What is Bitcoin and Ethereum?

Bitcoin is the first massively adopted cryptocurrency getting most of the attention and dominating other cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin was born in 2008 when an unknown person or group of people named Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin whitepaper.

Since then, many other cryptocurrency systems (including many in the rest of this list) have considered Bitcoin as a model and created other kinds of cryptocurrencies based on the same concept and open-source computer code (in fact, if you want to, you can also take Bitcoin’s code and build your own cryptocurrency, you can find all of the code on GitHub).

On January 12, 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto performed the first Bitcoin (BTC) transaction by sending 10 BTC to a coder named Hal Finney.

By 2010, Nakamoto disappeared along with an estimated one million BTC. Bitcoin’s development and maintenance was taken over by the Bitcoin Foundation in 2012. Since then, and over the last ten years, the bitcoin price has continued to rise.

Why are people investing in Bitcoin?

  • Bitcoin is a globally accessible digital store of value.
  • People also use bitcoin as a currency. Today, more than 100,000 online merchants make transactions using bitcoin (BTC).
  • People buy bitcoin for the same reasons that investors buy gold or stocks — as a speculative investment with the expectation that the price will rise in the future.
  • Bitcoin is even used to collateralize other kinds of financial transactions. The programmable features of Bitcoin (like its multi-sig contracts) make it a perfect platform to build universal and cost-effective financial products and services.

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum, or the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), is an attempt to build a new version of the internet. Rather than centralized hubs (or private companies) that control massive troves of personal data, Ethereum is designed to create more decentralized information networks enabled by a series of distributed nodes and Ethereum wallets.

The idea for Ethereum was developed in 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, who at the time was a computer programmer and contributor to Bitcoin Magazine. He was advocating for more functionality on the Bitcoin blockchain to make it easier for developers to build applications.

When his plan was met with resistance from the bitcoin community, he developed the framework for Ethereum, created a team, and published the Ethereum whitepaper. After a pre-sale to raise money to fund the development of the Ethereum Virtual Machine, the network went live on July 30, 2015.

If the internet is like a vast highway, then the current system has few on- and off-ramps. These existing ramps are also controlled by a toll of sorts, which either exists as actual fees or costs that require users to pay in the form of surrendering personal or financial data.

The goal of a decentralized internet is to give people control over their information, enable censorship-resistant technologies (these range from financial applications outside of corporations or governments, to better election technologies, to forms of gaming and data storage that aren’t stored on centralized servers), and remove the need/cost of third parties.

A decentralized internet replaces large, centralized gatekeepers that control the flow of information, with internet operating infrastructure that is spread all over the world. In other words, a decentralized internet provides many more on-ramps and off-ramps, which makes the internet more secure and more democratic.

Ethereum helps accomplish the vision of decentralized computing in two ways. The first way is to create a distributed system of nodes, which happens anytime a computer or miner joins the Ethereum blockchain — and anyone, with sufficient computing power, can become a node, which makes Ethereum a permissionless blockchain.

A node is any machine that contains a copy of the blockchain. The more nodes that exist, the more resilient Ethereum becomes to security breaches and outages.

A wide distribution of the network makes it possible for developers to build decentralized applications using open-source smart contracts, which is the second way that Ethereum is enabling digital decentralization. A smart contract is basically a computer program that executes a transaction after a series of requirements are met. Most Ethereum apps are written using the Solidity language (there are also other Ethereum-specific languages).*

*Source Credit – Abra.com

Health and Wellness over Age 50 – Blood Lab Test Results – Part 3

On April 17, 2020 I published the second article about health and wellness and understanding lab test results. This post is a follow-up to the first two pieces I wrote. No post would be complete without a legal disclaimer; I am not a doctor nor am I giving medical advice – I am simply sharing thoughts from my journey to creating a stronger body and mind! I hope they help you along your journey.

Please feel free to go back and read the first two discussions on my blog if you have not seen them yet, or reach out to me directly if you have questions you don’t feel comfortable posting!

In the first two articles I gave you an idea of the basic readings to test for, and what some of them mean. Most of us, if you are remotely health conscious, are aware of your lipid panels (cholesterol) and maybe some of the basic vitamin and hormone levels. Unless you are diabetic, most people are not aware of their glucose levels or insulin.

In this final piece (for now!) about blood lab test results, I want to talk several additional endocrinology reproductive hormones, and why they are important. If you are someone who need actual medical attention to address your own health issues, please seek professional help. I cannot stress this enough. If you are someone who just has questions, or wants to learn more, make an appointment and ask your primary care physician to draw these labs, sit down with you, and explain them.

