Prepare to laugh: Protein shakes aren't as harmless as you might think. Take a look at these men.

There's one way to get your protein, and then there's the right way. Warning: extreme satire ahead. Prepare to laugh.

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Hold up. Let me clarify.

I know protein powders and drinks aren't only for bros. I don't think we need to talk much about that, but before we go any further, I just want to make sure we're all on the same page. What you watched was a funny ad that plays on the stereotype of protein-drink consumers: swole dudes living the bro life — mostly in the gym — and taking giant bro swigs of protein drinks. But, like, dude, all types of of people enjoy protein drinks.


OK, where were we? Right. So, let's talk about protein sources.

Not all protein powders and drinks are created equal. Some contain GMOs, artificial sweeteners, toxic pesticides, synthetic hormones, and other stuff. Do you need any of that? Nah.

Heavy metals, dude.

Guess what else is in some protein powders and drinks? Heavy metals. Consumer Reports literally broke down 15 protein powders and drinks to find out what was actually in them. They looked for mercury, arsenic, lead, and cadmium. Most of the powders and drinks had some heavy metals, ranging from low to moderate. Three of them, however, had enough that "consuming three servings a day could result in daily exposure to arsenic, cadmium, or lead exceeding the limits proposed by USP," or the U.S. Pharmacopeia. It's a federally recognized authority that sets standards for health products.

Chill out, bro. There's an alternative!

Look at those peaceful cows. You can be like them. You don't have to drink heavy metals and other unpleasant stuff. Organic is always an option for your protein drinks. And if you go that route, you'll know what you're getting:

  1. More antioxidants and nutrients: Organic foods have more of the good stuff than non-organic. Research says so.
  2. No pesticides or synthetic fertilizers: They're bad for the environment and they're bad for you.
  3. No synthetic hormones: Skipping these means happier animals and healthier humans.
  4. No antibiotics: 'Cause who gets excited about antibiotic-resistant infections?
  5. No GMOs: Do we reallly know enough about genetically engineered crops yet to feel good about eating them? Up to you to decide, but you don't have to consume GMOs in your protein drink.

Save the bros — and yourself.

All of this sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me. And while cleaning up your protein shakes might not, like, save your life, it could make you feel better about what you're putting in your body. So help a bro out and spread the word: #savethebros.

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

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