no regrets. “We had a blast,” Madeleine says. Sure, maybe it wasn’t the smartest move to get into a stranger’s car, “but there were three of us, and, I mean, we had our cellphones.”
founder of the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, says tat many boomers stopping into the center come asking about sexual orientation, like the widower and father of three who “knew he was going to die soon,” Andelloux remembers, “but had always known that he wanted to be with another man.” He wanted to learn how to put on a condom correctly, because he had never been taught. “People tend to realize in their late 40s that they aren’t having the type of sex they want,” Andelloux says, “and so they reach out to the center to make that happen.” Madeleine, who divorced about a decade ago and lives on the North Shore, says her own father died when he mother was 59. “I always think it’s such a shame,” she says. “She could have had a whole other life.” That said, she adds, “being with a new person after 35 years, talk about scary.”
When Madeleine first started dating her boyfriend, they lived more than on hour’s drive apart. She’d insist on meeting him halfway Madeleine and her friends may sound like teenagers on spring between her house and his, because she was afraid if he came to break, and indeed that’s what they often feel like. But they met her town he’d want to stay over. “But then he did, and we had a decades ago—they were “ice skating moms” to daughters on the competitive circuit—and are now in their late 50s, divorced mothers nice time, and I thought, What’s he gonna do, drive all the way back of grown children and having, in many ways, the time of their lives. [home]?” she recalls. “I was like, you can sleep on the couch. Then I’m looking at him,” she says and grins, “and thinking, Well, that’s “You’ll be out at a bar and see some guys you think are cute,” says stupid. Come on in!” Madeleine. “Until you realize they’re in their 20s. But you forget! You forget how old you are!” (Madeleine, like other singles in this Of course, there were a few things she wanted to talk about first. story, didn’t want to include her full name when talking about her She was in the 50s, after all, and had the battle scars, literally, to sex life.) show for it: two C-sections and a breast reduction. She wanted him There are nearly 80 million Americans who came of age in the revolutionary free love ‘60s and ‘70s, when rebelling against your parents’ conservative views of adolescence, premarital sex, and drugs was just something you did. About a third of these erstwhile crazy kids are now single—divorced, widowed, or never married in the first place—and while the drugs and rock’ n’ roll of their past may have stayed there, to hear this group tell it, sex and desire certainly did not. Match.com reports that 50-plus is the site’s fastest growing demographic. And according to a survey on its sister site for older daters, OurTime.com, 87 percent of 50– to 70-year-old single users say that physical attraction is a “must have” for a potential partner. While the Internet has made connecting with others easier, regardless of age, what’s happening also reflects a cultural attitude shift. Nowadays, “there is much more permission to have more than one relationship” in a lifetime, says Cambridge sex therapist Gina Ogden, PhD and author of The Return of Desire. “You no longer see the 55-year-old in a brown cardigan and sensible shoes mourning the fact that he or she would never have a relationship again.” People are experimenting and they’re exploring. Megan Andelloux,
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to know. A 54-year-old in Melrose feels a similar impulse before intimate moments. “I’m a breast cancer survivor and I have only one breast,” she says. “When I was younger, I was very comfortable in my skin and becoming sexual was a pretty easy thing for me. Now when I like a person I have to deal with how to share this information so that I feel comfortable and they feel comfortable. And that’s a really strange thing to have to do.” It’s one reason, this woman says, though she was once married to a man, she has almost exclusively dated women for the last five years. “I have this presumption men are looking for someone with a more complete body,” she says. “Women have expectations, too, but they’re not physical. They want to know you’re independent. That you own your own home and you’re still working.” Some 25 million baby boomers are single—either divorced, widowed, or never married. Changing expectation, and bodies, are just two of the many complication boomers face in their 21st-century quest for love. Baby boomers—many of whom are also part of the “sandwich
generation” - are one of the most stressed-out demographics, mostly still working full time but often called on to care for aging parents and increasingly helping to financially support adult children. Sometimes there’s just no time, or emotional headspace, for romance. “There are things that go on in middle age that take so much energy you don't always feel you have much to give to dating, or even presenting yourself in an upbeat way,” says the Melrose 54-year-old, who took time off from dating to care for her father and then to mourn his death. For years, she says, it felt like all she could talk about was helping care for him at home and in assisted living. At the same time, in terms of romantic potential, the parents’ nursing home has become, in many ways, the new corner bar, says Barbara Moscowitz, senior social worker at Massachusetts General Hospital's Geriatric Medicine Unit. “People often meet each other on the path of care giving or when there’s an understanding both or one has a major life stress,” she says. This tends to upend the regular expectations of new daters, people who would otherwise prefer to spend every waking moment together. “If someone is busy, it can be harder to spark a relationship,” Moscowitz says. “Harder, but not impossible.” The rise in 50-plus Match.com users notwithstanding, many boomers
