Tag Archives: Father’s Day

Men’s Health : A Decade by Decade Primer

Shawna and her best Man Magnus

You want to live a long and happy life? Live right by the decade you are in!

Happy Father’s Day to each and every one of you!

I sincerely hope that you enjoyed a wonderful day that was all about YOU!

How appropriate to reach out to you now with a new post this month, because not only is June representative of Father’s Day, it just so happens to be Men’s Health Month too! All the more reason to devote some time to reach out to all of you at HeadsUp Dad!

There’s an expression that says: “You are only as old as the Man you feel”. Wouldn’t you agree that a man’s quality of life is determined by how healthy he feels? At least that was the comment I received recently from both my father and my brother. They went on further to say that ultimate health to them does not mean resembling “The Rock” or simply exuding a fantastic physical shape, but that health is far more all encompassing than that. Feeling vital and virile is about a lot of things—maintaining a healthy body weight, eating right, supplementing smartly, being active with lots of stamina and putting in a good performance. Being fully engaged at work while also having the energy left over at the end of the day to make a meaningful contribution to your family life and certainly to exude a sense of self confidence through good times and bad. Wow—that’s not a lot to expect is it? Is it? How insightful. It got me thinking. We expect a lot out of you guys, not just in your youth, but throughout your whole life, so are you going to be man enough from here to eternity or what?

Kidding aside, the more I thought more about it, the more it occurred to me that life happens in fairly broad stages—doesn’t it? Decade by decade, your life, the demands placed on you and your own personal needs evolve.The roaring twenties so to speak, the thriving thirties, the “making it all happen” forties and the disease fighting fifties and so on. In order to sustain a long and healthy life, it might be worth at taking a look at what is really ideal for a man to concentrate on within each decade, so you can be your best and perform at optimum health, no matter what your age. Ready?

The Roaring Twenties:
For you guys in your twenties, savor the decade! You’re most likely very active, busy and full of energy, so feed the need. This is the time when you can generally out eat your older brethren and not see an ounce of evidence! You can afford slightly higher calorie/fat foods like nuts/seeds, cheeses, dried fruit and egg yolks with the exception of highly processed and deep fried foods of course. More calories doesn’t mean poor calories. You will also need more lean protein like chicken, lean meat, seafood, eggs and beans. And seeing as heart disease begins early, I would encourage eating fatty fish like salmon at least once or twice a week! Its a terrific source of Omega 3’s (Essential Fatty Acids) that are good for the brain, your heart and the prostate.


Thriving in your thirties:
Now that real life comes along in the thirties, a home, career and family probably eat up your daily agenda and you’re less likely to be throwing a football with your buddies in your not so spare time. So if you find that your activity has slowed down a little bit, remember that your appetite surely hasn’t! In order for you to keep your pant buttons from popping off, I suggest getting in the habit of eating more often. Instead of eating big, gorging meals a few times a day, consider about 4 or 5 healthy smaller ones. Less is really more.


Fab Forties
In your forties, you’re still feeling young and fantastic as you’re able to keep all of your plates in the air, but you also may notice that your health care practitioner is beginning to discuss your longevity and how to begin to pave the way to good heart health, strong bone density, hormonal health etc. Perhaps making a concerted effort to eat more soluble fiber is a good start such as peas, potatoes, apples and brown rice. Fiber acts like a sponge in the body and likes to soak up cholesterol. Your forties is the time to take heart disease seriously, especially of it runs in your family. So work your way up to 35mg/day of soluble fiber and consider adding Vitamin D to your daily supplement arsenal to encourage bone growth, strengthen immunity and improve circulation. Also, really try to work out hard with a well designed exercise program at least 3 times a week.


Fighting fifties:
Being in your fifties is about disease busting! Noshing on antioxidants such as colorful veggies and consuming plenty of blueberries, cranberries, strawberries and raspberries is a great way to add disease fighting antioxidants to your body. Be sure to cut down on sugar and fat and to remain as active as possible.


Six Oh! Oh My!
In your sixties and beyond, now your body really begins to tally the score. It takes a good look at how well you have taken care to preserve the temple in your earlier years. My best advice would be to wrap up all of the decades into one big healthy bow. Embrace active living, eat lean proteins daily to help counter losses in muscle mass, keep an antioxidant rich diet that is very low in fat and sugar and eat plenty of fiber every day.


As you can see, each life stage has its own nutritional emphasis. No matter what age group you are in, start now to make some healthy changes so you can cruise through each decade with strength and vigor.

As always, I’m here for you if you have questions. Your comments and concerns are always welcome—and I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time: eat well, stay fit.