The following readings are part of the regular panels I monitor;

  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
  • Prolactin
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol
  • DHEA-5
  • SHBG
  • Testosterone
  • Free Testosterone
  • IGF-1
  • Cortisol

I won’t go over all of these readings here and now but let’s focus on a couple of them and why they’re important! (Please note I am referencing healthline.com for the medical terms)

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is an important part of the reproductive system. It’s responsible for the growth of ovarian follicles. Follicles produce estrogen and progesterone in the ovaries and help maintain the menstrual cycles in women. In men, FSH is a part of the development of the gonads as well as sperm production.

High FSH Levels in Women

If you’re a woman with high FSH levels, this may indicate:

  • a loss of ovarian function, or ovarian failure
  • menopause
  • polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is a condition in which a woman’s hormones are out of balance, causing ovarian cysts
  • a chromosomal abnormality, such as Turner’s syndrome that occurs when part or all of one of a woman’s X chromosomes is missing

High FSH Levels in Men

If you’re a man with high FSH values, this may indicate:

  • Klinefelter’s syndrome, which is a rare condition in men caused by an extra X chromosome that can affect male development
  • testicles that are absent or not functioning properly
  • testicles that have been damaged by a disease such as alcohol dependence
  • testicles that have been damaged by treatments such as X-rays or chemotherapy

DHEA or dehydroepiandrosterone, is a hormone that’s produced by your body. Some of it is converted into the major male and female sex hormones testosterone and estrogen. Its effects can be driven by the actions of testosterone and estrogen after this conversion occurs, as well as by the DHEA molecule itself. Understanding your DHEA level could be the key to better understanding things like libido, weight gain or loss, an even depression. Before you consider taking any supplements for this, be sure to consult your doctor.

Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands. It’s important for helping your body deal with stressful situations, as your brain triggers its release in response to many different kinds of stress. However, when cortisol levels are too high for too long, this hormone can hurt you more than it helps. Over time, high levels may cause weight gain and high blood pressure, disrupt sleep, negatively impact mood, reduce your energy levels and contribute to diabetes. Understanding your cortisol levels is an important aspect of your overall health but remember, they are highest in the morning so if you have this checked in your labs, make sure you do it early in the morning!

Last but not least, testosterone. I saved the best for last because this is certainly one of the most discussed/debated and highly talked about of the hormones!

Testosterone is a hormone produced by the human body. It’s mainly produced in men by the testicles. Testosterone affects a man’s appearance and sexual development. It stimulates sperm production as well as a man’s sex drive. It also helps build muscle and bone mass.

Testosterone production typically decreases with age. According to the American Urological Association, about 2 out of 10 men older than 60 years have low testosterone. That increases slightly to 3 out of 10 men in their 70s and 80s.

Men can experience a range of symptoms if testosterone decreases more than it should. Low testosterone, or low T, is diagnosed when levels fall below 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL).

A normal range is typically 300 to 1,000 ng/dL, according to the Food and Drug Administration. A blood test called a serum testosterone test is used to determine your level of circulating testosterone.

A range of symptoms can occur if testosterone production drastically drops below normal. Signs of low T are often subtle. Here are signs of low T in men.

  • Low sex drive or difficulty with erection
  • Fatigue and loss of energy
  • Hair and muscle loss
  • Mood changes
  • Increased body fat

If you’ve enjoyed reading these updates, let me know. Also, please reach out and let me know what you would like to read more about. As I build this blog, my IG account, and my You Tube Channel (eventually), and my businesses, I will start sharing more about my own personal journey to health and wellness. Thank you!

Health and Wellness over Age 50 – Blood Lab Test Results – Part 2

On March 20, 2020 I published the first article about health and wellness and understanding lab test results. This post is a follow-up to that article. No post would be complete without a legal disclaimer; I am not a doctor nor am I giving medical advice – I am simply sharing thoughts from my journey to creating a stronger body and mind!

                In my last article I suggested some of the basic readings your doctor should ask for when sending you for routine blood panels. They included the following;

  • Lipid Panel – Total Cholesterol, Triglycerides, HDL (good cholesterol), LDL (bad cholesterol), Risk Ratio, HS-CRP (C Reactive Protein)
  • White Blood Cell Count, Red Blood Cell Count, Hemoglobin, Hematocrit
  • Glucose, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Calcium, CO2, BUN, Creatine
  • eGFR, Magnesium, Uric Acid, Protein, Albumin
  • HGBA1C, Insulin, eAG
  • Cortisol, IGF-1, FSH, LSH, Free Testosterone, Estradiol, Progesterone, DHEA
  • Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Folate, Ferritin
  • Estrone, PSA

Now let’s do a quick review of why these readings are important and how they can help guide you towards a healthier life!