seem to prefer meeting potential partners the old-fashioned way. Madeleine had been divorced for five years when she met her boyfriend at a friend’s dinner party. She’d had an online dating profile, but she never got into it. She’d heard too many stories of disappointment, The guys “sound fabulous, then you meet them and you’re like ‘Oh, really? How tall and athletic are you?’” A 57-year-old in Newburyport who’s been divorced nearly three years says she skims Match.com “to see what’s out there” but hasn’t yet worked up the courage to post her own profile. She met the man she’s currently dating when she hired him to do some work on her house, after which he asked her out for pizza. They’ve only had two real dates, though, and she isn’t ready to think about sex. “It may not sound very romantic, but for midlife daters, finding love is a numbers game,” says Boston matchmaker and dating coach Peggy Wolman, who runs her business with her husband of more than 40 years, Richard. “Online dating can be a challenging concept, but if you look at the number of people who do meet online, it’s wrong to think I’s not one the smartest options.” The Wolmans spend a lot of time talking to their boomer clients about sex and expectations—how to meet people, what to do on a date, and then some. “A lot of people
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might not have been intimate with their partner for two, three, four years,” says Wolman. “They’re out of practice and out of touch. Are you kissing on a first date? On a second? What happens when someone invites you back to their apartment?” Meanwhile, Wolman says, safe sex is a radical concept in a way it’s just not for younger people. One consequence of this: STD rates among boomers are on the rise. Numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that between 200 and 2010, cases of some STDs, like gonorrhea and Chlamydia, nearly tripled among those 50 and older. CDC research has found that one-fifth of all people living with HIV in the United States are older than 55. “Particularly after menopause, one element that may traditionally keep women more focused on relationship or behaving in a sexually conservative way relative to men—the risk of pregnancy—is gone,” says Carol Queen, PhD and staff sexologist for the sex-toy chain and education center Good Vibrations, which has a location and Brookline. A 2010 Harvard Medical School study, meanwhile, suggested that men older than 50 were six times less likely to use protection than men in their 20s. That women outlive men, adds Queen, “means there are fewer eligible men to go around—and may mean that sexually vital older guys can be players, even if that’s not how they lived their younger lives.” Boston filmmaker Laurie Kahn produced a series of videos funded by the National Institutes of Health on sager sex for older people, featuring mainly local singles. “One woman talked about going on a weekend trip with a man she was dating, and she suggested they have safe sex,” Kahn says. “He said, ‘No, I won’t do it. It’s not enjoyable for me.’ And he was a doctor!” Metrowester Marla, 53, is mid hot flash as she describes the “best sex ever” she recently had with her ex-husband. They separated seven years ago after Marla found out, through checking his Facebook, that he’d arranged to meet up with his college girlfriend. Afterward, Marla took up with her high school sweetheart, though they’ve since broken up. Marla says she’d be happy to move on to dating new men but has been turned off by the aggressiveness of the guys she’s met through Match.com and JDate, guys who ask for “sexy” photos or dirty talk before they’ve even had a date. “Boomer men like to be very quick and straight to the point,” admits dating coach Thomas Edwards Jr. of The Professional Wingman, who works with men (and Women) in Boston and New York. Men “don't understand the etiquette online, because in so many other ways it’s about instant gratification. That leaves many women jarred.” That hookup with her ex, Marla says, was a fluke, something that happened after a few too many drinks during a regular get-together to talk about their kids. “I’ve always been the more passionate and forward one,” she says. But for the first time ever, her ex took charge, and she liked that. In fact, match makers say that some clients end up preferring people who are different from their previous partners. “Relationships are a