Letters to my Father – No, I Don’t Think the Universe was an Accident

My dad was always at odds at home—he and my mom had four consecutive daughters before he got a son—and baby bro came along late, after I’d grown up and left the house. My last visit home was a combined Mother’s Day/get my youngest sister (a tomboy) ready for prom visit. With mom on hair, myself on makeup and the other two on hand making helpful comments like “I don’t understand why you didn’t go to a hairdresser—it’s like $30 and that’s for a professional,” it wasn’t long before the blowout turned into a full-on bitchfest. Bobby pins were starting to look like weapons.

A hostile hour later, when my sister emerged looking stunning, it struck me that I hadn’t seen dad, my brother or my boyfriend (who’d been roped into the visit as well) for quite some time. I ventured downstairs and realized my dad (the best cook of the family) had busied himself making soup and sandwiches for lunch. The dining room table had been set with a pretty tablecloth and flowers; I smiled sheepishly at him and he raised his eyebrows, a clear indication he’d heard the goings-on upstairs. My dad’s always had the ability to speak through his eyes—he never really had to yell, he could make us feel sorry for our wrongdoings with a single disappointed look—far worse than a lecture or getting yelled at, although those were sometimes called for depending on the circumstance. When my sister clunked downstairs clumsily in her unfamiliar heels, he joked, “Who are you? Where’s my daughter? What have you done with her?”

My siblings and I at High Park in TorontoIt’s only now that I’m in my twenties that I can fully understand and appreciate what it must have been like for him in a house full of females: tantrums, tampons and taunts. When the girls weren’t ripping into each other we’d sometimes team up on him: “Dad, get some new glasses, you look like a total dork”, “Dad, when are you going to get a new car, ours is so embarrassing”, “Honey, lose some weight why don’t you? Kids, tell your father he needs to start walking to work again.” My boyfriend says my dad is the most patient person he’s ever met.

He’s also one of the wisest. He never succeeded in making hockey players out of any of us (though this remains to be seen in my brother’s case; he currently likes to dance) but he did quote some hockey player (I can’t remember which, sorry) to my sisters and I, to lasting effect. Whoever it was said something like “Pick something you would do for free, then become so good at it that someone will eventually pay you to do what you love.” This was taken literally by my sisters and I, currently still in pursuit of our dreams.

My dad encouraged his daughters to question and to think deeply. I remember coming home from a party once and he was awake, in contemplation over something. “Do you think the universe was an accident?” he asked me in earnest. I sobered up waxing philosophical with my dad into the wee hours of the morning—not the first time, either. He told his girls we didn’t need makeup, holes in our bodies (AKA piercings) and that our opinions were of value. He encouraged our talents, artistic or otherwise. When I used to watch my boyfriend’s band practice in high school he’d ask me “Why don’t you play in your own band?” Eventually, I did.

I had a bad dream when I was little about an oversized black dog on a bicycle falling over and crushing me. Later, on three separate occasions, I scarred my face double riding, my legs when a pedal fell clean off my bike, and my hands when my wheel caught in the streetcar tracks of Toronto. Suddenly fearful of a fixed fate, I became convinced I would die biking and decided to sell my bike and never ride again. I told Dad of my resolve over the telephone. “I understand you’re scared,” he said, “but you love biking.” (It’s true and he would know, he taught me). “Yeah, but I’m going to die biking, I just know it,” I had said. “Well,” he began, and I knew I was about to see the light, “If you’re really destined to die on a bicycle, then fate will arrange it that way, don’t you think? Someday you’ll find yourself in a life-threatening situation where your only option for escape is a bike, and you’ll try your luck riding again before you just succumb to death. You might as well enjoy biking in the meantime, don’t you think?” And just like that, my childish fears were thwarted.

This Father’s Day, I will be celebrating a man who never challenged my femininity, but strengthened it with strength of purpose and passion for living.

Happy Father’s Day to fathers everywhere!

Letters to my Father: Just a Word of Love

Christopher Davies at Headsupdad.com

Christopher Davies as remembered by Angelique Davies

On January 25, 2007 I lost my father, Christopher Davies, to spinal cancer. I think about him often, usually at times in my life when I don’t know what to do in a difficult situation and at times when I’d normally turn to him for his help and wise advice. Times like now.

He was the chief negotiator at the Toronto Star for nearly twenty five years and was known for conducting collective bargaining in high style and with humour. And always great food would be part of it. He’d likely make my worries more bearable by saying something very Billy Bragg, like “Kid, you’ve gotta learn to take the crunchy with the smooth.” But it would hardly be a tribute to his memory if I sent out a cosmic cry for help, especially on Father’s Day. My worries will still be there tomorrow.Anyway, I’d rather share a happy memory that would make him smile. This one is about the day my father finally unloaded his forty year old daughter.

Although he fought his two year battle with spinal cancer with tremendous courage and strength, it became clear at a certain point that my father was living on borrowed time. Our focus became quality of time rather than quantity. What could I do that would make my father truly happy? My partner and I talked at some length and decided formalize our relationship. My parents had always worried that I would never marry – I’d pretty much accepted that this was entirely possible, warty troll that I am – and that was OK. But against all odds, Frank came into my life and turned out to be a keeper who happened to like warty trolls. I knew that it would give my father tremendous peace of mind to know that I had someone to take care of me. I just didn’t want to raise a glass at my wedding one year later and say, “If only my father were here to see this.” The time to set things in motion was now.