Lipid Panel

Everyone knows about cholesterol so I won’t harp on this too much. Yes, your total cholesterol should ideally be below 200, but some cholesterol is actually good for you. Your total cholesterol is calculated by adding your HDL plus you LDL, and adding 20% of your triglycerides level. It can act much like a lubricant for your blood, as well as produce Vitamin D. It’s even an important building block for hormones. But yes, too much cholesterol is a bad thing because it leads to the buildup of plaque.

LDL, or low density lipoproteins, are also known as your Bad cholesterol. Ideally your LDL level should be less than 100 mg/dl as elevated levels of LDL will increase the likelihood of clogging in your arteries. Elevated LDL levels are caused by a diet high in saturated fats and trans fats.

HDL, or high density lipoproteins, are also known as your Good cholesterol. Ideally your HDL level should be above 50 mg/dl…and the higher the better! HDL attacks the LDL in your blood and actually helps scrub your artery walls. A plant-based diet has been proven to increase HDL levels, and lower LDL levels and should include foods like avocados, olive oil, fruits, and whole grains.

Triglycerides are another type of fat that is carried in the blood. Ideally your triglyceride level will be under 150mg/dl as increased triglyceride levels have been linked to diabetes and heart disease. If you regularly consume more calories than you burn, your body stores these as triglycerides or fat, to use later for energy. High triglyceride can also lead to heart disease, diabetes, and even a hardening of your artery walls known as arteriosclerosis.

        A Risk Ratio is calculated by dividing your total cholesterol by your HDL number. For example, my total cholesterol was 185 and my HDL was 53, producing a Risk Ratio of 3.49. According to the American Heart Association your risk ratio should be below 5, with an ideal level of 3.5. According to the Framingham study, a report often used by doctors to assess a patient’s risk level for heart disease, men have double the risk of heart disease if their risk level reaches 9.6, and women have double the risk of their level reaches 7.

What can I do to lower my total cholesterol? For sure, diet and exercise are the two most important factors which can have an immediate impact on your heart health. If you smoke, quit. It’s as simple as that. Did you know that one egg has 186 mg of cholesterol? Most people should limit their daily cholesterol intake to 300 mg, and under 200 mg for those at higher risk. In parting, here are a few tips to help lower your cholesterol (and LDL) and increase your HDL. Foods high in antioxidants help lower cholesterol and can be found in blueberries, strawberries, pecans, artichokes, beans, cabbage, kale, spinach and beets. These are just of few of the things you can add to your diet in moderation! Next time, we will continue going through some of the other suggested levels mentioned above. Please follow my blog on my website to learn more as I continue to document my journey to better Health and Wellness Over age 50!

My Secret Ingredient for a Healthier Isolation

For the past several weeks (or more) we’ve all been dealing with the stress of working from home, managing life, deciding what to watch on Netflix and hopefully taking time to reflect on the things that are important in our lives. If you’re like me, this slowdown from the hectic pace of life has given me a chance to get back to the basics and focus on wellness for my family and myself.

Bullet proof coffee was all the rage a few years back, and everyone discovered the benefits of ghee butter, MCT oil, and turbo boosting the morning cup of Joe. Like all fads when they fade away, most of us forget and simply move on to the next best new thing! (Not me by the way – I am still dressing like I live in the 80’s and sure enough, preppie fashion is now “hipster”!) One of the other things I held on to was my love of MCT oil and my belief in the benefits of adding this to my daily routine!

According to Medical News Today, MCT oil is a dietary supplement that is made up of MCT fats, which are fats that can be found in coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and dairy products. MCT oil is mainly used by people looking to lose weight, or boost their endurance during a workout. Some supporters of MCT oil also claim it can improve the ability to think, as well as help with various forms of dementia. I like using this supplement in the morning as I definitely feel the benefits from an immediate boost of healthy fats as fuel for my brain and body.

Fats are made up of chains of carbon atoms, and most of the fats in a person’s diet are made up of 13 to 21 of these atoms. These are called long-chain fatty acids. In contrast, short-chain fatty acids are made up of 6 or fewer carbon atoms. MCTs refers to medium-chain triglycerides that sit in the middle of the other two types. They are of medium length and made up of 6 to 12 carbon atoms. Too much scientific lingo?