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while different scenario now,” Madleine says. “It’s not about having kids, bringing them up, feeling the same way about every little thing. It’s much more about yourself.” Whereas her ex-husband was slim and “a very, very stressed-out, uptight person,” her new beau us a burly salesman who sings in the car. He likes to hold her hand in public. “There’s a lot of things where, if it weren’t this time in my life, it wouldn't work—like, he has no money,” she says. “But I don't care. Because I have my own money.” Pepper Schwartz, a Seattle sexologist and the author of Dating After 50 for Dummies, says that boomers aren't any less ambitious about relationships than they used to be; they just frame them a little differently. “Emotion is still at the forefront,” she says. “No one is looking for someone to compromise with—they’re looking for love and compatibility.” That said, since many men, if given that chance, choose younger women, women have been inspired to look “in different categories,” Schwartz says—career women with blue-collar guys, for example, or interracial and interreligious parings. This, in turn, can translate to better relationships—and better sex. “Longterm couples often transfer their day-to-day power struggle into the bedroom: demands, expectations, judgment, guilt,” says Kate Feldman. Along with her husband, Joel, they are directors of the Conscious Relationships Institute, and they regularly lead couples in workshops in sex and intimacy at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in Stockbridge. But if those struggles don’t exist—because the kids (with someone else) are grown, the house is paid for—problems in the bedroom start to fade away. As sex therapist Gina Ogden says, “The relationships that don't do as well are the ones in which a person is looking for someone to fulfill something in their lives, and older people tend to look for that less.” That’s not to say that the only good boomer sex is new boomers sex. The Feldmans not that in the last few years they’ve seen a huge increase in interest and willingness among fifty– and sixtysomethings to acknowledge that sex in marriage, especially over time, can be a great struggle and that they want to fix what’s broken. “Long-term couples have a challenging road to stay intimate, and there’s even more sensitivity when your body is changing and it’s not what you’re used to,” says Feldman. “Twenty years ago, there was a code of silence around sex. But the baby boomers are more open about talking about it and doing something different.” Wives who’ve come to feel that part of their role was to have sex regularly with their husbands are seeking to have sex (or not) on their terms; men are looking to find ways to remember that pleasing their partners is as important as pleasing themselves. “One thing we want all senior clients to understand is that sex is something they’re doing because they are the choosers, not the chosen,” says Richard Wolman. “We tell people, rather than thinking about what you want or need, think about what would make you feel good.” Many boomers will eventually pair off, again exchanging the single life for one of monogamy. As Wolman says: “Look, at this age, it’s pretty exhausting to be dating different people all the time.”
10 Smart Financial Steps That Lead to a Comfortable Retirement By Brian O’Connell, The Street
Know How A Blueprint For Retirement Much Money You’ll Need For With so many Americans lagging behind on retirement Retirement savings, it's high time workers had a blueprint for retirement that, if followed, will lead to a golden time For starters, having a financial goal in mind is a great place for in one's golden years. There's a good reason why. retirement savers to start. While every saver's According to a recent study by the Employee Benefit situation is unique, A 2014 study by the Bureau of Research Institute, only 18% of Americans are very confident they'll have the income needed for a com- Labor Statistics found a household aged 64 to 74 will need an approximate average of $44,680 to live fortable retirement. annually. "The rule of thumb can be based on Let's stop that negative sentiment with this blueprint, requiring 80% to 100% of the final working year's including 10 specific financial steps to take to salary," says Barbara Delaney, founder of StoneStreet guarantee a great retirement - as long as you stick to Advisor Group. "Social Security may only cover 20%-to the plan. -30% of retirement funding, so the shortfall will need
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to be made up with other funding such as 401(k)s & Roth IRAs." As Significant Assets Are Needed To Retire, Start Saving Early The earlier you start, the more time your money has to grow. Yet, according to a survey by American Funds, nearly two-thirds of Gen X-ers are kept up at night thinking about financing their retirement, when the answer is right in front of them. "The best way to avoid the fear of retirement is to plan ahead and start saving early," says Todd Erkis, a professor of finance and risk management at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia. "Deposit as much as is allowed into tax-advantaged retirement accounts, like 401(k)s, before considering any other retirement savings products, like an annuity." Maximize 401(K) Plan Contributions Byna Elliott, senior vice president at Fifth Third Bank advises taking full advantage of company-sponsored 401(k) plans and/or other retirement vehicles, "at least up to any company match." Schedule a meeting with your financial advisor, banker or retirement vehicle representative to discuss your plan contributions. "Talk to them about what you need to save to get the most of your retirement," Elliot says. Rebalance Annually It's important to rebalance your retirement portfolio (especially as you near retirement), so that your portfolio doesn't stray too far from its target, says Paul Jacobs, chief investment officer at Palisades Hudson Financial Group, in Atlanta. "Portfolios don't need to be frequently traded, but you should be rebalancing your portfolio at least once a year," Jacobs explains. "If stocks go up or down significantly during the year, this can create additional opportunities to rebalance. By buying when stocks drop, 20 Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s BoomeR