So we planned a hasty wedding, while he was well enough to attend. It was a simple civil ceremony in Welland, followed by a nice luncheon. My father made the most touching speech, entitled “Just a Word of Love”, which I share with you now. He said, “It is hard to express the love and pride that I feel. Today is so very, very special, so full of happiness. My heart overflows with gratitude that I have been spared to see the day when my lovely, talented daughter has entered into the blessed state of matrimony. I don’t just speak for myself but for Helene who left this world too soon. She would have been so proud and happy. I am particularly pleased that Helene got to meet Frank and saw the goodness in him as I do, knowing that he will take such good care of Angelique. You are both special and may God bless both of you. May the love that you have for each other keep you warm on winter nights and cool when the sun beats down. May the good Lord bless and keep you both, now and forevermore.”

It was truly the happiest day of my life and I’m glad that my father was a part of it, and that the memory of it will sustain me, even on the dark days. I miss my father, but I know he’s always with me.

To others who are missing their fathers today, I hope your happy memories see you through.

Happy Father’s Day!

This father’s day, we’re going fishing!

Headsupdad.com - This Father's Day, we're going Fishing!

We caught a fish as long as my arm that weighed about 13lbs!

Do you remember when I’d write you poems like these for Father’s Day?
And I was probably about 7 years old
Dancing around when you’d come home from work…

Ever since I was young, I have loved going on fishing trips with my dad, even if it meant getting up at 6AM. It’s been a few years since we’ve gone, but I still remember how to cast and reel in a catch, so I think we’ll be okay.

For years my Dad took me to the Outdoors show, and fishing competitions just to spend some time outside with him. I remember the times I’d cast my line and hit a rock, and quietly wait to mention something, until he’d look over and laugh saying “I don’t think you’re line is strong enough to reel that rock in”. Countlessly untangling my fishing line, and unhooking the fish I’d caught brought us together, and we became voyageurs of the seas! (errr… Georgian Bay).

The moment I will never forget is at a fishing competition we went to when I was about eleven. We set up our chairs on the dock and put the fresh bait on the hook, ready to reel in that $1000 trout! A couple of hours had passed by, and I was so frustrated that we had not even had a nibble on our lines, I started to complain and wanted to go home. My dad insisted we stay for a little bit longer, because it was a nice day and we had nothing to rush home to. After about an hour of pouting I fell into a deep sleep, with my hat over my eyes.

KIMMY! I awoke abruptly to my dad hovering over me trying to grasp my rod, there it was, the big bite we had been waiting for! I was so startled and quickly my Dad and I brought in the fish together. It was huge to me, probably weighing about 13 pounds, I was grinning from ear to ear as we brought him in and up on the dock. My dad could not believe I had fallen asleep and managed to catch a trout, because he didn’t even get one. I bragged the entire ride home, claiming I was just a natural, and the fish gravitated to my fishing approach, he just smiled.

It seems like many years ago, but I still remember it vividly. It’s the moments that are spontaneous and unplanned that make for the best memories. And by the way, it wasn’t the $1000 trout we’d caught, but we didn’t care.

Letters to my Father, a Fathers Day Tribute

Fathers Day Tribute to Dad at HeadsUpDad.com

This one's for you Dad...

Greetings to you a week from Father’s Day:

Love your Dad? Despise him? Miss him? Want to reach out and say something in a public place to reward his greatness, let him know what’s on your mind or even the score? Have something to say but can’t because he is gone? This month, we wonder if you might be interested in sharing a story on a special Daddy’s ‘n Daughters Father’s Day edition at HeadsUp Dad?

We are doing a “Letter to my Father” series where we are inviting women (Guys, you will get your chance too) to submit short stories to HeadsUp Dad in honor of their Dad’s on Father’s day. Feel free to check it out, and if you are up for it, get in touch with me to write and submit a letter to your Dad. While HeadsUp Dad is generally a positive space, we want and expect your honesty. We know that not every Dad is a hero, so tell us in your own words and experiences what your Dad meant to you. For better or for worse, we are all here to learn and grow from the personal experiences of others.

The first article is up, and there are many more to come, but we would really like to hear from you. Check out what Kim Samuelsen had to say in “Gone Fishing” her Father’s Day tribute to her wonderful Dad… Maybe it would inspire you to tell us a story of your own!

Here’s your chance to have your say just in time for Father’s Day!


If you have a story that you would like to share with us, then please send us an e-mail. While we can’t promise to publish everything, we will read all submissions and will gratefully acknowledge the contributions you make to making this a better place to learn and grow.