MCTs are found in coconut oil and are processed by the body in a different way to long-chain fatty acids. Unlike other fats, they go straight from the gut to the liver. From here, they are used as a source of energy or turned into ketones.

We have all heard of ketones as the “Keto Craze” has been popular for over 5 years now. What are ketones? Ketones are substances produced when the liver breaks down a lot of fat, and they can be used by the brain for energy instead of glucose or sugar. Hence the Brain Octane brand of MCT oil (which I love) and other products which promote increased cognitive abilities, memory and more through their use.

For most people the idea of getting their body into Ketosis is the goal, as the state of ketosis is when your body burns fat (in the absence of glucose) to use for fuel. As the calories in MCTs are used straightaway, they are less likely to be stored as fat. This principle is the basis of the ketogenic diet, which many people believe is an effective way to lose weight. I will talk more about ketosis and the ketogenic diet later this month, but for now my secret ingredient to Surviving Isolation? Try a little MCT oil in your morning routine and see if you don’t notice a difference!

I Didn’t Have Time for Breakfast

I was running late because of the kids. I did an extra 15 minutes of cardio and didn’t have time. I overslept and didn’t hear the alarm go off. How many times have you said these things to yourself and justified the reason to skip breakfast, arguably the most important meal of the day? Even worse, have you convinced yourself that lowering your caloric intake will help you lose weight and stay healthy? Guess again!

            Intermittent fasting has become one of the latest fads in the dietary world of health and fitness. I am not a doctor so I am not giving you medical advice; I’m sharing my thoughts in exchange for what you paid to read them – nothing! That being said let’s walk through some common thoughts regarding to eat, or not to eat!

            People who skip a healthy breakfast will consume between 200 and 400 calories LESS in a day. TRUE. But does this lead to a hungry feeling which results in mid-morning snacks or eating a bigger lunch? PROBABLY!  Scientific studies and researchers agree that your brain functions BETTER when given the proper nutrients to function at its peak. Compared to fasting, the results are conclusive.

            Can you kick start your metabolism by consuming a healthy breakfast? YES! Again, studies have shown that your body will metabolize carbohydrates more efficiently DURING the day and LATER in the day if your metabolic process begins in the morning instead of mid-day. Think of your body like a power plant – once you turn those burners on and the plant is running, your entire body is ready to function at full capacity instead of running on fumes until you reach lunchtime.

            The key factor is recognizing the words I have used throughout this article – a HEALTHY breakfast! A sticky bun or bear claw, three donuts and a coffee, or biscuits smothered in gravy and bacon is probably 800-1000 calories of inefficient food your body doesn’t need. Instead, take the time to understand healthier options that give your brain, and your body, the fuel you need to start your day off right! Here are just a few of the healthy options I like to rotate through my morning routine. All of these are 300 calories or less!

  • 1 Cup of steel cut whole Oatmeal, 1 sliced pear or banana, 2 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp chopped almonds
  • 1 egg omelet with 2 egg whites, 2 tbsp organic salsa or Pico  de Gallo, ½ cup baby spinach
  • 1 large avocado, slice in half and fill opening with egg white, drizzle olive oil, shred cheese on top of both halves and bake at 350 for 15 minutes
  • Whole Grain Cereal (I prefer bran!), almond milk or soy milk, sliced fruit or blueberries
  • Waffle Sandwich – I like the low carb protein waffles – with 2 tbsp honey, one slice of cheese OR 2 tbsp skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 ½ Cup Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp honey, ½ cup granola, ½ cup blueberries or strawberries
  • Protein Smoothie – 1 cup almond milk, 1 cup blueberries, flax seed, chia seed, MCT oil, 2 cups ice cubes, 1 cup spinach, 1 tbsp ghee butter, 1 scoop of your favorite protein powder
  • PB Bagel Sandwich, 3 tbsp all natural peanut butter, 1 granny smith apple sliced on the bagel
  • Wrap Sandwich, 2 egg whites, ½ sliced avocado, 1 slice low-fat Swiss or mozzarella cheese, 3 slices of turkey bacon or fake bacon

Thanks for taking the time to read this article. Keep a lookout for more article on health and nutrition as I share my journey to health and wellness over the age of 50!


What’s the Importance of Branding and Image?

What kind of branding services do you offer?

Most people have and project an image of themselves which they want the world to see and believe. Oftentimes I find that’s not the case when if you spend time doing research, reading professional blogs, or even going through social media. For example, when we were hiring people it was common practice to look on Instagram and Facebook to see what kind of pictures people posted when they were not under the scrutiny of employers. In one situation, we had an employee call in “sick” only to find out she spent the night at an Irish Pub celebrating St Patrick’s Day! Sick with the Irish Flu!