and selling when they appreciate, you'll be continually buying low and selling high, which should be the goal of any long-term investor." Have Your Own Cash Reserve With marriages and businesses often taking unexpected turns, be sure to have a portion of your assets or savings separated for a rainy day or unexpected event, notes Lacey Manning, a retirement specialist at LTG Financial in Ocala, Fla. "Many individuals fall victim to these unforeseen events, but it's always nice to have financial security when you need it most," Manning says. Plan Like Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re Saving For Early Retirement Start planning for early retirement, even if you don't wind up leaving the workforce early, says Sarah M. Place, CEO of Place Trade Financial, in RaleighDurham, N.C. "Cut ten years off of your anticipated retirement date and save as much as possible towards that goal," Place states. "The idea is this - instead of thinking that you have 20-plus years to save, starting saving as if you had only ten years, and watch the money add up." Whether you choose to retire early or plan to work forever, having the option available is priceless, Place notes. "That's especially so in the event that you are forced to due to unforeseen circumstances such as health related issues, economic downturns, or company downsizing," she says.
Balance Your True Investment Risk Tolerance Place says that, whether you are a smart Millennial who is getting a jump-start on retirement, a retiree seeking to offset inflation or somewhere in between, it's always important to consider your own true personal risk tolerance and circumstances. "That includes how much risk you can afford to take both financially and emotionally, prior to making investment decisions," she explains. "There is a fine line between taking on too much and too little risk with retirement assets." Investors who are trying to make up for lost time often lose money by taking on too much risk, buying high and selling low, counting on past performance to offer future results and choosing inappropriate investments, Place notes. "On the other hand, investors who are too conservative with their money may not only find themselves without having enough to retire but they may also find that, due to the negative impact of inflation, they are losing money -buying power -- very safely," she says. Plan Ahead For Social Security Don't wait until you're 61 to start planning for when you will take Social Security payments, says Mike Pruitt, a money manager at MBE Wealth Management, LLC, in Madison, Wis. "I see many clients that are forced to draw early from Social Security, when if we had met ten years earlier, we could have devised a plan that actually allowed them to draw later while their Social Security amount grew in deferral," he says. Pruitt recommends starting to plan for Social Security payments when you turn 50. "This gives you ample time to work with a qualified retirement income planner to construct a Social Security strategy that takes your other assets
into consideration and potentially provide a higher Social Security benefit for the long term," he says. Watch Out For Inflation Many people view retirement as a time to become much more conservative with their savings, says Craig Bartlett, division consulting manager with U.S. Bancorp Wealth Management. "While this may be the appropriate decision don't forget about the effects of inflation on your nest egg, Bartlett says. "Retirees are living longer than ever and it may make sense to dedicate a portion of your retirement savings to vehicles that have historically outpaced inflation." Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Forget About Health Care Health care is the topic of our times, and it is an important consideration in retirement, Bartlett adds. "You should be aware of issues that can arise and plan for how you might address them," Bartlett says. "One topic that many people fail to consider is that Medicare availability does not begin until age 65. If you plan on retiring at age 65 and you have a younger spouse you are going to need to make certain that you have thought about how you will manage your healthcare until the younger partner turns 65." Todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s BoomeR 21
F– Being Old: Motion is Lotion! Why is Physical Activity As We Age A Big Deal? By John A. Vardallas, Founder/CEO TheAmericanBoomeR.com Special Challenge for Boomers Golden Years
Lets Talk Healthy Eating In addition to keeping you moving and active, eating right is also a key factor in living a healthy lifestyle to the fullest as we age. The USDA (US Department of Agriculture) publishes Dietary Guidelines for Americans along with the National Institute on Aging. According to the Guidelines a healthy diet includes:
Baby Boomers will make up the largest population of retired Americans in history with the longest life expectancy. Boomers will be the most diverse group of retirees. They may be funding their children’s education, supporting adult children, and caring for elderly parents as well as continue working. It is for these reasons Boomers will be engaging in “Work-Tirement” to keep up with their financial needs.