Our goal is to help clients take a realistic look at not just what they want the world to see, but the world actually sees. Sometimes bad things happen to good people – the old saying is true in that we all make mistakes. I am a perfect example of this. I spent most of my career serving my country in uniform, as a civilian government employee, and even in the private sector with the business I founded. When my company became the subject of a government investigation and I encountered legal troubles, I could have given up and walked away. Even since then, I’ve had to deal with the scrutiny that comes from going through what I went through. The most important thing has been helping show people who I am and the things I have done my entire life, prior to this incident and since this occurred. My actions are the true measure of the man I am, have become, and will be.

Our services help clients portray the image of them that is fair, unbiased, and accurate based upon who they are as people. In some cases, it simply means building a website (like I did), sharing your past (like I have), and even revealing personal things about you that you have hesitated to share in the past, but have become relevant now. Making these accomplishments public is an important aspect of building your brand and your image.

How do you help clients who have zero negative press build a brand reputation?

Building a brand from scratch is like a clean sheet of paper where the artist can create his or her work and ensure that it accurately reflects their abilities. Building your reputation is no different and it starts with a plan. Like any good plan, your reputation plan has a goal; I am HERE now and I want to get to THERE. Getting to that end point is where we specialize in helping clients understand what it takes to get to the endpoint, and what tools can be used to assist them along the way.

How do you help clients who do have negative press?

The challenge of addressing negative press can seem insurmountable. When I first Googled my own name, I found dozens of articles written by authors whom apparently did little if any research on what actually happened to me and my company. If they did, they would not have written the things they did unless they were solely focused on selling the sizzle.

For clients with negative press, it’s not the end of the world. Look at Martha Stewart and her brand.  She went through some incredibly difficult times and even spent time in a Federal Prison. She emerged stronger, tougher, and even financially more successful. In 2005 she launched her comeback campaign, and in 2015 her company was acquired. Again, overcoming this is a function of creating a plan with a clear end goal and means of getting where we want to go.

Do you do brand research for clients?

We do have some capabilities for research however they are limited. To the extent our clients need additional resources, we do have a select team of partners we rely upon for research, accounting, finance, and legal advice. In addition we have reputation partners we work with whom can assist our clients with specific campaigns.

Do family offices usually offer branding services or is this something you offer because you know how important image is?

No, most family offices do not offer branding services because their scope of services typically falls within managing the needs of one family, or a very small group of 2 or 3 other families who have pooled resources. Because my personal situation felt different to me, and because it was not a service I saw elsewhere in the market, I felt it was an important issue to address. Life happens and we all know that. We can choose to ignore it and sweep it under the rug, or we can face it head on and build a plan to overcome these challenges.

What is the most important step, in your opinion, when it comes to helping a client who has experienced bad press in the past to rebuild their reputation?

The most important step is talking and meeting with someone who has gone through the same challenges and sharing your concerns with a trusted confidante. This experience can help you not only learn how they dealt with overcoming their adversity, but prove that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. A lot of the challenges that deal with overcoming adversity begin at step one; talking about it and confronting the matter. An experienced advisor is not there to judge you – he or she has been there and they know how it feels to be in those shoes.

What Do I Tell My Family During this Global Crisis?

We’re in the middle of a COVID-19, a global pandemic virus unlike any other we’ve seen in modern times. Cities and States are going into lock down, grocery store shelves are empty, and social distancing has become the norm. Doomsday preppers are safe in their bunkers smirking at the rest of us saying “I told you so”, but I’ve got news. It’s not the End of the World!

As a young country we’ve been through a lot over the past 200+ years. Even the recent history of difficult times like September 11, the financial crisis of 2008, and the natural disasters of hurricanes and floods have impacted many of our lives and those of our families and friends. Much like our founding fathers endured the challenges of religious and economic persecution to fight disease and famine crossing the seas in search of a better way of life, we too must come together as Americans and families to preserve our way of life.

Here are a few simple strategies you can use to help guide you and your family through these tough times.

Ø TALK — Talking about your concerns and listening to each other’s feelings is one of the most important things you can do for your family to help get through any difficult times. The hectic pace of our normal lives often makes it difficult to have family dinner. STOP, and take advantage of this time together by sitting down at the dinner table, talking, and listening. You might just be surprised at how refreshing it is and what you’ve missed!

Ø PLAN — Make a plan for what you want to do when this is all over! It does not have to be big or extravagant — it could be as simple as walking the dog in the park, or maybe taking a trip to see family out of town whom was also isolated during this situation. It’s important for people to see and understand that these events will pass, and things will be back to normal. One of the best ways to do that is by focusing on the finish line and set a goal.

Ø ORGANIZE — Make a list of the things you have been meaning to do but just haven’t gotten around to. What better time than now to make it happen? Clean the attic or the garage, organize the photos from the last family trip, and review your plans for your family regarding how you handled this situation. Were you prepared? Could you have done a better job and how?

Ø RECONNECT — Now more than ever is the time to reach out to family and friends, let them know you care, and make sure they are getting through these difficult times. Too many of us became comfortable with social media as a form of managing our relationships with family and friends. PICK UP THE PHONE and call people important to you. If you can, video chat! I called my Aunt Lisa in Maine this past weekend, and didn’t notice until we hung up the phone that we had talked for over 2 hours!

Ø HAVE FUN — It’s not every month, or even year, that we are given the chance to take some time off work, reconnect with family and friends, and focus on the things that really matter in our lives. Just because we are limited in our movements does not mean we can’t have fun! Family meals — get everyone involved in planning and making dinner! Movie night — all the on-demand channels we have access to mean there’s something for everyone. Read a book, listen to music, play games, exercise…the list goes on and on!

Your ability to help lead your family through these tough times is important for everyone’s well-being. If you find yourself having trouble reach out to a friend or family matter and talk about with them. You are not alone, and if you don’t have anyone to speak with, feel free to contact us! I am happy to help and I want you to be the best you can be! www.danlounsbury.com

Health and Wellness at Age 50 – Understanding Blood Lab Test Results

When I began my journey to improve my health and wellness I thought I knew a lot about nutrition, my body, and how to remain healthy as I prepared to turn 50 and start the next phase of my life. As far back as I could remember I was always physically active, playing sports in high school and college and maintain an active lifestyle. What I came to learn was that while I had been active and led a healthy life, for the most part, I was doing a lot things WRONG!

That’s when I started to realize that I needed to gain a better understanding of my true body chemistry. I started by reading a lot of books and as technology advanced, my research moved online as I digested information from tons of websites, blogs and anyplace I could learn. Like some of you, I also fell victim to some of the fad diets and programs like Atkins, Keto, no-carb/low-carb, etc. I tried different cleanses and experimented with just about every supplement and holistic product I could find. Sounding familiar?

Something was still missing as my weight yo-yoed, my energy levels and mental acuity varied, and I felt like I was running but on a tread mill, and not making any real progress. I decided to visit a concierge medical doctor for a routine checkup and physical exam. At age 45, it was the first time I had ever experienced a Complete Blood Panel designed to evaluate my overall wellness from the inside out. Light bulb!

Where do you start?

Understanding my body chemistry through analyzing my bloodwork opened up a whole new world. I’ve always enjoyed the aspects of finite and tangible things like numbers. Numbers don’t lie. Looking at a piece of paper which different numbers and variables was also a little bit daunting. Fortunately, the doctors and PA’s that I’ve worked with over the past five years have been amazing as they helped guide and educate to better understand the meaning behind my results, as well as ways to improve and change readings which were not optimal.

Obviously I am not a doctor, so I am not trying to give any advice or tell you what to do, eat, not eat, etc. What I can do here is share pieces of my story, what worked for me and why, and give you ideas on how to gain better control of your own health and wellness. As I spend more time writing about this topic over the coming months, I will dive deeper into the practical aspects of specific lab test results, desirable levels, and how to change your results by lifestyle and diet choices you make.

From the 10,000 foot level I can tell you this; it’s taken me nearly five years to slowly change the results of my bloodwork. There is no pill, no remedy and no get will quick fix. Yes, there are certainly a lot of OTC and prescription medications you can take for everything from cholesterol to diabetes. My only advice is this – start with healthy life choices which including eating the right things, drinking water and exercising. If I can do it, so can you.  As of this writing, my weight has come from 275 to 224. My bloodwork looks like a different person. As it continues to change, I will share regular updates.