To keep up with all this new Golden Years activity we boomers will have to do what we can to stay in shape! Regular exercise and physical activity are important to our physical and mental health. Being physically active can help you continue to do the things you enjoy and stay independent as you age. Having a regular physical routine can produce long term health benefits. There is consensus among health care experts that recommend older adults should be active daily for health maintenance.
Emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat free/ low fat milk products Lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts Low saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars. Balances the calories from food eating and beverages with calories burned through physical activities to maintain a healthy weight.
The basic message here is eat right, less of and increase your activity. I can attest to this after researching the 5 Blue Zones of the World where the highest percentage of inhabitants live to be 100. One of the key characteristics from these areas is all enjoyed active and social lifestyles as well as healthy smaller diets.
Another case (and a big one for me being a Board Member of my state ALZ Association) for living a healthy lifestyle is the recent report from the Alzheimer s Association that In addition, regular exercise can reduce the risk of one-third of cases of dementia worldwide could developing some chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart potentially be prevented through better management of disease and arthritis. Exercise is also shown to help people with high blood pressure, balancing and difficulty walking. So lifestyle factors such as smoking, hypertension, depression, and hearing loss over the course of a lifetime. shaking your booty every day is a good thing! The good news is you don’t have to join Gold's Gym, prep for a marathon run or set up a formal routine to get moving. There are so many ways to get going—taking a brisk walk, raking leaves, gardening, mowing the lawn, bike riding or taking the stairs when you can, or cruising the mall and your local grocery store are just a few examples of increasing your weekly activity.
As we boomers world-wide age, dementia is the greatest global challenge for health and social care in the 21st century. And one way to help reduce risk factors is healthy life style choices regarding diet and body activity.
So Keep On-Keep On Truckin’ Boomers! We are age disruptors because we want to stay engaged with our family, friends and activities as well as maintain Small increases in muscle strength (light free weight our independence. Its usage) will also make a difference in your ability to stay never too late to independent and carry out your routine activities. start! Keep moving forward and Keep Keeping flexible doing stretching and yoga can also keep you Going! loose and limber feeling. 22 Today’s BoomeR
BOOMER HEALTHY EATING: Yakitori, Japan’s Answer to the Kebab
Recipes and Photos from Chef Eben Atwater
www.urbanmonique.com If it seems as if you’re seeing a trend in my posts lately, you are. I just finished rereading Mark Kurlansky’s, Salt – A World History, and find myself inspired. It’s a great read, and you should give it a spin. Like John McPhee, Kurlansky has the ability to write volumes on a seemingly mundane topic and come out with a page turner. When I first read it years ago, I wasn’t writing about food as much as I do now, so this go ’round lead to a fascinating bout of exploration. Recent posts on salt potatoes, ketchup, and fish sauce were all inspired there from, and this week, I bring you Yakitori, Japan’s answer to the kebab. Casual observers are often surprised by how much meat is involved in Japanese cooking. Certainly Japan did have a rather protracted period of fundamental vegetarianism. The broad adoption of Chinese Buddhism in the 7th century sealed the deal – in the late 670s, the Emperor Tenmu proclaimed a prohibition on eating animal flesh, fowl, fish, and shellfish, and Shojin Ryori was born – Japanese vegetarian cuisine as cultural touchstone. Not all of that motivation was spiritual, though – The powers that be realized that eating draft animals seriously impaired the country’s ability to adequately feed its people. Nonetheless, the edict more or less persisted for some 1200 years. Clearly, the increasing presence of westerners on Japanese shores had a bearing on the resurgence of meat eating, a process that began with Portuguese traders in the middle of the 16th century, and continues to this day. While eating food cooked on a stick undoubtedly goes back to the harnessing of fire, the Japanese have a pretty clear recollection of when yakitori first appeared. It was in the Edo period, around the middle 1600s, and initially it was game birds roasted on sticks – quail, pheasant, pigeons and the like. As European influence increased, chickens became more common, eventually