The Basics

I’ve experienced a lot of tests all designed to help me create a better life strategy for my wellness. Any basic blood lab test, in my opinion, should include the following;

  • Lipid Panel – Total Cholesterol, Triglycerides, HDL (good cholesterol), LDL (bad cholesterol), Risk Ratio, HS-CRP (C Reactive Protein)
  • White Blood Cell Count, Red Blood Cell Count, Hemoglobin, Hematocrit
  • Glucose, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, Calcium, CO2, BUN, Creatine
  • eGFR, Magnesium, Uric Acid, Protein, Albumin
  • HGBA1C, Insulin, eAG
  • Cortisol, IGF-1, FSH, LSH, Free Testosterone, Estradiol, Progesterone, DHEA
  • Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Folate, Ferritin
  • Estrone, PSA

If you have never seen all of these before and you have no idea what they mean don’t worry, neither did I when I first saw them! The first step in gaining control over your desired level of health and wellness begins here. Your blood chemistry can’t lie. You CAN change and impact these result by eating right and making healthy choices. As I continue to write more about this, I will share my own results as well as what worked for me, how I got to this point, where I want to go, and how I will get there! To learn more please see my blog at www.danlounsbury.com

Were You and Your Family Prepared for this Global Crisis?

Nobody could predict a crisis like the COVID-19 outbreak we are witnessing around the world. Whether or not you believe you are at risk, the simple fact remains; the impact is real.

According to the latest research, over $6 trillion dollars in wealth has been erased by the panic and fear created by the COVID-19 virus. Grocery store shelves are bare, medical supplies and hand sanitizer are hard to find, and even toilet paper is being auctioned on Ebay for three times its retail price.

Why do we provide Legacy Growth Services? The help families create a strategic plan to manage their entire lives. Crisis and Disaster planning is just one aspect of the multi-faceted work we do with our private clients.

What should your family Crisis plan include? The answer is different for every family because no two situations are exactly the same.  There are, however, basic building blocks which should be component of every plan. Let’s take a short look at some of them here.

Resources & Needs

What tangible resources are most important for your family to be able to be independent for a period of 15 days? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that most families be prepared for a period of at least 3 days, but if you’ve ever lived through a hurricane like I have as a South Florida resident, you know it can take 3-4 weeks or longer just to have power restored!

Your basic list should include enough food and water, medical supplies, prescription drugs, and household essentials to provide for you and your family during this time.  The rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person, per day. This means your family of four should have between 40 and 50 gallons of water just to carry you for 10 days! (and your pets!)

Another smart strategy is keep cash on hand. Depending upon the crisis, such as a natural disaster, it’s conceivable that ATM’s won’t work and banks won’t be open if power is lost. Cash is always an important aspect of any plan.

Communication & Logistics

We value communication as one of the most vital parts for any Crisis or Disaster plan. If your family has the ability, we also like to establish pre-planned meeting points in the event of a crisis. In some situations, it may not be possible to travel by some modes of transportation, or even travel in certain directions. Your plan to “head south” to the Florida house won’t work if the roads are shut down, flights are grounded, or a natural disaster made this the wrong place to be. As such, we create pre-planned meeting places and prioritize them based upon the factors and the situation.

We also suggest creating a family web based email account which everyone can access regardless of where they are, and how they access it. For example, SmithFamilyOffice@gmail.com allows everyone to access the account from their location via phone, laptop or elsewhere to share real time updates and maintain communication regarding the family’s location, movement, wellness and safety. Living in Florida has helped a lot of our clients understand how to prepare for natural disasters, but there are many other factors which come into play when creating a complete family strategy.

Once your plan is built and has been communicated and shared with the family, the next most important step in implementing a logistics strategy to implement your plan, should the time arise. If the family plan is to meet at the vacation home in Aspen, how are you going to get there? How can you communicate “Meet in Aspen”? Can the college student drive from New England to Aspen? Does he or she have gas money, food, water and an understanding of what to do? Are there sufficient resources in Aspen to meet the family needs?

These are just two of the many components which are part of any good Crisis plan. It also reemphasizes why having a strategic plan is such an important aspect of any smart Family Office. It’s why we provide Legacy Services! For most of us, the experience of witnessing what are going through should serve as a wakeup call. If you were not prepared, chances are you and your family will be fine once the dust clears and things are back to normal. For those of you who heed the warning, it’s time to step back and create the plans you need to ensure your family is taken care of.

To learn more about Legacy Services and how we help Private Clients create strategic plans visit my blog at www.danlounsbury.com

My Journey to Take Control of My Health and Wellness at Age 50

I was always the “big guy” and carried the body of someone who played sports in high school and college, and spent many years working out. The problem was over the years, the pounds kept creeping up on me. When I was younger and working out daily, I could eat and drink anything I wanted. Weight was never an issue and even into my early thirties I felt like if I needed to shed a few pounds, I could just do a “fad” diet for a few days and be fine! Then I turned 40!