making it on to a stick as well. Beef and pork followed over time. As is oft the case, how good your yakitori was back when depended on your income and social status – While the rich ate the best stuff, the poor folks were grilling offal, and all the other little weird bits the beautiful people didn’t want. In any event, those sweet, smoky flavors, basted in soy, sake, and spices, was and remains hugely popular, and the regional variety is as rich as the country that spawned it. Just covering the chicken versions of yakitori can be a bit dizzying – Our preference is for the ever popular chicken thigh version, called momo, along with negima - chicken and spring onion, and kawa – Chicken skin, (seriously, it’s amazing done up with bacon, spring onion, and water chestnuts). There’re many more, from Today’s BoomeR 23
chicken and leeks (hasami), to breast meat (sasami), chicken meatball (tsukune) and chicken wings (tebasaki). Then there’s all those former peasant versions, which are still quite popular – Kawa is skin, bonjiri is tail, shiro is guts, nankotsu is cartilage, hāto is heart, rebā is liver, and sunagimo is gizzards – nummy. Then there’s that seasoning and/or sauce – Yakitori is typically done salty, or salty-sweet. The salty version is, more often than not, just sprinkled with sea salt and grilled, end of story. The salty-sweet, called tare, is a whole ‘nuther ballgame. In Japan, you can bet that dang near every yakitori stand and joint has their own version, and they’re all top secret. Fortunately, we can suss out the basics – soy sauce, mirin, dry sake, and some form of sweetener are added to freshly made bone stock, and that more than gets the job done. Of course there are variants – Everything from spring onion and garlic, to ginger, hot chiles, pepper, and even wasabi might be found in there. That’s good news for us, because making a very nice basic sauce is easy, and more to the point, poetic license is fully authorized. The real beauty of yakitori is that it makes a great last minute dinner, or a perfect vehicle for fridge cleaning – You can and should use whatever you like, in whatever combinations please you. Sure, a lot of ‘real’ yakitori is either just one thing, or maybe a couple skewered together, but there’s nothing at all wrong with doing them up like little shish kebab. The bottom line is that the cooking method and saucing has as much or more to do with the overall taste as the things you decide to grill, so go wild. By that same rule, if you’re pressed for time, there’s nothing wrong at all with using straight soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, or bottle yakitori sauce, (and the former is now quite easily found in the Asian food section of your local market. Yakitori does not require any marinating prior to cooking. You need to merely slice stuff up into bite sized pieces and shove them onto sticks. Couldn’t be easier. One note on cutting stuff – the preferred method is known as sogigiri, AKA cutting on a roughly 30° angle with the food lying flat in a cutting board. Cut toward yourself, starting at the upper left of your intended slice and working down and across. What that does is maximize surface area on relatively small chunks of
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food, giving more space to add sauce and heats from the grill to. Speaking of grilling, while traditional yakitori is done on a brazier or charcoal grill, the desired technique employs no smoke and moderate heat, which means you folks who only have a gas grill, or a broiler in your oven, are ‘gonna be just fine. When skewering your goodies, do take the time to make sure every piece is snuggled right up tight against the next one – With small, relatively thin cuts of flesh and veggies, dried out food is a real possibility – Keeping them tight helps retain the baste better, and keeps things moist and juicy as well. Give whatever your skewering a light dusting of good salt and fresh ground pepper after you’ve got them done up. If you’re wanting to go all out, take a trip to the market and find fresh, seasonal veggies, meats, and poultry. Like the Vietnamese, Japanese cooks pay special attention to color and season – Spring is green, summer dark green, fall is orange and
red, winter is white. Have some fun with it, and let your plates reflect your findings.
runs out. We won’t likely go that far at home, but my oh my, do you want this in your fridge at all times. While the real deal is made with the bones from the chicken thighs you’re about to skewer, you can sub Brush on your basting sauce after you’ve placed the chicken stock for the water and bones if you’re in a skewers on the grill. With chicken, pork, or beef, you’re going to want in the neighborhood of 5 minutes hurry – But DO make the bone stock version just once, or so cooking per side, with another baste application at and you’ll be hooked – It’s super easy, incredibly the turn. Again, don’t run your grill flat out – You want delicious, and very rewarding for home cooks. to cook these on medium-low heat, allowing time for You can certainly use one sauce for all things, and well things to cook through and absorb all the goodness from your baste. If you’re using a charcoal grill, set up might – But we’re including some variants, to give you some ideas for future explorations. a two zone configuration, start the skewers on the cooler side, and finish with a couple quick flips on the hot side. If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them Urban’s Go To Yakitori Sauce for about half an hour prior to loading them up. Lightly (Makes enough for several meals, or one hell of a oil your grill surface prior to placing skewers, to help party) keep them from sticking – Use a neutral vegetable oil so you don’t adulterate your taste profiles. Bones from 4 fresh Chicken Thighs or Legs 1 Cup Mirin 1 Cup Tamari 1/2 Cup Dry Sake 1/2 Cup Water (Chicken Stock, if not using bones) 6 Scallions 3 cloves fresh Garlic 1/2″ chunk fresh Ginger 2 Tablespoons Agave Nectar 1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil 1 teaspoon ground Szechuan Pepper (or anything hotter if you prefer) Peel, trim and mince garlic. Trim scallions and cut into roughly 1/2″ rings. Dice ginger, (you don’t need to peel it) On a baking pan lined with foil, under a high broiler, scatter bones and broil for about 10 minutes, turning with tongs so they brown evenly. That sauce, that amazing sauce. We’ll start here, because this stuff really is magical. I made the batch done for this post on the same day I slow cooked a big ol’ pork roast. In the last week, that sauce went on the pork twice, into fried rice, was added to a teriyaki joint style salad dressing, and even made its way into tacos – Its that good, and that versatile. Many, many folks say that, over in Japan, cooks add to a big pot of their signature sauce every day, so that it effectively never
Transfer roasted bones to a heavy sauce pan over medium high heat. Add all additional ingredients, stir well to incorporate, and heat through until a low boil is achieved. Reduce heat to just maintain a steady simmer and cook until the volume of the sauce is reduced by 50% – You’ll note when you get there that the sauce coats a Today’s BoomeR 25
spoon with an even, viscous layer. The cook time should take around 45 minutes to an hour, but keep an eye on things and give it an occasional stir. Remove pan from heat and pour the sauce through a single mesh strainer into a non-reactive bowl. Allow to cool to room temperature, then transfer to a clean glass jar. Will store refrigerated for 2 to 3 weeks. Urban’s Beef Yakitori Sauce This is quite close to a typical sauce used for that deep fried wonder, Kushiage. 1/2 Cup Ketchup 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce 2 Tablespoons Tamari 1 Tablespoon Mirin 1 Tablespoon Honey 1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard 1/2 teaspoon granulated Garlic Mix all ingredients together and allow at least 30 minutes for the flavors to marry before brushing onto your skewers. Refrigerate in an airtight container for storage.
Just in case you’re like us, and want a little something green with your skewers, here’s my swing on that great savory salad dressing you get from your local teriyaki joint. Urban’s Teriyaki Joint Salad Dressing 1 Cup Mayonnaise 1/3 Cup Rice Vinegar 4 Tablespoons Agave Nectar 4 Tablespoons Sesame Oil 2 Tablespoons Yakitori Sauce 1 teaspoon granulated Garlic Whisk all together in a non-reactive bowl, and allow flavors to marry for at least 30 minutes prior to use. Store refrigerated for up to a week in an airtight, non-reactive container.
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