I was not unlike most men in that around age 40, my metabolism started to slow down. I found myself lacking the same energy I used to have, consuming more caffeine, and looking forward to afternoon naps of the weekend. I didn’t really think anything was off until around age 45, and I saw a shirtless picture of myself on vacation at the beach. If “Dad-bod” was in, I was well on my way to becoming the spokesperson!

Over the coming months, I am going to spend some time writing about the journey I’ve been on since turning age 50. The journey is still underway now, so as I reflect on the historical perspectives of my changes I will also talk about what I am doing now and how it’s impacting my body, mind and wellness.  I am no Superman, but if I can take control of my health and wellness at age 50, there is hope for you!

By age 50, I was tipping the scales at around 275 lbs. My blood panels were not great – my total cholesterol was 243 (anything over 200 is considered high), my energy levels were low, I was not sleeping well, and I was eating too much of the wrong foods! My stress was off the charts as I had gone through a difficult divorce and was also dealing with a ton of legal issues, facing losing my company of over 20 years.

Some people talk about having that “Ah-ha” moment or epiphany when they wake up and realize that if they don’t make a change, they’re doomed. For me it was a series of events that occurred which felt like going 5 rounds with Mike Tyson! I spent the entire weekend reflecting about the events which had been occurring in my life and came the realization by asking myself this one question; How could I be the person that my friends and family needed me to be IF I WAS NOT WELL and taking care of myself? Perhaps you need to ask yourself that same question?

Please follow my journey here, on my blog at www.danlounsbury.com to learn more about this adventure.

Creating a Strategic Plan

What is Legacy Growth Services? It starts with building a strategic plan. The key to building this plan is being able to dedicate a significant amount of time to sit down, write everything out, and then step away.

That’s why having a coach or a mentor can help you realize all the various aspects of your plan and how many moving parts are involved. Once you step away and come back to the plan, it becomes easier to see the things you missed the first time, make adjustments, and start to create a living, working blueprint.

Let’s take a quick walk through a short example of a situation without an excessive number of variables and moving parts. This example is about my buddy Patrick.

Patrick is an avid outdoors man and has spent most of his life focused on everything outdoors. After working in the outdoor industry for years, Pat saw an opportunity to create his own brand of flies for fly fishing. He was already making his own flies; stonefly, mayflay, trout flys and more! All his buddies were buying his creations, and word spread throughout New England that if you wanted to land big fish, you need to use his flies!

Fast forward 15 years and Patrick’s little company became a big fishing equipment business and was purchased by a much larger retailer for a tidy sum. Over the years, Patrick acquired a fishing camp in Idaho, along with his property in Maine and a small place in Vermont near the corporate office.

Patrick created a unique legacy for him, his family, and generations to come but his complex situation had a lot of unique challenges. Hence the reason we decided to create a strategy tailored to his family and their needs. Asset management is only one part of his plan, but there were so many other important variables that we needed to address and many people overlook them.

Actually sitting down to discuss, explore and write all these variables down was seemingly daunting. It looked a little like this;

Asset Management – Assets including multiple accounts, investment accounts, bank accounts, safe deposit boxes, precious metals, retirement accounts, trust accounts, and reviewing the effectiveness of current asset allocation strategy/fee structure

Physical Assets – Homes, jewelry, boats, personal effects, art, toys, aircraft, wine, movement and location of assets, value and adequate insurance coverage for all assets, and even other investments ( restaurants, land, etc.)

Operations – Budgets, spending, credit cards, small staff, home/s maintenance, payroll, family operations (travel, vacation, college, etc.), insurance, umbrella polices, life insurance, annuity, safety/security

Planning – Contingency planning (disaster recovery) and continuity, safety and security, data security, goals and plans to achieve the goals, charitable giving plan

Health and Welfare – Family physical health and well being, diet and exercise, nutrition, alcohol or tobacco use, mental health and well being, stress, quality of life, plan for extending life to a comfortable age

Business – Ongoing operations and involvement, liquidity plan, key man insurance, exit strategy and many more

As you can see, this was just the starting point for sitting down and addressing the most obvious variables and moving parts. Putting a plan together for Patrick was a dynamic process which evolved over a period of months, and we know monitor it on a quarterly basis, making adjustments when needed.

We literally filled the white boards in the conference room, adding different pieces in various colors of dry erase marker. It was a brainstorming session which helped us visualize all the important aspects of Patrick’s life.

If you think it’s time to sit down to discuss your situation and evaluate your strategy, reach out to me!

-DTL, West Palm Beach, March 2020